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The Flood — Part 2


The flood waters have receded, the streets are more or less dry and we are–dare I say it?– almost finished the cleanup. BUT take a look at this.     Yep, that’s the drainage canal. Just how much water can it hold? Enough to prevent another flood during the next one or two or ten storms predicted for the area in the coming weeks? NO, there are no signs of backhoes or excavators coming to the rescue. So we wait with fingers crossed for the end of hurricane season.   http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com Original link
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It rains and now it’s personal.

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  It rains. Within an hour a river is running through your house. We’ve seen it on the news hundreds of times. The destruction. The devastation. The panic. Terrible, yes, but so far away. This time, though, is different. This time it’s your family fleeing the water. Now, you truly understand the horror that people face. Overwhelmed with the task of cleaning, as you survey your property in the aftermath and search for valued possessions — the mementos that hold so many memories.  Where do you begin? And when you have restored your home, will you ever feel safe again?   Original link
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Some books are more special than others


DARLENE JONES I love the ebook revolution. I love my ereader. I love that my books are available in ereader formats as well as print. I love being able to carry a library with me. So many pluses for the book lover. See a book that sounds interesting. Download a sample. Enjoy the sample. Check out a few reviews. Reviews are encouraging. Buy with one click. Do all of this from anywhere in the world. Unlike other readers, I’m not tied to print books. I don’t think there is any loss of enjoyment in the story if I read an electronic version. But … and it’s a big but, I do bemoan the following: Nothing matches the joy of an uncle handing you a book from his laden shelves, one you undertake to read...
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Diverted by Movies


Lately I’ve been diverted from reading by several movies. A new experience for me as I’ll take a book any day before a movie. Okay, that’s a bit of a lie. For years, my friend and I read the foreign movie reviews in Friday’s Edmonton Journal and and then went to the Princess or Avenue theaters on Saturday to see the movie of choice. We saw a number of unique, bizarre, and amazing movies over the years. I miss those. So what has partially drawn me back to movies? The Starz Channel. In the past couple of weeks I’ve watched: Woman in Gold – Helen Mirren amazes — as usual — in the real-life story of a Jewish-Austrian woman’s efforts to reclaim her family’s famous “Lady in Gold” painting stolen b...
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Novel Reading Peeves


Okay, here’s the thing. I love reading. Always have. But…. Some books drive me crazy. Not the ones I start and don’t like. Those are easy to deal with. Just stop reading. It’s the ones with an intriguing story line–a new twist on a familiar tale. For example, I’m enjoying the novel I’m reading now immensely, but the author and editor missed some big irritants. I don’t need to be told twelve times that the heroine’s reputation must remain unblemished or she will lose her status in society and her livelihood. Tell me once and get on with the story. Then there is the hero (who of course will fall in love with the heroine — at least I hope so as they’re a great pair) who has struggled and manage...
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An OMG kind of day.


Left home at 8:20 for a 9:00 am appointment as the doc’s office was at the other end of town (practically half way to Alaska!). I had, wisely, checked Google maps and written out detailed driving directions the night before. Followed directions and took exit 14, went past Costco and ended up headed back to the highway so turned around. Back at Costco corner, turned the other direction. Went up a mountain. Finally found a place to turn around. Went down a mountain. Stopped and called the doc’s office. Followed directions and drove past Costco. Ended up on the highway going back downtown (where I live). Turned around and found a service station to ask for help. Followed directions. Turned wher...
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The Glass Room – Simon Mawer


Inspired by a house, Simon Mawer has woven in intricate and intriguing story of a couple building just such a house and just such a room of light. Their lives are idyllic until Hitler looms on the horizon.  The couple and their family are replaced by Nazis using the glass room to run genetic measurements of phenotype, then doctors and therapists using it to work with handicapped children. Mawer subtly weaves the original owners back into the story bringing it to a natural and satisfying conclusion. Strong characters throughout and excellent writing make for a satisfying read. If you’ve read The Only Woman in the Room , you will immediately recognize Hedy Lamar and her husband (Austrian arms ...
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Next Year in Havana – Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana by [Cleeton, Chanel]
  Two worlds separated by 60 years and 90 miles. Elisa Perez belongs to the world of wealth and power in pre-Castro Havana. Her granddaughter, Marisol, belongs to the world of Cuban families (hers one of the wealthy) that fled and established their lives in Florida. Cleeton alternately immerses us in the life and times of the late 1950s and life in today’s Cuba. Armed with her grandmother’s ashes in her purse and searching for a place to scatter them as he promised, Marisol also plays detective as she tries to discover her grandmother’s secrets. Two periods in history and two love affairs make for captivating reading. I enjoyed the book, but found the ending somewhat rushed containing length...
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The Memory Painter – Gwendolyn Womack

The Memory Painter: A Novel by [Womack, Gwendolyn]
                        A mind-bending drug, a series of time-travel dreams — or are they reincarnations? — take the reader on a dazzling trip around the world into history. Reading these segments that gift Bryan with unusual skills and the ability to speak obscure languages is, for the reader, akin to “living” history. When Bryan meets Linz, he senses that they have loved in the past. Encountering her brings on more dreams. He is determined to convince her of their connection. Initially skeptical and even afraid of Brian, she takes the drug, and together they find the truth. The Memory Painter is a well-written intriguing story, which I enjoyed for the most part. Unfortunately, the connecti...
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Free Trip to Egypt – the movie

