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Archive for February, 2014

The Night Watch

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters.

Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Trade(September 27, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1594482306

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Waters (Fingersmith) applies her talent for literary suspense to WWII-era London in her latest historical. She populates the novel with ordinary people overlooked by history books and sets their individual passions against the chaotic background of extraordinary times. There are Kay, a "night watch" ambulance driver; her lover, Helen; two imprisoned conscientious objectors, upper-class Fraser and working-class Duncan; Duncan’s sister, Viv; Viv’s married soldier-lover, Reggie; and Julia, a building inspector–cum–mystery novelist. The novel works backward in time, beginning in 1947, as London emerges from the rubble of war, then to 1944, a time of nightly air raids, and finally to 1941, when the war’s end was not in sight. Through all the turmoil on the world stage, the characters steal moments of love, fragments of calm and put their lives on the line for great sex and small kindnesses. Waters’s sharply drawn page-turner doesn’t quite equal the work of literary greats who’ve already mapped out WWII-era London. But she matches any of them with her scene of two women on the verge of an affair during a nighttime bombing raid, lost in blackout London with only the light of their passion as a guide

This is my third book by Sarah Waters.  The review from Amazon (long ago) made me pick it up and put in ye ol’ tbr pile.  It took forever but I finally got around to reading it.

It had many things in it that I enjoy reading about, especially reading about WWII.  I am not sure when or how I got so interested in a war that ended close to the time I was born, but somehow it happened. 

I also just love reading about England, most especially the Victorian times , and as I said times around WWII.  It’s also managed to make me read about Churchill .

This book had a bunch about how it was to survive during the war, and then trying to get back to life and try to feel as if it never happened, but those things are never forgotten and even change you for the rest of your life.  

As in Waters other books she brings many interesting characters to light, and with life being hard because of the war, the fact that they all struggled just to stay alive let alone keep secrets or doing the unthinkable to survive is very compelling reading.

Although I enjoyed this book, I have to admit that  I liked Fingersmith and the Little Stranger more.  However, that’s not to say you wouldn’t enjoy this book, especially if you have read others by Sarah Waters.

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Accidents Happen

Accidents Happen by Louise Millar.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books(June 25, 2013)
ISBN-10: 145165670X

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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Kate Parker’s extraordinarily bad luck—both parents killed in a freak traffic accident on her wedding day, her husband murdered at home five years later—has left her wary about everything and overprotective of her 10-year-old son, Jack. Even her concerns about such warning flags as recent burglaries and a creepy neighbor’s behavior are considered just skittish Kate’s overreactions, especially by her in-laws, who threaten to raise Jack themselves. Kate’s sole and virtually obsessional solace lies in finding statistics showing the probability of danger in everyday life. So she’s instantly attracted to the book Beat the Odds and Change Your Life, left casually in a juice bar, and to its author, Jago Martin, an Edinburgh professor guest-lecturing at Oxford, who offers to help Kate deal with her anxiety. The risky activities Jago proposes actually make Kate feel alive again—the unlikely result of a pathological plan fueled by revenge. Fans of Millar’s accomplished debut, The Playdate (2012), won’t be surprised to find that things are not always what they seem here and that paranoia may indeed be just increased awareness. As Millar makes truth elusive and builds suspense, she is establishing herself in the top tier of writers of psychological thrillers. –Michele Leber

This was one of those “unexpected books”…  Of all things for me to be reading about with my problems, is someone who is “sick with anxiety”!  Needless to say I had bought the book a while ago and forgotten what it was about. The cover didn’t give anything away so I just jumped in.

At first one thinks that as bad as things are for ourselves this woman has got it worse!  And just when you begin to think she can beat her obsessions…. the total unexpected things begin to happen!

I actually enjoyed the book.. I found myself picking it up more often then other books just to see what was going to happen next !  Overall this was a good read, and I liked how it turned into a mystery more then just a “bad luck story”.

