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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.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Books (Now, there's a surprising title from moi!)

My friend Dorothy and I ran an errand yesterday and true to form we had (had, mind you!) to go to at least one Thrift Store and look through boxes of books.  Dorothy found numerous books (25 cents for paperbacks, 50 cents for hardbacks) but since I have so many books at home I have become (somewhat) reluctant to pick up most of what I see so that "one day I will get to it".. heh.

Anyway  I did get 3 books... and one came in the mail. (hanging head in shame)..... And once again I bought two of the fifty cent books not know if I will EVER read them!...but.. in fairness... they were only 50 cents each!  Who know?! A miracle might happen!!!   Here is what I scrounged in the huge boxes to find..........................

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King.   Also, Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton. One other from the fifty cent pile is below: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain....however this is a 1912 copywrite.

The Other book:  Books to Die For, edited by John Connelly & Declan Burke, I bought used from Amazon.  I can blame Cath for that one! (The blame is all about my "sis", about my sis, about my sis.... lol)

Amazon: Books to Die For....

The world’s greatest mystery writers on the world’s greatest mystery novels:
Michael Connelly on The Little Sister . . .
Kathy Reichs on The Silence of the Lambs . . .
Mark Billingham on The Maltese Falcon . . .
Ian Rankin on I Was Dora Suarez . . .
With so many mystery novels to choose among, and so many new titles appearing each year, where should a reader start? What are the classics of the genre? Which are the hidden gems?
In the most ambitious anthology of its kind yet attempted, the world’s leading mystery writers have come together to champion the greatest mystery novels ever written. In a series of personal essays that often reveal as much about the authors and their own work as they do about the books that they love, 119 authors from 20 countries have created a guide that will be indispensable for generations of readers and writers. From Agatha Christie to Lee Child, from Edgar Allan Poe to P. D. James, from Sherlock Holmes to Hannibal Lecter and Philip Marlowe to Lord Peter Wimsey, Books to Die For brings together the cream of the mystery world for a feast of reading pleasure, a treasure trove for those new to the genre and for those who believe that there is nothing new left to discover. This is the one essential book for every reader who has ever finished a mystery novel and thought . . .
I want more!

I don't really read Stephen King.. I took this for his cover, it's pristine condition and the price! lol

Below is the 1912 copywrite edition of Huckleberry Finn..

  This book plate was inside the cover. I can only think it must be someone who owned the book at one time, and found a book plate that would look as old as the book!

Below are two Illo's that are in the book.

If anyone I know would like this old version let me know! ( it would be a freebee!) I just couldn't leave it in the thrift store being tossed around like garbage.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mixing With Murder

Mixing With Murder by Ann Granger.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (October 3, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0755320417

 

 

By Beverley Strong

Semi amateur PI and sometime actor, Fran Varady, receives a summons from night club owner and heavy man, Mickey Allerton, who wishes her to locate one of his pole dancers, Lisa, who has walked off the job and vanished, leaving him strangely distraught. Fran reluctantly accepts the commission, only because Mickey is holding her dog as hostage until the job is done, and travels to Oxford, where it's thought that Lisa may be staying with her parents. Mickey has booked Fran into a B and B, owned by Beryl, one of his former employees, where she joins a curiously disparate group of residents which includes a Croatian woman who is working for Beryl as a chambermaid, in order to improve her English. Fran locates Lisa who agrees to meet her by the river, but as Fran waits for her arrival, the body of another Croatian, Ivo, the doorman at Mickeys' club, floats to the bank of the river. Understandably alarmed, Fran conceals her knowledge of his identity from the police, much to the alarm of her buddy, Ganesh, with whom she has kept in touch by means of his mobile phone which she has borrowed. As Frans' investigation progresses, Lisa proves to be very far from the innocent victim she has portayed herself to be to both her parents and to Mickey, and lots of action occurs before the satisfactory conclusion of Frans' case.

This is my second Ann Granger book "starring" Fran Varady.  She reminds me of ... well,  me.  If she didn't have bad luck she'd have no luck at all! lol

Actually, I do like her character, and I do like Ann Granger's writing.  It's basic.  It's simple.  And at the same time she can make you like her characters and story enough to keep reading.  You can't ask for much more!  I think there is one more Fran Varady used book at Amazon that I will send for eventually,because she makes you want to know more about her characters.

This book was right for me , right now.  Not too complicated and yet interesting enough to make me keep picking up the book.

There's not much I can say because the Amazon review pretty much says the whole story!

I do look forward to another of her books.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Complaints

The Complaints by Ian Rankin.

Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books(November 2, 2011)
ISBN-10: 031607876X

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the wake of Exit Music (2008), the concluding volume in his celebrated John Rebus series,Rankin has picked a most unlikely new hero. Edinburgh cop Malcolm Fox works for “the Complaints,” the despised internal-affairs division whose job it is to investigate other cops. Succeeding the Rebus novels, starring the quintessential maverick copper, with a series built around a cop-hunting cop seems akin to J. K. Rowling following Harry Potter with seven extra-thick novels about a classroom tattletale. And, yet, Rankin pulls it off, making Fox the fall guy in an elaborate police conspiracy and causing him to join forces with a detective under suspicion of peddling child porn. The strange-bedfellows angle drives the interpersonal dynamics here—and augurs well for future installments—as Fox, working off the books, investigates the murder of someone very close to home and attempts to turn the frame-up on its end. Some crime writers keep writing the same series with different characters, but Rankin deserves credit for going another way altogether. Fox is a good and quiet citizen compared to Rebus (he doesn’t drink and listens to birdsong on the radio, not classic rock), but Rankin doesn’t hold any of that against his new hero, proving that you can build complex, highly textured, series-worthy characters from the most unlikely of raw materials.

This is my first Ian Rankin book.  From what I understand he's very popular in England and seems to be up in the "rankings" now in America.

However, this was not his most popular character of Rebus, but the book was a good read anyway. I think I tend towards liking Historical mysteries better or stories from England, Scotland and Ireland from back in the 1800's.  So again I say, this was an enjoyable book, but for me not top of the list.   It would be more to the liking of those who enjoy "basic" crime stories like a series on television.   (not including Mysteries of Laura or Forever!)

Briefly I will say that Malcolm Fox is a detective in the "Complaints Dept." which is to find "dirty cops" and the proof that they are indeed needing to be investigated. 

It was a good enough read that if I come across other Ian Rankin books at my thrift stores I would certainly pick them up.  I do have one other of his books called Exit Music which the back of the books states that it is Rebus's last case before "retirement""... guess I should wait and see if I can find other Rebus books before I read about him retiring huh?!

Anyway It was a quick read, a book in which you can get side tracked and have no problem picking up where you left off even if it weren't the beginning of a new chapter.

If you come across one of Ian Rankin's books... give it a try!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Angels Fear

What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris.

Hardcover: 341 pages
Publisher: New American Library(November 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0451216695

 

From Publishers Weekly

Set in England in 1811, Harris's riveting debut delivers a powerful blend of political intrigue and suspense. When Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is accused of the rape and murder of actress Rachel York, mistress to various members of Spencer Perceval's wobbly Tory cabinet, Sebastian goes "on the lam," in the words of young Tom, his adopted companion and faithful servant, and must spend frantic days in clever disguises chasing "across London and back." Uncanny powers of sight and hearing help him to identify several suspects, including Hugh Gordon, Rachel's fellow actor and ex-lover; shadowy French émigré Leo Pierrepoint; and even his own wayward nephew, Bayard Wilcox, who had been stalking the victim for weeks. Also implicated is portrait painter Giorgio Donatelli, for whom Rachel often posed nude, whose current patron, Lord Fairchild, is expected to be the next prime minister. Waiting in the wings to rule over this gathering chaos is dissolute Prince George (aka Prinny), soon to become regent for his incompetent father, George III. Backed by a blurb from Stephanie Barron, this fresh, fast-paced historical is sure to be a hit.

Historical Fiction, involving murder, and taking place in England...3 things I really like.

Knowing much less about Englands "mad king" and Vicounts, Lords and such, I have to admit, for me, this was a touch more political then I generally care for.  This is not to say I didn't like the book, because I did.  And maybe it was how it was written.  I wanted to know all the usually questions in a mystery but I found that I didn't rush back to it like some books.  

I did like the main character, Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr , and the story did keep you thinking about "who done it"... and so I still might try another book by Harris knowing he will use the same character.  At the moment I am not buying many books as I haven't been to thrift shops, and the 4.00 shipping from amazon sometimes gets me down... which is good because I think I've actually made a small dent in my TBR mountain! (for now).

 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 20th: Birth Day of DeForest Kelley

A small tribute in photo's.

The first 2 photo's are of DeForest and Carolyn at the North Shore Animal League.  One of their favorite charities.  There is a Fund set up at North Shore in DeForest and Carolyn's name.

Below is a favorite poster of mine.  The Artist is Drew Struzan.  An artist who actually caught him right.

..close up of his face .

Next are 2 photo's I took of DeForest when he did conventions.

The next picture is one Carolyn took that De posed for next to a silly Wanted Poster I had made up for him for his birthday.  He enjoyed his cowboy years.

Next are 3 personal photo's

And Lastly a photo I took of DeForest when he received his star on the Walk of Fame.

His Birthday is never forgotten.  I don't always make many posts about De or Carolyn.. just because my heart has never healed, and never will.  Some days I can look at photo's of them.. someday's I cannot.   This year I wanted to "see him", and remember all the happiness they brought me.

Happy  95th Birthday De!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Misbegotten

The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb.

Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (August 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1409131467

Amazon Review:

Dark truths. Beautiful lies. Bath, England, 1821. Rachel Crofton escapes the binds of her unhappy employment as a governess by marrying a charming self-made businessman. She sees a chance to create the family and home she has so long been without, but her new life soon takes an unexpected turn. Through her new husband's connections, Rachel is invited to become the companion of the reclusive Jonathan Alleyn, a man tortured by memories of the Peninsula War, and tormented by the disappearance of his childhood sweetheart, Alice. Starling, foundling servant to the Alleyn family, is convinced that Alice, the woman she loved as a sister, was stolen from her. Did Alice run away? Or did something altogether more sinister occur? Starling is determined to uncover the truth. Others want only to forget, and will go to extreme lengths to do so. Rachel's arrival has an unsettling effect on the whole Alleyn household, and suddenly it seems that the dark deeds of the past will no longer stay contained.Shattering truths lurk behind Bath's immaculate facades, but the courage Rachel and Starling need to bring these truths to light will come at a very high price.

This book begins in Bath England in two time slots, not that far between, 1803-1821.  In England this is still the time of servants and upper class.  Although in this book the servants are few, mystery surrounds the girl named Alice, who is being "cared for" by the Alleyn family.  She knows not who her parents are/ were she only knows she is bound to the the eldest Alleyn grandfather for all she has.

Eventually she meets his grandson and although it is not allowed they fall in love.  Alice is told nothing can come of it as he cannot marry below his station in life and he has been betrothed from the time of his birth.

After the war Jonathan Alleyn comes home wounded and traumatized from the war and from a letter he received from Alice telling him she loves him but they can never be together.  For 12 years survives in hell in a house with his mother and few servants, all of who are afraid of Jonathan.

Rachel enters the picture as she marries a man trying to make his fortune in wine selling.  It is discovered by Startling (a kitchen worker, who was raised by the now missing Alice) that this woman, Rachel, looks quite a bit like Alice.   Could there be a connection?   Would her being seen by Jonathan drive him more mad?   And where is Alice?  Did she run off with another ?  If so why?  Was she harmed?    Many family mysteries begin to come to the surface when Rachel comes to the Alleyn house.

This was a good read.  Though a bit of a "past romance" the mystery parts to discover just got better as the book went along.  The print was a big larger than normal (but not LARGE) so it was easier to read and probably wouldn't have been so many pages had the print been smaller.

I enjoyed this book and was a bit sorry when it ended, even though the length was more then the average book.

I've read this author before: A Half Forgotten Song, The Unseen and The Legacy.  I can't say I searched the author out but see seems to write the type of books I search for.

If you like period pieces with family mysteries this book would suit you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rattling The Bones

Rattling the Bones by Ann Granger.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Headline Publishing Group (2007)
ISBN-10: 0755320468

From Bookcover:

Fran Varady is walking through Camden one day when she notices a familiar figure shuffling ahead of her.  It's "mad Edna", the bag lady who had, in a manner of speaking, been her neighbor when she'd been living in a squat in Rotherhithe a few years ago.  Now Edna is in a hostel and still roaming the streets, but before Fran can find out more, Edna becomes agitated and hurries away.  What could have spooked her? Surely the young man watching them could not possibly be interested in this harmless old lady?  Fran's instinct tells her something's wrong and, sure enough, when a dead body turns up she has every reason to fear the worst...

Determined to protect Edna from harm, Fran finds herself digging into the past, and the tragic story of a love affair and a family quarrel comes to light.  But, by rattling the bones of Edna's earlier life, Fran's detective skills uncover far more than she's bargained for.

Oh my, but this book grabbed me so fast I'm not sure what hit me!

I have never read any books by Ann Granger (and she is very prolific! having written more then one series of crime books) and, par for the coarse I picked this up at a thrift store, noting the price on the back indicated it was sold in England and a sticker for a Canada price but no American price. (hmm, a mystery in itself?!)

Anyway.. I love the characters and loved the way this author writes!  It's more like your friend sitting next to you chatting then some high literature person using words you aren't certain of. 

When she described "mad Edna" in the early stages of the mystery I knew she had me... I laughed out loud and thought... OMG!  just call me "mad Edna"! lol  I have to quote if from the book:

Fran was talking to Mad Edna and Edna mentioned that she thought she was engaged once... but couldn't remember..

"It was impossible to tell how she once looked.  The general shape of her face was round but her chin was pointed.  Heart-shaped, they call that.  Only in Edna's case the whole thing had sagged.  Her eyebrows had fallen out and were represented only by a sparse scattering of grey hairs.  She'd compensated by growing a few hairs on the chin.  Her eyes were deep set and heavy-lidded and the eyelashes had gone the way of the eyebrows. Yet, I noticed for the first time that her skin was very fine, like a piece of crumpled silk."

If Ann Granger had not become a writer she would be a stand up comic I am sure!

