From the Publishers-
Alice is tall. Not T-Rex or Empire State Building tall. Just four inches taller than the other eight-year-old girls at her school. Her mom says she’s tall. Her dad says she’s tall. But Alice is worried that being tall isn’t okay. She cries and cries and wishes that she was just like everyone else, until her dream takes her to the place where the tall girls live, and she sees, really sees herself for the first time.
My Aunt Betty has been an elementary school librarian for 24 years. This is not surprising because she loves kids and kids appreciate her enthusiasm. It is because of her that I enjoy a close relationship with my 7 cousins (later, 9). She always had all of us over for sleepovers and other outings. All 9 of us would cram into her Rabbit for trips around town. You never see that anymore
I asked around for words to describe Aunt Betty and these are the words that came back the most…Happy, Caring, and Thoughtful. As for me, my top three choices are Fun, Kind, and Full of Life.
I will be giving one lucky commenter his or her choice of one Mary Doria Russell title. She is a fabulous writer and if you haven’t read any of her books be sure to check them out and enter for a chance to win!
Here is how to earn entires…
1 – Comment on part one of her interview here.
2 – Comment on part two of her interview here.
4 – Post about the giveaway and leave a link on this post.
I will draw the winner on March 31st at noon. I will ship anywhere.
The winner was Renee G.!
“I assume you know who I am.”
Baumann shook his hand and nodded. “Certainly, Mr. Dyson,” he said. “I do know a bit about you.
“Glad to hear it.”
“I’ve recently had some spare time to do a little research.”
Dyson chortled, as if to share Baumann’s joke, but Baumann was not smiling. “Do you know why you’re here?” Dyson asked.
“No,” Baumann admitted. “I know that I’m not sitting in Cell Block Ninteen in Pollsmoor Prison. And I know that you made the arrangements for my jailbreak. But to be entirely honest, I have no idea why.”
The Prince of Darkness, aka Baumann, is a terrorist for hire and a fugitive American billionaire has just sprung him from a South African prison . Mr. Dyson has lost his his family and the use of legs thanks to the U.S. government and he has hired Baumann to plant a bomb that will bring down Wall Street. Baumann gets to work in making his way from Switzerland to the U.S. and finding all of the pieces to the dangerous and complex mission.
FBI Secial Agent Sarah Cahill finds herself involved in this plot because one of her informants has been murdered and she has asked all the right questions. She is put in charge of a small task force given the large duty of figuring out not only who, but what is going on. She also has to relocate to New York City with her eight year old son.
This is a fast-paced thriller and I had a hard time putting it down. This is a good look at international terrorism and national security before 9-11. There are many references to the first World Trade Center bombing and what happened in Oklahoma City. So, the the book isn’t wrong, it’s just that the world, especially the US, has changed.
There are a few negatives. One of the first chapters in the book is a pretty graphic one with a dominatrix and a submissive. The excruciating detail was unnecessary, but fed into the very macho point of view of the book. Sarah’s character was easy to root for, but she did something in the middle of the book that seemed so out of character that it was hard to understand her after that. I was a little disappointed in the ending. Baumann is the main character, Sarah is given equal time, but she is not nearly as interesting. The end fizzles out because all the sudden it turns into Sarah’s story.
It does seem like a lot of complaints, but it was well-written and I was anxious to see how it would end, so it probably evens itself out. I also think that men would rate this higher than women.
VERY IMPRESSIVE! Entries for Kaye, Sandy, LuAnn, Kathy, Margot, Mary, and Vania in the Mary Doria Russell Giveaway
I HAVE A GIVEAWAY STARTING ON FRIDAY. IF YOU ARE THE FIRST ONE WITH A CORRECT ANSWER YOU WILL EARN AN EXTRA ENTRY.
In honor of St Patrick’s Day tomorrow, the answers will all have the festive color in the title. I’m only going to list the author and see if you can guess the GREEN title. These are all novels. I’ll add hints tomorrow if no one get them.
Here’s how to play…Identify the title and leave a comment with the # and the name and I’ll cross it off the list. No Googling, that’s cheating and no fun!
1.L.M. Montgomery — Anne of Green Gables, Kaye
2. Jan Karon — These High, Green Hills, Janet
3. JRR Tolkien — Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, Pearl & Sir Orfeo, Sandy
4. Christopher Buckley — Little Green Men, LuAnn
5. James Patterson with Peter deYoung — Miracle on the 17th Green, Kathy
6. Stephen King — The Green Mile, Jason
7. Fannie Flagg — Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, Margot
8. Alice Hoffman — Green Angel, Mary
9. Judy Bloom — One in the Middle is the Green Kangeroo, Vania
10. Dr. Seuss — Green Eggs & Ham, Janet
If we are timid or rebellious or both, then travel – by itself and by ourselves – forces us to leave our old lives behind. Travel can overcome habitual resistance and the soul in motion along magnetic lines of attraction. On foreign soil, desires – denied, policed, constrained at home – can be unbound. What hides beneath the skin-thin surface of the domesticated self is sensual, sexual, adult.
