Archive for July, 2011

On Folly Beach

On Folly Beach by Karen  White.

Paperback: 390 pages
Publisher: New American Library;(May 4, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0451229215


Product Description

Folly Beach, South Carolina, has survived despite hurricanes and war. But it’s the personal battles of Folly Beach’s residents that have left the most scars, and why a young widow has been beckoned there to heal her own…
To most people, Folly Beach is simply the last barrier island before reaching the great Atlantic. To some, it’s a sanctuary for lost souls, which is why Emmy Hamilton’s mother encourages her to buy the local book store, Folly’s Finds, hoping it will distract Emmy from the loss of her husband.
Emmy is at first resistant. So much has already changed. But after finding love letters and an image of a beautiful bottle tree in a box of used books from Folly’s Finds, she decides to take the plunge. But the seller insists on one condition: Emmy must allow Lulu, the late owner’s difficult sister, to continue selling her bottle trees from its back yard.
For the most part Emmy ignores Lulu as she sifts through the love letters, wanting to learn more. But the more she discovers about the letters, the more she understands Lulu. As details of a possible murder and a mysterious disappearance during WWII are revealed, the two women discover that circumstances beyond their control, sixty years apart, have brought them together, here on Folly Beach. And it is here that their war-ravaged hearts can find hope for a second chance…

On Folly Beach.. not to be confused with Laurie R King’s book “Folly”.  How odd is it that I would read two books in close succession with the word Folly in both titles?!   Be it as it may , they are not the same book but both protagonists go to an island to maybe help cure each of what’s going on in their lives.  Oh.. and both are women.

Anyway.. other then I began the book by getting confused as the chapters were all taking place in the same place (Folly Beach) but one story was happening in the 1940’s and another in 2009.  Once I got my bearings and could keep all of the characters straight as to who was who and when.. then the story got interesting!

In fact it got so interesting my eyes would get blurry from trying to read more then I can!   Each time I sat down I picked up the book to read some more! 

The writing is light and easy and although you can pretty much guess what’s going on before you actually read it, it’s still a very enjoyable book !

It has more then one love story to be told and enough hidden secrets to come out to make you not want to put the book down.  I am not a great one for love stories but when they are riddled with secrets and maybe even murder.. they do become a lot more interesting!

I would call it a great quick summer read… maybe even something to read at the beach! (bad pun).


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Hide and Seek With Angels by Lisa Chaney.

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (June 27, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0312357796

From Booklist

Obsessed with time and mortality, James Barrie created in Peter Pan a myth with enduring, worldwide appeal. Chaney thoughtfully examines Barrie’s inner life from childhood in Kirriemuir, Scotland, to wild, international success. She describes young James as unexceptional, small for his age, but “cheerful enough,” though not much was expected of him. When beloved elder brother David died accidentally, James perfected David’s mannerisms and wore his clothes to assuage his grieving mother–unsuccessfully. Even that early, he was a natural storyteller who needed to perform and make himself visible. But when he announced he wanted to be a writer, his parents were flabbergasted. Later, after Barrie moved to London and achieved fame and fortune, Kirriemuir represented for him all that was good and wholesome, and he returned to it again and again. Chaney discusses Barrie’s work (many successful novels and plays), ill-fated marriage, complex mother-son relationship, friendship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her sons, and the origins and evolution of his masterpiece so as to bring to life a most complicated, enigmatic, and melancholy man. June Sawyers

So… 100 or so pages into this book and I can not pick it up yet again. 

This is not me, and obviously, I paid for the book (not used) and knew enough of J M Barrie to think that a book about his life would prove interesting… and well it may,.. but the author is leaving me flat and bored. 

The book seems to be full of statistics but not told in a way to make me want to keep reading the book.  It’s a given that it could be me and the fact that I’ve been sick lately. .. and so if you like the Amazon review it’s quite possible that you may like to try it for yourself. I don’t like to give a negative review of anything, knowing full well I don’t like some things others love and vice versa.

I have to say that I loved Neverland by Piers Dudgeon. And it was due to that book that made me want to read more of Barrie’s life.   Unfortunately this book wasn’t doing it for me and so I have set it aside and will find (somewhere in my mountain of tbr books) something else to read.

Therefore I am sorry to say that I will not be able to list Hide and Seek With Angels and my next enjoyable read, but I hope others do find it interesting and enjoyable.

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Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press;(January 12, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0385344139


From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children’s literature in her excellent debut, spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Her research into the lives of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and the family of Alice Liddell is apparent as she takes circumstances shrouded in mystery and colors in the spaces to reveal a vibrant and passionate Alice. Born into a Victorian family of privilege, free-spirited Alice catches the attention of family friend Dodgson and serves as the muse for both his photography and writing. Their bond, however, is misunderstood by Alice’s family, and though she is forced to sever their friendship, she is forever haunted by their connection as her life becomes something of a chain of heartbreaks. As an adult, Alice tries to escape her past, but it is only when she finally embraces it that she truly finds the happiness that eluded her. Focusing on three eras in Alice’s life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction.

