Archive for December, 2009

Happy 2010 !

May 2010 be filled with health and happiness, Laughter and fun, and everything it takes to be a wonderful year.


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The Islands of the Blessed by Nancy Farmer book III.


Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books(October 20, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1416907378


“It’s a wondrous tale of hobgoblins, mermaids and sea hags, Saxons and Northmen, old gods and young bards, thoroughly steeping readers in Norse mythology. It’s also a long, beautifully written tale, expertly weaving together several story lines and informing readers new to the series of crucial plot points from the previous volumes.”

Review by Sarah A Wood..

THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED is the third installment in Nancy Farmer’s The Sea of Trolls trilogy. Set after the Viking raid of the island monastery of Lindisfarne in 793, her series explores the collision of Christian, Pagan and Norse cosmologies against a background of magic and mythological creatures. The final book also confronts some of the uglier aspects of these belief systems, whether it is the severe penitence Father Severus demands of his fellow Christians or the ceaseless battle that is part of Valhalla, the Northman paradise. As servants of the life force, Jack and Thorgil must put aside their pasts and prejudices to heal the wounds that have been committed in the names of various different deities.


Book 3 gives us yet another adventure for Jack and Thorgil.  Jack has aged a few years since book one and as apprentice to the Bard continues to gain in his powers.

Thorgil probably does her most changing in this book and when the book ends at least we know basically what happens to them both.

I don’t know if Ms Farmer intends to continue this series or not.. basically it did wrap up most things but having read fantasy for many years.. the door is always open, even if she decided to pick up years later when they are older.

I did enjoy all 3 books but I would lie if I didn’t say that there were other characters that I would have liked knowing more about.  They were there and given just enough to get you interested in them but then fade away leaving just the main protagonists.

On that note I will say that I enjoyed these books.  I would read more if she should decided to continue them, and I will pass these books on to my 13 yr old grandson who I know will enjoy them as much as I did.

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Books in 2009

This was not my best year for reading.  But I only mean that in the amount of how much I read.  It was not an easy year for me. .. but reading helped me get through it…  and so I thought I would try, along with showing my entire list, to make a small list of which books I enjoyed the most, and which ones were less then I expected..

I started the year off reading Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.  Unfortunately I would put that one on the less then I expected list.  So, my year didn’t begin on a high note!


(total word count 23,918)

I hadn’t posted November or Decembers reads because it was not the greatest..below is the list for those months. (8 books/ 3323 pgs)

Books I Most Enjoyed: (in no particular order)

1.   All the Weyers of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. This was a reread but no matter how many times I read any of the Pern books they go right to the top of my favorite books list. I love the land that Anne made and really love the characters, and of course the wonderful dragons. I can honestly say she transports me there every time I reread one of her books.

2.  Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon.  This was a surprise to me.  I am not a fan of retold fairy tales of any sort but this was different. Somehow the author managed to crawl inside an old persons mind and wrote a great book from it. 

3.   The Language of Bees by Laurie R King.  A great addition to her series of  mystery books starring Mary Russell and her husband Sherlock Holmes. And happiness resides as I found out in April there will be yet another Mary Russell book coming out!

4.   The Sorceress by Michael Scott.  This was book 4 of an on going series concerning Nicholas Flamel.  I totally enjoy this series and each book is better than the last! There are many ya books that I enjoy but only a select few that I enjoy as much as I am enjoying this series of books.  I love how he mixes true names from history and his own characters.

5.  Dragons of the Hourglass Mage by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.  First off this is part of a large series of Dragonlance books, which I loved very much. Second, its about Raistlin, a mage you love to hate.. and unbeatable combination.

6.   A View From the Bridge by Nicholas Meyer. Part of an autobiography by a director/ writer who I admire very much, so it’s hard not to like it. This tells of some of the stories he wrote and movies he directed including some of the BEST Star Trek movies of the original cast.

7.   The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.  Another reread. I will only say I really love this book. This is the third reading of this book since Carl introduced me to it.  Since then I seem to compare all gothic mysteries to this book.

8.  Drood by Dan Simmons.  This was the shocker of the year for me. A book of fiction about Charles Dickens, his friend Wilke Collins and the book Mr Dickens was writing when he passed away.  Over 700 pages and I couldn’t put it down!  I will reread this one day.  Because this is so well written I am going to try another by Dan Simmons, The Terror.

9.   Shadow in the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Another surprise mystery read that I found to be excellent!  This and his second book Angels Game were both really good mysteries.  I look forward to his next book and suspect it will be as good as these were.