Why then, truly, had I come to Egypt? To flee everything that was conventional and predictable and respectable. I wanted to lock up my mother’s house in Cedar Glen and walk away from my own dull mediocrity. I wanted to escape anyone and everything that had ever told me No.
page 138, hardcover
The dead narrator, Agnes Shanklin, is a forty year-old spinster who loses her entire family, and almost her own life to the 1918 influenza outbreak. A school teacher in Cleveland, Ohio, she decides to use some of her inheritance to travel to Egypt, where her sister spent many years as a missionary. She travels with her little dachshund, Rosie, who causes more than a few problems in Cairo.
In 1921 the fate of the current Middle East was squarely in the hands of the power players at the Cairo Peace Conference. T.E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, and Gertrude Bell were a few of the people that Agnes came in contact with. Lawrence had been friends with her sister before he became Lawrence of Arabia and through him Agnes was shown into the inner circle where she often shared her hardly esteemed American views. Her unexpected contact with these power brokers, placed her squarely in the path of the German spy, Karl Weilbacher.
I was enchanted by Agnes . The running dialog in her head from her mother and a few others imortant to her was a wonderful way to show how she gained strength and confidence and finally become her own woman. The fact that she was dead when she was narrating this book was unexpected and enjoyable. Her attachment to her dog Rosie, was a hit with me and I’m sure any other dog lover. This is as much of her coming of age story as it is an historical one.
Russell did extensive research on the main players. I was excited to learn that Churchill’s bodyguard was based on the real man who had written a book about that time. Agnes’s detailed tour through Palestine, Jerusalem and Nile made you feel as though you were right there, although they were the only parts of the book I founds myself sometimes skimming.
I love the nod to Russell’s Cleveland roots by featuring the famous department store Halle’s (inspiration for Halle Berry’s name) and the clerk who was dating Les Hope, who was thinking of changing his name to Bob 🙂
This book is so relevant today that I must recommend it for anyone interested in what is going on in the Middle East and our foreign policy. Russell became interested in this topic when Osama bin Laden claimed this Peace Conference in Cairo was the reason for the 9-11 attacks. It could not be any more timely.
I taped this looking forward to a new take on The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. It had been awhile since I read the short story, but know the story. It is a true masterpiece of American Gothic and I knew the movie had to be creepy.
The movie has a big house and twins, Maddie and Roderick, or Rick as he is called in this movie, and…that’s it. I am somewhat offended that they call this a modern take on the short story. It is not even close. First, it’s just a house. There was no feeling of the house being alive or even at the very least, haunted. Second, the ‘visitor’ is an old girlfriend who is never quite fully clothed who doesn’t mind having sex with Rick. And, well, the eerie twist of this movie is just gross and is really ridiculous.
Before you even consider watching this movie, read the story, close your eyes and imagine the movie, and then move on with your day. There is no reason to waste any more of my time or yours by talking about it further.
“That’s why I came here. I want Gaylene Harjo to tell me her side of the truth.”
“She can’t do that.”
“She can’t or she won’t?”
Teeve leaned forward, reached across the table and put her hand on top of his, but he pulled free of her touch.
She waited for some response, watched for a reaction, but could see nothing more than the muscles clenching in his jaw.
“She was murdered. The same night you disappeared.”
Mark Albright, a Beverly Hill veterinarian, has come to DeClare, Oklahoma looking for his birth mother. Only after the recent death of his father did he learn that he had been adopted and his mother’s name was Gaylene Harjo. Once in the small Oklahoma town of his birth he finds that he and his birth mother are at the heart of a 30 year old mystery. His birth name was Nicky Jack and he was presumed dead when he was 10 months old.
The town is full of quirky characters and villainous men. The stoner Kyle, abuser O Boy, and the helpful Teeve all bring Mark closer to the truth of the murder and his father’s true identity. He also finds himself drawn to his very pregnant cousin, Ivy, and he is able to help her understand the repurcussions of her own pregnancy.
The story grabbed be from the very start and I was entertained all the way through. There were so many interesting characters and the charm of small town life made this a fast and fun read. The mystery of the murder itself was not that hard to figure out, but Mark’s true father was a surprise (and disappointment) to me.
The story had so much potential and for the most part it delivered, but at the end there were still too many unanswered questions. And it was missing depth for me. Mark was a little too cool for me to really understand.
This is the first time I’ve read Billie Letts and I look forward to reading more.