THE VIOLINIST'S THUMB by Sam Kean is a fabously told non-fiction book about genes and DNA, expounding on the history, science and scientists, and varied discoveries of the make up of living beings. It's a great 'every man's' overview that is remarkably thorough in it's facts, and even more fantastic in it's ability to entertain.
So many things are discussed from why some people can survive atomic bombs to why there are hoarding cat people. The politics and infighting stories of the human genomes projects is as thrilling as any world history debates and wars. There are scientific studies of people from the past---what was the real truth about JFK's health; why was King George so crazy; and why were the Egyptian Pharos so misshapen. Perhaps one of the most interesting proven theories for me was Ziff's Law: the most common word in any language is used twice as much as the next most common word in that language in any book. The most common word is then used three times as much as the third most popular word, etc, until the least most common word.
This discussion of genetic make-up is not out to prove any particular point. Everything is discussed and the final conclusion remains that all living things are a combinations of multiple bits and pieces that makes everything unique and similar. Surely science will continue with this troublesome and fascination exploration for years to come. One big hope is to help cure and prevent devastating diseases.
Though I am not necessarily a non-fiction book reader for pleasure, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Were that all learning was this easy and entertaining!!! Now on to his first book on the chemical elements---THE DISAPPEARING SPOON. I hope Sam Kean has more books like this in his future!!
For me, this is one of Sandra Dallas' best books. The interaction between those in need, forgiveness between enemies, and the companionship between women in war times was especially well done.
During the last year of the USA Civil War, Eliza Spooner and her two children are waiting out the war times missing their husband and father. Will is a loving and compassionate man who has joined the Union Army. At home, Eliza takes in a war widow and her baby daughter, a run away slave woman, and a soldier at the end of the war. Letters from Will help keep his family going.
Excellent combined story lines and characterizations. Dallas handles many of the consequences of war times in 1864 very realistically. I've read many books in this time period and this is one of my very favorite!! I listened to this on Audible and enjoyed it very much.
Donna Van Liere has numerous books about Christmas hope, love, and God's working in people's lives. This particular book is especially good as it is basically about God's grace. Sixty something, Gloria, lives alone since the death of her husband seven years ago, when her 17 year old son ran away and her other children were grown and living away with their own families. She has a special wish that has been hanging on her tree for years--a prayer for God.
Gloria spends her day helping people. She takes in second had clothes and anything else that people leave for her. She also collects food in large amounts. Her house doesn't always look spectacular when cars or old refrigerators are outside being worked on. Her crabby next door neighbor, Mariam, never missis an opportunity to complain to Gloria about her "repairs" in the yard, until one day when Mariam returns from a trip to find her house flooded. With no place else to go, Gloria invites Mariam to stay with her.
Meanwhile, Chaz, who is a drifter, drinker, grumpy but good hearted man, gets a job in security at a local department store and winds up becoming a part time babysitter to one of the employees precocious 5 year old son with issues of his own. Van Liere's connections of all these people, plus a few others, creatively and wonderfully illustrates God's grace in this lovely sentimental Christmas story. I listened to this on Audible and believe it enhanced the story a great deal. Hope there are lots more if these stories for the future holiday seasons!
MR MIRACLE by Debbie Macomber--Debbie Macomber has written another heartwarming story about angles coming to earth to help their human charges. Guardian angel, Harry Mills, is on his first mission on earth and is finding humans to be a bit of a challenge, as he has assumed that everything is kind, peaceful, and easy as times are in heaven. He's here, posing as an English teacher at the local college, so he can help Addie straighten her life out, and to hopefully find love for her also.
I always look forward to finding new uplifting stories about love and hope every Christmas season, and am never disappointed with a new Macomber story. This year, I especially enjoyed the humor that comes from angels visiting this earthly realm and the problems that they face with their human charges. This was an especially sweet love story, which included romantic love and the touching kind of love that comes from people helping others who have special needs from problems that they have encountered in their lives. I listened to this on Audible and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The ladies of Cayboo Creek, South Carolina are always there to support each other, often gathering in the Bottom Dollar Emporium to discuss life and everything happening in their small community. In book two, sisters, Chiffon and Chenille, are the center of interest. Never very close as children, and with a mom that was trying to raise beauty queens, they now find themselves thrown together by life's problems.
Chiffon's husband has gone to Hollywood on a prize that she actually won, but a sick baby kept her at home. Her sexy, handsome husband finds himself in the arms of a conniving Hollywood starlet, and he's not unhappy to be there. Added problems come because Chiffon has been left with no money but plenty of unpaid bills. Then she slips and sprains her ankle at her cafe job. Nothing to do but call upon her estranged sister to help with her children.
Conveniently, Chenille has just been fired from her teaching job because of the antics of her classroom helper. With everything in this small town being the source of gossip, and the media hounding Chiffon, it's up to the help of their friends for each of these women to take control of their lives and find true happiness.
I thoroughly enjoy these stories. The woman are all too human. The conversations and situations find truth in great humor and blunt common sense. The faults and foibles of small town life are wonderfully overrun by the loyalty, friendless, and community compassion found in difficult situations. Well written characters make me want to become friends with these ladies.
Don't know what it is about the Gourmet Detective books that interest me so, but they definitely intrigue me. This one was better than the first one. Perhaps because the mystery was much better--a closed room type. I also love all things Asian cooking, and the spices, meals, and restaurants spoken about in this book were mouth watering and familiar to me. There was also lots of name dropping stories about the times and life in New York.
