Words To Remember

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Everything in the world has a spirit which is released by its sound.

Oskar Fischinger ~

German-American artist, musician and filmmaker, who’s being honored by Google with a commemorative Doodle on his 117th birthday. If you haven’t had a chance to play with it, please try. I guarantee it’ll bring a smile to your face.

The Silent Corner (Jane Hawk #1) by, Dean Koontz ~ 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bantam for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

464 Pages

Synopsis: “I very much need to be dead.”

These are the chilling words left behind by a man who had everything to live for but took his own life. In the aftermath, his widow, Jane Hawk, does what all her grief, fear, and fury demands: find the truth, no matter what. People of talent and accomplishment, people admired and happy and sound of mind, have been committing suicide in surprising numbers. When Jane seeks to learn why, she becomes the most-wanted fugitive in America. Her powerful enemies are protecting a secret so terrifying that they will exterminate anyone in their way. 

But all their power and viciousness may not me enough to stop a woman as clever as they are cold-blooded, as relentless as they are ruthless and who is driven by a righteous rage they can never understand. Because it is born of love.

I’ve been reading Dean Koontz since I was a teen, and while it’s been a rocky road at times–loved the Odd Thomas series and standalones like Watchers but had a difficult time with ones like The Darkest Evening Of the Year and Funhouse–he has still remained one of my favorite horror writers. The Silent Corner, the first novel in the Jane Hawk trilogy is less like Stephen King, and more like Michael Crichton. It’s a thrilling and pulse-pounding ride from start to finish and despite it being just under 500 pages, I read it over the course of two days because I literally could not put it down! Jane Hawk is a kick-ass heroine who ripped out my heart and stomped all over it. There’s no doubt she’s a tough cookie, but her heartbreak and anger over the loss of her husband resonates off the page. Her anguish is further compounded, when because of threats by this faceless sinister conspiracy, she is forced to send her sweet son into hiding while she embarks on a cross-country odyssey to uncover what’s behind the burgeoning epidemic of suicides by well-adjusted people, with no previous signs of depression. Jane is of course the star of the story, but there are a few quirky allies she meets along the way which make this story even more enjoyable. The villains are a little more two-dimensional, but they weren’t bad enough to spoil the book for me. The pacing is just insane and this, coupled with short chapters, makes it difficult to tear yourself away. The Silent Corner is a fantastic beginning to this new trilogy and thankfully the second book, The Whispering Room is due out in January, because I don’t think I could wait any longer. Longtime Koontz fans won’t be disappointed by this, and if you haven’t read any books by him, this is an excellent book to start with.

 

Lockdown, by Laurie R. King ~ 4.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bantam for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

336 Pages

Synopsis: Career Day at Guadalupe Middle School: a day given to innocent hopes and youthful dreams. A day no one in attendance will ever forget.

A year ago, Principal Linda McDonald arrived at Guadalupe determined to overturn the school’s reputation for truancy, gang violence, and neglect. One of her initiatives is Career Day–bringing together children, teachers, and community presenters in a celebration of the future. But there are some in attendance who reject McDonald’s bright vision. 

A principal with a secret. A husband with a murky past. A cop with too many questions. A kid under pressure to prove himself. A girl struggling to escape a mother’s history. A young basketball player with an affection for guns.

Even the school janitor has a story he dare not reveal.

But no one at the gathering anticipates the shocking turn of events that will transform a day of possibilities into an explosive confrontation.

Laurie R. King is best known for her Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, of which I’m a devoted fan. She’s also written the contemporary mystery Kate Martinelli series, which I haven’t tried yet, but after reading Lockdown, I definitely will be. I thought going into this, that it would be a thriller about a school shooting, and I was eagerly anticipating how the author would handle this topic. While it started off a little slow and a bit chaotic, in the end I was completely captivated by the character-driven story. It took me a little while though to get used to the way the story unfolds. It’s told from several different viewpoints including: the Principal’s, her husband, a police officer, and a few students. It also jumps between different time periods and adds in the mysterious disappearance of a young student, and because of these things I felt as though I was getting whiplash at first. But the characters are so well written, that within the first fifty pages I settled in and couldn’t tear myself away. Their lives and backstories are integral to what unfolds on Career Day, and they add to the slow- building suspense. Because each of them has something going on that could result in the violent act that happens at this small California town’s middle school, I really had no idea who the shooter was going to be. When the story arrives at its climax, what happens makes sense and leads to a satisfying conclusion. Overall I found Lockdown to be a creative standalone from Laurie R. King that solidifies her respected reputation. I highly recommend it to fans of hers, as well as readers who enjoy a good character-driven mystery.

