Archive for April, 2012

The Night Circus


(This is book 5 for Once Upon A Time)

The Night Circus by Erin Mogenstern.

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Doubleday; (September 13, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0385534639


Book Description

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Before I begin I will admit to you all… I am in the minority about this book.

I was feeling like it was taking me forever to read the book.  With each chapter I would tell myself “this is where it grabs me”.  But it never did.

Where in everyone who has written reviews simple love this book, I do not. I guess it’s one of those books where you either love it or dislike it.

I found it long. Dragged out. (very dragged out) and boring.

The two young magicians involved you really knew very little about. One a daughter of a magician the other an adopted boy by another magician. I never felt I knew either of them through the entire book.  You don’t even know what the competition really is about until near the end of the book.  I found I never got excited “wanting to know what it was really about or who would win”… I learned little of all the other side characters.  Probably the only character I even came close to feeling anything about is Bailey.

But as I said: I am definitely in the minority on this so if you think you are interested please read other reviews before making up your mind.

I find I actually dislike when I either love a book or dislike it because how “I” feel about it may well be way different than someone else.

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Chris’s sweetie, Matt, had this on tumblr but it fascinated me so much I had to put it on my blog.

It’s pure genius. I don’t know the name or names of those who “invented” it or made it and I’m not even sure “why” it was made but it is spectacular!!!

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I do not know why I don’t use the Library here in Vero Beach.  When I was growing up in New Providence NJ, I loved out little library and I went there often!


Well, I finally forced myself to go to the Vero Beach Main Library!

Why you ask? (go ahead… ask!)

I had 6 books in mind that I wanted to see and hold in my hands.  Only six out of the thousands of books that the Library has.  

First I wanted to see the 2 Volume books called : The Letters of Wilkie Collins, Vol.1 and 2.  I wanted to see the books and glance through them and maybe read a letter or two to see if actually reading them was anything I’d want to do.

But did they have them? (go ahead… ask!)


Big disappointment. I thought sure the Library would have them being as Wilkie Collins is Classic… but no… they didn’t have them.  They did have some large print books written by him… and even his more of his famous books (but they were so high and with a lot of glare that the photo did not come out).  I did get to see The Lady in While as a hardback… I drooled just a little.  But the disappointment of not seeing even one of the Letters volume won me over. :o(


They had dozens more of Charles Dickens books.. cha.  That made me even more sad about Wilkie.  Poor Wilkie is just overshadowed by Dickens, which makes no sense at all since they were friends and even co-authored plays and articles.


I did spot that huge HUGE book below called Martin Chuzzlewit (over 800 pgs) but it has caught my interest! (I’ve read a few by Dickens but not as many as I should)


So… after my big disappointment over sweet Wilkie… I went in search of my next dream… to hold in my hands the individual hardback books  Anne McCaffrey wrote  of: Dragonflight, Dragonquest and the White Dragon.

Can we say : this library is a complete dud?

Just look! Two shelves worth of Ann McCaffrey… but not one of those 3 books was to be found!  I just want to hold them!  Take photo’s of them in my home!  And read them as individual hardback books! (and drool all over them!) 



That library is a dud!

I was depressed for the rest of the day!  Geez.  I mean come on people this is a library!!! You are supposed to have these things!!

Needless to say my introduction to the Vero Library fell flat on it’s face.  I doubt I will be stopping by again anytime soon! *sigh*  I hope you all have better libraries than I have!

ok.. i am done complaining.

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The Snow Child


(Book 5 for OUaT, the Journey)

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (February 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0316175676


Amazon.com Review

In her haunting, evocative debut Eowyn Ivey stakes her claim on a Russian fairy tale, daring the reader–and the characters–to be lulled into thinking they know the ending. But, as with the Alaskan wilderness, there’s far more here than meets the eye. On the surface it’s the story of a childless pioneer couple running from their East Coast lives and struggling to survive in the harshest of climates while also attempting to reconnect with each other; but it’s also the story of the spring of hope that bubbles out of new friendships, of the slow realization of love for a surrogate child, of the ties between man and nature. Ivey spares no words in describing the beauty and the danger of her native Alaska, bringing the sheer magnitude of the wilderness alive on every page. With the transparent prose of a fairy tale and descriptions to put nature writing to shame, The Snow Child immerses readers in a 1920s Alaska that will draw them back again and again.

