(Book 2 for Once Upon a Time)

Grimpow : The Invisible Road by Rafael Abalos.

Hardcover: 452 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (2007)
ISBN-10: 9026131755

From School Library Journal

When a 14th-century peasant boy stumbles onto a mysterious corpse, his life is inexorably altered. From the hand of the dead knight, Grimpow extracts a talisman that turns out to be no less than the famed philosopher’s stone over which kings and popes have tortured and killed in order to gain its possession and its powers. Hiding from the Inquisition in a local abbey, Grimpow discovers that the stone enables him to read and learn at a remarkable pace, but he is filled with the sense that he must fulfill a quest begun by the mysterious knight. Setting out as squire to a dashing young noble, Grimpow must not only solve riddles posed by the stone, but also survive brutal battles to keep it. This attempt at high fantasy leans heavily on the current fascination for tales of the Knights Templar, enigmatic quests, and young boys with special powers. However, a plodding story line that weaves in too many threads (the Inquisition, Copernican and Galilean theories of astronomy and alchemy, among others) without explanation will leave readers baffled and struggling to make sense of all the drama. Add an abrupt and unsatisfying ending and this becomes, at best, an additional purchase.—Sharon Grover

This book has been sitting in the tbr pile so long that I don’t even remember "how long"!

There was quite a bit about this book that I enjoyed.  Things involved in the book are: The Philosophers Stone, Monks, Castles, Knights , a huge mystery: in search of Wisdom, the Secret of the Wise.   To use a quote: Wisdom rises from the ashes and leads humanity to a new future".  Much more interesting then searching for a treasure of wealth.

Most of this book I really enjoyed, but sadly I have to agree with the Amazon review saying that "an abrupt and unsatisfying ending" was the only thing that damped an otherwise enjoyable book.   I guess in it’s defense I have to tell you that the book is a "translation from Spanish"… so something might have gotten lost in the translation.

On the plus side the characters were interesting and the author made some unexpected secrets about them along the way which made the book a good read despite the ending.

The Screaming Staircase

(Book 1 for Once Upon a Time)

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion;(August 26, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1423186923

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.
In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

Description of book:  Twelve year old *ghostbusters*.

*Sigh*.. I guess this book would have worked better for RIP, however, there’s plenty of fantasy fiction to the story!

I’ve read  Jonathan Stroud’s  The Bartimaeus Trilogy, which I really liked. So, I thought I’d give this a try.

The book was very enjoyable, and I had only one problem with it.  The dialogue did not sound like "kids".  It wasn’t overly "adult" but it just didn’t sound age appropriate.

It is a fast read, and I think YA’s will really enjoy this book.  Stroud is a good writer and has a good imagination.

Actually my problem with it might have been that I’ve been reading mysteries for quite a stretch now and this is the first of this kind that I’ve read in quite a while.  Big change to say the least!

Small Book Meme

My friend, Cath,  put up a short book meme…I haven’t seen a meme in forever so I guess I’ll give it a shot!


1. What was your favorite book during childhood?

Hmmm, not an easy question because my memory sucks!  To be honest the first books I really remember reading were Zane Grey books! (yeah cowboys, sheesh)

2.What is your favorite book now?

I’m not sure who made this meme but do they really expect ONE book title??!! Quite a number of books seem to stick with me.  The Dragon Rider of Pern series are probably at the top.  But many others I can’t forget either, like Drood by Dan Simmons, and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows, oh and my favorite Biography is called Stan and Ollie by Simon Louvish.



3. What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?

Wow.. hard question.  Maybe, To Kill a Mockingbird. 

4. Do you prefer checking out books from the library or buying them?

Buying them. (mostly at thrift stores) I am not one for enjoying returning books, I feel the "pressure" of a time limit.


5. Have you ever been let down by a book that was highly recommended to you?

Not many recommendations come my way… but one I know I never read much of was The Time Travelers Wife. But it’s certainly not the only book I never finished!

Once Upon a Time..

Well, well… it must be Spring because Carl, at Stainless Steel Droppings, has once again started his Once Upon a Time Challenge!

Since I go berserk if I "commit" to things I will choose to only do "The Journey". (read one book)  But I never do just one! But I enjoy it all better "uncommitted" heh.

Anyway: his rules are:

Rule #1: Have fun.

Rule #2: HAVE FUN.

Rule #3: Don’t keep the fun to yourself, share it with us, please!

Rule #4: Do not be put off by the word “challenge”. (he knows me well!)

Books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time categories. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

To find out more click on the link above to go to Carl’s blog.

I have a number of books around here to choose from but truth be told it could be one of these, all of these, or none of these!  I could very well decide on a reread of something I love…..But I grabbed this group out for a snapshot.

They include a Weis & Hickman trilogy called Dragonships, the first book in a trilogy from Jonathan Stroud called Lockwood & Co., two books I bought at an antique place (well illustrated and translated by Mark Scott, Pat Chandor and Dave Woodward) Krystonian Adventures they come from England. I also have the first two books of Robin Hobb of the Rain Wilds Chronicles.  All pictured above. 

So.. we shall see what happens during Once Upon a Time, why don’t you join in on the fun ?!!

Girl on The Cliff

Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley.

