Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review - Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall

The writing is beautiful! The description of the island setting is captivating. The storyline is easy to follow, and the tone is almost ethereal. The characters are complicated, and Hepinstall keeps the reader guessing as to who is truly sane and who is actually a raving lunatic. Hepinstall allows the reader to learn each asylum patient's story from flashbacks, and she allows us into the emotions of the doctor, his wife, and his young son Wendell.

I cannot give this book a complete 5-star rating because there were some loose ends that did not compute. For instance, there was a point where Wendell claims to have math homework, but the entire storyline leads the reader to believe this island is isolated with the only contact to the outside world coming through the loading dock at the ocean. There are two other things that stretch logic, but I will not comment lest I reveal a spoiler.

There is a character (whom I was convinced was sane) who did something so unexpected that I literally gasped. Hepinstall tricked me so completely that I had to laugh at being taken in so easily. An author who causes the reader to react (laugh, gasp, cry) is truly a gifted wordsmith.

Review - The House of Gentle Men

I am intrigued by the title of Kathy Hepinstall’s, The House of Gentle Men. This surely must be a fictional place! Seriously, I easily give this book a 5-star rating. To give any book a fair review, I look at the character, theme, plot, style and setting. I focus on the book’s purpose, content, authority, and I evaluate the quality meaning and significance of what I have just read. Hepinstall nails it on every level. She draws the reader into a setting of World War II where innocence is lost, crimes are committed, sins are atoned, and life goes on. The author succeeded in making me feel as if I am that fly on the wall of every scene who sees all yet cannot read the mind. On three occasions as I was reading, I literally gasped in reaction to my sudden understanding of the reasoning behind a character’s earlier action. Hepinstall cleverly leads the reader to pre-judge a character’s senseless action, then suprises the reader with a reasoning that makes perfect sense. The plot is well-developed and woven tightly. Kathy Hepinstall is an exceptional writer, and I can easily say that this is one of the best novels I have ever read. As Marvin Bergman says, “another magical book, brilliantly written, with emotional depth and insight.” If I was a writer, I would want to do it like Hepinstall. Visit www.goodreads.com

Friday, July 27, 2012

Library Notes by Delene H. Allen

Wood County Democrat – Wood County, TX During the week of the Old Settler’s Reunion, the library invites visitors to the genealogy department to view family files and records of early settlers of Wood County. We offer Wi-Fi, and you may research online genealogical records using Ancestry.com Library Edition, Heritage Quest, Geni, and digitized images from our database. Also available is a microfilm reader/printer for viewing the Wood County Democrat (1914-2011). The library has several copies of Wood County 1850-1900 available for $15.00 each. Proceeds benefit the Wood County Historical Society. The library appreciates other businesses in our community who offer their time and services in support of their local library. Special thanks go to The Quitman Garden Club for maintaining the library’s patio areas, McCluney Pest Control for keeping the library pest free, Potts Feed Store for keeping the weeds under control, SuddenLink for providing television cable service for the Thurman Shamburger Community Room, and Ray Roberts Service of Quitman for providing routine inspections of the library’s heat and cooling system. Friday Night Bluegrass Jam Fever is always on the second Friday of the month at the Quitman Public Library. The next acoustical jam is Friday, August 10, 6 - 9 p.m. Acoustic musicians of all ages and musical levels are invited to join in, and listeners are always welcome. Refreshments will be available. For more information, call 903-952-8305. Patron cards are available for those residents who can provide proof of residence in Wood County and photo identification. A guardian must sign for children ages 5-17. Regular hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Call 903-763-4191 for more information or visit our website at www.quitmanlibrary.org. Stop by soon and check out what your library has to offer. Adult Services English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are suspended until September. Classes will be taught by Sandra Grider, Certified Instructor, and are scheduled for Thursdays 10 a.m. – noon and 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Friends of the Library The Friends are on summer break and will reconvene with regular meetings this in September. QPL Library Friends is an active group of volunteers dedicated to the growth and improvement of the library. Genealogy The Wood County Texas Genealogical Society will be on break until September; however, the club remains active the summer hosting ancestral research activities. Updated information can be found at http://www.woodtxgene.com. New Arrivals Silent Witness by Diane Burke, Twin Peril by Laura Scott, Navy Seal Rescuer by Shirlee McCoy, Ricochet by Christy Barritt, The Witness by Nora Roberts, Standing Guard by Valerie Hansen

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review - Hitler's Teutonic Knights: Ss Panzers in Action by Bruce Quarrie

This book perfectly and accurately recounts the major Panzer Divisions of the Waffen-SS -- Das Reich, Totenkopf, Wiking, Hohenstaufen, Frundsberg, and Hitlerjugend. This author gives what I believe to be an accurate account that was not seen in the American press, and it is obvious that he did his research. There are blatant Geneva Conference violations. For instance, they were not to kill American POWs but they did, but this book brings forth eyewitness accounts. I recommend this book for anyone interested in WWII history.