Harris and Me
By: Gary Paulson
I have to admit this wasn’t my favorite book by Gary Paulson, I didn’t care for some of the language and inappropriateness of some of the items that the main character had. It definitely is geared toward boys because of the adventures they encountered on the farm with the bull, making a motorized bike, the electric fence experience and more. If you live on a farm you might have more experience with the animals and enjoy the farm life tales. I would rate this book a 2.5-3.
The novel "All the Flowers in Paris" by Sarah Jio is full of twists and turns. It begins in present time telling of a lady Caroline who has been in an accident and loses her memory, as the book goes on you read of another character Celine from the 1940’s, how are the 2 characters related? I have to say it was a little hard to get into the story and figure out how their lives are intertwined. You learn that Caroline lives in an apartment that somehow was part of Celine’s life. Each chapter is either present or past and tells the story of each of the 2 main characters. The story takes place in Paris.
Caroline has started “dating” Victor from the local café and each time she seems to remember a little of her past but still can’t figure out how or why she thinks she knows him. While Caroline is in her apartment she finds a stack of letters that say “Dear Luc,” where did they come from? She has read of some of the letters, does the lady who wrote the letters ever find Luc? A lady has contacted Caroline regarding her apartment because it has history that no one seems to know what the outcome is. Caroline comes across a gallery that has art therapy and decided to try it, she is a very good painter and the teacher decides to do an art show. As Caroline is shopping for the perfect dress she sees something on the t.v. that brings back her memory and floods her mind with her past life. She has finally realized who she is and why she came to Paris. Does Caroline really know Victor? Did Caroline ever paint before? Will her life change?
Celine a widow is telling the story of her daughter Cosi and her (Celine’s) dad as they own a flower shop and the Germans have come to close it down because they are of a Jewish heritage. The man Celine loves had to leave on a work assignment. Celine finds out unintentionally that the Germans are going to come take her dad and daughter, so they make a plan to escape. They are on their way to the train when the German soldiers stop them and arrest Cosi and her grandfather; Celine is taken by one of the German soldiers to be his mistress. Does Celine ever find freedom again? What will happen to Cosi and the grandfather? Will they escape? Will Celine ever see the man she loves?
Read this amazing twisting story to find out how the lives of Caroline and Celine are related. Do they both experience a joyous ending or are they broken from their experience. Cosi says “I want to say that I think that the most important things in life are thankfulness, forgiveness, and love.” Do Caroline and Celine find this in their own lives?
P.S. It is for a mature audience as some parts are graphic and some violence. I rate this a 4.5 because it was an unexpected ending and I couldn’t tell what was going to happen. It has suspense that makes the reader not want to put the book down. Enjoy!
“The Lucky One” by Nicholas Sparks is as engaging story about a Marine, Logan Thibault, finding a photo in Iraq of a beautiful young woman wearing a t-shirt with the words Lucky Lady on it. The only clues to her identity were the background with a banner saying “Hampton Fairgrounds”, three evergreen trees behind, a German Shephard dog at her side, and it was signed “Keep Safe! E.”.
Logan began to believe that he was especially lucky and those around him were not. Many of his Platoon members began to avoid him out of superstition for his luck. His friend, Victor, stayed with him and had the belief that Logan had a debt to balance.
Beth was a teacher and divorced mother of a young son and lived with her grandmother. Her grandmother raised her and her brother, Drake who had also gone to Iraq. Her grandmother, Nana, recently had a stroke. Along with teaching, Beth was trying to help Nana with her business, a dog kennel.
Logan and his German Shephard, Zeus, walked across the country from Colorado to Hampton, North Carolina looking for the identity of the woman in the picture. This veteran with a college degree took a job in a dog kennel doing the dirty work of cleaning pens, walking and training the dogs or anything else that might need done in his search for destiny and whether there needed to be balance…payment made.
This book was a very enjoyable and I recommend reading it. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.
