Tuesday, August 25, 2020

UK Goodies

 DS#2 went to London on a flight and brought me another batch of goodies!!

This is just the top layer of the box, lots of other goodies underneath.
He left on a flight to Hong Kong this afternoon-14 hours.  They have very strict covid protocol when you go there.   He had to have a covid test 48 hours prior to the flight.  Another one when they land.  They are taken to the hotel and given a key card to open the hotel room.  This card is programmed to only open the door once so you can't leave your room as you won't be able to get back in.  If you are found outside your room you are ARRESTED!!!  So you have to stay in your room for 16 hours and then they come and take them back to the airport to get on  their flight home.  They sure don't fool around over there!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Books 11-18

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hardcover The Hunger Games Book
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games.  But Katniss has been close to death before-and survival, for her, is second nature.  Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.  But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
I'm not going to say much about this book except that I really liked it.  I'm sure most people have seen the movie (I haven't) so most people know the plot etc.  I found it to be a real page turner as I kept wanting to know what happens next.  
I'm not going to say anything about books 2 and 3 as it will give everything away.  I recommend that the books are read one after another because the story continues on as if it is one book.  Looking forward to reading Book 4,  The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Hardcover Catching Fire (The Hunger Games) Book

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Cover art

A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs

Conspiracy of Bones: Preview Kathy Reichs' twisty thriller |
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It's sweltering hot in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery for an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations.  She receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a picture of a corpse missing its face and hands.  She's anxious to know who the dead man is and why the images were sent to her.
To discover the man's identity, Tempe must go rogue and work outside the system.  Her new boss holds a fierce grudge and is determined to bar her from the case.  But she bulls forward anyway, even as she questions her instincts and as puzzles accumulate: Was the faceless man a spy? A trafficker? A target for assassination by the government?  And why was he carrying a piece of paper referring to a long-missing child?
With help from a number of law enforement associates, including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-quip ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.
But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes....
It had been quite a while since Reichs had put out a Tempe Brennan book and I was looking forward to this latest one after reading the previous 18 in the series.  While, as usual, this was another great story, I have to say I had a bit of a problem staying focused while reading it.  Tempe is recovering from an unruptured aneurysm, as was the author in real life, and so I felt everything, thoughts and actions, were jumping all over the place.  She is more reckless than usual, this is to be put down to the medical issues.  While Skinny played a huge part in this book Ryan was, for the most part, absent. Because of her relationship with her new boss there is very little lab work and far more police work.  I think I prefer her in the lab.  Hopefully the next book in the series will have Tempe doing what she does best, Forensic Anthropology!

The Tombs by Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry

Hardcover The Tombs Book
When an archeologist friend requests their help to excavate a top-secret historical site, the Fargos are intrigued. But they have no idea that their discoveries will set them on a hunt for a prize beyond all imagination.
The clues point to the hidden tomb of Attila the Hun, who was reportedly buried with a vast fortune of gold, jewels, and plunder: a bounty that has never been found.
As they follow a trail throughout Europe, it leads them not to one tomb, but five. The Fargos also find themselves pitted against a thieving group of treasure hunters, a cunning Russian businessman, and a ruthless Hungarian who claims direct descent from Attila himself—and will stop at nothing to achieve his destiny...
It started quite slowly, and picked up a bit as the story unfolded, but it soon became obvious exactly what was going to be happening at every turn. It was way too predictable, and there was no suspense at all making the story really boring after the half way point for me. The characters seemed a little unbelieveable. The good people were too friendly, too helpful, and too nice, which along with the complete predictability of everything, and the unbelievable ease the main characters have in obtaining the most impossible help in an instant, made it obvious that nothing bad was going to happen, sucked all suspense and realism out of the story, and made it a very tiresome effort to get through.
This is the first Clive Cussler book I've read and I see that this book is the fourth in a series.  I would read more but I will try to get the first books and read them first.

Lost Empire by Clive Cussler
Lost Empire (Fargo Adventure, #2) by Clive Cussler
While scuba diving in Tanzania, Sam and Remi Fargo come upon a strange relic belonging to a long-lost Confederate ship, which sets them off chasing the mystery of its origins.  But engaged in the same chase is Mexico's ultranationalist ruling party, who are intent on finding the artifact as well-because it contains a secret that could destroy them.
Through Tanzania and Zanzibar, into the rain forests of Madagascar, and across the Indian Ocean to Indonesia and the legendary site of the 1883 Krakatoa explosion, the Fardos and their ruthless opponents pursue the hunt-but only one can win.  And second place means death.
A fairly decent book but a so far fetched and unbelievable  I just wasn't thrilled with the story and the reason for the bad guys to do what they did.  It didn't hold my interest and found I was losing focus and had to reread bits.  I could really have written the same review as I did with The Tombs.  The ending is very predictable and basically same stuff different day.  I have one more of Cusslers books in the same series.  I'll read it but I don't think I'd get any of the others.

The Au Pair by Emma Rous
Paperback The Au Pair Book
Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.
Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.
Who is the child and what really happened that day?
This is a good mystery.  I kept flip flopping on the 'who done it'.  It kept me interested and found the story had lots of twists and turns.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Paperback Orphan Train : A Novel Book

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

I took this review from 'Good Reads' as it seems to sum it up very well.

This is a story about 91 year old Vivian who as a child was orphaned and placed on the "Orphan Train".

Vivian tells her story of being adopted and how she is mistreated throughout her childhood.
Then there is Molly who is 17 and has lived in many foster homes.
Molly must do 50 hours of community service and this is where she crosses paths with 91 year old Vivian.
Vivian lives in a mansion where she has an attic that needs cleaning out.The attic is filled boxes, furniture and memories.This is where Molly does her community service and helps Vivian sort through her possessions.
During this time they discover they have quite a lot in common.
I really enjoyed this book and would certainly recommend it.