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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Xanth by Two

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I read this book for Once Upon a Time..

 

Xanth by Two by Piers Anthony (two complete books in one)

Series: Xanth Novels
Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (February 16, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0765324156

(cover art: Darrel K Sweet)

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Demons Don’t Dream begins a Xanth sequence as young adventures play for the highest stakes of all: the future of Xanth--and of Earth as well!
Dug thought that the disk he got from his friend was just a fantasy game.  He didn't particularly like fantasy games, but he'd made a bet with Ed, and a bet's a bet.  So he loaded the game and…
Within moments he had left Mundania and was standing in a forest glade in Xanth, with his Companion in Adventure Nada Naga -- a beautiful Princess who just happened to be a shape-changing serpent.  For a long time Dug thought that this was just an incredibly convincing virtual world.  Then he began to believe in Magic.  Which was a good thing, because the prize in this Game is the Power of Magic in Xanth.
In the next installment, Harpy Thyme, Gloha must brave a demoness and snow dragons, malevolent clouds and musical volcanoes, on a wild odyssey that takes her not only across the length and breadth of Xanth, but on journeys through Time, Space, and the perilous realms of Madness and Mundanity.

Many years ago I read a number of Piers Anthony’s Xanth books but along the way I guess I got to busy with family and stopped reading for a long time.

I found this book in a thrift store and decided it would be good for OUaT and grabbed it up.

Some might say that Piers Anthony is a genius.  Right from the beginning his books about Xanth, are full of “puns”.  After my first few books I wondered how he could possibly keep up the puns and keep finding new ones!  So, although years (eons?) have passed I found myself  rolling my eyes to the heavens as he once again managed to write, not just a story, but a game, using as many puns at before.  (re: a Humble Pie bush grew pies that made you humble if you ate it)

The first story Demons Don’t Dream was very original in that instead of just a story of someone (and some things) that live in Xanth having a story, he took someone from Mundania (that would be us) and brought them into his book via a game they had to play.

One thing I would say is that if you  have never read any Xanth books you wouldn’t enjoy this book because  knowing about Xanth and it’s magic's  would leave you wondering just what was going on.  But if you  have read some and want a trip back in time this would be a good book to read.

Unfortunately even reading this one book took me a very long time.. I was/ am dealing with much depression and anxiety and the passing of the love of my life, BooBoo Kitty.  So I have to admit that the book didn’t have enough of “something” to keep my mind off of other matters and so I didn’t jump back to the book each time I sat down.  But please know it was not the fault of the Author or the book.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Once Upon a Time VIII

Every year I wait for Carl to do my two favorite challenges. With the beginning of Spring  the first of the two begins… Once Upon a Time VIII.

My hopes may be more than I can even accomplish..but I will surely try!

onceup8200_zpsae373bec[2] You have a variety of choices as to how many books you want to read, and as always all Carl hopes for is that you all have fun!

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The Journey is a promise to read one book…so that’s what I will try.

It’s a toss up so I might get more then one (I would like that).  The Piers Anthony book called Xanth Two actually has 2 of his books in one.

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The other book is a birthday present from my friend Michelle who took a sneak peek at my wish list on Amazon.  I have a number of “Official Movie Guides” by Brian Sibley and so the Desolation of Smaug was on my list.  I hope he puts a third one out for the last of the series.

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On big photo in the book was a bunch of Happy Dwarves in Barrels.

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I generally write a much longer post but this is better then none!

Happy Once Upon a Time everyone!  I hope you all enjoy every book you read!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

In the Arena

In The Arena by Charlton Heston.

Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster(September 12, 1995)
ISBN-10: 0684803941

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From Booklist

You'd hardly expect Chuck Heston--as decent a guy as any American actor's ever been--to produce a racy tell-all, and he doesn't. Rather, he recounts his career, although only after glowingly recalling his rural Michigan childhood and poor adolescence in contrastingly tony Wilmette, Illinois--then as now among Chicago's wealthiest suburbs. A drama scholarship to Northwestern University set him on the road to success and a string of distinguished films rivaled by few other actors of his generation. The stories of making those movies are the meat here, with seasoning coming from Heston's parallel stage accomplishments, his activism with the Screen Actors' Guild (he succeeded Ronald Reagan as SAG president), words of wisdom on the crafts of acting and filmmaking, tart asides on current cultural foibles (like Reagan, he's a former Democrat turned staunch Republican), and loving references to wife and children. But there's no gossip, which movie lovers who especially admire the grand-style filmmaking of Heston's 1950s^-1960s heyday won't miss a bit, so enthralled they'll be with the production anecdotes about The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, and El Cid, among others. Ray Olson

First off I will say I bought this book from the Friends of the Library for one dollar. (later, at home, I found it was autographed!  I know it’s a true autograph because I have a photo of “Moses” signed by Mr Heston and it’s a perfect match)

Anyway, I bought the book because of the price, and because it was in mint condition (never looked like it was read) and because I actually met Charlton Heston at an autograph show when I live in California.  He signed his skinny little butt off for two days all for charity.  I thought that was nice of him.

I also admit that Mr Heston didn’t win any “good votes” from me with his love of guns. But that’s a personal thing.  I’ve loved his movies over the years but never considered myself a “Heston Fan”..must have been those guns.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind if someone likes to Skeet Shoot or  Target Shoot etc I just don’t like how easy they are to get and I’ll drop the subject because the subject here is his autobiography.

I think he did a very good job writing the book.  Most of the time I felt as if I was sitting in a room and he was telling his story, which made me feel comfortable reading it.

I also found  he had a good sense of humor, and often wrote tid-bits in parenthesis which made him even more human.

Although the bulk of his book was about his movies he did it in a way that made them interesting.  He would talk about how he got the movie, who was going to be in it with him and what he thought of them.  Who was directing and how did he get along with him   It felt more like “behind the scenes” rather than a “list of my movies”.

Some stories were worth a chuckle like the one about Mr DeMille while shooting The Greatest Show on Earth….

The actors did very well, but it was a tricky shoot.  De Mille was giving last minute instructions one morning before a matinee when he noticed 2 extra girls chattering near the back of the tent.  “young lady,” he said, pointing, “no, you with the red scarf, miss.. yes, you.  I’m trying to explain to everyone what we have to do this afternoon, but you clearly feel what you’re saying to your friend is more important.  Please come down here and use the microphone, so we can all hear your vital message.

Very reluctantly, the girl came down, shyly took the mike and announced, “I just said , I wonder when that bald-headed old son of a bitch is gonna call lunch.”

DeMill knew when he was licked, when the laughing died , he took the mike back, “Lunch” he said.”

While reading his book I learned many small things like: a second unit director is the unit assembled to shoot all the action scenes. The first unit directors would shoot all the dialogue and close ups with the principles.

I guess I didn’t even realize how many movies he made and how many I had seen!  I do remember seeing Ben Hur as a class trip from school and was amazed that it had an “intermission” because the movie was so long!  (but I have to admit that as handsome as Heston was….. Stephen Boyd made my heart go pitty-pat lol

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Ok… so this took me forever to read..not because I didn’t find it a good  book, but because of health issues.   But slow or not I hope I never quit reading a good book!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Night Watch

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters.

Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Trade(September 27, 2006)
ISBN-10: 1594482306

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Waters (Fingersmith) applies her talent for literary suspense to WWII-era London in her latest historical. She populates the novel with ordinary people overlooked by history books and sets their individual passions against the chaotic background of extraordinary times. There are Kay, a "night watch" ambulance driver; her lover, Helen; two imprisoned conscientious objectors, upper-class Fraser and working-class Duncan; Duncan's sister, Viv; Viv's married soldier-lover, Reggie; and Julia, a building inspector–cum–mystery novelist. The novel works backward in time, beginning in 1947, as London emerges from the rubble of war, then to 1944, a time of nightly air raids, and finally to 1941, when the war's end was not in sight. Through all the turmoil on the world stage, the characters steal moments of love, fragments of calm and put their lives on the line for great sex and small kindnesses. Waters's sharply drawn page-turner doesn't quite equal the work of literary greats who've already mapped out WWII-era London. But she matches any of them with her scene of two women on the verge of an affair during a nighttime bombing raid, lost in blackout London with only the light of their passion as a guide

This is my third book by Sarah Waters.  The review from Amazon (long ago) made me pick it up and put in ye ol’ tbr pile.  It took forever but I finally got around to reading it.

It had many things in it that I enjoy reading about, especially reading about WWII.  I am not sure when or how I got so interested in a war that ended close to the time I was born, but somehow it happened. 

I also just love reading about England, most especially the Victorian times , and as I said times around WWII.  It’s also managed to make me read about Churchill .

This book had a bunch about how it was to survive during the war, and then trying to get back to life and try to feel as if it never happened, but those things are never forgotten and even change you for the rest of your life.  

As in Waters other books she brings many interesting characters to light, and with life being hard because of the war, the fact that they all struggled just to stay alive let alone keep secrets or doing the unthinkable to survive is very compelling reading.

Although I enjoyed this book, I have to admit that  I liked Fingersmith and the Little Stranger more.  However, that’s not to say you wouldn’t enjoy this book, especially if you have read others by Sarah Waters.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Accidents Happen

Accidents Happen by Louise Millar.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books(June 25, 2013)
ISBN-10: 145165670X

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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Kate Parker’s extraordinarily bad luck—both parents killed in a freak traffic accident on her wedding day, her husband murdered at home five years later—has left her wary about everything and overprotective of her 10-year-old son, Jack. Even her concerns about such warning flags as recent burglaries and a creepy neighbor’s behavior are considered just skittish Kate’s overreactions, especially by her in-laws, who threaten to raise Jack themselves. Kate’s sole and virtually obsessional solace lies in finding statistics showing the probability of danger in everyday life. So she’s instantly attracted to the book Beat the Odds and Change Your Life, left casually in a juice bar, and to its author, Jago Martin, an Edinburgh professor guest-lecturing at Oxford, who offers to help Kate deal with her anxiety. The risky activities Jago proposes actually make Kate feel alive again—the unlikely result of a pathological plan fueled by revenge. Fans of Millar’s accomplished debut, The Playdate (2012), won’t be surprised to find that things are not always what they seem here and that paranoia may indeed be just increased awareness. As Millar makes truth elusive and builds suspense, she is establishing herself in the top tier of writers of psychological thrillers. --Michele Leber

This was one of those “unexpected books”…  Of all things for me to be reading about with my problems, is someone who is “sick with anxiety”!  Needless to say I had bought the book a while ago and forgotten what it was about. The cover didn’t give anything away so I just jumped in.