10.   The Woman in White by Wilke Collins.  A classic book.  Something I never thought I’d read let alone enjoy.  A bit slow in the beginning but it picks up as it goes along.  Never in my life did I think I would read anything by Wilke Collins!  I thank Dan Simmons for that!

11.   A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  I don’t think this one needs any explanations.


Most Disappointing Books:

1.   Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. I felt it was slow and there should have been more to it.

2.  Reality Leak by Joni Sensel.  Should have been fairly funny but it was a let down to me.

3.   The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.  Just not my thing I guess.


Favorite New Author:  (keyword: NEW) I must choose two authors, both being a great surprise to me.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon for Shadow of the Wind and Angels Game.

Dan Simmons for Drood.


Some books I am excited about reading in 2010.

1. The Necromancer by Michael Scott. It’s not due out until May so I have a wait on that one!

…and then, because I have to cut way back on buying new books there are many in my tbr pile I really want to get to! These are in no particular order..

2.  The Name of the Wind   – Patrick Rothfuss

3.  The Magicians and Mrs Quent -Galen M Beckett

4. The Dark is Rising –(series)  Susan Cooper

5-  The Moonstone- Wilke Collins

6-  Great Expectations-Charles Dickens

7-  The Meaning of Night: a Confession –Michael Cox

8-  Rain Village –Carolyn Turgeon

…. and the list goes on!  But then I have a large tbr pile, so who knows what will get read?!  I also have a group of Autobiographies I want to get to and a few books about the original astronauts. Oh well, it’s pretty safe to say some will get read!

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy New Year fill with laughter and wonderful books to read!! 

Happy 2010 everyone!



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Johanna over at  Josbookshelf  posted this meme and when I read “aside from books” I had to stop and think and wondered if I could come up with 7 things! duh.. how bad is that?!

I will leave out the obvious which would be my kids…

1-  I love to watch movies.  All sorts of movies! (classic black and white and new!)

2-  I love to go to autograph shows and conventions.  Being among so many people that like the same thing you do is a good feeling.

3-  I love the thought of travel.  Can’t afford it but I’d go if I could! I’d love to spend time at the Grand Canyon and the Redwood Forest and just once I’d love to go to England (and maybe Ireland)

4-  I love the mountains and trees and rocks and dirt!

5-  I love my computer.. I freak out when something happens to it! It’s my life line.

6-  Johanna at Josbookshelf hit upon one of my ultimate favorite things that I have such a weakness for I can’t begin to tell you… it’s also why I am not thin!… lol.. I love breads! Especially from the bakery.. rolls of all kinds and soft warm bread…it does nothing for me but extend my already huge hips and butt.. but.. (heh pun) I love it all the same!

7-  I love sitting next to celebrities (when I helped them) and to listen to all the stories that the people have for them when they’d come up to buy their autograph.  When it’s said that everyone has a story.. it’s true!

Hmmm.. I guess now I should do 7 things I DON”T love huh?..

1-  Not only don’t I ‘not love’ but I don’t even LIKE Liver!

2-  I don’t like being overly warm. I like the song “Hot, Hot, Hot” but I don’t like being uncomfortable.

3-  So it goes I don’t like being too cold either! heh.. duh.

4-  I can’t say I am thrilled about living in pain.

5-  I don’t like owing anyone anything.

6-  I don’t like being sick (but who does? )

7-  I don’t like being afraid.

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The Pond on Dec 24

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

I love this little guy with the green legs!

Every so often some ducks come by.  I wish a pair would stay!

I just love their color… but they won’t come near to be fed any bread.

There’s nothing like watching a bunch of Duck Butts!..

..I wonder if they are trying to tell me something?..heh.

The Egret at least remains constant.  I see one nearly everyday at the pond.

below is not a great shot of him taking off.. one day I will get a good one!

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The Land of the Silver Apples : Book II of Nancy Farmer

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers(August 21, 2007)
ISBN-10: 141690735

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Safely returned from his perilous stint among Northmen, 12-year-old Jack reflects, “That’s the nature of adventures. . . . They’re nasty while they’re happening and only fun later.” For readers, though, there’s satisfaction in both the nasty and the fun, and this sequel to The Sea of Trolls (2004) offers full measures of both. After Jack learns that his often-bratty little sis is a changeling (and that his real sister likely dwells with hobgoblins), a misguided exorcism results in Lucy’s disappearance. Then the young bard must descend into the out-of-time Land of the Silver Apples to retrieve both of his lost siblings. In that richly imagined realm, surprises include a reunion with shield-maiden Thorgil as well as creatures whose appearances deceive—shape-shifting knuckers; hideous yet likable hobgoblins; and lovely, soulless elves, whose inability to grow or age tinges their existence with tragedy.

