Wednesday, August 23, 2017


What a superb book for young readers - eye catching and chock full of gems from the British Library!!  Everything children have ever known from The Canterbury Tales to the Brothers Grimm to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is artfully examined and displayed.  Parents will find themselves as enthralled as their young ones by not only the books themselves but the glorious illustrations by Brita Granstrom.  Also included is a helpful glossary.

Imagine if you will a tiny prayer book carried by a queen to her execution or an atlas so large that it takes six people to lift it.  You'll also find a handmade gospel secreted in a saints coffin, Shakespearean folios of such import that they are kept in a bombproof storeroom and a great deal more.

Many have called the British Library the greatest library in the world and once you have enjoyed the one of a kind BooksBooksBooks you may well agree.




Saturday, August 19, 2017


By John Sweeney; Performed by Alan Smyth
Brilliance Audio

With this the second in the Joe Tiplady Thriller series you'll once again be gripping the arms of your chair - however, that's easy to do as its narrated by the always talented Alan Smyth who adds to the suspense with all the appropriate intonations and pauses so sit back and enjoy!

Since author John Sweeney has wisely laced his tale with today's topics such as refugee crises, ISIS, Syria and the recent presidential election the already chilling story becomes even chillier.
we know it is fiction but for 12 hours of high speed listening it becomes very real.

When a young boy is abducted by his unstable mother the frantic father offers Joe Tiplady a large sum of money to bring the boy home safe and sound.  That's quite a challenge as the pair have joined ISIS in Syria.   Joe will have to work hard and risk his life to earn that big paycheck!

At the same time CIA Deputy Director Zeke Chandler is in Albania where four electrocuted bodies were discovered in a remote area close to a secret black-ops facility.  Are Joe and Zeke trying to track down two unrelated incidents?

Joe's search for answers and the missing boy takes us from the dark side of Hollywood to what is left of Aleppo - in other words the darkest corners of the world.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017


It’s difficult for me to believe that after years of reviewing this is my first Gamache mystery novel.  Little did I know what I’ve been missing.  Louise Penny is an amazing author, reeling readers in with the opening sentences then following with a gripping scenario that is impossible to put down.  She has, of course, received numerous awards and countless accolades - all deservedly so.  Her Quebec village of Three Pines becomes an actual destination as its sights, sounds and texture are richly described.  And the characters - what can one say?  They’re totally original and absolutely unforgettable as we find ourselves drawn into their lives.

With Glass Houses we find Gamache is now the Chief Superintendent du Quebec.  He has reorganized the office, solved many crimes yet is faced with what appears to be an insurmountable problem - the increasing drug traffic, drugs crossing the Montreal border into the United States.  He well knows the mounting toll their consumption is taking on young people as drug cartels become greedier and even more clever.  Catching their leaders seems to be an impossibility until Gamache comes up with an extraordinary scheme.  The chances of it succeeding appear slim and failure means death.  He needs help to even try - help from a man who hates him.
The story begins with the mysterious appearance of a figure in black who stands in the center of the village green on a chill November day.  Obviously the villagers are curious and then nervous as the figure stands unmoving, apparently staring straight ahead through rain and sleet, day and night. When Gamache approaches and questions him the creature says nothing.  When villagers beseech Gamache to get rid of the creature he says he can do nothing as the creature is not breaking any laws, yet Gamache becomes certain that the black hooded figure has a sinister purpose.

Then the creature disappears as suddenly as he came and a body is discovered in the church.   Who could have killed a beloved villager and why?  Some months later on a hot day in July an accused man is on trial for the killing and Gamache is on the witness stand.  Everything, the very future of Montreal and the lives of countless people depend on how Gamache will answer questions posed to him.

Glass Houses is such a taut, engrossing thriller that one is tempted to race through it yet does not do so for fear of missing a revealing word.  Simply put it is fiction at its finest.


