Saturday, March 31, 2012

11. The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British

By:  Sarah Lyall
Rated 4.5
Audio Book

Publisher's Description

Sarah Lyall, a reporter for the New York Times, moved to London in the mid-1990s and soon became known for her amusing and incisive dispatches on her adopted country. As she came to terms with its eccentric inhabitants (the English husband who never turned on the lights, the legislators who behaved like drunken frat boys, the hedgehog lovers, the people who extracted their own teeth), she found that she had a ringside seat at a singular transitional era in British life. The roller-coaster decade of Tony Blair's New Labor government was an increasingly materialistic time when old-world symbols of aristocratic privilege and stiff-upper-lip sensibility collided with modern consumerism, overwrought emotion, and a new (but still unsuccessful) effort to make the trains run on time. Appearing a half-century after Nancy Mitford's classic Noblesse Oblige, Lyall's book is a brilliantly witty account of twenty-first-century Britain that will be recognized as a contemporary classic.

12. Omar Nelson Bradley, General at War

By:  Jim DeFelice
Rated 5 Stars
Kindle Book

I was drawn to read this because he was from Moberly, Missouri a small midwestern town where my Grandparents lived in the years before my Grandmother died and where a lot of my relatives still live.  He was a principled man who reflected the values I was raised to believe instead of the "family values" that currently are in vogue.  Kind of comforting.

Book Description

 September 12, 2011
In the years since World War II, military historians have focused on two larger-than-life personalities: George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower. But what of Omar Bradley, the American hero who led the forces at D-Day and was the head of the largest body of U.S. soldiers to serve under one field command? Picked by Patton to be his deputy during World War II, Bradley rose to become Patton’s commander. He was known as the “soldier’s general” for his compassion toward his troops, and he eventually became the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as an advisor to several presidents. Yet despite these achievements, Bradley has been largely overlooked by biographers. In his intriguing new book, Omar Bradley, award-winning author Jim DeFelice brings an American hero to life with a comprehensive and compelling biography about one of the most important—and overlooked—generals of World War II.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

17. Elegy for Eddie

By:  Jacqueline Winspeare
Rated 4 Stars
Audio Book

 I ended up kind of conflicted about this after I finished it.  On one hand I liked it very much but there were a couple of things that bugged me.  One of them was that some of the character's started taking pot shots at Maisie regarding the way she was handling her new found wealth.  They were telling her that trying to help some of the people she cared about was putting them under an obligation to her that was not a good thing.  Not a word about how Maurice, Lady Compton and Priscilla did the same thing for her. 

As a result I thought that then Maisie over reacted with what seemed to me with teenage angst (and believe I have seen enough teen age angst to recognize it when I see it) and started clutching her working class background like a hair shirt she was afraid to take off for fear she wouldn't be normal anymore unless she was itching. 

I also thought  her willingness to swan around in Priscilla's cast off's and her reluctance to buy herself new clothes or even, for heaven's sake pay to have her car tuned up went beyond thriftiness and bordered on parsimony.  If I'm going to continue this series Masie is going to have to do a little growing up and moving on.

But on a positive note II thought the mystery was good and I could see the basis for some darn good stories in the future.  And as ever, Windspeare does a stellar job of nailing the time and place.  She obviously is as fascinated with that era as I am.

Product Description:

Early April 1933. To the costermongers of Covent Garden—sellers of fruit and vegetables on the streets of London—Eddie Pettit was a gentle soul with a near-magical gift for working with horses. When Eddie is killed in a violent accident, the grieving costers are deeply skeptical about the cause of his death. Who would want to kill Eddie—and why?

Maisie Dobbs' father, Frankie, had been a costermonger, so she had known the men since childhood. She remembers Eddie fondly and is determined to offer her help. But it soon becomes clear that powerful political and financial forces are equally determined to prevent her from learning the truth behind Eddie's death. Plunging into the investigation, Maisie begins her search for answers on the working-class streets of Lambeth where Eddie had lived and where she had grown up. The inquiry quickly leads her to a callous press baron; a has-been politician named Winston Churchill, lingering in the hinterlands of power; and, most surprisingly, to Douglas Partridge, the husband of her dearest friend, Priscilla. As Maisie uncovers lies and manipulation on a national scale, she must decide whether to risk it all to see justice done.

The story of a London affected by the march to another war years before the first shot is fired and of an innocent victim caught in the crossfire,Elegy for Eddie is Jacqueline Winspear's most poignant and powerful novel yet.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

16. Bridge to Happiness

By:  Jill Barnett
Rated 3.5 Stars
Kindle Book

This was one of the el cheapo kindle deal books and I was looking for a change of pace book.  It wasn't bad but just let me say that it was marked way down for a reason.

Publisher's Description

rom the luxury of San Francisco's famous hills to the wild freedom of the majestic snow-covered Sierra Mountains, BRIDGE TO HAPPINESS is the intensely dramatic story of one woman's life, the idyllic moments, her humanity, her love, and finally, the difficult road she must walk discover the strong woman she is destined to become. When March Randolph meets Mike Cantrell, she has no idea how her life will change, and how time will change her. For over three decades she and Mike forge a marriage, a family and a business together, helping to make snowboarding into a popular, worldwide winter sport, and raising four strong-willed and independent children into a adulthood, never once fearing the future won't be as golden as their past. In a heartbeat everything changes, and March and her family suffer a tragic change, one that drives a schism into her once perfect life, and will test the bonds of love and family far beyond any definition of recovery. Suddenly March is stuck in the past, unable to move forward, and only if she, alone, finds the strength and will to move on, can any of the Cantrells have a single, glimmer of hope at a new life of happiness. "Bridge To Happiness is a beautiful and poignant exploration of loss, love and unexpected opportunities. This book is for any woman who has ever loved and lost and dared to reach for happiness." Kristin Hannah, New York Times Bestselling Author of Winter Garden

Thursday, March 1, 2012

8. Death of Kings

By:  Bernard Cornwall
Rated 4 Stars

By Bernard Cornwell
Rated:  Currently Reading
Audio Book

Publisher's Summary

The fate of a new nation rests in the hands of a reluctant warrior in this thrilling sixth volume in the acclaimed New York Times best-selling Saxon Tales series.
As the ninth century wanes, Alfred the Great lies dying, his dream of a unified England in danger and his kingdom on the brink of chaos. While his son, Edward, has been named his successor, there are other Saxon claimants to the throne - as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north.
Uhtred, the Saxon-born, Viking-raised warrior, whose life seems to shadow the making of England itself, is torn between his vows to Alfred and his desire to reclaim his long-lost ancestral lands and castle in the north. As the king’s warrior, he is duty-bound, but Alfred’s reign is nearing its end, and Uhtred has sworn no oath to the crown prince. Despite his long years of service, Uhtred is still loath to commit to the old king’s Saxon cause of a united and Christian England. Now he must make a momentous decision, one that will forever transform his life... and the course of history: take up arms - and Alfred’s mantle - or lay down his sword and allow the dream of a unified kingdom to fall into oblivion.
©2011 Bernard Cornwell (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers