AEGYPT by John Crowley

Does the world have a secret history, encoded in myth and legend, reflected in the very windings of our brains? Born with the talents to be a real historian, but clinging to a minor teaching job, Pierce Moffett watches the great Parade of the ’60s go by him, and wonders. He’s still wondering years later when, jilted and newly jobless, he gets off a bus by chance in the Faraway Hills and steps unawares into a story that has been awaiting him there.

Does the world have a plot? It’s what Rosie Rasmussen wants to know, too. Will her life have the fearful symmetry of the lives led inside the books she reads? Rosie, newly returned to her childhood environs in the Faraways, is reading the historical romances of dead Fellowes Kraft one after another to see her through the hard realities of a divorce. There is another history in Kraft’s vivid novels: there are angels and Elizabethan magicians and the boy Shakespeare; once upon a time these tales entranced Pierce Moffett too, and teased him with the traces of a very large story indeed…

Pierce is on the track of a history he can’t quite believe in; Rosie is losing her place in her own story, forgetting why people love one another. They are two seekers, marked by loss, about to share a discover in Fellowes Kraft’s old house in the Faraway Hills. There is more than one histor
y of the world. 

 This is the story of how Pierce Moffet’s life suddenly turns upside down and he winds up landing in a tiny village somewhere in New York state, where he slowly rebuilds his life. In that process of finding a new path, falling in love, dealing with his family history and so on, he begins to dive into a question an old professor of his planted in his mind: is there more than one history of the world? Can the metaphysical be completely ripped apart from the scientific? Should it? After all, it’s only a relatively recent trend to separate science and spirituality: the thing about magic is that when we start understanding it, it becomes science. Pierce becomes convinced that a country called Aegypt is the answer, that it exists just outside of our perceptions, perhaps at a different time than the historical Egypt; it is the land where magic and occult knowledge comes from and Pierce wants to write its history.

Avid readers of classical literature and writers will find his work very rich, multilayered and interesting, though maybe not entertaining.
This book will appeal to readers who are fascinated with history, philosophy, the occult and the possibility that the generally-accepted concept of reality is not all there is. This is a book about how our perception affects our understanding of the world, about how Western mysticism and the related beliefs and superstitions affect our reality through our worldview.


Aging (79) and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways. 

Golly, everybody just loved this book.  Except me.  It is about the golden age of Hollywood, when homosexuality was definitely a no no, and the aging star’s biggie secret is that she was in love with a woman for all those years and husbands, but the two of them seemed stuck in their adolescence and couldn’t grow enough to make it work in spite of their fame and money.  Maybe because of the fame and money, which neither were ready to give up in order to have the relationship.  Well, you have to name your priorities, and this relationship apparently wasn’t Numero Uno.

A wicked, contrived twist at the end didn’t help this story of basically every Hollywood Big Name that ever was.  So for me, meh.


A grown woman’s bittersweet nostalgia for the wildness of her youth.
The summer Berie was fifteen, she and her best friend Sils had jobs at Storyland in upstate New York where Berie sold tickets to see the beautiful Sils portray Cinderella in a strapless evening gown. They spent their breaks smoking, joking, and gossiping. After work they followed their own reckless rules, teasing the fun out of small town life, sleeping in the family station wagon, and drinking borrowed liquor from old mayonnaise jars. But no matter how wild, they always managed to escape any real danger—until the adoring Berie sees that Sils really does need her help—and then everything changes.

The 40-year-old protagonist remembers an adolescent year with her best friend (a depiction of female friendship, as she reveals that she and her husband are having difficulties that only couples in literary novels have, cerebral and pointless.  However, when talking about her childhood,   the book is populated with strong supporting characters who make us fall in love all the more with Berie, as good a teenage protagonist that you can find.

It is generally about estrangement of all types, and friendship, and the shelf life of such things.

HOPPER HOUSE by John L. Monk

This is the third in the Jenkins Cycle series.  It didn’t have that total finality to it, so I am assuming there are more planned.

Dan meets a mysterious woman named Rose who says he’s not alone. Like him, she’s dead and possesses the bodies of awful people. Unlike him, she doesn’t care what they’ve done, and she hides a secret shame.

Through Rose, Dan learns there are others like them, living in the shadows, hopping blissfully from ride to ride chasing excitement and chemical highs. For them, morality doesn’t matter, virtue is negotiable, and consequence has a three week expiration date.

They call themselves “hoppers.”

