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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.

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.'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!

The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Touchstone;(February 2, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1439153663

(omg! Amazon said I bought this book back in April of 2013!!! so as you can tell I jumped on it right away! hehJ) Review

When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family.

Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.

The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.

I really should have read this sooner.  Excellent book.  Slavery is definitely not my most favorite topic, but being that this story begins in 1791... it is also history, which I do like reading about.

In this book you get to meet the families that "adopt" a young white girl and accept her as their own.  As awful and as hard as much of this story is, it is also about family and love and what's most important in lives even back in 1791.

There wasn't any great mystery, and part of this book are very sad.  But it was a very good piece of historical fiction.  And I found none of it to be "unbelievable".    The accents and language used back then is throughout the book, so to some they might not like that.. I found it to make the story more believable.

All in all.. a heartwarming story.  Both happy and sad.  Pretty much what could be said about life even now.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Why is my TBR pile Never-ending?!

Well, for one reason: I keep going to thrift stores and find good reading books for .50 cents or 1.00!  Or I go some where and find something "newer" for 3 or4 dollars... a huge saving from 17.98 or 27.00!  I just can't afford the full prices anymore and I can't read the small paperbacks.

So, at the request of my "sis", Cath, I thought I'd post a photo of the most recent books to come into my apartment... to be followed by 3 more in the mail from Amazon (used) when they arrive.

Two are hardbacks, (In the Garden of Beasts:Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, and Twilight at the World of Tomorrow)  and the two Susan Hill books are paperback but they are near trade paperback size and the print, for me, is readable.

We all know that Susan Hill books are downright scary, and believe it or not I've not read them only due to "money" so now I have two!

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, sounded like something I might want to read one day.. it goes into a very large pile! 

Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2011: 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

Twilight at the World of Tomorrow

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.

I think I have to be in the right mood to read these two books!...but at times I just can't leave a book that's so cheap when I think I "might" like it!..

I may never forgive Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings for having opened my up to more than fantasy..........(hanging head and sighing).

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Beach Trees

The Beach Trees by Karen White.

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade(May 3, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0451233077


From the time she was twelve, Julie Holt knew what a random tragedy can do to a family. At that tender age, her little sister disappeared-never to be found. It was a loss that slowly eroded the family bonds she once relied on. As an adult with a prestigious job in the arts, Julie meets a struggling artist who reminds her so much of her sister, she can't help feeling protective. It is a friendship that begins a long and painful process of healing for Julie, leading her to a house on the Gulf Coast, ravaged by hurricane Katrina, and to stories of family that take her deep into the past.

This is the third book I've read by this author.  The first was "On Folly Beach", which I enjoyed. I also read, The Lost Hours by her.  I didn't search Karen White out for this book, but when I came across it and remembered her other books were enjoyable I brought it home with me. (thrift store of course).

I do rather enjoy books that have long time secrets and mysteries surrounding them... and this one didn't disappoint.

Most of the books I read happen either in England or Scotland it seems but this one revolves around Biloxi Miss. and New Orleans, after the time Katrina had devastated the area.  After reading the book I can say I felt I had "visited" the area.  There was some good history in the story and even a town named Metairie LA, where my "adopted son", Chris lives.  I love reading books that talks about towns where I have never been but have computer friends living there.

Anyway.. this was an easy to read book, kept my interest , and I am sure sometime along the way I will wind up reading yet another book by Karen White.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Shadowy Horses

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley.

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (October 2, 2012)
ISBN-10: 9781402258701


Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea.

Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he's finally found it—not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has "seen" a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.

Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason.

"Like something out of the pages of Daphne du Maurier."— Daily Express

It seems I am drawn to books that either take place in England or Scotland.. or somewhere close by!

Susanna Kearsley always adds some romance to her books, and this was no exception.  However, it is never her main focus.  This time the focus was on an archeological dig to find traces of the Ninth Roman Legion on the property of a "madman"... or was he?!

The main characters are flushed out and become instantly likeable.  The dig itself becomes a "wonder".  Will they find something or not?  And then there's the Ghost that only a young boy can see!  Even the ghost becomes a fine addition to the lineup of characters.

I quite enjoyed the book!   I don't read "romantic novels" but when there is a good story and a good author, and the "romance" is secondary to everything else... then I do enjoy it.  And this is how Susanna Kearsley has written this book.  She wrote one other that had me really liking the "love interest, Scotsman" that I read some time ago called Winter Sea.  But others of hers jump back and forth between centuries and that generally drives me crazy lol. 

