Monday, November 18, 2019

Postcards 2019: Greece

2019, this year I am highlighting postcards from places that I have never visited!! I know many of you think that I have traveled all over the world and I have been to many places, but there are places here in the USA and all over the world that are still on my bucket list. So this year, I am sharing postcards from places that I have not visited yet!

Greece








Monday, November 11, 2019

Postcards 2019: Moscow

Yes, I have been to Russia, but I have only been to St. Petersburg. I would love to see Moscow







Monday, November 04, 2019

Postcards 2019: Egypt

2019, this year I am highlighting postcards from places that I have never visited!! I know many of you think that I have traveled all over the world and I have been to many places, but there are places here in the USA and all over the world that are still on my bucket list. So this year, I am sharing postcards from places that I have not visited yet!


Egypt 









Friday, November 01, 2019

Books I read in October 2019



Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito (library) A school shooting, from another point of view, basically the trial of the single survivor as she is accused of being an accomplice. Translated from the Swedish and was recently made into a TV show.
Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly (library) another thriller by Paula Daly, her books are very enjoyable. And always that little twist. I will be reading more of her stuff.
Tell The Wolves I am Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (library) recommended to me by many folks, and maybe my expectations were too high. It was good. But I would not say that it was the best book I read all year.
My Reading Life by Pat Conroy (audiobook) Conroy is not my favorite, but I really enjoyed his explanation of his history of reading and how it led him to be a writer. It is read by the author, so truly his voice comes through.
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews (library) to be honest, I liked this one better than the "Tell The Wolves I am Home" book. It is by a Canadian author with a Canadian setting which was unique to me and more interesting than the Westchester/NYC setting of the other book. It was still about a girl with a sort of coming of age slant.....dealing with loss, in Tell the Wolves it was the loss of a favorite uncle, in "A Complicated Kindness" it was the loss of her mother and sister.
Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter (library) You think you know your parents. Neat thriller when a girl's life falls apart and she finds out that she did not really know anything about her mom.
Tidelands by Philippa Gregory (library) I was looking forward to this one --which has a strong woman suspected of being a witch at it's core. Not a good as some others by Gregory.
Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly (library) Another domestic thriller by Paula Daly, this one concerns a best selling author when he gets shot in his own driveway and his wife must pick of the pieces of their life together. I liked it.
Just What Kind of Mother Are You by Paula Daly (library)
An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena  murder mystery....a group of strangers snowbound at a picturesque inn. It was fun. Like an Agatha Christie homage
The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emiling (library) loved this story about a woman in the 1800's who was instrumental in discovering dinosaur fossils in Lime Regis.
An Elderly Lady is up to No Good by Helene Tursten (library) reminds me of A Man Called Ove

Monday, October 28, 2019

Postcards 2019: Jerez, Spain

I have been to the Andalusia area of Spain, but I did not visit Jerez. It is known for Wine, Horses and Motorcycle Racing. 



Thursday, October 24, 2019

Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery Danger Down Under!

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mystery Danger Down Under : Or Whatever Happened to Mick Devlin?



Published in 1995, Danger Down Under starts the exact same way that Paris Connection started, with Nancy Drew stuck in customs.  This time she is traveling with George instead of Bess. Mick Devlin, who has been a love interest for Nancy Drew in the past has asked her to come to Australia to help a friend of his find a missing Aborigine relic.  We learn that Frank and Joe Hardy are also in Australia, they sent a postcard to Nancy.  And so the mystery begins.
When I began to read this book, I was all excited because I was getting ready to travel to Australia.   I thought, "Oh, I will read this one and get some Down Under atmosphere to get me in the mood." Little did I know that this book would lead me to read four more Nancy Drew Case Files books! 
And it is all because of Mick Devlin. Mick Devlin was first introduced in the Nancy Drew Case Files book, Swiss Secrets.  Case 72, Swiss Secrets is the first in a trilogy of books called Passport to Romance. (Gag) Mick shows up in all three of the Passport to Romance books and again in Nancy Drew Files Case 96, The Runaway Bride.   So of course, I had to read all these books which precede Danger Down Under,  so that I could give a true review to Danger Down Under and Mick Devlin.
Danger Down Under in 1995 is the last appearance of Mick Devlin that I know about, if anyone has any knowledge of another visit by Mick to the Nancy Drew world, please let me know.