This is a new turn for Dan’s afterlife experience when he discovers he’s not the only person like him jumping from body to body.  Her name is Rose  Despite her efforts, he finds himself cornered by a new nemesis, one who knows all about his “condition” and how to blackmail him. But in typical Dan style, he’s not going to give in without doing his best to make the bad guy pay.  This volume dives deeper into this bizarre world Monk  has created. He expands on the possibilities of what Dan is capable of and introduces “hopper houses” where other people suffering the same eternal punishment can come and get a reprieve, that is until the landlord decides to meddle in their fun.

The minister shows up again, and is convinced that the hoppers are demons, all evil except for a few good ones like Dan.  He tells Dan he (the minister/priest) is Enoch or like Enoch, and it is his mission to rid the ‘skins’ or ‘rides’ of their demon cargo permanently.

Well, we still don’t learn what is behind all this riding or hopping, whether it is God or god or gods or aliens, or just what.  Hence my theory that the series is not over.


FOOL’S RIDE by John L. Monk

Dan Jenkins is back, body hopping a scumbag at a time in his quest for the perfect ride. He doesn’t need much. Premium cable TV, good books, a well-stocked pantry, and he’s set. But the Great Whomever has other plans.

After six months waiting in limbo, Dan catches a ride as a horror novelist whose gruesome stories aren’t just fiction. Later, he hunts a man who’s escaped justice for far too long. Then, in his greatest challenge yet, he strays too deeply into the lives of the people he loves: his most foolish ride of all. 

The second volume in the Jenkins Cycle is a great progression of the story line and we find out more things about the afterlife and get some theories on Dan’s status.  Poor Dan. He comprehends the magnitude of his stupid act of suicide. His guilt is so stupendous, he somehow finds himself entering the body of a living human man. What happens to the guy’s soul while Dan occupies his “ride,” we don’t know, and we don’t need to worry about that yet. Most of these guys end up dead, thanks to Dan, who somehow manages to occupy the body of a bad guy, a seriously, horribly bad guy who deserves to die immediately. And should have died before he had a chance to ruin so many other lives.  The story progresses, one surprise after another, flying bullets, innocents to save, donuts to devour and food, food, food.  Dan reminds us of how much fun it is to be human, and how great it is just to eat in front of a big-screen TV.

Still loving this, and now want to know more about what or who is behind all this.  On to the third volume.

KICK by John L. Monk

They say suicides are damned for eternity. But if coming back to life in the bodies of violent criminals is Hell, then Dan Jenkins will take it. And he does, every time a portal arrives to whisk him from his ghostly exile in limbo.

Dan rides the living like a supernatural jockey, pushing out their consciousness and taking over. They’re bad guys, right? Killers and brutes of every sort, which makes it okay. He doesn’t know where their minds go while he’s in charge, and for the most part doesn’t care. For three weeks at a time, it’s a chance to relax and watch movies, read fantasy novels, and have random conversations with perfect strangers.

Normally, before the villain returns to kick him out, Dan dishes out a final serving of justice and leaves the world a safer place. It’s one of the rules if he wants more rides, and he’s happy to oblige. For a part-time dead guy, it’s a pretty good gig … until someone changes the rules.

“Kick” is the first book in a series of dark fantasy paranormal thrillers. If you like “Quantum Leap” and “Every Day,” you’ll love this gritty, hilarious, and original take on the body hijacking hero story. Vividly written, “Kick” is a wild ride with a sharp sarcastic wit and a flawed yet likable main character.

When Dan was a confused college kid having issues with his girlfriend, he committed suicide. Since then he’s been in – what he calls – “the Great Wherever” but regularly gets sent by “the Great Whomever” into the bodies of living humans – usually violent criminals – to dispense justice. Typically, he has about 3 weeks to figure out what the person, or his “ride” as Dan calls it, has done and what vigilante action is required. Then he is kicked out of the body again by the original owner’s consciousness.  It is funny in places, in spite of the dark basis for the storyline.  It is compelling… I couldn’t stop reading it.  What a clever take on the vigilante hero takes over someone else’s body.  Loved this book.

THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Don’t people know that the phrase “…. has gone terribly, or horribly, or awfully, wrong”  has been used so often that it grates on the ear, not to say irritates the mind?

Anyway, annoying protagonist, and not the kind you dislike because you are supposed to, but because she is the kind of person you really wouldn’t have much to do with in RL, being almost an alcoholic, a paranoid skittish person, and one who basically is just pinballing through life, bumper to bumper.

Not much of a thriller plot, with a really improbable ending.

