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Every Note Played
Every Note Played
Author: Lisa Genova
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Hardcover
reviewed on + 96 more book reviews


From my wordpress blog booksbypaula: This book follows the old Genova formula. You have your patient with a horrible, neurological condition (and very little hope of recovery) that most affects his/her job and lifestyle, you have the family problems that will eventually be addressed through the process of nursing the patient until he or she dies, you have the complicated family situations, the blow by blow of the progression of the disease as it eats away the patient's competence and life but leaves intact their humanity.

It is all masterfully done, but by now (this is Genova's 5th book) a little too rote and familiar. Why can't one of these books have a character that starts in a close family or finds spirituality or is cured by a herbalist who is proven in the end to be selling snake oil? Anything except the old lockstep disease, emotional complications, more disease, emotional thawing, heart-rending devastating disease sequence, reunification or at least acceptance and death.

This is the story of Richard, a concert pianist who contracts ALS, and his ex-wife, Karina who will be his resentful caretaker. Karina resents that Richard took her to Boston as she was starting a career as a Jazz pianist. Since then she has not done much with her career, is just being a mother and a piano teacher. Richard remembers that when he started touring as a concert pianist he offered to move to a city with a Jazz scene and she chose to live in Boston. Their daughter, Grace, sides with Karina, the parent who was home enough to know. Richard resents Karina âstealingâ Grace.

As a conservative, who had seemingly read this book before or four too much like it, what I noticed most about this book was the sexual mores and the concept of family. In my working class family and culture, it is assumed that people take care of their family. I was taught by my (admittedly Victorian) parents that marriage is a life time commitment. Once you make the promise you hold on with both fists even when it is the only way to keep from using them to kill the other person. I was told that BOTH PARTNERS in the marriage should be invested in the happiness of the other partner. Sex is the glue that bonds the partners, and, as such, should be kept until the promises are made.

This book shows what happens when those rules are turned on their head. Early in the book Karina remembers telling her teen-aged daughter âSex isn't a sin, but you have to protect yourself. Birth control is the woman's responsibilityâ. She feels great guilt for that statement: not because she is putting her daughter in a position to form short term, emotionally unsatisfactory relationships rather than a long term commitment; but because women should not be made to feel responsible for their own safety and futures or something. I really didn't understand. She also tells herself that the old sex in marriage rules are made by men and for men.

The reality, however, is that since the sexual revolution many women have been like Karina, stuck in a loveless marriage largely because they have been taught it is weak and somehow disloyal to the sisterhood to give enough of themselves to create the bond of love; angry and unfulfilled because their friends judge and hound them about doing the most important job in the worldâforming little minds to create happy and useful people; unwilling to define themselves as parents and unwilling to sacrifice parenthood for the all mighty Career and believing themselves wrong because they chose to care for their child.

In the middle of this book Richard despairs of having burnt all of his bridges with Karina and Grace. He was not there. He was not loyal. Now he is dying alone and probably financially incapable of hiring the full time care he will need. He cries in fear and panic. This too, comes of a culture where couples believe that marriages is for their personal fulfillment rather than the good of the family.

Even in the midst of all of the leftist lies, even Genova believes that it is good and right for the protagonist to nurse her former lover. She would probably vehemently deny this (loyalty to the sisterhood). However, her character instinctively knows you have to take care of family. Her characters are deeply unhappy in their inability to give and receive love.

Even though it wasn't the message Every Note was meant to give, but it is an important issue that our society must face. The Sexual Revolution is a failure that harms women.


Warlight: A novel
reviewed on


London after WWII. Nathanial and Rachel's parents leave for Singapore and leave them in the care of a friend they call The Moth. Nathanial is 14 at the time and the book is written from his perspective when he is 28 and he is trying to recall that period of time of just over a year when they lived with The Moth and got to know his group of friends before their mother returned. They realize their mother is not in Singapore but do not know where she is. There are hints of wartime espionage and work for the Foreign Office. The prose is elegant and beautiful and the recollections of a 14 year old when he is older is spot on. The second half of the book is Nathanial living in Sussex when he is 28 and is working for the government and investigating his mother's past. He pieces together her story and moves on to other characters from that time frame. People his mother knew who have crossed his path either in the present or when he was 14. The characters all connect and the story comes full circle. Beautifully written, beautiful language.


Mistresses of Mayhem: The Book of Women Criminals
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If you like true crime you will thoroughly enjoy this book.


The Astronaut Wives Club
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An enjoyable book with insight to the lives of the astronauts we only know as heros. And who even knew they had wives and families?!


The Gravity of Birds: A Novel
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Just fnished this. Wow.


