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Showing posts from June, 2017

The Things That Make Us Who We Are

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Typically I respond to any hint of a book being a “cozy” (or “cosy”, if you prefer the British spelling) mystery in much the same way I approach certain other things which I hold in disregard, at best (or abject fear and/or great distaste, at worst)—Spiders. Liver (as a “food”, not a necessary part of my body). Rats (as in, not the cute-&-domesticated variety). Visits to the dentist.—I back away, shaking my head and wrinkling my nose from a safe distance. 
You see, anything that smacks of being remotely twee—which is how I tend to view that subset of the mystery genre—holds little to no interest for me. (If, of course, so-called cozies are your bag, that’s totally cool.)
It was definitely, then, with some trepidation—and a really hesitant trigger finger (hovering above the “purchase now” button on Amazon)—that I deigned to purchase what was described as a (modern) cozy, John Bowen’s Death Stalks Kettle Street. (Point of fact, though, the description—and the recommendation I’d read s…

When a Fairy Tale is Good... and When it Isn't

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Sometimes, you really need a slice or three of your favorite pizza. (Go on, admit it.) Other times, nothing but a bowl of decadent ice cream (you know, the good stuff) can quench that craving you feel. And often, only the thought of a stiff drink at the end of a long day can put things to rights in your world.
When it comes to books, though, what is an equivalent treat/reward, when you're feeling sort of done in, when you're effectively "toast"? Something not too heady, too erudite, clearly; if your goal is escapism and guilty pleasure, you’re not exactly gonna pull out the Dostoyevsky or Hawthorne, are you?
No, for me that sort of release—the polar opposite of a trying day—is generally going to involve a fantasy… and one on the more effervescent, playful end of the spectrum rather than the elaborately-built-out-worlds end, because if it’s escapism I’m after, I really don’t wanna be tasked with thinking too hard.
So, over the past month or so, I’ve found myself flippi…

Big Dreams and Even-Bigger Disappointments... That's Showbiz, Folks!

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Los Angeles, California--What People (who don’t live there) Think It Is: Endless sun, beaches, surfing, skateboarding, movie and TV stars, glamourous shopping meccas, ostentatious wealth, kooks, vineyards, pot, egos, traffic, earthquakes, and big dreams.

Los Angeles, California--What It Really Is: All of the above… plus dust, smog, pedestrians, industry folks moonlighting in a lot of inglorious jobs (because they can’t make ends meet, otherwise), ratty apartments, ordinary people, fabulous diversity of foods, loneliness, and unfulfilled dreams. 


Prior to making the Golden State my home, I probably wouldn’t have come up with everything on the second list; you can’t really know a place unless you spend some time there… as author Robert Bryndza (writing with husband Jan Bryndza, this time) clearly did, going by the tale told in Lost in Crazytown.


Lost in Crazytown centers around Filip--a guy not unfamiliar in Hollywood… transplanted from somewhere else (in his case, London), trying to get…