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Atria Books;(October 30, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1451655827


From the author of the #1 international bestseller The Orchid House, the mesmerizing story of two Irish families entangled by a tragic past that seems destined to repeat itself
To escape a recent heartbreak in New York, Grania Ryan returns to her family home on the rugged, wind-swept coast of Ireland. Here, on the cliff edge in the middle of a storm, she meets a young girl, Aurora Lisle, who will profoundly change her life.
Despite the warnings Grania receives from her mother to be wary of the Lisle family, Aurora and Grania forge a close friendship. Through a trove of old family letters dating from 1914, Grania begins to learn just how deeply their families’ histories are entwined. The horrors of World War I, the fate of a beautiful foundling child, and the irresistible lure of the ballet give rise to a legacy of heartache that leaves its imprint on each new generation. Ultimately, it will be Aurora whose intuition and spirit may be able to unlock the chains of the past.
Sweeping from Edwardian England to present-day New York, from the majestic Irish coast to the crumbling splendor of a legendary London town house, The Girl on the Cliff introduces two remarkable women whose quest to understand their past sends them toward a future where love can triumph over loss.

This was an enjoyable read.  I always like "mysteries" with lots of family secrets !

It just seems that the books I’ve had lately all include a love story.  I’m not real keen on romance books but as long as they are in the background with secrets or murder surrounding it they don’t seem to be to awfully "romantic" after all. A bit of a surprise at the ending which always helps.   The background story itself is doled out in increments, by Grania’s mother, and small writing’s by "the person telling the story" was different and I liked it.

No big horror’s or murders but still a book I enjoyed.

Lewis Carroll: A Biography by Morton N Cohen.

Paperback: 577 pages
Publisher: Vintage (November 26, 1996)
ISBN-10: 0679745629

From Library Journal

In his time, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was known to the world as an outstanding pioneer photographer of children, particularly of female children, as well as for being the author Lewis Carroll. One of Dodgson’s "child-friends," Alice Lidell, served as the inspiration for his literary Alice. These child-friend associations subjected Dodgson to public scrutiny, gossip, and suspicion concerning his emotional and sexual proclivities, suppressed though they may have been. Dodgson chose to "let them talk." Biographer Cohen (Lewis Carroll: Interviews and Recollections, Univ. of Iowa Pr., 1988) uses previously unavailable family and personal documents, diaries, and letters to show that the shy bachelor Dodgson, Oxford mathematics don and lecturer, held himself to the strictest of moral codes. While Lewis Carroll has been probed and analyzed by countless writers (see, for instance, John Pudney’s Lewis Carroll and His World, 1976), this book is about the intimate and complex life of the man behind all those who lived on the other side of the looking glass

Now and then I enjoy reading biographies or autobiographies, so when I saw this book in on of those many thrift shops, looking brand spankin’ new and with that great cover.. I brought it home!   But even that great cover didn’t make the book any better.

Three times I was ready to give up on it…it seemed to just keep repeating itself over and over about the fact that Charles Dodgson (C.S. Lewis) had this thing for very young girls.  But when reading between the lines one can be pretty assured that he certainly had deep feelings for girls under puberty age, that nothing happened except the told stories and all the children grew up still loving him.. which they would not do if he was not anything but exceptionally kind to them.

I did learn something I never knew and that was that Dodgson when to Oxford as a Mathematician and grew in his speciality to Professor and a Don.  He met many people who also was at Oxford such as Tennyson but always he tried to make acquaintances with those who had young children.

Besides lecturing about Math (which was not easy as Dodgson had a slight stutter), he became prolific in photography.  Back then it meant he had to have his own dark room to work the negative immediately after taking a photo.

Dodgson was a very strange man. Up to the end he would rather have dinner with a 12 yr old than anyone he might know.

I am going to admit that of the 577 pages in this book I thoroughly read about 400 and then I started skimming to the end.  I wish the author mentioned things that were also happening in the world that might have had an affect on Dodgson, which was something that was neglected.   Giving a quick search on Amazon I see there are many biographies on C.S. Lewis…I don’t think I am interested enough to try a different author but if you are interested, I might try one other then this one.  But then again, to someone else this one might be the best one!  (heh, glad I could help in your decision! )

The QPB Companion to the Lord of the Rings edited by Brandon Geist.

Paperback: 104 pages
Publisher: Quality Paperback Book Club;(2001)
ISBN-10: 0965307883


This handy volume is more than just a footrest to the snug club chair that is THE LORD OF THE RINGS; it is a friend who drops by to share choice gossip about one of your favorite subjects. The storied reality behind the classic fantasy – curious creator, the sword-crossing critics, the "deplorable cultus" … will not capative Tolkien enthusiasts but amuse those who "just don’t get it". The book first introduces us to the author, whom The New York Times described as "the tweedist and most persnickety of Oxford philologists; a man who said of himself, ‘I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size).’ We then hear from a host of other critics…..

So, once again I find this little gem in a thrift store for .50 cents.   Not 100% sure of the contents I took it home anyway and read it yesterday. (very small book  104 pages)   I am not sure why it’s called a "companion".  What this book is, is… Other authors of "high caliber" (such as Tolkien was : an Oxford Professor/a Don) .   All of which wrote a few pages on what they thought of Tolkien and mostly what they thought of his writing of The Lord of The Rings.

I was surprised at how many of the few that wrote for this book thought that his writing / his story, was of a high grade.  A number of them thought it nothing more than childish trash and could not understand why it stood the test of time and has done so well. 

My thoughts after reading both the good and the bad was that I wondered why they were trying to figure out what was going through Tolkien’s mind as he wrote it.  ?  They all seemed to either think it trash and not give it a second thought OR they all thought they had to figure out all the "hidden messages" in the story.

Most all of the writings were of LOtR and few mentioned the Hobbit.  If it is true then the one thing I learned was it is a falsehood that Tolkien wrote the Hobbit for his son.  He just plain wrote a "child’s story".

Anyway…I did find their opinions interesting.  … and to be honest those who tore down Tolkien’s writing sounded more like their own ego then anything else lol… but still.. for .50 cents, it was interesting!


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