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Archive for December, 2008

2008 A Year of Reading

This year was a personal all time high number for my reading.

However, I will admit, that until last year I never kept a list to know what or how many books I read.  But until last year I can tell you it was maybe a book or two a month at most. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to read more, I was just unable to.  I was pretty busy taking care of my disabled brother. And when I wasn’t doing that I was (for 3 yrs) writing  my own fantasy story.  Now, I can’t write anything publish worthy, but there was this story inside me fighting to get out.. and so I wrote.  Then I edited. and edited. and edited. (sigh)

Then about two years ago I went and discovered Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings .  I met all sorts of people who enjoyed reading!    When First I discovered Carl he was holding a challenge to read Fantasy Books.  Fantasy books were “my thing!”   So, I began clicking on the link left and reading all the reviews by so many nice people.

And my wishlist began to grow.

…and grow.

And my TBR pile, which up until then was maybe 3 books, began to grow.

…and grow.

…and grow.

…and grow.

I wound up with a list of at least 50 (more actually) blogs that I’d visit everyday and read their reviews.  And when they didn’t have reviews, I read their blogs then too!

I “adopted” a son!

I made a good friend, across the pond.

I made more friends and lots of people who’s blogs I really enjoy!

Last year was the first year I kept a tally of the books I read.  I believe it was 72.  That alone blew me away.  72!!  I was shocked!

There were many people who read many more books than I did, but that’s ok.. I am very happy at the amount I do read.  I’m not a speed reader and I don’t push myself to read more.. I just read because I enjoy the books. 

This year I surpassed the 72 and read 101 books!  I am once again amazed!

Most are Fantasy Fiction, but not all.  I also enjoy a biography or autobiography now and then, and enjoy reading about the early days of making motion pictures and the stars of that era, and I learned that I like some Gothic mystery along the way.

I did something else this year that I promised myself I would do and that was to reread some of my favorite books, which I did! 23 of the 100 books were books that I reread this year.  I still have some more old favorites that I plan to reread this year, but probably not as many as last year.

Of the new books  (I have to say that because of course I’d choose all the reread books.. duh, that’s why I reread them because I really like them!) I read this year there are some that really stand out.  This doesn’t mean they are for everyone, but they were good for me, and I know one day they will be books I will reread again.

Some of them are (in no specific order):

1- James A Owens books: Here There Be Dragons, The Search for the Red Dragon and the Indigo King.

2- Johathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy: Amulet of Samarkland, The Golems Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate.

3- Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell books: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice,  Oh, Jerusalem, Monstrous Regiment of Women,  Letter of Mary,  The Moor, Justice Hall, The Game,and Locked Rooms.

4- Diane Setterfield: The Thirteenth Tale

5- Simon Louvish: Stan & Ollie

6- Laura Amy Schlitz: A Drowned Maiden’s Hair: A Melodrama 

7- Clare B Dunkle trilogy: The Hollow Kingdom, Close Kin and In the Coils of the Snake.

8- Elizabeth Kostova: The Historian

9- Cornelia Funke’s Trilogy: Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath

10- L.M. Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables

Of these I think my favorite came as a real surprise to me…  it would be Stan & Ollie by Simon Louvish. I still can’t quite get that book out of my mind.  Running close to being a tie for first place would be Johathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy.  Also, I would add The Thirteenth Tale which I reread this year and enjoyed every bit as much as the first time I read it.

The one (or two) books I’d put on the worst read list are: On the Edge of the Dark Sea by Andrew Peterson and Runemarks by Joanne Harris.

Of all my read only 6  were nonfiction.

42 were written by women!  Wow, I never choose a book by the sex of the author, but a big part of this was because I reread several McCaffrey/ Pern books and more Laurie R King, Mary Russell books.. oh and Cornelia Funke.  They pretty much took over the bulk of my reading this year.  I have a few more Pern books to reread this year and sometime this year Laurie R King comes out with yet another Mary Russell book!!

The only books I read by both a man and woman authors were my rereads from Dragonlance… 6 books by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

So there you have it… that’s my year of reading.

and now on to 2009!..

 

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Abhorsen

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (April 22, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0061474339

 

From Publishers Weekly
An explosive prologue sets the stage for Nix’s riveting continuation of the story begun in Sabriel and Lirael. While newcomers might find the intricate plotting and the rituals of the Charter Magic off-putting at first, Nix rewards their efforts. Returning characters Lirael, former Second Assistant Librarian of the Clayr and now an Abhorsen-in-Waiting (the Abhorsen’s “birthright and charge [is] to maintain the borders of Life and Death”), and her nephew, Prince Sameth, along with Disreputable Dog and the mysterious white cat, Mogget, are ensorcelled in the Abhorsen House by a Dead creature, Chlorr of the Mask, who is in league with the evil necromancer Hedge. They break out to try and rescue Sam’s old friend, Nicholas Sayre, who has been tricked by Hedge into digging up Orannis, the Destroyer; if Hedge’s plan succeeds, the evil now contained by two separate hemispheres will join and annihilate all life. The grotesque imagery of the Death realm provides a haunting note, which Nix offsets by the brightness of the main characters’ quest to defeat the Destroyer. At once an allegory regarding war and peace and a testament to friendship, this thought-provoking fantasy also resolves the true identities of the popular Dog and Mogget characters-and suggests that Nix may still have more tricks up his sleeve.

The Abhorsen is the final book in this series, by Garth Nix.

I enjoyed book one, Sabriel, and was saddened when book two had very little of her in the story.   A jump of 14 years is not what I expected!

But, truth be told…I enjoyed book two, Lirael.  It took me  a few chapters but I found I liked Lirael and Sam, the two young people who did not know why they felt so out of place and wondered where life would lead them.

In book 3, Abhorsen, we find out where life leads the two young people, and much more.  Throughout the story there is a cat named Moggot and then a dog both of which you get the impression there is more than meets the eye, and in the final book you also finally find out about them.  The evil in book 3 has no name until the end of the book which made it more scary since you were never sure what sort of power you were fighting. This series of books was different from anything I’ve read…. but it had some interesting characters, and that’s generally what keeps me reading.

Also in both Lirael and Abhorsen, Sabriel and Touchstone have small parts, but at least they aren’t just dropped from the story.

This was a good trilogy.  I can’t say I’d call it one of my all time favorites, but I did enjoy them.  I had no trouble wanting to continually pick up any of the books and read more, and after a fairly long stretch of reads that were not satisfying at all, this was a welcome read! 

Thank you Chris for sending me Sabriel which put me on track to reading this series of books!!

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Journey to the Moon

Since many seemed interested in the fact that I had ordered From Earth To The Moon I thought I’d post my old website here on my blog…

It’s a day in my life I will never, ever, forget………

 

 August 13th, 2005.. A day that dreams are made of.
Gathered in one room were many Astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo flights into space. A number of them stood on the moon looking back at the “Blue Planet” known as Earth, while others took space walks, learned to dock at Skylab, and lived in space for countless days. They are my “Hero’s” one and all.

Photo 1:   Mr. Alan Bean (born March 15, 1932).
1966/ Capcom for Gemini 6,7,& 11/ Spacewalk. 1969/ Apollo 12/ 2nd man to walk on the moon. 1973/ Commander of Skylab 3/ in space for 59 days.
A published book of Mr. Bean’s paintings is available: Apollo: An Eyewitness account by Astronaut/ Explorer/Artist/ Moonwalker by Alan Bean & Andrew Chalkin

Photo 2:   Mr Richard “Dick” Gordon (born October 5, 1929).
1966/ Gemini 11 Pilot/ 2 Spacewalks. 1969/ Apollo 12 Command Module Pilot. 

Photo 3:  Mr.Buzz Aldrin (born January 30, 1930).
1966/ Gemini 12/ Pilot/ Spacewalk. 1969/ Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot/ 2nd man to walk on the moon.
Mr. Aldrin has a book out named: Reaching for the Moon.

Photo 4:  Mr. Walt “Wally” Schirra (born March 12, 1923).
1962 Mercury 8 Pilot. 1965 Gemini 6 Command Pilot.
Look for Mr. Schirra’s book: Schirra’s Space

Photo 5:  Mr. Walter Cunningham (born March 16, 1932).
1968/ Apollo 7. Performed rendezvous exercises, propulsion tests and system tests.

Photo 6:  Mr. Russell “Rusty” Schweickart (born October 25, 1935).
1969/ Apollo 9/ Spacewalk and tested Lunar Module.