Friday, May 26, 2017

THE AWKWARD AGE by Francesca Segal Audio Edition

     Five years of being a widow has not been easy for Julia Alden, but through it all she has had her teenage daughter, Gwen.  Perhaps the girl is spoiled but they've grown close and, after all, what mother wouldn't do anything for her child?  Francesca Segal tries to answer that question in her witty and wise novel The Awkward Age.
       Somewhat to her surprise Julia has fallen head over heels in love with James Fuller, an American obstetrician and father of seventeen-year-old Nathan who may be a bit over confident and enjoys teasing Gwen.  If that were all there wouldn't be much of a problem but Gwen thoroughly dislikes James and wants her mother back all to herself.  Believing in a happy blended family James and Nathan move into Julia's home.  Sound the alarm this is the beginning of an all out civil war.

     Neither Gwen nor Nathan like the idea of this new family that has been formed without their consent, but why did they start sleeping together?  Was it anger, revenge, what?  During a trip to Boston Julia notices that the young ones are being nicer to each other.  But she is really taken aback when Gwen haughtily announces "Nathan and I are together."  Very much together as a pregnancy ensues.  This would seem to throw James and Julia's relationship out the window.  Do they not have a right to love or must they sacrifice everything for their children?

     Francesca Segal's probing novel raises many a question so appropriate for this day and time.  It well may cause many of us to rethink our definition of family.  I found myself listening to The Awkward Age a second time so as not to miss a nuance or phrase from this award winning writer.

    Jayne Entwistle delivers an excellent narration.



Sunday, May 21, 2017

EXIT STRATEGY by Steve Hamilton Audio Edition


     While  Nick Mason is the hero of this tense, compelling tale he is not a hero in the text book sense.  For those who may have missed the lauded series debut Mason is a man who has served five years of a 25 year to life sentence for a killing he did not commit.  Embittered and eager to get out to see his 9-Year-old daughter again he agrees to do whatever Darius Cole asks - even murder.

    Exit Strategy opens with Mason being given an almost impossible task.  He is told to infiltrate the top secret federal witness protection program, find the three men who put Cole behind bars and kill them so they cannot testify against Cole in a federal court trial that has Cole appealing his conviction.  Now, if the only punishment for Mason failing to do this were Mason's life that would be one thing.  But the stakes are even higher - the lives of Mason's ex-wife and daughter.

     Mason is pushed to the limit having to deal with not only Cole's henchmen but also a frightening Irish assassin.  To muddy the waters even further Mason is not only the hunter but the hunted - the man he replaced has escaped the witness protection program and intends to kill Mason.

     While listeners are gasping for breath they learn that Cole's Chicago enterprise is merely a branch of an international crime syndicate headed by a mastermind who is wanted by governments around the world.  This major domo has plans for Mason.

     Narrator Ray Porter has taken home many an Earphones Award and listeners will immediately know why as he hooks them with an opening sentence and doesn't let go until the conclusion.


Thursday, May 18, 2017


A must for art aficionados David Hockney: Current is a magnificent volume chronicling the works created by this inimitable artist over the past ten years.  Surely he is as many will say the most influential British artist of the past half century.  His talents seem boundless as he has evidenced expertise in drawing, oil painting, print marking, set design, photocollage, watercolor. charcoal and digital drawing.

     At the age of 26 Hockney had his first one-man show and the plaudits followed.  October of 2006 saw one of the largest displays of Hockney's portraiture work at the National Portrait Gallery.  This included 150 paintings, drawings, prints, sketchbooks and photocollages.  October of 2013 saw David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.  A list of Hockney showings is endless.  However, no need for us to stand in line as the recently released David Hockney: Current is a landmark book published by Thames & Hudson.   The gorgeous volume (328 pages with 2,036 illustration) holds texts by Simon Maidment, Li Nowen, Martin Gayford, Barbara Bolt, Edith Devaney and a foreword by Tony Ellwood.  While these essays are fascinating for me frosting on  the cake was a Q&A with Hockney, the master himself.

     This is a book you will treasure and return to again and again.