Friday, December 9, 2016

Moment Of Truth

Moment Of Truth

Adult mystery
"Jack Newlin had no choice but to frame himself for murder.
Once he had set his course, his only fear was that he wouldn't get
away with it. That he wasn't a good enough liar, even for a lawyer."
Mystery lovers, I'm guessing you can't read the first paragraph
of Lisa Scottoline's Moment Of Truth (above) and put the book down. I
surely couldn't. Who is this Jack guy framing himself for a serious
felony? Why does he see it as his only option? Inquiring minds want
to know.
When we meet Jack, an estates lawyer, he's in handcuffs and
under arrest. He's making a confession to two detectives. He'd come
home to find his wife dead. Before he'd called 911 he'd arranged all
the evidence to indicate that he'd murdered her in a drunken rage,
even consuming alcohol in case the police tested his blood. All he
wants to do is get convicted.
Self incrimination may not be all that easy despite all the
evidence pointing to Jack's guilt, evidence that has the District
Attorney thinking he's got a slam dunk. His attorney, Mary Dinunzio,
thinks he's framing himself to protect someone he loves dearly, his
daughter, Paige, a model abused by her Manager mom. One of the
detectives who first interviewed him is thinking his story rings
false. First separately and then together, they work to get him
exonerated...
...which could be a very dangerous move. The case is a lot more
complex than they can imagine. There are links to people in high
places who have a vested interest in seeing Jack take the fall.
Moment Of Truth is a mighty fine read for a dark and blizzardy
winter night.
On a personal note, UMaine commemorated Transgender Day of Remembrance
in a low key and decorous but highly inspiring way. We started with a
candle light vigil and then went to Wilson Center for a supper of
spaghetti, garlic bread, and hot cider. The room was alive with love
and solidarity.
A great big shout out goes out to the LGBTQ community.
jules hathaway



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What Is My Cat Thinking?

What Is My Cat Thinking?

Adult nonfiction
If you are a member of a feline's family, that thought must
cross your mind now and then. There are times our favorite critters
can seem quite inscrutable. To animal behaviorists, however, cats are
open books. Gwen Bailey, a member of that profession, tells all in
her What Is My Cat Thinking?
The focus of the book is the pictures on every page of cats
doing cat things. A short paragraph explains what's going on
succinctly. Two cats, tails high, approach a human. They are showing
happiness in the arrival home of their person. Two cats appear to be
in mortal combat. Clues show them to be in a play fight. A cat
sprawled on her back, arms outstretched, is making a bid for attention.
One aspect of this book I truly appreciate is the discussion of
how some feline behaviors we don't appreciate are wired in, not
subject to learned control. We should do the adapting rather than
punishing our confused cat companions. A good example is digging with
claws when they sit on our laps. A thick blanket on a lap can protect
human skin and cat contentment. I have found a new use for one of
Amber's baby quilts. :)
Joey cuddled on my lap this morning while I read the paper. We
had some fun time on the floor playing with his cat toys. Now he's
sleeping. Judging from his very relaxed posture he feels safe and
secure in his home.
On a personal note, the most recent UMaine blood drive went really
well. I donated the first day and volunteered at the canteen the
second. Got to take lots of snacks home. I finally got to try on the
blood drop costume. Lisa had said I couldn't. Rather than admit she
was wrong she now claims I couldn't climb stairs in it.
A great big shout out goes out to all who worked, volunteered, and
donated at the blood drive.
jules hathaway


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Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep

Adult mystery
"'Dick, what the hell am I supposed to do?'
'Get the girl what she asked for.'
'Where are these, these empty devils?'
'In your childhood, where every devil comes from. I'm not
allowed to say more.'
'How do I stop them?'
'The only way to stop them is kill them. Make them eat their
own poison. Do that and they disappear.'"
For two decades now my daughter, Amber, and I have been fans of
Stephen King's The Shining. We were really excited when we learned
that he was working on a sequel. When it came out at $30.00 it was
not in our budgets. Luckily, helping at the recent friends of the
Orono Public Library book sale, I got a hard cover copy for about a
dime. Doctor Sleep, in my opinion, is a very worthy sequel.
Do you remember Danny, the poster child for Children's
Protective Services, who lived at a demonically possessed hotel, the
Overlook, with his parents and a number of malevolent spectral
entities? How his dad lapsed into insanity fueled by these beings who
wanted Danny for his shining, his package of sixth sense abilities?
How Danny and his mother barely escaped with their lives when the
Overlook exploded?
Well Danny's back folks--back and grown up. Like his father,
whom he'd sworn not to emulate in this fashion, he's succombed to
alcoholism. He has achieve sobriety, thanks to AA. He has a life he
feels comfortable in. He works in a hospice. And he still has the
shining...
...which is a very good thing...
...because a little girl, Abra, who shines very strongly is in
terrible peril from monsters even more evil than the Overlook daemons
of Danny's Youth. Members of the True Knot look like a group of older
mobile home and RV nomads. Nothing more sinister on their minds than
getting their full AARP discounts. Don't believe that for a moment.
They were alive when the United States became a nation. Their
unnaturally long lifespans demand regular infusions of steam, the life
force of dying children with the shining.
Rose, leader of the True Knot is determined to kill Abra not
only because she believes her steam will be of prime quality, but
because Abra knows too much and has personally challenged her. In
other words it's personal. Abra has Danny on her side. But can two
humans hold against such a strong force of pure malevolence? Read the
book and see.
On a personal note, I greatly enjoyed my three Thanksgiving dinners on
three consecutive Thursdays. The first was Gay Thanksgiving. The
second was multicultural Thanksgiving. The third was the one you
probably celebrated. It was such a rare treat to have my three kids
together! I live for times like that.
And no, I did not get up insanely early and battle the Black Friday
crowds to buy, buy, buy. Joey cat and I stayed in our attitude of
gratitude mode. The only years I ever did Black Friday were when the
kids wanted to. One very thoughtful thing Amber did was saving up and
buying Katie and Adam as many gifts as she could afford.
A great big shout out goes out to all with whom I celebrated.
jules hathaway



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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Absolutely Truly

Absolutely Truly

Juvenile foction
Truly Lovejoy felt like she was living the dream. After the
frequent moves of a military family, she and her clan are settling
down in a permanent home where she has her own room. (She's the
middle of five children). They finally live near family. Her cousin
is her best friend. Her father will be joining them when he finishes
his tour of duty.
Only you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice
and men. A few days before his tour was done an improvised explosive
device took her father's right arm and killed his best friend. After
physical therapy in Germany he comes back a changed man, adjusting to
life as an amputee in a world in which his dream job, flying, has gone
from on the horizon to out of reach.
As if Truly's life isn't dislocated enough, she finds her family
selling dream house and moving to the boonies of New Hampshire. Her
grandparents are going into the Peace Corps. Her father and his
sister are taking over the management of their rapidly failing
independent book store.
Life in Pumpkin Falls, however, may not be as dreary as Truly
expects it to be. An old book in the store contains a cryptic
letter. Soon Truly and her new chums have banded together to solve a
mystery.
Absolutely Truly is a great book for preteens coping with the
unexpected including the ones whose dads or moms come home from tours
of duty changed in confusing and frightening ways.
On a personal note, a couple of weekends ago Silvestre told me to stay
home. I was actually relieved. I needed time to rest and get
organized. With Silvestre limiting my activities I am sleeping better
and being more (petit mal) seizure free--the way I need to be next
year if I want to succeed in grad school. I'm even feeling more
confident that I'll get in.
A great big shout out goes to Silvestre, my knight in preppy polos.
jules hathaway