I have to admit that the review from Booklist says it all without spoiling too much of the book.

Nancy Farmer has certainly done a lot of homework before writing these book!  Not only about Vikings but about Pictish Symbols, Din Guardi (now called Bamburgh Castle) and about old and new religions.  With all this information at hand she has written a well rounded adventure with some very likeable and some not so likeable characters.  I’ve now enjoyed two of the three books and totally expect to enjoy the last one, which I will begin reading today.

There are lessons to be learned in this YA adventure also.  One that stood out to me was the old saying, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover (sometimes true enough..but other times…) or what you see is not necessarily what you get or even don’t be too fast to judge a person on their looks.

There are some old and some new characters in this book.  I liked seeing Thorgil again and hearing Olaf mentioned, but I did enjoy  the new characters also, and I was happy to even “enjoy” the Hobgoblins!

I already know I will pass this series of books along to my 13 yr old grandson!  I guess that means I’m enjoying them!

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One Happy Kitty!

…..Ohhhhhhh… and what is all this?

…. toys?!!! … for Meeeeeee?!!

… mousey, mousey who’s got the mousey?!!

… are you gunna move or what?

…. hey! Where’d ya go?!!!!

… heh.. gotcha!

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Happy Holidays!

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy, Happy Holidays for whatever your celebration is!!!

(BooBoo Kitty wants to wish you all Happy Holidays also)

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The Sea of Trolls

 The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer is book one of her Trilogy.


Hardcover: 459 pages
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 7, 2004)
ISBN-10: 0689867441

Amazon.com Review

Three time Newbery honor author Nancy Farmer‘s epic fantasy, The Sea of Trolls, is gigantic in every way. There are big Vikings and bigger trolls. There are big themes–hope, despair, life and death. At a substantial 450+ pages, the sheer size of this hefty tome is impressive. But, like all of Farmer’s fine work, the large scale has room for enormous quantities of heart and humor. At the center of this massive adventure is a small Saxon boy named Jack, who’s never been much good at anything until the Bard of his medieval village makes him an apprentice. Then, just as Jack is learning to tap into and control his power, he is kidnapped (along with his little sister, Lucy) and taken to the court of King Ivar the Boneless and his half troll queen Frith. When one of Jack’s amateur spells causes the evil queen’s beautiful hair to fall out, he is forced to undertake a dangerous quest across the Sea of Trolls to make things right, or suffer the consequences–the sacrifice of his beloved sister to Frith’s patron goddess, Freya. Along the way Jack faces everything from giant golden troll-bears to man-eating spiders, yet each frightening encounter brings wisdom and understanding to the budding young Bard. No quester who enters these pages with Jack will go away unsatisfied.

After hearing Cath say how she enjoyed this book I decided to get to it myself since I have the entire trilogy sitting in my tbr pile!

So.. I read book one and did enjoy it very much!  It did seem a touch out of the range of a 12 yr old now and then but still I did enjoy reading it.

There were many great evil characters like trolls (duh) and dragons and even Olaf, the head Viking that steals Jack and his sister to sell as slaves is evil … and yet.. we find there is also something about him to make you “sorta” like him.

There’s a part in the book where a giant spider has unknowingly taken Jack  and I had a little feeling of the Hobbit and LOTR lol.. but probably only because it was a giant spider.

The story itself is a little different from most YA books I have read and I’m always glad when someone comes up with something really new to me.

The adventure was a good one and moved along at a good pace.  I am glad I have the other books to continue the story! 

I don’t know if I will finish book II, The Land of  Silver Apples before the new year, but I will give it a try!

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Under my Charlie Brown tree is getting crowded with cards and pressies!

Debi sent me a beautiful home made card (the one with the pink squares..) it spells out Joy.  And she sent me a gift cert for Amazon!!  Hmmm, now how would she know something like that would be perfect?? heh.  Thank you so much Debi.. I keep looking at my wish list but think I will wait until xmas is over so my delivery doesn’t maybe get lost in the rush.

My sis in England, Cath, sent me a beautiful Britain photo calendar! (she knows how I would love to visit her and England)  Here are a few pics from inside..

I think the cover (above) is my favorite (but subject to change) and it’s not far from where Cath lives!

(above) lands End, Cornwall.

(above)Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

(above) Glastonbury Tor, Somerset

Just look at this village below.. (Naunton,Gloucestershire.. ohhh! It’s a “shire*!) this blew me away!  How many fantasy books have I read that may have had this same little village described in the book?..  amazing.

Thank you again sis! I love seeing pics of England.  I think most people think it’s all like London but the countryside is so gorgeous!

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