Behind Her Eyes

Thoughts  by Sarah Pinborough, Flatiron Books 2017, 318 pages

Genre:  Mystery Thriller
Type/Source:  eBook / Kindle
 Why I read this now:  For one of my bookclubs (May)

MOTIVATION for READING: One of the book groups I follow on Facebook asked for titles that had the best #WTFending. I think I might have selected it because it was also the least expensive of a list I attempted to put together for a vote. No one wanted to vote so I made a decision.  

Eek! Just realized book club is TOMORROW!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A single mom named Louise meets what she thinks could be a ‘nice guy’ at a bar and they get along so well — even sharing a good night kiss. However, the next day, she realizes this nice guy is actually the new doctor in the office she works. OOPS. And, he is married. Bummer.

Soon after, she bumps into not-so-nice guy’s wife. They become friends, against Louise’s better judgement. But Adele is so beautiful and sweet and seems so fragile. Louise is curious; she just can’t help herself.

And then David, the new doctor not-so-nice guy pursues Louise to have an affair and again, Louise can’t help herself.

Danger lurks everywhere! Throw in that Adele wants to rescue Louise – help her quit smoking and start exercising, etc. She also has ideas on how Louise can get better sleep and even manage her nightmares and sleep walking. Adele says to keep it all a secret from David.

WHAT’s GOOD: The author did a commendable job layering the little odd details — of course, most obvious in hindsight now that I think about it. Considering the reader KNOWs about the #WTFending and that the reader MUST pay attention, the introduction of clues was well done. To even mention some of the things I want to say will be spoileriffic – can’t wait for club!

What’s NOT so good: I’m really not the best fan of these and may not be the target audience so take any criticisms with a grain of salt. So if you LOVE thrillers like this, it will likely be one of those books that the sooner you get to, the better. I found the device of self asking questions rather tedious at times.

(Note: I had to get We Were Liars when it was all the rage, and I really did NOT like it. Ugh. This one is better, imo.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you want to know if I agree that the book deserves the hashtag #WTFending, I will tell you, “Yes.” Did I like the book? That’s a more difficult question. These kinds of stories are not my favorite, but I kept reading because I HAD TO KNOW! The writing is fine, I have already praised the construction. Pacing was OK. Characters were OK. The fun will be in discussing and sharing and finding out if you figure it out or if you were gobsmocked.

RATING: Three slices of apple pie.

“I wandered through the house, ate some of my mum’s apple pie that was in the fridge, and then went up to my old room, got into bed, and went to sleep.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2017. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Girl on the Train

Thoughts tgottbyph by Paula Hawkins, Penguin Random House 2015, 336 pages EBOOK

Challenge: For Neighborhood Bookclub
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Type/Source: eBook/Kindle
 Why I read this now: Club discussion scheduled for Dec 6th.

MOTIVATION for READING: This has been a very hot book and has become a book that ‘everyone’ has read. Except me. Actually, about half our club hadn’t read it and the others voted to read it anyway so it was selected. With the movie out in theatres now, I wanted to read before seeing the film.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young lady named Rachel rides the train to London everyday to put up the appearance of going to work even though she has been sacked months prior for a drunken mishap with a client. She drinks way too much and is usually snockered on the train ride home and drinks into the evening as well. As her train goes by and is often stopped for a spell right at the spot where she used to live, she views and regrets her old life in her old neighborhood. She can’t let go of her ex-husband who has a new wife and baby. She also imagines a story for a neighbor couple until something happens and she is pulled into the real life mess of this real life couple where the wife goes missing and the husband is suspected. It’s messy, confusing (back and forth in time and has 3 unreliable narrators), and it took me to the half-way point before it wasn’t a ho-hum get-on-with-it-already mystery.  But guessed it, I did! — nothing really surprised me.

