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When zombie start to rise from battlefields and from graves during the Civil War, it causes a bit of a problem for everyone involved: the War Between the States becomes the War Between the Living and the Dead. The walking dead, called shamblers, are decimating cities as they hunt for more living food to eat. Jane McKeene, a young Negro woman born into this new and brutal conflict, is training at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore to fight the shamblers to keep people safe. When families in the Baltimore area start to go missing, Jane finds herself pulled into a political conspiracy that puts her, and her friend Katherine, in mortal danger. Using her skills learned at Miss Preston’s School and her own sharp wits, Jane must find a way to save herself and her friends before all of them are turned into shamblers themselves.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland is a wonderful alternate history story, and Jane and Katherine are fantastic characters. Both are strong women fighting against what seem impossible odds. The premise of the book is highly original, and pacing of the book kept the pages turning. Highly recommended.
On July 2, 1997 Christophe Andre was kidnapped. Hostage opens with Andre recounting his three month ordeal to author/cartoonist Guy Delisle. At the time of his kidnapping Andre was working as a financial administrator for Doctors Without Borders in the town of Ingushetia, a small Russian republic west of Chechnya. His kidnappers came very early in the morning, busting in claiming to be the police. He thought they had come for money but quickly realized he was being kidnapped. His captors held him in in a solitary room handcuffed to a radiator. He had very little to eat and nothing to do but think. Obviously his confinement comes to an end but I won’t elaborate on how he gained his freedom. It’s so exciting to watch it play out!
The writing in this book is economical and the drawings are uncomplicated but nuanced. Every word is essential and every mark is significant. At 432 pages I read this book in one afternoon. If you like a good page-turner Hostage will not disappoint.
I can’t even explain how good Ken Bruen’s books are. Is it the story lines or the main character that’s so great? I’m gonna go with just the way he writes – the reading itself is just pure pleasure. His latest The Ghosts of Galway is no exception. The story features Bruen’s ex Guard Jack Taylor and Taylor’s crush/nemesis, the evil Emily. Jack goes to work for a short time as a security guard and his boss wants him to do some “side work.” Although the side work itself is not anything illegal, it puts Jack in the middle of a lot of illegal activity and greediness. Of course, then this leads to the deaths of some who are closest to Jack’s heart. I was surprised 3 different times while reading this book which isn’t something that happens often when you’ve read as many mysteries as I have. And Jack’s thoughts! And the dialogue! I never think I could run while listening to a talking book but maybe I should try it with one of Bruen’s novels – there’s just a rhythm to the writing that really hooks you. Highly, highly recommended!
Have you ever felt harassed by a door that just wouldn’t open? You push, you pull, and yet, nothing? Do you blame yourself for not knowing how to open the door? Well, you shouldn’t! The issue isn’t with you; it’s with the design of the door.
The Design of Everyday Things takes a look at the considerations that should be taken into account for everyday items that we all use. It discusses the importance of making the use of everyday items clear and obvious, as well as why failures we often consider human error are actually design flaws. The book is detailed without being overly technical, and provides lots of interesting case studies of how to design in a way that puts the user first. This book is a fun informative read, and it made me feel a whole lot better about every door I’ve never been able to properly open on the first try.
Jane and Dorothy: A True Tale of Sense and Sensibility: The Lives of Jane Austen and Dorothy Wordsworth by Marian Veevers
When it comes to details on the lives of late-18th/early 19th century writers Jane Austen and Dorothy Wordsworth, it’s natural to yearn for more. Austen was a prolific correspondent, but so often acerbic in her comments on acquaintances and relatives, that most of her letters were heavily censored by or destroyed outright by family members. Wordsworth, the author of memorable journals and observations , is regularly overshadowed by the famous brother to whom she was devoted, the poet William Wordsworth.
Author Veevers is able to put together enough information on both to compare, contrast, and note when characteristics coincide, avoiding the oversimplification of presenting Austen strictly as “sense” and Wordsworth as “sensibility”. She includes observations on the roles of women in Georgian society and illustrates how regularly the wishes and ambitions of single women were discounted and disregarded. Some conjecture regarding an early failed relationship of Austen’s and the possibility of an affair between the Wordsworth brother and sister ensures that the subjects’ emotional sides are not neglected.
