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The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World
Stephen Brusatte
The Travels of Marco Polo
Edward W. Marsden

I'm still in the Flat Book Club

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Stephen Brusatte

Will read the November selection.

Enchanted April

The Enchanted April - Elizabeth von Arnim

Yeah, I know I said I would not post here anymore but I wanted you all to know I've kept at reading Elizabeth's stuff. How did I not know about this author before? I'm still trying to wrap my arms around the fact that for a couple of years anyway, her and I were alive at the same time.  


I recently finished Enchanted April (it's a novel of hers but it was easy to imagine her as a character in it.) No one hardly comments on reviews on Goodreads (I think they're all hung up on their own shit), so I thought to post it here where I recall there were some people who liked Elizabeth. 



MY review:

Okay this is undoubtedly my favorite read of 2018.
Now I can watch the movie!!!! YAY!
Ms von Arnim was probably the best writer of her day, bar none, as her works are just as readable today in 2018 as they were in the late 1890's. As I've tried to read the so called classics of the early 1900s, I've found the writing of most lacking . . . dated actually. 
Ms von Arnim is a marvelous character developer and produces characters the reader embraces. I loved every one of the characters in this book.
As my previous reads of her works were those in which she was the main character, I was surprised this was a novel and not necessarily based on her. Or was it? Truth be told I thought the character of Scrap bore a resemblance to the person I've come to know as Elizabeth.


PS: I did watch the movie the same night and found it pretty true to the book. All of the actors were well cast and they mirrored how I pictured them. Some things were changed slightly as the book is mainly switching heads to get their thoughts and I know that's hard to show on screen. Plus, I thought the scenery (So much a part of the book) was lacking. Frankly, I'm surprised Hollywood tackled this at all. It's fairly recent (2011) so I'm surprised they didn't try to update the plot with terrorists or super powers. Thankfully they left it in the 1920s. I recommend the book (first of course) and the movie.


Night Witches - Mirren Hogan

Rogue Wave

Rogue Wave - Jennifer Donnelly

No longer putting reviews on Booklikes. Back to Goodreads.


A Munich Girl

The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War - Phyllis Edgerly Ring

I entered a GiveAway for this novel, and although I did not win, was so intrigued by the synopsis that I bought it anyway. I'm very glad I did. I thought this was one amazing novel which, although it was Historical Fiction, read like non-fiction. Kudos to the author for that. 
While I am a student of the era (WWII - hey I can remember a lot about those days even though I was a toddler), I never really thought or knew anything about Eva Braun. All I knew was that she was Hitler's girlfriend. I never even knew that in the end they married. Today, most of what you read about Hitler and Eva Braun, is did they actually survive and escape to South America? I personally think that is gibberish but unfortunately, Russia did the world no favors with their actions involving their remains. 
Back to this story however, my main complaints are too much German language in the book and too much of a contrived ending involving the families. The book was over when the last of Eva's story became known but the author seemed to want to keep it going and came out with many outlandish details to keep us interested. Otherwise I would have given it 5 stars.

A Solitary Summer

The Solitary Summer - Elizabeth von Arnim

What can I say, it's Elizabeth von Arnim, one of my favorite writers. Love her wriitng and this book was no exception.

Steer Clear of this!

Heaven Vs Reincarnation - Dharma Singh Khalsa
The one star is very generous. This is just a preachy book about Hinduism and is very repetitive. Poorly written and organized. I gave up around page 50 and just skimmed the remainder. I had already read everything he had to say. He just kept repeating it.


Done! On to something better.

Paris Echo - Sebastian Faulks

Okay, I'm not going over the premise as that's done in every review and shouldn't be. I really was disappointed in this read for several reasons. I thought the author was trying to impress the reader with his knowledge of French streets and train stops. The constant intro of new street names was numbing. I mean who cares? I thought many little'instances' were staged for the book and irrelevant to the story, like Tariq taking money back for someone in Algeria. That entire scene's purpose is never explained and seemed inserted to take up space. The entire story seemed contrived and meant to draw parallels between France's actions in WWII and their colonialism in Algeria. I was very disappointed in the ending. Others may enjoy this book, in the end I did not.

I liked the character, Tariq, and thought maybe the author should have told just his story and just forgotten about Hannah, who I thought a bore.


Elizabeth and Her German Garden (The Penguin English Library) - Elizabeth von Arnim

Elizabeth and her friends have become one of the highlights of reading. Her writing style is refreshing and her struggle to have a beautiful garden is enjoyable fare. Using her husband, or Man of Wrath, as a foil introduces a much enjoyable element of humor. Her disdain of guests is understandable as she provides you with a window of her time on Earth.  

I found Elizabeth, based on her biography, to have been a remarkable woman, too short (only 74 years) on this planet. I plan to read as many of her writings as I can.

Note to TA: Sorry, I stopped reading your postings of 'The Solitary Summer,' as mine has not yet arrived and I wanted it to be a fresh read. No offense.  



Sorry, I should have added a photo of Io, not to take anything away from Felix. He's adorable, but looks just like Io except she's a girl.  Is Alabama his partner? He/she looks like my Iris! OMG, we have twins!!! 

Reading progress update: I've read just a few out of 224 pages.

Elizabeth and Her German Garden (The Penguin English Library) - Elizabeth von Arnim

Thanks to all of you who turned me on to Elizabeth. Love this book. Did anyone read any follow ups?


Circe Review

Circe - Madeline Miller

** spoiler alert ** First of all, this was a well-written book and a joy to read.
That said, I wanted to point out that I looked for something original but this was merely a connect the dots of all mention of Circe in various Greek Mythology tales, with a few changes. The author picked and chose different tales of Circe and other tales from the ancient authors and put them all in one novel, constructed around a great base story. Kudos to her on that. 
Not mentioned were her other supposed sons or daughter. Here I felt she is painted as not that attractive but in many tales she was considered the opposite. I always thought she might give Helen of Troy some competition.
Unanswered to me was - Who really was Circe? Was she really an offspring of a Greek God, Helios, merely a witch invented for the Odyssey? Or something more? While I'm aware there is no way to really answer that question factually, I was hoping for some new slant on who she might have been, besides being depicted as a sorceress on some deserted island. Because so much was written of her in ancient times by various writers through many tales, I've always felt that maybe she wasn't some mythical goddess but a real person painted into these tales. Just my two pence. By my observations, I in no way mean to cast dispersion on the book, it was an enjoyable read.


Circe - Madeline Miller

Review to Come.

The Inner Life of Cats

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee
While I agree with some that there is much too much of the author's own tale of him and his personal cat, there was much good information here. He has exposed some of the not too well known cat lore. And, while some say there is not enough 'science' I think that on the whole, science ignores the plight of animals. Especially in the United States where everything seems to be about MONEY. Since animals have none, they must take a back seat to all who do. Anyone who has a cat that needs to take pills knows that cats balk at this, to which my vet said, "It's all about money. They could make the meds taste better but they don't see an economic value to that." Don't really want to go there however. 

If you're looking for information about cats, this is a good source. The only thing I'd disagree with, that the author defended, was letting his cat run free. Cats that are living in houses need to stay in the house. I've watched a free roaming cat attack birds and there is no need for that. All it does is give cats a bad name. 


Inner Life of Cats

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

Okay, I didn't heed the posts that said they weren't reading Chapter 7. I, above all, after my 16 year old Maine Coon passed from cancer in 2016, should have skipped that chapter. I didn't and now I've relived those terrible times. Thankfully, back then, my vet knew me well enough to insist I get two rescue cats to ease the pain. She saw that I got them (2 little girl kittens) earlier than what was considered normal and Io and Iris and I bonded  immediately. When my vet saw how they treated me she said there was only one explanation - they love you and look on you as one big cat. The two little girls (now 2 years old and just as loving as when we first met) pulled me into the inner life of cats. Thanks to them I've experienced the complete love of a cat. All the more reason I should have just skipped Chapter 7. It reduced me to tears but Io, my orange tabby, immediately sensed my sorrow and was in my lap giving me head butts.


One chapter to go and I'll write a review. Nothing on Chapter 7 though  


Ghostwritten - David Mitchell

I f3elt this book was pure garbage. In fact I created a file just for it - Garbage. What a waste of time.