Saturday, July 13, 2024

Pocketful of Poseys by Thomas Reed -- BOOK REVIEW


BOOK REVIEW

Pocketful of Poseys by Thomas Reed (Beaufort Books, 2023)

Pocketful of Poseys is a warmhearted family story about a brother and sister charged with scattering their mother Cinny's ashes. The catch is that Cinny wanted her ashes mixed with the ashes of her husband, their father, and scattered in five different places around the world. She also left the money to finance the trip.

Grace and Brian, 40-something twins, head off with spouses and children on a round-the-world adventure, only opening their mother's instruction letters as they go. Through the letters and the travel they inspire, brother and sister learn the secrets of their parents' marriage, explore their own pasts, and forge stronger bonds with their own families.

I found the story easy to engage with and I cared for the characters. I enjoy stories abut families learning to accept and forgive, especially when livened up with a little humor, like this one is.

I though the pacing was a little uneven. There ae two big digressions early on, one providing Cinny's backstory, the other Brian's. I found both distracting because they abruptly pulled me out of the narrative. Then I anticipated the same sort of digression for Grace and the other characters, and I got distracted waiting for those to pop up, which they never did. This lack of similar treatment for the other characters made the first backstory digressions stand out as clunky info-dumps. I particularly missed more information about their father. There are a couple of hints that his death might have been more sinister than a winter car crash, but we get no answers. Again, compared to the almost exhaustive detail we learn about Cinny's past, this disparate treatment stood out.

Still, I really liked the book. Thomas Reed's writing style is smooth and lively, a real pleasure to read. Highly recommended.


FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
Grace Tingley and Brian Posey are forty-something twins whose lives have gone in very different directions. Grace, now a private school teacher in coastal Connecticut, was a PhD candidate at Yale when an unexpected pregnancy threw her plans into a tailspin. Brian, an adventure travel executive in Seattle, barely scraped through an obscure New England college and recently married Ella, after three years in an intimate relationship with a charismatic man from Jamaica.
When their widowed mother Cinny, a charter member of Woodstock Nation, is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Grace and Brian are there for her last days in hospice care. This is where Cinny reveals her staggering plan for the siblings: They’re to sprinkle her ashes, mixed with their father’s, at a series of exotic locations around the globe—some remote, some challengingly public, all known and loved by the Poseys.

NOTE

I got a review copy of Pocketful of Poseys through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. My copy was free, in exchange for my honest review. 

 



Thursday, July 11, 2024

Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh

Thank you for joining me for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it right now.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
When Guy Crouchback's grandparents, Gervase and Hermione, came to Italy on their honeymoon, French troops manned the defenses of Rome, the Sovereign Pontiff drove out in an open carriage and Cardinals took their exercise side-saddle on the Pincian Hill.
-- Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh. I like long opening sentences like this, even when they set the mood, not the actual scene. This is a book about Guy's experience in the British Army during WWII, not the story of his grandparents. So we quickly move from a brief family history to Guy's story. Still, the first sentence pulled me into the story.

Men at Arms is the first book in Waugh's WWII "Sword of Honour" trilogy (Sword of Honor for those of us who use American spelling). It is followed by Officers and Gentlemen and The End of the Battle (Unconditional Surrender in it's canonical, UK title).  I'm reading the trilogy with a group of Waugh fans on Instagram. We are working our way through all his books. The trilogy is also on my Classics Club II list.



YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

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THE FRIDAY 56

The Friday 56 is a natural tie-in with Book Beginnings. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your featured book. If you are reading an ebook or audiobook, find your teaser from the 56% mark.

Freda at Freda's Voice started and hosted The Friday 56 for a long, long time. She is taking a break and Anne at My Head is Full of Books has taken on hosting duties in her absence. Please visit Anne's blog and link to your Friday 56 post.

MY FRIDAY 56

-- from Men at Arms:
The three probationary Halberdiers stood back for the ladies to pass and followed them through the garden-gate with adolescent misgivings and there before them unmistakably, separated from them only by the plate-glass of the drawing-room window, stood Lieutenant-Colonel, shortly to be gazetted Brigadier, Ritchie-Hook glaring out at them balefully with a single, terrible eye. It was black as the brows above it, this eye, black as the patch which hung on the other side of the lean skew nose.
FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
"An eminently readable comedy of modern war" (New York Times), Men at Arms is the first novel in Evelyn Waugh's brilliant Sword of Honor trilogy.

Guy Crouchback, determined to get into the war, takes a commission in the Royal Corps of Halberdiers. His spirits high, he sees all the trimmings but none of the action. And his first campaign, an abortive affair on the West African coastline, ends with an escapade that seriously blots his Halberdier copybook.



Thursday, June 27, 2024

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene -- BOOK BEGINNINGS



BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

Thank you for joining me for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it right now.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him.
-- Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. Wow, that's some opening sentence! It sure got my attention. 

Graham Greene is one of my very favorite authors. He left a legacy of 26 novels (including two early ones that he “repudiated” and haven’t been in print since), several volumes of short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays, autobiographies, travel books, essays, criticism, two biographies, general nonfiction, and even children’s books.

I haven’t come close to reading, or even collecting, all of Greene’s books. I would like to read at least all his (existing) fiction. So far, I’ve read 11 of his novels and short story collections and one book of travel writing. 

One of my favorite Greene quotes is:
One’s life is more formed, I sometimes think, by books than by human beings: it is out of books one learns about love and pain at second hand. Even if we have the happy chance to fall in love, it is because we have been conditioned by what we have read . . .


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

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THE FRIDAY 56

The Friday 56 is a natural tie-in with Book Beginnings. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your featured book. If you are reading an ebook or audiobook, find your teaser from the 56% mark.

Freda at Freda's Voice started and hosted The Friday 56 for a long, long time. She is taking a break and Anne at My Head is Full of Books has taken on hosting duties in her absence. Please visit Anne's blog and link to your Friday 56 post.

MY FRIDAY 56

-- from Brighton Rock:
She didn't even know the name of a drink. In Nelson Place from which she had emerged like a mole into the daylight of Snow's restaurant and the Palace Pier, she had never known a boy with enough money to offer her a drink.
FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
Graham Greene's chilling exposé of violence and gang warfare in the pre-war underworld is a classic of its kind. Pinkie, a teenage gangster on the rise, is devoid of compassion or human feeling, despising weakness of both the spirit and the flesh. Responsible for the razor slashes that killed mob boss Kite and also for the death of Hale, a reporter who threatened the livelihood of the mob, Pinkie is the embodiment of calculated evil. As a Catholic, however, Pinkie is convinced that his retribution does not lie in human hands. He is therefore not prepared for Ida Arnold, Hale's avenging angel.


Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope -- BOOK BEGINNINGS



BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope

Thank you for joining me for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it right now.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
It was admitted by all her friends, and also by her enemies,—who were in truth the more numerous and active body of the two,—that Lizzie Greystock had done very well with herself.
-- from The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope. This is the third book in Trollope's "Palliser Novels" series. Unlike the others in the six-novel series, The Eustace Diamonds has little to do with Parliament or the characters in the other books. There is overlap, but this one stands on its own.

I'm reading this one, and the other Palliser books for a group read on Instagram. This is the only one of the six that I've read before. I greatly enjoyed it when I read it about 20 years ago and am loving the reread. This time, I'm reading it with my ears. 



YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

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This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
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THE FRIDAY 56

The Friday 56 is a natural tie-in with Book Beginnings. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your featured book. If you are reading an ebook or audiobook, find your teaser from the 56% mark.

Freda at Freda's Voice started and hosted The Friday 56 for a long, long time. She is taking a break and Anne at My Head is Full of Books has taken on hosting duties in her absence. Please visit Anne's blog and link to your Friday 56 post.

MY FRIDAY 56

-- from The Eustace Diamonds
Mr. Camperdown's first attempt was made by a most courteous and even complimentary note, in which he suggested to Lady Eustace that it would be for the advantage of all parties that the family jewels should be kept together. Lizzie as she read this note smiled, and said to herself that she did not exactly see how her own interests would be best served by such an arrangement.
FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
Following the death of her husband Sir Florian, beautiful Lizzie Eustace mysteriously comes into possession of a hugely expensive diamond necklace. She maintains it was a gift from her husband, but the Eustace lawyers insist she give it up, and while her cousin Frank takes her side, her new lover Lord Fawn states that he will only marry her if the necklace is surrendered. As gossip and scandal intensify, Lizzie's truthfulness is thrown into doubt, and, in her desire to keep the jewels, she is driven to increasingly desperate acts. The third in Trollope's Palliser series, The Eustace Diamonds bears all the hallmarks of his later works, blending dark cynicism with humour and a keen perception of human nature.


Thursday, June 13, 2024

Show Game by Steve Anderson -- Book Beginning

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS
Show Game by Steve Anderson

Thank you for joining me for Book Beginnings on Fridays. Please share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading this week. You can also share from a book that caught your fancy, even if you are not reading it right now.

MY BOOK BEGINNING
I have the bastard, finally, I got him. Target number one.
-- from Show Game by Steve Anderson.

I'm a big fan of Steve Anderson's "Kaspar Brothers" series of WWII/Cold War thrillers. His new novel, Show Game, is a departure from the series. It is a modern-day psychological thriller about a vigilante targeting wrongdoers, starting with a pedophile priest. It looks pretty dark, but good!

Of course, Show Game caught my attention right away because of the priest angle. I've spent the last 18 years doing nothing but going after pedophiles and the institutions that harbored them. I've used the courts, not kidnapping, but I admit I can understand the vigilante idea.

Show Game launches in July, but is available for pre-order now. 



YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display itdd


THE FRIDAY 56

The Friday 56 is a natural tie-in with Book Beginnings. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your featured book. If you are reading an ebook or audiobook, find your teaser from the 56% mark.

Freda at Freda's Voice started and hosted The Friday 56 for a long, long time. She is taking a break and Anne at My Head is Full of Books has taken on hosting duties in her absence. Please visit Anne's blog and link to your Friday 56 post.

MY FRIDAY 56

-- from Show Game

There's no actual timer counting down but it's not a bad idea. Maybe in a future production.

This is going to be exciting! 

FROM THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
The pandemic may be over, but the world is not safe for those who prey on the innocent. A vigilante known by the alias "Alex" knows what these transgressors have done. And taking them captive is only the first step toward vengeance. In order to be set free, they must first play the Show Game . . .

A predatory priest, a double-dealing politician, a fraudulent philanthropist--Alex has ways of making them confess, on camera, for all the world to witness. But the Show Game is building toward a darkly personal finale: exposing society's most notorious and evil abuser.

As Alex gets closer to the main event, investigative reporter Owen Tanaka is determined to unmask the vigilante's true identity and motive. But when a shocking revelation hits close to home, Owen must decide whether to stop a criminal mastermind's devious scheme . . . or let the Show Game play its final round.




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