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Friday, August 26, 2016


The goal I set for myself was to read and review 71 books between Oct., 2015 and Oct. 2016. Including the four books reviewed below, I've read 46 books, 65%, and submitted the reviews to my Goodreads "My Books" page. With 25 more books to read before October 22, 2016, I'd better get cracking!

The books I read in August are:

JUST ADD WATER Jinx Schwartz

Jinx has written an entire series of "JUST" novels that I look forward to reading. I don't think she's finished with the series yet, so I can rest easy, knowing it will be some time before I reach the end.

In JUST ADD WATER, I met and sailed with Hetta Coffee as she edged her way into a new life of living on the water. How many times have you wished you could make a clean slate of your life and start over, with you in the driver's seat? Expectations of independence are much more lax now for women. But it wasn't that many (decades) ago that men did most of the driving. That's why it can be so much fun for readers of a certain age to immerse themselves into the story.

Just imagine the wind in your hair as you take control of the wheel of your very own yacht. That's independence!

Can't wait to dive into JUST ADD SALT!

*****     *****     *****

THE IMMACULATE by Marian McMahon Stanley

I was lucky to win a copy of THE IMMACULATE in a blogsite contest giveaway earlier this year. After receiving the book in the mail, it took some time for me to add it to my schedule. When I found a few days open, I sat to read the book and finished in less than two days. To me, that is a sign of a well-written novel. The story line is straightforward and the characters are delightfully fleshed out and likeable. Even the villains are 3-dimensional in their un-likeability.

What I especially appreciated about the story was how the protagonist related to the other characters, on a unique and individual basis. As the main character, Rosaria O'Reilly had an emotional connection to every situation and the sensitivity she portrayed in each scene grounded the story in reality.

*****     *****     *****

THE LIFE WE BURY by Allen Eskens

This book was recommended to me by my sister. It deals with a grittier topic than I was expecting, that of a man convicted of the crime of rape and murder who has been released from prison during his last months before dying. The Netflex series Making of a Murderer comes to mind while reading the story. But the project assigned to the protagonist, Joe Talbert, is to interview this stranger and write a short biography of the man. Of course, the plot thickens as Joe does his research and interviews the man.

Ultimately, the story gives readers an opportunity for inner debate on where they stand concerning certain issues arising in today's society. Granted, during an election year, we have no lack of issues to consider, but this one is more hypothetical and therefore more of an
exercise. Without being personally invested in the final decision, the story can also be entertaining for the reader.

*****     *****     *****


THE CITY & YTIC EHT by China Mieville

This is a book club choice for the group that meets at Coffee Talk in Kaimuki on the first Saturday of each month. This book, chosen by David Jones, helps to illustrate just how diverse our selections are from month to month.

I'm not sure I could have made it through this novel without the help of an online chapter-by-chapter synopsis. I certainly recommend that a reader consult an in depth synopsis before tackling the story unless you are already a great fan of eccentric world building and appreciate learning all the intricate details as the story unfolds.

In the world of THE CITY & YTIC EHT, best-selling author China Mieville takes us on a tour of two cities which overlap one other. These are not two dimensions, existing side by side, but two cities existing simultaneously on the same spot with residents of each expected to ignore the other. This is, of course, a simplistic explanation of a world that grows increasingly complicated as the story evolves.

This story presented many unusual twists. The mystery aspect of the plot is almost incidental as the reader is given ongoing updates of how these particular worlds work, or in some cases don't work. Big Brother is definitely involved, regardless how the story unfolds. One thing is certain, the book club choice will make for interesting discussion.

*****     *****     *****

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Poems #38 Heart Beats in time and #39 The Next Mistake

Heart Beats in Time


How could she know
Life’s metronome
Set the pace
As she said, “I Do.” 

Expecting tradition
Receiving instead
“Blazing trails.” 

Alcohol made them invincible
Until they weren’t
Abuse tore at life’s fabric
Tatters too small to recognize,
Repair, or mend. 