The book lines are not cramped, the chapters are not long...and it's very fast reading, along with a nice mystery and very good characters.  I understand there are a number of other "Fran Varaday" novels so I will be seeing if I can get another used one.  I totally enjoyed this book, and the author.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

In the Garden of Beasts

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Crown;(May 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 030740885X

  

Amazon.com Review

In the Garden of Beasts is a vivid portrait of Berlin during the first years of Hitler’s reign, brought to life through the stories of two people: William E. Dodd, who in 1933 became America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s regime, and his scandalously carefree daughter, Martha. Ambassador Dodd, an unassuming and scholarly man, is an odd fit among the extravagance of the Nazi elite. His frugality annoys his fellow Americans in the State Department and Dodd’s growing misgivings about Hitler’s ambitions fall on deaf ears among his peers, who are content to “give Hitler everything he wants.” Martha, on the other hand, is mesmerized by the glamorous parties and the high-minded conversation of Berlin’s salon society—and flings herself headlong into numerous affairs with the city’s elite, most notably the head of the Gestapo and a Soviet spy. Both become players in the exhilarating (and terrifying) story of Hitler’s obsession for absolute power, which culminates in the events of one murderous night, later known as “the Night of Long Knives.” The rise of Nazi Germany is a well-chronicled time in history, which makes In the Garden of Beasts all the more remarkable. Erik Larson has crafted a gripping, deeply-intimate narrative with a climax that reads like the best political thriller, where we are stunned with each turn of the page, even though we already know the outcome. --Shane Hansanuwat

This is yet another book I found at a thrift store.  In "new" condition, I read the flap and found it was not fiction and that it was about a family, the husband was Ambassador from the USA, sent to Germany just as Hitler became Chancellor.

It reflected how Germany was before the war, how the German people felt and acted, and what some parts of Germany looked like.  Then enters Hitler...  He keeps saying he wants peace, and for a while Dodd believed him and his "assistants".  Slowly we see the Storm Troopers and all those that Hitler, seemingly, has faith in to follow his orders.  You see the slow change in Hitler how he hates all the Jewish people and makes laws so that the Jewish can no longer work,. Then Hitler does things like sterilize those that he thinks "inferior" so they can't reproduce other that are "inferior".  He makes laws that White's cannot associate with Black's and German's cannot be seen even talking to a Jew. 

Then see some of his own "henchmen"  running and hiding knowing Hitler would turn on them too. And he does! You hear Hitler tell one of his Officers to go and kill another officer and his whole family because he "thinks" him a traitor.  And they follow his orders without a thought of their own.  It's all actually quite incredible.

Much of how the Ambassador's saw Hitler is talked about among each other.  And you see how Dodd's daughter, who in the beginning, thinks nothing wrong of Hitler and "his men" finally starts seeing what has been right in front of her all along.

It was an insight to Hitler before his total power but since we know the outcome you can "see" what other's did not or could not see.   It's still hard to believe there are people like Hitler, people who kill for reasons that make no sense. 

This is not a book I will likely read again.. but it was a point of view from one family (the Dodd's) who was in Germany in Hitler's beginning. It was actually interesting to read a first hand account of everyday living in Germany when "Heil Hitler" first came about.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

The Bedlam Detective

The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher.

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Broadway Books (February 5, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0307406652

  Amazon Review

From a basement office in London’s notorious Bethlehem Hospital, former policeman and Pinkerton agent Sebastian Becker is sent to interview Sir Owain Lancaster at his country estate. They wealthy industrialist returned alone from a disastrous scientific adventure in the Amazon, claiming that wild beasts killed his family and colleagues. He tells Becker that the same dark creatures have followed him home and are responsible for the deaths of two local girls and rumors of beasts on the moor. But while madmen may see monsters, some monsters hide in plain sight.

3 for 3 good reads so far for 2015 !

Once more I find a mystery that occurs in England.  Most of course are in old London.  This one was another quick read, probably because it's not a long book to begin with lol.

The main characters were well flushed out and interesting enough that you wanted to know the conclusion all through the book.   When I first read the "review" and saw "beast on the moor" of course my mind went to Conan Doyle and The Hound of the Baskerville's... but truly it is nothing like it!

I totally enjoy mysteries.  The more twists and turns the better !  And of course I seem to enjoy them most of all when they take place in England or Scotland or Ireland... not sure why..with all the murders I read about over there one wonders why one would still want to go and visit those places! lol.

Sebastian Becker was a very good character and throughout the whole book you wonder if Sir Owain is really a lunatic or not! 

All in all.. a good mystery and a good read.

Friday, January 02, 2015

A Fatal Likeness

A Fatal Likeness by Lynn Shepherd.

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (August 20, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0345532449

 

From Booklist

Shepherd specializes in historical mysteries, starting with Murder at Mansfield Park (2010). Her latest continues the career of Charles Maddox, first seen in Shepherd’s take on Bleak House, called The Solitary House (2012). Maddox is a mid-nineteenth-century private detective, formerly an officer with London’s Metropolitan Police but fired for insubordination. Now he scratches out a living solving mysteries for clients; he used to be aided by his uncle, a legendary thief-taker, but a stroke has rendered him only intermittingly brilliant. Maddox’s brooding character and Shepherd’s own voice, which uses the present tense in a way that makes it seem as if we are spying on Maddox’s movements, are both enthralling. This mystery centers on papers relating to what happened between Byron, Shelley, and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin during the summer of 1816 in Switzerland (besides the contest that led to the writing of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein). Shelley’s son wants the papers recovered; we soon learn he’s playing a double game. The plot’s revelations sometimes seem as if only a Shelley scholar can understand them, but, overall, this is a solid atmospheric read, sure to be of interest to English majors. --Connie Fletcher

This is the second book I have read by Lynn Shepherd, the first being: The Solitary House, which was a recent review.

