Archive for December, 2007

Touchstone  by Laurie R King… (release date: Jan 2nd)

Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Bantam (December 26, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0553803557

When this book arrived, the first thing I noticed was it was heavy! Hmmm, a tpb this heavy?  Ah, well I see now.. 560 pages!  Still, it felt heavier than it looked.

I stroked my hand over the very smooth cover.  I liked the feel of this book.  I wonder if this is how all ARC books look and feel?

Then I opened the book.  The pages seemed thicker than normal, and the pages were white.  I mean REAL white, not a cream color like all the other books I own.  The print was super clear. 

Before I read the first word about this mystery book, I felt the book itself was a mystery!

There have been a number of books for which I wish I knew how to do a proper review, to do them the justice that they deserve.… this is one of them.  Therefore, before I speak of it for myself, this is the editorial review Amazon gave it.  At least it’s more professional than I can do..

Hailed for her rich and powerful works of psychological suspense as well as her New York Times bestselling mysteries, Laurie R. King now takes us to a remote cottage in Cornwall where a gripping tale of intrigue, terrorism, and explosive passions begins with a visit to a recluse upon whom the fate of an entire nation may rest—a man code-named . . .

It’s eight years after the Great War shattered Bennett Greys life, leaving him with an excruciating sensitivity to the potential of human violence, and making social contact all but impossible. Once studied by British intelligence for his unique abilities, Grey has withdrawn from a rapidly changing worlduntil an American Bureau of Investigation agent comes to investigate for himself Greys potential as a weapon in a vicious new kind of warfare. Agent Harris Stuyvesant desperately needs Grey’s help entering a world where the rich and the radical exist side by side—a heady mix of the powerful and the celebrated, among whom lurks an enemy ready to strike a deadly blow at democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here, among a titled family whose servants dress in whimsical costumes and whose daughter conducts an open affair with a man who wants to bring down the government, Stuyvesant finds himself dangerously seduced by one woman and—even more dangerously—falling in love with another. And as he sifts through secrets divulged and kept, he uncovers the target of a horrifying conspiracy, and wonders if he can trust his touchstone, Grey, to reveal the most dangerous player of all ….

Building to an astounding climax on an ancient English estate, Touchstone is both a harrowing thriller by a master of the genre and a thought-provoking exploration of the forces that drive history—and human destinies.

Ok? Good.. now let me say how I felt about it.

First you must know, this is a suspense mystery with much political background.  NOT what I would ever pick up and read!

Keeping this in mind I have to say that Laurie R King is such a magnificent writer that she kept me reading this book weather I wanted to or not!

This lady writes the most wonderful and interesting characters, that even if I am not 100% thrilled with the subject matter (politics in no shape or form !) she keeps me reading!

This book in many ways is no different than what she did to me in her Mary Russell books! She made me like it!  

Although Harris Stuyvesant is the investigator, and main character, she had my heart go out to Bennet Grey.  Not only was he heart-wrenching, he was a living time bomb waiting to explode! (there’s a pun in there, but you’ll have to read the book to understand it!)

Stuyvesant is an American working for the government, who travels to England to find a man he suspects has set off a number of bombs in America, one of them all but killed his brother, and this was a personal matter.  He has come at a turbulent time in England with miners striking and Unions ready to wage war.

He is led to a man named Major Aldous Carstairs.. whom you will dislike immediately! And not without reason!..   With Carstairs “help” he is introduced to Bennet Grey (who will steal your heart in one way or another).  With Greys help Stuyvesant believes he can infiltrate the group of people surrounding a man named Brunson, who he believes is the bomber.  Grey introduces him to his sister Sarah, (a noticed beauty to Harris), who in turn introduces him to Laura Hurleigh, daughter of a Duke, mistress to Brunsen, and a very highly intelligent and political person herself.

I can’t begin to tell you the twists and turns this story takes!  The homework Laurie King must have done to describe every moment in England and every detail of the House of Hurleigh must have been horrendous, because, trust me on this.. you think youare there!