 

Photo 7:  Mr. Edgar Mitchell (born September 17,1930).
1971/ Apollo 14/Lunar Module Pilot/ 6th man to walk on the moon.
Mr. Mitchell authored a book called: The Way of the Explorer.

Photo 8:  Mr. David Scott (born June 6, 1932).
1966/ Mercury 8 Pilot. 1969/ Apollo 9 Command Module Pilot. 1971/ Apollo 15/ 7th man to walk on the moon.
Mr. Scott wrote of his explorations, look for: Two Sides of the Moon.

Photo 9:  Mr. Scott Carpenter (born May 1, 1925).
1962/ Mercury-Atlas 7/ second manned flight.
Mr. Carpenter’s book is called: For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut.

Photo 10: The Small Blue Planet.

These are the men I’d run home from school to watch blastoff or splashdown.  I’d cry with each successful mission.

These are the men that walked on the moon.  … a real science fiction story come true!

These are my hero’s.

 

Astronauts from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs who have since passed away ….

Charles Bassett Gemini program (no flights) 2/28/1966 training mission plane crash

Roger Chaffee Apollo 1 1/27/1967 Apollo 1 fire

Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad Gemini 5 & 11, Apollo 12, Skylab 2 7/7/1999 motorcycle accident

Gordon Cooper Mercury 9, Gemini 5 10/4/2004 natural causes

Donn Eisele Apollo 7 12/2/1987 heart attack

Ronald Evans Apollo 17 4/6/1990 heart attack

Theodore Freeman Gemini program (no flights) 10/31/1964 training mission plane crash

Edward Givens Apollo program (no flights) 6/6/1967 automobile accident

Virgil ‘Gus’ Grissom Mercury 4, Gemini 3, Apollo 1 1/27/1967 Apollo 1 fire

Jim Irwin Apollo 15 8/8/1991 heart attack

Stuart Roosa Apollo 14 12/12/1994 pancreatitis

Wally Schirra Mercury 8, Gemini 6, Apollo 7 5/3/2007
Alan Shepard Mercury 3, Apollo 14 7/21/1998 leukemia

Donald ‘Deke’ Slayton Mercury program (no flights), Apollo-Soyuz 6/13/1993 brain tumor

Elliot See Gemini program (no flights) 2/28/1966 training mission plane crash

John Swigert Apollo 13 12/27/1982 cancer

Edward White Gemini 4, Apollo 1 1/27/1967 Apollo 1 fire

Clifton Williams Gemini program (no flights) 10/5/1967 training mission plane crash

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Christmas 2008

I guess since others are posting their Christmas gifts I will do the same!

First are “blogger” gifts that I’ve shown already but deserve a second look (especially because the candy will be gone really quick! )

This consists of “ladybug” poppet from Carl, luscious Belgian candy from my adopted son, Chris , and a lovely picture book of Dartmoor, from my newly acquired “sister” in England, Cath!

I’ve read my little book a few times already, Ladybug has made herself at home, and as you can see.. the candy is almost gone!  heh..

My son George and Kat, his wife and Brent my grandson gave me a gift certificate from Amazon (gee, now where could they have gotten an idea like that???).  I have to use web photo’s because what I purchased is “in the mail”

When I went “shopping” I made out really, REALLY ,well!

First I chose a book I knew I’d get sooner or later because I absolutely love Christopher Plummer called In Spite of Myself.    Then I thought I’d look around in the books on sale and found Scarlet, which is book 2 of Lawheads King Ravon trilogy.  It was on sale from 17.98 down to 8.99!! Oh yeah! We do like sales on books we want anyway!!

The paperback of David Copperfield was also on sale for only 8.95!  It’s not one I am going to jump right into but I’ve been wanting some Charles Dickens and so I chose now to send for it.

Then I found the biggest deal of all !…

From Earth to the Moon This is the HBO mini series that Tom Hanks did.  It’s five dvd’s and originally was selling for 59.95… it was on sale for 19.99!  I knew the chances of my ever getting it for 60.00 wasn’t very good but I kept it on my wish list anyway.. and there is was… 19.00.. ohhhhhhh yes!  It called to me!   All of that and all I had to add to my gift certificate was 7.00!!  (can you see me smiling?)  I just love anything to do with the early space program, and most especially  Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo and our journey to the moon, and the men that did it. 

So it won’t be long and the three books will be added to the HUGE pile of TBR books I have and I will have 5 dvds to watch!!