I am on a roll !  Yet another enjoyable read!

Once again I have surprised myself. First by getting a book I was unsure of (since I don’t care for retold faery tales) and second for totally enjoying the book!

Of course it helped immensely that it turned out not to be a retold faery tale.  But rather a historical fiction story about Alice, who was the same Alice as Alice in Wonderland and about Mr Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) who put the story down on paper at the behest of Alice.

The book was very interesting.  It takes you from Alice’s early childhood when she meets Dodgson , and what her family life was like living at the Deanery, all the way to her reclining years in only 368 pages!  It sounds impossible but it’s all there and it’s done with a most enjoyable language. 

I guess it’s the historical correctness that pulled me in to Alice I Have Been.  The same thing happened with Drood and other books I have read.  Not that I would really know if they are all correct or not but it sure feels right! When you know it’s fiction yet feel like it’s real..that’s good story telling.

I think anyone else reading this will enjoy it as much as I did.

I’m not sure what my next read will be yet… and it’s not that many weeks away until RIP so I have to be careful not to read anything I could use for Carls next Challenge!


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Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Plume;(October 26, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0452296722


Praise for Remarkable Creatures ‘It is a stunning story, compassionately re-imagined’ Guardian ‘Chevalier recently stated that making fossils sexy was one of her chief aims in writing Remarkable Creatures. With this very entertaining book, she has certainly succeeded’ Telegraph ‘Very entertaining and informative’ The Times ‘The backdrop of shifting evolutionary ideas finds a rueful echo in Chevalier’s tender portrayal of two extraordinary women who refuse to be constrained by society’ Sunday Telegraph ‘An enthralling novel of female friendship and fossil hunting.’ Woman and Home ‘An extraordinary tale about two 19th century women who attempt to alter ideas about creationism with their discoveries of dinosaur fossils’ Daily Mirror ‘Involving themes of friendship and the hidden world of women as much as the excitement of discovering the fossils’ significance, Remarkable Creatures is itself a find’

It would seem that upon finishing reading “Folly” that my hand landed upon a completely different but ever so interesting second book.. “Remarkable Creatures”.

Of course the fact that I have been (and still am sick) makes for a lot more reading time..but then again if the book doesn’t grab me I would be napping instead of reading!

This books review seemed off beat to me.  I wasn’t sure it would be for me but along the way some reviews but blogs I read made me thing I might like it after all.  I wish I knew who’d reviews I read because I’d thank them.

I can’t say that fossils are my thing but having two woman searching for them in a time when fossils would not be a “female thing” was interesting.  The searches.  The finds.  The bonding of a young poor girl and middle class spinster. The friendship. The jealousy. The marvel at making people open their minds to something they don’t really want to believe!

Tracy Chevalier did her homework on this book, and it couldn’t have been easy… but I think she got everything spot on on the historical parts and on the fictional story too.

I enjoyed this book much more then I thought I would! 

That makes two surprises in a row!  I needed that.

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Mercury. Gemini. Apollo. Shuttle.  With Love and Sadness in my heart……

……… the end.

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Folly by Laurie R King

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Bantam (May 28, 2002)
ISBN-10: 0553381512

Amazon.com Review

“The thing about madness was, it just took so damn much energy, and it was so thoroughly tedious in the meantime.” Master woodworker Rae Newborn knows madness intimately, with every bone, every pore, every particle of her being. At 52, with three suicide attempts, extended hospitalizations, the death of her husband and daughter, and a vicious attack behind her, Rae has come to Folly Island, far out in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, to rebuild her life by building a house:

She would pull herself together, she would go and rebuild Desmond’s house, she would lift his walls and dwell within them quietly all the rest of her days. Everything that House was lay there waiting for her to take it up: House as shelter, House as permanence, House as a continuation and a legacy, comfort and challenge, safety and beauty, symbol and reality joined as one.

Bequeathed to Rae by Desmond Newborn, a great-uncle she never met, Folly Island is lovely indeed. But when Rae discovers Desmond’s journal in the 70-year-old ruins of his house, she learns that Desmond had his own internal horrors to confront on the island. As she labors in solitude, her prickly nature deterring all but the most determined of her would-be neighbors, it’s not just her well-being that’s at stake. Rae must prove herself sane if she is to have any contact with her beloved granddaughter Petra. So when the “skin-crawling feeling of being watched” doesn’t fade, she does her best to ignore it. But does paranoia have its roots in reality? And is Rae doomed to repeat her ancestor’s tragic end?

