Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Knock Knock by Debra Purdy Kong


Knock Knock by Debra Purdy Kong

reviewed from Kindle

Who is stalking the senior citizens of Vancouver?
Another great read by Debra Purdy Kong. It's not often I get to read a book, in fact a series, located in my "hometown". Location well described, as well as the dangers we old folk can face just walking, taking transit, or driving a specific route home. For that matter, is anybody on foot or public transit ever completely sure they are safe? I've read several of Debra Kong's books and enjoyed them all. Her characters are always interesting and often in unusual ways. It's a long time since I lived in Vancouver and even though it has changed so much I recognize some parts of it, the people in my old neighborhood.

Doesn't life have crazy moments; imagine a complete misfit supposedly watching out for the safety of senior passengers on public transit. Who/Why would someone hire this person who ignores the people he is assigned to guard? Are these people coming or going? Now imagine that misfit causing more problems than benefits, a real snobby sort who needs to learn a few manners. Casey Holland has her hands full as security officer, and dealing with a person who is not fitting in or not even seeming to care about the people he should, even with stepped up security. She's also trying to plan her wedding, yet still be avidly aware of those riders mostly elderly or frail, and whether they are being followed suspiciously when they get off the transit, she notices the women especially are often wearing more jewellery than they should, and talking about their lives with no thought of their own privacy. She does her best for them including hints on what can make them safer when they get home. But is it enough? In the meantime, Casey is still unable to have her wedding! Too much going on and so little time to plan. When a break-in happens to one of her regular customers, Elsie, resulting in a brutal attack that lands her in hospital, Casey steps up her vigilance, and even begins to escort some of the more vulnerable home, an action that has just begun to really escalate to deadly crime and very nearly takes her own life.

A well-thought out story, a timely story, I really liked it, even with the fears and danger lurking in the shadows watching to take advantage of the elderly in this murder mystery. I'm glad I got to read it, it is compelling in its awareness of what is needed to protect the vulnerable.

The Place That Never Existed by Jim Ody

reviewed from Kindle
written by Jim Ody
publisher CrazyInk

What can I say about the creativity of this book? All I can say is "WOW!" This is the first book I have read by Jim Ody and I must say it is an tightly woven story that leads the reader in many directions.  From psychological overtones, to several sexual encounters, to a heartfelt love that survives regardless of multiple efforts to kill it. From a honeymoon in a village that seems a little strange and has a history of missing people to an ending that the reader will not see coming, my attention was grabbed from the beginning. Of course with a title about the non-existent place that is the source of fear, confusion and deadly pitfalls, I just knew I had to read this book. I am very glad I did and I will be looking for more by this author. The build-up was something that couldn't bring to mind where it was going and when the finale came it was spot on. Jim Ody, you took me completely by surprise.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Twenty-five Years of 22 Minutes by Angela Mombourquette

an unauthorized Oral History of This Hour Has 22 Minutes as told by cast members, staff and guests
by Angela Mombourquette

I really like the way this book is laid out. All the people involved in the conception, follow-up, performance, and the production are recognized in this book. Imagine in this day and age a comedic version of the news becoming a long-running (25 years at the writing of this book) award-winning show coming out of the maritime provinces for the most part. The book is segmented by conversations with each of the people involved in any way with the show. Basically, the book is like an interview with each person; the fact this show ran on a significantly low budget (virtually none) is astonishing. At times it reminded me of the old Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney "We'll put on a show!" "Let's put on a show!" movies.

I really enjoyed how everyone would work on the ideas they came up with. Some of them though really comical, came off badly, which almost made them even funnier. If you were and still are a fan of the show, you will really enjoy this book. If you didn't always watch it, you will enjoy learning how it all went together and wish you'd watched it more. This is a genuine satirical Canadian TV show, with the humour of the Maritimes. No wonder it's had such a long run! 5 stars to this one.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson


Reviewed from Kindle

Sadly, I found this book to be somewhat confusing, at times I wasn't sure what exactly it was trying to be. A leading actress disappears and doesn't come back for the next performance, nor any other performance. Her dresser Anna Treadway is beside herself trying to locate the actress or a reason for her disappearance and is understandably worried.

I think my confusion stems from timing, this is the '60s in London, not the '20s or '40s and I found myself floundering with the realization that at times I wasn't sure what decade I was in. The basic missing person and hunt for her is seemingly easy enough to deal with, but so many characters who all seem to be gravely concerned and want to help Anna, just seem to complicate matters. They are all from different cultures and also appear to want to be in the background as much as possible for racial reasons and the book seems to segue into their individual fears and hidden lives.

I was prepared to really enjoy this book, it seemed lively and fun but quickly changed. Anna, who it would seem is cast as poor and class-ridden actually takes charge of the search, but gradually takes on other so-called "different" friends in her search, I think the book is trying too hard to cover too many problematic racial, sexual, and similar prejudices and loses its way, with the exception of Anna, who appears to become stronger as time goes by. Granted, I don't know the country's judicial approach to some of the problems, but they seemed to come from a different time. I really wanted to like this book, it would be a great mystery, if there weren't so many characters with their own idiocyncrasies and problems in the way. As a first novel, I would encourage the author to consider whether she wants more mystery (though there was a good mystery and some surprises) and/or reduce some of the parade of extraneous bit-players. (This last comment comes from my perception while reading; the author, in fact, has taken on a very full story for her first novel and I will happily attempt another story by her).

