The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

The Christmas Train has just about everything: romance, adventure, mystery and holiday cheer. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a great seasonal read, maybe a little cheesy in parts, but that's okay for a Christmas read. Our main character is Tom Langdon. Tom used to be a war correspondent but he had had enough of war. He now was doing fluff pieces but is still always on the move, going her and there to research stories. Tom has been dating a Hollywood voice over actress for about 3 years off and on in a long distance sort of relationship. So, it was almost Christmas and he needed to get from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles to spend the Holiday with his girlfriend. He wasn’t allowed to fly due to a slight “misunderstanding” with airport security. Tom was distantly related to Mark Twain and it was Tom’s father’s dying wish for Tom to write a piece about train travel, something Mark Twain had attempted...
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Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Orlando is a beautiful novel. The writing is smooth and descriptive. Orlando, man or woman, is charming and intelligent and introspective. He/she cares about literature and nature, love and (sometimes) people. It's rather plotless. Time passes, fashions change, but not much really happens. And the things that do, like Orlando becoming a woman rather than a man or living 300+ years, are treated as no bigger, no life-changing than day to day events. Orlando handles everything with grace and honesty. at heart, she is the same person he had always been. Reading Orlando in 2020 is not the same as reading when it was first published. When Orlando becomes a woman, she cannot inherit her own home. She can't be an Ambassador again. She feels she needs to be more aware of others see her. We forget that at the time women were just gaining the vote when this was published, and Woolf uses her book to show the...
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Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. Tell us about your new arrivals by adding your Mailbox Monday post to the linky at mailboxmonday.wordpress.com. Left-Handed Death was first published in 1946. I've never read anything by Richard Hull, so am looking forward to it. My review of Christmas at the Chateau is scheduled for December 5. ...
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Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

Christmas Bliss was the last of my Christmas reads for the year. I have read two others in the series and really like Weezie and BeBe. This time around, Weezie's getting ready to marry her chef boyfriend, Daniel, but he's off in New York on a temporary gig at a very swanky restaurant. BeBe's pregnant and refuses to marry her live-in boyfriend Harry, but she also might still be married to one of her exes. It's complicated. It's a sweet story. There's not much conflict and the couple of  "issues" that crop up are quickly resolved. Weezie and BeBe are great characters, fun, quirky, but I don't know that this would work as well as a stand-alone. It was nice to already know them and appreciate that they were getting their "happily ever afters." I would love to visit Savannah some time, which is Weezie and BeBe's hometown. Books like this just make it seem so charming. Weezie even makes it seem...
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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Yeah, so I'm not a fan of The Picture of Dorian Gray. I'm sorry, but it was kind of boring and I knew how it was going to end. The idea itself is interesting; Dorian doesn't age, but his portrait does and it shows all the signs of his downfall instead of him. Of course, it takes almost half the book to get to that part. it's a much more philosophical book than I though it would be. It touches on the nature of art and on society's adoration of youth and beauty. Sin is obviously important to the story  and what a person will do if they are free from consequences, but I think even more important is the dangers of truly influential people. Dorian wasn't the star for me, his "friend" Henry was. It's Henry who leads him down the hedonistic path. Henry is charming and witty, he theorizes and shocks people. He encourages Dorian, even though he himself seems to...
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The End of the Day by Claire North

Charlie is the Harbinger of Death. It's his job. He's a mortal, has no super powers except a support staff at an office somewhere who are great at making reservations, getting him across borders and out of jail, and paying ransoms. He meets good people and terrible people, and sometimes he's sent for ideas or ways of life and not individuals. He celebrates Life and we travel with him. That's what we do, we see what he sees, hear what he hears, including random snippets of conversation, go where he goes. We're with him when he meets people, gives them gifts, tells them he is the Harbinger and sometimes he comes as a warning and sometimes as a courtesy. We're with him as he listens to people's life stories and when he is beaten and held prisoner. After all, not everyone is happy when the Harbinger of Death shows up; some are though. Yes, sometimes we see slices of the lives of the...
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