Blue Gardens by Cathryn Gagnon

52441743_300856517281021_5527814237860134912_nWe have been in Kiwengwa, Zanzibar for four days now.  I happened to bring a few plastic shopping bags with me from Cape Town, which we used up in the kitchen waste container.  Suddenly, out of kitchen garbage bags, I began to panic.  So the search began. We looked in the one small grocery store here in town with no luck.  We even searched in Stone Town without success.  I asked Ed, “What do we do with our kitchen waste?”

We asked Carola, the guesthouse owner, and she told us that plastic bags are outlawed and/or forbidden in this area.  You simply cannot get plastic bags anywhere, you can’t even buy them.

She said that her parents visited eleven years ago and commented on the blue gardens along the roads and in the fields. They were littered with blue plastic shopping bags.  When they returned a year ago, they noticed that the blue gardens had virtually disappeared.

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East of Desolation – Jack Higgins

872403East of Desolation 
by Jack Higgins

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 15, 2019  


This book is a re-write of the original 1968 novel, which the author and publisher decided to bring back to life. I think it was a good decision. The story-line could easily fit into any 19th or 20th century decade. It’s got drama, suspense, intrigue, action, a bit of romance, and even a couple twists to keep you thinking.
I found the setting interesting, the far north, beyond what most of us call the civilized world. The characters are strong, some likable and some not. The plot involves a bit of a treasure hunt with the usual alliances and double-crosses to see who will end up with the booty.
The author, Jack Higgins, gained notoriety with his war/spy thriller ‘The Eagle has Landed.” East of Desolation is just as well-written and I have no problem recommending the read to anyone who enjoys those types of novels.

Same but Different

IMG_2572Let’s start with vacation vs. travel. To those inexperienced in the latter, as opposed to the former, you’ll completely understand. Others may think the two getaways are the same, but they are quite different. Vacations tend to be those one-week jaunts to somewhere warm, where you can relax and forget all about work or whatever other crap life throws at you on a daily basis.

Travelling entails extending those sojourns, not only to relax or escape every day life, but to explore new places and perhaps venture off the beaten path. Two weeks at an all-inclusive resort may sound the same as two weeks in Europe, but they are very different. So, the question is do you want everything to be the same as home? If you do then stay at home. One reason to travel is to experience something different, whether it’s the weather, or food or wine or landscape or culture.

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Rage – Jonathan Kellerman

85505Rage (Alex Delaware, #19) 
by Jonathan Kellerman

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 12, 2019


I like Johnathan Kellerman’s voice and main characters in the Alex Delaware series. Being a former Police Detective I find the Milo Sturgis character spot on for my kind of sleuth. I’m a bit skeptical about the amount of involvement with Dr. Delaware but the work is fiction.
I’ve enjoyed a couple other novels in this series, but in my opinion this one fell flat about half way through. The back and forth interaction between the protagonists was loaded with a lot of opinions and guesswork and conjecture that seems to go in circles, slowing the pace and confusing the plot.
The story was descent but I found the ending anti-climatic.

Hide and Seek – James Patterson

13153Hide and Seek 
by James Patterson (Goodreads Author)

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 06, 2019  


It was nice to read a novel that was actually written by Patterson himself, before he started publishing underlings with cookie-cutter stories. I’d forgotten that the man can weave a good tale.
Hide and Seek is a murder/mystery story that moves along at a good pace with plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested.
The different points of view bring you closer to the characters and let you inside ‘their’ story.
I liked the main character and it was easy to root for her throughout the book, whether she was guilty or not.
Hide and Seek is a good book and easy read.

The Broker – John Grisham

1110The Broker 
by John Grisham (Goodreads Author)

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Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 02, 2019  


I’ve read four other Grisham novels, with mixed reviews. I’ve also seen many of the movies made from his books and perhaps The Broker needs a few Hollywood twists to liven it up.
The story is about a Washington lawyer/power broker who’s greed lands him in jail. A presidential pardon gives his a second chance at life, but the CIA must hide him so other governments don’t kill him.
Without giving away all the backstory I thought this would be an action-packed spy thriller full of drama or intrigue. I was wrong. The author wasted about one hundred pages describing the Italian lessons the main character had to take while in hiding. Grisham said in his author’s notes that he was enthralled with Italy. I wished he would have spent half those pages describing food instead of Italian verbs.
The story dragged on and became predictable in the end. In thinking about the book and this review I was generous in giving it three starts. I’ve read much better from Grisham.