This book is not my usual type of reading.  But I heard so many positive things about it I put it on my wish list and low and behold a friend of mine sent it to me for my birthday. (thanks again Cathy!!!)

For me the book started off a little slower then I like but it did set the scene, and the main characters.  Since I did not know the  fairy tale that the story represents, I did not have any comparison.  Needless to say I liked the old couple, Mable and Jack, and so I found I wanted to read their story and the story of the Snow Child.

At first the child is very much related to a fairy tale, but as things go along you begin to think differently.  However, there are more twists and turns in your mind before the book ends!  Over all the book is a good read.  You get to “see” some of Alaska, and to meet good hearted neighbors.  And, as they say: you get to learn your lessons along the way.

There’s really not a lot to be said without telling the entire story .. but I will say it is different from any fairy tales I remember. (which is pretty easy since my memory is not very good!)  But I can mention one of my thoughts… they were strong, strong, people!  To be older and to move to Alaska and literally dig out the grounds for farming seems more than anything I could do!! (I could only wish to be healthy and strong enough to live like that!)

If you enjoy reading fairy tales, this book will be right up your alley!

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Well now… I guess everyone will be happy to hear that my TBR pile is back up to 142!  Even though I read the Raven King Trilogy, and Wilkie Collins, and am 3/4 of the way through The Snow Child… it is back up to 142. *sigh*  I think I was kidding myself!  Let me tell you why…

Have you ever had an icon on your desktop just disappear?  Well I did.  And it’s not the first time either, but this time it was my tbr list!!  So I searched and found and “older” one and went through it deleted books I know I read, then I had to go around to all of my book shelves and write down the “newer purchases and gifts to the house”… and ….and… it’s still 142. 142 seems to be the magic number that I can’t get below. (at least not for long..*groan*)

So, the last four books to come into the apartment and build my tbr back up are:

The Help, (for those of us few that have not read it) that I got for 1.00 at the used book store.

Touchstone, that I won over at Fantasy & Sci Fi Lovin’ Blog.

The Prydain Chronicles that I got for 1.00 and looks brand new. (this series of books I read eons ago and to be honest don’t remember much about them so when I found them all together in hardback for 1.00..well, the inevitable happened and it came home with me.)

And last: The Dream of Scipio, which is yet another 1.00 book.  I read AN Instance of the Fingerpost: A Novel and Stone’s Fall: A Novel by him and liked them both so when I saw this I figured I’d give it a try. (someday.)


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Who’s Who?

After seeing Ed Wynn in Mary Poppins I got to thinking about all the wonderful Character actors of old.  Eons ago, when I was growing up I think I knew their names better than the big stars names.

They were memorable, most were funny, and they were in more movies then you could shake a stick at…and yet without them… there would be no movies!

So I did some photo searches and came up with just a few of the many wonderful character stars of the past… although most who read my blog are young, some of you might like the old black and white movies, so …..

…. how many can you name? (no cheating!)

cantor[1] 1892-1964

ccobrn[1] 1877-1961

judy[1] 1913-1983

cuddles[1] 1884-1955

edna[1] 1883-1942

fitz[1] 1888-1961

pat[1] 1910-1981

imagesCAZ0[1] 1886-1970

zasu[1] 1894-1963

gabby[1] 1885-1969

keaton[1] 1895-1966

I hope you got at least a few!  Each of the dates by the photo is a link to IMDb for you to find out who they are.  While there you might want to scroll down to see the list of movies they were in.

This is such a small handful of actors.  I do believe that “back in the day” the character actor was as well known as the major stars were!  All I know is that when I watch and old black and white movie, and see some of them there… it always makes me smile.


