Susan Marie Molloy

Life in the Oasis


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BOOK REVIEW: Where Flamingos Fly and Slow Hot Wind

It’s been awhile since I wrote any type of book review or author discussion here.  As you know, lately I’ve been focusing on amusing posts and photography that reflect my daily life. Reading is part of my daily life, and my negligence on writing about the best-of-the-best books that make my reading list is, well, not giving you the full aspect of my daily life and what I call A Year of Change.

I discovered a (new to me) author, Bobby Underwood, who writes some of the best noir-type books that I’ve come across in years. If you think of authors James Ellroy, James M. Cain, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler, films such as The Glass Key, I Wake Up Screaming, and Call Northside 777, and actors and actresses such as Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Richard Widmark, Lana Turner, Lizbeth Scott, and Humphrey Bogart, you will see that Bobby Underwood’s books and characters follow the similar path of the cynical hard-boiled and rather damaged characters that when combined, help define the excellence of this genre.

So far, I’ve read four of Bobby Underwood’s books: Where Flamingos Fly, Beautiful Detour, Glass Alibi, and Slow Hot Wind.  Each captured my attention and kept it, each filled with action and well-developed characters. His writing style is so right-on the mark that the reader could presume they were written in the 1940s or 1950s.  In fact, these are more recently-written works, and it takes uncommon talent to capture the feel and language of this genus.

Each of these books are just the right length to read in an evening or two, or if you’re like me, you can read one during your long lunch break. What I especially like is that there is no vulgarity (those pesky four-letter words I deplore are thankfully absent), and any sexually-charged scenes are written so well using metaphors and entendre, that it adds to the sophistication of the stories.  The books’ titles are right on the mark, cleverly created.  And the book covers!  They are eye-catching.

Bobby Underwood is a prolific writer, and his books are readily available through Amazon.  I recommend you pick up one or two or all of his books.

You can read my reviews on my Goodreads site; more will be added as I finish his books on my “To Read List”:
Review of Beautiful Detour
Review of Slow Hot Wind and Glass Alibi
Review of Where Flamingos Fly

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.

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Reading Marathon

“Susan! How’s that self-imposed reading marathon going for ya?”

Glad you asked.

I set a goal to read fifty-two books this year. So far, I’ve completed sixteen.

My 2017 reading endeavor started off with a quick reading of K. Collins’ “Declutter Your Home Effectively . . .” I didn’t learn anything new, really, so this was just a refresher and a boost to begin this Year of Change for me.  Less is more, keep your stuff in order.  OK.  Got it.

One of the strangest books I read was Jean Webster’s “Daddy Long Legs.” Young orphan college girl blossoms into a woman, while her much older benefactor provides for her and never really answers her letters to him. She addresses many letters to him as “Daddy-Long-Legs” or “Daddy.” Then they fall in love and marry. The storyline was psychologically strange to me. I never liked the 1955 Fred Astaire-Leslie Caron movie, either. However, the 1919 Mary Pickford-Mahlon Hamilton silent version was a lot more palatable (you can find it for free on the Internet).

“The Beautiful and Damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald reminded me that broken people exist, and have since the beginning of time, and not much changes but names and dates. “Only Yesterday” and “Since Yesterday” by Frederick Lewis Allen – books I last read in high school – helped to flesh out that era between the two world wars.

My favorite book so far this month is “Anthem” by Ayn Rand. It’s one of the best Dystopian books I’ve come across. Her writing style drew me in, and I couldn’t put it down ‘til the last page. It’s a little like “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and some scenes remind me of “Logan’s Run.” Since “Anthem” is a novella, you can read it in an evening.

There are other books I read, from sociology (“The Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist” by Annie Heloise Abel) to a children’s book (“Are You My Mother?” by P. D. Eastman). One fiction-romance book turned me off – vulgarities, I don’t need – so I never really finished it, and I deleted it from my Kindle. For me, vulgarities take away from a story and it’s not a part of my real world life, either.

What’s up for February?

Some writing, and definitely more reading. So far I’ve put “Old Creole Days” by George W. Cable and “Every Soul Hath Its Song” by Fanny Hurst on my list. Cable is a new author to me; Hurst grabbed my attention years ago with “Imitation of Life.”

To see what I’m up to, stop by my Goodreads page by clicking HERE.

See you here with some of my life’s updates (not all about reading!) and my musings in the days to come.

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


Moving Along

This past weekend was a busy one.

Sure, there was the usual cleaning house and running a few typical errands (no grocery shopping, though!), and a little relaxing.

That relaxing part was pretty important. I’ve been pushing a lot of activities, well, they’re really necessary home-type-tasks, but I found myself lately not taking time for myself and activities I enjoy to unwind. It became time this weekend to set aside those moments.

I finished up adding books to my Kindle that I want to read. It’s upwards of 400+ books as of now. I plan to keep writing my reviews and sharing them here on this blog, and on Goodreads and Amazon, too. There are sure to be surprises there, just like my discovery of John Philip Sousa’s books.

The amount of books in my Kindle might seem daunting, but I don’t have nor watch television. That leaves a lot of time to read. I do have some DVDs of good old shows that I either remember watching years ago and old ones I newly discovered. Putting on an episode here and there while I’m crocheting or folding laundry is OK with me.

The Internet service where I live is unreliable, and I’m trying to figure out the best times to post and research on the Internet. If it’s storming, though, forget it. It’s down with little hope of coming back until the storm passes. It’s something I have to work around for now.

I’m still working on my book, and thankfully I don’t need the Internet for now while I’m writing.

As I was straightening out my bookcase, I found a bunch of old paperback books my dad had. They’re all World War II history books and novels, and are part of my to-read list. Some of those paperbacks were a whopping 50 cents when he bought them.

It’s good to be busy. I just need to remember that relaxing is a good balance.

November 14, 2016
©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.


BOOK REVIEW: The Conspirators

The March King, John Philip Sousa, wrote books, too, which is something I learned recently when I was researching his life for another project. “The Conspirators” is one of his short stories.

This tale revolves around the kidnapping of Lillian by three despicable scoundrels, and the search party that set out to rescue her. The ending fulfills the rewards deserved.

Sousa is, not surprisingly, a very good writer. His descriptions are real and vivid, and his style, though more suited to late nineteenth-early twentieth century structure. However, it is a masterful style that is easily read and understood

This is a book that I recommend. It can be read in about an hour or less, as it’s 19 pages, and it keeps the reader’s interest.

“The Conspirators”
Author: John Philip Sousa
Publication date: Unknown
Pages: 19

November 12, 2016.
©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.