Monday, June 29, 2015

Circling the Sun

by Paula McLean

I didn't realize this was based on real-life people and events.  At some point I began to wonder if their was some truth to the story, probably when I read the name Karen Blixen, which sounded familiar.  I looked up Karen Blixen and reacquainted myself with Isak Dinesen's real name. Dinesen is her pen name -- you'll recognize her as the author of "Out of Africa."  Denys Finch Hatton and the main character of the book, Beryl Clutterbuck were also real.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which is a fictional account of real people's lives and relationships.  As with any historical fiction the reader must keep in mind that the conversations and much about the relationships is conjecture on the author's part.  However, there are facts to be gleaned and general circumstances to be trusted.

Beryl was a strong female with a great deal of grit and determination.  Sometimes she made life harder for herself with her unconventional thinking and actions.  She became the first woman to earn a license as a horse trainer in Kenya and England.

After Dnys Finch Hatton was killed in a plane crash, Beryl took up flying.  She was the first woman to fly solo from east to west over the Atlantic.

Circling the Sun was an absorbing read.  I rarely stay up late to finish a book but I did just that with this book.  Even with her successes, I felt sad for Beryl.  It seemed she was always trying to prove herself good enough for the men she loved and, mostly, for herself.

* I received a copy of Circling the Sun  from NetGalley in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was received.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

G. K. Chesterton Quotes

Edited by Bob Blaisdell

Seven years ago I read The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut by Paul Nowak and loved it, so when I saw this book on Net Galley I requested it.

This is the perfect ebook for my phone.  A few minutes waiting in line anywhere and I can read a few quotes.  With Chesterton there's always something that either resonates or is fodder for contemplation.

As I read this book I highlighted many quotes that I thought were worth rereading in the future.  Unfortunately, the book got erased from my Kindle, along with all the quotes.  They are now floating around the "ether"-net.  (An argument in favor of tangible books.)  I do have a few quotes that I found by skimming through the book after I uploaded it a second time.

One of my favorites:  "An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.  An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered."

The paradox of childhood:  "Exactly what Shaw does not understand is the paradox; the unavoidable paradox of childhood.  Although this child is much better than I, yet I must teach it.  Although this being has much purer passions that I, yet I must control it.  Although Tommy is quite right to rush towards a precipice, yet he must be stood in the corner for doing it."

"Selfishness is a permanent and natural danger which arises from the existence of a self."

I have enjoyed reading this book as it provides a glimpse into the mind of Chesterton. I find him to be an interesting person and I agree with many of his ideas.

* I received a copy of G.K. Chesterton Quotes  from NetGalley in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was received.

Saturday, June 06, 2015


 by Daniel Palmer

I love a book that grabs my attention and keeps me reading.  I can easily set most books down with the anticipation of being able to pick up the story the next day.  Constant Fear was not so easy to set aside - I wanted to keep reading to the finish.  My anticipatory set of mind could not be convinced to savor this book for a few days.  It wanted to be satisfied sooner than later.

This is a page-turner involving a group of five teenage students, a father, and a serious hostage situation.  I don't want to give away too much.  I went into this book knowing nothing of the story so each part was new to me.  Sometimes it's good not knowing too much before you start reading.

I was delighted to discover that Daniel Palmer has written other books.  Having read and loved this one, I will be checking on some of this other books.  Nothing better than discovering a new author whose work you really like and then discovering there's more already in the treasure trove.

I recommended this book to my sister when I was only part way into it.  Now that I'm finished I will highly recommend it.  As far as thrillers go this one lived up to its claim.  No foul language to speak of, no sex scenes, but some pretty descriptive violence.  Some of the characters are very despicable people.

* I received a copy of Constant Fear from NetGalley in exchange for my review.  No other compensation was received.