I won’t even mention the twists and turns that happen at the end of this book!  I highly doubt you will figure it out along the way!   If you are even remotely interested in suspense thrillers, this book is for you! 

I doubt I ever would have sent for this book on my own, but I am very happy Vicki found me and offered me this ARC copy.. and I’m very happy to have it among my collection of Laurie R King books.

I will leave this review with a small, but significant, piece of Ms King’s wonderful work.  It’s the scene where Carstairs brings Stuyvesant to meet Bennet Grey.  To me, it was one of those “hooks” that says… ok, this is going to be interesting!  They stand a distance apart facing each other, Grey has an ax resting on his shoulder….

Major Aldous Carstair’s lazy smile deepened, and his voice when he spoke was low, almost intimate. “Captain Grey, it is so very good to see you again.  May I present Mr. Harris Stuyvesant from America?  Mr. Stuyvesant, Captain Bennett Grey.”

Stuyvesant looked from the sharpened steel on the man’s shoulder to the expressionon his face, and decided not to offer his hand.  “hi,” he said, his fingers sketching a wave.

Grey still hadn’t taken his eyes from the Englishman. “Major.”

It wasn’t that Carstairs didn’t hear that raw threat, Stuyvesant thought: The man’s face might be arranged into the fond expression of a parent indulging a child’s whim, but Stuyvesant was close enough to feel his tension- the muscles beneath that fancy coat were just waiting for the command to dive for the car.  Anyone less cold-blooded than Aldous Carstairs would have been sweating into his well-ironed white shirt.

But give the icy bastard credit: His voice gave away no trace of fear as he said, ” I believe, Captain Grey, that your precise words were, ‘If I lay eyes on you again, be prepared to die.’  However, before you come after me with that archaic weapon, I should hope you might listen to a request.  It concerns… your sister.”



As for the rest of the day: 

Sunday turned into another decent day for watching old movies that I always enjoy!

Treasure Island    1950   

Robert Newton as Long John Silver
Bobby Driscoll as Master Hawkins

It’s sad to think that Robert Newton died at the age of 50 from a heart attack, and Bobby Driscoll died at age 31 from heart problems!
Well after the movie was made Robert Newton renewed his part as Long John Silver on a tv series for 3 years just before he died. (I had such a crush on Robert Newton when I was a kid lol)

What came on later was:

Gullivers Travels   1996  

Ted Danson as Gulliver
Mary Steenburgen as his wife (and his real wife!)

I had forgotten how many stars played smaller parts in this movie!

Actors like:

Ned Beatty …  Farmer Grultrud
Alfre Woodard …  Queen of Brobdingnag
Edward Woodward …  Drunlo
Peter O’Toole …  Emperor of Lilliput
Warwick Davis …  Grildrig
John Gielgud …  Professor of Sunlight
Omar Sharif …  The Sorcerer

just to name a few!

so.. I had Stardust and Dinotopia  yesterday and Treasure Island and Gullivers Travels on Sunday!  Not too shabby a weekend for movies!


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Mail and Movies

Ya gotta love the mailman when he brings stuff like this!

The three standing books, The Search for the Red Dragon, Dragon Harper and Dragonhaven are what I bought with my gift certificate from my son and daughter in law!  Not a cent was spent by me!!  (ahhhh)

The book on it’s side, The Masterharper of Pern, I did buy.  It’s a used book and only cost 2.98!  I love all the Pern books and slowly but surely I am getting most of them in hardback.  This one is in fine condition for the price.  I will never be able to afford the original 3 books in hardback.  IF you can even find someone selling them, they are in the hundreds of dollars.

I plan to reread the first 6 Pern books (Dragonflight/ Dragonquest/ the White Dragon) and the 3 small following books (Dragonsong/ Dragonsinger/ Dragondrums) very soon and so this addition makes me feel good.  I may even have to toss this one in with the 6 others, hehMasterharper Robinton, (the main character of The Dragon Harper of Pern) is one of those characters I fell in love with and have never forgotten.   

