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Archive for January, 2012

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This is just my excuse for not having finished reading a book lately…

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I Am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press (November 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0385344015

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Book Description

Series: Flavia De Luce | Publication Date: November 1, 2011

It’s Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce—an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving—is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.

Well, it seems that the “mini Jessica Fletcher” (Murder She Wrote) is at it again.  This time though she is alternating her mystery murder with a true experiment to capture Father Christmas to be sure he’s real.

Daddy dearest is renting out the house to a movie crew to make a movie so that it will give them enough money to keep living in the house for several months.  Little did they know it would wind up a murder instead of a movie!

The dear inspector keeps a close eye on Flavia , knowing by now that she will somehow incorporate herself into solving the mystery of who murdered the movie star.?

Alan Bradley has come up with a dilly of a kid who loves chemistry and murder.  I can’t say I know any 11 yr olds that would love either of those things!  My wonder now is, how many murders can happen without Flavia having a birthday or two??   That is, if her sisters don’t torment her to death first.

This is another well written, enjoyable, escapade for Flavia and for us, her readers.  If you have read the other books you won’t want to miss this one… it deserves to be in the collection!

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Instruments of Darkness

Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books (February 17, 2011)
ISBN-10: 067002242X

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From Publishers Weekly

Set in West Sussex in 1780, Robertson’s auspicious debut introduces the unlikely sleuthing team of anatomist Gabriel Crowther and independent-minded Harriet Westerman, mistress of Caveley Park. When Westerman happens on the stabbed body of a man, eventually identified as Carter Brook, on her land on the track to Thornleigh Hall, Crowther agrees to help her catch the murderer. The secretive Crowther, who’s maintained a reclusive existence since moving to the area, finds that Brook’s death may be connected to the search for a long-lost heir to the Thornleigh estate. Meanwhile in London, someone knifes to death Alexander Adams, who bears the same first name as the lost heir, in Adams’s music shop. While the killer’s identity will surprise few, the book works splendidly as a period thriller, with complicated leads and informative details that illuminate 18th-century England for modern readers. Dry humor leavens what otherwise would be a grim story line.

This sort of above review was what made me send for this book…

Although the review is correct, what it doesn’t say is that quite a bit of the book gets confusing as the author jumps from Sussex to London from person to person sometimes in the same chapter so that you continually get lost for moments at a time.  I thought this would get easier as I read but it stayed the same throughout the book.  So I can’t say that I was all that thrilled with the book.

Inside the confusion I will say there was a good mystery going on.. but the author just made it difficult to follow. Probably younger people with quicker minds could keep up easier than I could!  If so, then this would be a good read !

I certainly didn’t hate the book, I did struggle with it, but I did finish it!  I am just uncertain about the readability of it all.

But for now .. I have a number of other mysteries to deal with…so I shall move on to the next!!

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Amazon Gift Card…

I am glad to say my son George and his wife Kat, know a gift I can never refuse!..

and so yesterday my xmas books arrived..

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I finally have “I am Half Sick of Shadows so I will be up to the newest Alan Bradley, Flavia de Luce Novel.

My son Chris would get the blame for me sending for The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson. If I may quote the clincher for me.. (copy and paste)

 The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson – Best Jack the Ripper tale that I’ve ever read. BOARDING SCHOOL…GHOSTS….MAUREEN JOHNSON! I think that the sequel to this one is currently one of my most anticipated books. It ended in a way that I cannot WAIT to read the next one!

Yep, that did, done, doodit!

The Thirteen Hallows is written by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman.  I love, love, love Michael’s young adult series on Nicholas Flamel and thought about trying this book.  He tells me it’s NOT a ya book lol…so I mentioned that I was in my mid 60’s… I guess it’s ok that I got it huh?   Nice that he warned me it wasn’t YA though!

The last book is James Herbert’s The Secret of Crickley Hall.  I can’t remember how I heard of this one but just know it sounds like a real scary book.

So, there you have it… those are the newest books to come into this apartment… but don’t ask what I will read next because I never know!