But this was one of her exceptions.. and it's a nice laid back book to read.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The 6th Lamentation

The 6th Lamentation by William Brodrick.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books;(July 27, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0142004626



From Booklist

*Starred Review* This first-time novelist was an Augustinian friar before becoming a barrister; his chief protagonist, Father Anselm, was a barrister before becoming a monk. The two vocations offer fitting keys--logic and compassion--to unlock the doors of this labyrinthine tale. A suspected Nazi war criminal, Eduard Schwermann, asks for sanctuary at Anselm's home, Larkwood Priory. When the Vatican asks Anselm to investigate on its behalf, Anselm finds reason to suspect the church itself may have been complicit in Schwermann's long-ago escape to England. In nearby London, dying Holocaust survivor Agnes Aubret shares a secret with her granddaughter, Lucy: Agnes was part of a French Resistance ring broken by Schwermann. Schwermann's trial begins with both Anselm and Lucy still hurrying to make sense of the past. Sticky strands of deceit, loss, and betrayal bind together a large cast of characters, and untangling them is both difficult and painful. Though Brodrick builds tension slowly (he's better at foreshadowing than planting clues), he's mapped his plot masterfully, and his approach to the thorny issues of justice and punishment is thoughtful and complex. Keir Graff

So... if you like historical fiction you may well enjoy this book.

It's a mystery with more then plenty of secrets to be learned about.    As you have read from the Amazon review it's a story concerning a Nazi criminal who has taken up sanctuary with the Monks.   Also of a lady named Agnes with many secrets as she is told she will soon die and now thinks she needs to tell the truth about her past... but more went on than even she was aware of. 

Surprises emerge as you read and never stop until the last page of the book. 

The author was so good that at times I felt the story was not fiction!  He did his homework well!   While many don't want to be reminder of the Holocaust and mass murders, which I can't say would be my first choice for reading, it was not overpowering and I found the book very well written and the characters made interesting enough that I wanted to know their whole story.

So the book gets a thumbs up from me.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Before Star Trek There Were Westerns.

I thought I'd play a little game...

Before DeForest Kelley became known as Dr McCoy from Star Trek, he made westerns.

I've posted some photo's here and want to see if you can name the western that the photo is from!

Good luck! (and no cheating!)  Everyone should be able to get "one"!








The Dark Rose


The Dark Rose by Erin Kelly.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books (January 29, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0143122746

From Booklist

Kelly follows up her outstanding debut (The Poison Tree, 2010) with another suspenseful tale that keeps the reader on edge until the last page. Quiet and troubled teenager Paul has become tangled up with hooligan Daniel, and the two of them get rich selling scrap metal they’ve ripped off from construction sites around Essex. When a run goes bad, leaving a man dead, Paul rats out Daniel in exchange for community service. He’s placed with a social-services group renovating a public garden, where he meets the mysterious Louisa. Louisa is tormented by her past; as a goth teen, her volatile relationship with a musician ended badly, and she’s blamed herself for the past 20 years. Despite their age difference, Paul and Louisa start an affair. Trying to hide their relationship while escaping their pasts proves to be too challenging for the lovers; a bad end seems inevitable, but there is considerable tension as it approaches. Reminiscent of early Ruth Rendell, Kelly is a master at teasing her readers by doling out just enough backstory, a little bit at a time, to keep the suspense high. --Rebecca Vnuk

I'm not a lover of books that jump back and forth.  Although the chapter gave the year in which things take place, I always find them hard to follow until I am half way through the book!  That being said, the book gradually got more and more secrets to come out and you found yourself wanting to know answers to certain things.

The last number of chapters really pulled the story all together rather quickly and put some twists into it so that the ending wasn't quite what was expected.

It may not be my all time favorite book but I was pulled into the story, and having accomplished that, I read the book rather fast. 