I can honestly say that this book is even better then the first book!  Wow, talk about "who did what"....

Just when you think you know where things are going, another piece of the puzzle is tossed at you and you completely make a turn around in your thoughts.  Then it happens again!    And again!  This book so many twists and turns I thought I couldn't follow...but I did! 

If you like a mystery that makes sure you won't know the ending ..until the ending.. this is the book for you!

The only thing I will say is that in her first book you really get to know Charles Maddox and a little about his family to set things up a bit.  The author does cover parts of it at the beginning of the second book in case you don't read the first.

Both are really good books and I love that she uses names of people you recognize!   

Well, that's two books I've read this year and both were excellent!  I hope the rest of the year goes as well!

----------------------------------------------------------------

Below is the Amazon review for The Solitary House.

The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bantam;(July 30, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0345532430

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Dickens fans will rejoice upon finding characters from Bleak House performing similar roles in Shepherd’s second historical mystery (following Murder at Mansfield Park, 2010) featuring Charles Maddox, thief-taker (a Victorian detective).This reworking of the masterful classic features crooked lawyer Mr. Tulkinghorn, Inspector Bucket, Lady Dedlock, and the not-quite-right Hester (Esther in Bleak House), who begins her narrative with Dickens’ words, “I have a great deal of difficulty in beginning to write . . . for I know I am not clever.” A labyrinthine plot narrated in three voices reveals the underlying motivations and connections of these characters in a story of pervasive deviance so sinister that even those hardened to London’s nineteenth-century underworld will reel in shock. Maddox is manipulated by Tulkinghorn on behalf of the attorney’s wealthy clients to ferret out those who might expose a nasty secret; as the investigation progresses, Maddox finds himself and everyone he knows in the path of a psychotic killer. Shepherd leaves the reader spellbound by masterfully building suspense, creating a pervasively clammy and befogged atmosphere, and offering a cast of unforgettably peculiar characters, making the most of authentic, period language and a soupçon of subtle humor. Those who haven’t read Bleak House will be ready to have a go, while those looking for contemporary read-alikes should be encouraged to try Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith (2002)or Sara Stockbridge’s Grace Hammer (2009). --Jen Baker

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Hills is Lonely

The Hills is Lonely by Lillian Beckwith.

Paperback: 274 pages
Publisher: House of Stratus (January 6, 2009)
ISBN-10: 075510269X

 

When Lillian Beckwith advertised for a secluded place in the country, she received a letter with the following unusual description of an isolated Hebridean croft: ‘Surely it’s that quiet even the sheeps themselves on the hills is lonely and as to the sea it’s that near as I use it myself everyday for the refusals…’ Her curiosity aroused, Beckwith took up the invitation. This is the comic and enchanting story of the strange rest cure that followed and her efforts to adapt to a completely different way of life.

For my first book of 2015 I've chosen a Christmas present that was given to me by Cath, from across the pond.  Cath had read this book and reviewed it and and I mentioned it sounded good, so low and behold it was delivered to my door! There are a number of others things I could mention that sound good to me but somehow I don't think they'd ever be delivered to my door ! lol

Lillian is told she needs a break and a good rest and so, after asking where she should go, she winds up going to the Island of Skye to stay with a lady named Morag.

As I read the book and found this poor woman(Lillian) going through a culture shock like no other, I began to think that sometimes a complete change is not a bad thing.  I'm not sure that at my age I could take such a shock as Lillian did, but the idea is very appealing.  I think the idea to do something you've never done before (but think you would like to do) can be more then a dream if you make it so.

Life on the Island is way behind the times. There seems to be few phones...the closed one is down the road a bit.  The people are mostly "farmers" of one sort or another, raising sheep or cows.  On the island one tends to walk in as much dung as mud.  If it weren't for the odor one might never know which it is! At times the men are drunk and loud, but that too is part of life which has not caught up with the times.

Lillian Beckwith most certainly has a way with words.  Very colorful, descriptive words!  Many are chuckle-worthy but that is also due to the people (characters) that surround her in the book.  This was an enjoyable book to read. Maybe because of my ancient age.. a time that had no cable or cell phones or computers etc.  No matter what can be said, it really was a "simpler" time.  I am not saying that's for everyone... but it does make a good story to read.

