Monday, 31 March 2008

Executive Privilege by Phillip Margolin

You will want to ensure that you have lots of spare time before picking up Executive Privilege, as once you've started, you won't want to put it down.

While essentially a 'lawyer' story, it also looks at what wealth and power can buy. Can the ulitimate influence of the White House shield its inhabitants from a murder charge?

I enjoyed the character of Brad Miller, a newly practising lawyer who draws the winner of all cases with his first pro-bono case. He is expected to appeal the death row conviction of serial killer Clarence Little, who has confided to Brad that he really didn't do it, and he can supply proof. Brad turns to his future girl friend, Ginny, for advice. I admit that I never was comfortable with her. I kept expecting her to turn traitor.

While Brad is working the case from the Portland area, Dana is investigating from D.C. I would love to read more about P.I. Dana Cutler. Even in the most dire of situations she held it together and came out on top.

If legal and political thrillers are your thing, you won't want to miss Executive Privilege. I had never heard of Phillip Margolin before reading this novel, but I have added him to my list of 'must read' authors.

Thanks to Harper Collins for the cover picture.

My reviews of other novels by Phillip Margolin:

Gone But Not Forgotten

An unusual knitting request - Geocache GC15XF8

It was very odd when my hubby came to me Thursday evening with a knitting request. I can't recall that he has ever asked me to knit something for him.

He handed me three pages and asked if I was interested. I looked, it was a 42 line pattern. OK, I've knit all sorts of stuff with complicated patterns. Turns out the final result is the GPS location of the cache for Geocache GC15XF8.

Its knit in two colours of worsted weight yarn on 4 1/2 mm needles. Nothing difficult other than I misread the pattern and did 3 rows of picos (the yarn overs) instead of only one.

Now we await enough time to drive to the location and sign the log. I have decided that I will add a ball of yarn to the contents of the cache (hope there is enough space) and perhaps I'll even come up with a knitting book to add (a Bookcrossing novel not an instruction book, but then again...).

I wonder if there are other caches out there that having a knitting requirement ???

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Barnacle Love by Anthony De Sa

This book goes far beyond the 'immigrant' story, it delves into family pressures and expectations.

Our main character, Manuel Rebelo is expected to live his life according to the demands of his domineering mother. As a young adult he realizes that he needs to escape his tiny, Portuguese village and seek a new beginning in Canada. He has a variety of experiences from the time he is rescued from certain drowning by a fisherman.

It seems to be that the tenor of his life changes greatly when he returns to the old village to marry the woman chosen for him. When she doesn't want to immigrate, he chooses Georgina, who is more than happy to leave with him. It is this marriage that destroys his mother's plans for her son. As I was reading, it felt as though a heavy weight had been added to Manuel's shoulders, and he carried that for the rest of his life.

When Manuel returns to the old village shortly before his mother's death, he brings his family with him. It was not a positive experience for any of them. His life seems to have taken a downward turn from which he never recovers. Perhaps it was at this point that Manuel realized that he hadn't fulfilled his dreams.

The balance of the story is now told by his son Antonio. I like this boy. He is approximately my age and since I grew up not all that far from Toronto , and in a neighbourhood largely populated by immigrants, I felt a kinship with him. I wish that Antonio has been able to share his father's Canada Day celebrations. Manuel was so proud of his chosen country, yet his family couldn't see that.

The final scene in the book is set in Niagara Falls. Like Manuel, every time I visit there, I stand in wonder at the awesome power of the Falls. Even though I have been there dozens of times, it never loses its ability to enthrall me.

Anthony De Sa's website.

Thanks to for the photo.

Monica's review at Monniblog

Kailana's review at The Written Word

Claire's review at Kiss a Cloud

Friday, 21 March 2008

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

How did I ever miss reading this book as I passed through my adolescent years???

I was captivated by Karana as she learned how to survive alone on her small island. She rarely gave into dispair, and then for only moments at a time. Somehow she managed to find the internal strength to face the challenges of each day. I think that many of us living in our modern cities would have a difficult time facing even one of the challenges that Karana faced.

