alien

Review: The Cat Who Saw Stars

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The Cat Who Saw StarsBook Review


3 out of 5 stars to The Cat Who Saw Stars, the 21st book in the “Cat Who” cozy mystery series, written in 1998 by Lilian Jackson Braun. By this time, the series is will under way, almost writing itself. The mysteries are mostly just light and cute, revolving around different people in the town and the outsiders who visit Moose County. I’m not a huge fan of extra-terrestrial and UFO stories, as there isn’t a whole lot to do with them when it comes to characters or plot; it always ends up being the same thing. But this one is, of course, not really a UFO; there’s no chance the small town of Pickax has aliens running around. It’s just someone doing something they shouldn’t be, and when they’re caught, and a dead body turns up, there’s gotta be some funny connection, right? The story was a bit of a stretch, didn’t do a whole lot for me, but it was still a quick and enjoyable read. You can tell Braun works hard to add something different with each bookl sometimes it’s great, other times it’s just average. This was an average one. Nothing bad, just nothing thoroughly exciting. But I enjoy the books and the characters, and it makes me feel like I’m around friends and family when reading them. And that’s what counts, given why I’m reading them!



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.

View all my reviews

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Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From what I can tell, I’m not in the majority when it comes to rating The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I’m giving it a 3, which means I still liked it… but unfortunately, I wasn’t as fond of the humor as most people are.

This was a book club selection from about 6 or 7 years ago. We agreed to read just the first one in the series. And it was the first science-fiction novel we took on. I was excited. Several had already read it but wanted to again.

I’m generally a fan of crazy humor. I love Spaceballs, the movie. I kinda liken it to that, but for some reason, this wasn’t as funny as I felt everyone said it was. Tons of laughs. Many great lines. The characters were memorable. I’m pretty sure there are a few movie or cartoon adaptions of it.

And I honestly would recommend that everyone read it — even non SF fans. There are parts you will totally enjoy. But it’s hard to get into for a non-SF reader right from the beginning. My first reactions were “Oh that’s not possible…” But then I realized I wasn’t reading a typical novel, so I suspended the lil’ bit o’ grouch in me… and I was able to enjoy it.

Very imaginative. Lots of cool commentary on life as other people would see it. A fair approach for someone new to the universe, so to speak.

I may go back and read it now that I’m older and have read a few other SF and fantasy books. I’m curious… what’s the huge appeal for others about this book?

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.


View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 25 – Obsessed

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Obsessed: preoccupied with or constantly worrying about something

There are varying degrees to which someone can be obsessed with something or someone, ranging from healthy to serial killer. [No, I’m not one]

I’m in that range somewhere. After 24 days, I suppose you think you know me well enough to pinpoint roughly whereabouts I’d fall in that scale. I’ll make it easy for you… it all depends on what I’m obsessing over. I have been known on occasion to be so obsessive, it is scary. Not scary in “he’s gonna go pyscho,” but scary in “did he seriously just do/say/eat that AGAIN?”

Since this post could go on forever about different types of obsession, I’ll share a few things where I find myself obsessed, but ultimately, I’m going to blog about my obsession with food and drink. Things I’ve noticed obsessions over:

  • Test Results: whether it was in school waiting for a grade, getting blood work or updates from a doctor, or DNA results from Ancestry.com, I would check every hour to see if something was new (if it was online, that is… I’d never actually call and ask someone the same question every hour — I do have some level of self-control).

  • Updates: Checking to see if the dial has changed on something (anything… temperature, stocks, points, votes, etc.), I check way too frequently to see if the number has increased or decreased since the last time I saw it. And if the WiFi or screen freezes for any moment, hell hath no fury like an obsessed Jay!

  • Email: At my last job, I looked at my mobile phone every few seconds to see if a new email came in as I was freakishly paranoid about missing it and not getting back to someone timely. I carried it in my hand (not in my pocket) — with the volume off of course (see post on quiet) — just so I could feel the vibration and know I was needed. It rested under my pillow while I slept too.

But… today I am choosing to focus on foods and drinks. So here is the problem… I’m very self-conscious about looking good and being healthy, so I am often balancing my diet, working out and generally trying to maintain a stress-free life. (Note, for another day I’ll cover stress: my opinion is stress causes all the disease and physical pain to manifest in our bodies. You may already have the gene markers in your DNA for it to happen, but cutting out the stress could help prevent it from developing or getting worse) — not a doctor — just my opinion from research and observation!

What foods and drinks am I obsessed with? And by obsessed, I don’t mean I eat them all the time and can’t stop thinking about them. What I mean is… if it’s on the counter or in the closet, I will eat it ALL. I therefore try really hard not to buy these things… and when my mother brings them over on Sundays, I just hate myself. 😛

  • Desserts (cakes, cookies, anything sweet)
  • Chocolate
  • Champagne
  • Cheese
  • Bread

If I open the bag of cookies, I will eat the entire box in one sitting. But I won’t go to the store to buy it every day. If I open a bottle of champagne for dinner, I have to buy at least two: one for me, and one for the other person. And I hope that (s)he does not finish all of theirs so that I can have more. And if I buy cheese and crackers as a pre-dinner snack, I do not believe in wrapping up the remaining cheese for another day. If it’s been opened, it is meant to be consumed. I’ll shove 3 or 4 pieces in my mouth at once. I’m a freakin’ monster when it comes to foods that I love.