Small Strangers: The Experiences of Immigrant Children in America, 1880-1925 (American Childhoods)
reviewed on + 1207 more book reviews


This is a very interesting study of the experiences of immigrant children, who helped make America what it is today.

I read it because in 1912 my father's father came alone from Italy at the age 12. He got a job sweeping up cut hair in a barbershop in Brooklyn, NY. Years later he owned that shop, and was still cutting hair in his 90s. People would wait outside in a line for "Joe the Barber," while he took a 2-hour lunch break and nap.

One of my favorite memories is walking blocks to take him his hot lunch which my grandmother prepared every day for him. Of course, the hundreds of comic books he had in his shop had nothing to do with my eagerness to take him his lunch. :-)

I'm a third-generation American and I believe in immigration, as it works for the betterment of our country.

One interesting tidbit from the book: during this period and later, immigrant children often couldn't afford to go to school, especially high school, as they had to work to help support the family. But during the great depression, when so many men lost their jobs, they then took jobs previously done by children. As a result, with no jobs, older children flocked to high schools for more education, free lunches and school-related clubs. As a result, America's military in World War II was the best educated military force in history.


A Cousin's Challenge (Indiana Cousins, Bk 3)
reviewed on


I have read all three books in this series and I liked all of them equally. I would give them all a 4 star


Luck Be a Chicken
Luck Be a Chicken
Author: Jameson Gregg
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 224 more book reviews


Not my normal type of book. I could not get into about 80% of the book, the 20% I did was about the power of people who pull through life by living it as best you can and doing what you know how to do.
I don't think it is humorous as it is lead to believe plus skip it if you can't stand books that are not politically correct. I did come across I quote I liked and may start using. " This Lunchroom is a privilege, not a right. It Will be closed if not kept Clean!"


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Fun book, filled with tons of pictures. Lots of history, interesting facts and shows the building of, the destruction of the rebuilding of the areas the road runs through.


The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir
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I was not sure what to expect from this book but was a little disappointed with it. Dee Williams starts off with her life before she jumped in and built herself a Tiny House which is about half the book. Then she gives a peek into the build and how she must adjust to her new way of life. Not a whole lot of detail on the house building so if you are looking for that type of book you might want to skip this book, it is mostly a Memoir. Not a smooth read but fascinating story.


Smoke Screen (Audio CD) (Abridged)
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You go to meet a friend(ex lover) for a drink. Go go back to his place for discussions. Than you wake accused of murder? What's going on here? Events are not what they appeared. Who can you trust?


A Reputation Dies
A Reputation Dies
Author: Alice Chetwynd Ley
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 429 more book reviews


No. 1 in the Rutherford Mysteries - the others are A Fatal Assignation and Masquerade of Vengeance. These are regency mysteries, not romances per se, but they do have that regency romance setting I enjoy.


Above the Paw (Paw Enforcement, Bk 5)
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I like this series so I bought this book but it really missed the mark..The story goes on & on & never get anyplace..It feels like the author had to turn in so many words so its very repetitive..After pages of the dog sniffing dorm rooms at the college & finding very little and half the book was finished I didn't bother with the rest..


The Apartment
The Apartment
Author: S. L. Grey
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 67 more book reviews


At some time in your life you may experience a bone-chilling encounter that is so horrible it will change your life forever. And when you later look upon someone you will say..."I'm sorry it had to be you."
The Apartment is gripping, creepy as all hell, and the dread will linger for days afterward,It's dark and deeply disturbing. trust me - it's not for kids!So if you have the courage open the door and meet husband and wife, Mark and Steph, an encounter you will never forget. Gery


The Far End of Happy
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Ronnie's husband is supposed to move out today. But when Jeff pulls into the driveway drunk, with a shotgun in the front seat, she realizes nothing about the day will go as planned. Based on a real event for the author's life, it's a chilling and heartbreaking story. Craft is a great storyteller and this is one you won't forget any time soon. I'll have to check out some of her other stories.


Scandal (Tempted, Bk 2)
Scandal (Tempted, Bk 2)
Author: Pamela Britton
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
reviewed on + 209 more book reviews


Another 'Fairy Tale' as is the companion book 'Tempted'. They could be updated 'Cinderella' stories. It is hard for me to think that such a story would be a possibility in that period of British history. Don't think I'll be reading any more of Ms. Britton's stories.


