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

Friday, January 12, 2018

Suffer the Little Children by Donna Leon

Donna Leon is one of my favorite writers and especially as her Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries are set in Venice (my favorite city).

From the cover:
Summoned in the middle of the night to the hospital bed of a senior pediatrician, Commissario Brunetti is confronted with more questions than answers. Three men had burst into the doctor's apartment while the family was sleeping, attacked him, and taken away his eighteen-month-old boy.
As Brunetti delves into the case, he begins to uncover a story of infertility, desperation and illegal dealings.

The Italian police system can be a little confusing to those of us who don't live there and as shown in Suffer the Little Children the Polizia and Carabinieri don't always cooperate with each other although they often have the same jurisdictions.

Carabinieri (Arma dei Carabinieri) - Named after the traditional rifle they carried are part of the Italian armed forces (all Italian males aged 18-26 were once required to serve a 10-month period in the armed forces, but the draft was abolished in 2003). They are a special branch of the army and deal with national and serious crime, they are housed in barracks in all major towns. Note: according to an Italian tour guide, the idea of conscription was also supposed to bridge the conflict between Southern and Northern Italy as draftees were sent to other regions in the hope of unity between the two.

State Police (Polizia di Stato) - Investigative and law enforcement duties and provides security of roads, rail systems and airports.

Local police - Are responsible for traffic control and municipal administration.

And don't try to outrun their Highway Patrol officers as many are now driving Lamborghinis!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Camino Island by John Grisham

Camino Island by John Grisham is my first favorite book of the year. Although a little different story line from his usual lawyer related books (no courtroom drama), Camino Island is just as thrilling and mysterious and a little reminiscent of The Thomas Crown Affair.

From the cover:
A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University's Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars. Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. 
Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer's block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysteries company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable's circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Crown

The Crown is now available on Netflix and I've really enjoyed the in depth look into the royal family but have been a little confused about Lord Mountbatten. His previous family name was Battenberg but he changed it to Mountbatten before WWI, when he joined the British Royal Navy, to a more English name and to avoid being associated with his connections as a German Prince.  The confusion lies with his relationship to the British Royal Family. Prince Charles had always referred to him as his Uncle.

Actually, Lord Louis Mountbatten was Prince Phillip's uncle and the great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. Both Prince Phillip and Queen Elizabeth are related to Queen Victoria.

His story as  the last Viceroy of India is covered in The Viceroy's House during the time when he thought he could unite India during their independence but instead it was partitioned and separated as India and Pakistan and caused the migration of over 10 million people.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Graceful Death Free for Kindle

Merry Christmas everyone

A Graceful Death by Ann Summerville is currently free for Kindle (until December 29, 2017).

A Graceful Death - No. 1 in the Lowenna series

Giovanna Matthews has an acceptable life in London with her own flat, a good job, and recent engagement to the son of a Scottish landowner.  But not long after her engagement to Alan, news of Aunt Grace’s death hits Giovanna like a red double decker bus.  Ignoring Alan’s pleas to stay, she bundles her dog and suitcase into a rusty Volkswagen and drives to Aunt Grace’s cottage on the Cornish coast where Giovanna had spent childhood summers with her cousin.  Putting her aunt’s affairs in order is further complicated when Giovanna discovers the local constabulary has its own view on Aunt Grace’s demise - A view that Giovanna vows to challenge.  Unless she can discover how her aunt died and find her missing cousin quickly, she stands to lose both her inheritance and Alan.   

Like the old harbor wall, Giovanna’s feet sink into the sand and it becomes more difficult to leave a village where she is accepted as part of their “family.”  There’s Mrs. Penrose with her flyaway gray hair and floral wardrobe; The sensible Mrs. Trewellyn who owns the grocery store; Holly, a long time friend and confidant; and Miss Brea who learned to drive in her retirement years.  Self-centered, Alan threatens to break off their engagement if Giovanna doesn’t return to London.  Should she stay and solve the mystery surrounding her aunt’s death or return to London and her fiancĂ©?

Hop on over to my Ann Summerville blog for more information about Lowenna and recent books published.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Higher is Waiting by Tyler Perry

I haven't seen any of Tyler Perry's movies, but have come to admire him through interviews. He seems to be a calm, confident and kind man who has overcome numerous obstacles which, rather than making him bitter and resentful, has instead brought out gratefulness toward his mother and a strong faith in God. In Higher is Waiting he suggests to the reader how to stop thinking about past wrongs and live a better life (along with scripture verses).

"My childhood was a story of discouragement, belittlement, and unthinkable abuse, and yet I rose above. There was no way I could have found any kind of happiness, hope, or vision if my mother, Maxine, and my aunt Mae hadn't shown me the grace of God. . . They planted the seeds of grace, the invaluable gift of knowing God."

Today there is so much more to Tyler Perry than his popular Madea movies (the characters are based on his mother and aunt) and through the Perry Foundation his goal is to turn tragedy into triumph. His dream as a child was to get out of a poverty stricken and abusive home, make a better life for his mother, provide for her and help others. I would say that he has accomplished all of these.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Evanly Choirs by Rhys Bowen

The Constable Evans Mysteries is my favorite Rhys Bowen series. The setting is Wales and the main character Evan Evans not be confused with Evans-the-Milk, Evans-the-Meat or Evans-the-Post. Definitely one for my favorite books of 2017 list.

From the cover:
When Constable Evan Evans is persuaded to join the local male choir for the upcoming eisteddfod (cultural festival), he doesn't think the addition of his mediocre voice will do them much good. In spite of all the effort that choirmaster Mostyn Phillips puts into the choir, it is not exactly first class.
Hope arrives in the form of a world-renowned tenor Ifor Llewellyn, who's come home to Llanfair to rest. . . he announces that he is planning to write his memoirs, telling all about hisnumberous relationship but is someone unhappy enough to commit murder to stop him?