I read these books for the first time so many years ago I can’t even remember.  My first copies of them, which were in paperback, have turned brown and brittle.. that might give you a hint of how long ago I first read them.  I replaced the original paperbacks with a one book (hardback), long long ago, put out by Doubleday.  This too is beginning to deteriorate, but not yet brown!  So.. now they only sell them in TPB, at good prices though.  Something like 12.89 for a single book with the first 3 stories and 5.98 and 2.98 for the other three. 

I hate to have to replace them again with paperbacks, even though they are at least TPB size.  These books are SOOOOOOOO WORTHY of republishing in hardback, the way they did for Dragonlance.  Ah well.. fersure, 3rd time in tpb will not be the charm, but one must do what one must do for those absolute favorite books!

Along with the reread of the 6 Pern books, I hope to reread a few other old series.  Among them will be the first 6 Dragonlance books. by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman,the original 3 Sword of Shannara books by Terry Brooks, and hopefully the 6 Thomas Covenant books by Stephen R Donaldson, and the 5 Belgaraid books by David Eddings

When I look at my TBR pile, I wonder if this is possible!

I do know that it’s time for me to revisit them, of this I have no doubt.  Wish me luck!

On a side note I watched the Stardust dvd (that i bought for my brother) on Saturday! 

When it began. and even the first half hour or so I found myself wondering if anyone who hadn’t read the book could follow it.  Of course I had no problem since I did read the book.  Overall I enjoyed the movie, like most movies from books, they left out some details, but the main parts were there and played by some very fine actors and actresses.  I enjoyed the movie.. I do have to admit that I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when  the witches boobs “drooped” LOL.. even thinking about it now makes me laugh lol..

It was a good Saturday.  Books and a good movie, can’t ask for much more than that!

ps: I wrote this post on Saturday for posting today… before the day was over I finished reading Touchtone by Laurie R King which I’ll post about tomorrow, then the series Dinotopia came on the sci-fi channel, in it’s entirety (4 hrs) and I watched the whole thing!!  It’s not the first time I’ve seen it.   Anyone else see it? I thought they did it pretty good for a television series, which it was originally.

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The year has nearly come to an end.  Gads, where does time go?? (and why does it go so fast for those of us of an older generation!?)

I noticed some other bloggers are summing up their year of reading, and thought I’d give it a go also.  I thought I had read 69 books but I noticed a book I didn’t put on my list.. then as I scanned over my books that are all around me, I did some checking and rechecking and found that there were a few others that somehow missed my list, and I knew I read them this year!.. I must have come upon a senior moment..or two.. or three. heh.

Anyway, I thought I’d begin with my top 10 list.  It turned into a top 12.  And I was doing good keeping it to that, for I really enjoyed nearly every book I read, and that made me feel good …not to have spent money and not enjoy a book is a bummer.

Top 10… (in no particular order)

Inkheart:   Cornelia Funke
Inkspell :   Cornelia Funke
 I will say these two Funke books were my Favorite of the year! I would attribute the fact that she writes so well and I enjoyed these books so much, that they made me read more books by YA authors!

Here There Be Dragons:   James A Owen
 A YA book that I totally enjoyed, with a bit of a surprise ending! The second in this series was just released! In Search of the Red Dragon and I can’t wait to read it!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:   J K Rowling
 What can I say? Harry, Harry, Harry.. got to love the kid! I am saddened that there will be no more Harry Potter books to look forward to.

The Thirteenth Tale:   Diane Setterfield
 Major surprise for enjoyment! I will read this again! A gothic type story with mysteries to be discovered as you go along.

The Moor:   Laurie R King 
 Another shocking surprise to myself! I never thought I’d like to read Sherlock Holmes, but Laurie King made him come to life again for me, and I really love the character of Mary Russell, Holmes’ wife!! Most excellent writer! (honorable mention goes to 3 other of her Mary Russell books that I read: The Beekeepers Apprentice, A Monstrous Regiment of Women, and A Letter of Mary.)

Water for Elephants:   Sara Gruen
 A sometimes sad recollection of a man who once worked for a circus. An Excellent book with moments of sad truth scattered throughout!