WHAT’s GOOD: It was OK. It didn’t suck, but I can’t think of anything brilliant to say here in this spot so I’ll just keep moving on… Oh! Just thought of a compliment! I thought the imaginary names for the neighbor couple would get confusing with the true names and yet it didn’t, so that was a plus. Deftly handled.

What’s NOT so good: It was just really hard to cheer and root for any of the characters. Even the poor girl who goes missing is never really mourned. None of the feels…

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was OK. I liked Gone Girl much much more. That one had me laughing with all the crazy twists and turns. Train Girl didn’t have any funnies what so ever.

pieratingpieratingpierating

 

 

RATING: Three slices of pie. I was constantly irritated with the dates with each narrator change. I couldn’t remember if we were on the same few days or few months prior and it BUGGED me to no end.

One more thing – I hate reading mystery thrillers on the Kindle. It’s just too hard to flip back and forth when you want to check something.

On the other hand – the Kindle is the EASIEST way to find if any pie was mentioned… 

Pie Mentions:  Only magpies.

A tiding of magpies. One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Murder Must Advertise

Thoughts mmabyds by Dorothy Sayers, Harper & Brothers 1933, 344 pages

Challenge: Classics Club 50
Genre: Murder Mystery
Type/Source: Hardback / Library
 Why I read this now:  I think because it felt like a good companion read to Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Maybe.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: I think I’ll share the official blurb from goodreads. Oh – do know if you don’t already, the book cover above links to goodreads.com…

When advertising executive Victor Dean dies from a fall down the stairs at Pym’s Publicity, Lord Peter Wimsey is asked to investigate. It seems that, before he died, Dean had begun a letter to Mr. Pym suggesting some very unethical dealings at the posh London ad agency. Wimsey goes undercover and discovers that Dean was part of the fast crowd at Pym’s, a group taken to partying and doing drugs. Wimsey and his brother-in-law, Chief-Inspector Parker, rush to discover who is running London’s cocaine trade and how Pym’s fits into the picture–all before Wimsey’s cover is blown.

WHAT’s GOOD:  The energy, the cleverness, the humor. The dashing always amiable and capable Lord Wimsey. The setting of London and the descriptions of what life was like after World War I but before the Great Depression. It’s quite daring and had much to reflect on for how times are now as well as consideration of what is different in law enforcement these days compared to then. But who knew ‘drugs’ were so ‘bad’ then – if felt very modern.

p.78 “Everybody is picking up the body and exclaiming over it, when in walks our friend, innocently, from the lav. It’s as simple as pie.”

What’s NOT so good: I do think this wasn’t the best book FOR ME to be introduced to Lord Wimsey – I knew nothing other than he is beloved. I wish I had more background to his ‘story’ and that is my fault because I generally eschew ‘knowing too much’. I also have trouble relating to the ‘charm’ if you will of the class system in England as humor. (I have trouble with PG Wodehouse, too – just don’t think his madcap hilarity is all that funny.)

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It was a fun read and I thought I knew whodunit but didn’t really, it was almost like the big reveal was a slow realization that you doubt than wonder why – it was all spelled out, really. I guess that means that I thought it fell flat at the end but really, I did enjoy my time with this book and could be talked into having a bit of a crush on Wimsey – he is a charmer.

RATING: Three slices of  GOOSEBERRY pie.

Another “simple as pie” and a humble pie; quite a few lobster mentions, too.

p.84 “She thinks I’m the world’s eighth wonder. Absolutely the lobster’s dress-shirt.”

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

And Then There Were None

Thoughts attwnbyac by Agatha Christie, Harper 2011 (orig 1939), 300 pages

BackToTheClassics2016

Challenge: Classics Club 50 in 5 Years (I’m in Year 2)
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Type/Source: Paperback / Used Bookstore
Why I read this now: The itch to read a mystery and get back to my classics list lead me to search for it at my local used bookstore and I found it.

