All sorts of Pretties for Easter!! Have a wonderful Easter!
All sorts of Pretties for Easter!! Have a wonderful Easter!
M. K. Clinton’s wonderful hubby, Skipper, took this shot of the stars of The Returns and Showstoppers cruising Dumaine Street today! The breeze, of course, has Bentleys ears blowing in the wind.
How Cute are they???
Thanksgiving. The celebration of the survival of the first group of White colonists to live through their arrival on the new continent, soon to be called “America.” The Native population helped them to survive, teaching food gathering, how to build shelters, and how to survive the harsh Eastern climate.
Hence began the genocide of whole cultures, the slaughter of women and children, and the modern day environmental disasters of the White invaders.
But be that here nor there, Thanksgiving is now a celebration of family, friends, and community. Though in this day and age, there is way too much hunger in this land of plenty. Job loss; home loss; women and children living in cars and on the streets. The pressures on the American people are crushing. Hunger is out of control, and the systems that provide food and shelter for those in need are being squeezed tighter and tighter to pay for military costs and the greed of the top 1% of the country – those who caused this nightmare in the first place.
So, before you sit down with family and friends, you should consider doing your part to help. Call in a donation to your local shelter or soup kitchen. Better yet, grab up the turkey and stuffing and carry it with you, and your friends and family, and volunteer. The needy will be fed, and you might be surprised at just how wonderful it makes you, and those you love, feel.
“We produce about 100 metric tons per year of weaponized variola virus. Smallpox.” Uri Sherbokov – designated escort, minder, keeper – Plague
“I studied at Emory University in America.” – Alnour Barashi – Terrorist – Plague
“We had begun working on the biological warfare issue in 1993, after the World Trade Center bombing made it clear that terrorism could strike at home, and a defector from Russia had told us that his country had huge stocks of anthrax, smallpox, Ebola, and other pathogens, and had continued to produce them even after the demise of the Soviet Union.”– Bill Clinton
1. an epidemic disease that causes high mortality; pestilence.
2. an infectious, epidemic disease caused by a bacterium, Yersinia pestis, characterized by fever, chills, and prostration, transmitted to humans from rats by means of the bites of fleas. Compare bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, septicemic plague.
3. any widespread affliction, calamity, or evil, especially one regarded as a direct punishment by God: a plague of war and desolation. -Websters Merriam Dictionary 2013
I am very much of two minds about this book, and for two very different reasons. I put a great deal of thought into my review after reading, and still am torn.
To get this out of the way, I am not fond of the writing style. The exposition is thin, the characters are more ‘caricatures’ and it could stand a good editor who can help the writer more fully realize his plotting and characterizations.
With that out of the way, let’s talk terrorism, level-4 containment, and the ease of foreign terrorists gaining use of facilities. We know other countries are creating biological weapons, as are we. “An offensive biological program was begun in 1942 under the direction of a civilian agency, the War Reserve Service (WRS). The Army Chemical Warfare Service was given responsibility and oversight for the effort. The mounting threat of the German buzz bombs that were raining on England from launching sites on the Continent during 1943 spurred the urgency of BW (biological warfare) defense because it was thought that these high-explosive rockets might easily be converted into efficient weapons for massive BW attacks.”(Weapons of Mass Destruction: http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/systems/bw.htm)
Things haven’t slowed down since 1942, and in some countries, especially Middle Eastern and the former Soviet states, it has increase dramatically. Given the state of world terrorism, it is not if, but when we will have to face yet another bioterror attack, such as the anthrax attacks of 2001. How it happens, and what the outcome is up in the air, but it will happen, and it will be horrific.
Bernard’s “Plague” addresses this issue, given a situation where the terrorist is an employee of a level-4 laboratory. The scenario is plausible, though some don’t seem to agree with me. Employees have the run of their labs, and can come and go at need, making it simple for them to hide what they are doing. As another reviewer said (paraphrased) “just like at Wendy’s.” There are thousands of foreigners working at highly secure facilities all around the United States, making it easy for a foreign terrorist to gain access if their cover is deep enough. Besides, we have own own, “home grown” terrorists as well who are just as dangerous, though usually on a par with high school educations rather than high-level virologists. I had no problem believing that part of the story. I could even see a foreign government being involved in the ownership of one of these facilities. Apparently, American corporations are more about the money than they are the safety of the people. But be that neither here nor there.
The writing simply wasn’t believable. Like many, I am a huge fan of the nonfiction work “The Hot Zone” and others in the vein. I adore heavily scientific works based around this theme, whether they be fiction or non-fiction. However, this one didn’t reach the level of excellence I had hoped for. If Bernard had spent more time on exposition, I might possibly have found the work more interesting. However, the characters just didn’t feel realistic. They were stilted and in at least one case, cartoonish.
While the overall idea was good, in the end, the book was simply a disappointment for me.
Maggie Get Your Gun: Maggie MacKay Magical Tracker Book 2
First, if you are looking for “serious” UF, before you pick up either of these volumes, let me warn you. Ilona Andrews or Mark Henwick, this is not. What this series is, though, is lighthearted fun with an interesting twist that keeps you reading. Sometimes, that is all you really need from a book, and Kate Danley delivers in spades.
One of the best things about this book is why Danley wrote it. Proceeds from the write-a-thon where this book was mostly written benefited the Young Writers Program, which funds free creative writing programs in hundred of schools and communities around the world. With the state of public education and the lack of support for the arts, I give Ms. Danley full kudos for her work.
