Milk Glass Moon, third in the Big Stone Gap series, continues the life story of Ave Maria Mullilgan MacChesney. Her family and friends grow up, experience heartache and crisis, and fall in love. Mother and daughter, Ave Maria and Etta, move to a new level in their relationship, one of love and leaving. The characters continue to be as ordinary as they come, making you think you could look within your own circle of friends and see some just like them. Trigiani brings these characters alive with down home humor and everyday happenings written with that southern tone that sets the mood for a good read, once again.
This second book in the Big Stone Gap series focuses on Ave Maria Mulligan’s life after several years of marriage to Jack MacChesney, two children, and a shift in their relationship. A trip to Italy, the “old country”, brings her face to face with who she is and who she wants to be. The characters are endearing; some odd, some ambitious, some just like friends we all have. Their experiences are normal, although Trigiani writes as if they are special and unique. Five stars, again.
Ave Maria Mulligan, the self-proclaimed town spinster of Big Stone Gap, is the town pharmacist, part of the Rescue Squad, and director of the town’s outdoor drama. She discovers a family secret after her mother passes away and life changes for her forever. She has much to learn about her family and herself. And, for most of us, it’s never too late for that.
You’ll love how Trigiani intertwines the ancient art of face reading into her book and weaves the characters lives together. This is a delightful read. I’ve read the series (four in all) and couldn’t wait to get the next one in my hands to see where these characters were going. Five stars.
I sincerely wish someone had suggested Adriana Trigiani to me before I just happened to stumble upon her at Missouri River Regional Library. I am truly transported to the place and era for which she is writing and it’s so refreshing to escape the toils of the world we live in today with characters such as these.
Another delightful book with 11 year old genius amateur detective Flavia de Luce. She discovers a dead body in the local church and her scientific curiosity is peaked. With a large laboratory full of books and chemicals at her disposal she again helps find the solution.
Fans of Jack Reacher know he is a real tough guy. In this book his former elite team from the Army is threatened. Jack is contacted by a number code from his ATM account since he doesn’t have a phone or address. They all trained together so the threat is very personal. It’s another page turner with a satisfying ending.
Another thriller by Preston & Child. Gideon is again asked to help with a eminent national disaster. He does it reluctantly but realizes he is made for this type of work.
Really enjoyed this thriller. Repairman Jack fixes problems for people. He is off the radar, no paper trail, so he can do whatever he wants. He also helps with problems from other dimensions. There are a lot of these books so I am happy to find another author I enjoy.
Juliet Moreau has been working as a maid and living rather humbly after the scandal that rocked her family’s world. Her father, the infamous Henri Moreau, managed to escape London rather than facing jail time and left Juliet and her mother destitute. After her mother died, Juliet was left to fend for herself. After intruding on a late-night vivisection, Juliet finds a diagram being used by the medical students that was drawn by her own father. A bit of investigation and the desire to see if her father was indeed still alive leads her to an apartment where she runs into her father’s former servant, Montgomery and a hairy, malformed man called Balthazar. Montgomery and Balthazar are in England to pick up supplies for Juliet’s father and agree to take her with them to the isolated island off the coast of Australia. They set sail on a rather sketchy vessel and pick up a castaway named Edward along the way. Edward is full of secrets and refuses to discuss any of the details of his former life. Montgomery grudgingly agrees to allow Edward to join the small group.
Juliet is shocked to find that her father doesn’t seem in the least bit surprised to see her setting foot on the island. She’s also shocked when her father shoves Edward into the water and stands aside to watch him sink. Montgomery saves Edward at Juliet’s behest and, after a private conference with the doctor, Edward is allowed to stay on the island until the next ship passes by to pick him up.
Juliet finds her father to be cold, arrogant and largely dismissive of anyone else. He locks himself into his laboratory night after night, confirming the rumors that had been circulating around London. Meanwhile, Juliet tries desperately to get used to the odd appearance of the islanders, all of whom seem to regard her father as a god. Juliet discovers that a series of murders have been plaguing the islanders and Juliet suspects that her father’s experiments might be even worse than she ever thought possible. Oh, and she might just be falling in love with both Montgomery and Edward, neither of whom seem to particularly like each other.
Based on the Jules Verne classic, The Island of Dr. Moreau, this story asks the question: if Moreau had a daughter, what would her relationship with her father be like? There are also a whole host of other issues at the heart of the story, for instance, what makes humans human? A fast-paced and absorbing tale. Readers don’t necessarily need to have read the original to understand this tale, but it might help. I have not read the original, but am familiar with the plot. I would be interested to hear what a fan of the original would have to save about the points where this new version diverges from Vernes’.
This series never fails to impress and delight. In this volume, Mayor Hundred goes to Rome for a chat with the Pope but forces are at work to turn his visit into an assassination. Can the Great Machine actually be hacked?
This volume isn’t the most exciting of the series, but still gets the job done.
Concludes with an interesting story featuring the author and illustrator, which is always fun to me. Love it when the fourth wall is breached.
Marcus “M1k3y” Yallow’s story continues two years after the events in Little Brother. We catch up to him at Burning Man where he is attempting to show off his 3d printer with the aid of his girlfriend, Ange. Regrettably, the playa dust is causing some technical difficulties, so Marcus and Ange have given up and moved on to enjoy the Burning Man scene. Imagine Marcus’s surprise when he encounters a face from his not-too-distant past: Masha. Masha has tracked Marcus down to deliver a USB drive with thousands of incendiary documents from various government and corporate entities. He is told to release him if he hears about Masha being captured.