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Last Librarian (The Justar Journal Book One) by Brandt Legg

An AOI Thriller
reviewed from Kindle

Be afraid, be very afraid. If the future is Utopia, who is allowed in? This book by Brandt Legg is scary, but interesting. Some of our past generations may have been a warning. Think of the Spanish Flu and earlier the Bubonic Plague, a terrible pandemic at the time, then multiply it. Think of Fahrenheit 451 and multiply it. Is this our future? Is there a future? The present in this book is worldwide peace, but is it really? Is the current peace a reality...or an impossibility. Already in our world much of the story-line is already spoken of by conspiracy theorists. Interesting. The mantra of the world leaders is "Peace prevails, always." Even in the face of murders and rebellion it seems.

Going back in my mind to the Spanish Flu, one wonders if this was a naturally occuring flu or something more sinister. Regardless, the outcome was horrific, as was the outcome of a different pandemic in this book. This is a great story of what could happen, what might happen, what has happened on a smaller scale. It is a story of people who care about the past and even the present, the last library is destined for destruction by the billionaire and trillionaire world rulers. Will the last library and librarian survive the destruction? They say history repeats itself, a line that has been quoted historically for centuries. Is this a repetition, a blip or is this the end of civilization? Civilization is not the only thing that dies on our planet. This book covers a lot of ground both in a past much like we currently live in and in the future as described with far more and better technology they we have at this moment in the pre-history of what may come. It seems timing is a major concern of when, where and if, and timing appears to have arrived. Surprisingly, one woman stands in the way of the rulers of Aylantik, one of the divisions of earth's power rulers. As in our WWI, the war to end all wars and again WWII, the war to end all wars these two factors are on their way to annihilation of the current status. Can this woman turn it around? An excellent read!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum

by Kirsten Weiss

I really enjoyed this interesting take on small town quirkiness. This one may have them all beat, but then it is a paranormal town as are all, or almost all the inhabitants. So what would one expect on returning to what was her old home. Well, I suppose, expect the unexpected would be about right, and Maddie is certainly going to get that. Three very good friends are going to need each other's support and caring as shenanigans appear to be common, especially when Maddie's friend Adele tries to talk her into buying the Paranormal Museum which just happens to be attached to the tea room she is opening. Why Maddie would want the museum is as unsure as Maddie herself.

This book by Kirsten Weiss is a good solid story with differences from the usual cozies. First, Maddie had a very good job but now is at odds with herself. Adele is from money via the winery her father owns. Harper, the third in the group of young women make up the threesome who are glad to get back together. They've been through a lot, are they ready for more? Spells, ghosts, murder and mayhem seems to be the main attraction in this magical town. And who is suspected of a murder but one of the three. Was it one of them? Was it a so-called "ghost"? Was it a break-in?

Maddie has pretty well decided she may like to buy the museum, the thought is kind of growing on her, especially with GD cat, the cat that sees ghosts. She's left the business world behind but certainly has the ability to bring it up to snuff. There's so much going on in this book, and then of course, there's that gorgeous guy upstairs! So if paranormal, ghosts, old relics of the supernatural days of spiritualists, and/or murder is to your liking, this is sure good reading.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Knock Knock by Debra Purdy Kong

reviewed from Kindle

Who is stalking the senior citizens of Vancouver? 

 Another great read by Debra Purdy Kong. It's not often I get to read a book, in fact a series, located in my "hometown". Location well described, as well as the dangers we old folk can face just walking, taking transit, or driving a specific route home. For that matter, is anybody on foot or public transit ever completely sure they are safe? I've read several of Debra Kong's books and enjoyed them all. Her characters are always interesting and often in unusual ways. It's a long time since I lived in Vancouver and even though it has changed so much I recognize some parts of it, the people in my old neighborhood.

Doesn't life have crazy moments; imagine a complete misfit supposedly watching out for the safety of senior passengers on public transit. Who/Why would someone hire this person who ignores the people he is assigned to guard? Are these people coming or going? Now imagine that misfit causing more problems than benefits, a real snobby sort who needs to learn a few manners. Casey Holland has her hands full as security officer, and dealing with a person who is not fitting in or not even seeming to care about the people he should, even with stepped up security. She's also trying to plan her wedding, yet still be avidly aware of those riders mostly elderly or frail, and whether they are being followed suspiciously when they get off the transit, she notices the women especially are often wearing more jewellery than they should, and talking about their lives with no thought of their own privacy. She does her best for them including hints on what can make them safer when they get home. But is it enough? In the meantime, Casey is still unable to have her wedding! Too much going on and so little time to plan. When a break-in happens to one of her regular customers, Elsie, resulting in a brutal attack that lands her in hospital, Casey steps up her vigilance, and even begins to escort some of the more vulnerable home, an action that has just begun to really escalate to deadly crime and very nearly takes her own life.

A well-thought out story, a timely story, I really liked it, even with the fears and danger lurking in the shadows watching to take advantage of the elderly in this murder mystery. I'm glad I got to read it, it is compelling in its awareness of what is needed to protect the vulnerable.