Thursday, June 24, 2021


 Stranded in Provence by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

This appears to be a series of 9 books.  I read these first three as ebooks on my phone.
Book 1-Parlez-Vous Murder?
"My name is Jules Hooker. I have lived through a few crappy moments in my life—and with a name like Hooker, you can just imagine—but nothing, nothing, compares to the two intensely and world-shatteringly crappy things that happened to me this last June.
Three, I guess, if you count Gilbert.
After my boyfriend dumped me on the day I thought he was going to propose, I’d have to say two other really bad things happened last June. The first would have to be the dead body I discovered in the rental house in France where I went to get over being dumped.
The second—and very possibly I should have led with this—was the dirty bomb that exploded over the Riviera throwing me and everyone else in France back to the 1950s.
So now I’m stranded here—trying to make a living by solving murders the old fashioned way — without help from DNA, databases, CSI crime labs or the police.
And I’m doing it in France.
Where I do not speak the language.
During the apocalypse.
Sound like fun?"

Book 2-Crime and Croissants
Jules Hooker is doing her best to adjust to the new normal of a world without electricity, electronics, cars or the chance to return home. Stranded in the charming but provincial village of Chabanel wasn’t terrible until Jules discovers Aix-en-Provence and decides that the big city lights—even when they’ve gone out in the apocalypse—are much preferable to the countryside.
Of course with a big city comes big city crimes and when a fellow American is accused of murdering a popular pastry chef in Aix, Jules knows she has to help.
Unfortunately tracking a dangerous killer when you don’t know the language—or the French people themselves—soon has Jules bumbling into one dangerous situation after another.
All the wonderful pastries aside, will this be lights out for Jules too?

Book 3- Accent on Murder
Trying to learn a foreign language can be murder--especially when your French tutor is strangled to death hours after your last lesson and your best friend is arrested for the crime.
Normally that wouldn't be a problem for stranded super sleuth and intrepid expat Jules Hooker except she just got her ONE chance to go back to the US and sticking around to help a pal means she's back to being stranded in a foreign country with no lights, no language skills and no real future.
Will she give up her chance to go home?
Will she continue to step on the toes of the handsome village police chief in order to help free her friend?
And finally, will Jules find out who the murderer is before the killer decides to permanently eliminate one very pesky very stubborn American sleuth?
Decided to review these three all together.  They were very easy reads, lots of silliness, doubt I'll read the other 6 books unless they show up free as ereaders.  Jules goes from one dangerous situation to another, always dressed in her designer clothes, shoes and purses.  She always manages to survive and solve the crime.  These books don't require much thought but they are an easy quick read.

Ransom by Danielle Steel
Outside the gates of a California prison, Peter Morgan is released after four long years and vows to redeem himself in the eyes of the young daughters he left behind. Simultaneously, Carl Waters, a convicted murderer, is set on the path of freedom with him.  That night, three hundred miles south in San Francisco, police detective Ted Lee comes home to a silent house; for twenty-nine years, he has been living for his job-and slowly falling out of love with his wife.  Across town, in an exclusive Pacific Heights neighbourhood, a mother tries to shield her three children from the panic rising within her. Four months after her husband's death. Fernanda Barnes faces a mountain of debt she cannot repay, a world destroyed, and a marriage lost.
Within weeks, the lives of these four people will collide in ways none of them could have foreseen.  For Fernanda, whose life had once been graced by beautiful homes, security, success, and stunning wealth, the death of her brilliant, brooding husband was already too much to bear.  She simply couldn't imagine a greater loss, until a devastating crime rocks her family to its core-and brings Detective Ted Lee into her life.
I had read a few Danielle Steel books years ago and decided they weren't for me.  This book was a pleasant surprise.  I quite enjoyed it, especially the last 100 or so pages.  It was pretty gripping towards the end.  The conclusion was mostly predictable but over all pretty good.

