Framing the Dialogue

Book Reviews

The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

In author Alex Ayers’ The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain a reasonable attempt is made to categorize many of Twain’s quotes.  Many of the quotes are put into context which is not usually seen in “quote” (like how I did that?) books.  I liked that part and that the most familiar quotes are often misquoted or have something before or after the famous part.  Ayers’ work provides a fuller picture of the quote and tells a fair amount about the man.  I never knew how he got his pen name or what it signified.

F My Life

 F My Life: It’s Funny, It’s True, Except When It Happens to You

I can relate to F My Life.  Heck we all have done really stupid things.  I have a list that I’ve compiled over the past few years of the really dumb things that I have done.  Sadly, it is not that short of a list.  The authors have compiled some of their favorite that had been posted on their website of the same name.  If you need a laugh or a cringe this book is for you.  I loved it.  My only critique is that it was too short.  Here are some of my favorites;

House of Spies

Author Daniel Silva’s protagonist, Gabriel Allon, is back in the thick of fighting terror.  Allown is now the “chief” of “the Office” in Israeli intelligence.  Though no longer a field agent, Allon often finds himself in the line of fire.  He still seeks revenge on an elusive and dangerous terrorist, Saladin.  Allon believes that he caught a glimpse of him when America was attacked a few months prior.  Allon and his team enter the glamorous world of the very rich, especially when those rich people made their money selling drugs for ISIS.


Use of Force

It’s hard to believe that Use of Force is the SEVENTEENTH in the Scot Harvath thriller series!  And I’ve enjoyed every one of them. Harvath is still chasing terrorists and when a series of vicious attacks across the world is carried out, Harvath goes into overdrive to try to stop more from happening.  When the investigation has them confront a very old organized crime entity, the weapons and targets are getting very sophisticated as death tolls rise.


In Unleashed we meet Sydney Rye, an out of work woman who decides to adopt a rather large dog name Blue at the point in her life when she can probably least afford it.  Things seem to turn around as a job as a dog walker almost literally falls in her lap.  While this doesn’t sound like much of a career, it can be lucrative in New York City.  Author Emily Kimelman doesn’t let her protagonist enjoy her new career very long as blue discovers something disturbing behind some dumpsters during a late-night walk.

Point of Control

“It was her first realization that she was different from other kids. Eventually, she learned not to be violent. If you hit, you sit—in the principal’s office, grounded in her room at home, or in jail. Confinement was the worse consequence of all.”

In Point of Control, FBI agent Andra Bailey is tasked with finding two missing scientists.  Bailey has a rather short leash when a third scientist disappears.  Her sociopathic ways make her perfect for this job as she tends to look at the world with unfeeling logic.  There doesn’t seem to be any connection to the scientist…even their specialties seem different.  Bailey senses that something really big is afoot and races to solve the crime.

Truly Dead

Truly Dead is the fourth in the Elise Sandburg mystery series.  Elise and her partner, David Gould, were fired from the Savannah, Georgia Police Department and started their own consulting/investigative partnership.  They have achieved some national fame as they helped solve a case in Chicago.  When they return home, however, a grisly find at a house reconstruction project pull them back into the dark underworld of Savannah.  Elise reluctantly joins the police to find a killer, one who was supposed to have died many years ago.  Participating in this investigation puts all of her family at risk and makes her start to face the demons in her past.

The Book Club Murders

“Odd, he thought, how the kudzu, honeysuckle, and junk trees remained thick and green down in this humid microclimate, screening the trail from casual observers despite the fact that it was mid-November. He wondered if the murderer had deliberately chosen the most desolate, putrid setting available for the staging of this cruel tableau.”

In the The Book Club Murders, we are introduced to the Agathas Book Club which is primarily composed of very wealthy, influential, and controlling women, most of them in the twilight of their lives.  Charley Carpenter has joined the club at the behest of a friend, but she and some others don’t feel like they “belong”.

Never Steal a Cockatiel

The hook for me was the fact that Never Steal a Cockatiel was set in a small town near where I grew up.  Turns out that this really didn’t add much to the story for me other than some familiarity of the names.  Author Edie Claire intertwined a murder mystery with the theft of pets for ransom in this small town.  This was the ninth of the Leigh Koslow Mystery Series and I found it to be a “tame” murder mystery.  That’s not a knock, it just doesn’t have a lot of action and even better…gory details.  It is a good thing to not be hit in the face with grisly details from time to time.

Habit Stacking

“Imagine what life would be like if you began each day with small actions that created a chain reaction of positive benefits throughout your life.”

That’s just what author S.J. Scott suggests in his book, Habit Stacking. The program in simple terms is to create stacks (or groups) of habits to create improvements in your life.  Scott advises that habit stacks, at least initially, should be rather short in duration and generally built around existing things that you do.  As an example for me is my home morning routine…you know get up shower, brush, etc.  I added a daily reading that I had been wanting to consistently do and to weigh myself daily (I need to lose a few pounds).  The stack has been effective as I even do the stack on weekends when I get to sleep in a bit.  I’ve created another stack for when I first get to work.