Day: April 26, 2017

Review: Sepulchre

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Sepulchre4 of 5 stars to Sepulchre by Kate Mosse, the second in the “Languedoc” historical fiction (maybe a little fantasy) series. After I read the first book, I had to follow through on this one. And recently, I learned the third one was published a few years ago. I didn’t know there was another… but I will definitely finish this series. It takes place in the French mountains, how could you not love it?

The story is very complex, but very strong. The characters are memorable. The struggle between the past and the present drives this story. It is historical fiction, for a large part of it, so you have different time periods to focus on. But it’s handled well. Add in some ghosts, a little fantasy, mystery and suspense over the 100 year gap between the two time periods, and you’ve got a good story. You will keep trying to guess all the connections and be happy when you find out.

You should read at least the first two… and I’ll let you know whether the last one is important or not, once I read it! The connection between the first two books is surprising, so I am curious how the third one fits in.

It crosses a few genres without being too explicit in any specific one. For me, it’s the characters and the plot which kept me focused. I’d recommend taking a chance on it, but look at other reviews. Some folks didn’t care for it, finding it a bit messy and unfocused. Not me tho! And to them, I say:

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: The Rose Labyrinth

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The Rose Labyrinth3+ of 5 stars to Titania Hardie‘s novel, The Rose Labyrinth. Few have heard of the author or this book, but when I stumbled upon it in the book store, I had to give it a chance for a few reasons:

1. It was a book within a book. It’s a normal hardcover book, but in the front cover, there is a second book, a journal of sorts. In the real book, the main character uses a journal and a puzzle to decode the secrets from 400 years ago. And as readers, we get a copy of this journal, so along the way, we can try to figure it out, too. It sounds like a great concept, perhaps a bit of a gimmick. I didn’t find it particularly useful, and it probably caused too much of an increase in production costs.

2. It told the story both in current time and in the historical Elizabethan period. I love those types of mysteries, where we learn, as the character learns, how they fit into this whole puzzle.

3. I’d been itching to try a little bit of a romance book, just to see if I would find it at all interesting. And in this one, the main character’s story is about her own health issues and her subsequent falling in love with another. Eh… a few plot issues and mechanical (?) issues given she had surgery and well… didn’t seem like it would all work out that quickly. But who am I to judge?

4. I love the author’s name. I will check out another of her books to see how those compare. But I’m not in any rush.

Overall, I liked the book; however, it didn’t live up to my hope given the notes above. I imagine it is only in print, given the journal that comes with it, but that might be something to look into, if you’re interested.

I think the story is good, but there are other comparable stories. It’s a cross between Kate Morton and Dan Brown. But it isn’t as good as either of them, so… just do some review reading before you decide to take this one on. It may or may not be a fit.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: The Cat Who Smelled a Rat

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The Cat Who Smelled a RatMy rating: 3 of 5 stars to Lilian Jackson Braun‘s novel, The Cat Who Smelled a Rat, the 23rd entry in the “Cat Who” mystery series. Koko and Yum Yum are at it again in this cute cozy about arson, explosions and murder.

When this was published in 2001, the writer was almost 90 years old. She’d written a marvelous set of books all about a cozy little town up in the mountains of Moose County, 400 miles north of everywhere… basically on the Canadian border near the Great Likes, but on the US side. And she continued to write another 7 books in the last decade of her life before she passed away just before her 97th birthday. She was a bit of a recluse in the last 15 years, probably a bit sick from time to time. Many suspect a team of writers finished the books for her in the later years, but that’s only what I’ve read on the interwebs. I get all my news from there.

This book is your normal cozy… some good parts, some bad parts… the charm is in the characters and the town, less about the mystery with her books. You really get to know everyone, the history and all the core families, so it’s more like reading about a good friend. You can forgive a less than stellar story when you’re happy to be around people you like.

That said, the mystery has some fun with the “rats” and the “cats” this time. Always good antics…. but the best is the main character, Qwill. I wish I could meet him in real life. But if you must know, it really is the cats that solve the crime. Every time.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Guiding Light: Jonathan’s Story

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Guiding Light: Jonathan's Story
Guiding Light: Jonathan’s Story by Julia London

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Guiding Light was the longest running television soap opera, airing from 1937 to 1952 on radio, and then from 1952 until 2009 on TV. I became hooked on it the summer I turned 13 and had a lot of free time on my hands. I watched it for 15+ years, faithfully recording it on my VCR while I was at school and then when I went to college. It wasn’t easy explaining why a 21 year old guy had to record a show on the VCR for an hour a day. And I would get crabby whenever I missed it!

