Month: October 2016

Fiction Book Review: “Rubber Match” by Marcus Cootsona

Fiction Book Review: “Rubber Match” by Marcus Cootsona

Tennis lovers stand up and cheer! This story takes the reader into the world of Wally, the tennis pro. Wally is fifty-nine years old and had an inadvertent victory two years previously. He is happily married to a gorgeous woman, and they have two grown children. The story begins while they are on a road trip with their son to tour college campuses. And then the minivan dies on the side of the freeway. What follows is the craziest sequence of events you can ever imagine, which will take them from their home in California to the plains of Nebraska. Along the way, Wally is picked to play in the Davis Cup, a painting is stolen (or maybe forged), and a young millionairess solves all of Wally’s problems.

I found this story charming and full of little delights. Wally and his family will completely draw you in and make you feel right at home. The plot has lots of twists to keep you guessing and reading. My only challenge with the story is that it is so tennis terminology heavy and I am completely ignorant about tennis. That being said, I still enjoyed the story. The author has a distinct sense of humor and uses it liberally throughout. If you love tennis this is an obvious choice but it’s also worth considering if you’re looking for something a little different to read.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon

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#History Book Review: “Bodysnatchers” by Suzie Lennox

#History Book Review: “Bodysnatchers” by Suzie Lennox

Welcome to another “Quirky Corner of History.” Let me start by saying that this book has nothing to do with the science fiction movie of the same name. The bodysnatchers in this book are not aliens but men engaged in the digging up of dead bodies in late 18th and early 19th century England and Scotland. So what was going on at the time that made men want to dig up the recently buried? In the book, “Bodysnatchers”, Suzie Lennox explains the circumstances that led to rise of this industry. Bodysnatching began with the rise of medical education that included anatomy. Students wanted to be able to see the anatomy as can only be revealed by dissection. Government regulations only allowed for the bodies of hanged men who were not claimed by friends or relatives, to be given to the medical schools for dissection. With the number of medical students tripling in a few short years the demand for bodies could not be satisfied by conventional means.

The author has written this history in a style that makes it easy to read and to follow her logical progression. Chapters proceed from the beginning of the industry, through its growth, and the gradual ending of the practice after the passage of the Anatomy Act in 1832. Along the way, there are chapters on the techniques the snatchers used, the preventative measures that various communities used, and the legal consequences that rendered if one was caught in the act. I found that the book had a good flow that was easy to follow. The author has also done extensive research which is evident in the number of source documents used. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and venturing into another quirky corner of history.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon!

Thank you to Pen and Sword Press for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: “The Eternal Wonder” by Pearl S. Buck

Book Review: “The Eternal Wonder” by Pearl S. Buck

My love affair with Pearl Buck’s books began when I was in high school and had to write my first term paper. We had a list of authors to choose from and when it came my turn to pick, she was the only female author left on the list so I picked her. I then had to read one of her books and at the time I found her writing to be very dense and difficult for me to get through. On the other hand, the images she painted and the characters she developed stayed with me for years until as an adult I came back to her writings and discovered the richness her stories contained. I have by no means read her entire canon of work and the books that I have read have all been set in China or Japan, which made this book, set in the U.S. a bit of a surprise.

“The Eternal Wonder” is Pearl Buck’s final book, written not too long before she died. The manuscript had been lost for 40 years after her death and was rediscovered in an abandoned storage unit. The family was finally able to publish it in 2013. I found this story fascinating because she takes the reader through the life of the boy Rann starting when he is in the womb. In the first part of the book we follow him as he grows and develops into a young man. What I enjoyed the most about this part is the way she was able to portray not just the incidents of his life but how they affected the development of this thinking. I have always been curious about how the mind works and I just thoroughly enjoyed, in this case, observing Rann’s mind from his perspective. Rann’s life takes an interesting turn when he is about 17 and Part II covers the next 4 years or so as he begins to find his place in the world, where he fits, how he will support himself, what role relationships will play in his life.

In this book there is much reference to people who are on the outside looking in, either because they are being discriminated against, or by choice, or by circumstances. I think one of Ms. Buck’s gifts as a writer is her ability to incorporate into a fictional story, an analysis of the culture in which the characters exist and she has done a marvelous job of pointing out cultural missteps in this book. I think her themes were relevant at the time she wrote them but they are still relevant today. Many of the cultural norms she exposes are still present in our current society and the thoughtful reader will use this book as an opportunity to evaluate their own perspective and how they relate to those that are different. In my opinion, “The Eternal Wonder” is another masterpiece from this Nobel winning author and should be read by everybody.

Alinefromabook’s rating: TWO THUMBS-UP!!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon!