Monday, December 29, 2014

My Year of Reading

This is my worst year in Reading since I started keeping track of the books I read.  I am generally happy when I can say I read a book a week, which I did not do this year.  (45 books)

I do have some excuses.  I have been under doctors care for Depression and Anxiety, also had a Stress Test and then a Heart Cath (hospitalized for test), then had cataract surgery, and then another hospital for a D&C.  In between my back and hip and shoulders are getting more painful which means more shots as needed.  Other than that I am at least glad that even in March when I only read one book, it was one that was almost 600 pgs and at least I didn't have a month with no books at all!

Of course there were many good reads!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot is probably one of the most interesting.  A black lady dying of cancer and cells are taken in hopes to help find a cure.  For some reason the cells never died as others always did and were used all over the world to help find cures, yet the family never knew this nor did they receive a cent from it all.

I went back and read  two of the Piers Anthony Xanth books which I read eons ago for some enjoyment.

I read some Biographies and Autobiograpies such as Walt Disney, Charlton Heston, Judy Garland & Eleanor Roosevelt. 

But of all the books, I guess the "one" I would say was the best was: Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole.  For some reason I had a hard time setting the book down when my eyes just couldn't read more.  And the moment I thought they could read more... the book was back in my hands!

Letters from Skye:

A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.
March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.
June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.

I also read The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield for the 3rd time.  Guess you'd say I like the book...you'd be right!

Looking over my list I did manage to read quite a few female authors!  I never really care if the author's are male or female..but the list makes it obvious!

 

JANUARY

1..The Golem and the Jinni............Helen Wecker.........(512 pgs)
2..Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks..Rebecca Skloot........(400 pgs)

February

3..Walt Disney.......................Neal Gabler...........(912 pgs)
4..Never Come Back...................David Bell............(448 pgs)
5..Accidents Happen..................Louise Millar.........(385 pgs)
6..The Night Watch...................Sarah Waters..........(544 pgs)

March

7..In the Arena Biography............Charlton Heston.......(590 pgs)

April

8..Xanth Times Two...................Piers Anthony.........(528 pgs)
9..The Lightening Thief..............Rick Riordan..........(375 pgs)
10.The Sea of Monsters...............Rick Riordan..........(279 pgs)

 
May

11.Titan's Curse.....................Rick Riordan..........(352 pgs)
12.You Must Remember This............Robert Wagner.........(272 pgs)
13.What's So Funny?..................Tim Conway............(272 pgs)


June

14.Get Happy.........................Gerald Clarke.........(528 pgs)
15.This Time Together................Carol Burnett.........(288 pgs)
16.The Devil's Workshop..............Alex Grecian..........(386 pgs)
17.The Bookman's Tale................Charlie Lovett........(384 pgs)

July

18.The Thirteenth Tale...............Diane Setterfield.....(432 pgs)
19.Eleanor Roosevelt.................Eleanor Roosevelt.....(504 pgs)

 
August

20.Witch Wrath.......................Terry Brooks..........(512 pgs)
21.Bloodfire Quest...................Terry Brooks..........(368 pgs)
22.Wards of Faerie...................Terry Brooks..........(464 pgs)


September

23.Bone Bed..........................Patricia Cornwell.....(480 pgs)
24.The Unburied......................Charles Palliser......(400 pgs)
25.Others............................James Herbert.........(512 pgs)
26.The Witches.......................Roald Dahl............(240 pgs)

October

27.Red Mist..........................Patricia Cornwell.....(544 pgs)
28.Five Came Back....................Mark Harris...........(511 pgs)
29.This House is Haunted.............John Boyne............(291 pgs)
30.Rustication.......................Charles Palliser......(323 pgs)
31.Letters from Skye.................Jessica Brockmole.....(287 pgs)
32.The Dark..........................James Herbert.........(442 pgs)

November

33.The Tutor's Daughter...............Julie Klassen.........(409 pgs)
34.A Half Forgotten Song..............Katherine Webb........(486 pgs)
35.A Place of Secrets.................Rachel Hore...........(384 pgs)
36.Garment of Shadows.................Laurie R King.........(266 pgs)
37.Death Comes to Pemberly............P D James.............(291 pgs)
38.The Dark Rose......................Erin Kelly............(336 pgs)
39.The 6th Lamentation................William Brodrick......(416 pgs)
40.Shadowy Horses.....................Susanna Kearsley......(342 pgs)

December

41.The Beach Trees....................Karen White...........(432 pgs)
42.The Kitchen House..................Kathleen Grissom......(384 pgs)
43.The Solitary House.................Lynn Shepherd.........(368 pgs)
44.The Secret Rooms...................Catherine Bailey......(512 pgs)
45.Twilight at the World of Tomorrow..James Mauro...........(432 pgs)

And then someone suggested we "show our Stash of books"... heh... Just so I can add a photo I will put just one photo of my cabinet with my absolute favorite books..

Now it's your turn to tell us how your year in reading went!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Twilight at the World of Tomorrow

Twilight at the World of Tomorrow by James Mauro.

