Tag Archives: #read

Split Second by Catherine Coulter. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Split Second by Catherine Coulter

I decided to read a book from a series that I haven’t read in a while and it honestly is like meeting up with dear friends I haven’t seen in a while. What a welcome surprise! Split Second by Catherine Coulter is actually the 15th book in the FBI series, but I read the others before I started blogging and reviewing books.

Let me just say if you like murder mysteries and police procedure novels, these are all really, really good. They remind me so much of Criminal Minds and that is a good thing! FBI agent Dillon Savich is a computer whiz and when you add his skills in logic to the logic skills of his wife, FBI Agent Lacey Sherlock no criminal is safe.

The stories, though, go much deeper than just the crime fighting. You get to delve into the hearts and minds of so many of the characters in Coulter’s writing. She has a way with words that pulls you in and allows you to connect with Savich and Sherlock, as well as the other agents with whom they work.

In Split Second Savich stops a robbery in a convenience store close to his home, but something about the scene feels off to him. Meanwhile, there is a killer on the loose who meets women at bars, takes them home and then garrotes them with wire. All of this at the same time that Agent Lacy Carlyle’s father passed away, with an ominous message just before he died. Bringing all of these stories to full circle takes so much skill in writing and Coulter handles it all with the flourish that is a trademark of her writing.

This is a great addition to this series and one that I highly recommend!

Catherine Coulter’s FBI Series in order leading up to Split Second:

  1. The CoveA (1996)
  2. The MazeA (1997)
  3. The TargetB (1998)
  4. The EdgeB (1999)
  5. RiptideC (2000)
  6. Hemlock BayC (2001)
  7. Eleventh Hour (2002)
  8. Blindside (2003)
  9. Blowout (2004)
  10. Point Blank (2005)
  11. Double Take (2007)
  12. Tailspin (2008)
  13. KnockOut (2009)
  14. Whiplash (2010)
  15. Split Second (201)
  16. Backfire (2012)
  17. Bombshell (2013)
  18. Power Play (2014)
  19. Nemesis (2015)
  20. Insidious (2016)
  21. Enigma (2017)

Omnibus Editions:

  1. The Beginning. 2005. (containing The Cove & The Maze)
  2. Double Jeopardy. 2008. (containing The Target & The Edge)
  3. Twice Dead. 2011. (containing Riptide & Hemlock Bay)
  4. Second Shot. 2014. (containing Eleventh Hour & Blindside)

Check out all the books, movies and TV shows I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link

4 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I wholeheartedly recommend these linked products! If you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small payment, but it does not affect your cost at all. 

Advertisements
The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

The Miniaturist

Yes, I am a librarian/media specialist. And yes, I buy books for the media center all the time (you can read about that process in this post). And yes, I LOVE to read but very rarely do I have the time to read at work. I am usually helping students with computer issues, teaching kids and adults how to use computers to do exactly what they want (sounds strange for high school students and teachers to need that help, but you’d be surprised), helping students find the right book to read and a myriad of other tasks.

So if I ever take out a book during the day and take the time to stop and read, it is a REALLY good book and it has bewitched me, body and soul as Mr. Darcy so eloquently put it.  The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton is one of those books. I could not get enough of it. I could not put it down. I read every spare minute. So what had my attention, you ask?

When Petronella “Nella” Oortman turns 18, her mother arranges for her to marry Johannes Brandt of Amsterdam, who is in his late 30s, to save their family after Nella’s father drank away most of their money and then died, leaving them nearly destitute. Nella met Johannes a couple of times before the marriage but basically knows very little about him.

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

When she arrives in Amsterdam, she is met at the house by his sister Marin, who in most aspects is the head of the house, Otto, a former slave from Surinam who was freed by Johannes and Cornelia, the maid. The fact that Marin takes the lead of the house is damaging to Nella’s already low self-esteem. Add to this a husband who is rarely home and does not interact with his wife when he is there and Nella cannot figure our where she belongs in this new life she is supposed to forge.

When Johannes presents her with a miniature replica of their home as a wedding gift, she is not only confused by the gift that she sees as a toy but also angry that he would think so little of her as to believe she would be interested in such an expensive waste of time and money.

However, when Marin gives her the name of a miniaturist in Amsterdam and money of her own to pay for the items, she decides to hire out pieces for the house. When she receives the items that she ordered, she also receives pieces that she did not order and that seem to mock her life and her situation. Nella, furious, sends word to the miniaturist not to send anything else.