A Factory of Cunning by Philippa Stockley

A French noblewoman steps onto the gloomy, fog-chilled London docks.  It is not a triumphal arrival scene, but one to fit its purpose.  "Mrs. Fox" turns out to be both running from a scandalous past and bound on a secret mission to act as an instrument of revenge against Earl Much, a debauched British aristocrat who has devoted his long life to collecting priceless objects d'art and ruining young women.  Mrs. Fox is intent on rising in Georgian society, trading upon her considerable power of wit and seduction, and banking upon the credulity and appetites of men.
Using letters and journal entries readers are taken speeding through grand estates and country seats, and deep into London's back-alley stews and bawdy houses, all places where vice leads and virtue lags.  Mrs. Fox is irresistibly shrewd and delightfully self-serving, she pinpoints weakness and pounces.  Her letters to a confidant blister the society they expose, one in which all parties are either pursuing or being pursued and innocence goes to the highest bidder.  Mrs. Fox and her rival Earl Much know what is at stake here; their version of the war between the sexes leads to a blazing battle to the finish.
I have to say that the best part of this book was what was written on the dust cover!! It turned out to be dull and boring.  It was written in the form of letters which didn't help in the flow or predictability of the story.  Sorry I persevered and finished it.  I would not recommend it.

You Went Away by Timothy Findley
It's 1942, a time when anything is possible-though everything seems impossible.  A dashing, romantic young R.C.A.F. pilot captures the searching hearts of a married woman and her eleven year old son-while her philandering, hard-drinking husband jeopardizes his own Air Force career.  This is the home front, where war can offer hope for reconciliation, for the possibility of forgiveness, even after loss and betrayal.
It is a time defined by laughter and sudden death-a time that tests a couple's love and a family's bonds.
This is a sad story taking place in Ontario Canada during WWII.  It's a story of a selfish, alcoholic husband, a daughter that died, a son trying to grow up and a wife trying to save a dead marriage.  I would hope that today the wife wouldn't put up with this unfaithful husband and absent father. 
Always Something There to Remind Me by Beth Harbison

Two decades ago, Erin Edwards was sure she'd already found the love of her life:  Nate Lawson.   Her first love. The one with whom she shared everything-dreams of the future, of children, plans for forever.  The one she thought she would spend the rest of her life with.  Until one terrible night when Erin made a mistake Nate could not forgive, leaving her to mourn the relationship she could never forget or get over.
Today, Erin is contentedly involved with a phenomenal guy, while maneuvering a successful and exciting career and raising a great daughter all on her own.  So why would the name "Nate Lawson" be the first thing to enter her mind when her boyfriend asks her to marry him?
In the wake of the proposal, Erin finds herself coming unraveled over the past, and the love she never forgot.  The more she tries to ignore it and move on, the more it haunts her.
Well, I found this story pretty unbelievable. 
Present day is a 37 year old woman with a teenage daughter.  Her boyfriend proposes to her and immediately all she can think about is the boyfriend, first love, she had when she was 15 years old.  She is totally obsessed with this guy as if she is still 15 years old!  They broke up 23 years ago! OMG.
At age 15, not surprisingly,  she was extremely selfish and immature and at 37 nothing much has changed.  She says she didn't treat the teenage boyfriend well and she's doing the same thing with the present day boyfriend.  She comes across as extremely needy and desperate.  As the story progresses it is hard to comprehend what she ends up doing, but you'll have to read it to find out.

Saturday, June 12, 2021


 This was such a surprise this morning to see this very tiny guy run across our front lawn.  Now I have to confess that this picture is not the actual fawn I saw.  He was too fast so I stole a picture from google images as he looked exactly the same.  As you would know by my blog we have lots of deer in our neighbourhood and have had for many years but I have never seen one this young.

He went to the neighbours yard and hid behind a bush on their lawn.  This next picture is an actual picture of him.  The neighbour phoned 'Fish and Wildlife' and they said that mom would come back for him probably in a couple of hours.  Apparently she puts the fawn in a safe place and then she goes away to eat.  When she comes back. several hours later, she will then feed the baby.  Obviously the little one didn't stay where she put him as he was running around and found a new hiding place. He probably got in trouble when she finally found him for not staying put where she put him.  The fawn was gone by supper time so I hope they were reunited and went off to a new hiding place.