At first one thinks that as bad as things are for ourselves this woman has got it worse!  And just when you begin to think she can beat her obsessions…. the total unexpected things begin to happen!

I actually enjoyed the book.. I found myself picking it up more often then other books just to see what was going to happen next !  Overall this was a good read, and I liked how it turned into a mystery more then just a “bad luck story”.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Never Come Back

Never Come Back by David Bell.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade (October 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0451417518

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Amazon Review

Elizabeth Hampton is consumed by grief when her mother dies unexpectedly. Leslie Hampton cared for Elizabeth’s troubled brother Ronnie’s special needs, assuming Elizabeth would take him in when the time came. But Leslie’s sudden death propels Elizabeth into a world of danger and double lives that undoes everything she thought she knew....
When police discover that Leslie was strangled, they immediately suspect that one of Ronnie’s outbursts took a tragic turn. Elizabeth can’t believe that her brother is capable of murder, but who else could have had a motive to kill their quiet, retired mother? 
More questions arise when a stranger is named in Leslie’s will: a woman also named Elizabeth. As the family’s secrets unravel, a man from Leslie’s past who claims to have all the answers shows up, but those answers might put Elizabeth and those she loves the most in mortal danger.
 

This is the 3rd book by David Bell that I have read. (Cemetery Girl and Hiding Place were the others) Every one of them has been easy reading (double spaced), enjoyable stories, and each was a book I couldn’t leave set down for too long.

Once again I would tell anyone who wants a fast reading enjoyable book to maybe take along with them to a doctors office or trip to pick up a David Bell book!

This particular book was a quick mystery on the death of  Elizabeth Hampton’s mother. Immediately the police suspected the son who is a special needs young man.  The story includes Elizabeth finding out things about her mom that she never knew, and the ending of the death of her mom has a quick twist at the end.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Walt Disney…

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler

Paperback: 912 pages
Publisher: Vintage (October 9, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0679757473

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Few men could be said to have as pervasive an influence on American culture as Walt Disney, and Gabler (Winchell) scours the historical record for as thorough an explanation of that influence as any biographer could muster. Every period of Disney's life is depicted in exacting detail, from the suffering endured on a childhood paper route to the making of Mary Poppins. The core of Gabler's story, though, is clearly in the early years of Disney's studio, from the creation of Mickey Mouse to the hands-on management of early hits like Fantasia and Pinocchio. "Even though Walt could neither animate, nor write, nor direct," Gabler notes, "he was the undisputed power at the studio." Yet there was significant disgruntlement within the ranks of Disney's employees, and Gabler traces the day-to-day resentments that eventually led to a bitter strike against the studio in 1941. That dispute helped harden Disney's anticommunism, which led to rumors of anti-Semitism, which are effectively debunked here. At times, Gabler lays on a bit thick the psychological interpretation of Disney as control freak, but his portrait is so engrossing that it's hard to picture the entertainment mogul playing with his toy trains and not imagine him building Disneyland in his head. 32 pages of photos.

ARGH!  I was beginning to think I would never finish this book!   And yes it says it’s 912 pages (which it is)..however.. the part you read is 633 pages.. the rest is the appendix and “names to pages”.

Anyway..I wanted to finally read about Walt Disney.  I had wanted to for some time if the truth be known.  You see, I grew up watching The Mickey Mouse Club with “Uncle Walt” and then the other Disney show “in living color”.  So when I was married and had 2 sons and we came to Florida to visit a friend we made a special trip to Disney World… something I dreamed of since I was a kid, and something I never thought would happen.  So when we got on this “Tram” and we headed towards Fantasyland and I started seeing the “hedges” cut into animal shapes from Disney movies… the tears began to flow!  A Dream come true.

Over many more years I would hear things like: working for Disney was not so nice as one would think.  Then I even met an artist who worked there during the years from sleeping beauty up to beauty and the beast.  He didn’t speak harshly about Walt himself but the business didn’t seem to be the happy loving place that was expected.

Reading this book cleared a bunch of that up.  I think I understand Walt Disney more now and although I can’t say I understand all his “mood changes”..I can say that I do believe he was a genius in kids body.  It was almost like he was born just to do the things that he did. 

But..it was not a book written in such a way that you rushed back after you set the book down. Parts were a little long in the tooth, but still I felt I was always learning to understand the mind of Walt Disney…but I am also sure NO ONE could ever really understand his genius mind.

