Fascinating story about how the author of The Wizard of Oz went about Finding Dorothy interspersed with the making of the movie in 1938-39.
Maud Baum is the unifying character in the two strands of her life described in the book. It begins with a 77-year-old Maud attempting to get on the MGM lot to ensure that her long-dead husband’s book would be faithful carried to the silver screen. While the bright colors of Technicolor including the bright green of Oz were unfamiliar, Maud sees a vulnerability and talent in Judy Garland when she hears her singing “Over the Rainbow”. After proving her worth to the MGM honchos, Maud covertly takes Judy under her wing with the help of the studio head’s secretary.
In a parallel story, Maud at nineteen is one of the first woman at Cornell. Her mother, a famous suffragette, insists that she become an attorney. However, Maud only has eyes for handsome actor and small theater producer, Frank Baum. Once married, the couple are deeply in love but have ongoing financial problems. When Frank is convinced to publish the book he spends travel time on the train writing, the Wizard of Oz thrusts them both into the spotlight.
I enjoyed both parts of Maud’s story but perhaps the movie one slightly more. Finding Dorothy is an excellent look behind the scenes at the cost of both movie and literary stardom. 4 stars!
Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Literary Fiction Tagged with: Feb 12 2019, movies
A terminally ill man calls his family and friends together to compete for his entire fortune in a Testament to Murder.
Malcolm invites his ne’er-do-well nephew, Hugh, and Hugh’s gold-digging American wife, Patty, for a weeklong visit to Malcolm’s extensive estate. Malcolm’s ex-wife, Cecily, and his ex-partner, Howard, along with their 16-year-old son, Kenneth, are also invited. Theodora, his former secretary, also joins the party.
After everyone arrives, Malcolm announces that he is dying. He plans to rewrite his will every night leaving his entire fortune to one of his guests or staff. If he dies the following day, and that person is still staying in his mansion, that person will win it all. Even though mysterious events occur, including a murder, none of the guests leave because of their dreams of riches.
A French country house, a plethora of motives, and murder! If it sounds like an Agatha Christie novel, that’s because it is an homage to her work.
All the characters were deftly drawn with clear wants and needs. However, Agatha’s mysteries were always, at least potentially, solvable by armchair detectives. A Testament to Murder would be difficult to solve without information withheld until the conclusion. Still, what a slam-bam conclusion it was! It is a highly recommended thrill ride. 4 stars!
Thanks to Canelo and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Feb 12 2019
Jump into nerd culture with the Long Con.
The Long Con is the longest pop culture convention ever. It appears the Convention caused the apocalypse five years previously. Since he survived the Convention’s destruction, reporter Victor is given the assignment to find out what happened.
Slipping back and forth between the post-apocalyptic present and the pre-apocalyptic past, the plot is interesting and includes many details about conventions. I wish that the characterizations were more fleshed out. However, the humor makes up for it. The Long Con is recommended to those who have either been to conventions or wished they had. 3.5 stars!
Thanks to Oni Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Graphic Novel, Science Fiction Tagged with: Feb 12 2019, Nerdy
So you are not an early adopter (or you have been hiding under a rock) and are just now trying to join the Fortnite craze. The 100% Unofficial Fortnite Essential Guide will catch you up to speed quicker than just learning by playing (like all those first players had to do).
The guide begins with which console is best and continues with comprehensive instructions on controls, movement, combat, looting, building materials, and weapons. All instructions includes copious amounts of picures making this a good guide for kids. The only negative is the maps change frequently so the ones in the books will probably not be of much use. However, the Guide is still recommended to noobs of all ages. 4 stars!
Thanks to Becker&Meyer Kids and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Non-fiction, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: Feb 12 2019, guide, Video games
Fans of the Hunger Games have found a new book series to love with Apocalypse 5.
Sometime in the future, the world’s scientists are trying to develop a team that can fight any type of calamity that might cause an apocalypse on Earth. Teams of five young people are placed into all kinds of virtual reality situations: fires, aliens, and advanced weaponry. The catch is if they die in the virtual war, they also die in real life. The latest team has lasted 18 months of daily virtual skirmishes.
The action doesn’t stop in Apocalypse 5. There is also a romance and an underlying mystery. There is truly something for everyone in this book. The characters are well drawn and you empathize with their stories. 4 stars!
Thanks to Black Spot Books for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Science Fiction, Teen & Young Adult Tagged with: Feb 12 2019
Amy, the public library Director, and her friend, Sunny, are thrown into a missing person’s investigation in Past Due for Murder.
Lacey, a college student, is missing presumed lost in the woods outside of Taylorsford, Virginia. Does her mysterious trek into the mountains have anything to do with the fairy lights or the legendary hidden treasure? Mona, a local Professor and folklorist, is trying to determine the truth about the lights when she too disappears. Since the police suspect Amy’s boyfriend Richard, Amy steps in to clear his name.
Another great entry in the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series. Past Due for Murder can also be read as a standalone. The characters in this book are the stars. All have their own internal motivations and needs. Their actions make sense in the context of the plot. The mystery is just puzzling enough to keep the reader guessing until the end. This book is highly recommended for cozy readers. 4 stars!
Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: cozy mystery, Feb 12 2019