My Take on… Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Book Reviews

Where’d You Go, Bernadette, a novel written by Maria Semple, was hilarious. It is written in the form of correspondences (e-mails, letters) in a light easy to read style. Once started, this book is hard to put down. The book was recently made into a movie as well.

The book focuses on Bernadette, mother to 15 year old Bee and wife to husband Elgin, who works at Microsoft. They live in Seattle where they moved after Bernadette feels the need to escape Los Angeles and the demise of her architecture career. It is in Seattle that Bernadette has run-ins with fellow parents at her daughter’s school and her anxieties lead her into much concern.

As a reward for good grades, Bee has chosen a trip to Antarctica. Bernadette is on board until she learns more about the trip and her anxieties take hold. Then, Bernadette disappears. Where did Bernadette go? Read the book to find out…

My Take on The Sharper the Knife the Less You Cry

Book Reviews, Cooking

I found the book The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn when searching the cook book shelves at the library. It looked interesting so I picked it up. From then on it was hard to put down.

The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry is a memoir of Kathleen’s journey to Paris after being let go from her job in London. Encouraged by her boyfriend, Kathleen enrolls in the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris to fulfill a life long dream. It reads like episodes from Master Chef. Also entwined in the book are her daily adventures of being an American in Paris, learning the French language, outings and entertaining friends, and life with her boyfriend Mike. She includes recipes as well. So the book is also a cookbook.

I found the book entertaining and really enjoyed sitting down to read it. It’s the kind of book I hated to see come to an end. I should also mention that Kathleen Flinn has a background in journalism, so the book is well written. If a fan of cooking, cooking shows, Paris, or just want to learn a bit about how Le Cordon Bleu works, this book fits the bill. Bon Appetit!

My Take on Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Wrecking Ball

Book Reviews

Well Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans, the new book Wrecking Ball has hit the shelves. This is the 14th book in the series. Jeff Kinney’s latest book has the Heffley family attending a funeral and receiving an unexpected inheritance. Greg’s mom has big ideas for the inheritance. This seems a dream come true but knowing the Heffley family’s luck… To find out more, pick up a copy of Wrecking Ball.

While the latest book is good, I did not find it as side-splitting funny as some of the previous books in the series. This could be due to the fact that the book was written more about the family’s adventure and not just Greg’s life as a kid going to school and getting into mischief. Having said that, Wrecking Ball is still worth a read. Happy Reading!

My Take on This ‘N That by Bette Davis

Book Reviews

This ‘N That, a book written by Bette Davis on her life and especially that around the time of her mastectomy and stroke in 1983 is a must for Davis fans. It shows us what a strong woman she was on and off the set. The reader is brought into the life of Davis through her own words and it is captivating.

We are introduced to Kathryn, her assistant who is by her side throughout. There is even a chapter in the book written by Kathryn as how she saw Bette Davis. She had great respect and fondness for Ms. Davis from the very start. A quote from her diary states as much. “She is divine. Last night she cooked me a marvelous dinner of Cornish hen, squash with green peas. She is delightful and charming and has a heart. A good person, I can tell…Her home is beautiful, filled with warmth and loving pieces from parts of her life…”

Bette Davis lived for acting, she loved it. After her operation and stroke she did not know if she would work again, but work she did. She was a woman with drive and determination and obvious talent.

Of course there was heartache along the way. Four failed marriages did not prove easy for Bette Davis. Davis wanted to do the best at all she did and these failures were always a disappointment for her. There is also her daughter’s book, My Mother’s Keeper, that did not speak too highly of her, that was a surprise and shock to her.

In This ‘N That, Davis speaks of her ‘feud’ with Joan Crawford. She is open and honest in telling her feelings about other actors (the good and the bad). She admitted to being nervous when working with other actors who impressed her. She gives credit to others where it was due.

The accomplishment Bette Davis was most proud of was The Hollywood Canteen. The Hollywood Canteen was a place for servicemen to meet Hollywood stars. There was entertainment by Hollywood stars, dancing, and a snack bar. For her work with The Hollywood Canteen in World War II, she was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal, the Defense Department’s highest civilian award. I found this chapter very interesting as I did not know of The Hollywood Canteen.

Bette Davis was a talented actress and one of my favorites. I found the book interesting and from it I learned a lot about Bette Davis the woman as well as Bette Davis the actress. Before reading this book I would suggest watching a few of her movies, if not familiar with Bette Davis the actress. This is because she does refer to some of her movies and other actors in the movies and it would help to form a better picture.

This ‘N That has got me excited to see some more of Bette Davis. I would also like to re-watch a few of her movies now and see them again for a comment or two about them peaked my interest. Makeup, scenes, etc… I would like to see again from a new perspective. So I will be popping some corn and having some movie nights soon. Happy Reading!

My Take on The Lonely Life by Bette Davis

Book Reviews

I became a fan of Bette Davis a few years back. My daughter and I were visiting my parents and the movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane came on. We were about to leave and then got captivated in the film. My daughter, who usually isn’t captured by movies so easily, also did not want to leave. We were glued to the television mesmerized by Bette Davis. What an actress!

Bette Davis could go from a normal, lovely character and change into a deranged lunatic in the blink of an eye. Such control! We had to have more! We rented many more of her movies including Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte which was another of our favorites. Her characters were more demented in her later works.

Bette Davis – Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
Bette Davis – Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte

So, needless to say, it was inevitable that I would eventually want to read Bette Davis’ autobiography. I can honestly say that I didn’t want to put it down. She led a fascinating life. There was so much I didn’t know about her. The Lonely Life, her first autobiography, starts from the beginning of her life in Lowell, Massachusetts where she was born Ruth Elizabeth Davis in 1908 to around the time of the death of her mother who was so important in her life. It leads us through her start in theatre and then the move to California and motion pictures. We get to see what she thought of other actors, the work she did, her contributions to society, her personal life, family, marriages, and the struggles she faced rising to the top all from her point of view. We get to see what Hollywood was like back in the day when silent pictures were transitioning to talkies. Most of all we get to picture the woman behind the actress.

This is a highly recommended read from me. The Lonely Life by Bette Davis was well written, interesting, and entertaining. In answer to that famous question: “If you could have dinner with any three people (dead or alive) who would they be?”… One of mine would definitely be Bette Davis. Happy Reading!

My Take on Death Comes to Pemberley

Book Reviews

This is my second time reading a P.D. James book and it does not disappoint. Death Comes to Pemberley is a murder mystery that had me suspecting the wrong character, which is exactly what a good author intends. But why stop there? After having revealed the true murderer, the truth behind the crime uncovers yet more surprises.

Death Comes to Pemberley is set in 1803 England at the grand estate of Mr. Darcy and his wife Elizabeth. They are preparing the house for the annual ball when an unexpected guest arrives bringing news of shocking events on the estate that, much to the towns dismay, cancels the ball. Now instead of guests in fancy attire, it is the law that shows up at Pemberley.

Phyllis Dorothy James was born in 1920 in Oxford, England. She was known professionally as the English crime writer P.D. James. Many of her books were put to television and film adaptations. James was granted numerous honors and awards over her writing career as well as numerous honorary doctorates and fellowships.

My Take on Magpie Murders

Book Reviews

Like a good mystery? Why not give Magpie Murders a try. It is full of surprises and written in a way unlike I have ever seen before.

Anthony Horowitz, author of Magpie Murders, has an unusual concept in writing a murder within a murder. A two-for-one if you will. The novel, Magpie Murders, is written by the character Alan Conway in the book. The manuscript of Magpie Murders is given to editor Susan Ryeland to read. That is where the reader begins the book, seeing it through Susan’s eyes. Then, just as the reader is engrossed in the who-done-it, the manuscript ends and Susan is in search of the missing chapters and finds herself in a mystery of her own.

I found it an interesting way to write a book and was intrigued by this style. It left the reader yearning to solve one mystery only to start another and then come back to finish the first mystery. I also liked the setting, a small town in England. The suspects all knew each other or were connected in some way.

So, if looking for a new twist on who-done-its, why not give Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz a try. It will be sure to entertain and challenge with more than one mystery under it’s cover. Happy Reading!

My Take on The Golden Tresses of the Dead

Book Reviews

If not an avid reader of the Alan Bradley series on Flavia de Luce, do not read past this paragraph. The Flavia de Luce series should be read in order starting with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Flavia, an eleven year old with a passion for chemistry, always seems to find a good murder to solve in her small English town of Bishop’s Lacey, set in the 1950’s. While the main character is eleven years old this is not a children’s book. Bradley does his research in chemistry as he relates this to how Flavia can outwit the police and solve the murders in his novels. Read on for my take on book number ten in the series.

The Golden Tresses of the Dead starts out with the residents of Buckshaw preparing for Ophelia’s wedding. Flavia is now twelve years old and the owner of Buckshaw, which gives her many responsibilities. She has also formed a professional partnership with Dogger to solve the mysteries she seems so apt at finding. The novel’s mystery is centered around Ophelia finding a human finger in her wedding cake. Oh my!

While Dogger has helped Flavia in previous cases, this novel is about their partnership. This is meant to make Flavia be taken more seriously as a sleuth, as she is now part of a genuine business. Dogger and Flavia complement each other and one still gets the since of her independence, as she still takes Gladys out for a spin to do her share of the investigating on her own.

Flavia can also be seen to be growing up a bit as she now has a house to run with the help of Dogger and Mrs. Mullet. She is also not the youngest at Buckshaw anymore with cousin Undine living there. Undine is also evolving into more of a storyline in the latest novel as she helps with clues in the mystery. Undine reminds Flavia of herself and therefore is tolerated.

Alan Bradley has delivered yet another interesting read with the latest in the Flavia de Luce series. He has taken his characters to another level to keep the series believable and entertaining. So, head to the nearest bookstore or library and pick-up a copy of The Golden Tresses of the Dead. There is a mystery to be solved!

My Take on Dear Mr. Blueberry

Book Reviews

A good children’s book must have a good story, a good lesson, good art, and be interesting enough to read over and over again without getting sick of it. One such book that I will never tire of is Dear Mr. Blueberry by Simon James. A perfect book to read to your children or grandchildren over summer break.

I was introduced to this book many years ago when I took my children to story-time at the aquarium. It was a great book for the aquarium to read as it is written about whales. The story is so cute and unique to most children’s books as it is written in letter form from Emily to her teacher Mr. Blueberry. Emily writes to Mr. Blueberry, as school is not in, and asks him questions of whales, as she has found one in her pond,and Mr. Blueberry replies back to her in letter form.

So, if you know of a child interested in whales or things of the ocean, give Dear Mr. Blueberry a try. It is a good story with all the must haves of a children’s book and will hold an adult interested as well. Yours sincerely…..