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Showing posts from 2017

My Maria Experience

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Hello, everyone! It's been weeks since my last post, and you can imagine why. It seems my joy at having escaped Irma's wrath was heard and noted, since Maria quickly followed. While Irma just gave Puerto Rico a glancing blow, Maria swept viciously over the entire island. It was as if a sixty-mile-wide tornado had crossed the island from corner to corner. Keep in mind, the island is approx. thirty miles wide by ninety miles long. We were inside the raging beast for hours! What is it like, enduring a storm of Maria's strength and size for hours? It's not something for the weak hearted, for sure. My house is built like a bunker. Most of the houses in my neighborhood are built the same way. Mine is made entirely of steel-reinforced concrete and concrete block, including the roof. That's right, the roof is concrete. My doors are impact-resistant metal. There are no trees around it to fall; only shrubs and small plants surround it. I decided that only the windward s

What to Read? Part 6

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As those of you who have read my short bio know, I live in Puerto Rico. For three days, hurricane Irma made it impossible to do anything but read, as wind and rain knocked off most of the island’s electricity.  I made sure to charge my Kindle way ahead of the storm, and spent most of it reading! If you're wondering, I am fine. The east side of the island got the worst of the storm, and I live in the west side. For the last month, I’ve been scanning the Top 100 Free list for those rare books that are both really good and free. I found that those books are usually free only for a few days of special promo, and by the time I finish a book, it’s off promo and no longer free. However, a good book, regardless of price, is worth recommending. During Irma, I read a few books I'd downloaded from the Top 100 Free over the last few weeks. The World Beneath by Rebecca Cantrell is one such book. I read it in one day because I could not put it down!  It's a mystery that

What to Read? Part 5

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Honestly, the pickings are slim today on the Top 100 Free. Overwhelmingly sexy romance, even the book in 1 st place is a romantic mystery. Compare the top six free to the top free paid. Top 100 Paid for Aug. 27 th 2017 First item to draw my attention is that Beneath a Scarlet Sky , about to be made into a movie, is number 5. For $1.99, that’s almost as good as free. Next, #1, #5, and #6 have over 16,000 reviews with an average above 4 stars. Sixteen thousand readers cannot lie! It’s an interesting note that two of the top six are tales of courage and love during the Nazi years (Beneath a Scarlet Sky and From Sand and Ash). Three are Thrillers/Suspense. All are priced below $5.00. However, if what you want is FREE, then you’d be better off searching the Free offerings under specific categories.  For example, Top Free in Fantasy or Top Free in Science Fiction. Below is a listing for to

Took or Baggins? Part 4

Chapter 4: A Short Cut to Mushrooms   -In the morning, the friends awaken to find the elves have gone.   -Frodo, Sam, and Pippin leave the main road and cut through the     wilderness  just in time before a Black Rider appears.    -The group ends up in Farmer Maggot’s house. He tells them that a dark     stranger on a black horse is searching for Frodo.    -Farmer Maggot gets them to the ferry crossing in secret. Wonderful Quote: Short cuts make long delays. My thoughts: There is beautiful imagery and great reading for those readers who actually love the process of reading: the enjoyment of mood, atmosphere, subtle creation of suspense, beautiful and poetic wording. Those looking for action-based, fast reading may be bored. Chapter 5: A Conspiracy Unmasked        -A short history of Buckland is given.    -A glimpse of a Black Rider happens as they disembark from the ferry.    -At Crickhollow, Merry and Pippin disclose that they know all about the      Ring.    - It's

What to Read? Part 4

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When trying to choose a variety of genres from the Top 100 Free list, a problem soon emerges: there is little variety. A careful examination of the list shows that the majority of titles are in the romance genre. On the first page (#1-#20) there are 12 romances out of 20 offerings. As the reader moves up the list, the proportion of romances to other genres increases. On Aug 8 th , 2017,  items 41-60 are as follows. Reminder: this list changes as the day wears on.  41- Lucky in Love- Romance>Sports 42- A Real cowboy Never Says No- Romance>Westerns 43- Accounting for Love- Romance>Westerns 44- The Red Door Inn- Romance>Inspirational 45- Married This Year 2 -Romance>Contemporary 46- The Chocolate Garden- New Adult>College 47- Damnation- Romance>Paranormal 48- Uncommon- Woman’s>Christian 49- Ella Wood- Romance>Historical 50- Tougher Than The Rest- Romance>Western 51- Haunted by Love- Romance Paranormal 52- Hawaiian Han

Took or Baggins? Part 3

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Prologue    Tolkien uses the prologue to give the reader background he feels is necessary. We are told not only about the physical, cultural, and racial traits of the Hobbits, but also quite a bit about their history. He tells that they descended from three different breeds: the Harfoots, the Stoors, and the Fallowhides. He implies that the histories he talks about may have spanned many thousands of years. Tolkien then goes into an extended narration of the history of Bilbo’s finding of The Ring and ends up touching on the subject of Shire records. It’s clear that Tolkien assumed that the person delving into LOTR may have never read The Hobbit , and he endeavored to provide information that would be useful to such a reader.   Chapter 1: A Long-Expected Party . (Tolkien titled each chapter.)    -Preparations begin for Bilbo’s 111 th birthday and Frodo’s 33 rd , as     they both share the same birthday, September 22 nd . A party like no other     is planned. Rich Bi

What to Read? Part 3

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Rogue Wave was #3 on the Top 100 Free on July 27th. Today it sits at #15.  I chose it because it’s not a romance, but a book that anyone, female or male, young or old, might enjoy. It’s by author Christopher Cartwright, book #4 of his Sam Reilly series, which I have never read or even knew existed until I saw the book on the Top Free list. I noted that this is the only free book he offers, but it’s not first in a series.  The book starts with a prologue. The prologue is quite effective at creating suspense and mystery. Five days before the main story starts, a wealthy, handsome, thirty-eight-year-old engineer Luke Eldridge gets ready to compete in a regatta. He has been threatened by a mysterious conglomerate not to sail until he has made a decision on a billion-dollar offer for a scientific discovery he and colleagues have made. The scientific discovery will change the world, and this evil conglomerate wants it.  The writing is concise; the short, clear sentences w

Took or Baggins? Part 2

I am reading The Fellowship of the Ring , which is the first of the LOTR trilogy. (ISBN 0-345-33970-3) At the time I bought it, years ago, it cost $6.99 for the paperback copy. It's the Ballantine edition, containing a foreword by Tolkien himself.  One thing that drew my attention is that toward the end of the foreword, Tolkien complains about other paperback editions being published without his consent. He states that only the Ballantine edition is the one he approved and encourages readers not to buy any other! And here I was thinking that stealing authors’ work was a recent thing born of the internet. Obviously not.  While most readers skip the Foreword (I seldom pay a second’s attention to it), this time I have made a special effort to trudge through it. I’m glad I did. First of all, this is Tolkien himself talking about his work. In my mind, silly as it sounds, he’s talking from beyond the grave, as he’s been dead many years.  Tolkien denies that his books had any

Took or Baggins?

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This morning, early, I got a text message from my daughter. She is married to a great guy named Alex and living and working in Kendall, Florida. Kendall is a suburb of Miami, closer to Homestead than Miami proper. Miami is home to my children; they grew up there. Anyway, she texted me the following message: "Alex just called me a Took. He says I'm a Took and he's a Baggins." The message brought a burst of laughter to my lips. I experienced a sweep of emotion that most of you would be hard-pressed to understand. First, you'd have to know the frame of reference. What are Tooks and Bagginses? If you ever read The Hobbit   and remembered it, you'd get it. Years ago, when I first read Tolkien, I also quickly identified myself as a Took. Tooks love adventures. They take chances. They get restless and shun the accepted and conventional. Tooks make a difference! They are a pain in the ass. We all want to be Tooks, but mostly, we are Bagginses. But why

What to Read? Part 2 (Top 100 Free in Kindle)

I again chose my next book from the "Best Sellers in Kindle eBooks- Top 100 Free." The title of the book is The First Time I Said Goodbye by Claire Allan. It was at number #2 on July 19th. It has 147 reviews and with a 4.3 stars average. It's not the usual type of story I normally read. It starts out with a funeral. A funeral at the start of any book is depressing, to say the least, unless you're looking at the start of a Marvel's Avengers story. Chapter 2 It caught my attention, and I'm definitely invested in it! The main characters, mother and daughter, are headed for a trip to Ireland. I love Ireland. (A good comeback from the funeral.) The trip is the mother's way of getting on with life after the death of her husband. Annabel, the daughter, appears to be caught up in a relationship she seems to be ambivalent about, but the story is really about her mother and the love of her life, the one that got away. The book is well-written. The About Autho