In Swiss Secrets: Case 72, we are first introduced to Mick Devlin and he is the prime suspect in the mystery. He is the son of a diplomat. His father was the Ambassador for Australia to Switzerland for most of his teens. He does not share this information with Nancy immediately and he is evasive and mysterious, so of course that is intriguing. There is also an immediate physical connection between Mick and Nancy. They share a kiss on a hike in the Swiss Alps and Mick is a tour guide for Nancy, Bess and George for much of their stay in Switzerland. His diplomatic connections help in resolving the mystery at the end of  Swiss Secrets.


Rendezvous in Rome, Case 73,  marks the second appearance of Mick Devlin. He joins Nancy and Bess in the Eternal City and helps them solve the mystery of a rash of jewelry thefts.  But he does not show up until almost the very end of the book. Nevertheless, he and Nancy share many kisses.  Blonde, handsome, with deep green eyes, "--her heart skipped a beat every time Mick smiled" you can see how Nancy could be distracted by Mick Devlin. So it is awesome that he jumps in to help whenever he can and he lets Nancy take the lead and tell him what to do and how he can help her.



Greek Odyssey, Case 74, is the third in the Passport to Romance Trilogy. Bess's passport is stolen and Nancy Drew and the gang are thrust into a case involving terrorists! Mick Devlin asks Nancy Drew to marry him.  "She always felt so ...relaxed with Mick. It felt very natural to work out a mystery with him. " But at the end of the book, she refuses his proposal. He says that he will never forget her and that the door is always open.



The Nancy Drew Files Case 96 The Runaway Bride, written in 1994, Runaway Bride has Nancy, Bess and George visiting Tokyo for the wedding of a friend, Midori, who was an exchange student at River Heights High School. Mick shows up because he is doing an internship at a company in Tokyo. During the course of the mystery, Mick and Nancy have to pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend sort of undercover...of course they do! At the end of this book, Mick and Nancy promise to rendezvous every few years to solve a mystery together.

And this brings us back to Danger Down Under.  As a travelogue style book, it had lots of great Australia atmosphere, but it was heavy on the romance between Mick and Nancy and  (spoiler alert)  the Hardy Boys mystery was another where the bad guys are actually the ones who bring in the detectives and I will never understand that as a trope.  At the end of the book, Nancy admits that she misses Ned and River Heights more than anything and will be leaving Mick. Mick's final line in the book is, " You haven't seen the last of me, Nancy."

Unfortunately, this does seem to be the last of Mick Devlin. Handsome, tall, at least 6 foot three, a rangy build, broad shoulders, gorgeous, amazing, tanned, blonde with deep green eyes, these are only a few of the adjectives used to describe Mick. But it is always assumed that Nancy would have to live in Australia with Mick and leave River Heights behind. I find this logic a little flawed. I am sure that Mick could get a great job in Chicago or New York City and Nancy could continue to live in the USA. After all Mick is the son of a diplomat and used to living all over the world. But the choice is always presented as Mick or the USA. So in the end, Nancy Drew chooses the USA. (and Ned)


Monday, October 21, 2019

Postcards 2019: Iceland

Iceland has become so popular as a tourist destination lately, it is a wonder that I have not been yet!








Monday, October 14, 2019

Postcards 2019: Mostar

2019, this year I am highlighting postcards from places that I have never visited!! I know many of you think that I have traveled all over the world and I have been to many places, but there are places here in the USA and all over the world that are still on my bucket list. So this year, I am sharing postcards from places that I have not visited yet!

 Mostar is a city in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, straddling the Neretva River. It’s known for the iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge), a reconstructed medieval arched bridge. The nearby alleys are full of shops and market stalls, and the Old Bridge Museum explores the bridge’s long history. A narrow staircase leads up to the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque’s minaret for panoramic city views.




Monday, October 07, 2019

Postcards 2019: Columbia

2019, this year I am highlighting postcards from places that I have never visited!! I know many of you think that I have traveled all over the world and I have been to many places, but there are places here in the USA and all over the world that are still on my bucket list. So this year, I am sharing postcards from places that I have not visited yet!