So…bad eyes and all I am finally going to being another book!  This one was so big and I have been reading so slow that I only read 2 complete books last month!  Had I finished this one day sooner !….lol  isn’t that always the way? lol

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sometimes I Really DO Like Florida!

About 2 days ago I took some photo’s but then didn’t feel up to making the post..sigh.

Anyway.. it was a very grateful change in Florida’s weather that made me smile and get out the long pants and even a sweatshirt!  (happiness is wearing anything besides shorts!… only because it happens so seldom)

So.. lookey, lookey!………………… 

 

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..the, not so frequent cold, affords me to own ONE Pair of Flannels!  Just so I can feel a change in the temps!  I love when I have to drag the flannels out of the bottom of the pile!

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On the news of the cold temps, I do feel badly for our Manatee’s who do feel the chilly waters and gather near the nuclear plants for warmth each year.

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Proof of cold… Even Boo has his tootsies curled under to keep warm!

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We have since warmed up to nearly 80 for today but another cold front is coming and will get “nearly” as chilly as the last one.. Glory be! I get to wear the flannels a second time! hoot! hoot!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

 

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books;(March 8, 2011)
ISBN-10: 9781400052189

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Amazon.com Review

From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive--even thrive--in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta's family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution--and her cells' strange survival--left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories?

Wow.  Just … wow.

What an incredible story of both Henrietta Lacks and her entire family.

If you read this book and don’t come away having so many different feelings at nearly every chapter, then you don’t realize that this book is NOT fiction!

Many wrongs were done, but many rights happened because of them…however.. it never really makes it right.  I know that may not make sense, but you really have to read this story to know what I mean.

This story really did need to be told.. I am glad I came across this book and decided to read it.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker.

Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial(December 31, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0062110845

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Amazon.com Review

Imaginative and meticulously researched, this enchanting debut novel from Helene Wecker is, in reality, an historical fiction. Set primarily in turn-of-the-century Manhattan, it deliberately details the immigrant experience--the wonders and hardships of being in a new country and the discoveries, triumphs, and failures that follow--while bringing the city itself to life with such passion that New York of yore seems like a magical land. Beyond reality, however, The Golem and the Jinni, as the title implies, is also a fantastic work of fantasy. The Golem is an insatiably curious clay "woman" that was created to seem human while serving only her husband; the Jinni is a magical "man" whose fascination with mortals has left him nearly stripped of his own nature and forced to live as one. These mythical characters from otherwise clashing cultures not only coexist, but come to rely upon one another in order to exist at all. In turn, their story finds us not only rooting for them to find peace and happiness, but gaining a better understanding of our own human nature in the process. --Robin A. Rothman

This is my first book of 2014!…………..

Many times I read a review for a book and then get it....and then by the time I get to many of the books that I have on my shelves I’ve forgotten the reviews and am not completely sure what to expect!

The book began a little slow for me..but something about it kept my interest.

I think it was very different from anything I’ve read before.  Although, once again there was some history interlaced with mythical creatures.  One is made of clay the other a Jinni forced to be in the guise of a human male.

In the book you lean something about both creatures (being made by a wizard), the country they came from and where they wind up in olden times of Manhattan, what it was like back then is also interesting.

I might not ever pick up a book to see what “old Manhattan” was like but when things like that are in a book with an interesting and enjoyable story written around it I find I enjoy the book even more.

So if you like Wizardry and Golems and Jinni’s, and toss in a little history… you will certainly enjoy this book!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Who’da Thunk It?

Sherlock.

Masterpiece Theater has done it again and obviously, once again, I am last to know it!

Last night I saw that Masterpiece Theater (on PBS) was going to show “Sherlock”.. it said nothing of “who” was in it…nor what it was about.  So, since weekend nights on cable, for the most part.. suck, I decided to see what it was about.

Did I expect to see (Khan) Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock? 

Did I expect  to  (Bilbo) Martin Freeman as Watson?

Did I expect (or ever want) a modern day Sherlock Holmes, when the ONLY Sherlock Holmes I ever really liked was the old black and white ones with Basil Rathbone?

Go ahead.. ask!

NO, NO, and NO!!

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The episodes I saw were from 2010 so I know I am behind the times, even in America where things don’t show until after they view in England.

But from the way Cumberbatch looked compared to when he was in Star Trek was a bit of a shock.  With longer curly hair he looks waaaay tooooo young to be Sherlock!  But his acting abilities changed that quickly.

And who knew Bilbo (Freeman) could do anything but fight Spiders?! lol.. he was also excellent as Watson.  I have to say the casting is superb and the writing is outstanding!

Never…NEVER.. would I have even considered watching a modern day Sherlock Holmes !  But (if my sis over in England doesn’t mind my borrowing an English expression I’ve heard her utter a number of times…) This show (writing and casting) is bloody brilliant!!!

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A “season” for this show consists of 3, 1 1/2 hr episodes.  I only saw two as I just couldn’t stay awake.  I am hoping that they will show season 2 (3 more episodes) next Saturday .. and then the following week would begin season 3.