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books;(June 22, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0345512146

The summer of 1939 was an epic turning point for America—a brief window between the Great Depression and World War II. It was the last season of unbridled hope for peace and prosperity; by Labor Day, the Nazis were in Poland. And nothing would come to symbolize this transformation from acute optimism to fear and dread more than the 1939 New York World’s Fair.
A glorious vision of the future, the Fair introduced television, the fax machine, nylon, and fluorescent lights. The “World of Tomorrow,” as it was called, was a dream city built upon a notorious garbage dump—The Great Gatsby’s infamous ash heaps. Yet these lofty dreams would come crashing down to earth in just two years. From the fair’s opening on a stormy spring day, everything that could go wrong did: not just freakish weather but power failures and bomb threats.
Amid the drama of the World’s Fair, four men would struggle against the coming global violence. Albert Einstein, a lifelong pacifist, would come to question his beliefs as never before. From his summer home on Long Island, he signed a series of letters to President Roosevelt urging the development of an atomic bomb—an act he would later recall as “the one great mistake in my life.”
Grover Whalen, the Fair’s president, struggled in vain to win over dictators Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin, believing that his utopian vision had the power to stop their madness. And two New York City police detectives, Joe Lynch and Freddy Socha, who had been assigned to investigate a series of bomb threats and explosions that had terrorized the city for months, would have a rendezvous with destiny at the Fair: During the summer of 1940, in a chilling preview of things to come, terrorism would arrive on American shores—and the grounds of the World’s Fair.
Yet behind this tragic tableau is a story as incredible as it is inspiring. With a colorful cast of supporting characters—including Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Robert Moses, and FDR—Twilight at the World of Tomorrow is narrative nonfiction at its finest, a gripping true-life drama that not only illuminates a forgotten episode of the nation’s past but shines a probing light upon its present and its future.

This book is one of the thrift shop books... as the covers says: " Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World's Fair on the Brink of War"  So I took it home.  I knew it was a true story and that I wasn't yet born and 1939 was really the brink of war, a time I seem to like to read about so it had to be good.

Eh... not bad .. interesting, lots of names I remember hearing of like, Einstein, Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt etc. It spoke of the idea of the Worlds Fair, how it finally got going, getting companies and countries to want to have space at the fair ..although the book was not one that I couldn't wait to pick up again.. it was good enough to read it fairly quickly and I learned something I really had not heard of and that was the bombing that happened at the Fair in which 3 bomb squad men got killed... and the inclinations of hatred towards the Nazi's. (I knew of the hatred.. just learning about when it first began).  I also was unaware that it was Einstein who brought to light that the Germans might be making atomic weapons and wrote to Roosevelt... thus was the beginning of the making of the Atomic Bomb.

So there definitely was a learning curve to this book.  And true stores about certain times in history always have background information that I find very interesting to learn about.

This is probably not the book for everyone.. but it is a piece of history if one wants to know about the 1939 World's Fair.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Secret Rooms

The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey.

Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books (December 31, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0143124730

 

From Booklist

While researching a book on WWI, historian Bailey stumbled on a crackerjack real-life mystery revolving around the life and times of John Henry Montagu Manners, the ninth Duke of Rutland. A meticulous curator who organized his illustrious family’s documents and correspondence, he died in the archives suite of Belvoir Castle in 1940, refusing medical treatment until he completely expunged all records pertaining to three distinct yet interrelated periods in his life. As Bailey painstakingly unearths secret after secret in order to deduce what really happened between the years 1894 to 1915, the ghosts of scandals past surface in full force. Populated with a bevy of real-life aristos who played by their own twisted and privileged set of rules, a searing portrait of family intrigue, dysfunction, and hubris—à la Downton Abbey—emerges. --Margaret Flanagan

This was a pretty good read.  It's true life "history" with mystery involved.   It was a little long in the tooth when it came to describing parts of the war that the Duke was in .. although through letter and such everything told was in fact truth... just a bit of it was boring to this old woman.  That being said, the bulk of this book held my interest and I find my interest in history rises as I grow older.  

Although this is the story of one man, the 9th Duke of Rutland, there is always the background (other people and places) that remind you that it is not the present that's being talked about.

Yup... give me a castle and I will probably want to read the story!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

6 Turtle Doves......

Ok .. so it isn't 6 Turtledoves... It's only 6 Christmas Pictures  !  But this post wouldn't be here at all if it weren't for my friend Debi who insists on sending me things at Christmas!

For instance...this year I got me a Christmas Candy Moose!

My girlfriend Dottie will be envious! (not really but it sounds good lol)   She loves Christmas Moose's (moose's?)  and seems to collect them.. So now I can tell her I have my own Christmas Moose!!!

Also came a little framed Christmas Tree. Which went right under the tree !

I don't know how Debi finds the time to do all the things she does, let alone concern herself with buying and making and sending things out to probably everyone she knows!  Thank you so very much Debi. (x0x0x0x0). I hope you and your wonderful family have the best Christmas ever!!  And a Healthy and Happy 2015!!

Here's a few more photo's I took...