First Flurries
First Flurries
Author: Joanne DeMaio
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 412 more book reviews


Dollycas's Thoughts

We return to Addison and Snowflake Lake right before the holidays. Lindsey Haynes has just pulled into town with her unique little shop on wheels. Her Uncle Gus manages the cabins on SnowFlake Lake and he has the perfect spot to park her Tiny House/Shop when it isn't parked on the square for the upcoming Christmas event. She is thrilled her snow globe directed her to this charming little town. The snow globe, a gift from her father came with a note â âUnsure where to go? Give a little shake ⦠and your heart will always know.â It hasn't steered her wrong yet.

Dr. Greg Davis has had some bad luck in the romance department so this year he has vowed to turn over a new leaf. He doesn't need to be in a relationship to enjoy the holidays.

Greg and Lindsey happen to meet just when the first flurries start to fall in Addison. Their worlds get all shook up and it may never be the same, especially with a little nudge here and a little push there.

I know when I reach for a book by this author I am in for a delightful story so I plan accordingly. Looking at the cover I knew I was going to need a cup or two of hot cocoa and a blanket to snuggle in. The weather here had just turned chilly so it was cooperating as well.

Lindsey and her tiny house and snow globe grabbed me right away. I love tiny houses and I could easily imagine living in one myself, only stationary, not traveling the country on a trailer. I must say it is a fantastic idea for a person like Lindsay.

We met the Davis family before and this time it is Greg's story. He decides to reinvent himself, not be so uptight. Changes the way he dresses, quits shaving and trades in his sensible car for a Mustang . . . in the winter . . . in Connecticut.

These two are destined for each other but it isn't going to be easy.

I adore the way that Ms. DeMaio tells a story. Everything about her characters and their interactions is believable and genuine. Lindsey's positive free spirit attitude is refreshing juxtaposed against Greg's somewhat curmudgeonly take on life. The story unfolds at a comfortable pace and is very well written. She has set this series in a charming locale. The snow globe brings a little magic to the wonderful holiday read. Every scene is described vividly painting delightful images in the mind.

Addison, Connecticut is a truly wondrous place to spend the holidays. Romance and Christmas cheer abound. This story will leave your heart warmed and a huge smile on your face.

While there are recurring characters all of the books in this series can be read on their own, but you will want to read them all! I highly recommend this snowy escape.


A Crafter Knits a Clue: A Handcrafted Mystery
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Dollycas's Thoughts

Knit one, purl MURDER!

Sammy Kane has returned to Heartsford for her best friend Kate's funeral and when she hears the craft store will close without a new owner Sammy decides to stay and take over the store. Community Craft has become a gathering place for the crafters in the area and also allows them to sell their creations.

There is also another new shop owner in town. Ingrid Wilson has opened a store selling the most beautiful barn. While Sammy is happy to have The Yarn Barn in town, the owner is always needing help in one way or another. She has no problem calling Sammy's employee, Kate's little brother, with tasks she says she just handle. Carter and Sammy are trying to get Community Craft ready for the annual Spring Fling when Ingrid calls Carter for help. Sammy tells Carter to keep doing what he is doing while she handles a couple of things and then she will go over to help Ingrid. When she arrives, she finds yarn shop order dead on the floor, a knitting needle the killer's weapon of choice.

Heartsford also has a new police detective. Sammy meets Liam Nash when he arrives on the scene. He learns right away about a tragedy in a small town â Everyone has an opinion and are not afraid to point fingers at any other resident they think committed the crime. Sammy has a little experience as a sleuth herself. S.H.E. was detective club of Sammy, her sister Elle, and their cousin Heidi had in their childhood. Like Nancy Drew, they solved several âcrimesâ. The group reunites when they think Detective Liam Nash is not solving Ingrid's murder fast enough. They realize it's not as easy as they thought especially when Sammy is threatened physically to back off.

****

Heartsford, if it was an actual town would be a short drive from where I live in Wisconsin. I know the author lives nearby too because she has captured Springtime in Wisconsin perfectly. It is one of the places you can experience all four seasons in one day. Mother Nature is very fickle in the Spring. It can be snowing in the morning, the sun comes out in the early afternoon with rising temps, then later the wind picks up and by night she will throw a good old fashioned thunderstorm at us. Heck, there are days when it rains in the front yard while the sun is shining brightly in the backyard. ð

Holly Quinn has inhabited Heartsford with fantastic residents too! So many crafters. I liked that in addition to the shops in town we see how important the school is to this community. School events play a huge part to the people in Heartsford and Wisconsin in general. Carter is on the basketball team and Big Ten scouts are at the game watching him and other players with scholarships hopes. The Spring Fling is more than just a shopping event, there is a parade that reminded me of the usual homecoming parade but for the winter sports. It was heartwarming that the town came together to support its own even with a murderer on the loose.