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What a shame it’s only 3 episodes… It’s beyond my depressed thoughts that for a few weekends (starting this one) that there is actually some fantastic things on Cable, even if it is PBS and not high paid stations!   Saturday was Sherlock and tonight (Sunday) is Downton Abbey!!!  If this keeps up I will have to move to England to get more then two nights of something good on cable!

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Ok.. now that I raved about the show.. and I still cannot believe a modern day Sherlock would be enjoyable..so it must have to do with the actors and the scripts ..which I have to say, they DO make me feel like I am watching the “old” Sherlock Holmes. 

The Holmes movies that came out a few years ago, sure didn’t do it for me nor our own tv version . But someone across the pond sure got it right!

I can’t say I am a true fan of either Freeman or Cumberbatch just yet.  I mean, seriously I only remember seeing Freeman as Bilbo (which I love) and Cumberbatch came to my attention from Star Trek (and I still have a little reservation of him as Khan. Just too many years of remembering Ricardo as Khan) but he won me over by the end of the movie. So they ARE on the fast track to actors I can’t get enough of.

I am thrilled with this new series (new to me) if you haven’t seen it before (and if you HAVE why didn’t you let the rest of us know of it??!!) Be sure to check out Masterpiece Theater on PBS and watch for SHERLOCK.  Then post about it ! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show!

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(just as a off the wall comment here…  have any of you ladies noticed Benedict Cumberbatch’s lips?!  Gah! to die for! I can’t imagine a woman not wishing they had the same full shaped lips!  … the lips don’t help his acting.. but .. hey… got to mention those assets! )

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

The Year 2013

…was not my finest year of reading but I’m still happy with what I did read!

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My top 10 favorite reads would be: (in no particular order)…….

Eleanor Roosevelt, books 1 & 2 ..by: Blanche W Cook  (1,293 pgs)

Jarka Ruus, Tanequil & Straken.. trilogy by: Terry Brooks (1,141 pgs)

Chekov’s Enterprise.. by: Walter Koenig (222 pgs)

The Black House.. by: Peter May (368 pgs)

Before I go to Sleep.. by:  S I Watson (360 pgs)

Jack .. by: Geoffrey Perret (400 pgs)

Cemetery..by: Girl David Bell (400 pgs)

The Hiding Place..by: David Bell (400 pgs)

The American Heiress..by  Daisy Goodwin (496 pgs)

 

Favorite book:  Before I go to Sleep  S I Watson.  This one I could hardly set down! If you haven’t read it you should!

To be honest there were very few that I didn’t enjoy. One or two got “long in the tooth” but overall this was a good reading year.

I only read 53 books but 23 of them were 400 or more pages!  wow.. I didn’t even realize that..makes me feel better that I didn’t read so many books!

18 books were history or biographies.  I was never big into “history” but I sure have gotten into parts of it in my old age!  WWII, Kennedy, and Victorian England being my driven favorites.

Overall I am pleased with my reading this year and as always love doing Once Upon a Time and the RIP Challenges that Carl does for us each year.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The American Heiress

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin.

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin(March 27, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0312658664

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The American Heiress.

The story of Cora Cash, an American heiress in the 1890s who bags an English duke, this is a deliciously evocative first novel that lingers in the mind." --Allison Pearson, New York Times bestselling author of I Don’t Know How She Does It and I Think I Love You
Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.
Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Cora’s story marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James.
"For daughters of the new American billionaires of the 19th century, it was the ultimate deal: marriage to a cash-strapped British Aristocrat in return for a title and social status. But money didn’t always buy them happiness." --Daisy Goodwin in The Daily Mail

I must be on a roll! (about time too!) I am not sure i knew what to expect with this book other than I had already known (heard?) about in “days gone by”, how the very rich Americans went to Europe (in this case England) to marry someone with a “title” (such as Duke) and hopefully with money of their own. 

After reading this book it seemed more that money was “one sided”.. love was discounted all together..and saving the “castles” / “mansions” were all that mattered.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book!  It was a bit of a surprise.  It had plenty of history of “money” and wealth and how it matters.  But the American Heiress had one thing going for her that no one else had.. love.

Now I am not a reader of “romantic” books  but add into the book all the history of what it was like back then and what choices were available and what many of the wealthy were like..its quite the read!

This is a novel not at biography or memoir but certainly the way it’s written it could be either!

I enjoyed it very much.. you might enjoy it too!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place by David Bell.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade (October 2, 2012)
ISBN-10: 045123796X

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Sometimes it’s easier to believe a lie.

Twenty-five-years ago, the disappearance of four-year-old Justin Manning rocked the small town of Dove Point, Ohio. After his body was found in a shallow grave in the woods two months later, the repercussions were felt for years.…

Janet Manning has been haunted by the murder since the day she lost sight of her brother in the park. Now, with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Justin’s death looming, a detective and a newspaper reporter have started to ask questions, opening old wounds and raising new suspicions. Could the man convicted of the murder—who spent more than two decades in prison—really be innocent? Janet’s childhood friend and high school crush, who was in the park with her that day, has returned to Dove Point, where he is wrestling with his own conflicted memories of the events. And a strange man appears at Janet’s door in the middle of the night, claiming to know the truth.

