A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time was a re-read for me, but I read it first back when I was like 10 or so and remembered absolutely nothing about it. I've been seeing the commercials for the new Disney movie too, but they're not really a good representation of the book. Meg is a smart kid, but has trouble fitting in at school. Everyone thinks Charles Wallace, her little brother is dumb, but really he knows so much more than anyone. Calvin is a popular kid in school who never feels like he fits in, but he fakes "normal" well enough. The three of them go on a mission to save Meg's dad, a scientist who went missing, with the help of a trio of beings, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which. This is a middle school book that deals with physics and religion, belief and identity, but it does so lightly. It's a fantasy/sci-fi story and the three kids have been thrust into...
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Murder on Saint Patrick’s Day by P. Creeden

Murder on Saint Patrick’s Day by P. Creeden

Murder on Saint Patrick's Day is a quick little mystery, perfect for today. Emma and her dog Molly are picking up a friend's teenage daughter after a concert at a local cafe when the lead singer of the band collapses and dies on his way to the hospital. Emma's observational skills once again help out her dad, the Sheriff, and they figure out who the killer is. The mystery was good. It's a short story, so everything moves a bit quickly, but I like the characters and the clues fit in well. I liked a band being involved in the mystery this time, it made it feel very St. Patrick's Day-ish....
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I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

In general, microbes are not something I spend much time thinking about. I wash my hands to hopefully keep away germs, take my probiotic pill, and that's about it. I'm not one of those people who carry around a can of Lysol, which apparently can be a good thing. "So, here’s the irony: toilets that are cleaned too often are more likely to be covered in faecal bacteria." I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong made me think about the vast array of microbes in our world - helpful, harmful, and ones that can be both or neither. Yong touches on the evolution of microbes; the history of microbiology; symbiotic relationships among microbes; symbiosis between microbes and higher organisms; dysbiosis (unbalanced microbiomes that harm their hosts); how scientists study and identify microbiomes; research studies aimed at seeding hospitals and buildings with 'good microbes'; and much more. He writes in an entertaining, easy to understand way. He makes microbes fun. My family is probably...
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The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles was a re-read for me. I've read or listened to most of the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels over the years, but I always enjoy them. Sir Henry Baskerville needs Sherlock's help. He's inherited a house in Dartmoor, at the edge of the moor, in rather unpleasant circumstances. The former landowner, Sir Charles died of a heart attack, apparently while feeling from a giant hellhound, the family's curse. After a brief time in London, Sir Henry heads off to his new estate along with Watson, who has strict instructions to stay with Sir Henry and to especially never let him go out onto the moor alone. Holmes can't go with them because of some reason or other. We meet all the locals, including the servants of the house and the neighbors, a bug collector and his wife. To complicate issues, there's also an escaped convict lose in the area. It's a good solid mystery. Watson is his loyal...
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The Italian Party by Christina Lynch

The Italian Party by Christina Lynch

There are so many secrets in The Italian Party, personal and professional. Scottie and her new husband, Michael, move to post-war Italy for Michael's job. He's opening a new Ford Tractor store in Siena. Except we learn quickly that it's just a cover, he's actually in the CIA, a fact he doesn't share with Scottie. We also learn one of Scottie's secrets early; she's pregnant and The baby is not Michael's, but those are just the tip of the iceberg. Secrets, both theirs and others', unfold throughout the story against the global backdrop of the "Communist Threat" and a citywide horse race that seems like the big event of the year. Scottie's teenage Italian tutor was supposed to be in the race, but he's disappeared. Scottie is determined to find. Scottie is interesting. She's beautiful, seems maybe not so bright, but she's fun and friendly. Truth is she's as smart, and sly, as any of them. She is definitely guided by...
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Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith

There are some classics that I wonder why it has taken me so long to get around to. Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith is one of those. It's a dark, psychological thriller that shows anyone can be capable of murder, given the right, or wrong, circumstances. As the blurb states, Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno meet on a train. Guy tells Bruno the story of his problems with his wife, who he wants to divorce but who is putting up obstacles left and right, even though she's pregnant with another man's child. Bruno, meanwhile, tells Guy about his meany dad and suggests they trade murders. Guy declines, he's basically a good guy after all, but he fails to realize that Bruno is an alcoholic psychopath, who, after killing Guy's wife, expects Guy to follow through with his end of the deal. That's where the bulk of the novel, and tension lies. Bruno is manipulative and black-mailing; Guy never knows...
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