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Furry Logic

Furry Logic: A guide to Life’s Little Challenges by Jane Seabrook.

Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (December 23, 2003)
ISBN-10: 1580085695

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Book Description

Publication Date: December 23, 2003

Guaranteed to coax a smile from the grumpiest of grumps, FURRY LOGIC is a charming little book with a big heart and sly humor. Exquisitely detailed watercolor paintings depicting animals caught up in the joy and drudgery of life are paired with old adages given a new spin for our times. Tender thoughts such as “Smile first thing in the morning—get it over with,” “If you don’t agree with me—it means you haven’t been listening,” and “You’ll always be my best friend—you know too much” go a long way toward banishing the blahs and shaking off the blues. Designer and illustrator Jane Seabrook’s 40 universally appealing paintings of birds, bears, penguins, chipmunks, frogs, baboons, and more are rendered in delicate and biologically accurate detail using a tiny sable brush with a single hair at its tip. In the spirit of international best-seller The Blue Day Book, FURRY LOGIC speaks to the human condition in a way we can all relate to and feel good about.A humorous collection of quotes and drawings that turns life’s little challenges into opportunities for laughter

I don’t have to say a thing…. I can show you!

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See what I mean?!

It’s a very small book containing beautiful drawings with great sayings!

‘Nuff said.

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The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (October 4, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1402258585

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Review

Kearsley masterfully writes authentic voices for Eva and Daniel as they wrestle with their improbable connection and its implications (Publishers Weekly 20110915)

Like Anya Seton’s Green Darkness and Daphne du Maurier’s House on the Strand, Kearsley brilliantly brings together past and present. 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick of the Month (RT Book Reviews 20110921)

Kearsley makes the impossible seem real as she weaves a tale full of genuine characters and a strong sense of place and makes history come alive.
(Booklist 20110923)

Ok, so I just finished reading my second Susanna Kearsley book. I really liked the first book, The Winter Sea.  It had been the first book with a romance in it that I’ve read in some time and it was written really well .    Once again this is a historical romance, tucked in with time travel.

I don’t especially like time travel themes and at first I thought I’d not like this book. (when I got it I had heard nothing about time travel connected with the book) But here I was reading and “suddenly things began to blur and waver….” hmmmm.    However, Susanna Kearsley is most brilliant at how she gets into the historical parts of her books and her descriptions of everything are so well done that you have no problem conjuring them up in your mind.

She probably is best at making very believable characters and manages to make them interesting enough that you do enjoy her books even if they aren’t exactly in your comfort zone.

I will admit I still liked The Winter Sea just a touch more.  But I think that had to do with the wonderful personalities she gave her Scotsmen in the book lol.

I will also say that if you read Winter Sea and enjoyed it that her writing is every bit as good in this one, so take the plunge and read this one too!

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As I left my apartment for my morning walk I was given this view… so I ran back in and brought out my camera..

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…then , of course, I had to zoom in on the moon..

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by the time I was nearly done with my walk … daylight was emerging

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..when I walk I listen to my Ipod… you’d be surprised at how quickly you walk to the tunes of the Village People!

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So… old habits die hard…or I should say, .. look for reasons to resume!

We’ve had some gorgeously cool weather down here!  The nights dipping into the 40’s and even 30’s and the days were still cool enough to wear jeans and a light weight flannel shirt!  (there is absolutely nothing more comfortable than to be in sweats or flannel shirts!)

There’s an old Irving Berlin song call Cheek to Cheek.  In it are a few words I feel when these cool temperatures finally come to Florida. It goes something like this…

Heaven, I’m in Heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak;
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing, cheek to cheek.

Well I may not be dancing but I started to Crochet again!  It takes cool weather for me to feel like I may not croak tomorrow… sheesh.. when the cool weather comes I feel like cooking things like soups and stews and chili and I walk a mile twice a day again and now I’ve added “ye ol’ crochet hook” to my list.

