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17 January 2017

Mr Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal (Tuesday Intros & Teaser Tuesday)

This past September I paid a whopping ten cents a pop at a library book sale for the first two books in Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series. I love historical mysteries -- especially those set in England -- and at ten cents each??? I really felt I had no choice. I had to snatch them both up. So far (as I'm not even half-way through the first yet), it's been twenty cents well spent.
"First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros" is from the first paragraph or two of a book being read now (or in the future) and is hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea. "Teaser Tuesday" at The Purple Booker asks for a random line or two from anywhere in the book currently being read.
London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.
Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

13 January 2017

Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen (Book Beginnings & Friday 56)

The first of Jane Austen's books to be published, Sense and Sensibility is primarily a tale of two sisters, their love and loves. 

Elinor is 19 years old. (Hear that, Emma Thompson? 19 years old. You really shouldn't have played the role at 36. I don't care how many nominations and awards the movie got. SHE'S 19!) She is quite serious and is more concerned about doing for others than she is for herself. Marianne is 16 at the onset of the actual story (you know, once we get past the basic prologue of so-and-so dying and leaving such-and-such to whomever). She is pretty much the anti-Elinor, letting her emotions go wild and not caring about appearances or consequences as long as there's some sort of passion and drama. (There's a younger sister, as well, but she's more or less just there for show.)

I first read this at some point in middle school thanks to it being on my mom's shelves and my insistence on reading everything I could get my hands on. Did I "get it"? Not likely. I have, of course, since seen at least two filmed adaptations. I prefer the 2008 BBC mini-series. Hattie Morahan was a much more convincing 19 even though she was 29 at the time of filming ... and it also has Mark Williams and David Morrissey and Mark Freaking Gatiss and at least two others who have been on Doctor Who (or The Sarah Jane Adventures) at one point or another. Heck, the 2008 Marianne was on the most recent Christmas special which just makes me want to hop on Hulu to watch S&S again ....... as soon as I've finished reading the book.

It's not a fast read, of course. I don't recall ever flying through a full-length Jane Austen in a day like I do with so many cozies. Of course, we are still talking about books I originally read almost 30 years ago. It's worth taking my time with, though. The words are there to savor -- not just to read.

Friday 56 (share from the 56th page or 56% mark) is hosted at Freda's Voice (today 56%) 
& Book Beginnings (share the first few sentences) is at Rose City Reader.

12 January 2017

Rambling About.. On Borrowed Time by Jenn McKinlay


Title: On Borrowed Time
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Publication: 4 November 2014 - Berkley
First Lines: Lindsey Norris, director of the Briar Creek Public Library, strode across the library with her keys in hand. It was lunch hour on Thursday, which meant book talk, crafts and snacks, as their weekly crafternoon book club gathered in a meeting room on the far side of the building.
Faves on 4s:
14% - He opened his arms wide as if to scoop Lindsey close and comfort her. Sully blocked him, intercepting his move and leaving Robbie hugging him instead.
44% - His voice was gravel rough and managed to turn Lindsey's insides to hot mush even while she felt an adrenaline surge of fear pump through her.
64% - She unlocked her front door and peeked out just to do one more visual sweep for peace of mind. It was a mistake.
84% - "Can you believe we pulled it off?" Beth asked.
           "Honestly, no," Lindsey said. "I feel like it most of it was sheer dumb luck."

Ramble: This is the fifth book in the Library Lover's Mystery series and, while I did enjoy it, it didn't grip me nearly as much as the other installments have. The "mystery" was hugely overshadowed by the love triangle and pretty much felt like an afterthought. Even though the mystery that I was longing for was lacking, the love triangle pretty much cracked me up. Watching the two men work against each other -- which often resulted in the two of them working with each other -- was a riot and I couldn't help but keep turning the pages just to see what they would do next. If you haven't read the other books yet, don't start with this one. Do them in order so the lack of mystery and emphasis on characters doesn't turn you off. It's one of my favorite cozy series and, hopefully, this was just a blip.