Posts Tagged ‘Rosebud’


The Invitation – “One You Can’t Refuse” by Anne Cheiran

April 19, 2016

John and his dog, Spanky, review books, movies, DVDs, etc.


JOHN: Neither Spanky nor I are from India, but the conflicts between different generations and the disappointments, not only of a Harvard student who doesn’t want to continue or a MIT graduate who wants to become a cook, seem manifestations of what my parents must have felt.

SPANKY: And you, yourself, with their aspirations imprinted on you.

JOHN: I liked the book’s format, the simple structure of expectation, an event that brings all of the participants together (with a few surprises). It seems to really fit the many relationships.

SPANKY: Sometimes the number of people is confusing, but the near-death of a loser cousin at the graduation party makes everyone appreciate what to value in life: life.

JOHN: And readers will experience that too; in a way the Indian background of some of the characters makes this easier to do because that background seems so different from that of readers.

SPANKY: But the problems they face, we all face, are not remote at all and this book is a fine opportunity to place these problems in perspective. I give it five barks out of five.

JOHN: And I, five rosebuds.




Out of the Past – “More Noir”

October 4, 2014

Out of the Past: A Reed Ferguson Mystery (A Private Investigator Mystery Series) 

[Kindle Edition]

by Renee Pawlish

Buy it directly from Amazon. Click: Out of the Past: A Reed Ferguson Mystery (A Private Investigator Mystery Series – Crime Suspense Thriller Book 5)

Out of the Past

Out of the Past is the name of a film noir movie with Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas that it is considered practically a textbook example of the genre. It is also the name of this e-book and appropriate for many reasons. First, the narrator is a big fan of film noir. Second, he takes a job as bodyguard because he is blackmailed about something in his past. Third, both the father of the daughter and the young woman herself have things from their pasts they are hiding. Read the rest of this entry ?


The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald– “Gatsby Revisited”

September 12, 2014

F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald

Author: David Handler

Print Length: 256 pages

Publisher: Road (June 26, 2012)

Buy Here from Amazon, $7.99: Click: The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Stewart Hoag Mysteries)

I am writing a book that parallels The Great Gatsby and thought I’d get some background information from the library on F. Scott Fitzgerald. Boring. But one book I got by accident was this which had Fitzgerald’s name in the title. It turned out to be a terrific diversion from the others. It is about a has-been writer with a basset hound that sleeps on his head.

The narrator has been asked to ghost write a book by a media-favorite who has writers’ block. What a reader doesn’t know is how the plot actually does go along the same path as The Great Gatsby and Fitzgerald’s life. What an inspiring surprise and the mystery makes more and more sense as it untangles. I couldn’t put it down and when the book was over I had plenty to think about.




Death by Hitchcock – “Good Evening!”

August 24, 2014


by Elissa Durwood Grodin

Print Length: 174 pages

Publisher: Cozy Cat Press (June 1, 2014)

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Kindle: $2.99, Paperback: $13.46

Buy from Amazon. Click Here:  Death by Hitchcock: An Edwina Goodman Mystery

Love the title and the classic film background. This is an author who knows movies. My quarrel: she doesn’t use their plot twists to affect the book’s. So the great title and the festival back story are wasted.

I did like the documentary movie within the story and the narrator’s astronomy background. But the author needs to give readers more credit.

This book will be picked up by people who remember sitting in a dark theater or a classroom on campus at night. Will remember watching films we have seen many times before, as if our lives depended on the lines to be spoken. And they did.

3 out of 5_edited-1




Bullet Catch – “A Magic/Mystery Masterpiece”

August 14, 2014

Bullett Catch

Bullet Catch by John Gaspard

Paperback: 282 pages

Publisher: Henery Press; First edition (November 4, 2014)

Paperback Price: $ 15.95

Buy from Amazon. Click Here: The Bullet Catch

When I finished this stunning book I got a real surprise. Its author is not a magician. He’s not even a full time writer, but an independent film-maker in Minneapolis.

Most books (and I read about ten a week, mostly to review) balance a plot with a subplot and maybe a little back-story that helps explain the significance of either. But Bullet Catch juggles a plot, another plot, two or three subplots plus a back-story on the narrator’s relationship with a police detective who had an affair with his wife (while they were married). Yes, there is an independent movie that mirrors all this, but what is astonishing is that there are twenty pages to go and we in the audience are completely mystified about how it can turn out—then it does and it all fits together. Read the rest of this entry ?


Shopgirl – “Not Wild and Crazy”

August 14, 2014



by Steve Martin

Print Length: 130 pages

Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (July 1, 2001)

Paperback Price: $ 4.78

Buy from Amazon. Click Here: Shopgirl: A Novella

I recently read a book of Conversations with Steve Martin. After the exhausting Introduction (these were interviews printed in the media at different stages of his career), I didn’t know if I needed more.

But the chapters did prove interesting. In each he comments on what is happening in his life. From stand-up comic to actor/director, to writer. It made me glad I was not famous and didn’t have to live up to any particular expectations.

At the library, putting a hold on some of his essays from the New Yorker I picked up a copy of his book, Shopgirl. If I read it before It had given up on it before completing it.
Read the rest of this entry ?


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry – “Our Secret Sharers”

August 10, 2014


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

by Gabrielle Zevin

Print Length: 260 pages

Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2014

Price: $ 15.76

Buy from Amazon. Click Here: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel

I love this book. It starts out good and gets better and better. And central to its appeal is, for a reader, the appeal of books. Here we have contemporary stories of relationships, of an abandoned child, even of brain cancer…and they are linked to our secret sharers, books.

But this is all very real and current. I challenge anyone who reads it not to think over their own life and the role books have played in it. I know I have. We turn the page to find out what will happen, and when it does with 100% credibility we come full circle―from a missing Edgar Allen Poe to discovering what happened to it and why.

There is a chapter on ebooks, on a book club for policemen, on Facebook, even why a community needs books. It reminds us what saves us from isolation, and most important gets us going back to books that have made us who we are―Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Conner, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

If you have to take one book on a trip, this is it. You will be carrying many back.

5 out of 5_edited-1