MOTIVATION for READING: I purchased three books at the bookstore and put it up for a vote a few posts ago. I started reading March before all the votes were in and Agatha was enthusiastically cheered for as my next book. I read it in one day. I didn’t think it would be that short and fast!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Ten people are invited to an island for ‘holiday’ but the hosts are no-shows. Then someone dies! And another and another. They realize that the murderer must be one of them. Search parties, alliances and trust-not-trust dilemmas only add to the confusion. Guests keep dying! and finally, they are ALL dead. WHO was the culprit?

WHAT’s GOOD:  Very clever, very suspenseful, interesting back-stories and motives.

What’s NOT so good: I just am not that thrilled anymore about these kinds of books — I did have that dejavu feeling and I KNOW I did read it in High School or even Middle School — but I loved that this was short and easy/fast to read.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m glad of the ‘explanation’ letter in a bottle but sad that the last death had to happen. I was cheering for that person. It’s not that I figured out or remembered who it was but that it all felt familiar and not that startling once revealed. Still a fun whodunit, for sure.

RATING: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned. Plenty of tinned tongue, though. Ew…

tonguetin

 

VOCAB
p. 41 – cairngorm – “…, she pinned a cairngorm brooch at her neck,” – another term for smoky quartz

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Everything She Forgot

Thoughts esfbylb by Lisa Ballantyne, Wm Morrow Imprint of HarperCollinsPubs 2015, 415 of pages

Genre: Thriller
Type/Source: eBook /  Amazon for Kindle
 Why I read this now:  One of the few books on my Kindle.

MOTIVATION for READING: I don’t recall anymore where I heard about this but I think this was a recommendation by a friend in my Mass Book Club.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A teacher is involved in a fiery crash due to winter weather on an interstate. Though relatively free from physical injury, our MC suffers some PTSD and memories from her childhood start bubbling up — she is confused and stressed by her not remembering things. The man who pulled her from the car just in time is in a coma and she is a bit obsessed with visiting him.

Alternately, the story switches to the past when a young girl is kidnapped. Going back and forth in this past time frame is ‘adventure’ of the kidnapper and the girl against the journalist who figures out who has her and where they are going and attempts a ‘rescue’.

WHAT’s GOOD: The pacing is fine, I guess. The setting would be appealing to those who have visited Scotland and England, I suppose.

SPOILERs AHEAD?!?!?!?!??!?!

What’s NOT so good: The plot reveal is not rushed but neither is it particularly suspenseful. It’s not too hard to figure out that our MC has suppressed her memories of being kidnapped as a child (doh – it’s the title!) nor is it a big leap to find out that the man who rescues her in the now time is/was the kidnapper (who happens to be her ‘real’ father or — as a friend of mine would say — her ‘bio-dad’.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: I found the book predictable but worse, I found it violent. I did NOT like the journalist and we aren’t supposed to but he was a person I found revolting on every level. And yet, he wasn’t the evil character we were supposed to dislike (like in a King novel). I just didn’t like the story, it wasn’t for me. I know good friends who liked this book very much so I really don’t want to turn anyone away from it as a bad book – it could be a perfectly fine thriller set in the UK. I just didn’t like it.

You know, like how some people LOVE coconut and other don’t like coconut? It’s not that coconut is BAD…

I did finish it and maybe that is another reason I didn’t enjoy – I felt I had to know and kept reading but I really didn’t WANT to keep reading knowing that I didn’t like it. But I had to know if I guessed right. I did.

PIE:  Strawberry tarts, steak and kidney pie, and the ol’ rhyme about Georgie:

Georgie Porgie puddin’ and pie, kiss the girls and made them cry,

When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away.”

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Save

Remember Me?

