Maira's Books

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.

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Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States

I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Chasing Sunsets by Karen Kingsbury (2015)

Sighhh. I cannot wrap my mind around this world view, and I know it is the world view of many of my fellow countrymen. I can more easily accept some strange world with different parameters created by a science fiction or fantasy writer, than one where everything is controlled by a specific flavor of god and angels with a mission. I should write down my own beliefs at some point, as there is a sense of a higher power, a connectedness, fate to some extent, and even guardian angels, but very different from the ones portrayed here.

I realized I had to give this book up after one CD. There is a baseball star Marcus, who is supposed to father an important future messenger, but only if Mary Catherine stays well enough (she has a genetic medical condition) to bear the child. Then there are gang members who are supposed to kill Marcus, the baseball coach and his family, and a youth center, that seemed to be created with a lot of good intentions, though the conversations at the opening did not convince me they had thought it all through. Though the story may be good, it is not for me.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts (2015)

Been a while since I've read a Nora Roberts book (I have to be reading at least one a month to catch up will all she's written, but then I don't need to read them all - not something to aspire to on this author.) This is the first of the Guardians Trilogy and is high on the magic scale - magic again being the central focus that brings the three couples together. Three moon goddesses created three stars of fire, ice and water for a new queen. The evil goddess cast a spell on the stars so that they fell at some point, though well hidden. These six seekers - each most likely from a family of seekers - are to find them and restore them to the Glass Island, whatever that might be, and somehow have to stand up to the evil one. It is just the excuse to bring these six strangers together in beautiful settings doing interesting things.

Sasha starts off the story by dreaming of the other five and drawing from her dreams. She is an artist from NC and the seer that will guide them on their quest and that brings them together in Corfu, an island off Greece, for the first adventure. The rest know they are seeking the stars from family lore, but seeing themselves in Sasha's drawings convinces them all quickly that they belong to this team. Bran is a magician from Ireland and her love interest, her protector. Riley is an archaeologist who is world savvy and gets them the great villa to stay in through connections. I liked that they had to take time out of their adventures to take care of the place and figure out who cooks, who cleans, etc. Sawyer they pick up hitchhiking. He is handy with his hands and a drifter. Annika just appears on the beach one night and is not of this world, very innocent. I guessed who she was within minutes of meeting her. Doyle is another Irishman, the last to join the group and still mostly a mystery at the end of the story, but there are two more books to go. Heavy magic not my favorite in Roberts' books, but I do like this grouping of people, so want to read the rest of the trilogy sooner rather than later.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear (2016)

And we continue the WWII theme of the year. I read two of the first Masie Dobbs books and I promised myself to pick up some more, as I liked her. This is many years later, she has lived through a lot, luckily enough of her back story is told throughout the book.

It is 1938. Maisie has returned to London after helping wounded soldiers in Spain. She is staying with a long time friend, looking for a place of her own as a widow. Her old friends at secret service contact her and ask her to bring an important British businessman out of Munich, out of Dachau prison. She is to pretend she is the man's daughter. Masie reluctantly takes on the task and, of course, things don't go as planned. The Germans toy with her, asking her to return to Nazi headquarters numerous times. Then the person they bring out of Dachau is not the right one. Plus she has been given another task by a rich Englishman to bring his daughter back home. The plot is complex with Germans, Brits, Canadians and an American. All set in pre-war Germany. During the story Germany annexes Austria and Maisie keeps feeling that something is very wrong in Munich though it is in beautiful Bavaria - e.g. she sees two little girls playing in a deserted alley, so their families would not see them. They are not allowed to play together, as one of them is Jewish. This unease is well justified as we know the future events. She does face real danger, but in her usual composed way, deals with it.

I really should read some of the other Maisie Dobbs books. It was seven years ago that I read the first two - http://mairasbooks.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html