Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Rising Sea (NUMA Files, #15)The Rising Sea by Clive Cussler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Never fails to satisfy. A delightful story that has adventure, science and heroism. These folks spin a tale that is interesting and informative. I know more about sea levels than I need to and I know a bit more about swords than I wanted to.. a fun read.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

When Breath Becomes AirWhen Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book club selection. Not my genre but still a thoughtful and thought provoking book. Made me want to hug my loved ones more often and spend more time on constructive things. We all die, its not how you die but how you live. No one lives a perfect life but we all can love more and hate less, build more and destroy less. Is this worth a read? Most definitely! Gives you an additional perspective on life and that is a good thing.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Twisted Prey (Lucas Davenport #28)Twisted Prey by John Sandford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John Sandford is so readable. The characters so easy to picture and for the most part believable. Lucas Davenport has matured and become much more than a smart cop. He and his new side-kicks are fascinating. They story is rich with twists and turns. The characters seem real and this story is "ripped from the headlines..." Takes place in DC and the politicians are as sleazy and sick as one might expect from real life. Love this book. If you've never read a Prey novel, this one might stand alone and be a good place to start.

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Sunday, May 6, 2018

Greeks Bearing Gifts (Bernie Gunther, #13)Greeks Bearing Gifts by Philip Kerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This may be the last of the Bernie Gunther books. He died in March, 2018. You can read his obituary in the Guardian. He was just 62. This book, like the whole series, shows us some of the emotions and conflicts people have in impossible situations. To quote the obit about Bernie Gunther: "morally ambiguous fictional private detective Bernie Gunther first appeared in March Violets (1989), set in the city in 1936, after the Nazis’ rise to power, and the first of his Berlin Noir trilogy. Each book, he later admitted, was aimed at painting Gunther into a corner “so that he can’t cross the floor without getting paint on his shoes”

Bernie's life before, during and after the war shows him filled with massive ambiguity and some moral ambivalence too. I love that this character seems not just real but gritty and thoughtful in a way that real people might never be. He sees things in ways that are interesting and enlightening. I read and reread parts of this book because they were telling the truth about people and history, truth that has often been obscured by current events.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Shoot First (Stone Barrington, #45)Shoot First by Stuart Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this series. Action, sex, humor.... just a great and fun read. Good continuing story. The formula is strong and he couled write 45 more and I'd love every one. Its like eating a great meal with perfect wine in a perfect setting.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

The Last Letter from Your LoverThe Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book club book and not in my usual genre. I enjoyed it very much. I think that it is because Jojo Moyes is a masterful writer. I really enjoyed the way the main characters grew and changed. They stayed in character but matured. The scope of the book was also broad enough to be interesting and the plot seemed all together believable. I may read some more of her books.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Hothouse Orchid (Holly Barker, #6)Hothouse Orchid by Stuart Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sorry to see the series and but those of us who are Woods fans know that the story goes on and on. This one had some interesting and provocative plot shifts. Unlike most of these stories there were some interrupted and dropped plot lines. This kept me wondering where the story was going. Loved it. I heartily recommend the whole series and I recommend them in order.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Iron Orchid (Holly Barker, #5)Iron Orchid by Stuart Woods
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A little less exciting than the previous episodes but still a great book. This one is not a stand alone book but an integral part of the series. It solidly builds the story and from having read other Woods' series, it clearly keeps up the franchise. I liked it. On to the 6th and final Holly Barker book.

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Blood Orchid (Holly Barker, #3)Blood Orchid by Stuart Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Completely predictable and utterly enjoyable. Read it in two days. Would have been faster but a guy's got to eat. Sleep is optional.
This is a sensational story with great action. You must read the first books in this series or you will miss some of the action. Just like all Stuart Woods books, there is action, fun and just a bit of intrigue. On to the next. Actually, Holly's fourth adventure is in Stone Barrington's tenth so I've read it already.

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Saturday, April 7, 2018

Orchid Blues (Holly Barker, #2)Orchid Blues by Stuart Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, nonstop action until the last few pages. Well written with excellent plot twists. Actually found myself nervous for the characters. Holly is a full rich character and Ham could use a series of his own. Every character that Stuart Woods invents is worthy of a whole book. That might be what makes the books so enjoyable. One to #3.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Counting The Omer.... Why?

As a child, holidays came and went. Each had its own rituals and foods. Some I didn't even notice, others were pretty much good for a day off from school. Now that I am older, and have time to think about these things, I spend a little more time wondering what it is all about.

When my dear daughter asked me to write her an Omer counter I had to look it up to find out what it was. I find the idea interesting for many reasons. Most of which it makes the counter, if you choose to be one, cognizant of the passage of time and the season more than ever. It gives us a chance to prepare for the holiday that celebrates G-d giving us the Torah.

The Torah, everything you need to know about life in one easy to handle scroll, is an amazing gift and however you believe it came to be, it certainly has had a profound impact on Jews and non-Jews alike.


I found a couple of interesting articles on Counting the Omer. The first is from the blog PunkTorah regarding the counting:

So, what does this all mean to us now? Well, it can mean many things. Counting the Omer can be used as a tool of self reflection. We can take this time to recognize the miracle of the Exodus from Egypt, from the gift of our freedom. The Sages tell us that G-d freed us from slavery in order to give us the Torah on Shavu’ot, so this should be a time of preparation. Counting the Omer gives us the time to learn from the gift of freedom G-d has given us and incorporate it into our lives, to grow one day at a time, taking a spiritual accounting, to make sure that we are heading in the right direction, to look at what we are doing that is right or wrong and to try to make ourselves ready to receive the honor of the Torah.
Counting the days is another way of directing our mindfulness to the passage of time. Be aware of the days as they pass, count them, give them meaning. We have been freed from slavery, rejecting the confusion and idolatry (philosophically, literally, and spiritually) of our own Egypt’s and are being made ready to re-focus our lives.
I guess a good take-away from all of this is that one must make each day count. Make each day worth living for you and the people you love. 

(This is a repeat of a post from last year)
Orchid Beach (Holly Barker, #1)Orchid Beach by Stuart Woods
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok, I'm just a sucker for a good story with well developed characters. Enough complexity to make it interesting and a little sex to keep me reading. Throw in a little violence and some great public servants and you have a Stuart Woods story. Stir in a little mystery and some red herrings dropped in to get you off the trail. Then add a surprise ending with a good fight. Let us not forget an incredible dog. I just loved this book. I like all Stuart's books.
The main character occurs later in the Stone Barrington series so I know she won't get hurt too badly. On to the next one...

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