His Dark Materials:    Philip Pullman 
(The Golden Compass/The Subtle Knife/ The Amber Spyglass)
 I wasn’t sure I’d like these books, but I did! Very much so!

The Hound of the Baskerville’s:  Arthur Conan Doyle
 Thanks to Laurie R Kings books I attempted my favorite Holmes movie to read.  I wasn’t disappointed!

Bridge to Terabithia:    Katherine Patterson
 I had no idea what this book was “really” about when I started to read it.  It deserves the honors it has gotten!

and for simply entertainment and humor: Gil’s All Fright Diner:  A Lee Martinez
 I don’t “do” vampires and werewolves… but then ..I never thought they could make me laugh either!


Total books read in 2007… 73! (my all time highest !)
Short Stories.. 2
Bio/ non fiction: 2..

This coming year I am determined to reread some old favorites in between books from my TBR pile.

Below is a list of all the books I read this year…

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A Shout Out..

During this time of the Holidays and all sorts of good feelings.. I got to thinking.. yeah, dangerous I know!  But I thought I’d like to give a shout out to Peter Jackson and send him a huge hug and a really (REALLY) big Thank you!

As you know, I am a big Fantasy reader.. and a huge Fantasy and Sci Fi movie lover, and although we’ve been blessed with many of these movies, never have we had so many of them!!!  And I do believe it’s because of Peter Jackson’s great success with LOTR, and of course JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series.

Thanks to these folks we have such a great line up of movies I can hardly stand it.  When you come down to it.. it’s actually driving me nuts since I am so housebound and can’t get to the theaters like I would love to.

What brought this all to mind is, I read that Dragonlance, a group of 6 books that I love dearly, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is soon to be released on dvd.  Now, at first this thrilled me no end!  Wow! I will get to see Tanis and Raistlen and all the characters I have grown to love!!  But, alas *sigh* it’s going to be an animated version. (trailer can be seen here on youtube) So I am not sure if I’m excited or not… I surely would have rather seen a version of it done as LOTR was done!  But, wish as I may.. Dragonlance: Dragons of the Autumn Twilight will be released on dvd January 15th for 16.99

Anyway.. we do have some others to look forward to!

On Febuary 15th The Spiderwick Chronicles will be release in the movie theaters.  And on March  19th Inkheart will see it’s debut!

Meanwhile, not to be outdone…  in theaters RIGHT NOW, are:

The Golden Compass, The Water Horse Legend of the Deep, Enchanted, and The Kite Runner.

Oh! and least we forget!

(yeah right sure)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (due out May 22nd)

and the new Star Trek movie (yet unnamed) due out in December 2008.

There’s not one of these movies I wouldn’t want to own!  But mostly I wish I could see them all on the big screen.

So, Thank you Peter Jackson.. for having such love for the movies you make and for being such a great director, that everyone is jumping on the band wagon!

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Christmas came…

..And I SAW SANTA!!!!..

It seems that the same Fire Houses that came around just last week, were going around and giving out some presents to some less fortunate kids, and when I heard sirens ..again.. I looked out and this is what I saw!  Besides continually trying to save lives they have big hearts wouldn’t you say?!!

So.. Christmas came..

Besides the 3 Stroud books from my girlfriend Annie, and the ARC book from Laurie R King, (which I am reading right now) I also managed to get an Amazon gift certificate from my son and daughter in law!!  Today I intend on sending for the new McCaffrey book, Dragon Harper, and the new James A Owen book, Search for the Red Dragon.   After that I have enough left over to get Dragonhaven ! (and I don’t have to spend a cent!!!) 

 So, it was a book kind of Christmas! (no complaints here!)  My brother and David gave me money. (always a good gift!)  So of course I made a small order from Bookcloseouts (cheap!)  Heh.. Ordered 3 books.. Rocketman,(Pete Conrad’s ride to the Moon)  Hood, and a book on Peter Jackson.   So… my TBR pile will have grown considerably!!

Now, strangely, one might think I am going to read one new book after another.. and normally, this would be true… but..  for some time now I’ve had this urge to read some old friends. (re reads) and as soon as I am done with what I am reading now, (Touchstone) I think I will grab a hold of an old friend and do a little rereading. And then some new.. and then some rereads.