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas, lots to eat, fabulous company and lots and lots of goodies to open!

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Lirael

Lirael by Garth Nix

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (April 22, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0061474347

 

 Amazon.com Review
Fourteen years have passed since the necromancer Sabriel bound the Greater Dead Adept Kerrigor beyond the Ninth Gate and helped restore King Touchstone to the Old Kingdom throne. Now she rules at his side as Abhorsen, the sole necromancer of the Old Kingdom, keeping the people safe from the dark power of Free Magic. But this is not just Sabriel’s tale. It is also the story of Hedge, a mysterious necromancer who is digging up a monstrous evil that could utterly destroy the Old Kingdom. And it is the story of Prince Sameth, Touchstone and Sabriel’s only son, who would rather fight an entire army of Dead than disappoint his beloved parents. And Sam’s friend Nick, who has unknowingly loosed Free Magic into the Old Kingdom, blissfully ignorant of its complete malevolence. But mostly, this is the tale of Lirael, the only daughter of the future-seeing Clayr who does not possess the Sight. Burying the pain of her Sightlessness in the Clayr’s great library, Third Assistant Librarian Lirael’s insatiable curiosity will soon lead her to an unbelievable destiny that may even be connected with that of the great Sabriel herself.

Once again Amazon did a good review of the book..

When I began book 2, Lirael, I was disappointed that the story seemed to be about someone new and not a continuation of Sabriel, who I felt I needed to know more about.

But instead it jumps ahead 14 years!  It was probably close to half way thru the book before  we see Sabriel once again, but by then I have gotten myself involved with Lirael and Sam. 

Both young people wanted different things then what was being handed to them from life.

Sam did NOT want to be the Abhorsen in Waiting… he was afraid of death , and afraid to go into death. (it sounds strange but you’ll understand if you read the books)

Lirael was the daughter of a Clayr, but no matter how many years passed she did not get the “sight” that the other Clayr had, and though she was showing other talents, she was very unhappy not having the Sight.

Strange happenings send Lirael out into the world to help and she happens upon Sam who has run away to try to help his friend.

Lirael moves along with many more things going on than in book one with Sabriel and upon it’s ending left me ready to jump right into book 3, Abhorsen.  

I can’t say that this is an all time favorite series for me, but only because I am not into characters that are similar to the walking dead or vampire types.  Thankfully there are enough  “normal” (??) characters to keep me interested.

I am thankful for this series since the last few books I’ve read before getting into this series has been less than satisfying. 

Now I hope the Abhorsen is a good as the first two books and I will be quite satisfied with this series!

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Sleepy-time Pal

The weather outside was too much for BooBoo.. he decided to chill out and take over my bed!

Winkey thought he should share the bed .. he kept his eye on her!

No matter where she went… there he was watching!

They both decided they needed a nap!

Maybe when they wake up it will be Christmas!

I just want to take a moment to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah.. I hope the Holidays are even more than you wished for!

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Inkheart the Movie

I’ve been waiting for this movie since Last March… no, that’s not true, it’s been a lot longer.  Ever since I had the pleasure of meeting Andy Serkis (of Gollum fame) in California at a convention and talked with him, I’ve waited for this movie. 

You see, Andy Serkis plays Capricorn.. the evil villain of the movie.  And after meeting him and finding him a real sweetie, this part will be so not like him.  But then… neither was gollum!!   

The movie first was slated to air last March.  But it never happened.  This concerns me greatly because the trilogy is so good, and I’m guess they hope that if this movie does well that they would follow with the other two books/ movies.  Which makes perfect sense… however, there’s this nearly year delay.. which means young Meggie has gotten a year older, which doesn’t bode well for the second movie if she is outgrowing her part.

But I digress…

The movie is once again up for release!  It will be release in the UK before we get it but it is due to open here in the states on January 23rd.

Wanna guess where I will be on January 23rd?!   If you guess at the movies you guessed well !

Below is the trailer from Inkheart.  You even get to see Andy!  Can you tell I am thrilled?!  It seems I’ve waited forever to see Andy in this movie!

Along with Andy,  Brendan Fraser plays Mo, Megs dad, Eliza Bennett as Meg, Paul Bettany as Dustfinger, and Helen Mirren as Aunt Elinor.

It’s a safe bet that I am soooooooooooooo looking forward to this movie!!  If they delay it again I will scream!!

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