Monday, March 18, 2019

Postcards 2019: Taj Mahal

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!

The Taj Mahal in India








Sunday, March 17, 2019

Why the new Nancy Drew: Hidden Staircase movie should acknowledge Sammy Keyes



Why the new Nancy Drew: Hidden Staircase movie should acknowledge Sammy Keyes



I was very excited to see the new Nancy Drew movie and as I watched it, I was stuck by how similar it was to another young detective, Sammy Keyes. The movie opens with Nancy Drew sporting some skateboarding moves that would not be a problem for Sammy Keyes. The Sammy Keyes books started with Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, which was written in 1998 by Wendelin Van Draanen and ended after 18 books in 2014 with Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye. Sammy starts as a seventh grader and of course is a few years younger than Nancy Drew, so she gets around town on a skateboard much of the time. Through the course of the Sammy Keyes books, she deals with some school bullying which is exactly how the new Nancy Drew movie starts with Bess being bullied by a school jock, and something that was not in original Nancy Drew books. Sammy often comes to the defense of her friends and just like Sammy, Nancy comes to the defense of Bess and in the process is forced to do community service. Sammy Keyes is no stranger to community service. She begins the book Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy by doing community service at the local Catholic Church. She was also suspended from school in the first book of the series. I believe that the Nancy Drew books did not address bullying by peers because the original Nancy Drew was not in a school setting. Other books written at the same time (Like the Dana Girls) do have more peer bullying.

Nancy Drew starts off the movie clashing with the local Sheriff and Sammy Keyes is no stranger to run ins with the local police. Officer Borsch in the Sammy Keyes books is very leery of Sammy, even when her motives are pure. The relationship between Nancy Drew and the Sheriff in the new movie immediately reminded me of Officer Borsch and Sammy Keyes. In the original Nancy Drew books, Nancy has a good relationship with the police. They respect her father and her as his daughter and often believe her hunches and ask for her help on mysterious cases.

There are differences also, Sammy lives with her grandmother and has a mother who is working in Hollywood and she is not sure about who is her father. Nancy Drew lives with her father and an aunt (created for this movie and appears to be a hybrid of Aunt Eloise and Hannah Gruen from the books) and her mother died recently (in the movie, not in the books). The main mystery in the new movie is taken directly from the Hidden Staircase; the second Nancy Drew book which was originally written in 1930. I really enjoyed the new Nancy Drew movie and I highly recommend it. It will only be in theaters for a few more days and will be released on DVD April 2nd. And if you like the movie, you might want to pick up a Sammy Keyes book. They are targeted for a somewhat younger audience, but do not let that stop you from reading some top notch mysteries!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Postcards 2019: Budapest

My Postcard theme this year is places that I have never been, but now that my airline flies to Budapest, I could go there very soon!!





Monday, March 04, 2019

Postcards 2019: Corfu

Never even thought of going to Corfu until I watched a show called The Durrells. Loved it and the location, now I want to go to Corfu.