 

Mystery Book Review: “The Fourth Partner” by Rodney Page

Mystery Book Review: “The Fourth Partner” by Rodney Page

When the body of Billy Powell turns up at a construction site on Saint Simons island of the coast of Georgia, no one seems to be bothered. No one, that is, except Leroy Meriwether, the detective on the local police force on whose desk the case falls. The circumstances, and the stories Leroy gets from family and friends, just don’t seem to add up. Billy was thought to have drowned in a boating accident, but an examination of the body reveals foul play. Leroy soon finds himself and his loved ones in mortal danger as he begins to uncover the truths long hidden.

I really enjoyed this story. Leroy Meriwether is such a likable character. He’s one of the nice guys. Leroy is thorough with his work, if maybe a little bored by it, he’s in a stable relationship that holds promise for the future, and he buys flowers for the department’s research assistant when she goes the extra mile. He’s not a tough guy type of detective but he gets results. The investigation starts out a little slow but as Leroy starts digging the tension just keeps building. I found the plot to be engaging and I was still guessing until the end. The final confrontation had me on the edge of my seat. Rodney Page has done a great job of developing his characters and the story. I think mystery lovers will really enjoy this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon

#Steampunk Book Review: “The Golden Spider” by Anne Renwick

#Steampunk Book Review: “The Golden Spider” by Anne Renwick

Steampunk, a mystery, and a romance all rolled together to form a fun and engaging story. That’s what “The Golden Spider” is. Lady Amanda Ravensdale is passionate about one thing, the golden spider that she is designing, which when complete will be able to repair the damage to her brother’s legs and allow him to walk again unaided. As part of her pursuit she has enrolled at Lister University School of Medicine, which the Queen has deemed to be a co-educational school. She hopes at some point to meet Professor Thornton who works in the field she is interested in. Perhaps he will even help her to develop her spider. When she walks into anatomy class one day and finds that the usual professor has been replaced by Thornton she is intrigued by more than just his knowledge of medicine. In addition to teaching anatomy, Thornton has become embroiled in the search for a man who is killing gypsies by performing heinous experimental procedures on them. When he realizes that The Surgeon is using a device similar to Amanda’s he draws her into the case also. Pressure is on to track down the murderer before he perfects the device. Thornton and Amanda also soon find themselves drawn to each other by much more powerful forces than the mystery at hand.

As a reviewer, I am still relatively new to the steampunk genre, but after reading this book I am rapidly becoming a fan. I had so much fun reading this story. The characters that Anne Renwick has created are delightful. Lady Amanda is stubborn and determined and initially an annoyance to Thornton. He, on the other hand, is strong and passionate and while trying to ignore her can’t help but find her charming and alluring. The interplay between these two is compelling and riveting. There are also lots of fun gadgets and mechanical devices in this story. Bottom line, I loved the steampunk world that Anne Renwick created and the people in it. The storyline is complex, as a mystery should be, and I found it very hard to tear myself away. I can’t wait for the next one in this series to come out.

Alinefromabook’s rating: TWO THUMBS-UP!!

Happy Reading!

Find it on Amazon!

What a Crazy Week!!

Between shopping for bedroom furniture and having to put our cat down, this week completely got away from me. The cat situation was very sad, an incurable intestinal disorder, but we knew the day was coming. On the up side, the new furniture looks great in my son’s room. Along the way I have managed to finish reading “The Golden Spider” by Anne Renwick and “The Ring Pros” by C. A. Huggins. Hopefully, I’ll get the reviews posted today or tomorrow. I’m also hoping to finish reading today “The Fourth Partner” by Rodney Page.

My TBR is currently at 277. At the top of the list for the coming week are “Bodysnatchers” by Suzie Lennox and “The Eternal Wonder” by Pearl S. Buck. I hope you all have a good week and enjoy your Sunday!

Happy Reading!

 

Mystery Book Review: “This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies” by Renee Pawlish

Mystery Book Review: “This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies” by Renee Pawlish

Reed Ferguson is trying to figure what he wants to be and to that end he has decided to try being a private detective. He’s just hung out his shingle when his first client shows up. Just like in his favorite movie, The Big Sleep, his new client is a gorgeous blond. She says her husband has gone missing and the police are doing nothing. Will Reed please help her find him? Well, what’s a guy to do? Unfortunately, Reed has no idea what he’s getting himself in for with this case. Soon, he has bad guys and good guys following him and beating him up. And who in the world are the X Women?

I found this story very engaging. Reed is a nice guy who loves mystery movies and there are quite a few tie-ins between the story and cinema classics. This story is the first in the author’s Reed Ferguson series. I really enjoyed the Colorado setting of the story which added local color. Overall, this is a clever story with really likeable characters.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon!