LFL New Year’s Resolutions

I came across this post today. I think it is a great idea, though not practical every where, to set up a little library like this.

I am thinking of approaching a local coffee shop to see if a library like this can be set up there.

Cafe Book Bean

My 2016 New Year’s Resolution is
to have and Steward a

Little Free Library

1082118316http://littlefreelibrary.org/

I don’t usually do NY’s resolutions,
so I’m taking this one very seriously, and
I’m super excited.

8461848b014b6ef8_8108-w400-h534-b0-p0--home-designI know there are many different feelings about the Little Free Library movement, and it’s mostly positive ( at least within the LFL community.) Unfortunately there has been some nuetral and negative feedback as well. People have made statements that they don’t understand the idea, since we have public libraries. Others say the books and/or  library are likely to just be stolen, and/or vandalized/damaged. I’ve also heard people say LFL’s are only in rich neighborhoods, so they aren’t really helping anyone. >:/
I can certainly understand confusion, and most of the various thoughts and feelings about these little wonders. However, I think if you take the time to consider who and what these libraries are really for, you’ll likely begin to see the beauty in them.
Here…

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Review of “The Strasbourg Legacy”

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“The Strasbourg Legacy” eBook was published in 2015 (the paper version was originally published in 1975) and authored by William Craig (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Craig_(author)). Mr. Craig has published four books.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The setting of this Thriller novel is the final days of World War II, and then covers about 30 years afterward.

As the German SS see the inevitable surrender, they make long range plans to see the Reich rise again. Escape routes are set up and significant wealth is secretly transferred out of Germany and hidden away for future use. In the years after the war, the SS cadre help those friendly to their cause. By the time the bulk of the story takes place, there are many leaders of industry and high placed government officials secretly friendly to the cause.

There are many characters in this novel, though the primary one is CIA agent Matt Corcoran. Corcoran leaves a training position at CIA headquarters to investigate the theft of weapons from the US Army. There are a series of other events that seems to point the finger at Soviet espionage, but Corcoran feels there is a deeper plot. He sets out to track down who is behind it all.

The SS has bided it’s time and now (the mid 1970’s) it uses its connections, wealth and power to put a series of events in motion that will topple the current German government. Waiting to step in to fill the resulting power vacuum are secret leaders within the SS.

I enjoyed the 3+ hours I spent reading this 187 page novel. It reminded me a lot of novels I had read years ago by Helen McInnes and Alistair Maclean. The ‘feel’ of the novel made me believe that it was authored some time ago, and that indeed proved to the be case (1975). It did seem to be a little disorganized at some points, and I think there were perhaps too many characters being followed. Over all, though, I enjoyed the novel. I give this novel a 3.9 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads.

Review of “Brute force”

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“Brute force” eBook was published in 2015 (December) and was written by Marc Cameron (http://www.marccameronbooks.com). Mr. Cameron has published six novels, all in his “Jericho Quinn” series. This is the sixth book in that series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. This Thriller novel is set mostly in contemporary locations in the US. The primary character is Jericho Quinn, an agent of the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Quinn, and long time partner US Marine Gunnery Sergeant Jacques Thibodaux, save a climbing group from terrorists. They are redirected to finding three Chinese terrorists that have escaped a Pakistani prison. They soon find that these three are on a mission to use a weapon stolen from the Chinese government against the US.

Quinn and Thibodaux are operating outside the US government. In previous volumes of this series, there has been a biological attack on the US. The US presidency has been secretly taken over by middle east terrorists, and a strict police state has been implemented. A few former US officials are in hiding and working with Quinn. Now those terrorists are trying to start a war between China and the US. Their goal is the destruction of the US.

Quinn and Thibodaux chase the escaped Chinese over Europe and then the US. They team up with a Chinese spy, Song, who is also on a personal mission to stop the escapees and prevent a war. The three find themselves under fire more than once. Regardless of the obstacles they encounter, they keep struggling on.

This 432 page novel provided around 10 hours of reading. I had not read any of the prior novels, so some of this story line was new. It was handled well, so this was a reasonably good read as a stand-alone volume. It was very fast paced and I thought it had a reasonably good plot. I give this novel a 4.2 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads.

USA, Louisiana, New Orleans – Blue Frog Chocolates

USA, Louisiana, New Orleans - Blue Frog Chocolates

My wife and I came across Blue Frog Chocolates when we were in New Orleans last April. This is a small eclectic shop with a wide variety of things chocolate. The shop has been open since 2000 in a old cottage on Magazine Street (5707 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115). The location is in the Garden District and the cottage is nearly 100 years old. The family owned and operated shop takes it’s name from the “Legend of the Blue Frog“.

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The shop carries a wide assortment of chocolate goods – molded chocolates, chocolate covered nuts, bark, pralines, cocoa mix, assorted gift boxes , dipped strawberries, body paint, . . . The list goes on and on. Some of their products are imported, or from other sources in the US, but many are made locally in the shop. Not only do they have great sweets, orders can be made through their on-line catalog for shipment to you anywhere.

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We tried a few of the chocolates and we both had one of their “Icy Hot Chocolate” drinks. Everything that we tried was outstanding!

If you are in New Orleans, this is a stop I highly recommend.


See my other Food and Location articles


Review of “Killing Maine”

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“Killing Maine” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Mike Bond (http://www.mikebondbooks.com). Mr. Bond has published six novels, this being his second in the Pono Hawkins series.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains Mature Situations and Mature Language. This Mystery Thriller novel is set mostly in contemporary Maine. The primary character is Sam ‘Pono’ Hawkins, a former Special Forces soldier and now a surfer and occasional writer.

He is contacted by a former girlfriend, Lexie, to come to the aid of her husband, Bucky. The wind power industry (who Pono confronted in “Saving Paradise” in Hawaii) has come to Maine. Bucky is being held for having shot up wind turbines and killing a local environmentalist promoting the wind industry. But Bucky swears he is innocent of the murder.

Pono leaves for Maine to see if he can help Bucky. As he investigates, he finds himself the target of the local police. Pono is shot at and nearly killed himself. The killing does not stop with the environmentalist, and soon Pono is the prime suspect for further turbine shootings as well as a murder/arson.

Pono finds evidence of corruption by Maine officials and wind power companies. Things are more complicated when Pono hears from this father. His father is near death from cancer, with little time left. Pono makes intimate relations with two women he meets during his investigation, though he is not always sure which side they are truly on.

This 388 page novel gave me 10 hours of reading. The mystery aspect of the story was interesting, but I found the constant anti establishment, anti government, anti wind power sentiments annoying. Certainly the wind power conspiracy was key to the story, but the repeated expression of animosity made the story more of an environmental/political call for action. The story was never dull (if you ignore the anti-wind power speeches) and that saved the story. That said, i am not sure if I will read another of Bond’s novels. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads.

We saw “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” Last Night

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First, there will be no spoilers!

My wife and I went to a local theater and finally saw “The Force Awakens” last night. Having seen all of the Star Wars movies in a theater when they were first released, we thought that this was a good expansion of the series. I recently viewed the first six episodes on DVD to refresh my memory of the full story. “The Force Awakens” is, in my opinion, much better than episodes 1-3.

The special effects were as good as expected. The main character of Rey looks to be a strong character on which to base a story line. There is also so little known about her that there will be an opportunity for much to be revealed in the upcoming movies.

My wife and I both think that this was a great addition to the franchise and will probably be returning to the theater to see it at least one more  time. If you have liked Star Wars, you need to see this in the theater.

 

Review of “Children of the Comet”

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“Children of the Comet” eBook was published 2015 and was written by Donald Moffitt (http://www.donaldmoffitt.com/). Mr. Moffitt has written more than 20 novels.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains some scenes of Violence. This Science Fiction novel is set in a far future. Earth has been consumed by an expanding sun. Humanity has spread throughout the universe. Some of those who left to spread humanity through out the stars are coming home to the Solar System to see what is left. But their journey is not without their own internal squabbles.

Torris is one of the evolved humans living on a comet. His way of life surrounds a giant tree growing from the comet. His is but one of thousands, perhaps millions of micro societies that have evolved. Torris encounters a female from another comet tree. They are enemies, but soon bond in friendship.

When those Torris lives with find the the has friended an enemy, he is expelled from the comet. Luckily for him, he is found by one of the returning starships. This begins a story of closing cultures and the comet people taking a step towards civilization that they left far behind.

This 332 page novel was a little odd. It was an interesting 5.5 hour read. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads.

Review of “The Awakening”

” Awakening” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Adair Hart (http://www.adairhart.com). Mr. Hart has published two novels, this being the first in the “Evaran Chronicles”.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. This Science Fiction novel is set in the contemporary USA. An alien vessel has been visiting various planets and abducting a few representatives from each. The abductees are then kept in simulations and studied by the aliens.

Dr. Albert Snowden and his niece, Emily are among the for abducted from Earth. They are rescued by a mysterious alien, Evaran. Snowden and the other Earthlings follow Evaran as they make their way through the large alien space craft. Damage to the vessel has left it only partially operable, with predators from many planets roaming freely. Evaran, and his party, must fight their way past many different predators. To make matters worse, a group of mercenaries have boarded the vessel and are trying to catch or kill them. Only through their ingenuity and the wonderous technology Evaran has are they able to survive.

I liked this 190 page Science Fiction story and enjoyed the 3.5 hours I spent with it. While it wrapped up the story line for this novel, there is certainly opportunity for a continuation with these characters. You learn some of the Evaran character, but there is still much of a mystery around him. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

USA, Nevada, Las Vegas – Freed’s Bakery

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Freed’s Bakery (9815 S. Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, Nevada 89183) is a full service bakery that we have visited a half dozen times over the past 10 years. They offer everything from high-end specialty cakes (including wedding cakes), to cupcakes and cookies.  Freed’s has been in operation over 50 years, and is under management by the third generation of the Freed family.

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Over the years we have bought a couple of birthday cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and their pastries. Everything that we have tried have been wonderful!

This is a great place to stop if you are in Las Vegas and want to get away from the casinos.


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Review of “Inquisitor”

img_0128“Inquisitor” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by Mitchell Hogan (http://mitchellhogan.com). This is Mr. Hogan’s third novel.

I received a galley of this novel for review through https://www.netgalley.com. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and some Mature Language. This Science Fiction Mystery novel is set in the far future. The primary character is Angel Xia. Xia is an Inquisitor – which is a special criminal investigator. Xia, and most people in this time, have implants that give them augmented senses and access to Lon-line resources.

Xia has had issues with partners – they seem to get themselves killed when working with her. She and her current partner get a case that appears to be an accident, but Xia has questions. Before long her latest partner is murdered and a person she is interviewing is killed in front of her. She finds herself framed for murder and other crimes and is being sought by law inforcement.

As Xia continues her investigation trying to clear her name, she gets a message from a young girl, Charlotte, asking for help. The girl is somehow tied to the murders. Xia is able to rescue Charlotte, but she is not fully what Xia expected. Now that Xia and the girl are together there is even more effor to find and kill Xia. Xia struggles to keep one step ahead of those that are after her, and to keep Charlotte safe.

I thought that this was a good 7.5 hour read. It was a fair mystery set in a future world. The world is a very corporate centric society. I liked the character of Xia and would like to see more books with her. She was a very strong character. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).