I think I’ve read so many new books this year (and have enjoyed just about every single one), that I feel as if I am loosing the books that got me to love reading so much.  I miss so many characters lately, and I want them back, firm in my mind again.  There are a few trilogies I want to reread so I really think I’m going to start that and just alternate back and forth between new and old for a while. 

I will also cut back on new purchases, at least until March, as I am trying to save some money so I might go to the Trek Convention due around the 7th of March.  So cross your fingers that I can accomplish this !  (of course this does NOT mean that I won’t continue adding to my wish list!! heh.)  So.. we shall see …

Anyway, Christmas was quiet and good..(the only Christmas movie I saw today was Patrick Stewarts version of Scrooge)  just the way I hoped it would be, and now it’s on to the New Year! (groan) I can’t believe another year is gone!

I hope everyone had a most wonderful Christmas, and that the year to come is the best one ever!

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I just finished reading The Dragon Quintet by multiple authors.  They were: Orson Scott Card, Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Moon and Michael Swanwick.

I really like the cover on this book.. and the fact it was to be stories about, or concerning dragons drew me to purchasing it.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (January 13, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0765311364

I won’t report on all of the stories, but I’ll mention a few here…

The first story was by Orson Scott Card, a favorite author to a number of folks I have gotten to know..  the story was called In The Dragon’s House.

This was (to me) a strange story, centered around the house itself, which was a big old Victorian mansion containing turrets, steep pitched roofs, and gargoyles, one of which is a dragons head, and a young boy who had come to live with distant relatives, at a very young age, when his parents died.

The boy has a spot on the stairs, that when he sits there he becomes warm feeling and thinks he hears and see’s things that he doesn’t fully understand.  When he becomes a bit older he finds his way up to a attic room where the original builder of the house had electric trains set up that seemed to come to life.. along with what he see’s as a tiny miniature dragon.  He knows then that the feelings and things he’s seen have come from this room and the dragon and is drawn it.  What he doesn’t know is that it can take over his life.

I can’t say the story drew me in.. or that I felt I would have liked to read more.. I guess I was a bit disappointed.  I’m not sure what I expected from the short stories in this book, other than they would be about dragons.

In another story, by Elizabeth Moon, called Judgment, a young boy, named Tam and an Elder find a smooth stone that looks like an egg.  When they find a second such stone the Elder breaks it open to find “pretties” (crystal type inners) he gives a shard to the young boy as a present, saying they are valuable, and since he is to marry the Elders daughter it will help them.  But soon after the Elder begins to change from a kind person to one of meanness and power hungry.He accuses the boy of being a thief and takes back the shard and has Tam and his mother expelled from the town.  As Tam and his mother wander, looking for a place to live some Dwarves find them and ask for what is not theirs to be returned to them.  The find out that the round stones are dragon eggs and each little shard will in turn take over a humans body and become a dragon. 

This story I enjoyed a bit more. The characters were more to my liking and so was the story.. but still it did not make me want to read more than it was.

The only story in the book I can say I felt as if I wanted to read more of was the one by Mercedes Lackey called Joust.  Joust is about a young boy named Vetch, who is a serf  to a man who like to beat his help.  While his master is beating him a Jouster named Ari see’s it and takes the boy with him to be his helper with his dragon Kashet.  As the story unfolds Vetch learns much from Ari on why he is different from the other Jousters and why his Dragon Kashet is much tamer.  Vetch takes what he learns and puts it to his own advantage and by the end of this short story has bonded with a baby dragon.

I knew before I even looked around in Amazon that Mercedes had a group of books out called Joust and so I searched them out to see that indeed her first “full book” is a full length of this same short story.. there are 4 books to this series and I read the descriptions of them and, for now they are on my wish list…but still not really certain I will wind up getting them.  But of all the stories in this Dragon Quintet, Joust was (to me) the best to my liking.