I know I don't write my own "reviews" but I figure that most of the time it was Amazons review that made me want to read the book so it would most likely be the reason someone else reads it!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage;(January 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 9780307950659



From Booklist

Really, gentle reader, there are limits. When mystery grande dame P. D. James felt the mantle of Jane Austen fall on her shoulders, why didn’t she simply shrug it off? Instead, she has produced a straight-faced mystery—no zombies—in which a murdered body is found on the grounds of Darcy and Elizabeth’s stately home, Pemberley. James places a template of Austen characters and Austen-like language over a traditional mystery plot and even takes on the role of the omniscient Austen narrator herself. The mystery is set in 1803, six years after the wedding of Elizabeth and Darcy, with ample space given to catching us up on the recent doings of the Bennet family. On the mystery side, there’s plenty of action, from the discovery of Captain Denny’s body, through a trial, assorted deceptions and mix-ups, and love affairs. Unfortunately, though, if this is meant as an homage, it’s a pretty weak cup of tea, starting with a greatly diluted version of Austen’s famous “truth universally acknowledged” opening. James’ many fans will be pleased to see any kind of new book from the 91-year-old author, but discriminating Austen devotees are unlikely to appreciate the move from social comedy to murder.

I am not sure why I picked up this book unless it was because I saw it often in reviews and then found it at a thrift store.  I've never read Jane Austen so I was surprised that I had no problem following the story.  

I am glad that it had a mystery attached to it, or I might not have read the whole book.  I love watching movies like Pride and Prejudice but unless there is a mystery or murder, reading it takes me too long!

I will say that one doesn't have to have read other Austen books to be able to read this one.  It was pretty good.  I know this because when I can read a book quickly that means it kept my interest!  But, for sure, if you like Austen books you will positively like this one!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Garment of Shadows

Garment of Shadows by Laurie R King.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Bantam;(August 20, 2013)
ISBN-10: 055338676X


Laurie R. King’s New York Times bestselling novels of suspense featuring Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, comprise one of today’s most acclaimed mystery series. Now, in their newest and most thrilling adventure, the couple is separated by a shocking circumstance in a perilous part of the world, each racing against time to prevent an explosive catastrophe that could clothe them both in shrouds.
In a strange room in Morocco, Mary Russell is trying to solve a pressing mystery: Who am I? She has awakened with shadows in her mind, blood on her hands, and soldiers pounding on the door. Out in the hivelike streets, she discovers herself strangely adept in the skills of the underworld, escaping through alleys and rooftops, picking pockets and locks. She is clothed like a man, and armed only with her wits and a scrap of paper containing a mysterious Arabic phrase. Overhead, warplanes pass ominously north.
Meanwhile, Holmes is pulled by two old friends and a distant relation into the growing war between France, Spain, and the Rif Revolt led by Emir Abd el-Krim—who may be a Robin Hood or a power mad tribesman. The shadows of war are drawing over the ancient city of Fez, and Holmes badly wants the wisdom and courage of his wife, whom he’s learned, to his horror, has gone missing. As Holmes searches for her, and Russell searches for herself, each tries to crack deadly parallel puzzles before it’s too late for them, for Africa, and for the peace of Europe.
With the dazzling mix of period detail and contemporary pace that is her hallmark, Laurie R. King continues the stunningly suspenseful series that Lee Child called “the most sustained feat of imagination in mystery fiction today.”

It's been some time since I read  a Mary Russell book by Laurie R King.  I think I read all of them up until the last 2 or 3.    Many of the books take place in areas like Morocco or Palestine.

After reading so many Mary Russell books I feel like Sherlock was really married to her and that they both solved international crimes! 

This one was another enjoyable read.  But if you have not read any of the other books there are some mentions in the book referring to other stories and other characters. However, I will say that I don't feel you have to have read ALL the Mary Russell books to enjoy this one too.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Just Because the Hobbit movies are coming to an End.

I was digging in old photo's for Thowback Thursdays and I came across these four photo's I had taken EON's ago!  What they are, in case you aren't sure, is:  I first drew these four drawings on my old "bellbottom" jeans and then embroidered them.

The drawings I copied from a book by Rankin/ Bass of Tolkiens Hobbit story which they had made a cartoon out of ... again: eons ago.  I purchased the book in 1977 .   That gives you and idea of how old these are... when the jeans wore out I cut them off and sewed them to a second pair of jeans before they finally were getting not worth saving.

What no one realized back then is how many hours it takes to embroider these!  I had one person tell me they would pay me to do Smaug on his jean jacket... I told him I would only charge 1.00 an hour but Smaug would then cost about 45.00... he changed his mind lol.

Below is a scan of the book I copied the drawings from.. back then it was all there was of The Hobbit.

Now, of course we have Peter Jackson and his fabulous versions of Lord of the Rings and .. The Hobbit!