It's still 9 days away... but I hope everyone that celebrates Christmas has the best one ever!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Solitary House

The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bantam;(July 30, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0345532430

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Dickens fans will rejoice upon finding characters from Bleak House performing similar roles in Shepherd’s second historical mystery (following Murder at Mansfield Park, 2010) featuring Charles Maddox, thief-taker (a Victorian detective).This reworking of the masterful classic features crooked lawyer Mr. Tulkinghorn, Inspector Bucket, Lady Dedlock, and the not-quite-right Hester (Esther in Bleak House), who begins her narrative with Dickens’ words, “I have a great deal of difficulty in beginning to write . . . for I know I am not clever.” A labyrinthine plot narrated in three voices reveals the underlying motivations and connections of these characters in a story of pervasive deviance so sinister that even those hardened to London’s nineteenth-century underworld will reel in shock. Maddox is manipulated by Tulkinghorn on behalf of the attorney’s wealthy clients to ferret out those who might expose a nasty secret; as the investigation progresses, Maddox finds himself and everyone he knows in the path of a psychotic killer. Shepherd leaves the reader spellbound by masterfully building suspense, creating a pervasively clammy and befogged atmosphere, and offering a cast of unforgettably peculiar characters, making the most of authentic, period language and a soupçon of subtle humor. Those who haven’t read Bleak House will be ready to have a go, while those looking for contemporary read-alikes should be encouraged to try Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith (2002)or Sara Stockbridge’s Grace Hammer (2009). --Jen Baker

I think I like mysteries..  in fact I am certain of it lol.

This one, as many I read, takes place in England.  It is called "book 2" but in honesty I had no problem following the character or anything going on so I am saying I had no problem reading this as a stand alone book.

The booklist review is good... the book does have many touches of the very down trodden London area where the Ripper once did his slaughters.  Some similarities to be sure but the characters and story held it's own no matter what.

This is a good read if one likes detective, murder, and mystery back in the Dickens days of England.  I found another book using the same Detective Maddox in the used books and sent for it.. so I must have liked this one well enough eh?!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Little Decorating for a Little Apartment....

I don't do a lot of decorating at Christmas.. (it's not the best time of the year for ME).  But I try to do some!

I know I showed my lighted branches already but this time I added poinsettia's to make it more colorful.

 

 

..here's a shot so you can see the flowers better.

In the same area I brought out my two little Lenox pieces. (Made in America!!!  and small pieces like these aren't expensive.)

On my kitchen counter I brought out my little music box Santa in Sleigh. and my candy looking tree.

Also my tin sleigh to put cards in..

..and on the far side I actually bought a "Rosemary" tree!  It's real and it IS the herb Rosemary and smells delightful!  Under the tree (which will remain "undecorated" is my smaller ceramic trees and the carolers.. all purchased at different times at thrift stores.

So this is how my entire counter looks..Rosemary at one end and Santa at the other!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Show Me Your Book Stash Post

My "sis", Cath did this post so I had to follow suit.   A number of these books I've had a long time so might look familiar to those who know me lol!

We begin with the small pile close to my reading chair... among these are: Touchstone by Laurie R King waiting for a second reading.  Franklin and Winston, waiting for it's first reading lol.  Sons & Brothers (J.F. Kennedy), The Girls (actresses), Lee Grant (actress) In the Garden of Beasts, Twilight of the World of Tomorrow, The Solitary House,Quincunx (which I may not read as the printing is very small) and the 2 Susan Hill books.

By another chair in the living room sits a few more books... a number are biographies and some others are about the Race to the Moon. Roosevelt and Kennedy books are scattered about also.

More of the same...

In the dining area I have a few more books....  I seem to have a few Charles Dickens and a few by Edward Rutherfurd.  Also more biographies and autobiographies.  Some of these books I've had for a few years!!!

Next to them, still in the dining area are some fiction and fantasy....

...Some Sherlock Holmes and some Trek Biographies (those are already read)

Bedroom... in this room are already read books that I am trying to keep room enough to keep!!  Some here will "go with me" due to trying to "pry them out of my cold dead hands" when my time comes!

The group here in plastic, all books / guides on LOTR  and Hobbit are in plastic because there are a number of autographs in the books!

..then there some books that I reread every few years...

More of the same below along with.. MIchael Scott's series on Nicholas Flamel, which I love,  LOTR, and some Wilkie Collins.  Some of my favorite books on the Space Race including one signed by Buzz Aldrin, and one of my favorite biographies called Stan and Ollie. The book  Drood, I've read twice now.

My Stephen R Donaldson collection which I have read more than once. 

On the bottom are a number of Art books.

..this whole book case "comes with me when I die!"... in here are my top favorites.  Needless to say.. Anne McCaffrey's Pern books ALL come with me!  I love David Eddings Belgariad series, Jonathan Strouds, the Bartimaeus Trilogy, Cornelia Funks Inkheart Trilogy..Weis and Hickmans Dragonlance Chonicles and of course the Harry Potter series.

I will put out the challenge for others to show their book stash on their blog and leave links in places like Facebook!