And while it’s happening, I’ll reason with myself while sitting on said couch. Typical conversation with myself:

ME: “You had ten, that’s enough.”

ME AGAIN: “One more won’t hurt.”

ME: “OK, just one.”

… [scramble from the couch… into the kitchen… gone longer than should be… back on the couch]…

ME AGAIN: “You had just one, right?”

ME: [can’t speak because mouth is full]

ME AGAIN: “You didn’t, you pig!”

ME: [head hangs in pseudo fake-shame]

ME AGAIN: “How many did you eat?”

ME: “The better question is how many are left!”

That is obsessed. And it leads to a few moments of “got to go work out NOW” and “I feel sick,” but I still do it every time in the future when the opportunity presents itself. Gluttonous is most appropriate word to use. That said, a few interesting  sidebars I’ve noticed:

  1. It doesn’t show because I am probably almost as obsessed with working out, taking vitamins and eating healthy otherwise. I need to balance it out somewhere.
  2. Alcoholism and diabetes run in my family, which means I’m keenly aware of the effects over indulgent behaviors. As a result, I have always been cautious and aware of the risks… and I’d like to say I would never become dependent on these things. Yes, I obsess over some of them, but I also know enough to stop when I need to. (I only do that crazy cookie eating thing once a month!!!!!!)
  3. It makes me human. Perhaps I’m not so peculiar after all… though we all have some crazy in us.

I’m curious why I do these things… why I allow myself to become obsessed? Since it happens beyond just eating and drinking, it’s not some missing vitamin or mineral or chemical in my internal biology! 😛

Am I needy? Am I bored? Am I wanton of things I don’t have? Nah… I think everyone does things like this from time to time. We let our minds control us for so long on certain topics until we decide to just accept or forget the supposed importance. Obsessions just show how much you love something, right? Assuming you keep it healthy and non-impacting to anyone else, then it’s all cool, right? The other people are wrong.

Review: The White Feather Murders

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The White Feather MurdersMy rating: 3 of 5 stars to Rachel McMillan‘s The White Feather Murders, her third historical cozy in the “Herringford and Watts” mystery series. This book was a tough one for me to review as I had a hard time staying focused, but I did like the story-line. Something about it said “keep trying” but ultimately, in the end, I wasn’t too keen on it.


Why This Book?

After joining NetGalley last month, I looked for books I could read immediately through automatic requests, as I needed to increase my review % and receive newer releases I wanted to read. When I saw the description of this book, and the cover, I thought it would be a good new series to read, even though I usually start with Book 1. It landed in my queue and I read it over the last few days.


Story

The book (and I assume the series) takes place in the early 20th century in Toronto, Canada, just prior to England entering World War 1. There is a lot of tension in the air over whether immigrants from Germany and Italy are truly becoming Canadian citizens, or if they are secretly helping their home countries back in Europe. (Sounds familiar, eh?) Everyone was suspected of being an alien enemy!

Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts DeLuca are “lady detectives” who have become popular for solving crimes in the last few years, and they are called in by Miss Mueller, a German-Canadian woman, who fears for her brother’s life. He’s being beaten and harassed because he is German, even though he supports England and Canada in the war. The local police and the Mayor tolerate Merinda and Jem’s investigations, probably more than expected for the time period when women were foolishly not allowed to do much except mind the home and children; however, the corrupt Mayor really thinks both are frustrating and troublesome.

Suddenly, several men they know are found dead with a white feather strewn across their bodies. And then the German boy they were investigating is found dead with the same type of feather. But it’s when a car rams into Merinda and Jem that they realize someone is after them. Their families try to get the ladies to stop investigating, but the women are determined to solve the crime. And in the end, they do. But the path along the way is dangerous and misleading, especially when corruption lurks behind every stone they turn over.


Strengths

The story feels real and the setting is clear. You feel a connection because this happened, even if you don’t hail from Canada.

It’s good to see two female leads, especially in historical fiction. Their actions feel accurately depicted.

The book has several small story arcs supporting the main investigation, which helps create a more robust world to read about.


Why I Struggled

There were too many characters who weren’t properly described or given enough distinction. I often felt confused as to who was on which side, finding myself skimming a few pages now and again to get to the end.

I never connected with the characters. The book felt too plot-driven with little focus on likability for the plight other than knowing it was unfair. I wanted the underdogs to win because that’s just who I am, but it wasn’t the writing that drove me to that conclusion.

I had high hopes but it felt too flat. I would have liked to see more drawn out scenes to help me understand why certain things happened. It was as if in the matter of one page, a body was found, they decided who did it and moved on.

I still don’t understand the end and how the killer just gave up. I won’t give away spoilers, but it must have been an old-fashioned villain’s way of doing things. Not what I expected!


Final Thoughts

Overall, the book had some good parts, and I wanted to like it more. I don’t think I’ll go back and read the rest of the books, but I might check out reviews on each of them, and this one, to see what I am missing. I admit I read more quickly than usual, and didn’t stay invested in it like I normally do. It may have been my fault that I didn’t like it that much.

On a side note, I watched the “Julie Bowen” episode of “Who Do You Think You Are” this week… as I love my genealogy. And she was researching two ancestors; one from Civil War days and one for WW1 where her great grandfather ran the national office of the American Protective League where they registered “alien enemies.” Reading about it in a book (in Canada) and watching it on TV (in America) happening at the same time nearly a century ago… made me think… we never learn our lessons, do we?

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.

View all my reviews