Thoughts rmbysk by Sophie Kinsella, Dial Press 2008, 389 pages

Challenge:  Not applicable.
Genre: British Young Adult Chick Lit?  (why must I put a question mark?)
Type/Source: Tradeback/my cousin-in-law gave it to me
 Why I read this now: Needed something FUN

MOTIVATION for READING: I do love the cover. It is such a happy book cover! The premise is fascinating, too. What WOULD it be like to lose memory of the last few years of your life?  (In my case, I would wonder how did I end up in North Carolina and why are the politicians raising a ruckus about who can pee in the restrooms?! Seriously. THAT is what they are needing to be focused on?! What are they REALLY trying to get away with while we aren’t looking?)

WHAT’s it ABOUT: A  young lady who hasn’t even worked at her present job a year has a bad night – boyfriend is a no-show, she missed out on a bonus and her dad died! She slips in the rain hailing a taxi but wakes up 3 years later, apparently having hit her head in a car crash. She wrecked her Mercedes. But-however… she doesn’t recall having a Mercedes (how could she afford a Mercedes?!) and doesn’t even know how to drive! She has no memory of the last 3 years:  her new role as Director of her department at work, her thinner body and fixed teeth — nor of her rich gorgeous husband. WHAT HAS HAPPENED?! 

WHAT’s GOOD: The mystery is total and convincing. The transformation from loser grunt employee to gorgeous corporate bee-atch and wife to glamorous husband and lifestyle confounds the reader as well as the protagonist.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Actually, I was not so convinced she (author) could pull it off – no one can totally transform themselves from grunt to diva in three years, can they?  but it was a fun ride and the Kinsella convinced me enough to award this a

RATING: of four slices of mince pie!

fourpie

“I have to leave, before I start buying jumbo packs of mince pies and Bing Crosby CDs and wondering if The Wizard of Oz* will be on.”

This is my first Kinsella read. I have been warned that this is one of her least successful so I might have to read something else now! Of course, her most famous book is the Confessions of a Shopaholic, but Twenties Girl or Can You Keep a Secret? has been suggested as best.

 

 

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* Do the Brits watch Wizard of Oz at Christmas!?

Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Dead Key

Thoughts tdkbydmp by DM Pulley, Thomas & Mercer – Amazon Imprint 2015, 477 pages

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Type/Source: eBook / Kindle Purchase
 Why I read this now: For my neighborhood book club

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A recent college grad’s first job as a structural engineer is to map the 15 floors of an abandoned bank building in downtown Cleveland. When the bank failed twenty years prior, the doors were locked and everything is still in the building – files, desks with lipstick-stained coffee cups, full ashtrays, and bank deposit boxes. Why did the bank fail? Why did they leave everything? Why is our protag (her name is Iris) finding keys and odd ‘clues’ that inspire her to ask questions like “Why did the bank fail?” and “Why hasn’t anybody claimed their stuff in the deposit boxes?”

The story switches between Iris in 1998 and two bank clerks (Maxine and Beatrice) from 1978 who also have questions about curious goings-on at the bank in the weeks up to the sudden shut down.

It is a fast-paced tale of intrigue and dirty deeds, the rich and the have-nots, powerful men and the women they underestimate.

WHAT’s GOOD: The 1978 story was much more interesting and follows Beatrice who is rather naive and her new best friend ‘Max’ who may be too smart for her own good. Beatrice has secrets of her own — some she herself doesn’t even know but she gets to find out.

What’s NOT so good: Quite a bit, sadly. Iris is complicated but not interesting nor likable – she is supposedly valedictorian of her college engineering class but she has zero ambition and sloppy habits. She is not impressive; claims she wants to make a good impression at work but is constantly late and hungover. She didn’t fit her own story. The minor characters get lost or disregarded along the way. What really was Nick after? Ramone didn’t quite make sense. Max was cool and Beatrice was a kid easy to cheer for – she eventually finds her spunk. But the bank stuff? — the bad guys were hard to differentiate from each other. I found it rather incredulous that so many years would go by and nothing was disturbed. (Spoiler? just highlight the following line:  How and when did they manage to seal up the dead guy when every other office felt like it was abandoned with no notice? Too odd.