The investigation had many facets. Sammy is a very observant person but so is the good detective. He found several ways to come in contact with Sammy, even sharing some unknown details while she filled him on things she had uncovered. Of course, he wants her to leave everything to him, but that was never going to happen. It was fun to follow along with S.H.E. and watching Sammy spar with Liam.

This book follows what almost all first books in series' do. It's pace, in the beginning, is a little slow because the author has to introduce all the characters, their relationships and where they fit into the landscape of the town. The pace picks up nicely in the second half as clues start to fall into place and suspects are honed in on or eliminated. The murder mystery was wrapped up nicely at the end but there is a cliffhanger leading to the next story. Love that!

This series is off to a splendid start. The story has a real hometown feel with characters I want to get to know better. I love that Sammy's golden retriever is welcome and spends days with her at the store. The community was realistic. The mystery was well-plotted and executed. As a former crafter, I love the theme. All my cozy boxes were checked. I am excited about the next installment.

*There are two sock patterns too after the story.


Home Safe
Home Safe
Author: Elizabeth Berg
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
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I really liked Home Safe. I liked that it was set in my home state. The relationship between the mother, Helen, and her daughter was interesting. Helen was an author, who was going through writer's block since the death of her husband. She was totally clueless of household maintenance, or financial responsibilities. Her accountant informs her that her husband had withdrawn 850 thousand dollars from their account, but no one knows why or where the money is. She is also determined to find her daughter a husband, but all her daughter wants is for Helen to quit meddling in her life. My book club picked Home Safe for our November selection.The author's writing was thought provoking, but also made you laugh at times. I enjoyed it!


Untie My Heart
Untie My Heart
Author: Judith Ivory
Genre: Romance
Book Type: Paperback
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Very original, both in writing style and plot! Ivory's writing is so lush and rich in description. This is not a book you want to rush through, but savor every paragraph. She spends at least a page describing the hero's winter fur coat, and by the end of it not only will you be craving the coat, but somehow she's also revealed a lot about the character of the man wearing it.
The heroine, Emma, is a widowed Yorkshire sheep farmer, but once upon a time her and her first husband ran confidence games. Although she's long been reformed, Emma still has that little quirk in her character that can't resist trouble. So when she can't get legally compensated for the loss of a sheep that was run over my Stuart's coach, she decides to run a little confidence game on the hero. Stuart, Viscount Mount Villiars, has just become Viscount upon the death of his father. He hated his father so much that he's spent years in Turkey, Russia, and anywhere as far away from him as he could get. He's now returned to settle the estate, which is in a huge financial tangle, thanks to an uncle who tried to steal his inheritance.
When these two meet, they seem like an unlikely couple, but the fireworks start almost immediately. Stuart is gorgeous, exotic and strong-willed, and he unexpectedly finds himself attracted to the twists and turns of Emma's mind, as well as her body. Both of them are extremely tricky and clever, so they are evenly matched, and throughout the book they take turns getting the better of each other. Stuart pretty quickly figures out what Emma's game is, and he recruits her to run a little confidence game of his own.
The love scenes are intense, sometimes a little bit kinky, and funny all at the same time. At the end, it was touching the way they both put their hearts on the line, and risk everything for love.
Another bonus was I learned a lot about Victorian era confidence games. I can't believe this author never came across my path before. Her writing has so much feeling, humor, and great character development. I will definitely read more by her!


Nothing to Lose (Searchers, Bk 2) (Silhouette Intimate Moments, No 1321)
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This was an emotional, fast-paced, and complex story, the second in the series "TheSearchers." More than twenty years earlier, Wyatt's younger sister had been kidnapped, the strain of the event tearing his family apart. Both Wyatt and his older brother, Gage (Nowhere to Hide), were torn up with guilt over the kidnapping, each blaming himself for not stopping it. Gage dealt with his guilt by becoming an FBI agent, working in the Crimes Against Children unit. Wyatt coped by writing books about crimes to understand the mindset of people who commit them. Neither man has stopped searching for their sister, always hopeful that she will be found. Wyatt's latest project is the story of a cop who has been convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend and her mother.

Taylor is the sister of the convicted murderer. She adores her big brother and knows that there is no way that Hunter is guilty. A few classes shy of graduating from medical school, she quit that and transferred to law school, determined to find a way to prove her brother innocent and set him free. She is horrified to find out that Wyatt has been interviewing Hunter because she knows that Wyatt's books are slanted toward the side of the victims. She has been looking for proof for two years to help with the appeal but has been constantly stonewalled and frustrated by the lack of help from Hunter's attorney, a long-time friend of the family. When her roommate suggests that she take her information to Wyatt in hopes that he will help her find the truth, Taylor is wary but willing to try anything.