By 2000, the show was on a decline, in part due to the months-long televised OJ Simpson trial. End result, Guiding Light pulled out all the stops to try and retain more viewership. One of those attempts was publishing a book about a few of the most memorable characters, and it was called Guiding Light: Jonathan’s Story, by Julia London.

As I was a huge fan, I had to read it; however, if you only watched the show, and didn’t know about the book, things were happening off screen to the characters that you never knew about. And that just felt odd.

When I checked my “read” books today to see what I needed to write a review on, this one showed up, and I saw that of about 1000 Goodreads friends as of today, 0 had read this book. Hilarious! So I’m not going to convince you to read it. And you’re probably thinking…

All I can say is… when you love a TV show, you’ll read anything about the characters. And while the book wasn’t bad, it was just a bit odd for me to read it and then watch a different story line on TV. I applaud the show for trying this method tho!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 45 – Neighborly

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Neighborly: being good neighbor [person who lives close by to you], especially helpful, friendly, or kind

Being neighborly can be a good and a bad thing. As I begin writing this post, I’m smack in the middle of the barometer on the whole subject. Let’s see where I end up at the bottom of this post.

Seems like an easy one, right? You’re nice to the people who live next door to you. But how far do you actually take it? Do you become friends? Do you dog-sit? Do you lend items? Do you stalk? Oh, wait, that’s taking it too far.

I’m proud to say I’ve never had a combative relationship with any of my neighbors. I’ve had a few times where they bothered me a little bit with excess noise or a sour puss… but those things can be ignored or fixed with a minor conversation. Except for once. One neighbor always looked like she was miserable… and trying to be a nicer person, I said “hi, how was your day?” in the elevator. She looked at me, pulled her glasses down towards the end of her nose, smirked and said “There’s no need for us to talk.” I had never spoken to the woman before. Our apartments don’t share a common wall. And I’m extremely quiet, so I couldn’t have bothered her before.  A few days later, a friend stopped by, and we all got stuck in the elevator together riding down a few floors. I admit it was childish… but when the woman stepped out of the elevator before us, I mumbled just loud enough for her to hear… “Shh… talking will send you straight to hell around here.”  Ah, that’s on my board of “Moments I am Proud of.”

Historically speaking… your neighbors were people you were often very close to, related to, or at least knew enough about. Nearly 100 years ago, it was acceptable for your neighbor to complete the US Census for you when the census taker couldn’t get hold of you. And when the cops came around looking for you, your neighbor always knew where you’d be!

Today, people sometimes live in an apartment building for years, never once seeing or meeting their next door neighbor. When I lived in the suburbs, I thought that was completely nuts. How could you not see the person every day? Then I moved into the city and realized… it’s definitely possible.

As a child and teenager, I lived next door in the suburbs to my best friend. We were the same age, went to school together and played or hung out every day after school and on weekends. Everyone on the block knew one another… until slowly generations changed and people moved… then folks started talking about that new couple that moved in… and the nosy gossip started!

When I lived in the dorms in college, I knew my mates and the 2 or 3 dorm room inhabitants directly around me, but not everyone. And when I bought my first house, I made zero effort to get to know the people who lived nearby. So where do I fall on that neighborly scale?

Reasons Why I Am

  • I love small town charm and knowing everyone else’s business. But they can’t know mine.
  • I love being helpful in case (s)he needs to borrow a cup of sugar.
  • I kinda want to know if someone creepy is living that close to try not to get on his/her bad side.
  • It’s probably good someone knows what you look like in case someone else is trying to break into your place. At least there’s a chance (s)he will try to call the cops for you.

Reasons Why I Am NOT

  • I live in NYC where everything is a rush. Who has time for chit-chat?
  • I’m a shy and quiet person. I don’t like to be interrupted.
  • I tend to get a little “that’s mine, don’t touch it” attitude every so often. I was an only child. And I don’t like border disputes! 🙂

In all seriousness though… being neighborly seems like a good thing. It can run the gamut from friendly to just a nod of acceptance. We’re all in this world together, a little gesture now and again shouldn’t kill us. And you never know who or what may come out of getting to know them a little bit.

I also think it’s a different type of neighborly when you live in the same building versus separate land and property. It’s easy to chat in an elevator with someone who lives on your floor. (REALLY, it is…) You may need to make the effort when they live 100 feet away.

How about you? Do you want to know your neighbors or would you prefer to keep some distance?

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.