Soon, years of deceit will be swept away, and the truth about what happened to Janet’s brother will be revealed. And the answers that Janet has sought may be found much closer to home than she ever could have imagined.

Book 2 (but not a series) by David Bell.. and once again he takes off at the speed of light and never slows down until the end!

This makes 2 very enjoyable and excellent stories in a row.  I do believe he has another book out and I will have to look it up because he sure is on a roll with “murder mysteries”!

Since my anxieties and over all feelings are taking a turn for the worse I am shocked I was able to read these two books.. but glad for the reprieve they gave me.  I don’t know that I will be able to read another book before the year is over but I will continue to try.

This was a totally different sort of mystery from the first book so if you happen to read that one I can promise that you will like this book also… excellent story teller!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cemetery Girl

 Cemetery Girl by David Bell.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade;(October 4, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0451234677

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Four years after Tom and Abby's 12-year-old daughter vanishes, she is found alive but strangely calm. When the teen refuses to testify against the man connected to her disappearance, Tom decides to investigate the traumatizing case on his own. Nothing can prepare him for what he is about to discover.

Ummm… like.. holy cow!  This book took off running and never slowed down!

I enjoyed this book very much. Lot’s of stuff for me to like.. short, short chapters, double spacing, simple writing.. but boy it was a hard one to set down once I began to read it!   I don’t think I’d be exaggerating if I said I know some people who, if they begin to read this book… will read it in one sitting!

A number of twists and turns and a lot of wondering what happened during those 4 years that their daughter was missing.   We’ve probably heard most of things like this on the news at one time or another.  It always makes me wonder what makes some of the captives not try to escape and even not want to testify against them when found.  I won’t say that this book gives you answers but it will keep your mind moving at a fast speed!

The ending was a little less than I expected, but still.. a really good, fast read.  The sort of book one might take on a trip because of short chapters .

I have a second book by David Bell that I might pick up and see if his writing stays at warp speed or slows down some!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Five Sisters

Five Sisters by James Fox.

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster(May 2, 2001)
ISBN-10: 074320042X

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Amazon.com Review

With the same narrative panache and gift for good gossip that made White Mischief such fun, James Fox turns his attention here to the Langhorne sisters, Southern beauties who wielded a powerful influence in politics and culture during the tumultuous years from the turn of the 20th century through the Second World War. Lizzie (1867-1914) married a Virginian and stayed home, but her siblings conquered Yankee America and England. Irene (1873-1956) married Charles Dana Gibson and served as the model for that all-American icon, the Gibson girl. Baby sister Nora (1889-1955), dreamy and artistic, had a turbulent life scattered with lovers including, perhaps, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Nancy (1879-1964) entered English society through second husband Waldorf Astor and focused her formidable energies on politics as the first female member of Parliament and hostess to the notorious "Cliveden set." Sensitive, introspective Phyllis (1880-1937), the author's grandmother, survived a bad first marriage and an affair with a British officer to happily wed the brilliant English economist Bob Brand. Fox makes excellent use of thousands of the sisters' letters to reveal five dynamic personalities in their own words. His shrewd commentary provides context for a riveting tale of family ties, social commitments, and the complex interplay between them that shaped the Langhorne women's lives.

Without realizing it, when I began this book, I couldn’t help but remember reading a book about “other sisters” called The Mitfords.  This was an unintentional thing but once it was in my 1/2 drugged 1/2 depressed brain I was stuck with it.

It didn’t help that the one sister that they talked the most about is named Nancy.. but it wasn’t Nancy Mitford!  agggg!

The book is about a family born In the beautiful state of Virginia in the very early 1900’s. As you can read in the Amazon Review they go off and marry “money”… Charles Gibson of the Gibson Girls and of course Nancy who marries Waldorf Astor. Known both in the USA and England.  In fact, most of the story takes place in England ! 

The book (to me) is not as well written as the book on the Mitfords, and at times I found it dragging.. but being still a bit of “history” I found myself staying with the book and reading it all, even though it took me a very long time. (also admitting my eyes and health have kept me from doing a lot of reading)

This is a book that unless you are into the time period and those who marry for money and status and yet most are lucky enough to also have brains.. you might not rush out and put this on your must read list.

I was glad when towards the end of the book it was the time of Roosevelt , and Churchill and Hitler and so a bit of that time period was covered also.

The book was interesting but a bit long in the tooth.. :o)  sorta like the person who read it..heh..

I’m glad I read it but not sure I’d tell anyone to put it on their wish list.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dragonwriter

 

A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey & Pen: Dragonwriter edited by Todd McCaffrey.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Smart Pop (August 6, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1937856836

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When Anne McCaffrey passed in November 2011, it was not only those closest to her who mourned her death; legions of readers also felt the loss deeply. The pioneering science fiction author behind the Dragonriders of Pern® series crafted intricate stories, enthralling worlds, and strong heroines that profoundly impacted the science fiction community and genre.