Thursday, February 28, 2019

Books I read in February 2019






Rich People Things by Chris Lehmann (library) Very interesting and I learned a LOT!
Hijacking the Runway by Teri Agins (audio book) About how celebrities are becoming a major force in the fashion industry. Very interesting, if you are a fan of Project Runway and other fashion shows, check this out.
Caroline: Little House Revisited by Sarah Elizabeth Miller (library) I enjoyed this book (and thought it interesting...it has a blurb in the front saying it has the full approval of the Little House Heritage Trust)  A look at the Little House stories from the point of view of Caroline. So if you love the Little House books, you should put this on your reading list.
Holy Ghost by John Sandford (library) I read it in about 4 hours. Enjoyed every minute. I just think these are so much fun to read. I enjoy the murder mystery aspect and I really care about the characters. The interaction between the characters is fun and real to me. His dialogue is just spot on. Love it!
Laura Ingalls is Ruining My Life by Shelley Tougas a YA book about a girl whose family moves to Walnut Grove, MN so that her mom can get inspiration to write a book. It was fun and if you are a Laura Ingalls fan you might enjoy it.
The First Man by James R Hansen (library) Biography of Neil Armstrong. I really enjoyed it, now to see the movie with Ryan Gosling.
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (library) a fictional imagining of the life of Christina Olson, who was the subject of the Wyeth painting "Christina's World". I thought it was just okay
Orlando by Virginia Woolf  Ugh, read this one again for a book club....I read it in college (and other Woolf titles) and I am not a fan of Woolf. It was okay. I need to watch the movie again while it is all fresh in my mind.
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (library) If you liked A Man Called Ove, then read this one too, I quite enjoyed it. Similar themes of an older person being bossed around by his children and dismissed by contemporaries in a small town in England.
Perfume by Patrick Suskind recommended by friends. I thought it was just okay. The writing is beautiful, but the subject matter is dark and I did not really enjoy it.
Inheritance by Dani Shapiro (library) a woman finds out that her father was not really her biological father and that she was the result of a sperm donor. It throws everything that she thought she knew about herself and her family into chaos.
The Knock at the Door by Margaret Ajemian Ahnert (library) about Armenian genocide in the early 1900's. Before Hitler started killing the Jews, the Turks were killing the Armenians. Dark, but a part of history that is largely forgotten.
The Blunderer by Patricia Highsmith similar to strangers on a train....two men with horrible wives, one murders his wife and the other has his wife die under the same circumstances, so now he is a suspect in a real way, when he really did not do anything. He is the blunderer of the title and just cannot dig himself out of being a suspect because everything he does points to him as a murderer. I enjoyed it.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Postcards 2019: Big Bear, CA

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!   Never been to Big Bear.....gotta go one day




Monday, February 18, 2019

Postcards 2019: Galapagos

 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!      Isn't the Galapagos on everyone's bucket list?




Monday, February 11, 2019

Postcards 2019: Pompei

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!  This is definitely on my TO DO LIST, I really want to visit Pompei one day




Monday, February 04, 2019

Postcards 2019: Interlaken

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!






Interlaken is a traditional resort town in central Switzerland. Built in a  valley, between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, it has old timber houses and parkland on either side of the Aare River. It  has numerous hiking and skiing trails.in the surrounding mountains, with dense forests, alpine meadows and glaciers, 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Books I read in January 2019








We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg (audiobook) about a girl who grew up with a mom who was quadriplegic during the 1960's.  Based on a true story
Lies by T. M. Logan (library) a thriller, a  guy is missing, but maybe not, maybe he is murdered. There is a twist at the end. I thought it was just okay
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin (audiobook) his memoir of his start in comedy highly recommend, especially if you are a fan.
Dear Mrs. Bird by A. J. Pearce (library) reminiscent to me of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is set during the London Blitz. I liked it a lot.
Chaos by Patricia Cornwell (audiobook) Now I remember why I stopped reading Patricia Cornwell. Ugh. Listening to it in the car made it even more apparent how bad the writing is. If I had the actual book, I probably would have stopped and not finished it. But I just let it play and play on a road trip. Maybe I just do not care about the characters anymore...
Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart (library) now this book, even though I did not love it...the prose, the writing was so good! Just his descriptions of a Greyhound bus station in the first chapters was MILES above the prose in Chaos. I felt a connection to his characters and I could suspend belief and get lost in the world he created with his words. And I did not feel more sympathetic to his characters  than I did to Kay Scarpetta and her family in Chaos, his writing was just so much better. Even if you do not like the characters, you understood them and could figure out why they did what they did.
The Removes by Tatjana Soli (library) I really enjoyed this one About the Indians being REMOVED from their land. It follows the stories of Custer, his wife and a white woman who was taken into a tribe and her journey from surviving with the Indians until her liberation by Custer.
Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber (library) I started reading this and realized it is the second in a series, there were some relationships that I would have understood better if I had read the first book first. However, I did enjoy this, there was a bit more romance than I usually like, but the basic mystery and plot was very interesting. PTSD back in the Napoleonic wars.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (library)  9 people at a Spa Retreat to transform their lives. I really liked it. I have enjoyed all of this authors books.
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson (library) okay this was an awesome book, I loved it...BUT it ends on a cliff hanger and the next book is not even out yet. So I am not happy about that....I have to wait I don't know how long to find any resolution to this mystery..... But that being said, I did enjoy the book and I want to read the next one.....but if you are just starting and are used to our "binge-watching " culture....if you do not want to wait....put this on your TBR list until the author comes out with the rest of the books (could this be a series??!!)
Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow (library) a fictional account of the Collyer Brothers (famous hoarders in NYC)  Puts meaning towards their senseless accumulation of newspapers and trash.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer (library) an author embarks on an around the world tour while his life is in crisis, sort of reminded me of Eat, Pray, Love --but he isn't really looking for enlightenment, just avoiding the difficulties in his life by getting away. I liked it because it has a happy ending. And the writing was so much better than Chaos....
My Abandonment by Peter Rock (library) I really enjoyed this book, I think they made a movie based on it....follows a homeless girl in Portland OR living in Forest Park with her father.
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (library) this was a very interesting book to read in this day and age. Not a fun read, but a must read .....I think the Russians read it (it was published in 2004) and used it as a play book for today.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Postcards 2019: Provence