I think I’ve learned my lesson though.. I’ve always said short stories are not my thing and since trying this twice (once with a book called Wizards, and now this one) I am sure I won’t get more books of short stories.  Though I have enjoyed a number of them overall I am more disappointed than I am happy I’ve read the books, obviously, they are not for me.  That being said, I do feel that if you are someone who enjoys short stories, and like stories that concern dragons, then this might be a book you’d enjoy!

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Wow!  My ARC copy of Laurie R King’s new book (not yet released) Touchstone” came yesterday.. and it’s a big book! lol

Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Bantam (December 26, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0553803557

Since I am reading a book at the moment, and then the Holidays are upon us, I don’t think I will get to it until that’s all over with, but I am excited to get it and can’t wait to read it!!

I never thought of mysteries are something I would read, but Laurie’s Mary Russell novels I’ve just loved, so I don’t think I will have any troubles with this book.  I am most grateful that Vicki found my blog and offered to me!  I feel sure I will be telling you all how good it is so that those who love this type of book will want to read it too.

In Other book News I must say I am anxiously awaiting two other releases by other authors..

Dec. 26th will bring out Anne and Todd McCaffrey’s Dragon Harper,

and  James A Owen’s second book The Search For the Red Dragon  has just been released!

So as soon as the Dragon Harper is out I will send for both of those books.. I can hardly   wait!  (I wouldn’t have waited for Red Dragon, except.. well, ya’know, I need enough for free shipping.  It’s a MUST around here to save any penny… so I can order even more books later!)


As I was writing this post I heard sirens…   it sounded like more than normal.  My ear tuned to what I generally hear which is: first sirens, followed by the engine honking it’s horn so that it might go thru an intersection…..  the sirens silenced and I never heard the honking, and I glanced outside..

Goodness!  They were across the street!..

… a little closer picture on the, always oh so brave, Firemen

I saw no smoke, but they did have one of the hoses out.  I’m not even sure which house had a problem, but as it turned out it wasn’t a big problem.. thankfully!  I’m just glad that something awful didn’t happen and a family wind up without a home for Christmas.. or worse.

As it turns out.. Friday is a good day for the family across the street!!

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The Tour

As all good brothers would do, Kester gave Woody a look-see around my room…

When they were done touring , I gave the boys an important taking to!…

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The Arrival

You are about to witness the birth of a Poppet!..

I can tell you it’s a boy!  And his name will be:  Woody!

Woody came wrapped in love and softness.  His arrival was quick and not very painful…..  (he even came with his first toy!  a Jax!)


Gently he began to emerge…

His soft surrounding lovingly peeled away to reveal his inner casing.

Once outside he looks back…  For a brief moment he misses his soft and glittery packaging, but it’s not to last long…

Quickly Kester comes to greet his new brother!  Oh Happy Day, to have a new brother just in time for Christmas!!!

They spent some time getting aquatintedKester all in Red and Woody all in Green.. the Christmas spirit was apparent!

Before they head off to find mischief, Woody takes Kester to visit the card from Carl, announcing his birth!.. 

“Look,” said Woody, “It snowed on my Birth day!”

The “kids” took off after this photo session.. I’ll find them later, I’m not worried.. after all, what sort of trouble can 2 boys get into?  (I just hope I have a house left when I find them!)

So.. the truth of the matter is, that dear, dear Carl gave me an Honorable Mention in a photo contest he held and Woody is my prize!!  How cool is that?!! 

Thank you, Thank you Carl.. you sure had a safe bet sending me a poppet as a prize!!! hahaha.. not that I ever left any hints about liking them mind you..heh.  Well.. maybe a little.

I love Woody!  I had plans of getting a second Poppet after the Holidays, since buying for myself this month is a no-no .  But now I have him and he and Kester are going to be the best of brothers!!

I don’t know if you know this (Chris does) that I once wrote a story called Kesterwood… my two poppets are named after the story:  Kester and Woody (yeah, yeah, bad pun.. but can you see me grinning?! hehe)

Once again Carl has chosen the perfect “prize”.. and I am more than delighted!!!  (gosh! I am mother to two sons again!)

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