Wyatt was intrigued by Taylor from the time he met her at Hunter's trial. He is skeptical of her claims of Hunter's innocence but wants his book to be accurate. As he and Taylor work together, Wyatt quickly realizes that there are more questions than answers in what they find out. There is also a strong attraction between them, something that neither of them is happy about at first. Taylor doesn't need or want the distraction. Wyatt is afraid that it will affect his ability to be impartial, but he also can't deny that he feels protective of her, especially once he finds out about the threats she has received. The longer they worked together on Hunter's case, the closer they got. That same closeness also had Wyatt running scared. He had spent years with walls built around his heart, letting no one inside as a way to protect himself from the pain of any more loss. But Taylor had gotten inside, and he didn't know quite how to deal with it. It took nearly losing her to make Wyatt realize the depth of his feelings for her. Taylor recognized her feelings sooner, but there were things going on that made her believe that Wyatt didn't return her feelings. I loved the ending when all the misunderstandings were cleared up. Wyatt's vulnerability as he confessed his feelings was heartwrenching.

The question of Hunter's innocence or guilt was very well done. I ached for Taylor, who had given up everything that was important to her to try to get justice for her brother. Her determination was amazing and had led her to some information that raised questions about his conviction. Wyatt was convinced of Hunter's guilt but impressed by Taylor's belief in her brother. I liked the way that he was open-minded enough to listen to what Taylor had to say. The search for the truth also put a target on Taylor's back, as threats warned her to back off, and her house was set on fire as a warning. As she and Wyatt delved deeper into what led up to the murders, multiple suspects were uncovered. Was it the fiancée's married lover? Or did it have something to do with her investigation into police corruption? Could it have something to do with the fiancée's mother? Or had Hunter pissed off one too many of his fellow cops? The final unraveling of the mystery had some unexpected twists to it. The final confrontation was intense and had me wondering just how Taylor was going to get out of it. I loved her determination and ingenuity as she fought for her life. The final revelations showed what a tangled web it had been.

Also running through the book was the continuing search for Wyatt and Gage's kidnapped little sister. We see how the kidnapping affected Wyatt, both as a child and as an adult. I ached for Wyatt and the guilt he still feels. A lead comes in an unexpected way, and Wyatt's excitement is palpable. That same excitement creates some problems, as he doesn't share what is happening with Taylor and she misconstrues what she sees. The ending was amazing with one mystery solved, but questions still remaining.


Piano Tuning: A Simple and Accurate Method for Amateurs
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This seems quite detailed and complete--there is a lot to learn before setting out as a piano tuner. There are seventeen chapters, such as 'Rationale of the Temperament.' Some line drawings. "Probably the most important essential in piano building is the production of a frame of such strength and stability that the enormous tension of the strings is completely resisted in all parts of the scale."
The hints in the last chapter seem especially valuable.
Index.


Atlas, Schmatlas: A Superior Atlas of the World
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This was fun to look through on the bus and I will leave it on the book truck in the lobby of the VA Hospital tomorrow where it will find a pleased reader within an hour or two. It is lighthearted enough to perhaps cheer up old soldiers! In fact, I think the lobby will do without and I will send it to the old soldiers and sailors' home).
This is NOT for little kids ("Language!" said mom).
It includes many of the more obscure places such as islets in the Atlantic Ocean owned by Brazil and Jan Mayen in the Norwegian Sea (north of the Faroes).
Mr. Robinson, a Brit, begins well with a brief introduction identifying the universe, the earth's core and mantle, etc. Population, capital, language, area, and official name are given for each nation.
Sample for Canada: "This is the bit of North America that the English didn't want, agreeing as they did with Voltaire that it was nothing more than a 'few acres of snow.' So France snapped it up, then let the Queen of England have some of it as long as she agreed to make the toilet signs in French too. These days the primary function of Canada is to be the word that more cultured Americans use when asked by Europeans where they come from."
Some endnotes. Index.


The Queen's Poisoner (The Kingfountain Series)
reviewed on


This book was interesting because the protagonist is a child-- not a teenager, but a much younger child. As a woman, in my thirties, I was expecting to have difficulty relating to him or being interested in a story from his point of view. I enjoyed it FAR more than I expected to. I don't often give out 5 stars, but this book managed to subvert my expectations, and leave me ready for the next part of the story.


She Was the Quiet One
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Poorly written, characters poorly developed

mostly a story about high school 'mean girls' and takes place in a boarding school, very juvenile story


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