Welcome to my blog where I share book reviews
and life along the winding road

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Last Chance Olive Ranch by Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert is a prolific writer and The Last Chance Olive Ranch is number 25 in the China Bayles mystery series.

Susan Wittig Albert does a great job at explaining the character background in each of her books and although I hadn't read many of the later books in the series, it didn't take away from the newer mysteries. I enjoy the setting in the Texas Hill Country and as always, Ms. Albert weaves an intriguing tale.

From the cover:
Max Mantel, the killer McQuaid put away years ago, has broken out of Huntsville Prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. McQuaid knows there's only one way to stop the vengeful convict—set a trap with himself as bait.
China wants to stay by her husband's side and keep him from harm. But McQuaid insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she's agreed to teach a workshop on herbs.
When China and her best friend arrive at the ranch, she learns the owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza's nephew is contesting the will.
While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid's plan backfires when Mantel executes a countermove he never saw coming. Now McQuaid's life is not the only one at stake—and this time may really be his last chance...


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Matilda The Musical

Matlida is in town! The children in the show are amazing (especially Jaime MacLean as Matilda) but my favorite was Miss Trunchbull played by Dan Chameroy. He/she reminded me of the British pantomimes of my childhood. I did occasionally find it difficult to understand the children who all had high pitched squeaky voices, but apparently they had a speech tutor to teach them to speak that way and with a London accent. Although it was a wonderful performance I would be careful of taking small children to see it. There are lots of loud bangs and shouting and a few scenes that they might find scary. Their next stop on the tour is Oklahoma.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg was a Benbrook Library book club choice and it didn't disappoint.
Fannie Flagg puts together a great cast of quirky characters with all her usual humor, and some Southern charm thrown in.

From the cover:
Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama has just married off the last of her daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps travelling with her husband, Earle. The only thing left to contend with is her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry. Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter. Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a secret about her mother's past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.

Discussion guide here

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

YMCA Book Sale Fundraiser

Our local YMCA has a book sale fundraiser going on at the moment. At 25c a book, it's a great time to stock up.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson's book The Mother Tongue - English and How it Got That Way is an in depth look at where English began and how it has changed through the years. It's an interesting read but it has so much information that I found it best read in small spurts.

England, being an island, has a history of invasions, by the Anglo Saxons, Vikings, Norman the Conqueror and the Danes. But English is a Germanic language (unlike the Romance Languages) and there is still a town, Angeln, in Germany where people speak similarly to the early, lost dialect of English. You only have to go a hundred miles or so in England to come across a completely different dialect and this may be because the Vikings, by treaty, took over the midlands of England and the Celts kept the south (Cornwall, Wales) and the north (Scotland). To add to the confusion, after the Norman Conquest, most of the aristocracy spoke French or Anglo-French. Mostly illiterate and uncultured, the people of England used the Runic Alphabet which can be found on tombstones and other stones.

In the early times England was a pagan country with the days of the week taken from gods, Tiw, Woden, And Thor (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) Saturn, Sun, and Moon became Saturday, Sunday, Monday.

And then there's Cockney slang which anyone who has seen Pygmalion  or My Fair Lady is familiar with.

Bill Bryson also talks about how the language changed in America, touching on the Gullah dialect of the Outer Banks (English combined with West African).

Friday, June 9, 2017

That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo

Richard Russo is one of my favorite writers (I loved Empire Falls) and That Old Cape Magic didn't disappoint and another one for my favorite books of 2017 list.

From the cover:
Griffin has been tooling around for nearly a year with his father's ashes in the trunk, but his mother is very much alive and not shy about calling on his cell phone. She does so as he drives down to Cape Cod, where he and his wife, Joy, will celebrate the marriage of their daughter Laura's best friend. For Griffin this is akin to driving into the past, since he took his childhood summer vacations here, his parents' respite from the hated Midwest. . . By the end of a perfectly lovely week-end. the past has so thoroughly swamped the present that the future suddenly hangs in the balance. And when, a year later, a far more important wedding takes place, Griffin's chauffeuring two urns of ashes as he contends once more with his wife and her large unruly family.