The Mark of the Assassin – A Book Review

I will say up front, I typically enjoy reading Daniel Silva and have read most of his Gabriel Allon series.  But this one was just plain DUMB!!  I rented the cd-rom from the library to read in the car and was glad I didn’t spend the money on it.  The plot was transparent and the ending conflict scene just boggled my mind over how stupid they were.  They are up against “the best assassin in the world” and they go to the wife’s father’s house to hide?  Like he wouldn’t know that?  I skipped over a lot of this part, I just couldn’t get it.  So, skip this one, but definitely try his other books instead.

Dead & Kicking – A Book Review

This is the third book in a fun cozy mystery series by Wendy Roberts.  This one though dealt with a topic close to my heart.  The main character in the book, Sadie, has a unique gift, she can see and talk to ghosts and helps them to cross over (a bit like Ghost Whisperer) when they have unresolved issues.  However she also owns a clean-up service, the type who come in after deaths or crimes to clean up the mess (yuck) and some of the descriptions really leave you with a taste of how messy it can get!  Please, let my body be found right away!  Anyway, since she works on crime scenes often she of course gets entangled in a few mysteries that need solving.  The reason this one was close to my heart?  The opening scene is at the funeral for her dad.  Of course she sees his spirit, and the reason he hasn’t crossed over is for her with a surprising twist.  It really brought to mind all the things I wish I could have shared with my dad before he passed over.  The apologies, the moments missed, just letting him know how much I loved him, how much I didn’t want him to go.  So, it was a fun read but sad as well.  But, thinking about my dad is always a good thing so that is okay too.  I do talk to him often, maybe he even hears me once in a while.  I hope so.

A Rather Charming Invitation – Review

I don’t remember how I was turned into this series, but I am certainly glad I was.  A Rather Charming Invitation is the third book in this series by C.A. Belmond.  The central character is a historical researcher who works for the film industry, helping to set up films to be historically accurate.  Being the film industry, there are of course a couple of quirky characters who carry through the books.  Penny has a mother and father who “escaped” their stuffy families and met and married in America.  The first story surrounds a mystery set up by a relative for her and her “cousin” Jeremy to solve,  the result of which is a nice fortune.  This book surrounds a family mystery centering on a beautiful tapestry that was loaned to Penny and Jeremy for their wedding and the clues it holds to a cache of gold coins.  It is an enjoyable read.  I especially like how she sets the base story (the wedding and Penny’s fears about whether it could change their relationship) against the setting (Monte Carlo, Grasse and London) with a mystery thrown in for good measure.  All of her books are set between France, Italy and England and they always leave me with a desire to go visit.   A dash of fun, a dash of history, a dash unusual relatives, a dash of quirky friends, and a big dash of mystery.  Highly recommended.  I do hope she continues the series.

The first book is A Rather Lovely Inheritance and I do recommend starting at the beginning. is the link to her site.  I love this quote from her web site. 

“A return to the golden age of romantic suspense! ‘A Rather Lovely Inheritance’ weds old-style glamour to chick-lit flair. You just want to move into the novel yourself—on a long-term lease, with hero and snazzy sports car included!”– Lauren Willig, author of “The Secret History of the Pink Carnation”

Fang by James Patterson

My weekend read!  Well, my second one anyway.  I needed a nice easy, breezy book and this was it.  I believe it is actually more for juniors, but I really like this series.  The book moves fast and I can finish it in a day.  Since I was sore and worn out from packing the last couple days, I just needed a day off to read and this was perfect for that.  This series is definitely off-beat and you kind of wonder if genetic engineering could someday go in this direction (scary) but it is fun to read.  I do like a good “what-if” read when it comes to science, genetic engineering, or medicine.  Makes me worried some days, but interesting none the less.  Probably comes from that degree in biology/chemistry.

Hell’s Kitchen for Dinner

My daughter Tanya has been trying to get me to Hell’s Kitchen for dinner for a while and tonight she succeeded and I am glad.  The last time I went was at their previous location, and it was for breakfast.  Dinner was very tasty and the atmosphere here was a lot of fun.  The band was starting up right before we left, and they were pretty good – jazz/blues.  Dinner was a bbq bison burger with fontina cheese and shoe string fries – very good!  Tanya & Kurt had chicken and pear sandwiches with sweet potato fries and Kris had the lobster tacos.  All disappeared in short order.  I would definitely recommend it!

An Academic Murder Mystery – Review

I just finished reading “Quieter Than Sleep” by Joanne Dobson.  The book is called a modern mystery of Emily Dickinson.  Unfortunately, you don’t learn much about Emily Dickinson other than a few off-hand remarks.  However, a central character is Henry Ward Beecher (brother to Harriet Beecher Stowe) and you were able to get a fairly good impression of what type of person he was.  This was very interesting to learn more about, a dimension of historical research with the literary fiction of the mystery.  I would give this book 3.5 stars out of 5 probably.  A good first book, good enough for me to look into the second one which is a good sign.