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!      Been to Paris a lot, but I really have not traveled through the rest of France, Provence is still on my to do list.




Monday, January 21, 2019

Postcards 2019: Huntsville, AL

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!       Believe it or not, I have never been to Huntsville, AL





Monday, January 14, 2019

Postcards 2019: Capetown

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!   I really want to visit South Africa someday, luckily I have friends who send me postcards



Monday, January 07, 2019

Postcards 2019: Berlin

Happy New Year and welcome to my Postcard Blog for 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!

First up: Berlin

I have been to Germany several times, but I have never actually been to Berlin. Lots of my friends have been and they have sent me postcards.



Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Books I read in December 2018

The photo above is art made by Jane Mount and you can purchase prints of her work and even create a customized bookshelf for yourself. Just go to her website:  Ideal bookshelf

A Forgotten Place by Charles Todd (library) A Bess Crawford Mystery. If you like these type of period (WWI-WWII) dramas, you must try the Bess Crawford Mysteries. They are written by a mother-son writing team. In this one, Bess goes to check on a former patient in Wales and of course finds a mystery.
The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo (library) I did not like this one as much as I did the books about Georgia O'Keefe and Julia Childs. But I did learn a lot about Coco Chanel that I did not know already.
The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson (library) This is a dual reality book, like the Movies: Sliding Doors or Family Man. The character is given a glimpse of what her life would have been like if she had taken a different path. I liked it.
Ten by Gretchen McNeil (library) Combine "Mean Girls" with Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians. Great creepy atmosphere on an island in the PNW. I liked it
The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg (library) a book about grief and it is set in Cuba, so I liked that part too.
Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman (library) written by the lady who wrote Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt. Great book about mothers and daughters.
How to Hepburn by Karen Karbo (library) I liked this one better than the one about Coco Chanel, but I still like the Georgia O'Keefe and Julia Child books the best.
Bitter Medicine by Sara Paretsky (audiobook) I am so addicted to listening to books in the car now, I rarely listen to music or radio anymore and if I am in a rental car and do not have an audiobook, I feel like I have wasted so much time, when I could have heard a book.
Past Tense by Lee Child (library) the latest Jack Reacher novel. Small town in New Hampshire, feels creepy like close to Stephen King's Maine!! Also reminded me a bit of the one that was also set in a small town in the middle of nowhere, Make Me.
A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult (library) ripped from the headlines like she does, this one is about a shooting at an abortion clinic. Interesting because she follows the timeline backwards to see how all the people involved got to that one point in time.
Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart (library) I have really enjoyed these, this is the third in this series and she has based these on REAL people, real things that happened, with some fictional stuff thrown in there to flesh things out. I recommend these, but you need to read them in order I think.
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (audio book) one of Carrie's memoirs, especially poignant now that she is no longer with us and at the time she wrote this, she was 52....which is how old I am now.
Transcription by Kate Atkinson (library) slow to get going and not that great once you got there. set during WWII - MI6 stuff about a secretary who transcribes the recordings of possible spies. If the subject matter interests you, you might give it a try. I was underwhelmed
The Witch Elm by Tana French (library) Another book that was slow to get going....Maybe I am just in a bad mood this week? But it was a pretty good mystery in the end.








Okay, so what was my favorite book of all that I read in 2018? It was a tough year, looking back....I really did not enjoy a lot of the books I read. They were just okay or so-so, predictable or disjointed in their writing. So after much deliberation, my favorite book that I read in 2018 is A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute.