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TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE: An Isaac’s House Novel; A Story of Promises ~Normandie Fischer

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Ms. Fischer is quite a storyteller and TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE is right up there on the list for good reading.

When TLC Book Tours   included TWO FROM ISAAC’S HOUSE on the review list, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review another of Normandie Fisher’s books.  I wanted to know if BECALMED was an isolated great read or if this good storyteller had another tale, which provided entertainment and great words.  I was not disappointed in the least and I still wish to read more of her stories in the future.

Yes, This book is a Romance and also an interesting story.  Fischer’s books are not dumbed down and certainly not “bodice rippers”.  The book is full of good descriptions and finely tuned dialogue.  There is a great deal of truth about what the characters are thinking and how they handle each situation.  We are treated to some politics and unrest in the Middle East and even a murder that creates a mystery.

Rina Lynne is a young lady of the South and has lived in Morehead City, North Carolina all of her life.  Her mother died young and her father is over-protective and very strict.  When she finishes school and her father dies, she decides to put her fiancé and her wedding on hold and take on a bit of adventure.  Her first stop is Italy for a language class and maybe a cooking class.  She purchases an unwieldy suitcase that makes her beginning travels interesting.

Tony, an Arab American, assists Rina with her suitcase and becomes a part of the story as he is also taking the same language class as Rina.  He is using his vacation time from his Engineering firm to be a sort-of spy for his Israeli cousins.  On the train, there is a murder and the intrigue and mystery begins.

“…global, sophisticated, and intriguing with an exotic setting.  A girl seeking one last trek before she marries.  A guy conned into espionage by family.  They enter each other’s worlds and life becomes colorful, fascinating, and oh so dangerous.  Beautifully written, adventurous, and smart.”  -C. Hope Clark, award-winning author, The Edisto Island Mysteries and Carolina Slade Mysteries.

An Excellent Read.

Normandie Fischer:
In this romp through Italy and the Middle East, Normandie Fischer combines her love of all things Italian and her fascination with the cultures and cuisines of the Middle East, an interest fostered when she studied sculpture in Perugia and lived among Arab students.  She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico on board their ketch, Sea Venture, to care for her aging mother, who now sails with them whenever the opportunity arises. (Cover)

Normandie Fischer Website
Normandie Fischer Facebook

Related:
Becalmed
The Light Between Oceans
The Lemon Tree

THE SERPENT OF VENICE: A Satire ~Written by the witty, clever, author, Christopher Moore

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

“Shakespeare and Poe might be rolling in their graves, but they’re rolling with laughter.  Moore is one of the cleverest, naughtiest writers alive.” ~Carl Hiaasen (cover)

Christopher Moore enthusiasts will love this book.  Teenage boys who need to read THE MERCHANT OF VENICE by the Bard will love reading this book.  Teenagers will love this book and the irreverent humor and saucy taste of Shakespeare’s famous comedy.

“Moore’s greatest asset is his skill with language. Readers with a certain Monty Python nerdiness will rejoice in its hundreds of insults…and jokes… Witty and wise…Serpent is a bright, quick novel.” ~ USA TODAY  (cover)

Yes, indeed THE SERPENT OF VENICE is all of this and these reviewers who are paid for their words folks are absolutely spot on with the thoughts they share.   I did read this book cover to cover in 6 hours, it is Christopher Moore in full – bodied wetsuit of jest, humor and brawdy paraphrasing of Shakespeare’s glorious comedy.

I did laugh several times, and I know 3 older women who have shared PRACTICAL DEMONKEEPING, another Moore novel, with our book group, which we all enjoyed.   I found THE SERPENT OF VENICE over the top and  I believe F*#K is definitely not my favorite adjective.  The serpent was a delightful addition to the story, Pocket was a great and clever court jester-emissary-narrator and the women were just amazing.  Pocket’s sidekicks Drool, the muscle guy, and Jeff, the monkey, were just so-so characters and helpmates to the story.   I did enjoy the parallels and additions and then I just got tired of reading the book.   I would not read the story again, but I have referred the book to Mothers of 15-year-old boys who are not reading much of anything right now; the first report is that one son thought it was great and is currently reading it.

I did feel compelled to look up The Merchant of Venice in Spark Notes* and that was so reassuring that I borrowed my daughter’s complete Shakespeare and read the comedy start to finish; enjoyed the humor and rough language immensely in true form.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for sharing this new book with me.

In Christopher Moore’s own words:

(The afterword was the best part for me) “ The point of this, I suppose, is that I didn’t intend The Serpent of Venice to be a story about discrimination, although discrimination is manifest among the characters.  For me, it’s a story about hypocrisy and greed, courage and grief, anger and revenge.  But most important, I wanted it to be a story that shows how cool it would be to have your own dragon, which I have wanted since I was five.”

Bio and links:

“Christopher Moore is the author of thirteen previous novels, including Lamb, The stupidest Angel, Fool, Sacre’ Bleu, and A Dirty Job.  He lives in San Francisco, California” (back cover)

www.chrismoore.com
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Related:
Strings and Bones
The Crown 
The Chalice  
Equal Rites 

MRS. KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH: A Mystery to Solve ~by Mark Reutlinger

Friday, November 14th, 2014

“’When you have eliminated the impossible, you should look very closely at the not so likely.’” (Mrs. Kaplan quoting Sherlock Holmes at 95% location on my Kindle)

Do you enjoy Jewish humor and wisdom?  If your answer was YES then MRS. KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH is just the perfect book for you to add to your list.

Do you enjoy Yiddish expressions and fine-tuned thinking; Jewish Mother stereotypes?  If your answer was YES then MRS.KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH is just the perfect book for you to add to your list.

At the start of Passover do you believe that you make the best Matzoh Ball soup and you could win a prize?  If your answer was YES then MRS. KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH is just the perfect book for you to add to your list.

Do you think that the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors could be an interesting location, full of delightful characters and a 75 year old woman, the prime suspect, could climb in a window while remaining clever and smart and very deductive?  Well then, add MRS. KAPLAN AND THE MATZOH BALL OF DEATH to your reading list.

TLC Book Tours   was certain I would laugh out loud and write a review of this delight, they sent me an uncorrected, unproofed advanced copy for me to read and enjoy.  Wow did it make me happy; it was elementary Dear Watson!

Mark Reutlinger really told a delightful story and it was so entertaining. He caught the stereotypes in perfect harmony with the clever which thus gifted the reader with a happy read.

“Mark Reutlinger is the author of the novel Made in China and a professor of law emeritus at Seattle University. Born in San Francisco, Mark graduated from UC Berkeley and now lives with his wife, Analee, in University Place, Washington.” ( From TLC Booktours webpage)

Mark Reutlinger Goodreads

Related:
A Brief Moment of Weightlessness
A Magnificent Crime
The Fixer 
The Garden Plot

Hosanna

Monday, April 2nd, 2012
women in black poster

Women in Black poster

I guess I am a fool, but I am not attending worship services again this important week.  There is no one to celebrate a Seder and our faith community just schedules their gathering with the ever growing group of Temple friends.  I do not attend most Christian services anymore because it is such a huge event of Entertainment – which means tons of fancy clothing and perfume.  Add all the visitors with out-gasing toxic laundry products, shampoos and deodorants it makes the gathering a nightmarish, experience.   This year I decided to watch the news instead.

Too much US vs. THEM I turned it off and went walking and to smell the flowers.  When I returned home an old 1990 day planner called the Everywoman’s Almanac  caught my eye.  I could not remember why I did not throw it out; I did remember the lovely bookstore where I purchased it and how important it was to me. I truly savored the brief stories and art that surrounded the days of the week.   When I opened it, I knew why I could not throw it away and what an amazing record of my hours spent working for PEACE.

I would like to share two of the excerpts from the book.  The first piece is about Felicia Langer   an Israeli human rights lawyer and activist.  All of her work has been defending Palestinians and Israeli dissidents.  In 1988, she was the vice president of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights.

When I came to Israel in 1950 I saw that there was an Arab population under military rule.  I couldn’t understand how it was possible that we, the Jews, who were discriminated against so much, could put another people in a prison.  I felt suffocated.

The second stage of suffocation occurred in 1967 when the oppression in the Occupied Territories began.  I had been a lawyer for two years and I said to myself, “I have a skill, I can do something.  I have to do something, otherwise I cannot survive.”  I decided to open an office in Jerusalem.

I was told, “You’re a Jew, an Israeli, and a woman, why should Arabs believe you, and you don’t even speak Arabic?”  Everybody was skeptical.  The mother of my first client came and spoke about her son’s shirt which was stained with blood from his torture in Hebron prison.  I thought about my son, Michael.  I didn’t speak, but if felt as though there was no barrier between us.  We became friends then, without a language, without common culture or origin.  You can lie with words, but it’s very hard to lie if you feel something very strongly.

For years we had to fight in order to have a line in the papers about the Occupied Territories.  Now it is better.  We have peace forces and a strong opposition.  But I am not satisfied with the amount of people who are protesting the Occupation.  Every day, the death toll is terrible.  A society that is tolerating murders is cultivating murder.  This tolerance is a tragedy, not only for the Palestinians but also for us.  Therefor we have to expose the ugliness of what is happening.  If they want to beautify it, we have to expose it relentlessly.

I have so much love for everything which is human, that it is hard to speak about being self-hating.  What I really hate is discrimination, I hate inflicting pain and sorrow and I hate murderers.  But I very much love those who are fighting against them.

I got a prize at Dachau in memory of a German lawyer who fought against fascism.  I asked my friends, “Munich is so close to Dachau.  Didn’t you know what was going on?”  They answered, “Those who didn’t want to know, didn’t know.”  It’s the same in Israel.  Nobody can live with the excuse that they don’t know.  I think that silence in such a time is complicity.”

The second piece is about the “Women in Black” group which was organized in 1988. Our group still meets at the busiest intersection of the city on Friday nights during rush hour.    Mothers are still silently praying for peace all over the world.

Women in Black organized a weekly gathering in Jerusalem.  Every Friday form 1pm to 2pm, about eighty women dressed in black gather and stand in a circle holding black signs that read “End the Occupation.”  They have been gathering since January 1988, a month after the Intifada, the current Palestinian uprising in the Occupied Territories, began.

More than 3,000 women, Jewish and Arab, have contributed to a quilt by adding a square containing her name and a political slogan, saying or poem.

So here we have arrived with a week of eating unleavened bread and waving branches of palm to mark our sorrow and all around me is the ravages of Us vs. Them – Jesus was all about giving to Caesar what was Caesars; healing and peace.    I guess we are just celebrating bling these days with plenty of chocolate on the side.

How are you working on peace?   Do you want to know?  Do you want to see?

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s   from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket!

Related Reading:
Mug Vs. Heart
Women Wars
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
Temple Grandin:  a movie review