So effectively does King weave together past and present–the shrouded history of Desmond’s life and death on Folly, and the tense, dusty, exhilaratingly panicky account of Rae’s wrestling with old demons and new timber–that the future seems less important than the author might have wished. In other words, the eventual unmasking of Rae’s watcher pales in comparison to the gradual revelation of Rae herself within King’s haunted and haunting narrative. But with such a strong character and such moodily lovely prose, readers shouldn’t miss the denouement-driven trappings of standard suspense. –Kelly Flynn

This is an older book that Laurie R King wrote as a stand alone book, and I have to say… I am really glad I found it!  I could hardly put the book down. I wanted to know more and more and what was going to happen next to the main protagonist Rae.  And, Oh! ..shocker of all shockers, the main protagonist was in her 50’s!!! That’s darn near unheard of! 

Well, of course I don’t expect the lead characters to be older if I am reading a YA book, but still, to find middle aged or older lead characters is really rare.  And I loved that Laurie R King made this woman, who was suffering from deep depressions and had even tried to commit suicide multiple times, a person who was stronger than  she gave herself credit for!

The story goes from Rae and her very serious depressions to a mystery about what happened to Desmond  Newborn.   You get two mysteries for the price of one.

Laurie R King has a great perception of how fast or slow to unravel mysteries.  A good part of it you know before Rae knows (obvious).  But only  part of it… not all of it. It has some unexpected twists and conclusions before the book is over.

I’ve needed a book that grabs me for a while now, so this book was a surprise and pure pleasure.  If anyone had told me I’d enjoy a book about a woman who suffers from depression I’d have said they were nuts.  I tried this book purely because it was written by Laurie R King who’s Mary Russell/ Sherlock Holmes books I enjoyed before.  This is the second stand alone book of hers that I’ve enjoyed so much ..the first was Touchstone.

So if you like any of her other books and missed this one.. pick it up, you won’t be disappointed.

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The Final Pern…

 Dragon’s Time by Todd McCaffrey

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (June 28, 2011)
ISBN-10: 034550089X

Product Description

For the first time in more than three years, bestselling authors Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey, mother and son, have teamed up again to do what they do best: add a fresh chapter to the most beloved science fiction series of all time, the Dragonriders of Pern.
Even though Lorana cured the plague that was killing the dragons of Pern, sacrificing her queen dragon in the process, the effects of the disease were so devastating that there are no longer enough dragons available to fight the fall of deadly Thread. And as the situation grows more dire, a pregnant Lorana decides that she must take drastic steps in the quest for help.
Meanwhile, back at Telgar Weyr, Weyrwoman Fiona, herself pregnant, and the harper Kindan must somehow keep morale from fading altogether in the face of the steadily mounting losses of dragons and their riders. But time weighs heavily against them—until Lorana finds a way to use time itself in their favor.
It’s a plan fraught with risk, however. For attempting time travel means tampering with the natural laws of the universe, which could drastically alter history—and destiny—forever. Or so it has always been thought. But Lorana discovers that if the laws of time can’t be broken without consequences, it may still be possible to bend them. To ensure the future of Pern, she’s willing to take the fateful chance—even if it demands another, even greater, sacrifice.

Pern.  I have been reading Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books, it seems like forever. (that would be a *good* forever). 

Of course the Pern series was not all that Anne McCaffrey has written about, but the others, (for me) are more science fiction and I still prefer fantasy..and for fantasy, nothing comes close to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series.

A number of years ago Anne decided to give her son Todd a shot at bringing Pern back alive.  A few of his first efforts even had Anne consulting with him, so I thought, “ok, new time, new characters”, I’ll give this a try.

At first I wasn’t thrilled..but I wanted to be so badly! So I read on. I knew I had my own adjustments to read new names and learn new characters… it’s hard to let go.

With each new book Todd put out I had hopes I would begin to love them as I loved his mother’s books, and I admit there were a few characters I was beginning to feel I knew and liked.  But obviously not enough…

First off, of course there’s a different pov from mother to son.. female and male.  Todd does not seem to flush out his characters enough for me.  There’s very few that I feel I have come to know over a number of books.

So.. I kept hanging on and hoping.  The latest books came out called Dragon’s Time.  Anyone who reads my blog knows how I love the dragons!    I already was not thrilled with the story line.  Todd had changed more about the people in Pern than I could cope with.  I began feeling he was simply writing a *male dream*.  Suddenly, there was love between one woman and two men. (huh?) A dragon takes flight to mate and there’s 2 men? (gimme a break).  Then there’s suddenly love from one man to two women. (surely a male’s pov!).  And now more then one rider can ride on the dragons!  It seemed he was in the trashy part of Pern, lost somewhere Anne had never been.