The story itself picks up after the action in Maggie for Hire (Maggie MacKay – Magical Tracker). Maggie has her dad back and he and her mom have gone off for a nice weekend away to celebrate his return from two years stuck in limbo. Now, a new client walks in her door, with what seems a ridiculously simple job. To retrieve a simple ladies hair comb, ‘dropped in the desert’ outside of Calico Ghost Town on the far outskirts of Las Vegas. What happens next is a rather slap-stick (read ‘vintage Danley’) chase through deserts and down mine shafts to an old fashioned “Standoff At The OK Corral” ghost and monster style, in the streets of a real “Ghost Town” on the Other Side. As always, the good guys win, but only by a ‘ghost’ of a chance and with enough snark and ‘F’ bombs to float the Marie Celeste. (I will admit that I would appreciate some different and more creative expletives – the bomb is getting rather old . . .)
All in all, this series is funny and charming and is quite a pleasant way to wile away an afternoon. It doesn’t put a strain on the brain, the characters are to my mind quite likeable and you learn a bit more about Maggie’s mom in this one. I like her more even than I did before. I am really looking forward to the next one. I haven’t read The Woodcutter yet, that is on my list of must reads. Thanks, Ms. Danley, for a fun read and I look forward to more soon.
Funny throughout, good world building, likeable characters, lots of “F”bombs if you are offended by that sort of thing. Kate still needs a good editor, a few too many errors are creeping through that could set off the “Grammar Nazis”. Nothing five stars, but still well worth the $3.99.
The newest, Maggie on the Bounty (Maggie MacKay, Magical Tracker #3) was published July 15, 2013 and flew in right under my radar. I will be checking it out soon.
From the GoodReads blurb:
New business partners, Maggie and Killian, are looking forward to their latest gig: finding out why all the ghosts are disappearing from the Empress Adelaide, a turn of the century ocean liner who once shuttled Hollywood’s finest across the Atlantic. But Maggie and Killian find themselves trapped in the past, caught in a time rift with only a ghost of a chance of escaping. This ain’t no pleasure cruise.
Note: I was originally asked by the writer to review this book when it first came out March 17, 2012, and received a copy for free. Before I was halfway through, I went back to Smashwords and purchased the book. This great a read deserves a payment to the author!
The Essex Super Six Coupe rolled over the redwood planking, shattered the wooden railing at the end of the Sunset Pier, and plunged into the Pacific Ocean.
I am not normally a student of American History. While the great histories of Egypt and the Mesopotamian regions are well within my purview, possibly my Native American history makes the history of the US after the arrival of the white man more painful than I care to think about. However, the period of this book, the 1920’s, the age of the Volstead Act and some of the bloodiest of the country, other than the Civil War, is admittedly fascinating. And Jeffrey Stone does an incredible job of making you feel like you are there, in the period, and know these people he is writing about.
The thing I totally admire about the book is Mr. Stone’s grasp of the period. His research was flawless. The main characters of the book are `rumrunners,’ those brave (and, of course, criminal) purveyors of `distilled spirits’, which were made illegal by the Volstead Act, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. This act of hubris, brought on by the efforts of `temperance societies’ in the US, created an atmosphere of violence and greed across the country unseen at any other period. Billions of dollars in tax revenues were lost (could the Great Depression have been foreshortened by the taxes from legal liquor sales?) while gangsters turned the country into a shooting gallery, and thousands died from imbibing bootleg liquors laced with wood alcohol and other chemicals. Embalming fluid, anyone?
Stone’s little band of `heroes,’ led by Hud, a rum runner and all around nice guy (yes, he is a criminal, but in those days, you took your `criminal’ by degrees) are devastated as the book opens by the murder of their friend Danny, a `big con roper’. As I got deeper and deeper into the book, the reality and the spirit of the period drew me in, and refused to let me go. Hud is a rumrunner, but he is also very involved in another story so integral to the period – the advent of `talkies’ – motion pictures that featured sound.
In this day and age of Blu-ray, surround sound and 3D, it is hard to remember that, in the first two decades of the 20th century, movies were filmed with no sound at all, and were viewed strictly in theaters. Stone’s research into the period provides fascinating background. While 1927’s “The Jazz Singer”, the first movie produced and distributed with actual spoken dialog, was hailed by audiences of the time, Warner Brothers Studios head, and others, considered `talkies’ a passing fad, and were reluctant to invest in the technology. Stone’s Hud, fascinated by the process and seeing the possibilities in the field, spends time during the book planning his own talkie production, thereby giving us deep insight into what I consider to the hysterically funny limitations of thought of the studio heads of the time. (Yes, you CAN buy a three-disk special edition of “The Jazz Singer” at Amazon. Personally, I am waiting for the 3D version – ROFL)
Overall, this is one of the best books I have ever read set in the period. I am a huge fan of Dashiell Hammett and his ilk from that period, but this is a different animal. Steeped in the actual history of the period, Stone’s Hud and his friends are a more accessible group, with a minimum of the angst present in Hammett’s work. With even the slightest interest in the period, the development of the movie industry, or human nature as a whole, this is definitely the book for you. I mean, who can’t love an author who starts out his story in the front seat of an Essex Super Six Coupe? I do love me some antique cars!
This book is free at Amazon! Get your copy today!
Raised in Ohio, Jeffrey M. Stone moved to Santa Monica, California, in his early twenties. He now lives in Sonoma, in the Northern California wine country. Santa Monica beach was two blocks away but now it’s forty miles to the coast, the water is cold, and the rocky shoreline not conducive to body surfing. These days his favorite pastimes are playing tennis and riding his bike. As a reader, Jeffrey’s preferred genres have always been mystery/crime and historical fiction. As a writer, he aspires to write well researched, entertaining crime stories that transport readers into a different era.