Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dispel the Mist - A Review

This intriguing mystery has Deputy Tempe Crabtree wandering through a mist of half-truths and evasions as she investigates what may have been a murder. Peppered through the mystery are allusions to Native legends. As Tempe draws closer to the truth, she moves closer to her own cultural history and a greater understanding of the people from whom she is descended and whom she protects.

Tempe learns to trust her spirituality as a gift from her ancestors, and she is amazed to find the truth of one of the ancient legends. The story ends in a frightening encounter with the villain, who remains unknown to the bitter end, in a violent thunder and lightning storm and Tempe's protection by the ancient legend.

Marilyn Meredith did not disappoint in this enigmatic mystery; this reader enjoyed the glimpses of Native American culture.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Bogey Man - A Review

This readable, gently humorous cozy mystery by author Marja McGraw is highly entertaining. It appears to be part of a series of mysteries starring female P.I. Sandi Webster.

In this installment, Sandi finds herself haunted by Humphrey Bogart, fedora and all. The novel is peppered with Bogey-isms and sprinkled with slang of the Bogey era. It is a lot of fun and a trip down memory lane for any fan of Bogart, as well as those to whom the old movies are a joy to watch.

The style is breezy, the characters likable, and easy to care about. This reader found herself wishing she could spend real time with this cast, and intends to look for other books in the series. Highly recommend this intriguing mystery which takes the reader from a Halloween party with a grisly murder to a denouement that neatly ties up all the loose ends with a perfect bow.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Keeping Busy

I don't know how most retired people keep busy. I watch a lot of tv. While watching, I knit or cross stitch or work on my beading (I make rosaries). Today I signed papers for a new mortgage. It will roll together my first and second, and lower my monthly payments, so that is good. I wasn't watching tv while signing papers. The broker rep came here, saving me a trip to somewhere, and being directionally challenged, I am grateful for that.

During the summer months, I had my grandson a lot; he is fun and kept me busy. I find myself missing him like crazy. I'm so glad he is enjoying kindergarten. My prayer for him is/was that school would be a joy. I pray that for all my little grands. I understand from my son that his youngest may not be making the happiest adjustment to kindergarten. I think he is probably smarter than his teacher -- all those little guys have brains outta sight, and are amazing. I expect the local grands to be just as intelligent.

My daughter tells me that the twins may be Norwegian. Now, we think their grandfather is French, I am Serbian, and we aren't sure about their dad's side of the family, but I am guessing Irish. So of course the girls would be Norwegian. They are calling their brother Jack, "Yak." That could be middle European, also, so who knows? Their mother sounded like she was from New Jersey when she was their age. "New Joisey" she would say. Well, it's fun to guess ethnic backgrounds, based on a few random clues.

I haven't seen the local grands recently, so who knows for sure?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thirteen Diamonds - Review

I just finished this intriguing mystery by writer, Alan Cook. Alan has created an engaging protagonist in Lillian, a 70-something senior living in a retirement community. Like peeling back the layers of an onion, Lillian the sleuth, with the author's help, gradually peels back the layers of the mystery of Gerald's death.

Gerald died holding a bridge hand of thirteen diamonds - an almost impossible hand. This reviewer does not play bridge, and is not a skilled in logic. The protagonist is a bridge player and a retired college professor who is accustomed to solving logic puzzles, two of which Cook includes in the mystery. Even reading the solutions left this reviewer mystified.

Overall, this was a fun read, culminating in a near-death adventure for Lillian. Cook writes with an easy, compelling style that engages the reader quickly. Chapters are short and lend themselves to short, quick reading opportunities for busy people.

I strongly recommend this book to any mystery reader. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

i Read It

It's a little after the fact, but I just read the President's speech to our children. I think it is the most inocuous thing I have read in years. It is what EVERY parent should be saying to his or her children.

As far as I can tell, I have not turned into a Socialist, but time will tell. I am a Democrat, so I am probably very liberal. But it all comes out in the wash, doesn't it?

I can thank my son (Out of the Binjo Ditch) for helping me look at politics with a less than a prejudiced eye.

Reviewing

I'm happy to report that I received two books in the mail yesterday to read and review. In fact, I think I will post the reviews here before I send them on.

I enjoy that my opinion on these books will be heard. The Bogey Man seems to be a story that revolves around Humphrey Bogart. Thirteen Diamonds has to do with the game of Bridge. I wonder if someone more familiar with Bridge should be reviewing it? Nevertheless, I will do my very best with it, and review it in terms of someone who knows nothing of the game. That may help determine its mass appeal. Both are mysteries.

Thirteen Diamonds is written from the point of view of a mathematics professor who understands probability (I don't). I'm interested in how I will do with it.

Meanwhile, off to Writer's Roundtable tonight with the first three pages of my children's book in hand. We read our pieces and hope for constructive criticism from the group. In the past, even when I have asked for specific feedback, I have not received it. I went to the group's last meeting, and I am hopeful that the makeup of the group has changed to a more serious and thoughtful group of people who will be able to provide useful critiques. They are nice people, and don't like to hurt anyone's feelings.

Personally, I am self-absorbed enough that I find it hard to focus on what others are reading. So I have to plead guilty to being not always a good group member.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Getting Rejected

There is a saying among writers: "If you're not getting rejected, you're not writing." Steven King reportedly had over 2,000 rejections before someone accepted one of his submissions.

I am proud to say that I am now waiting to hear on two articles I have submitted. One to Catholic Digest, and one to American School Counselor Magazine.

I'll let you know what happens.

Grandsons begin kindergarten

One began last week (School begins early in Texas), and one began today. Jack told his mom this morning, "It's ok to cry, but not to have a nervous breakdown!" I saw him at dinnertime and he greeted me with a shouted, "I'm in Kindergarten!!" I'm glad he is so excited about school. My little Texan may be less enthralled with the education system, but he is so brilliant, he already has left it way behind. I have grandmothered some highly intelligent grandchildren. I'm sure they get it from me. Well...pretty sure, anyway.

It kills me that these wonderful kids have to go to school already. There they will meet little jerks and assholes who will steal their innocence. All six of my grands have wonderful parents, and I am sure that fine parenting will overcome anything those other little kids can come up with.

How Dare He??

It seems a man in Stone Mountain, GA, shopping in a Wal-Mart, became frustrated with a crying child and slapped her several times to shut her up, after telling her mother that he would shut her up if mother did not.

Haven't we all been frustrated at times with crying children? They are annoying on airplanes, and it really bothers me in stores, because I do believe crying children at Target or Wal-Mart probably need to be home napping, not Slapped ! One way to insure a child will continue to cry and/or whine is to punish physically. Children sometimes cry. It is the nature of children.

And it is the nature of many parents to ignore the child's needs and continue shopping to meet their own personal (sometimes selfish) needs. As for planes...no one on the plane wants the child to stop crying more than the parent does. Granted all passengers are an enslaved audience to a crying child, but it does no help to become angry and frustrated. Since I learned to adopt an attitude of, "babies cry; it's their nature" I have been able to remain much more peaceful about crying children.

In stores it is the parents with whom I become annoyed. Come on folks. Make sure the kids are fed and rested before you drag them through Target, and avoid the toy area. Get with the program and be real parents.