In January of 2005 I started this blog as a record of books I’ve read as I was afraid I would forget what I have read. I have often referred back to my own blog to remember a book's contents or see what I have read by an author. I have enjoyed passing my books on to friends or recommending books to read. I know I have missed recording some, but in general I try to keep up with what I have read or listened to.
- Name: Maira Bundza
- Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States
I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood (2006)
Monday, October 26, 2015
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (2013)
Saturday, October 17, 2015
The Liar by Nora Roberts (2015)
I have mentioned in the past that sometimes the characters in Roberts' books seem to disconnected from family and friends made over the years. This one was rich with family, and included an old high school rival and the best friend, who was mad at her for being so distant while married to Richard and not coming back for important events. Of course Shelby makes up with her friend, and through her meets Griff, a construction business. As in many of her male characters, he is too good to be true, but I did enjoy the fact that he connected so well with Shelby's daughter Callie. I also liked that he was restoring an old country house.
The mystery was based on a plot twist that was quite obvious from the beginning, but it still caused enough excitement and gave Griff an opportunity to worry and support Shelby. The debt angle was quite implausible - that she could sell so much off for such substantial sums, and that she could keep paying off the huge debt with income from her salon job. But I liked that we see Shelby regaining her confidence in herself, that she lost through the mentally abusive relationship with Richard.
World of Suzie Wong by Richard Mason (1957)
The story is told by Robert Lomax, an artist, who settles down in a cheap hotel in Hong Kong to paint. The hotel is used by prostitutes and he is most fascinated by Suzie, an energetic prostitute that he befriends. Interesting depiction of Hong Kong, that part of the world, and prostitution in that era. Again, it is Brits owning companies, estates around the world. Robert leaves England to work as an assistant in British Malaya for a rubber company, learns to draw in his spare time, decides to devote a year to art, and moves to Hong Kong. I am fascinated by the expatriates from Europe in Asia and Africa. Why does it seem that they still managed to be separate in those continents, but took over North America, Australia, and maybe to a lesser degree South America?
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (2015)
Markham was the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a plane east to west and the book starts and ends with this event. Beryl was born in England, but soon her family moved to Kenya, where her father started a farm and raised horses, but her mother soon returned to England, leaving young Beryl behind. The Kikuyu stepped in and raised her. Her best friend in childhood was the chief's son, with which she learned the ways of the Kenyan woods and grasslands, including hunting. Her father taught her to work with horses, and she at one point became one of the first women trainers. When drought and debts overwhelmed the farm, Beryl felt she was forced to marry to stay in Kenya, but she was unprepared and the marriage soon fell apart. Her big love was Denys Finch Hatten, but he was more Karen Blixen's than anyone else's. I recognized the name immediately, but took a while to remember she is the author of Out of Africa - a book I read before the movie came out. After her second marriage to Markham dissolves, she turns to flying. As an independent woman, she kept running up against society's expectations in many ways. Amazing woman, who's story was very well told. I'd like to reread West with the Night again.
Lavender Morning by Jude Deveraux (2009)
Thursday, October 01, 2015
The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz (2015)
Blomkvist's magazine Millenium is in danger, as I can imagine many a magazine is struggling in these days of everything being on the Web. So how does journalism keep surviving, who can pay investigative journalists? But that has little to do with this book, just came up as a question. Blomkvist is restless, some are calling him washed up. He gets a call from Frans Balder in the middle of the night, and goes to see what he wants, and from then it is non stop.
Frans Balder is a genius mathematician, with autistic son August, fading actress ex-wife Hanna, her no good current live-in Lasse Westman. He has done some amazing work with AI that others want. He has returned to Sweden to take his son under his own wing and realized the kid is also brilliant with numbers and can draw amazingly - a savant. The kid becomes a key figure in this thriller.
Lisbeth Salander is working on finding the remnants of her late father's band of evil-doers, which have been called Spiders. I liked the way the comic characters were brought into the story. Brilliant techies, but social misfits often turn to comic books (as in Big Bang Theory) - and understanding these was a clue to those thrying to figure things out. Salander does stir up a wasp's (not hornet's) nest in America, so we have a complex story that includes Swedish police, Swedish Security Police, American National Security Agency, an investigative magazine, bad guys, some with a bit of a conscience, and more.
And now I know there can be more Blomkvist Salander books. Yeah!!
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Forgotten by David Baldacci (2012)
Then we have Mecho, who is even larger and more lethal than Puller with his own agenda. He gets taken by slave traders in Mexico, who use abandoned oil rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico as stations, but escapes them and also lands in Paradise, gets a job with a landscape company, and works on a rich guy's property that requires tending every day. Here he is approached by a gorgeous woman who has also been having sex with the rich guy.
Of course they all come together in a series of action packed adventures to stop the slave traders. It is scary to think that the slave trade is alive and well in the U.S. I am sure the novel reflected realities, like the different categories of slaves - sex slaves, mules, and basic laborers. There was also a category I hadn't thought of - children used to create "families", so the adults will not be scrutinized in airports and elsewhere. And they are all kept in place with the threat that their families will be killed if they don't comply. Horrible. I wish our governmental institutions would spend less energy harassing immigrants and on the war on drugs and concentrate on preventing the slave trade.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Villa by Nora Roberts (2001)
Villa is set in California wine country with a few connections to the vineyards in Italy. Two families have neighboring vineyards and the patriarch and matriarch of the two have lost their spouses, have married and are bringing the companies together into one. We actually get two romantic couples in this one - Sophia, the granddaughter of Giambelli's is the marketing specialist, Tyler MacMillan is the wine specialist - pruning vines, making the wine. They are forced to work together and learn each other's jobs - and of course they end up falling in love. Sophia's mom Pilar has not been lucky in love with meandering Tony, but she finds her match in David Cutter, who has been hired as chief operations officer. There are a few deaths, dramas, etc. - the usual excitement generated by Roberts. I like the details of wine making, and I have spent one February in my life pruning grape vines, so could appreciate that part.