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Never Come Back

Never Come Back by David Bell.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade (October 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0451417518

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Amazon Review

Elizabeth Hampton is consumed by grief when her mother dies unexpectedly. Leslie Hampton cared for Elizabeth’s troubled brother Ronnie’s special needs, assuming Elizabeth would take him in when the time came. But Leslie’s sudden death propels Elizabeth into a world of danger and double lives that undoes everything she thought she knew….
When police discover that Leslie was strangled, they immediately suspect that one of Ronnie’s outbursts took a tragic turn. Elizabeth can’t believe that her brother is capable of murder, but who else could have had a motive to kill their quiet, retired mother? 
More questions arise when a stranger is named in Leslie’s will: a woman also named Elizabeth. As the family’s secrets unravel, a man from Leslie’s past who claims to have all the answers shows up, but those answers might put Elizabeth and those she loves the most in mortal danger.
 

This is the 3rd book by David Bell that I have read. (Cemetery Girl and Hiding Place were the others) Every one of them has been easy reading (double spaced), enjoyable stories, and each was a book I couldn’t leave set down for too long.

Once again I would tell anyone who wants a fast reading enjoyable book to maybe take along with them to a doctors office or trip to pick up a David Bell book!

This particular book was a quick mystery on the death of  Elizabeth Hampton’s mother. Immediately the police suspected the son who is a special needs young man.  The story includes Elizabeth finding out things about her mom that she never knew, and the ending of the death of her mom has a quick twist at the end.

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Walt Disney…

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler

Paperback: 912 pages
Publisher: Vintage (October 9, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0679757473

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Few men could be said to have as pervasive an influence on American culture as Walt Disney, and Gabler (Winchell) scours the historical record for as thorough an explanation of that influence as any biographer could muster. Every period of Disney’s life is depicted in exacting detail, from the suffering endured on a childhood paper route to the making of Mary Poppins. The core of Gabler’s story, though, is clearly in the early years of Disney’s studio, from the creation of Mickey Mouse to the hands-on management of early hits like Fantasia and Pinocchio. "Even though Walt could neither animate, nor write, nor direct," Gabler notes, "he was the undisputed power at the studio." Yet there was significant disgruntlement within the ranks of Disney’s employees, and Gabler traces the day-to-day resentments that eventually led to a bitter strike against the studio in 1941. That dispute helped harden Disney’s anticommunism, which led to rumors of anti-Semitism, which are effectively debunked here. At times, Gabler lays on a bit thick the psychological interpretation of Disney as control freak, but his portrait is so engrossing that it’s hard to picture the entertainment mogul playing with his toy trains and not imagine him building Disneyland in his head. 32 pages of photos.

ARGH!  I was beginning to think I would never finish this book!   And yes it says it’s 912 pages (which it is)..however.. the part you read is 633 pages.. the rest is the appendix and “names to pages”.

Anyway..I wanted to finally read about Walt Disney.  I had wanted to for some time if the truth be known.  You see, I grew up watching The Mickey Mouse Club with “Uncle Walt” and then the other Disney show “in living color”.  So when I was married and had 2 sons and we came to Florida to visit a friend we made a special trip to Disney World… something I dreamed of since I was a kid, and something I never thought would happen.  So when we got on this “Tram” and we headed towards Fantasyland and I started seeing the “hedges” cut into animal shapes from Disney movies… the tears began to flow!  A Dream come true.

Over many more years I would hear things like: working for Disney was not so nice as one would think.  Then I even met an artist who worked there during the years from sleeping beauty up to beauty and the beast.  He didn’t speak harshly about Walt himself but the business didn’t seem to be the happy loving place that was expected.

Reading this book cleared a bunch of that up.  I think I understand Walt Disney more now and although I can’t say I understand all his “mood changes”..I can say that I do believe he was a genius in kids body.  It was almost like he was born just to do the things that he did. 

But..it was not a book written in such a way that you rushed back after you set the book down. Parts were a little long in the tooth, but still I felt I was always learning to understand the mind of Walt Disney…but I am also sure NO ONE could ever really understand his genius mind.

So…bad eyes and all I am finally going to being another book!  This one was so big and I have been reading so slow that I only read 2 complete books last month!  Had I finished this one day sooner !….lol  isn’t that always the way? lol

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Winter Pond

It’s been a sparse winter at the pond…

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