Below is the beginnings of  something I wanted to try in a heavy cotton (vs. yarn).

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I finished it the other day and laid it out on my table to look at it.

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(closer view of  the “roses”)

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Then I though to see it on the table without the table cloth on it….

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..and one more shot from across the room…

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Of course now that it’s made I don’t know what the hell to do with it!!!  It was just one of those “pretty pictures that I wanted to see if I could make it or not”.   Since it’s heavy cotton and not the thin stuff I am not even sure if I can use some spray starch on it with an iron to make it lay neater… any suggestions?  (Come on Debi ! You are Queen of Crafting and the only one I know who might know what to do lol)

Anyway…now it’s on to an Afghan I am sure.. and no I don’t know what to do with it when I’m done either.. I have no room to store any more than I already have…but I like to Crochet now and then…and the cool weather is at fault!  Yeah, that’s the ticket! The weather is to blame!! (gotta love John Lovitz for coming up with “that’s the ticket” lol)

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For some reason my mile walk around the pond at 6:30 am was …better.   I can’t really think of one word to describe how I felt today.

I had to bundle up by wearing my sweats and a “winter” jacket.  The air was crisp but unlike yesterday there were no gusts of wind  to chill you so much that you didn’t work up a small sweat.

It was still dark out, but there are lights on the buildings so you are not totally in the dark.  This morning I took along the Ipod that Kelly had given me.  I decided to listen to some John Denver.  It was the right choice.

When I get half way around the pond I am facing East.  Slight light was beginning to show me the shadows of the palm trees and the smallest amount of orange color was touching the sky.  And then .. while John sang “Country Roads”, it appeared to me…  a meteor !  I thought I had missed all of it even though I stepped outside at 5 am I saw none… but now, as I listened to John the meteor flew by and disappeared into the orange tinge that was becoming dawn.

It was a perfect sight to see.

Then as I made my third round and the sky was brightening just a touch more (I wouldn’t exactly call it daylight yet) the ducks began to come.   They were but shadows in the sky, bobbing and weaving and it seemed as if they were coming in for a crash landing, they moved so fast.  But “touchdown” was always without incident.  First only one or two and then four or more all zigzagging between one another.

As I came towards my apartment for the 5th and final round I heard the train horn off in the distance.  It sounded as if it was coming closer and closer and then it began to sound farther and farther away, until it faded into obscurity.

All the while John Denver sang of the beauty most of us miss on a daily basis. I shed a tear or two… I truly miss John Denver.  Maybe that wasn’t a meteor I saw while he sang… maybe it was John .

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The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A McKillip.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Sandpiper (January 1, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0152055363

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Amazon.com Review

Almost destroyed because of a man’s fear and greed, Sybel, a beautiful young sorceress, embarks on a quest for revenge that proves equally destructive. Winner of the World Fantasy award, this exquisitely written story has something for almost every reader: adventure, romance and a resonant mythology that reveals powerful truths about human nature.

Dear Debi who gave me this for Christmas…. what can I say? (besides thank you!!!) , the Forgotten Beasts of Eld… I had read this so many years ago that I could not remember a thing about it anymore.  The only thing I could remember is that I read it after I read Patricia McKillip’s trilogy of the Riddle Master of Hed.

In this story Sybel can “call” ancient animals to her on the mountain top of Eld.  Her life seems to be full of beauty and love for these animals, she knows only an old witch on the mountain and knows nothing but peace and contentment, when one day a stranger appears and drops off a baby for her to raise.  This is where she begins to learn about another sort of love… for another human.

The book goes on and Sybel learns about love and hate and revenge and what it does to a person (herself).   I don’t want to give away too much in case you choose to read it.  

The book is written beautifully.  It was so unusual that I wasn’t sure it was something I could read, but quickly fell into the tempo of the writing.

It is an older book but I see now it’s available again in paperback and even with my bad eyes it was easy to read, being double spaced and larger than normal print for a paperback book.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.. and oldie but a goodie.  A good choice for my first book read in 2012.

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