On the front of yesterday's Wall Street Journal was a banner which declared: "How to Make Your House Look Smarter (even if you aren't)". The article, in the fourth section, said to have books. Lots of books.
This is a double book review: an e-book, and a real book; a thriller and chick-lit.
TEARS IN TRIPOLI
by Paul A. Rice
Jake Collins is a retired British Special Forces soldier, who works as a private security officer in dangerous places. When this book opens, he's been hired to protect a newscaster named Andy who's going to Tripoli during the Libyan uprising. Of course, there are no direct flights to Tripoli, so Jake flies into Tunisia, is taken by a driver named Mus to the border, from whence he rides with a driver named Raouf. Entering Libya from a southern border crossing and driving north to Tripoli, Raouf proves helpful with his friends and relatives at every checkpoint, and ultimately in Tripoli. Jake is one of a team of protection agents assigned to two news crews, including his journalist, who turns out to be "Andi", a blond bombshell he'd noticed in an airport before he arrived in Tunisia. The book was very realistic, with actions having real consequences, and set during the couple of weeks during which Gadaffi's regime was toppled. All in all, it was a good read.
I got this as a free e-book during a promotion; it's available in Kindle format and paperback. I think that if copies of the paperback survive long enough, it will be considered good, accurate historical fiction. And that's what I liked most about it. 4 stars out of 5.
THE MOON SPINNERS
by Mary Stewart
Mary Stewart's books are somewhat formulaic, and comforting to read. They always involve a plucky British heroine, usually on vacation somewhere else, handsome men and danger.
Nicola Ferris is a 22 year old junior secretary at the British Embassy in Athens. When her cousin Frances wants to come to Greece for vacation, Nicola eagerly meets her at the seaside village of Agios Georgios on Crete. She had been given a ride to the footpath to that village by the Studebakers, who "...were both lavish with that warm, extroverted, and slightly overwhelming kindliness which seems a specifically American virtue." Since Nicola's a day early in arriving at the village, she decides to walk up a path beside a stream for lunch, and, after a couple of hours hiking, she finds herself being taken hostage by Lambis, who is trying to protect Mark, who was shot after they stumbled upon some locals and a dead body. Of course, the next day she went about her business, while trying to assist Lambis and Mark, Of course, Frances helps out, and all is well.
The title "Moon Spinners" refers to a legend that three spinners pull the moon out of the sky, spinning it down to earth, until it's gone, so there will be a night of darkness when everyone can sleep. Mary Stewart included a description which made me think of Chan, of a woman spinning: "The soft, furry mass of white wool on the distaff, the brown fingers pulling it out like candy-floss to loop across the front of the black dress, the whirling ball of woolen thread on the spindle...." Being able to relocate melodious passages like these is why I still love real books so dearly. This was a nice book, one that my friend GMarie might call a "cozy". Even though you know to some degree how it will end, you want to read because you love the good guys, root for the underdogs, and boo for the bad guys, all in good fun. Again, 4 stars out of 5.
Happy Thorsday, everyone!