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  See Official Trailer here . Muslim, born in Halifax, raised in Ottawa, Tarek Mounib, dons a Make American Great Again cap, attends a Trump rally and asks:  Would anyone like to take a free vacation to Egypt and see what life is like in an Islamic country? Eventually seven Americans  accepted his offer. An Arizona single mom, a Kentucky beauty queen and born-again Christian, an African-American police officer, a soldier and one of his friends, and a retired school teacher (and her husband) who said she was a former liberal scarred by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “I’m so racist now, I can’t stand myself,” Ellen Decker says when she introduces herself during the film. Mounib paid for the Ameri...
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Jasper, Alberta, Canada – Part 2 – Introducing our granddaughter to the Rocky Mountains


As children, my husband and I were fortunate to spend many holidays with our parents in Jasper. We made sure to take our children to the mountains often over the years. This trip was the first for our granddaughter. She loved it there as much as we did. And we loved sharing our experiences with her. We stayed at Miette Hot Springs,   Hiked to the source, Enjoyed a dip in the hot pool and built a fire to roast marshmallows. In the town of Jasper, we spent a couple of hours scouring the gift shops (the munchkin had money burning a hole in her purse). Bear Hugs from Jasper and another couple of hours at Athabasca falls watching the rapids and falls and then crawling through the canyon at the bo...
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Jasper, Alberta, Canada — Part 1 – the safari


Within an hour of arriving in Jasper we saw a bear, and mountain goats, The next day we saw mountain sheep, And elk, not to mention the numerous squirrels and marmots that moved too fast for my camera, And — ta da! — a grizzly!  Unsurprisingly, bear-proof garbage cans and recycle bins were everywhere. More of Jasper and Miette next week.   http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com Original link
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From the sea shore to the Rockies

On our way to Jasper, Alberta, one of our favorite places. Will post pictures next week. Original link
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A Funeral for an Owl – Jane Davis

J D Favourite
Question: What is Jane Davis? Answer: A writer who weaves intricate plots with compelling, fully developed characters. I have now read five of her books. Each time I think, “Wow, this is the best yet.” Then I read another and think, “Wow, this is the best yet.” Question: What makes her books so riveting? Answer: Simply put, Jane is gifted. Not a single word is out of place whether she’s describing the setting, reaching into the characters’ soul, engaging her characters in dialogue…. The reader is never tempted to scan or skip portions. In fact, one is more likely to go back and re-read bits, whole chapters, or the whole book. Question: What does Jane write about? Answer: People. Ordinary peo...
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Jasper, Alberta, Canada — Part 3 – Look what I found.


Me: We’re taking the munchkin to Jasper for a few days. My ultra ursaphobic friend: Watch out for the bears. Me: Hey, girl, I know you’re terrified of them, but don’t worry. We have bear bells. My ultra ursaphobic friend: Bells! Ha! They’re just an invitation to dinner.   Tell me this isn’t the perfect shirt for her!!! http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com   Original link
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Discovering Jesse Stone

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We have just discovered—and  fallen in love with—the Jesse Stone movies. Do not ask where we’ve been all this time. But, thank you for asking why we like them so much. Big city (LA) cop (who drinks too much) is now police chief in small town Massachusetts. The wonderful, laconic Tom Selleck (we’ve been fans for years) stars as Jesse Stone.  At first glance, nothing much happens. Just like the British shows we enjoy, we are not subjected to car chases, or scenes splattered with blood and gore even though there are some killings, or young over-confident know-it-all police officers…. Uneventful as the movies seem, we can’t stop watching because we simply must  know how it will all turn out. Plu...
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Educated – Tara Westover

Educated by [Westover, Tara]
  Mental disorder (bipolar?) + Religious fanaticism + isolation + lack of education = a life well beyond dysfunctional. Tara Westover’s life story in her book “Educated” proves to be a harrowing read. How the emotional and physical abuse affects Tara, her siblings and her mother is often beyond belief, yet as we read we come to realize that the most insidious abuse of all is the hold her father has over everyone. Tara, despite her brilliance and academic achievements, is continually drawn back seeking support and acknowledgement of the abuse from her parents, and most importantly love and acceptance from her father. “Educated” is a difficult read, yet a book you just can’t put down. Note: Th...
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These Fragile Things – Jane Davis

These Fragile Things: A Novel by [Davis, Jane]
    I’ve been a Jane Davis fan ever since I read “Smash all the Windows” and I intend to read all of her books. So far each lives up to the high standard I came to expect after reading just one of her books. Davis has a brilliant talent for placing her characters in unusual circumstances that show us the vast array of human emotion and reactions to life and the intricacies of friendship and love. I will not rest until I have read all of her work. PS She has a wonderful way with words and a laugh out loud sense of humor in her FB posts. BLURB As a London suburb reels from riots in neighbouring Brixton, Graham Jones finds fatherhood a frightening place. How can he protect his family from the o...
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6 Degrees of Separation – connecting books


Inspired by Davida Chazan’s post, I decided to give this a try. See her chain here The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog — Davida writes, “This is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best . Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain.” See the graphic below. FIRST DEGREE — I start my chain with a favorite, Mixed Marriage by Elizabeth Cadell (1963), a book I’ve read many times for the sheer pleasure of laughing out loud. Written in diary format, sometimes with incomplete sentences (befitting a diary, of co...
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Housegirl – Michael Donkor

Housegirl: A Novel by [Donkor, Michael]
  I didn’t like Housegirl as much as I wanted to. Set in Ghana (where I have been), it ticked all the boxes. The sample did too as it depicted Belinda’s life working as a housegirl for a wealthy family. But, for me, it broke down when the setting moved to London, where Belinda was sent to sort out Amma’s problems. As the story progressed I felt sympathy for Belinda and the young friend she left behind, but didn’t care enough about the other characters and had to force myself to finish the book. That said the writing is strong with some exquisite phrasing. eg “A loud child was silenced with a sweet that crackled out of its wrapper.” I believe this book has appeal for others, just didn’t work ...
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