Wednesday Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 18th December 2013

 1. Do you believe in miracles?

Yes, I do. There are many things that happen in life that can’t be explained rationally and that HAVE to be miracles. I have seen my share of them. And I am glad to have seen them. I believe in the power of prayer, too.

2. What’s a recent fad you admit to trying?

I wear sweatshirts, like everyone does. And of course, I have a cell phone. I don’t really follow a lot of fads. I thought about getting an iPad but am content with my Kindle.

3. Peppermint-are you a fan? If so, what’s your favourite food or beverage containing peppermint?

I like peppermint candy canes.

4. Break the ice, on thin ice, as cold as ice (emotionally, not literally)…which phrase have you run into most recently? Explain.

I have heard “break the ice” several times in meetings lately. Also “on thin ice” but rarely have I heard “as cold as ice.”

5. Have you ever broken or spilled something in someone else’s home? Still friends?

I have broken a glass at my daughter’s house and also spilled soda at her house. She still loves me.

6.  ’Tis the week before Christmas…are you feeling more like Buddy the Elf or theGrinch before his heart grew?

I’m Buddy the Elf. I have all my shopping done and have to wrap my gifts. Don’t know when we’ll exchange gifts yet but I’ll be ready.

7. Share a favourite quote relating to Christmas.

I really don’t have a famous quote relating to Christmas. Except for the Biblical quotes about the Nativity. They are too long to post here. But they are perfect for Christmas. 

 

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Thursday Hodgepodge

 

1.  According to Oxford Dictionaries, the 2013 word of the year is ‘selfie‘. Your thoughts? When did you last take a selfie? Do you post them online somewhere? Do you prefer to be in front of the camera or behind the lens?

I took one selfie about two years ago to post for a young friend of mine who was bugging me to post one. I hate selfies. I much prefer to be behind the lens. I don’t even like someone else taking my picture.

2.  Will you send out Christmas Cards this year? If so, are they ready to go? If not, are you glad or sad about leaving that tradition behind?

I send Christmas cards to keep in touch with relatives and friends far away. I also send Christmas cards to Postcrossing friends who ask for them. I have already sent a few of these. I will send my Christmas cards in the next week I guess. I actually like the tradition.

3.  Do you trust easily?

No. I’ve been burned too many times. I really don’t trust easily. I’m very wary.

4. Pine-cinnamon-peppermint-vanilla (as in sugar cookie)…of those listed, which one is your favourite December scent?

Pine is my favorite Christmas scent. It reminds me of Christmas trees.

5.  Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday?  Was that by choice or by necessity?

I did more listening. I listened to my granddaughter’s woes about her job.

6.  What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?  Sorry if it’s back there now :-)

Of all things, it’s Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball. Horrors!

7.  Which world explorer (in the whole history of the world) would you most like to have travelled with, and why?

I think I would have liked to travel with Alexander the Great. He was the first great explorer and conquerer. I think his travels would have been amazing for his day and age.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Our temperature dropped from the 80s to the 50s and will continue to drop today through the 40s. Our weather is crazy. In 24 hours we went from shirt-sleeve weather to heavy jackets.

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Book Challenge Update–156

I have read the 156th book for the book challenge. It was The Family Man by Elinor Lipman.

Family ManJohn Henry Archer offers sympathy to his ex-wife Denise Krouch on the sudden death of her husband Glenn Krouch. While at Denise’s condo, Henry notices a photo of his adopted daughter Thalia, whom Denise and Glenn had taken away from Henry when Denise and Henry divorced and Denise married Glenn. Henry has resented that fact all these years and is pleased to discover that Thalia is now the coat-check girl at the salon where he has his hair cut. He decides to reach out to Thalia and try to mend the relationship.

Thalia is thrilled to meet Henry after all these years. She remembers Henry fondly and thinks it is horrible what Denise and Glenn did to Henry all those years ago. Thalia is an actress and decides to take Archer as her stage name. Henry offers Thalia the use of his maisonette apartment in which to live. Thalia readily accepts and is thrilled. She also springs on him her new acting gig. She is to play the girlfriend of a B-movie horror film actor, Leif Dumont. Leif needs publicity and a girlfriend. She is to play the girlfriend and get publicity and then have a very public breakup. Henry agrees to look at the contract for her.

Meanwhile, Denise sets up Henry with an acquaintance of hers, Todd who works in a Hom Store. They hit it off. Henry became aware that he was gay after the divorce from Denise and is comfortable with it. He likes Todd and Todd is aware of Thalia’s newest acting gig. Thalia is wearing clothes from Henry’s late mother Winniebelle. She likes the look. But in her acting gig, she gets a clothing wardrobe and Todd is her consultant. Henry weighs in too. There is also a hairdresser and makeup artist. Meanwhile Thalia has hooked up with Philip, a DJ at a club and is seeing him after her dates with Leif. Henry and Todd are swore to secrecy. They hope Thalia does not get caught.

Things aren’t going as planned with Leif. He isn’t getting the great publicity he wants. So he gets himself arrested for turnstile jumping. Thalia is having trouble getting her name in the paper. Denise has seen Thalia’s picture in the paper but no one wants to explain the situation to Denise.

Denise is fighting her step-sons on a pre-nuptial agreement that her husband had and Henry is handling that fight. He died just shy of a 25-year date and they want her out of her apartment. She is fighting to keep the condo. She is maintaining that Glenn burned the pre-nuptial agreement and that the copies are not valid.

Todd and Henry have dinner with Todd’s mother and Todd comes out to his mother. This is not news to his mother. She is thrilled to meet Henry and loves Todd and Henry together. She can’t wait to meet Thalia.

Thalia is supposed to have a fight with another girl and breakup with Leif. But she tells Henry that she has broken the contract and had sex with Leif. She has the fight with the girl but the fight goes wrong and she ends up with Leif. His underage girlfriend in California dumps him and he and Thalia become a couple for real. Thalia is pregnant with Leif’s baby.

Henry manages to get the step-son Glenn to set aside the pre-nuptial agreement and let Denise keep the condo. He meets Denise’s current boyfriend, Glenn Senior’s former partner. They are very happy together. Denise is happy that she gets to keep the condo. She sort of reconciles with Thalia.

Henry and Todd move in together. Leif moves into the maisonette with Thalia and Thalia has a baby girl. They are a happy family. Henry is complete.

This is a funny, sweet story. Thalia is a quirky, sweet girl. Henry is the voice of reason but goes along with his crazy daughter, picking up the pieces of her wild life. He is so happy with Todd. Todd is a stabilizer for Henry. Todd’s mother is the matriarch over everything. It is nice to have  story where everything ends up so well.

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Book Challenge Update–155

I have finished the 155th book for the book challenge. It was The Litter Of The Law: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown.

litter of the lawHarry and Fair are out driving with the animals on an October evening when the animals become rowdy. They stop the car to let the animals run for a bit and see a scarecrow in the field. The animals immediately are attracted to the scarecrow. But it isn’t a scarecrow; it is a dead man dressed as a scarecrow. He has been shot through the heart. It turns out that the dead man is a young accountant from Farmville named Joshua Hill. No one seems to know him and his computer is missing.

Plans are being made for the scary Halloween hayride. Hester is selling tickets. She is telling Tazio that she wants Tazio to continue her quest to renovate the Random Row schoolhouse if she (Hester) is not around. Tazio thinks this is strange but agrees.

Buddy has been asked by Wesley to sell 100 of his acres closest to the schoolhouse to him for development. Buddy refuses. Neil also puts pressure on him and also puts pressure on him to use his fertilizers.

Susan and Harry are out driving and see the stand advertising the hayride. There is a witch advertising it. That is strange. They get out to investigate. They find that it is a dead Hester. She has been shot through the heart. At Hester’s funeral, at her home, Harry sees a photo of Hester and Joshua Hill. She looks for a connection. It seems that both were members of Indian tribes. Hester had asked Hill to do some research for her but they cannot find the research. They have Hester’s computer but it doesn’t tell them much.

Harry decides to search Hester’s fruit and vegetable stand and her tractor looking for the research. She finds the research hidden under the mat in the tractor. It is a print out of the land surrounding the Random Row schoolhouse and shows the land that could be designated Indian land. Some of it is Buddy’s land and it is also the Random Row schoolhouse. Could Buddy or Wesley or Neil be the killer?

Sheriff Rick and Coop and Harry and Fair are on high alert during the hayride. They expect trouble. And at the end of the ride, trouble comes. Buddy is playing the Frankenstein monster and a Count Dracula attacks him. Buddy is chased into the field and is stabbed. Then Count Dracula grabs Tazio and races off with her on a dirt bike. Harry runs after them and they wreck and Harry shoots Count Dracula. It is Wesley and Neil is also running after them. He is captured and arrested. Wesley and Neil are the murderers of Joshua Hill and Hester.

Buddy is willing to sell his land to the Indian tribes and Random Row will be renovated as a museum. This will be a legacy to the Indian tribes.

I enjoyed this book. The animals are a large part of the story here and also played a large part in the capture of the criminals. I like how the animals talk throughout the story. Pewter and Tucker are at each other’s throats in the story and it’s why Harry and Fair had to stop the car and let them out and find the dead man. Harry is into everything and generally has her hand on everything in Crozet. This was a great mystery for Halloween.

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Book Challenge Update–154

I have read the 154th book for the book challenge. It was To The Nines (A Stephanie Plum Novel) by Janet Evanovich.

To the NinesStephanie was just made a particularly messy apprehension. She is covered in vasoline when she meets Mrs. Arpusenja and her daughter Nonie. They are in Vinnie’s office to ask about finding Samuel Singh, an Indian national who was on a visa bond that Vinnie wrote. He has gone missing along with the Arpusenja’s dog Boo.

Vinnie is beside himself. There was a lot of publicity about this visa bond. His picture was in the paper. It was a big deal. And now the man is missing.

Singh worked at TriBro Industries. Stephanie is working with Ranger on this case. She goes to TriBro and interviews the three brothers who own the company. Andrew is very competent and friendly and helpful. Bart is unfriendly and hostile. Clyde is a goofball who only wants to play on his computer and look at his comic books and collector toys. She learns that Singh was a good employee who didn’t socialize much. He went missing a week ago. Stephanie works undercover one day in his job to try to learn more but learns little except that Bart is very hostile.

About the same time that she starts the case, Stephanie starts receiving red roses and white carnations and gory photos of people who have been shot. These are very disturbing. Then she starts receiving disturbing emails that cannot be traced. They refer to her as the prey being hunted. Stephanie is upset by these occurrences. Morelli is trying to find out about them. Then when Stephanie goes to her apartment, she is shot with a tranquilizing dart and knocked out. Ranger puts a bodyguard on her.

Stephanie learns that Singh was talking to a man named Howie at a McDonald’s before he dies. So she and Lula find him and go to talk to him. He doesn’t want to talk to them. While they are with him, someone shoots Howie dead.

A woman named Lillian Paressi was killed a while ago and Bart Cone was a suspect but released. Stephanie investigates a bit into her murder. She finds a man who lives next door to her, Carl Rosen. She and Ranger wait for him but he never comes home. Stephanie get another delivery of flowers and photos. It is Carl Rosen in the photos.

TriBro receives word that Singh has applied for a job in Las Vegas. Ranger can’t go to Nevada so Stephanie, Lula and Connie go and Tank is going for protection. But Tank gets held up by security. Stephanie finds the house where Singh is staying but he went out early that morning and hasn’t been seen. The dog is there. When the woman he is staying with leaves for work, Stephanie takes the dog and his laptop. When she gets back to the hotel, another delivery of flowers is waiting and a note saying Singh has been eliminated. Lula is driving back with the dog. Stephanie is flying back alone. Connie is staying to find out if she is married or not. Then they find out that Singh was found murdered in the airport parking lot.

Ranger puts another bodyguard on Stephanie. Stephanie’s sister is having a baby. The entire family rushes off to the hospital. Stephanie and the bodyguard are in the labor room when Valerie’s water breaks. Cal the bodyguard is hit and passes out and hits his head and has a concussion. While he is being attended to, Stephanie goes out to call Morelli and Ranger. While outside, a kid with spikey green hair comes up to her and point a gun at her. He tells her that he has been stalking her and that he is the last player in a game and that she is the prey and the prize. She fights him and is hit with a stun gun. When she wakes up, the kid is dead, shot, and her hair is cut. When she gets back to Morelli’s house, there are more flowers and a lock of her hair with a pink ribbon and a note saying the webmaster is now in charge.

Stephanie is sure the webmaster is at TriBro. Which brother is it? Ranger puts himself as her bodyguard and Morelli is her other body guard.

But one night she goes outside in the backyard at Morelli’s house and she is shot with a tranquilizing dart. She wakes up in TriBro and is face to face with Clyde. Clyde is the webmaster. He tells her there are weapons and hostages hidden in TriBro and she can find them only it is dark and she will have to find them in the dark. Stephanie is duct-taped. But she manages to break free and break out a glass partition and find a gun. Clyde comes after her. She unloads the revolver and doesn’t hear anything. She goes looking for the hostages. She finds Albert Kloughn, her sister’s fiancé. He is strapped to a bomb. Then she hears sounds. It is Ranger and Morelli. They have come to rescue her. They find Clyde shot dead. Stephanie had hit Clyde three times. Albert’s bomb is phony. The other hostage is Lula. They release her. She is spitting mad.

All’s well that end’s well.

This was a very dark story. There was a lot of death and spookiness in the plot of this story. Clyde was playing a computer kill game with these people where they would go around killing each other and other people. Their symbol for stalking the people they’d kill was a red rose and white carnation. It was spooky. Stephanie was always in danger. Luckily she had a bodyguard for a lot of the time but she kept losing him for one reason or another, in true Stephanie style. Poor Morelli! He worries so about her. But he and Ranger worked together in this story to find her and protect her. Good job!

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Book Challenge Update–153

I have finished the 153rd book for the book challenge. It was Necessary As Blood (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James) by Deborah Crombie.

Necessary As BloodGemma is visiting her friend Hazel when Hazel is called to her ex-husband’s house on an emergency. His friend Naz Malik has gone missing and Tim must see to Naz’s young daughter who has been left in the care of a nanny. Tim brings the child to his house and Gemma sets the wheels in motion to get the police involved to find Naz. The child’s name is Charlotte. She is a 2 year old mixed race child. Naz is a Bangladeshi lawyer and her mother is Sandra Giles, an English woman, who went missing three months ago. She went out on an errand and was never seen again.

The next day Naz’s body is found in a nearby park. He has been suffocated and drugged with a powerful animal sedative. His glasses are not found. The police question his law partner and his client but can learn nothing. They question the owner of a nearby private club who bought the artwork of Sandra Giles and find that Naz’s client was a member of the club. They believe there is some connection to the club but they don’t know what it is.

Gemma is involved in placing the little girl in a good foster home. She achieves this in getting her friend Betty to take her in and keep her from Sandra Giles mother. Sandra did not want the child around her family as they are into drugs. Sandra’s two brothers deal heroin and the mother shelters them as does a sister. Charlotte is happy at Betty’s but is happier at Gemma’s house with Kit and Toby.

The police find out about a young Bangladeshi girl that had been seen at the home of one of the members of the private club. The police also find that one of the members of the club is a vet and could have access to the animal sedative. They question him but get little out of him except to know that he knows something. They move on to the doctor, who is an anesthetist. He could have access to the sedative. The girl was seen at his house. They raid his house and find pictures of underage girls and men. He has married several young Bangladeshi and Pakastani girls and divorced them. He travels often to these countries. He knew Sandra Giles. He ran a clinic for underpriviledged women and knew her from there. The police surmise that she visited him the day she disappeared. They dig up his back garden and find her body under the paving stones. Then they find the body of a young girl. They also find Naz Malik’s glasses in the bushes.

Gemma and Duncan get married in a private blessing ceremony at their home. It is a surprise to Gemma who was having trouble planning a wedding. It was a blessing ceremony and then they will go to the registrar’s office to formalize the marriage. They will also have another ceremony with their friend Winnie officiating after Winnie as her baby.

And Gemma and Duncan will become adoptive parents and adopt little Charlotte Malik.

I liked this book. It was very sad because this little girl had no one. Her parents were both dead or disappeared. It looked for a while she would go to her grandmother who was not fit to look after her but that turned out okay. The plot was a bit confusing until all the pieces finally began to fit at the end when they discovered the anesthetist. It presented a terrible dirty secret that needed to be addressed.

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Book Challenge Update–152

I have read the 152nd book for the book challenge. It was Murder With Puffins (Meg Langslow Mysteries) by Donna Andrews.

murder with puffinsMeg and Michael have planned a romantic get-away weekend at her Aunt Phoebe’s cottage on the island of Monhegan in Maine. They didn’t plan on a hurrican hitting the island just as they were making the water crossing on the last ferry to the island, which made the crossing treacherous. Having arrived at the island a little worse for wear, they trudged to the cottage only to find they were not alone–Aunt Phoebe was there, along with Mrs. Fenniman, Meg’s father and mother, and brother Rob. There’s goes the romantic weekend. Plus they were stuck in the middle of a hurricane.

Before the hurricane swung back around, however, there was a spot of clear weather and Meg and Michael decided to circumnavigate the island. On their walk they came upon a glass and steel monstrosity of a house that belongs to Victor Resnick, a recluse painter, who begins shooting at them as they approach on the footpath near his house. They have a confrontation with him and then go to report him to the constable. Then they return home, but of course the birdwatchers on the island misinterpret their report to hear that Resnick is shooting the birds on the island. Aunt Phoebe rushes out to confront Resnick herself and Meg’s father heads out to watch the hurricane roll in. And roll in it does.

Meg and Michael rush out to find Aunt Phoebe and Meg’s father to bring them home before the storm gets too bad. In their search, they come upon a tidal pool and find Resnick face down in the pool with a gash on the back of his head–dead. The tide is coming in with the storm. They have to move him or he will be washed out to sea. So they haul his body up the cliff, along with his NO TRESPASSING sign, and place him in his shed for safe keeping. Then they go to see the constable to tell him. With the constable, they move the body to the Anchor Inn which has a refrigerator meat locker which Jim Dickerson, the power plant manager, hooks up with power, and keep Resnick’s body safe in there. But it is too late to go looking for Meg’s father and aunt.

Later in the evening, Aunt Phoebe shows up covered in mud and leaves. She had fallen in a gully after a fight with Resnick. She hit him in the head with her walking stick and she believes she killed him even though he was walking around screaming afterwards and everyone saw him. She wants to turn herself in. Still no sign of Meg’s father.

The next day, Aunt Phoebe “confesses” her crime but no one believes she killed Resnick. Meg’s father shows up. He had gotten lost and waited out the storm in a shelter. Meg and Michael go to look at Resnick’s house. Its glass windows are smashed and they enter the house. They find a nude portrait of Meg’s mother which they store in the wine cellar and look through his papers. He had someone writing his biography and they find this. They also find out that he was blackmailing people on the island to give up their land to build a resort. They meet the representative of the resort who was cut out of the deal, Ken Takashimi. They decide to come back later to get into the studio.

Meg’s father conducts a sort of autopsy with another doctor. He finds that Resnick didn’t died from his wounds but that he was electrocuted. The tidal pool was wired with electricity. From pictures that birdwatchers have taken Meg and Michael can see an extension cord in the tidal pool. They know who did this. It was Jim Dickerson who runs the power plant. Resnick was threatening to take over his parents home and the power plant.

Meg meets the island’s Puffin Lady, Rhapsody. She writes children’s books and illustrates them with puffins. The gift shop is loaded with puffin memorabilia and her books. Then at the tidal pool, a dead puffin is found lying on a rock. Everyone is outraged. But Meg thinks something is wrong. The puffin is in mating plumage. It is past mating season. This puffin has been frozen and put out here, Rhapsody has used this puffin for her paintings and put it here. She confesses. She didn’t know what to do with the puffin and thought this would be best. She found the dead puffin a while ago and used it and then froze it. Now she wants to do the right thing and give it back to nature.

Meg and Michael go back to the studio. They break in by going through the roof. They put the key in the door so they can get out and see many more portraits of a nude Meg’s mother. Some are not finished. Apparently these are new portraits. Jim Dickerson comes in and captures Meg and Michael. He duct-tapes their hands and pours turpentine on the floor. Meg reaches her backpack and sets off a flare. It sparks and sets Jim’s jeans on fire and starts a fire. Jim runs out and slams the door. The key falls out. Meg and Michael use a painting to kick an hole in the glass wall and escape. The studio blows up and everything is destroyed.

Meg and Michael go back to the house. They check Resnick’s computer. They realize he was writing his own biography. They burn the copy and wipe the computer clean. They bring the portrait of Meg’s mother to the cottage since Meg’s grandfather has a receipt for the painting. They pack up to leave. They paint Rhapsody’s signature on the painting so that Meg’s father will think Rhapsody did it.

On the ferry before it leaves, there is a big crate. Spike the dog keeps barking at it. Meg convinces the constable to open it. In it they find Jim Dickerson. He is caught. The birders are happy. Ken Takishimi gives Michael a certificate for three nights at a resort south of Rockport. Michael and Meg will stop there on their way home to Virginia to have their romantic get-away.

I loved this book. It was very chaotic with Meg and Michael racing back and forth around the island after various relatives and back and forth going to Resnick’s house so it got a bit confusing sometimes. But it was rather exciting. Everyone was gaga over the puffins even though the puffins had already left the island for the the north. The gift shop was overrun with puffins. The birdwatchers figured prominently in the book too.

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Book Challenge Update–151

I have finished the 151st book for the book challenge. It was Skinny Dip by Carl Hiasson.

skinny dipJoey Wheeler Perrone had a terrible last night of her anniversary cruise. Her husband Chaz threw her over the railing of the ship and into the Atlantic Ocean. Luckily, she was a championship swimmer in college and managed to dive into the water and then swum toward the lights of Miami. When she could swim no further, she washed up on some bundles of marijuana and clung to them. There she was rescued by recluse private investigator Mick Stranahan who lives on an island by himself and his doberman dog Strom.

Mick takes Joey to the island and nurses her back to health as she comes to terms with what has happened to her. Her husband has tried to kill her. She decides she wants revenge. Mick tried to talk her into going to the police but Joey tells him that it will be Chaz’s word against hers and he is a smooth talker and the police and courts would believe him. He testifies as a scientist for a living and she knows he is good. No, she wants revenge. Joey and Mick hatch a plot for revenge.

Meanwhile, Chaz is acting the grieving husband, sort of. Karl Rolvaag is the police investigator assigned to his case and try as he might, he just doesn’t believe Chaz as the grieving husband. Chaz immediately goes home and cleans out all of Joey’s things. He wipes the house clean of everything of Joey’s. He has boxed all her clothes and packed them in the garage. Except for her underwear. He has decided to give them to his girlfriend Ricca.

Joey and Mick sneak back to the house and Joey takes a black dress from the boxed clothes and hangs it back in the closet. She leaves a lipstick on the bathroom counter. She takes the underwear. She cuts her face out of a picture and leaves the mutilated photo on Chaz’z pillow. When Chaz finds these, he is flipped out. He thinks the detective is stalking him. He goes to his employer for whom he has been fudging the data on pollution water samples, Sam Hammernut, and asks him for help. Hammernut gives Chaz a “bodyguard” in the form of Tool, a large, hairy man who collects cross markers from those who died in roadway accidents.

Tool is addicted to painkiller patches and breaks into a nursing home to secure more. There he meets Maureen, an elderly patient who befriends him and gives him her patches. She talks to him and makes him a better person. Tool has a bullet lodged in his butt that is painful and she urges him to get it removed but he doesn’t. That is what is causing him pain. They watch television together and talk.

Joey and Mick decide to ask Chaz for blackmail. They make a fake tape showing Joey going over the side of the Sun Duchess. They send a copy of the tape to Chaz and to Hammernut. They ask for a half million dollars. They figure they will give the money to charity. They also fake a will that gives Chaz Joey’s money. That will make the police look carefully at Chaz as the murdered. And it does. Rolvaag does look more cautiously at Chaz once he has the will as motive but he thinks it is forged. Rolvaag is in touch with Joey’s brother Corbett in New Zealand, who knows Joey is alive but doesn’t tell Rolvaag. Corbett is coming to Miami to hold a memorial for his sister.

Meanwhile, Mick has found Ricca, Chaz’s girlfriend. He has told her and convinced her that Chaz murdered his wife. Ricca tells Chaz that she knows he murdered his wife and she doesn’t want to see him anymore. He takes her to the Everglades and shoots her in the leg. She escapes and is helped back to civilization by a recluse in the Everglades.

Corbett organizes a memorial for Joey in Miami. He speaks and her best friend Rose, who also knows Joey isn’t dead, also speaks. Then Chaz speaks. As he is speaking, he sees the blackmailer sitting in the chapel and it freaks him out. Then he sees Ricca coming into the chapel wearing a cast on her leg. He had cleaned out her apartment and got rid of her car, thinking she was dead. He goes to her and tries to smooth things over with her. She’s not having any of it. She goes to Rolvaag.

Chaz arranges to meet the best friend of Joey that night. He takes Viagra and goes to her house. She slips him a drug in his wine and it knocks him out. She puts him in bed and Joey comes in and tells him she is alive and asks him why he tried to murder her and why he even married her. These are questions she wants answered. He mutters answers and they leave him naked outside.

The blackmail setup is arranged for Stiltsville. Mick and Joey take their boat and Chaz and Tool take a boat. Chaz is worried that Tool will kill him because Hammernut doesn’t want him around so he takes his gun too. In the confusion and storm that follows, Chaz shoots Tool and Joey shoots the boat that Chaz is in. Chaz gets away with the money. Joey and Mick rescue Tool and bring him to shore. Tool and Hammernut go to Chaz’s house to find him and capture him and the money. They wrap him up in plastic and take him to the Everglades.

Mick and Joey go to Rolvaag and say that Joey has had amnesia and just remembered who she is. She has been staying with Mick on his island and is all right. But now Chaz has disappeared.

Chaz is let loose in the Everglades. Tool shoots at him but misses. Chaz runs for his life but comes upon a recluse. The recluse remembers Ricca who told him about her scientist boyfriend Chaz who killed his wife. Chaz will not be leaving the Everglades.

Tool kills Hammernut by shoving a wooden cross marker through his heart. He takes the half million dollars and gets Maureen out of the nursing home and they drive off to follow the birds to Canada.

This was a rollicking good fun book. I couldn’t even begin to tell you all the fun parts of it. It was a laugh a minute. Read this book. It will keep you in stitches.

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Book Challenge Update-149

I have finished the 149th book for the book challenge. It was Lessons In French by Hilary Reyl.

Katherine (Katie) is a twenty-two year old American girl who goes to Paris to live and work for an American photojournalist named Lydia. It is the year of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. She has just graduated from Yale.

Lydia is a famous photojournalist. She is married to Clarence, a writer, who is working on a book about fashion. They have two children who live in New York: Portia, twenty, who is heartbroken about her broken romance with Olivier, and Josh, seventeen, who smokes pot, and skips school.

Kate files for Lydia and runs errands and when the children are in Paris, is a friend to the children. She writes letters for Lydia and is Lydia’s confidant.

Christie is Katie’s friend from Yale who is working in Paris for a while. She lives with Etienne, Katie’s cousin, and introduces Katie to some rich young men. One of them, Bastien, is very taken with Katie. He invites Katie to his chateau and tries to get Katie to sleep with him but Katie is not in love with him. From her first day in Paris, Katie has been in love with Olivier, Portia’s Olivier, and had slept with him. She now calls him in New York every week and they make plans to be together in London over New Years.

Katie sees Olivier over New Years. Olivier is exhausted from work and their holiday is not very satisfactory. But Katie is happy to have seen and been with Olivier.

Clarence is having an affair with a young woman he has been mentoring. When Lydia was out of town it was easy to conduct the affair. Now that Lydia is in town, letters must be passed from the young woman to Clarence. Katie is selected as the go-between. But when Clarence becomes ill with the flu, the young woman sends an amulet and a letter. Katie gives the amulet to Clarence and Lydia finds it and the letter and accuses Katie of betrayal. She is in terrible trouble. Lydia is wild but finally calms down, but she doesn’t forget.

Etienne has contracted AIDS. Katie has said that she will go with him to talk to his parents in Orleans.

Katie has another weekend with Olivier in Versailles. It is a bad weekend and Katie breaks up with Olivier. She realizes he has been keeping in contact with Lydia and her family. This is not acceptable to her.

Etienne and Katie go to Orleans to visit Etienne’s parents. Katie realizes they are open and honest people, not like Lydia and Clarence and Portia and Josh. She resolves to tell Lydia about her and Olivier and quit her job and go to paint in New York.

Katie returns to Paris and tells Lydia about her and Olivier. Lydia already knows. Olivier had told her. She wants Katie to write a letter to Portia apologizing for being the go-between for Clarence and the young woman. Katie refuses. She insists that she isn’t Portia’s friend. Lydia refuses to give Katie references. Katie says that is fine. She has earned enough in experience this past year. She leaves and returns to New York.

This was not an earth-shattering book but it was a good story. It was the story of a young girl caught up with a dysfunctional family in Paris and caught up in a long-distance love affair with an unscrupulous young man. She was infatuated. She was in love with Olivier and nothing else mattered. If she had gone to Orleans sooner maybe she would have seen the light earlier and life would have been different. She wanted everyone to like her and so she ingratiated herself with everyone. That’s not the way to be. Life doesn’t work that way. Katie learned the hard way.

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Book Challenge Update–148

I have read the 148th book for the book challenge. It was The Square Of Revenge: The Pieter Van Ip Mysteries By Pieter Aspe.

SquareOfRevenge-smallThe De Groof jewelry store has been broken into, the police discover one night as they patrol Bruges, Belgium. An investigation reveals that everything is gone and a note left in Latin. It is a Latin cross. But a more disturbing thing is found. The jewelry was not taken, but dumped into an acid bath in the shop that dissolved all the precious metal. Who would do such destruction?

Pieter Van Ip, Commissioner and Hannalore Martens, Deputy Magistrate, set out on their investigations. They try without success to interview the elder Degroof, Ludovic De Groof. He wants absolutely no publicity on this matter. Why?

The pair find his daughter Aurelie in an insane hospital. She has been there for years. Why? Hannalore interviews another daughter Nathalie, a heroine addict. She tells a tale of incest, of her sister Aurelie’s abortion and subsequent hopsitalization, of her sister Benedicta’s run to a monastery. Now they can see why the elder de Groof wants no publicity.

Then De Groof’s grandchild, Betrand Delahaye, is kidnapped. They received a fax of the Latin cross as a proof that the kidnappers have him. It is the same people who trashed the jewelry store. They are demanding that Patrick Delahaye, the boy’s father, burn a number of multimillion dollar paintings in the public square of Bruge on a certain date or they will kill the boy.

Van Ip and Martens figure out that one of the kidnappers is a very tall young man with an eye problem and the other is an older man. They start to look for them.

Van Ip is convinced that the elderly man is Aquilin Verhaye, formerly De Groof’s best friend. They both knew the Latin cross, but supposedly Verhaye has been dead for two years. But the birth date on the tombstone is not right. Van Ip is convinced that Aquilin switched identities and is alive. He pursues this line of investigation. But preparation for the burning of the paintings goes on.

On the day of the burning, Delahaye fakes fainting so that the team can make a raid on the farm villa where they think Betrand is being held. The team finds that Aquilin is dead of natural causes and they rescue Betrand. They radio to call off the burning and Daniel, the tall man, tries to escape. He is caught.

Aquilin was the lover of De Groof’s wife. He had an affair with her after De Groof was married. De Groof thought that Aurelie was Aquilin’s daughter and raped her. She bore De Groof’s child, who was Daniel. Then she was hospitalized. But she was not Aquilin’s daughter. The second daughter, Nathalie, was Aquilin’s daughter.

Van Ip and Hannalore have worked closely together through the case and have grown together. They spend the night together. Van Ip explains the case to Hannalore. She hopes they work together again. At any rate, they will be seeing more of each other.

This was a fascinating book. The plot was very good. Van Ip is tenacious in his search for the truth. He confront De Groof time and time again to get to the truth. He and Hannalore make a good team in this investigation. I really liked this story.

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