Carnivalesque, by Neil Jordan ~ 2.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

288 Pages

Synopsis: It looked like any other carnival, but of course it wasn’t. The boy saw it from the car window, the tops of the large trailer rides over the parked trains by the railway tracks. His parents were driving towards the new mall and he was looking forward to that too, but but the tracery of lights above the gloomy trains caught his imagination…

Andy walks into Burleigh’s Amazing Hall of Mirrors, and then he walks right into the mirror, becomes a reflection. Another boy, a boy who is not Andy, goes home with Andy’s parents. And the boy who was once Andy is pulled–literally pulled, by the hands, by a girl named Mona–into another world, a carnival world where anything’s might happen.

After reading the synopsis for Carnivalesque I was so excited to dive into it. I love stories about changlings and carnivals and this sounded like an entirely new take on the theme. But sadly it just didn’t live up to my expectations. The biggest problem I ran into was that I couldn’t connect with the characters. They were a little too one-dimensional and there was really no obvious development to them even by the end of the book. The story is told from the POVs of Andy and his mother, but there was little distinction between their voices which left me confused at times when the narrative switched between them. I also found that, except for a few instances, the plot moved too slowly. The world-building is beautifully descriptive, but in many ways, is too wordy and overly-descriptive. I think what frustrated me the most though, was that Carnivalesque is filled with so much potential, but it seemed to stay just out of reach…at least for me. There are reviewers, however who did enjoy this, so please check out their reviews before making up your mind as to whether you want to try this. Ana, over at Ana’s Lair enjoyed this more than I, so if you’d like to see another opinion, please read her review at https://anaslair.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/carnivalesque

 

Pure, unbridled joy …. 🌹 “January 6, 2015 …. Wedding Day …. 🌹 “!! 

WITH ALL THE HORRIBLE NEWS OF THE LAST 24 HOURS, SUCH A HEARTWARMING STORY FROM DR. REX IS A REMINDER OF ALL THE GOOD THERE IS IN THE WORLD!

It Is What It Is

~~June 14, 2017~~

🌹 An amazing memory! 🌹

On this day, a dream became our reality. It was a day that I thought would never happen in our lifetime. After meeting my soulmate in 1969, life separated us until 1996. We reunited then and been together since.

Marriage equality became the law of the land!

❤️ Known each other for 48 years. ❤️

Been together for 21 years.

❤️ Been legally married for 2 years.  ❤️

We gathered with a group of close friends and celebrated.

That’s only a water bottle and a bread stick!


We BOTH are ONE!! 

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Missing, By Kelley Armstrong – 3.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Books for Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

384 Pages

Synopsis: The only thing Winter Crane likes about Reeve’s End is that soon she’ll leave it. Like her best friend did. Like her sister did. Like most of the teens born in town have done. There’s nothing for them here but abandoned mines and empty futures. They’re better off taking a chance elsewhere.

The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.

But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?