In this book, the Gourmet Detective, who never gets a name, is called from England to New York to authenticate Ko Feng. This spice has been missing from the world for over 500 years, so everyone from chefs, to pharmaceutical companies want to acquire some, and many are willing to do anything to get some. It's worth a fortune and now it's missing and one of the men involved is dead too. The GD seems to do much of his investigating with beautiful and intriguing women.
This mystery has a definite feel of Christie's mysteries, with the gathering of suspects at the end of the story, where the culprits are revealed. If you're a foodie and can stand a bit of snobbery in your characters, you'll enjoy these books.
This book was a bit different from other Grisham books that I've read. It was as much a study on the evils of strip mining, the tragedy of black lung disease, the overpowering control of the mining companies, and the lives of the poor and powerless in mining communities, as it was a mystery. There were legal issues to be sure, but not the usual "got you" moments of a trial situation that exist in his other books.
Samantha was a high powered corporate lawyer in New York, untill the 2008 recession sent loads of such lawyers into the streets. She took an unpaid internship in the small Appalachian town of Brady, Virginia. For the first time, she dealt with real people and their real issues. She actually went to court rather than just doing research and filling out forms. Here she got to know the people and their families, whose lives are directly dependent on the coal companies. She saw the land that was devastated by mining from the top down, with the accompanying poisonous sludge run-off. She also got caught up in a huge court case involving illegal action by the mining companies, who would do anything, including murder, to win their cases and keep their mining operations going on their terms.
I did enjoy this book, keeping in mind that Grisham definitely had his point of view about the mines and their owners. He used specific cases, compelling families, and the suspense of avoiding ruthless mine owners to tell a good story about these Appalachian lands and peoples. I would actually like to read more about Samantha and her new friends at the Legal Aid Society in Brady. I listened to this on Audible and enjoyed the narration.
I'm not usually good with fantasy and suspension of belief, but this book drew me in right away with it's talking cats that can open refrigerator doors to get their food, can make telephone calls, and can think and investigate with the best of the local police force. Joe and Dulcie are special cats but also have all the endearing and naughty traits of normal cats.
In this second book, one of their human friends, a well resound artist, has been murdered. The police have a suspect in jail, but he's been talking to the lovely cat who visits the jail. He doesn't realize that Dulcie can understand everything he's saying as he bemoans his innocence. Dulcie believes him and sets out to find the real culprit. Joe's not as enthusiastic, but he's dragged into the search by Dulcie.
This is a really cute mystery. The cats are so catlike within their human abilities. The search for the murderer is very well done and is solved very logically, though the cops are sometimes bamboozled by how some of the evidence and clues are found. No one knows that the cats can talk and understand everything said around them but their two owners. I listened to this on Audible and found myself laughing at the antics so well told by the narrator. Looking forward to reading many more of these tales!!
This superb series has covered all the seasons with this fourth book. It's an awesomely humorous and mysterious book that combines Agatha Christie, Louise Penny and Dan Brown----and Malliet mentions all three authors' works within this book so cleverly too.
Former MI-5 operative Max Tutor, is called upon by his Bishop to travel to Monksbury Abby to check on some unusually financial issues with the records from the Handmaids of St Lucy nunnery. Max also finds himself investigating a suspicious fruitcake poisoning, while he's there.
This mystery, though serious, is sparked throughout by such intellectual humor and brilliant connections to those other famous authors, it is unlike any other cozy series I've read recently. There are chapter heads that tell the rules of these Handmaids St Lucy, along with history of this lady. There is a clash between worldly ways and silent contemplation that adds much to the mystery. I would consider this a must read for any enthusiastic cozy readers!! I listened to a fabulous Audible version of this book which made something great into something extraordinary!!
This is the third book in the quilting series. Emma and Lamar met after their spouses died. They found each other in their older age and have enjoyed teaching six week courses in quilting, teaching those who God brings to them. Because of Lamar's arthritis, they've taken a house in Florida for the cold winter, away from their Indiana Amish community.
In this book, the class consists of a sullen 14 year old who is paralyzed in her legs because of a diving accident, a young pregnant woman whose husband has just lost his job, an older artist who wants to paint the ocean before he dies from cancer, a busy charter boat owner, a lonely waitress, and a newly retired widowed teacher. Their lives are impacted by a visiting motorcyclist who was in the previous quilting class in Indiana.
This is a relationship book that shows how listening and trusting God helps people with their life issues. Very reaffirming and interesting story lines. I've thoroughly enjoyed all three quilting class books!
A MATTER OF TRUST by Lis Wiehl--Prosecutor, Mia Quinn, is a new widow with a teen-aged son and a four year old daughter. While talking on the phone to her best friend in the office, Coleen, Mia hears a shot then nothing but strange breathing from Coleen. Coleen's death resembles another prosecutor's death from many years ago. Mia and detective Charlie Carlson are teamed up to investigate the possible connection between these two deaths. But having a teen-aged son can cause problems of in itself.
I liked the interaction of all the characters in this book. The problems and situations were very realistic. Wiehl was able to follow three cases seamlessly and interestingly within this one story. Great start for a new mystery series! I listened to this on Audible and found it added to the enjoyment of this book.
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