Follow by Email

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Springing Into Summer Reading


Do you know you can read books on your Smart Phone? All you have to do is download the Amazon Kindle App(pictured above), and a world of books will be at your fingertips! Believe it or not, I've known this for a long time, but even with my new super-strong reading glasses, I prefer my eReader. Imagine my consternation when my eReader decided to freeze like a Popsicle during a heatwave? We tried everything. It went kaput. On the blink. Dead as a door nail. We tried pushing the on/off button for several seconds. Turning it back on, etc. Nothing but a dark sky. No stars.

The charger didn't work either. Everything was stuck, like that kid who licks the icy pole in A Christmas Story.  I searched the internet for technical repair ideas and watched how-to videos where computer experts remove the back of the gizmo with microscopic tools. When I shared some of those videos with my husband, he laughed and reminded me to set the clock on the DVD player. Guess we didn't inherit too many mechanical genes around here. The DVD is not even plugged in, but I've figured out the microwave clock. When they do away with daylight savings time, I'll be ahead of the game!

One day, I sashayed into the big electronic box store and asked the friendly, self-described geeky employee what he thought I should do. It was obvious he felt sorry for me. Several other employees gathered around and stared at me with sad, but kind eyes. They told me to bring it in for a tune-up, which, by the way, is pricier than a tune-up on our car. Certainly, more than the entire reader cost in the first place.  Blinking back tears, I worried I'd never get to read my giant pile of virtual books.  Can you imagine, I even went to a bookstore and purchased regular, tree-killing paper books?  Finally, I relented and bought a new reader online.

 And, while waiting for the package to arrive in the mail, I opened up that App on my phone and read some great books. 

Here's some spring favorites:





This book is the perfect companion for someone about to travel to Wales. I can imagine it would come in handy when making a bet at a pub. Crammed full of information, it’s almost intoxicating. I can tell the author could write several additional books about many of the subjects covered in this compendium. Of course, most of the tall tales are based on hearsay and the oral tradition. There's a lot of research here. That being said, the author, Jack Strange often uses the word ‘possibly’, as he navigates from one amazing topic to another. Lucky for him, he didn’t see most of this with his very own eyes.
There are detailed stories about Welsh dragons, witches, coal miners and their premonitions. There are several Welsh ghost stories, superstitions, courting rituals, wedding customs, the fate of wife beaters, food, miraculous springs, frog curses, pirates, monks, Merlin, King Arthur, The Holy Grail, fairies, mermaids, and Druids. Even unique Welsh sports such as Shin Kicking or Bog snorkeling.
And there’s more: The legendary afanc is apparently the Welsh equivalent of Nessie. Women acted as reinforcements during war, there’s the devil’s bridge and the sensational belief that a Welsh explorer by the name of Madoc, discovered Alabama in 1170.
“Wales is a country where everything has a song; the surf chants as it breaks on the shore, the rivers sing in their secret solitude through the hills, and even the wind whispers to its own tune.” So sensitive and so romantic.
Personally, I loved everything but the historic names and the strange combination of letters in the Welsh language.
My favorite quote is ‘Unraveling myth from folklore is nigh impossible in Wales, and that is part of the strange charm of this country.”





This book surprised me from beginning to end. Karen, the main character, worked so hard in previous books, I thought she had earned the right to snuggle, instead of traversing all over the United States helping friends with difficult issues. But, as you read about all the other lovable characters, you’ll be glad they have someone like Karen in their life. We all need a Karen to remind us of balance.

The author delves into topics such as: risking true love for family, the possible beginnings of Alzheimer’s, drugs, ethics, elder abuse, same-sex marriage, just to name a few. Almost every negative point has a positive counterpoint. One of my favorite lines, “While I complained, a half-dozen black and grey chickadees flitted over and began feeding.”

Spreen is an excellent writer. She keeps things lighthearted by even breaking through that fourth wall at times, addressing the reader. As in Chapter 20 about a hand gesture and how it’s “not the one you’re thinking,” or when she has to “plan” a trip and says, “you know”. Which cracked me up. The personal style makes for comfortable reading, as if Lynne Spreen is relaying her story to a close group of friends. Then, near the end there are even more clever surprises but you’ll have to read the book to find out more!





Once I got to the sentence,”Unfortunately, fate opted for revenge over some past indiscretion to come back with the vengeance of a thousand plagues,” there wasn’t a doubt in my mind I’d be in for an entertaining cozy mystery.

Kellen’s father is the president of Braxton College where two murders take place in Diamond Hall. Hercule Poirot, he’s not, but Kellen does have a certain intuition about things that may help Sheriff Montague solve the double homicide cases. There are red herrings that pulled me into several maze-like false beliefs about the killer’s identity, which, made for fast page turning. Could it be the Coach? His friend Conner? His old flame Maggie? One of the students? The Dean? Maybe even his dad?

Nana might know. After all, she’s busy baking things and giving him insight into local politics, while serving Kellen shortbread with lemon icing or coconut cream pie. I have to admit I was distracted and drooling, by the time he wrote about the blueberry scones, the double fudge brownies, peach cobbler and my all-time favorite: cherry pie. This author needs to write a cookbook or at least he should attach a few of his Nana’s recipes.
Either way, most of the truth will come out in the end, but there are a few surprises and a major curve-ball that will make you crave more of this author’s work. Of course, you might also want a side of Nana D’s corn muffins with raspberry jam, or her warm cinnamon buns on the side.



This book will inspire anyone. You don’t need to like dogs or auto racing to see the underlying metaphorical message that weaves throughout this novel. “That which you manifest is before you.” In other words, looking behind you, or glancing in the rear-view mirror, especially if you’re a race car driver and it’s raining, can cause a lot of trouble, even death.
Enzo, is a dog, and the narrator of this unique, artful story. Everything is from his perspective and you’ll almost forget that a talented author by the name of Garth Stein is the actual author. Since Enzo’s person, Denny is a race car driver, that makes Enzo describe everything as if, he too, were a race car driver. When there’s a courtroom battle, Enzo wants to be part of it. Each time Enzo uses the pronoun ‘we’ instead of me, or him, your heart will melt into a thousand pieces. You see this dog listens to everything and knows the truth about Denny. In fact, he understands things that humans don’t even understand. And though the story is nothing like Old Yeller, you’ll probably need a tissue by the time you reach the finish line.





With years of experience in marketing and advertising, I enjoyed this fantasy about neuromarketing. In this case, a demon from Hell wants power over Heaven, God and our country, using electronic devices that influence souls. In this action-packed story with detailed characters, the author talks about goggles that make users unable to think for themselves. Reginald is in charge of marketing the goggles, and Timothie is a gay superhero from another planet. Bael is the demon wanting millions of souls. Even if “good always wins over evil,” there are sections that make you wonder. Is the planet doomed? There are funny parts that made me laugh out loud, and wild twists that kept me turning pages. I think, if you like superhero stories such as the Avengers, you’ll like Timothie Hill And The Cloak of Power.

How about you? Read any great books, lately?