While I did enjoy the follow-up book, "Zia", I didn't find it up to the same calibre. I spent much of my imagination while reading Zia, trying to figure out how it was going to tie in with the "Island of the Blue Dolphin". That did distract me from the story. Zia did have lots to say about the treatment of the indigenous population of the area. Perhaps that was the intent of Mr. O'Dell, that than the tie in with Karana.

All things considered, both are good books that I would recommend for the teen in your family.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

The Road to Omaha by Robert Ludlum

The absolute funniest book I have read in a long time. Honestly, I was bursting into laughter in public waiting rooms as I read.
This is a follow-up to Mr. Ludlum previous book, "Road to Gandolfo" in which the Pope is kidnapped. In this story, the outrageous, retired General MacKenzie Hawkins is taking on the United States Government over a righteous native land claim in Omaha.
At over 500 pages, its a long novel, but the laughter rarely stops for more than a few of them. I'm not going to hash over the book, or try to convince you that Robert Ludlum is terrific writer, you already know that. You will want to read "Road to Gandolfo" prior to this one so that you will be familiar with several of the other characters and a grasp of the Pope situation will come in handy.
check out Book Wurm's review of "Road to Gandolfo".

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Total Constant Order by Crissa-Jean Chappell

Being a teenager never was 'easy', but add depression and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) on top, and you have one tough life for our main character Fin.
She is in her first year of high school after moving states with her mother. The stress of the move seems to have aggravated the OCD, and she needs help.
I found that this book deals with Fin's mental health issues in a very open and straight forward manner. Nothing is sugar coated or hidden. The discussion of the drug Paxil is very brief, though I suppose you have to take such short cuts if you want to keep your teenage audience interested. I liked that the author did show the development of a trusting relationship between Fin and her doctor. I understand that teens have a harder time opening up to adults than they do with their peers. Her unlikely friend Thayer, who has mental health issues as well, seems to spring up quickly. Its interesting how the friendship between the two of them works to both their benefit. They each need something in their life that the other unwittingly provides.
I would heartily recommend this book to any teenager with or without their own mental health challenges. It just might give them the tools they need to help a friend.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

HarperCollins March Mystery Madness

There is lots of fun to be had at the HarperCollins website this month, particularly if you are into Mystery. 64 novels are vying for the title of Ultimate Mystery Novel.

The books are divided into 4 Conferences: The Dark Side (most of these are just too scary for me to even contemplate reading), Cozy(I could sit by the fireplace with a bowl of popcorn and read these), Cops and Lawyers (speaks for itself), and finally, Hard Boiled( I might not want to be home alone when reading).

While I haven't actually read any of the books on the list, I did recognize a number of the authors: Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Elmore Leonard, Tony Hillerman, Faye Kellerman and Janet Evanovich. To view the complete list of books and join in the fun visit March Mystery Madness.

I did find one book in the contest that I intend to read, "Last Stop Sunnyside" by Canadian author Pat Capponi. Aside from sounding like an interesting read, it's set in Toronto, Ontario, which isn't far from where I live. That's a good enough reason to pick up a copy. (PS, I also voted for the book and would like to see it advance in the polls).

Saturday, 1 March 2008

I've got new glasses

I made the leap and got bi-focal lenses this time. I was finding it rather difficult to see the tiny print, remove splinters and align the fabric when sitting at the sewing machine.

I discussed my needs for lots of reading and even more sewing, both on the machine and hand work with my optometrist, and she suggested that I try some lenses by Nikon.

I picked them up from her on Friday. So far they are pretty good. Since its the progressive lenses, it am definitely needing some time to learn where to look when doing various activities. My eyes have been tired at the end of the day, so I gather this means that they are working harder. On the good side, I can now see to line up my quilt patches when I am at the sewing machine. That had been getting rather difficult and I wasn't getting quite the accuracy that I wanted.

Reading is interesting. Lets leave it at that for the moment, mind you, newsprint isn't always the clearest at the best of times, and that New York Times Crossword puzzle could be printed larger.

Now I was thinking, that those neat squares of fabric for cleaning eyeglasses could work well in a future quilting project...