Book Review: When We Fall by Kameron Hurley (Four Stars)

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Book Review: “When We Fall” by Kameron Hurley

Four Stars

“Nothing logical or sane about life. We have only this, each other.”

A sensitive, introspective story about a spacer injured on the job. The stranger who talks her through the wait for rescue is a bit … different. Cool.

“We understood each other as only two people alone on the edge of annihilation can.”

Great voice and storytelling; the mechanics were a bit rough.

“You’re not real.” “I’m not human. I am very real.”

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Book Review: Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers (Three Stars)

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Book Review: Murder Must Advertise (Lord Peter Wimsey #10) by Dorothy L. Sayers

Three Stars

“The most convincing copy was always written tongue-in-cheek.”

Lord Peter without balancing humanity of Harriet Vane is thin soup. A ripping great mystery, in fact several nestled within one another, but Wimsey anticipated much that doesn’t work about Bruce Wayne. Talk about leading a double life.

“A man of rigid morality–except, of course, as regards his profession, whose essence is to tell plausible lies for money.”

Each of her books is set in a place (London here) and a culture (advertising) which allows modern readers insight into Continue reading

Books I Loved 2017 Edition

Misty Midwest Mossiness

At the end of September I reached that point in the year when I could shake off all my various book club obligatory reading and get down to the serious business of reading the books I bought for myself all year long.  Not every year gives me a break where I can read what I want.  I often have to squeeze in my ‘must read’ books between the two to three other books I read per month for various discussion groups and book clubs.  Don’t get me wrong.  I very much enjoy reading outside my comfort zone and would not give up the wonderful discussions and cherished friendships I’ve nurtured through a shared love of reading.

Moss "Loved-It" Shelf YTD 2017

Most years, I read between 75 and 100 books; last year I read 88 and as of today I’ve read 99 thus far in 2017.  And only about ten percent make it onto my…

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Book Review: Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers (Four Stars)

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Book Review: Have His Carcase (Lord Peter Wimsey #8) by Dorothy L. Sayers

Four Stars

“I can believe a thing without understanding it.” “Your explanations are more incredible than the problem.”

Perhaps the best Lord Peter mystery yet. Opening the book in the point of view of a female mystery writer gives the story a verisimilitude wanting in previous Lord Peter works, even those featuring Harriet Vane. Her reflections on how this “real” mystery compares with her fictional ones gives the story extra substance. Her critique of detectives in general and Lord Peter in particular entertains.

“–the halcyon period between the self-tormenting exuberance of youth and the fretful carpe diem of approaching senility.”

Why only four stars? As the story progress, Vane is shoved to a supporting role. Too many recapitulations. Probably realistic, but Continue reading

Movie Review: Same Kind of Different as Me (Five Stars)

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theatrical release poster

Movie Review: Same Kind of Different as Me, directed by Michael Carney

Five Stars

“You want to be my friend? I’m going to have to think about that.”

Excellent. Based on the true story, told in Ron Hall’s 2006 book of the same name. An amazing story, well told. Talented, well-known cast. Good production values. Hard to believe it bombed. (It had help from bad reviews, probably from folks whom it made uncomfortable.

“She’s the only person to love you enough not to give up.”

So, did it bomb at the box office the first time? First, the title. I don’t care how relevant it is, it’s a tongue twister. Who can remember that? Our local Cineplex didn’t even post it on the billboard. Second, it deals with Continue reading

Book Review: The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers (Two Stars)

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Book Review: The Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey #7) by Dorothy L. Sayers

Two Stars

“The more you hate everybody for hating you, the more unattractive you grow and the more they hate you.”

By her own admission (elsewhere), “the plot was invented to fit a real locality.” Apparently, also written to please her Scottish friends, this is a Sudoku puzzle of clues spread through several hundred pages of prose. Not one or two but five false trails are explored and discarded. Dreary. The least pleasing Wimsey mystery to date.

“This English habit of rushing into situations on a high tide of chatter and excitement.”