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Sugar Skulls

Sugar Skulls

Adult Mystery
"Scout didn't seem to hear me. She was bent over her plate,
hunting for more crumbs. Here, finally, was proof that Venus was
having an affair. Which undoubtedly had something to do with her
murder. There was only one problem, and I was staring at it. Why
would anyone believe a homeless, mentally ill, substance-abusing,
larcenous teen survivor of child sexual abuse over the impeccable and
illustrious Carter Langdon III?"
Late autumn when we set the clocks back and darkness falls
disquietingly early is a perfect time for chilling suspense stories.
A little past Halloween and Day of the Dead I was at the library
scanning shelves. When I saw nine little vividly decorated sugar
skulls grinning up at me I grabbed the book whose cover they adorned.
I found Denise Hamilton's Sugar Skulls to be a most excellent mystery.
Reporter Eve is halfway through her first cup of coffee when she
is accosted by a distraught father. His well off private school
educated teenage daughter, Isabel, has vanished. He's afraid her
disappearance has something to do with the street kids she's started
hanging with, possibly the work of their charasmatic leader, Finch.
At the squat (officially abandoned building) the teens have been
occuppying they discover her body.
Following up on the murder, Eve discovers that Isabel is part of
a "disturbing new trend": well off, rebellious kids from intact
families befriending street kids, many with double (drug abuse and
psychological challenges) diagnoses in very unsafe places. She's able
to track down another of these youths, Paolo, at a home publicity
event for his father, Carter Langdon III, who is running for mayor.
The next day Carter's campaign is hit with a major league
obstacle. His wife, Venus, is dead. A gardener discovered her dead
body floating nude in her swimming pool. Although Carter was out of
town when the homicide went down, the sheets in a poolside villa are
damp and rumpled. Other evidence points to an illicit tryst.
In the amazing coincidences rampant in mystery novels (although
rarely so neatly occurring in real life) the two murders are connected
not only with each other, but with the shooting death of Ruben,
favored son and heir apparant to a family Hispanic promotion business
who had ditched it to start his pool cleaning business. Somehow
ubiquitous sugar skulls tie the crimes together.
And unless Finch, safely locked up in jail, is the killer other
people are in peril.
On a personal note, I was having trouble with my grad school
application. Fortunately Colleen, who is in the program I want to get
into, helped me pull it together. She and some of her classmates have
been so encouraging and supportive I've dubbed them my fairy
godsquad. I'm beginning to think Juleserella will make her (my) dream
come true with no egotistical Prince Charming or painful glass slippers.
A great big shout out goes out to my fairy godsquad and my editor
friend, Matt, who really helped me improve my essay.
jules hathaway



Sent from my iPod

The Book Of Unknown Americans

The Book Of Unknown Americans

Adult fiction
"Back then, all we wanted was the simplest things: to eat good
food, to sleep at night, to smile, to laugh, to be well. We felt it
was our right, as much as it was anyone's, to have these things. Of
course, when I think about it now, I see that I was naive. I was
blinded by the swell of hope and the promise of possibility. I
assumed that everything that would go wrong in our lives already had."
After an election season when much divisive and hateful rhetoric
has been aimed at Hispanic immigrants it is crucial to remember that
this group is comprised of distinct individuals doing the best they
can under the circumstances life throws their way.
As in just like the rest of us.
Christina Henriquez' The Book Of Unknown Citizens brings this
motif beautifully to life. At its heart lies the relationship of two
Hispanic families brought about by something apple pie American: the
attraction of teen age boy to teen age girl.
Arturo and Alma must leave Mexico so their only child, Maribel,
can have a future. She's sustained brain damage from an accident.
Special education in the United States holds her best chance for at
least partial recovery. Her parents will do whatever it takes to see
her come to life again.
Mayor is the younger son of a family from Panama. His parents
had fled a devastated homeland they could never again feel safe in.
"...Burnt-out cars and the rubble of buildings. Broken glass and
charred palm trees. It looked like a different place. It was just
destruction and more destruction...". They both miss Panama, but
believe their sons, Enrique and Mayor, are thriving in America in a
way that makes their sacrifices worthwhile.
One day Mayor and his mother are at Dollar Tree replacing
underwear that had been stolen from the Laundromat. Mayor sees a girl
who he deems "fucking gorgeous." His heart goes into overdrive. He
feels acute embarassment that he is carrying a package of size small
underwear.
When Mayor discovers Maribel's frailty he becomes tenderly
protective, shielding her from perils like a local bully, Garrett. He
tries everything he can to make her smile. Somehow he can sense the
brightness of her inner self struggling to come through.
On a personal note, we're right on the brink of Thanksgiving. But
this year it isn't all Norman Rockwell for a lot of people. Many
LGBTQ students are returning to families who are not supportive of
their real selves. A gazillion people including myself are going to
spend time with relatives or in-laws who voted on the other side. A
lot of Thanksgivings will be more like detente than over the river and
through the woods.
A great big shout out goes out to you, my readers. May you have much
to be thankful for.
jules hathaway


Sent from my iPod

Saturday, November 19, 2016

✍ Julia wrote a message for you

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