The resolution left a lot of unanswered question or maybe only gave unsatisfactory answers. But whatever, by that time I was ready for it to be over. I did race to the ending as one often does with a mystery ; the pacing was OK.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Iris was a mess; she didn’t make sense and as one goodreads reviewer says, “she was a dolt.” I agree but I also wanted to cheer for the woman engineer!! Go women in STEM. The mystery was OK without picking it apart with a technical fine comb and the pre-bank-closing story line was not too bad.  The Bank Building was probably my favorite character. The idea of all those unclaimed bank deposit boxes and what could be hiding in them IS intriguing so I give credit to the author for running with that idea. I applaud her realized dream to write and see her story published. Cleveland, too, is central to the story so anyone who loves a book set in this Ohio town might get a kick out of it.

I actually think it could make a good film; mini-series, perhaps? Episode of Castle or Bones? (These are the only two shows I watch and infrequently at that.)

RATING: Two slices for “It’s OK.”

Pie Mention:  ~ 19% – “Random customers, mostly older men, were scattered around the room, sipping coffee and eating pie.”

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Red Shoes

Thoughts trsbydh The Red Shoes by Dorte Hummelshoj, 2012, publisher date, 33 pages

Challenge:  Read My Own Damn Books and What’s in a Name: CLOTHING
Genre: Mystery
Type/Source: eBook, Amazon
 Why I read this now: ReadMyOwnDamnBooksbutton Well so, I realized that I had forgotten about my Kindle and how many books lay hidden inside this device. I’m good – I have less than ten! Now I have only eight…

MOTIVATION for READING: Length. It was short!

WHAT’s it ABOUT: This is a story collection and let me share the warning:

HIGH RISK OF TOXIC HUMOUR AND SEVERED LIMBS!

I couldn’t resist.

WHAT’s GOOD: These are fun. and short. The character names were great. (Like Rhapsody Gershwin.)

What’s NOT so good: I’m not sure how suspenseful I would rate these but they definitely have dark humor.

FINAL THOUGHTS: My favorite was the Green Acres story that was set in a nursing home (and had an adorable dog as foil.)

RATING: Three slices of pie.

Vocabulary:  Grotty – unpleasant and of poor quality. (not in any way meant to describe these stories; only a word IN the stories that I did not know.)

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Thoughts ftmufbyekAtheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster) 2013 orig.1967, 172 pages

For the latest Classics Club Spin. I’m also counting this for the Kids Classic category of the Classics Challenge.

Loved it!

Claudia is a 6th grader who wants to run away so her family will miss her and thus appreciate her. She gets caught up in the planning – she is a very good planner. Smart, too. She ends up taking her little brother Jamie with her, and not just because he has plenty of cash to fund the adventure (though the money does prove helpful) but because he is just a good kid.

The adventure takes a turn when Claudia falls in love with the statue Angel which may or may not be a work of Michelangelo. She cannot return home until she KNOWS!

Fun book. Very quick to read. Four slices of pie. fourpie

“Jamie bought a cheese sandwich and coffee. After eating these he still felt hungry and told Claudia she could have twenty-five cents more for pie if she wished. Claudia, who had eaten cereal and drunk pineapple juice, scolded him about the need to eat properly. Breakfast food for breakfast, and lunch food for lunch.” [Phooey on that – I’m with Jamie. Pie for breakfast is CERTAINLY acceptable and appropriate.]

Another favorite quote from page 151:

“Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place, but there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.”

Winner of the Newbery Medal.

TELL ME IF YOU’VE SEEN THE MOVIE!

Possible Spoiler; I have a question… I totally failed to find the link between the attorney and the kids – he was the kids’ grandfather!? I was a bit gobsmacked at the end with this minor plot point revelation. But I didn’t let it diminish my enjoyment.

pieratingsml

 

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Death in the Garden

Thoughts dintgbyei by Elizabeth Ironside, Felony & Mayhem Press, 1995, 294 pages

FOR:  Neighborhood Book Club

FIRST Sentence: “Today at half-past two in the afternoon I was acquitted of the murder of my husband.”

What’s it ABOUT:  The story obviously begins with a trial and a murder and probable marital strife; we also get to experience the trauma of the world between and of the two world wars. Here’s what happens and how it is setup:  Diana is having a birthday and she invites a few of her favorite friends – mind you, these friends are not friends of the husband’s. Diana is a very interesting person and it is her husband who is murdered at that birthday party weekend. The year is 1925.

“Fanny herself had no money, no education and only erratic employment, most recently and implausibly in a bookshop. “How can that be?” Diana had once said to her husband. “She doesn’t know how to read.” George’s silence was his habitual response to Diana’s sharpness.”

THEN, we jump to the early 1990s and meet Diana’s great niece, Hannah, a single woman, and thus by default?* hard-working, rising-star attorney in London.

“…those (birthdays with) zeros. Not at 20 perhaps, but at 30 it begins, the casting of accounts, the recalling of doors not opened and roads not taken. Only in noise and distraction, companionship and conversation becoming progressively more sentimental, could it be avoided.”

Diana, referred to as “the Great Aunt”, dies in her 98th year. Hannah inherits the estate, or most of it –Diana has made a point to will lots and lots of money and goodies to all the females in the family. What? She was wealthy?! None of the family members are aware of her fortune and certainly not her past – the fact that she was acquitted of murder. To them, she was just a lovely old lady who tended her garden. It was crazy to think she was once a wild woman who experienced anything dramatic. They decide to find out what really happened.

Hannah has her own secrets…

“He, who had for weeks or days been the peaceful background hum of her existence, suddenly became the only sound in her universe.”

Just like Trish, I am not one to try and guess the whodunnits or even want to spot if any zany twists, forcing any unravelings of plot. I adored this story and how it unfolded! I was, as they say, on the edge of my seat and this was a wonderful way to temper my #SalemAlong reading of ‘Salem’s Lot.

“Edith, she works in order not to think. At home it would be impossible to spend a few days among such people without any discussion of ideas.”

It’s not just the turns, the reveal and the various character studies; it was the analysis of marriage and independence. Of feminism and how women had/have to assert themselves, or not. Of careers and ambition, the balance of power. There is a lot here to admire – in the thoughts expressed and how the author presents all of it in the story.

“For Pia, any weakness or shame, such as that George had inadvertently revealed, filled her with the desire to protect and shelter, to hide the exposed place. George had shown a crack to the base of his soul. He saw himself as a failure. He had married Diana to use her beauty and talent to shore up the gaping fissures in his personality and found that they could not be used.”

What’s GOOD/NOT so good? . . .  SKIP . . .

FINAL Thoughts: I think we will have a LOT to discuss at meeting and I am really hoping that this book charmed the others in club as much as I was charmed.

RATING: There were zero pie mentions (and no lobster ones, either, I’m afraid) but I still give this FIVE slices. Let’s go with MINCE MEAT PIE since Mincemeat Pie Day is October 26.

pieratingsml

Vocab

ha-ha – sunk fence

alpinism – climbing the Alps

soubrette – frivolous young woman in comedies

kedgeree – an Indian dish of seasoned rice, beans, lentils, and sometimes smoked fish

danegeld – an annual tax believe to have been imposed originally to buy off Danish invaders in England

Stakhanovite – a Soviet industrial worker awarded recognition and special privileges for output beyond production norms

charabanc – a sight-seeing motor coach

ukase – a proclamation by a Russian emperor or govt having the force of law, edict

*    default: how can a girl/woman of 30 yo not have a husband or significant other? might as well be good at your job since you have no one to take care of…  sheesh…

PLEASE SEEK OUT THIS BOOK AND TALK TO ME!

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