Don’t think I will search out any more of Ware’s thrillers.


‘Don’t go of a night into Bleeding Heart Square, It’s a dark, little, dirty, black, ill-looking yard, with queer people about.’ – From “The Housewarming!!: A Legend of Bleeding-Heart Yard”,  The Rev’d Richard Harris Barham: The Ingoldsby Legends, or, Mirth and Marvels, Third Series, 1847.

Legend states the Devil once danced in Bleeding Heart Square and left a murdered woman behind him. Formerly the site of a medieval palace, it is now, in 1934, a decaying north London cul-de-sac. In a lodging house resides a collection of tenants with equally colorful histories, including the sinister Samuel Serridge.

As the story opens,  we find the protagonist, Lydia Langstone, walking out on her abusive husband and moving in with her estranged father in his apartment in Bleeding Heart Square. In doing so, she unknowingly stumbles onto and into dark secrets, both old and current.

Rory is in a relationship with Fenella and he eventually comes to live in Bleeding Heart Square and strikes up a relationship with Lydia in their quest to find out what had happened to the previous owner, Miss Philippa May Penhow, who had disappeared very suddenly four years previously, with Serridge being the prime suspect in her disappearance. Herbert Narton, a police officer, has been on his case for the last four years trying to gather evidence to prove Serridge has murdered her, but he also has some skeletons in the cupboard and his own agenda for trying to implicate Serridge.

Not long after her disappearance, the local vicar (a very odd man too) had received a letter purportedly from Miss Penhow which was sent from New York, saying she was now living there. Narton challenges that the letter was from her and gets Rory involved with his suspicions.

A little slow, but still great fun, nice mystery, and I as usual had no clue as to what actually happened.  Must see what else he has written.



Stolen from a reviewer named Rick Riordan:  This is the story of two young men, Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza and Dante Quintana growing up in El Paso, Texas during the 1980s. We follow their lives from age fifteen to seventeen, watching their relationship slowly grow, change and strengthen. Told from Ari’s point of view, the novel is crafted in short, lyrical chapters. The prose sings. The dialogue is pitch-perfect. The story is quiet and gentle, but it pulls the reader through the narrative beautifully.

Ari has loving parents, though his father silently bears the traumas of the Vietnam War, keeping him distant from his son. Ari’s sisters are a generation older, making him feel like the family mascot rather than an equal sibling. Most troubling of all, the family has erased all traces of Ari’s older brother, whom he barely remembers, who went to prison for a violent crime. Ari longs to know more and feels betrayed by his parents’ silence. Overall, Ari feels like his life “is a story written by someone else,” a sentiment I suspect many teens can relate to.

Ari has no real friends, nor does he want any, but in the summer of his fifteen year he meets Dante at the swimming pool, and Dante offers to teach him how to swim. They bond initially over their unusual names, but soon they are spending the bulk of their time together. We follow them through funny episodes, horrific accidents and tragic losses, watching their awkward and tentative friendship turn into the sort of bond that will challenge what Ari believes about himself and his capacity for love.

A teen coming of age book, but definitely readable by adults.  I read it. I liked it.  I’m an adult.

Lovely writing, not a bad plot for a plotless sort of book.  It won tons of awards.  I can see why.

A PALE VIEW OF HILLS by Kazuo Ishiguro

Yeah,The Remains of the Day guy.  This is his first novel, which  introduces us to a Japanese woman living in England, who has lost her older daughter to suicide and is being visited by her younger, very independent daughter. She lives in a bucolic setting in England but flashes back throughout the novel to her life in post-war and post-bomb Nagasaki and the various people in her life there.  Retreating into the past, she finds herself reliving one particular hot summer in Nagasaki, when she and her friends struggled to rebuild their lives after the war. But then as she recalls her strange friendship with Sachiko – a wealthy woman reduced to vagrancy – the memories take on a disturbing cast.

In this novel, which is essentially about displacement, we are in  post war Nagasaki, where there is much talk of the disruption, or destruction, of the old ways, the old Japanese traditions of country and family. In addition a new city is being built where so much has been physically destroyed. Also, so many people were lost, killed. The people have been displaced, even if they are in the same city. The city is not the same.  But she eventually left her husband, bringing their daughter with her with her new British husband, to England, where the sense of displacement lingers.

We find that the narrator, Etsuko, may very well be quite unreliable, having told us several times her memory is faulty.  As she tells us the story of a strange friendship one summer in Japan, we get the feeling near the end of the book that we shouldn’t trust all she tells us.

Odd, strange, book.