The Wizard Hunters (Book One of The Fall of Ile-Rien) by Martha Wells
Ile-Rien has experienced years of war against a mysterious, seemingly-unstoppable enemy known only as the Gardier. Having no family and very few friends left and thoroughly done with the horrific state of the world and people around her, the protagonist, Tremaine Valiarde, is looking for a way to die. However, when she is brought into the last, desperate attempt to find a way to stop the Gardier, she finds people depending on her. If she dies, they die, and she doesn’t want to bring anyone else down with her.
This was a really fun read. Despite the dark and depressing tone of the state of Ile-Rien, the book never fails to keep a sense of levity without taking away from the weight of the danger and Tremaine’s suicidal intent. By having people rely on her to make it out alive, Tremaine starts to see the value in living to help those people have the chance to live themselves. I’m curious to see where this will go throughout the series.
Tremaine, Ilias, Gerard, Florian, and Giliead (and a few others, but they are less memorable for me) make for a great central cast. The friendship between Tremaine and Ilias is a lot of fun. They have both been through some significant trauma, and I can see them helping each other through those traumas as the story continues in the next two books. Tremaine, Gerard, Ilias, and Giliead each have a rich history before the book begins that has me wanting to learn more, to read those stories as well.
This story spans multiple worlds. We see, for now: a steampunk world Ile-Rien exists, where Tremaine is from; and a more “primitive” world, where Ilias and Giliead are from. There is a third world from which the Gardier come, but it is not seen (in this book, at least). I like the departure (from most fantasies involving multiple worlds like this) from it always being “our” world and a “fantasy” world, but instead two entirely unique worlds colliding.
I could continue to list the many things I enjoy about this book, but for the sake of brevity, I’m going to cut myself off and move on to the things that I didn’t like as much. First, and this is more of a personal pet peeve, I wish the book had included a pronunciation guide. I have no idea how to pronounce many of the names in the book, not least of which being Ile-Rien. While this is a minor thing for me as I’ll just make up my own pronunciation, I can see it being a much bigger issue for someone else that might detract from the enjoyment.
My biggest complaint about the book is that Ilias and Giliead - who come from a society in which wizards are basically evil, and have personally been massively harmed by wizards in the past, accept the sorcerers from Ile-Rien a little too easily. It is given justification in the story, with some time for them to come to know and trust each other before the reveal, but I would still have appreciated a little more conflict, particularly from the others of their village.
Review of Garlic and Sapphire
by Ruth Reichl
This is an older book, but fitting for the times we are in! New York Times food editor and reviewer. New York and restaurants...2005 and you could sit next to friends or family. Funny, good food stories, and even some recipes to try! Definitely a good read!
Read the Book & Movie Reviews Below!
Olivia Shaw is a successful business woman as an editor for the food magazine “Egg and Hen”. After an accident, she moved in with her beloved mother for her recuperation. Her mother unexpectedly passed away leaving Olivia devastated. As she was going through her mother’s paperwork, she found that she had inherited a centuries old English estate and title. The estate had been abandoned by the family for forty years and was in complete disrepair.
For me, this was a total “escape” read, a little like a little girl dreaming of being a princess.
Each word in the title is descriptive of the book. I found the book The Art of Inheriting Secrets by Barbara O’Neal to be a highly entertaining and fun book! She has written several books and gourmet cooking seems to be a prevalent theme. I am currently reading another of her books, The Lost Recipe for Happiness.
“Brian Banks” is an amazing movie based on a true story of a high school football player who was accused and put into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Through his determination and hard work he was able to remove the crime from his record and move into a better life. “Brian Banks” is available to watch on the new movie streamline app Kanopy. I rate this a 4.5.
"Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" is a star-studded movie about the ”Golden Age of Hollywood”.
Starring actors Leon DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Bruce Dern, Bruce Lee and more, it is a story featuring 1960’s Hollywood. In it T.V. star Rick Dalton has his own western series and is a next door neighbor to actress Sharon Tate and husband, film director Roman Polanski. Co-star, Brad Pitt, won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor in his role as Rick’s easy going best friend and stunt double.
Openly showing things like cigarette smoking, the movie is a mix of comedy and drama. A “cigarette” plays an important part in the movie and has you guessing about the title “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”!
I found the movie memorable and recommend watching it! I would give it 3.75 out of 5 stars.