In Dragonwriter, Anne’s son and Pern writer Todd McCaffrey collects memories and stories about the beloved author, along with insights into her writing and legacy, from those who knew her best. Nebula Award–winner Elizabeth Moon relates the lessons she learned from Pern’s Lessa (and from Lessa’s creator); Hugo Award–winner David Brin recalls Anne’s steadfast belief that the world to come will be better than the one before; legendary SFF artist Michael Whelan shares (and tells stories about) never-before-published Pern sketches from his archives; and more.

Join Anne’s co-writers, fellow science fiction authors, family, and friends in remembering her life, and exploring how her mind and pen shaped not only the Weyrs of Pern, but also the literary landscape as we know it.

Contributors include:

• Angelina Adams
• David Brin
• David Gerrold
• John Goodwin
• Janis Ian
• Alec Johnson
• Georgeanne Kennedy
• Mercedes Lackey
• Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
• Lois McMaster Bujold
• Elizabeth Moon
• Charlotte Moore
• Robert Neilson
• Jody Lynn Nye and Bill Fawcett
• Robin Roberts
• Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
• Wen Spencer
• Michael Whelan
• Richard J. Woods
• Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

This book is a tribute to the lady who wrote my most favorite book..Anne McCaffrey.

Each chapter tells of how the person writing either met Anne, or had dealings with her over writing or if very lucky, what a dear friend.

I enjoyed reading how beloved she was among other authors, how she reached out and helped some get their beginnings of their own career.

I especially loved how Michael Whelan came to draw so many of her book covers for Pern which in turn seemed to have helped them become more popular.

I was so very lucky that for a few brief moments, many years ago in NYC at a Creation Convention Anne McCaffrey was there and I had a chance to meet her and I asked her if she fashioned the Masterharper Robinton after anyone in particular .. she said she made him like her neighbor in Ireland.  I wanted to get a ticket and visit Ireland! lol.

This is a good book to read if Anne is a favorite author.  Most discuss one or more of the Pern books other then her other sci fi books. (thus the title of the book “Dragonwriter”)

I am glad to add it to my collection of Pern books.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Faery Home is Occupied!

 

I have two  guests at the Faery House.. can you see them?

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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Avatar Art

I have not been well for some time now, and I am even trying Acupuncture at the moment.  My older Chinese man has hands of “gold”, but I think even the Midas touch is not helping.

So all in all I have not been posting much nor reading much nor taking photos.  I am mostly just trying to get thru each day and horrid nights.. The consensus is still Anxiety causing physical things to me.  But I wonder. I am on all the meds for depression and Anxiety and still the physical things continue to happen. I realize I am close to a breakdown and I am scared all the time.

I am writing this not for sympathy..but so those who know me know why I am not posting much or responding to emails. 

I have not told this to but one or two others… when as I came home from my Acupuncture treatment  there was a box at my door.  And Amazon box. (normally this would be no surprise).. but I did not order anything…

When I opened it there sat this gorgeous book on the Art of Avatar!  One of the movies that will forever be in my heart.

I came from Kelly F.  from New Jersey.  We know each other from the computer and once we did meet when she and her family came to Fla for a vacation.

I don’t know why she bought this for me but I will forever remember this and I love the book Kelly.  You have always been a special lady.  Raising your children and still finding time for others.  You always have this happy quality about everything and make others smile and laugh.  I will always remember that you had to go out of your way to meet me and I will forever be glad you did

I cannot thank you enough for this gorgeous book!  I tried to take some photo’s  so you might see the beautiful art work that went into making this movie.

Oh how I wish the next movie was going to be out soon but it will be a number of years yet. 

Thank you with all my heart Kelly.

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Maybe we can go to Pandora someday!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jack: A Life Like No Other

Jack: A Life Like No Other by Geoffrey Perret.

Paperback
Publisher: Random House (2001)
ISBN-10: 037576125X (400 pgs)

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Jack is both the first comprehensive one-volume biography of JFK and the first account of his life based on the extensive documentary record that has finally become available, including personal diaries, taped conversations from the White House, recently declassified government documents, extensive family correspondence, and crucial interviews sealed for nearly forty years. Jack provides a much-needed perspective on Kennedy's bewilderingly complex personality, presents a compelling account of the volatile relationship between Jack and Jackie (including her attempt to divorce him, move to Hollywood, and become a film star), and reveals how JFK forged the modern political campaign and, once in the White House, modernized the presidency. Jack: A Life Like No Other is a book like no other. Here, at last, John F. Kennedy seems to step off the page in all his vitality, charm, and originality.

I thought that since this month is the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination I would read a book about him.  As with most traumatic things in ones life I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news that Kennedy was assassinated.  I was deeply saddened.  For reasons I don’t even know (since I’ve never been very political) I did really like JFK.  I”m sure the whole “Camelot” thing helped it along.  And when he gave the word to put an American on the moon.. he sealed the deal as far as I was concerned.

I also remember the Cuban Crises.  My brother was in the  Air Force during that time and you could cut the tension with a knife! 

This book gives a good, but brief, telling of Jack Kennedy’s life.  From the beginning when he realized none of the siblings matter except for the first born, John to having a father even he did not want to be like.