I doubt Peter Jackson will ever really know how it makes me, and many others, feel to see it come to life so magnificently!  It's like he got inside my head.  But actually it's what was in HIS head!  His obsession to do it and do it like no one else could have done.

Thank you more than you know Mr Jackson!

Meanwhile, I still have the old book... but no longer have the old embroideries....except for one...that's rather large.  It would surely not fit on a pair of jeans!


(it's about 38 inches wide and took nearly a year to embroider it all)

Anyway.... enough of old memories...and on to December when we get to see the last installment of Tolkien/ Peter Jackson's, The Hobbit!

A Place of Secrets


A Place of Secrets by Rachel Hore.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks;(January 31, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0805094490

From Booklist

Antiquarian book appraiser Jude Gower takes an assignment in Norfolk to evaluate the collection of eighteenth-century astronomer Anthony Wickham. Hore embellishes the tale with the familiar elements of the genre—family secrets, a blending of romance and suspense, and, of course, the requisite family mansion, this time a slightly eerie manor house called Starbrough Hall. Jude, whose family is from Norfolk, discovers a connection between her grandmother and a gypsy girl who played in the crumbling folly tower on the Starbrough property. A frightening dream has haunted Jude for a long time, and now, with the help of the handsome artist Euan, she begins to connect the puzzle of Gran’s memories, her own dreams, the gypsies, and Wickham’s folly. This romantic suspenser is rescued from cliché by the story’s momentum and the affectionate and compelling characters. It’s compulsively readable and highly entertaining. Readers who long for the old-fashioned gothic romance of Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Barbara Michaels will rejoice in the U.S. debut of this popular English author, and fans of Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton (2008)and Susanna Kearsley’s The Winter Sea (2009) will be delighted. --

This book is partly a "falling in love" story... but only partly.  I am not a love story person per say   however, when it's the "back story" it's enjoyable.

Jude goes to a mansion type home to evaluate a library full of old astronomer book, papers, and even a telescope.  I found it interesting how they get evaluated.  I know about "first additions" but past that I know nothing. (big surprise huh?!)

Of course there is a story behind the books in the library of the home that gets you hooked.  Then you get to "meet" the man and his daughter who's books and paper's they were originally.   Of course this comes with a mystery!  Hooray for the mystery!  Each thing uncovered leads to another and so you find yourself drawn back to the book to see what's next ..and what's next?...another mystery leading from the one you just discovered!

This was another enjoyable read.  I do like when a story only lets out secrets a little at a time so you have to keep reading!

The Amazon review is right about the fact that if you enjoy Kate Morton and Susanna Kearsley then you will most likely enjoy this book.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

A Half Forgotten Song

A Half Forgotten Song by Katherine Webb.

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks;(May 28, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0062234463


From the Back Cover

A spellbinding tale about the power of love, the danger of obsession, and the unfaithful nature of memory, A Half Forgotten Song is by turns haunting, joyous, and heartbreaking

1937. In a windswept village on the Dorset coast, fourteen-year-old Mitzy Hatcher has endured a wild and lonely upbringing. But the arrival of renowned artist Charles Aubrey, along with his exotic mistress and their two daughters, changes everything. Over the course of three summers, Mitzy develops a deep and abiding bond with the Aubrey household, gradually becoming Charles's muse. Slowly, she begins to perceive a future she had never thought possible—and a powerful love is kindled in her. A love that will grow as she does: from innocence to obsession; from childish infatuation to something far more dangerous.

Years later, a young man in an art gallery happens upon a hastily drawn portrait and is intrigued by its curious intensity. The questions he asks lead him to the seaside village—and to the truth about those fevered summers of long ago.

Another enjoyable read!  I'm on a roll!

Once again it takes place in England. (sigh)  When a young man, newly divorced, goes searching for information on an Artist that he was trying to write a book about, his life changes... a lot!

Most of the book is told a memories of an old lady who once knew the artist Charles Aubrey.   Her youth.  Her adoration. and her obsession with him.   All makes you wonder what's true and what's fantasy?!  You guess about half of the answers but that other half is doled out in small increments.  It keeps you coming back to see if you are right or wrong.    Sometimes you are right... for a while.  Then the story changes and maybe you aren't right!