As the moon rises, then
Fades into another morning,
Her heart pumps out hours,
Beating down ambition
Now knowing there is nothing
Except time to contemplate
The next mistake.
*****     *****     *****
Too young to understand that life is not static, the teenaged bride has unrealistic expectations that reality distorts at every turn. Unpredictability is not reserved for the undisciplined or uneducated. Nor is misfortune reserved for only those who abuse others or themselves.
As the days pass, and change becomes reality, the urge is strong to blame one's self for bad decisions or unpredictable results. Then, while existing in a vacuum of inevitability, emptiness weighs heavy with the false guilt of wrong turns.
*****     *****     *****


The Next Mistake
Why must every
wrong action
be labeled a mistake
When lessons are learned 
Experiments lead to
calculated alterations
with eyes on another
Much-improved mouse trap 
Fear furrows ruts of stalemate
while confidence applied
conquers frontiers
Rewarding those who dare.
Everyone knows a story about someone who failed enough times to become a success. The more times a person fails, the closer they come to that moment of "eureka". No one is born with honed skills or talents.  Only training or education applied will lead to accomplishment.
Hearing someone say "You could never do that" reveals more about the speaker than the person receiving the negative advice. The best "revenge" for such guidance is to prove the person wrong. Receive the training or education required to accomplish your goal, and then apply the knowledge toward reaching that goal.
Learn from mistakes. (One definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over and expecting different results.) When something doesn't work, change the experiment. We've learned that from Thomas Edison who "succeeded" 1000 times to prove something didn't work so he could then succeed in discovering what did work.
Let there be light!
 *****     *****     *****


Friday, August 19, 2016

#AlohaFriday - Hot Hawaiian History

My #AlohaFriday search actually began in 1992, when I first moved to Hawai'i. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island drew me like a magnet. Active since 1986, Kilauea caldera is known as the walk-in volcano, friendly from afar and not-so-far away. Any trip to that island included a visit to Volcano House and Halema'uma'u Crater.

Once I learned the legend of the fire goddess Pele, walked on still-warm lava flow and through a lava tube, and watched glowing lava flow from the Pu'u O'o vent, I was hooked.

The photographs included in James Cave's article are jaw-dropping!

James Cave, a Lifestyle writer for The Huffington Post has a bubbling hot story to tell.
Beautiful Time-Lapse Of Kilauea Volcano Dives Into The ‘Fiery Blood Of Earth’

Some of Gail's Personal "Aloha Volcano Views"
Walking to the Lava Tube
Desolate lava field
Entering Lava Tube on Big Island
Halemaumau Crater in
Hawai'i Volcano National Park
Middle of Lava Tube VERY DARK

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Congratulations: Goodreads WINNERS of Blood Red Homicide!

Today I want to thank all of the Goodreads members who participated in the Goodreads Giveaway contest for my latest Pepper Bibeau mystery, BLOOD RED HOMICIDE.

 This year, I published two mystery novels in the series. NESHOTO JUNCTION HOMICIDE came out in January and is dedicated to my father, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday that month. BLOOD RED HOMICIDE was published in June to celebrate the 100th anniversary of my mother's birth. I am especially pleased with the amount of interest taken in the printed copy of these to books honoring my parents.

NESHOTO JUNCTION HOMICIDE is set in my old stomping grounds. The title reflects an ancient name applied to the area where two meandering rivers meet before flowing gently into the Great Lakes' fresh waters of Lake Michigan

The Goodreads Giveaway contest ran from July 19 to August 9. These dates encompassed most of the days I spent in my birth state of Wisconsin for a family reunion and lots of activities with family and friends. Who better to boost your confidence in this competitive world than those who know you best? One event of note was touring the Packers stadium and museum in Green Bay. My healthiest routine was raiding niece Nikki's raspberry patch for breakfast each morning!

Goodreads has chosen the winners of the three copies of BLOOD RED HOMICIDE offered in the giveaway. The winners have been announced and I want to congratulate each of the Goodreads members who displayed an interest in my work by participating in the contest!

who are:

Again, thank you to everyone who participated in the Goodreads Giveaway. To show my appreciation for your interest in reading BLOOD RED HOMICIDE, the kindle edition will be on sale for $.99 through Sunday, August 21, 2016. Just click on the cover to the right  >  >  >  >  >  >  >