Jane and Dorothy: A True Tale of Sense and Sensibility: The Lives of Jane Austen and Dorothy Wordsworth is a well-written and entertaining account of the lives of two classic figures of English Literature.
What do you do as your 13th birthday nears and on that day you will become a siren like your three older sisters? Lolly Salt does not enjoy singing ships to their doom but when the Sea Witch calls she and her sisters must answer that call. Lolly lives in a modern Maine but through a diary finds that there are connections to the past and a witch trial of the late 1700s. Lolly is best friends with Jason and with his help she sets out to break the curse on her family and, as she discovers, the curse on the witch. Lolly is a compelling young lady fairly sure of her place in the world, except for the siren problem. Her mother was Native American and Lolly wonders why Native Americans are left out of the “American Vision” textbook she is assigned for History class. Her discussion with her teacher brings that home in an intelligent way that should get us all thinking. Siren Sisters has a nice combination of friendship, magic, and a modern touch.
Harriet Westaway, a tarot reader by trade, is in trouble. Paying clients are sparse, and her bills are plentiful. All alone in the world since her mother’s death, Harriet made an unfortunate decision to borrow money from a loan shark to make ends meet. And, of course, that decision has made for more trouble, as she can’t pay the loan back either. One night, Harriet realizes she has no way out of her financial hole, and despair consumes her. And on that night, she receives a mysterious letter claiming she has received an inheritance from her grandmother. The trouble? Harriet is certain that the letter has reached the wrong Harriet Westaway, as she does not have any family. Yet, desperation drives her to travel to see about this claim. Harriet’s act of deception leads her on a path of danger, secrets, and lies.
I love Ruth Ware’s books. The Death of Mrs. Westaway has a creepy, Gothic quality, one full of enigmatic suspects and unexpected murder. If you like the works of Agatha
Christie, you will certainly like this book.
Ok, I graduated from Purdue so I feel like I’m betraying them but there is a new book out from Indiana University Press called Campus Canines that is so cute! Purdue, we need our own book featuring Boilermaker dogs! Regardless, I.U. and dog fans will want to take a look at this and I’m sure they will then feel nostalgic for their days back in Bloomington as a lot of the dog pictures have the dogs posing by Showalter Fountain or at Dunn Meadow or other familiar landmarks. I am somewhat partial to the doggies named Nyx and Kilroy but you might prefer others. Caine and Sophie are also cute as buttons but they cannot help it because they are puppies. This book would make a really good present for the I.U. (and dog) fan in your life.
Amelia had plans for her summer, but they are all dashed when she reports to her first day as Head Girl of Meade’s (all girl run) Creamery and finds owner Molly Meade dead. While Amelia won’t have the summer she wanted, she will get the one she needs.
Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian is a coming of age story set against the backdrop of ice cream. Told in part through the diary entries of a teenage Molly Meade and modern day Amelia, this story hits on so many of the tough situations that we must all learn to navigate. This story is about finding self and passion and a little bit about feminism too. Stay Sweet is the perfect summer treat. It’s a quick read that will leave you happy and satisfied at the end.
I’ll be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
The Golden State Killer was a serial rapist and serial killer who operated in California from 1974 through 1986. He is responsible for more than 50 rapes and at least 12 murders. He is believed to be responsible for three different crime sprees in three different areas of California. In Visalia, California, he earned the name the Visalia Ransacker by committing more than 100 burglaries between 1974 and 1975. He became the East Area Rapist in the Sacramento area. And he was the Original Night Stalker in Southern California. To heighten an awareness of this killer, crime writer Michelle McNamara gave him the name “The Golden State Killer.”
Michelle McNamara had researched the Golden State Killer for years, and unfortunately she passed away in 2016, at a time when there was renewed interest in finding this uncaught killer. In 2018, an arrest was made, and I’m sure that we’ll hear more of this case as it goes to trial in the future. Michelle’s book gives readers an excellent starting point to catch up on the case. The book, I’ll be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, is one that was finished by Michelle’s husband and other researchers. It’s a good book, but I can’t help but think it would have been a fabulous book if Michelle had been alive to finish it. It’s clear she had a passion for the subject, and she had a writing style that made the details come alive […]