I’ve been a fan of Kelley Armstrong since she came out with Bitten, the first book in her Women Of the Underworld series, so it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that I was going to request this when it appeared on NetGalley. While I don’t think Missing is one of her best books, it was still, for the most part, enjoyable. One of the things I like about this author is the way her writing seamlessly flows. It makes it practically effortless to breeze through her books, and even though I found the plot in this to be a little slower moving than some of her others, I still finished this in two sittings. One strength here is Armstrong’s critical look at social class norms through her characters. Winter lives in a trailer park with her drunkenly abusive father, and often goes hungry. Lennon and his brother Jude (gotta love the Beatles reference), have grown up in luxury with their adoptive wealthy parents. The issues of class, privilege and Southern “chivalry” are all explored within the context of the story and its characters. The isolated and small town setting of Reeve’s End in Kentucky is very atmospheric and helps create a menacing air. Residents here not only distrust outsiders, they’re continually keeping an eye on each other. As a result, it’s not difficult to wonder if the kids who left Reeve’s End did so willingly, or are missing due to a far more sinister reason. The best part of the book is Winter. Having lost her mother and stuck in this going nowhere town, she is nevertheless a girl with a plan. She avoids her father as much as possible, and is ready to leave like her older sister. But her plans are upended when after spending a night in the woods, she stumbles across Lennon, which in turn leads her down a dangerous path. Winter is an easy character to become emotionally invested in. She’s courageous, stubborn, and not afraid to speak her mind. She’s also determined to find out who or what is behind these disappearances especially when she discovers that her assumptions regarding her sister may be wrong. The secondary characters aren’t as well drawn, particularly in regards to the adults who either come across as one dimensional or are stereotyped as in the case of the police. Is it me, or is the way authority figures are portrayed in YA fiction seem more often than not, to fit these characteristics? Anyway, there are many creepy twists and turns and more than a few red herrings tossed in the reader’s path, which will keep you guessing almost right up until the somewhat rushed ending. Which brings me to my last issue. The big reveal comes pretty much out of left field. The villain did not make their appearance until right before then, and this basically left me scratching my head. I personally don’t like it when an author throws in a previously unknown character at the conclusion, but other readers might not mind it. Overall, though, I found Missing to be a quick read that’s light on romance but heavy on suspense. It also brings up the very real issue of how easy it is under the right circumstances, for someone to go missing, and not have enough questions raised. Teens who like mystery and suspense and a strong main character should definitely enjoy this. 

 

 

 

Pulse Nightclub ~ One Year Later

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been one year since a man with hatred in his heart, entered the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, and killed 49 people while wounding 53 others who were there to have a good time in a safe environment. In order to move forward we should never forget this atrocity. If one thing this past year has taught us it’s that there is still plenty of bigotry against LGBTs, and other minorities, and honestly, I personally don’t know how to change that. For some reason it seems to be part of our genetic makeup. I don’t want to focus on doom and gloom today though. This should be a day of remembrance and reflection. It should be a day of reaching out with compassion and kindness, whether it’s toward someone you know, or a stranger. It should be a day where we all think upon what we can do to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.

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Ben Johansen ~ http://www.orlandoribbonproject.com

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This world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another.

~ Ellen Page ~

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We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.

~ George Takei ~

 

Mr. Smith, er, Comey Goes To Washington

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There were so many great quotes from former FBI Director James Comey today during his much anticipated Congressional hearing, but here are a few of my favorites.

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In regards to why he began keeping a written record of his meetings with Mr. Trump, Comey responded,

I was honestly concerned he might lie about the meetings.

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Addressing Mr. Trumps repeated defamation of the FBI,

Those were lies. Plain and simple.

…I am so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them and I’m so sorry that the American people were told them.

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When asked if he had any doubts about Russian interference in the election,

There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever. The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle.

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Telling Congress that he shared a memo with a friend describing a meeting with Trump in hoping it would be shared with the press, he explained he didn’t directly leak it because,

I was worried it was like feeding seagulls at the beach.

 

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Revealing that he was forced to cancel a date night with his wife, to attend the infamous “loyalty” dinner with Trump, Comey added regretfully,

In retrospect I love my wife I would rather have been at dinner with her.

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When Comey was asked how he interpreted Mr. Trump’s  comments about letting Michael Flynn go during their private dinner in February, Comey replied,

…It kind of rings in my ears as, ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’

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And here’s my absolute favorite. In response to Mr. Trump’s threatening tweet that Comey better hope there are no “tapes” of their conversations,

Lordy, I hope there are tapes.

Yes, I’ll be getting the t-shirt!