Add to this that the story he was telling (a lot of time travel on the dragons) this time jumps around  so much that I couldn’t always keep track of where I was or when!  It was a frustrating read… and it will be the last Pern book I ever buy.  I am sorry to say that Pern has ended for me.  I was so disappointed that I now am considering collecting the books by Todd (I had bought and read SEVEN of his books. More than enough to get to like his writing) and donating them to a place that sells used books.  In my life I never thought the words *getting rid of Pern books* would ever leave my lips!

So now when I feel the need to return to Pern, I will go back and read Anne’s Pern!

Maybe others have been reading Todd’s books and liking them, for them I am extremely happy because they are continuing to get new stories about Pern and the dragons.

I would like to know if anyone reads this latest book if they felt it was confusing, and how they feel about everyone loving everyone else . To me it was totally too much.

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The Torture Chamber

Well.. for a month now I have been going to a gym for exercise since a medicine I was put on last year had disastrous results in my gaining a LOT of weight… 

But before anyone says anything about how productive exercise can be let me tell you… after a full month of 1 hour a day of vigorous exercise (coming from someone who did nothing more than  a mile walk around a pond now and then)… I have lost not a pound!  Not even a half of a pound!.. and so I call this very nice fitness club.. The Torture Chamber!

below is an upstairs view of some of the equipment at the club. (I did not use this equipment..try to remember I have a very bad back)

Here are a few treadmills and step bikes..

..other bikes

(my “personal bike”) I did like that it records how long you are on the bike, at what rpm you are peddling, your heart rate and even the calories lost by biking. .. the least I did on this bike was 2 miles.. the most was one day I did nothing but the bike and peddled 10 miles.

(my personal torture chamber!… 30 minute workout room)

In this room there is music playing (fast music) and every 30 seconds it says, “change stations”.. which means for you to go to the next piece of torture equipment !  In between each piece of equipment is a square where you stand on it and do whatever  you want to keep moving.. generally I did waist twists.

the second half of the room.. you would go around twice for it  to come out to a half hour workout.. and before I went around once I would be sweating.

One of numerous rest areas…

A steamy rest area…

And there is always the friendly face to greet you.. Ms Becky.

The Fitness Center is really a great place.  It is kept immaculate, and friendly people working there and personal instructors if you are so inclined … but my head is reeling as to why, with being faithful to go 5 days a week and changing how I eat,(to a lot more fruit and veggies and no snacks except fruit)  that I have lost not a pound!

So.. it’s gorgeous.. it’s nice.. it’s friendly.. but I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say I was disappointed. (not with Longevity) but with whatever it is that’s not letting me loose these pounds. :o(

My time there (having gone on a special for one month) is over and even though I didn’t loose any weight I already miss going each morning.  I looked at another fitness place that I might be able to afford but was not happy with what I saw.. I think I shouldn’t have gone to the nicest place first !

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I adore Andy Serkis, and it is wrong, wrong, wrong that all his movies don’t get to America!     

Burke and Hare…  Why is England so lucky and not us?  I want this movie!!!  But is it out in a format that we here in America can use? Noooooooooooooooo… ARGH!

Just watch this trailer and tell me you wouldn’t be sitting in a theater enjoying it!

Has anyone notice who is staring opposite Andy?… tsk tsk.. guess you will have to read on then..


Simon Pegg (William Burke)

Andy Serkis (William Hare)

Tim Curry (Dr. Monroe)

Christopher Lee (Old Joseph)

Isla Fisher (Ginny)

Tom Wilkinson (Dr. Knox)

Georgia King (Emma)

Hugh Bonneville (Lord Harrington)

By David Colton, USA TODAY

The story of the infamous grave robbers in 1828 Edinburgh, Scotland, the film pairs Simon Pegg (Scotty in 2009’s Star Trek) and Andy Serkis (Gollum in Lord of the Rings) as the bumbling body snatchers. Burke & Hare is due for release in the United Kingdom in October and in the USA sometime next year.

“They’re a very evil Laurel and Hardy,” Landis says.

The film also features Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry and horror icon Christopher Lee.

Despite that lineage, and Landis’ 1981 cult classic An American Werewolf in London, Landis says Burke & Hare is “not a horror film.”

“It has horror things within it — it’s about dissection and grave robbing, after all — but it’s a very black romantic comedy, hopefully in the tradition of the old Ealing Studios’ Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers.”

An Evil Laurel and Hardy!!!  Oh yeah this should be good!!!

(below: photo’s from the web)

Oh yeah.. got to see this movie… anyone going to England that can stuff me into an oversized trunk or something???!!

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I found these farewell speeches  over at  CarrieK’s blog

Books and Movies.  and immediately bawled my eyes out. … so be prepared if you are a Harry Potter Fan and make sure you have lots of tissues before playing these videos!





I will miss all of the regulars in the HP series that’s for sure..and what makes it harder is much of the things they will do in England will never reach America… :o(  

Less than one week before the final movie.. but who’s counting?

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