Thursday, December 31, 2009


In the spirit of Good-Time Girls everywhere:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just Another Love TKO....

Queenpin Queenpin by Megan Abbott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, i met up with Ms Abbott...and was TKOd right out of the box....but it didn't hurt, not one bit. The narrative tension...the period detail..the cold-as-ice women and wastrel men...the broken bones...the blood..the mayhem...the "heat"....are all here in spades. Three times lucky, i guess.

A crash course in Grifting 101, under the tutelage of the legendary Gloria Denton, leaves our wide-eyed heroine bewitched, bothered, and bewildered...and craving the ever-elusive MORE. Things go seriously awry when Miss Wide Eyes falls hard for a rotten, unlucky (but gorgeous) gambler. In an effort to save his sorry ass and pay off his Vig...a plot is hatched to relieve La Denton of some cash...bloody murder follows. After our girl's wounds heal she decides to turn heel...turn her coat...and rat the Queenpin out to the coppers....more bloody death follows, toot-sweet. The newly freed Bird hies off to greener pastures..only to meet a Character from the recent past, who offers her the chance of a lifetime..the chance to become a Queenpin, about Fate. what kind of Luck is that?

5 Stars (oh, hell, make it a double)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Old Hometown

Gum-Dipped: A Daughter Remembers Rubber Town (Ohio History and Culture (Paperback)) Gum-Dipped: A Daughter Remembers Rubber Town by Joyce Dyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Frustrating? Annoying? You Bet.....

This is Joyce Dyer's heartfelt (at times Slavish) tribute to her father..Thomas Coyne....and His slavish devotion to Firestone Tire & Rubber Company (Akron, Ohio) and Harvey S Firestone, Sr

Thomas Coyne was a COMPANY MAN..through and through...he believed that Firestone Tire & Rubber..and Harvey Firestone would care for him & his family for life...unfortunately, that was not the case...RUBBER left Akron in the 1970s..and left Thomas Coyne behind

I was born and raised in Akron, father spent his entire working life at Firestone Tire & Rubber Company..but he was NOT a Company Man..we did Not live in Firestone Park..and my Dad always said that Harvey Firestone Sr was "a crook" and a Robber Baron..

Ms Dyer, in spite of her slavish devotion to her Father, eventually presented a clear-eyed picture of the man..and his blind trust in a Company that let him, and so many others, a shameful way

this was a tough read for me..Ms Dyer and i grew up in different circumstances..different "classes"...and my father retired as a Systems Analyst..but "got out" when he could in the late 70s...but i felt for her in reading this book. Her dad bought the Company Line totally..and he paid dearly...and so did she, in a way. I envy her close relationship with her a point.

i won't recommend this book..unless someone grew up in Akron, when it was the Rubber Capitol of The World...but it is a heartbreaker of a book..the tale of Industry's control of a city..but it's disregard of its workers...and the price everyone paid..

4 Stars

Friday, December 18, 2009

Favorite Author/Series

A Place of Hiding (Inspector Lynley #12) A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Supposing that one has not read Elizabeth George's LYNLEY/HAVERS series of mysteries..this is not really the place to start(that would be A GREAT DELIVERANCE...the first)..but it's not bad.....the entire series is well worth the time spent navigating intricate plotlines (watch out for the Twists in the road); flawed, if at times exasperating characters (just like real people); and the woeful aftermath of a Criminal Act (sadness and rue, anyone?).

I want to call this particular title "The Flip Side of THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY" (which book i have NOT read)...since it is set on the Isle of Guernsey and, in part, deals with the Nazi Occupation of said island.....not a quaint story in this case..

a thoroughly enjoyable read...but i am a serious GEORGE fan

**** (4 Stars)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's a fella to do????

The Midnight Band of Mercy The Midnight Band of Mercy by Michael Blaine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What begins as a simple, lurid tale of Catricide soon develops into one of greed, Eugenics, and the slaughter of another group of Innocents.

Max Greengrass, a stringer for the NEW YORK HERALD, is paid by the everything has "story-potential" in his eyes....and his pocketbook. When he stumbles, literally, upon a tableau of dead cats, one drunken evening, he sees only the number of paragraphs to be eked out for a story...unbeknownst to him, however, is the fact that this Story could be the the Big make his career or end his life....

1890s NYC..Tammany hall in its grand corruption...swank lawyers playing both sides of the courtroom. Clergyman Reformers having it both ways with Sin & Salvation, while the city's poorest pay the tab...The Hudson Dusters and their Gangland ilk provide "color".....a sexy radical Settlement House nurse and a dedicated, Bluestocking photographer provide the "love interest' in Max's life....when he's not being throttled by street Arabs..or The Herald's City Editor..

A vibrant cast of characters and a plot "ripped from the headlines" make this a fast-paced, enjoyable read....and you just might learn some History in the process.

**** (4 Stars)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What If...........????

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"What if, among those falsely accused during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, there had been a few actual witches?"...That is the premise of this historical novel, and Ms Howe delivers a good story...with a few flaws. Aside from a couple of characters who border on Caricature (the New Age Mom, the Evil Mentor), a didactic tone (at the beginning of the book i felt as if i were back in college, sitting through another History lecture), and the whole mystical, "blue-ball-of-energy" pyrotechnic display (Comic Book, anyone?)...this story of a missing Spell book works...or maybe because of these very things.

Ms Howe's scholarship is impeccable, but i felt her protagonist suffered for it. Poor Connie Goodwin was at sea in her own story, at times..bogged down by details and her own angst..with little room to move....Given the fact that both the author and main character have a Salem Legacy..i will carp no more.

Academic ambition, shaky ethics, the burden of History and Family are all here...this was an enjoyable read, all-in-all....One may not think of Witches in the same "olde wayes" again