Along with all her memories, there are some "new" Aubrey drawings that come up for sale of a man named Dennis.  Who is Dennis? No one seems to know.  I will say that eventually you find out, but I don't want to say too much or you'll know the who story.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit.  I believe this is the second book I've read by Katherine Webb.  The first being The Legacy, which I also enjoyed. And if I remember right, it also concerned old memories.  I like that format as you feel you are really learning  a lot about the character.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Tutor's Daughter


The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0764210696


Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?
The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.
When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor's daughter figure out which brother to blame. . .and which brother to trust with her heart?

A bit unexpected, and yet a very enjoyable read!

I must have chosen this book because I read the amazon review and saw it took place in Cornwall England!

It wound up being a sort of love story.  Something I don't generally read.  However Julie Klassen was so very excellent in her character building that any love story was secondary to all the other goings on.

I totally enjoyed getting to be in Cornwall, and getting to know all of the characters one fault, or one good part at a time.  The family mysteries that were involved kept me reading every time I sat down!   I never realized that I was so "nosey"! haha

Anyway..this is a very enjoyable book.  Easy reading.  And well developed characters.  I think, if you are like me, and not really gung ho for a romance novel but are character driven that you would enjoy this book!

Rip Has Come and Gone.....again!


This year, as before, I only sign up to read one book, but obviously I read more!

Once again Carl pulled off another RIP Challenge and once again those of use to love his challenges read a lot and left reviews on the RIP Review site.

This is a list of the books I read this year.............

1.Bone Bed..........................Patricia Cornwell.....(480 pgs)
2.The Unburied......................Charles Palliser......(400 pgs)
3.Others............................James Herbert.........(512 pgs)
4.The Witches.......................Roald Dahl............(240 pgs)

5..Red Mist..........................Patricia Cornwell........(544 pgs)
6.This House is Haunted.............John Boyne............(291 pgs)
7.Rustication.......................Charles Palliser............(323 pgs)
8.The Dark..........................James Herbert............(442 pgs)

This is the first time I've read Patricia Cornwell and enjoyed the books I read.  

I've read James Herbert before and liked him with The Others but found The Dark a bit overwhelming.

This was also my first time for Charles Palliser.    It seems I did "two" of many authors this time.

The books were all good or ok but nothing here to jump up and down about.   Of all these books I'd still put The Thirteenth Tale at the top of the list.

I hope everyone had a good time this year and found some really good books!  I know I added some to my wish list from reading reviews.

Until next year... Happy RIP !!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Dark


The Dark by James Herbert.

Paperback: 442 pages
Publisher: Pan Macmillan;(April 1, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0330522078

A blackness leaves its lair, and begins slowly to spread

It came like a malignant shadow with seductive promises of power. Somewhere in the night, a small girl smiled as her mother burned, asylum inmates slaughtered their attendants, and in slimy tunnels once-human creatures gathered. Madness raged as the lights began to fade, and humanity was attacked by an ancient, unstoppable evil.

This is my third book by James Herbert and I am sorry to say my least favorite.

The Dark seems to represent the evil in all our minds.  And we do all have good and evil in us. 

He writes very creepy and scary but this time I felt it was overkill.  I got tired of the mass descriptive killings.  But I read the whole book and intend on finding others by James Herbert.  For some reason, other than on Amazon I don't seem to find any of his books.

This is a really short review because I have so much to do to get this computer back to "normal" if it's even possible !!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Letters from Skye

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole.

Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 28, 2014)
ASIN: B00N4EKOXC  (287 pgs)


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.

Thank you Cath.  (my "sis" from across the pond)

Cath read and wrote a review of Letters from Skye and when I said it sounded like I might like it she agreed.... and so I found a used copy.

I sat down and read the first 30 pages and emailed Cath.. "30 pages in and I love it".

Later that evening I finished the entire book!   That is a first for me!  I have never read a whole book in one day! (ok, so maybe if you count comic books!)

I am not a person to read "love stories".  But I think when they come into my reading, in this case the format of letters intrigued me, that they are such a refreshing change that I like them. 

This one began innocently as a fan writes an author about liking her book. (hmmm, I've done that and now friends with Michael Scott of Ireland who wrote the Secrets of Nicholas Flamel series of books!..but he's way to young for me LOL)  Anyway..  A friendship blossoms and then slowly you learn of both of their lives.  Then comes WWI and their lives change.  I don't want to say much even though the above review does.

I found this book captivating from the first "letter" and now, like Cath, I would love to see the Isle of Skye!

Great book.  Fast read.  A book just to make you feel good!