It tells of how his father basically paid to get JFK nominated, but from then on Jack knew he had different ideas then “daddy dearest”.

I learned a number of things from this book that I did not know.  Not many were very nice things, but they were what made up Jack Kennedy.  There was one sentence that told it as I was thinking at times: He had a privileged life that no sensible person would want.   It pretty much echoed the “poor little rich boy” concept, which in his case is taken both as a snide remark… and as the truth. For as we all know, money cannot by health.  And JFK had bad health all his life. Most prominent was his bad back. He had 3 operations and after was forever on pain drugs.  Right up to the end of his life he was wearing a full back brace, and it was said, had he lived and had a second term her would have wound up in a wheel chair as did Roosevelt.  To top off all his health problems he also had Addison’s Disease.  I know money helps pay for the best care..but it does not give you back good health.

  He was rich..and he was a womanizer..and he was many things but he was still a damn good President.  To this day I find myself wondering what more he would have done had he lived and had a second term.   And I will always be glad that we went to the moon.  Something we should have done again later in years…but that’s just my opinion.

This was a very well written book.  Only once chapter closer to the end I could have done without, since all his “bad points” were mentioned along the way I didn’t need them angrily listed.  Maybe they weren’t but it seemed that way.

The ending, which we all know how it ends, was short and not gone into detail, as there are many  books that theorize the circumstances.  But the author did feel it was a “one man job”, but we will never know …even if the government knows..WE will never know.

Bottom line.. I liked the book.   Like anyone, I dislike his bad points but really liked his good points and I think he did well as President.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

RIP Wrap-up

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This hasn’t been my best year for reading.. not for RIP either!  But it always amazes me how fast the time goes by!

This year I only read 7 books. I am glad for even that many since I have been feeling so poorly .

I have to admit I was disappointed with Bellman and Black. I am very character driven but there was little to latch on to with the characters in this book.

 Bellman & Black.................Diane Setterfield (337 pgs)

A Cast of Killers was a bit better and based on a true murder in Hollywood many years ago.

A Cast of Killers..............Sidney Kirkpatrick  (301 pgs)

I enjoyed The Black Country which was a second book  by Alex Grecian using some of the same characters from his first book, The Yard.

The Black Country...............Alex Grecian     (400 pgs)

Dust & Shadow I also enjoyed very much. Up until this book the only other Sherlock Holmes books I read that were not by Conan Doyle were the ones written by Nicholas Meyer. (which I enjoyed also).  There is a lot of dialog in Dust & Shadow and I continually heard the voices of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

Dust & Shadow...................Lyndsay Faye   (336 pgs)

I liked The Black House. A bit of a different mystery taking place in the Isle of Lewis off of Scotland.

The Black House.................Peter May        (368 pgs)

The House of Silk was yet another Sherlock Holmes book.  I never expected to read two Holmes books but it had other good reviews so I was forced into it lol!

The House of Silk...............A Horrowitz      (294 pgs)

And the absolute most enjoyed book I read was the last one!  Before I go to Sleep.  Wow, I never expected to be so captivated as I was with this book.  I was a bit sicker then other times and so for me to continually try to read this means it had to be good!  Most would think.. so someone has amnesia and someone else will figure out the mystery behind it all… and they would be wrong!  So many times I thought I figured this or that out only to find I was wrong!  The twists and turns are many and if you don’t feel like you are in Christine's poor amnesia set mind then you aren’t reading the book I read!

Before I Go To Sleep............S J Watson      (360 pgs)

Thank you again Carl (Stainless Steel Droppings) for all you do bringing so many readers together to be able to enjoy so my reviews…and to add more books to my wish list.  (did I just thank him for making my wish list longer?  Ugh!)

Until next year at the same time:  So long for now RIP!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

No Matter How Bad I Feel….

 

….. I can hardly ever say no when my girlfriend calls and says she wants to go to a thrift shop!

I have to show these photo’s because of my “sis”, Cath .  I sent her a new version of this “original” version of Vanishing Cornwall, and so want her to see I have my own (older) copy now!

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We both like Daphne du Maurier and about all her books take place in Cornwall.. which is also the place Cath was born!  

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If a miracle ever happens and I happen to get to England Cornwall will surely be top of my list to see… but I will also be sure not to watch Rebecca before going there!  :o)

The Second book, The Murrow Boys is about Edward R Murrow and other journalists.

Publishers Weekly described The Murrow Boys as "a lively, colloquial history of broadcast journalism that is so exciting one's impulse is to read it in a single sitting." It tells the swashbuckling tale of Edward R. Murrow and his legendary band of CBS radio journalists - Charles Collingwood, Howard K. Smith, William Shirer, Eric Sevareid, and others - as they "paint pictures in the air" from the World War II front. Brimming with personalities and anecdotal detail, it also serves up a sharp-eyed account of where the craft went wrong after the war, when vanity and commercialism increasingly intruded."This is history at its best," said Ted Anthony of AP News.

How long before I get to them?..  heaven only knows!