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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.

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!

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)

 

 Amazon.com 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

Amazon

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.