The book came to my attention from The Bookcase Mystery Book Club.  It was the original selection for July, but due to the age (1997) the publisher stated he would not be able to send enough copies so we chose a different book.  Thankfully for us the books then came in!  It was ladies night last Thursday, so at $6.99 and 20% off it was a pretty good price!  I am glad they came in, it was a good find.

The mystery revolves around the English department in a small, exclusive college in Massachusetts (fictional of course).  The main character is a non-tenured, new professor in English literature (Karen Pelletier) and a find made by a fellow department member who she happens to intensely dislike.  Throw in an interesting cop with a killer smile, which he rarely shows, and a dash of department politics and you have a nice little, cozy mystery.  Nothing big or deep, just a fun read.  Plus, I didn’t figure out who until maybe 3/4’s of the way through, although I had a small group of suspects.  A good weekend read.

Opening line from the book – “I might as well admit it: I was sick of desire.  Of love, sex, and desire, and all their cumbersome baggage.”  Another book starting off with a woman newly on her own!  Seems to be a theme lately, need to find something more light-hearted next time.

The Lace Makers of Glenmara – Review

So much for a “weekend” book!  I devoured it in one day, a Friday, finishing up at close to midnight last night.  I love books that give you a sense of place, where while you read you find yourself wanting to go and visit.  The setting and the people of this small town in Ireland were fun and interesting to read about.  The story itself was a bit predictable, you know by the end of the first chapter pretty much where everything is going to end up, but that is okay.  It is like wearing your most comfortable shoes and starting your walk towards a familiar place, you just love going.  I loved the journey. 

The book also had a lot of similarities to the journey I have been making over the past few years.  There were a lot of quotes that I highlighted as they were so true to me.  “Mistakes aren’t necessarily a problem, sometimes they lead you in a different direction.  Who says you always need to follow the rules?  Breaking the pattern can be the very best thing, even though it can be scary at first”.  Going out on own after my husband left (which is also what happens here, which doesn’t give anything away as it occurs in the first page) was so scary and new.  I had never been on my own before, there was always someone there.  First at home growing up, then with Tanya, then with Ron and no gaps in between.  To be on my own was definitely a very scary and dramatic change for me.  It has taken me a long time to adjust, to figure out that at many times it is okay to be alone, although I definitely still miss having someone here to share my day with or just to talk to at times about anything that feels important or maybe not important at all!  “Life itself is a thread that is never broken, never lost” (Jacques Rourmain).

“Real life was empty rooms, Real life was eating and cooking for one, Real life was less laundry and a cleaner apartment, Real life was waking up alone, which was all right because she was furious about the betrayal.”  Yep  “The road lay before her, plain and simple, offering two ways to go, forward or back, no forks or splits or detours…..the road made no excuses or apologies, it didn’t have to it was what it was..”  I choose to go forward, just as Kate did.  And I think that is why I liked the book, we both chose to go forward.  We all need to find our Glenmara.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane – Review

I have finished this book early as it just captured my imagination.  If you read this book, please don’t skip the Postscript.  It is here that the author, Katherine Howe, describes what is factual (much of  the history is based around facts), what was embellished and what is conjecture (obviously emotions and conversations from 1691 are conjecture).  I like this comment “What is usually overlooked… is that, to the people who experienced the Salem panic, the trials were really about witchcraft.”  Those involved held no doubt that witchcraft existed and they were scared and they panicked.  No matter what caused the belief that witchcraft existed, the result was deep feelings of fear and mystery, something that was beyond their understanding.  I agree that we all have inner thoughts of what community, religion and spirituality are and as a result we do feel a connection to these times and people.  This book does a good job of weaving the present generation and inheritors of the gift with their ancestors who perished in those sad times.  Excellent book.  At the end she discusses how she is busy researching her next book, and I can’t wait!

Deliverance Dane

My latest book is “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” by Katherine Howe.  So far so good!  The intertwining of the past and present flows real well and provides a good perspective on the former trials of women in Salem, Massachusets who dared to be independent, and thus deemed to be witches.  The background mystery, her developing talents and her relationship with her mother and friends feels real and interesting.  It leads me to want to know more about the period and the history behind this work of fiction.  Can’t wait to finish it!  It will be a good weekend read.


Hello!  Sitting here watching So You Think You Can Dance tonight, wondering about the new format.  Why do I watch this show when I rarely watch any reality tv show?  One, I love to dance.  Two, my daughter used it as a way to bring me over to visit at a time when my life had spiralled into a deep, dark hole.  My husband whom I had  loved betrayed me and left, and I wasn’t sure how that happened!  It has now been 4 years (wow) and I am now officially addicted to this show.  But the new format?  Not so sure I like it.  It is fun to see the old “pros” from the show, but I want to see the new talent grow and develop together,  I miss that.

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