As soon as Marcus returns home, he is thrilled to discover a job waiting for him with a local independent politician who is impressed with Marcus’s technological acumen. Desperate to keep the first job he’s had in years, Marcus holds back on releasing the documents until he can find a way to distribute them to maximum effect with minimum connection to him. This is obviously going to take a little help from his friends. Good thing he’s still got them. Only problem is that Marcus is not nearly as anonymous as he used to be and he still has enemies who have left Homeland Security to go into private mercenary work (which is even more intimidating due to the complete lack of oversight).
Scary and exhilarating all at once, Homeland is a thrilling read. As always with Cory Docotorow’s works, I’m left both smarter and more paranoid than ever. The technologies discussed are never entirely fabricated; some may still be in their infancy, but the implications are played out so well. This is the type of book that makes one realize how important a free and open internet is, how corrupt the laws governing the transmission of digital information can be and what we, as citizens, can do to move towards a better future.
Mac and her family have just moved into the Coronado, an aging LA hotel-turned-apartment building. Mac is not particularly thrilled about it. The move was precipitated by the death of her little brother and Mac’s not ready to let him go yet. This unwillingness to let him go is beginning to severely interfere with her secret job as a Keeper for the Archive. The Archive isn’t an ordinary repository; it is a place where the lives of the dead are stored. These are called Histories. Each History has his or her own coffin-shaped shelf. Each History is physically similar to its former living state. Trained by her late grandfather, Mac was the youngest Keeper in history. Most Histories are calm and remain in the Archives, but a few “wake up” and escape into a sort-of-purgatory called the Narrows. It is here that Mac must apprehend these escaped Histories, who typically become increasingly distressed and violent the longer they are “awake”, and return them to the Archive. Mac’s pretty good at her job, but things start going awry shortly after her arrival at the Coronado. For one thing, there’s another Keeper on the premises. And Mac might have a tiny crush on him. This, however, becomes eclipsed by the volume of work skyrocketing to unprecedented levels. It’s normal for a few Histories to wake up now and then, but multiple instances every day? And then there’s the strange boy lurking in the Narrows whose presence makes no sense. And the mysteries of the hotel itself….Mac’s got her plate pretty full. Assuming she survives her work.
Fascinating concept, but not as well-realized as I had hoped. This is, however, the first book in a series, so there’s necessarily a lot of world-building going on. Very little of the book takes place outside the Coronado, so it begins to feel a little limited at times in spite of the “real world” setting. Still an interesting examination of the nature of death and grief with a distinctly supernatural twist.
Nalia has spent the better part of her 16 years preparing to become the Queen of her country. Shortly after her 16th birthday, she is informed that, due to an ominous prophecy, she was switched at birth and is, in fact, a false princess. The real princess has been living in a convent and is equally clueless as to her own identity. The prophecy only indicated death for the princess prior to her turning sixteen, so now that the deadline has passed, the real princess can be crowned. Nalia, now called Sinda, is sent to her aunt’s cottage in a country village. After failing at the wool dyeing trade and accidentally discovering that she possesses magic, Sinda decided to head back to the capitol. An attempt to join the Wizardry school fails on account of her “common” ancestry and Sinda finds herself being taken under the wing of an eccentric witch who offers to teach her control in exchange for scribe work. In the capitol, Sinda uncovers evidence that may suggest there is more to the official royal story than anyone suspects, even the royal family. In order to figure out her place in the world, Sinda feels compelled to set everything straight in spite of the danger it may cause her.
This is a lovely stand-alone fantasy. The plot moves exceedingly fast and covers a lot of ground, something that seems rare in a publishing world focused on series. Sinda feels like a genuine person; she is flawed, she second-guesses herself, she works hard to figure out who she is and how she fits into things. The concept of a character being forced to completely redefine themselves is fascinating. The use of magic in the book adds to the overall flavor without being the centerpiece of the action. Elements of faith, trust, corruption, love and friendship round out this story that is largely appropriate for all ages.
How much do I love Terry Pratchett? I can’t even think of the correct quantitative word to answer that question. Dodger might just be his best yet. Dodger is an orphan who has spent most of his life on London’s streets. He makes ends meet by toshing (collecting coins, etc. from the sewers) and is notorious among those that inhabit the workhouses, sewers and streets. He’s most emphatically not a thief (but, if something is just lying around, well then…); he’s the Dodger. Here one moment and gone the next. Things might have continued on like that if it weren’t for Dodger’s admirable sense of chivalry. He hears a scream and finds himself rescuing a girl from two very nasty thugs. Shortly after, he comes across another well-known London-ite with good intentions, a Mr. Charlie Dickens. Dickens finds a safe place for the strange woman (who has yet to tell anyone about herself or her provenance). With the young lady, dubbed “Simplicity” by her caretakers, safety in hiding, Dodger becomes determined to see those guilty for Simplicity’s beating held responsible for their actions. Dodger’s mystery takes him all over London, meeting some very historically important personages and finding a bit out about himself as he goes along. In spite of his lack of education, Dodger proves himself to be, at all times, completely capable of handling any situation he finds himself in.
It took me a long time to read this one. Over a week, even. It took so long not because the pacing is slow, but because there’s so much detail and so many delicious puns that I didn’t want to miss a thing and frequently found myself going back over various paragraphs to make sure not a single joke was missed. Pratchett’s attention to detail is stunning. The city is as much a character as any of the human variety; the smells are palpable and the fog stings your eyes. The slang took some getting used to, but ultimately excelled in giving me a sense of place and time. I love the characters in this book so much; the real and imaginary (and canine…Onan, you stinky, lovable rascal). What’s even better is that, while there is a definite plot with a definite trajectory, there are themes and messages in this book that make its story timeless. Dodger’s era was one of tremendous change and each and every character seems to find themselves on the verge of potentially altering the course of history, if they haven’t already. This book has everything and then some going for it. I highly recommend Dodger to anyone who enjoys history, word play and good literature.