But as Nella’s life becomes more complicated, the miniatures keep coming and seem to not just mock her life, but to foretell it. While terrified of what the miniaturist will send next and yet terrified that no more will arrive, Nella sets out to get her life, her marriage, and her house in order, just as the walls seem to be falling down around her.

Detailed and intriguing, this novel deposits you smack in the middle of a macabre world of 1860s Amsterdam where the citizens are encouraged or maybe somewhat commanded by the Church to spy on their neighbors and to turn them in for anything that the Church deems impure, even the “idol worship” of gingerbread men and dolls, not to mention the “wickedness” of money, though no Priest would ever turn down a quickly palmed bribe.

This beautiful work is a rich tapestry of history, intrigue, love, hatred and family and exactly to what lengths people will go to protect those they love and seek vengeance against those believed to have inflicted harm or wrongdoing against them.

The Miniaturist. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Burton first saw the dollhouse owned by Petronella Oortman (above) which does actually exist in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and decided to tell a fictional story about its owner. And I am so very happy that she did.

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

This post contains affiliate links. I would never include an affiliate link on any product that I would not completely endorse. So if you choose to purchase through this link, I get a small payment that does not affect your price at all. And I whole-heartedly recommend these linked products!

Check out all the books I have reviewed on the blog by clicking this link.

The audio version of The Miniaturist read by Davina Porter is also available. 

A book that breaks your heart and mends it at the same time. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Man called Ove.

A book that breaks your heart and mends it at the same time.

It has been a long time since I have read a book that touched me as deeply and profoundly as A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. There are books that make you laugh. There are books that make you cry. There are books that make you think about, believe in, and love the characters. Very rarely is there one book that does all of those at once. A Man Called Ove is one of those rare breeds of books.

A book that breaks your heart and mends it at the same time. A Propensity to Discuss Review. Man called Ove.

From the very first page, when you read these words: “Ove gives the box a skeptical glance as if it’s a highly dubious sort of box, a box that rides a scooter and wears track suit pants and just called Ove “my friend” before offering to sell him a watch.”

I was listening to the audio version and when I heard this part, I was hooked completely. The book, performed by George Newbern, is full of these quips that make you laugh, quite literally, out loud.

And then there are the tears. I cannot tell you much about why, for worry of giving away part of the plot, but trust me, there are tears. Mixed very nicely with all of the laughter, mind you.

And the characters. You know, the ones you think about, come to believe in and love…Ove is a man of very few words, but endless thoughts. He is very angry at the world. He is angry at people. He is many times angry at himself. However, when you begin to get to know him, you cannot help but to love him.

And love him is exactly what Parvaneh and her family come to do. At essentially the perfect time, they move in across the street from Ove and turn his life upside down and completely right side up. And throughout the process, you find out snippets of Ove’s youth and marriage and how exactly, he came to be the way he is now: A man whose heart is too big.

A Propensity to Discuss Review. Man called Ove.

Whether you read the book or listen to the audio, or both, as I did, start now! Trust me, you’ll be so happy that you did. I give this a firm 5 stars. I would give it more, but Ove would say that is excessive. And I wouldn’t want to displease him.

5 Stars. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

 

Four Reasons To Read This Book. A Propensity to Discuss Review. The real doctor will see you shortly.

Four Reasons To Read This Book.

There are quite a few reasons to read “The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly: A Physician’s First Year by Matt McCarthy. This true story, names changed to protect the innocent, or at least the HIPPA laws, is at first woefully scary. But as it continues, the fear that while Harvard book educated, this doctor is somewhat incompetent in the hands-on world of a hospital.

As you continue reading, his abilities get better and better, but it is so much more than that and those are the 4 reasons to read this book.

Four Reasons To Read This Book. A Propensity to Discuss Review. The real doctor will see you shortly.

(1) To know the value of Hands-On Learning

When Dr. Matthew McCarthy graduated from medical school, he was an extremely well-educated man. He had all of the book-knowledge of medicine that could be crammed into 4 years. He did not, however, know how to make a diagnosis or treat patients. And let’s face it, you can’t really refer to a book when someone shows up at the Emergency Room having a heart attack.

Hands-on learning is vital to learning. An absolute necessity. And why in the world Americans still think that learning from a book is supreme, I’ll never know. But, trust me, if you read this book you will become a true believer.

(2) To grasp Sympathy

A few trips out on the streets with a highly respected physician to search for, find and treat homeless patients and McCarthy came to realize that sympathy for those he treated was paramount. Not only to show sympathy to those who were dressed well, smelled clean and had all their wits about them, but to never judge a person by his or her status in the world.

How much better would this world be if we all took a lesson like this to heart?

(3) To understand Empathy

It was only after a chance encounter that McCarthy came to understand completely why HIV patients many times stop taking their medications, even though they know that the disease will quickly begin to destroy their bodies and their lives. It is something he cannot fully explain to others, but his understanding led him to be a much more effective and much better physician because he could empathize with those he served.

This was not the only event that led him down that path, there is also another patient who spends McCarthy’s entire intern year in the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) waiting for a heart. This man teaches McCarthy more about being a caregiver than any class he ever took.

(4) It is a really good book.

When I began this book I kept reading because I was so amazed at how little McCarthy knew about taking care of patients and I was actually appalled at his lack of ability. The more I read, the more I became invested not only in McCarthy but in the patients in his care, especially the ones who were constant and/or recurrent. I found myself worrying over them, scared for them and willing them to be better.

I also found myself really pulling for McCarthy. Perhaps it is because my father is a doctor and I saw him in the lead worrying about patients, trying to learn all of the ins and outs and how to be a good doctor, but most importantly a great caregiver.

There are stories of survival and stories of loss. There are stories of hope and stories of devastation. But most importantly, they are all stories of compassion.  And that is something we all need. This really is a good book and I highly recommend you read it.

Blogging for Books Disclosure

Blogging for Books Disclosure

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure. A Propensity to Discuss Review.

10 Facts About Me

I started thinking about my “About Me” page the other day and thought that it might be sort of interesting to come up with some facts about myself to share. Some of these I have written about before, some of them are new information.

My hope for this post is that some of you may find out something about me that you find interesting, or that you can connect with or relate to, and that you’ll let me know.

1. I love getting to know new people.

Hence the reason I want to connect with people through this post. I am very curious about other people. (Some may call that nosy. I prefer curious!) I can get really caught up in the stories of other people’s lives, where they live, what they do, what they like/hate/love. I want to know what people read. Then there is the “Six degrees of separation” aspect. I can get really caught up in making connections that way!

10 Facts About Me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

2. I talk to pretty much everyone.

In line at the grocery store. At the DMV. In Wal-Mart. It is just something I do. I just start with some connection (That is such a beautiful shirt….I have never tried that coffee before, is it really strong?…I love that book….) Most of the time a conversation starts. Let’s face it. People really enjoy making a connection with other people. I believe it is our nature to want to talk to people. Don’t you want to talk to people? Be honest…

3. I used to be extremely shy.

No. Really. I was. I wouldn’t look at people when if I talked to them. This was my life through the 9th grade. That was when my parents (I cannot thank them enough!) signed me up for speech classes with an amazing lady, Mrs. Margaret Lackland. She whipped me into shape, sent me on a stage and made me talk to an entire audience. I happened to like it and that shy girl went to hunker in the shadows and a confident me took her place. If you have a shy child, this is a really good blog post.

4. I am a national speech contest winner.

Mrs. Lackland didn’t stop at just small audiences. Nope. Sons of the American Revolution Oratorical Contest. Local competition…won. State competition…won. National competition…1st Runner Up. Quite the amazing feat for someone who 18 months before was speaking for the first time to an audience of about 30 and nearly passing out before I began.

5. I love to read.

I love to read. I LOVE to read. I read everything from cereal boxes to novels and everything in between. I can get completely lost in a book and tune out everything around me. Just ask my family. They often yell my name to pull me from a reading trance. More about my reading habits can be found here. You can also find my book reviews here. 

10 Facts About Me. A Propensity to Discuss Post.

6. I always have a book with me.

No matter where I am, I have a book with me. If you read my post My reading habits as seen through memes, you have already seen this. But it really is true. My cousins were laughing last week about the time we went to a NASCAR race in Talladega and I took a book to read. The answer to your question is a resounding “Yes. I did read during the race.” I read when I am waiting in line if there is no one to talk to…which sometimes leads to a conversation with others. For me it is the best way to pass time. And I have gotten good at being sneaky. I can read from my phone with very few people knowing it. 🙂 I read when I am riding in the car. I even “read” when I am driving. Which brings me to fact #7….

7. I listen to audio books.

If I am in a car by myself, you could pretty much bet serious money that I am listening to a book. It helps to pass the time and allows me to continue with the book I am currently reading. But the biggest, best part? It helps cut down on my anger at the crazy people driving around me. I even have an iPod for nothing by my audiobooks.

Hubby also listens to audio books if we are on a long trip together and when he is hunting. I know people think this isn’t really “reading,” but it is. You have to pay closer attention and I honestly retain more from listening than reading for myself.

8. I LOVE Gilmore Girls.

Lorelai  and Rory Gilmore are two of my favorite people. They are like familiar, comfortable friends that I can go back to every now and then and reminisce about the good old days. My daughter and I used to record it and we watched it every afternoon after school for 3 years. No kidding. The fast talking, the relationships, the sarcasm, the tone and all the quirky people who live there. I LOVE THIS SHOW!!

If you are also a fan (read fanatic), you need to watch The Gilmore Girls Full ATX Reunion. If not, watch it now as soon as you are through reading this post!

9. I love photography.

I love to take pictures. Of everything. People. Scenery. Buildings. And I recently purchased some HO Scale (model train) workers to make what I call Teeny Tiny Photos. I love these! I have only made a few, but boy are they fun to play around with!

10. I have syringomyelia.

Sometimes I think that I don’t have syringomyelia, it has me. That being said, I do my very best to stay positive and not let this get the best of me. I have good days and I have bad days. On good days, my pain levels are around a 5 or a 6 out of a 10 scale. Bad days are 7-8.  Really bad days I am in the bed moving as little as possible.

I do NOT want pity. I do NOT want anyone to feel sorry for me. I just want people to understand that sometimes my body cooperates and allows me to go and do like anyone else, but some days my body just won’t. And that is not a reflection on the person asking me to do something, it is just the way my body works. Or doesn’t work.

I hope you have enjoyed these tidbits about myself. Do we have a connection? Is there something here that you feel strongly about? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

My reading habits as seen through memes.

I love to read. I really love it. I love getting completely lost in a story and coming out on the other side changed just a bit. I love admiring the words that writers use and how they turn phrases into the images that run through my mind. This is the part of reading that just makes me lose myself in books.

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

I have to admit that my love of reading is the main reason I became a librarian/media specialist. That fact and that there is so very much more that I love about my job is a post for another day.

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

As I was perusing Pinterest the other day, I found several funny memes about reading that I added to my Pinterest Board called Book Art and Humor. I began to realize that so many of them really hit home for me, so I thought I’d share some of those as I wonder how the creators somehow know me so well. I hope you like them, ’cause, well, that may mean you like me. And that would be just awesome! 🙂

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

I have to say that no matter where I am I always have a book with me. It may be in my purse, in a backpack, or in my hand, and there are always several loaded on my phone. And, yes, I have been known to secretly read during banquets, awards nights and even parties. Because I suffer from:

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

To me this is a real thing and I really do suffer from it. If I find myself without a book, my heart actually races. I am not exaggerating!

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

This is my husband’s view of my Amazon “addiction.” I go to that site every single day. I have an Amazon Prime account and trust me, I get my money’s worth from it. (But that’s also a post for another day.)

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

I will read pretty much anything. Often I get stuck in one genre, but I do try to venture out. If I had to pick one, mysteries would be my favorite, but I can’t really think of a genre that I wouldn’t at least try.

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post. And yes, I do read Young Adult (YA) fiction. And yes, I do like it! I have even done a post called A-Z Books for Young Adults That I Really Like. 

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Oh, yes, I know that feeling well!

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.I absolutely love going into a bookstore, and more often than not, I come out looking a bit like this image. The act of walking around and pulling out new books and reading the jacket, of touching the books I have already read, of finding new books by favorite authors. It almost makes me giddy.

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Oh…and don’t forget sniffing books! They smell sooooo good!

And I cannot count the number of times that I have been unable to stop myself from helping out people in bookstores. I am often asked if I work there. My answer is “No, but I could. I’m a librarian.” And then more times than not I am asked for more help. And I love that! I LOVE introducing people to new books. It is such a rush to me.  YES! I am a book nerd!Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

This, for me, is unconditionally true. I cannot imagine anyone wondering what to buy me. A bookstore gift card is without a doubt an outright no-brainer gift for me. And the way my mind races when I open one of these gifts is unbelievable. I am giddy at the thought of it!

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.This is somewhat of an issue for me. I do have an extremely long list of books that I plan to read, but that does not ever keep me from buying more. That being said, there are some books that I plan to read, just not at that time.

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Some books just require patience. Sometimes I am not in the right frame of mind to read a particular book. That doesn’t mean I won’t get to it later. When the time is right.

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

And yes, I have this problem. If there is a book that I like, I can read late into the night. I can read in the car. I can read with the TV blaring. And I can also get so wrapped up in a book that I don’t hear anyone talking to me until someone yells out my name!

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Even my family. 🙂 This drives them crazy, by the way!

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

I would really like to be stranded in a store with a food/drink store. I would not even attempt to get out! Food, drinks, a restroom and all the books I want for a weekend week. That would be an amazing vacation! Does anyone know of a place like that where they wouldn’t notice I was locked in?

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

This would be my response when they found me.

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

Actually, I think people who “don’t like to read” just haven’t found the right book yet. If that is you, let me know and I promise that I can find a book that you will like. You just have to answer a few questions for me, agree to try at least 3 books for no more than 50 pages. I can find you a book. It is one of my “superpowers.”

Funny memes about my reading habits. A Propensity to Discuss post.

And this is another. So, if you “don’t like to read,” will you give me a chance to change your mind? Or, if you already are a reader, which one of these memes fits you the most?

Black as death. Blue as night. Red as three.

The first I knew of David Baldacci was after seeing the movie Absolute Power (Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris). And then I read the book, written by Baldacci from which the movie was adapted. Of course the book was better. I really liked it.

Then I read Saving Faith. I loved it. Then The Winner, you guessed it, I loved it. Then followed all of Baldacci’s books. I have followed his writing since 1997. And I have always been in awe of his writing, his character development, his plot twists and his ability to throw in a shocker ending.

Black as death. Blue as night. Red as three. David Baldacci's Memory Man. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Black as death. Blue as night. Red as three. David Baldacci’s Memory Man. A Propensity to Discuss review.

And now I have finished reading his newest book, Memory Man. I was not prepared. It is fascinating. The character development with Amos Decker is one of the most intriguing and engaging portrayal of a character I have read in a while. He not only allows you to see Decker work, you get to know him. You believe in him. You worry about him. And you like him.

Ten years ago Amos Decker stepped onto an NFL football field for one play. One solitary play that would change his life forever. A hit that would cause the need for resuscitation twice and left him with a brain that was fully utilized, leaving him with both hyperthymesia and synesthesia. He cannot forget anything and numbers and feelings invoke colors.

So when Amos Decker arrives home after a grueling day of work as a police detective to find his brother-in-law, wife and daughter brutally murdered, it takes every ounce of strength he has not to take his own life.

A little more than a year later and Decker is barely hanging on, living in a hotel and only just existing, when a man walks into the police station and confesses to the murders. The same day a massacre takes place at the high school.

Somehow the two crimes are connected, but the man who confessed was in lockup when the murders at the school took place.

The FBI is brought in to lead the investigation and they are not so sure about the 350 lb, bearded Amos Decker. But his former partner and former chief know that Decker has to be brought back into the fold if these cases have any chance of being solved.

The ensuing story takes you in and out of the captivating mind of Amos Decker. And I think you will find yourself truly entranced and waiting impatiently for the next book in the series.

The audio book is, like most Baldacci books, read by Ron McClarty and Orlagh Cassidy. As noted in a previous posts (The Kitchen House and Wind in your face, past in the rear view mirror) she is one of my absolute favorites! True to form, this book is skillfully and beautifully performed.

Perhaps one of the reasons that I became so engrossed with Amos is because I, too, am a synesthete.

Synesthesia. Synesthesia. Black as death. Blue as night. Red as three. David Baldacci's Memory Man. A Propensity to Discuss review.

Synesthesia.  Black as death. Blue as night. Red as three. David Baldacci’s Memory Man. A Propensity to Discuss review.

There. I said it. I hid that fact for years, because I was embarrassed by it. It’s weird, I admit it. And people don’t really believe you when you try to explain it. I only learned that it had a name about 5 years ago. I am not alone! 🙂 YAY!

Hubby recently started listening to the book and he asked me whether or not my number/color combinations were the same as Amos’ combinations. The answer is no. Every synesthete is different. So when he referred to his combinations, it was really strange for me. In my mind I was correcting him.

But that’s OK, because in every other way, Amos Dekker is close to being one of my all time favorite characters.

Please hurry, Mr. Baldacci. I miss Amos.

 

Any chance you could be a synesthete?  Take the test from Synesthesia.org. But if you are, you already pretty much know it. At least now you know there are more of us! 🙂