Columbia is part of Central America that I have not visited







Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Books I read in September 2019



The Chain by Adrian McKinty (library) great thriller about a kidnapping/hostage scheme --easy read and I liked it
Dead Water by Ann Cleeves (library) another in the Jimmy Perez series (Shetland TV Show)
Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean (library) about the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire in Montana. Very interesting. Book is a little disjointed just because it was published after Maclean's death from his manuscript that was unfinished. But it is an amazing story, so I still recommend it. He is the author of A River Runs Through It
Grain Brain by David Perlmutter (library) very interesting about the links between gluten and carbs and Alzheimer's and overall brain health. If this doesn't get you to reduce your carbs intake, I don't know what will.
The Thirty Mile Fire by John Maclean (library) Four young firefighters died at this fire in July 2001. I found this book much better written than the previous fire book I read. It was easier it follow the path of the fire and how it grew (with the Young Men and Fire book, I had to keep going to the photos and diagrams to figure out what the heck was going on.) I recommend this book too. Obviously, I am on a roll reading about fires.
We Don't Live Here Anymore by Andre Dubus (library) short stories - very good
Trophy Child by Paula Daly (library) thriller about the kidnapping of a child. Set in England, I really enjoyed it.
Fire On The Mountain by John Maclean (library) about a Colorado fire in 1994 where several firefighters died --- Once I get started reading about something,I just cannot stop!
Hold Tight by Harlan Coben (audiobook) thriller about a father trying to protect his son -just okay
The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory (library) I have said before that I like getting my English History from Philippa Gregory. And I enjoy all the different interpretations of the Tudor story.
Firestorm by Nevada Barr rereading this after my recent fascination with books about forest fires. it is good.
The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman (library) a play about a hate crime in Laramie, Wyoming against a young gay man. Then the follow up to the aftermath of the crime 10 years later. Interesting how little attitudes had changed in ten years and how the crime and the consequences had been forgotten by many people.
Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson (library)  this book was just delightful. So much fun, descriptions of her and her family. And yes, the Shirley Jackson of The Lottery and Haunting of Hill House.
The Mistake I Made by Paula Daly (library) I liked Trophy Child so much that I decided to read everything else that Paula Daly has written. This one was good too and reminded me a bit of some of the storyline from the recent UK tv show Dark Water.
Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee (library) fun story of  a girl who wants to be a veterinarian and spends the summer with her uncle (who runs a veterinarian clinic) in the Pacific Northwest.
Clear My Name by Paula Daly (library) Another thriller by Paula Daly, I liked it and will definitely be reading more by her!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Postcards 2019: Chile

2019, this year I am going to highlight postcards from places that I have never visited!! I know many of you think that I have traveled all over the world and I have been to many places, but there are places here in the USA and all over the world that are still on my bucket list. So this year, I will be sharing postcards from places that I have not visited yet!

Chile






Friday, September 27, 2019

Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mysteries: Spies

Spies, Spies and more Spies in the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery universe.


Super Mysteries: Spies and Lies (1992) and Islands of Intrigue (1996)



Both of these super mystery books involve Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys with spies. This is a nice departure from the usual sabotage plot.  However, I did like one of these books better than the other. Will you be able to guess which was my favorite?

Spies and Lies is set at the FBI training academy. Both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are undercover although on different cases. Nancy is acting as a bodyguard for a senator's daughter and the Hardy Boys are acting as bait, hoping that unscrupulous agents will recruit them for a nefarious and illegal scheme.  A young agent in training is murdered and both Nancy and the Hardy Boys hunt for the killer. The boys have their mysterious "Network" to help them, but Nancy does her own detective work.

There was this interesting aside about guns. "Nancy had always hated guns and their potential for violence." But she does her job and goes to the shooting range and handles guns and ammunition throughout the story.  Another lesson we learn when Nancy and the boys go jogging is "a fit body leads to a fit mind." A throwback to 1992 when the book was written, "Nancy eyed her digital clock."


Islands of Intrigue takes place in Greece. The Hardy Boys have been sent to Greece by "The Network" to locate stolen missiles and track down the undercover operative who is suspected of stealing them. Nancy and Bess are only in Greece on vacation. Nancy does find a nice safe mystery to investigate involving a kidnapped heiress.

Ultimately, the Hardy's end up taking orders from a more senior spy at "the Network". Nancy picks locks with her hair barrette and uses judo moves to subdue a bad guy. She also defuses a bomb.
Frank says, "This may be the most frustrating case we have ever been on, ... but at least the scenery is decent."  And if you like the travelogue books, this one has lots of great information about Greece and Greek food and traditions.  However, I get really annoyed by "The Network" and I think it is often a cop out. The Hardy Boys don't do the detective work, they don't follow "John Smith" or look through his papers. They just ask the Network and boom, they know that "John Smith" has a gambling problem or "John Smith" has an alibi.

And so, which book did I like better? Spies and Lies.  I am a huge fan of travelogue books, however, I thought Spies and Lies did a better job of putting Nancy Drew on equal footing with the Hardy Boys.  And of the two, Spies and Lies had less romance.