Five percent in, Sayers inserts a comment, “… as the intelligent reader will readily supply these details for himself, they are omitted….” Dirty trick. Yes, I deduced Continue reading

Book Review: Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers (Three Stars)

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Book Review: Strong Poison (Lord Peter Wimsey #6) by Dorothy L. Sayers

Three Stars

“I really don’t know how it was done … I’m not worrying about a trifle like that.”

By all standards this should be one of the best Lord Peter stories because in it we are introduced, under the most trying circumstances, to Harriet Vane. If you don’t know who she is, I’m not going to spoil things more than necessary (which will make this review difficult).

“People have been wrongly condemned before now.” “Exactly, simply because I wasn’t there.”

I’m not familiar with English judicial terminology, but the judge calling the accused the “prisoner” in his charge to the jury strikes me as prejudicial.

“A man doesn’t like it to see a man go all wobbly about his sister—at least, not such a prolonged wobble.”

Love at first sight. Gushy, saccharin, head-over-heals infatuation?

“A person who can believe all the articles of the Christian faith is not going to boggle over a trifle of adverse evidence.”

Spiritualist of the 1930s would be comfortable in certain circles of today’s society. The more things change ….

“Don’t talk like Jeeves.” “… Sherlocked.” “… as Holmes would say …”

Sayers is conscious of her antecedents and boasts of them.

“The enormous and complicated imbecility of things was all around him like a trap.”

Book Review: Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorthy L. Sayers (Two Stars)

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Book Review: Lord Peter Views the Body (Lord Peter Wimsey #4) by Dorothy L. Sayers

Two Stars.

“Built noticin’–improved with practice.”

This anthology of early Wimsey shorts reminds me why I hate anthologies. Authors (or, more likely, publishers) sweep up all the bits and pieces of a successful author or authors and foist it on the public as great literature. The resulting collection is often–as in this case–mediocre at best.

“Nobody minds coarseness, but one must draw the line at cruelty.”

Especially avoid the novelette: “The Undignified Melodrama of the Bone of Contention.” Dreadful. “The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager’s Will” will enthrall crossword puzzle enthusiasts, without leaving the rest of us clueless.

“Bunter likes me to know my place.”

Sayers wrote for different readers. She assumes a level of French and Latin literacy rare among Americans today. Wonder how contemporary (1920s) English did.

“It is … dangerous to have a theory.”

Book Review: The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell (Four Stars)

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Book Review: The Empty Throne (Saxon Stories #8) by Bernard Cornwell

Four Stars

“It probably did not matter what the Witan thought … or what I thought. I should have thought harder.”

A romp through a historic game of thrones. History may not be quite as exciting as fiction, but that’s why we have historical fiction. And few authors blow the dust off the pages of time better than Bernard Cornwell.

“It probably did not matter what the Witan though … or what I thought. I should have thought harder.”

Uhtred may be on his last legs. His near-fatal wound is festering, his king is dying, his family is threatened, and his dreams are unfulfilled. What’s a man do to? If that man is Uhtred, attack.

“I wanted an end to the pain, to the problems, but I also wanted to know how it would all end. But does it ever end?”

Well written. Good map, though unreadable in the ebook format. Love, death, betrayal, and surprises. A real life strong female leader. Leavened with humor.

“As I said, Father, I am not noisy.” “And I am?” “Very.”

No quibbles, just looking for an excuse to insert another text quote.

“How?” “By killing any bastard who opposes her.” “Oh, by persuasion.” “Exactly.”

 

Struggles Will Come

“The purpose of our struggles is twofold: to develop God’s character in us and an opportunity for Him to show forth His power. If there are no struggles, then there is no character or power of a living God, and no witness of either. Embrace the struggle with faith in His power!” Kristin Davis

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. … because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” (Hebrews 10: 32, 34-35 NIV)

Struggles will come. They cleanse you of the world, and in your victory they show God to the world. Nobody gets out of life alive.

Our hope, our goal is not in this world but in the life that emerges in us now.

Life in Him.