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Mary Poppins


Well… I haven’t gotten to the movie I’ve wanted to see (Mirror Mirror) but the other day Mary Poppins was on tv.  And I have to mention that, in all the many years the movie has been out (1964) I had never seen it from beginning to end!  I have always missed parts or came upon it while changing channels etc.  So this time I saw it all!  I do believe that qualifies for OUaT movie!

For those who may never have seen the film Here is a short synopsis:

Mary Poppins is a 1964 musical film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, produced by Walt Disney, and based on the Mary Poppins books series by P. L. Travers with illustrations by Mary Shepard.

Spoiled and bored upper crust Edwardian English family has their world turned upside down by an all nonsensical nanny who teaches them how to enjoy life. This movie is a musical and has both comedy and pathos and lots of imaginative scenes that are wonderful for adults and children alike. You’ll be singing along in no time…"in the most delightful way!"

As everyone knows Julie Andrews plays Mary Poppins..


..as a matter of fact, the next day, The Sound of Music was on tv.. they must  have been having a run on Julie Andrews movies!  One that wasn’t on but is one of my all time favorites of hers is Victor/Victoria. Maybe if I am lucky it will come on some day soon.

Anyway:  Next to mention would be Dick Van Dyke as Bert, the chimney sweep, and he also played Mr. Dawes Senior, bank president.  I was lucky enough to have been around when The Dick Van Dyke show was on television! (yeah I know.. old!) Although he was known as a comedian to many he was originally a song and dance man.


The young kids were played by Karen Dotrice, and Matthew Garber.


Back in the 1980’s I was privileged enough to meet Karen and her wonderful parents Roy and Kay Dotrice.  (I adored, and still do, Roy from when he played Father on Beauty and the Beast)

marypoppins_cast[1] (Karen, Dick VanDyke and Julie Andrews)

Some of the others from the cast brought back many memories..

Glynis Johns as Mrs Banks. Her filmography list 91 movies that she was in. Yet I wonder if anyone can name any that she was in?


Elsa Lanchester as Katie Nanna. She did a LOT of movies but is probably most remembered for The Bride of Frankenstein! (personally I adored  her in Murder By Death)


Then there was Arthur Treacher as The Constable. And he’s probably more well known as a regular on the Merv Griffin Show


David Tomlinson as Mr Banks . He doesn’t have a huge list of films, but some might remember him from Bedknobs and Broomsticks.


The last I will list (but it  certainly isn’t the end of the cast) is Ed Wynn as Uncle Albert.


Now he was another to strain my brain to all I remember him from..but mostly I do remember The Ed Wynn show. He looked like this back then:


(and is the father of Keenan Wynn) And if you are too young to recognize his face then maybe you would recognize his voice… as the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

….and I dare anyone to watch the movie and then NOT go around singing (or humming)


So that’s my Once Upon a Time movie!

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Wilkie Collins

Wilkie Collins by Peter Ackroyd

Hardcover: 199 pages
Publisher: Chatto & Windus (April 2, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0701169907


Book Description

Ackroyd at his best — gripping short life of the extraordinary Wilkie Collins, author of The Moonstone and The Woman in White.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, ‘as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life’ Wilkie Collins looked distinctily strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women — and avidly read by generations of readers.
Ackroyd follows his hero, ‘the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists’, from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes — the fraud, blackmail and poisonings — that lay hidden behind the city’s respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on. As well as his enduring masterpieces, The Moonstone — often called the first true detective novel — and the sensational Women in White, he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as ‘Mr and Mrs Dawson’, with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel — Blind Love.

This book is only 8×5 1/2 .  It is a small book but one that I enjoyed very much.  It’s not easy finding books about Wilkie Collins and what few there are, are not easy to come by and some are quite expensive.  I find it odd that so many books are out about his friend Charles Dickens but for someone famous in his own right, has very little written about him.

I now know he had 2 mistresses, one who gave him 3 children and one who he lived with for over 30 yrs.  I also know that he wrote many of his books with woman protagonists and was personally not happy how woman were treated when married.  He mentions they are treated as “property”..this could be one of the reasons he never married.?

The book breezes over a lot since it is a small book.  The do mention his use of Opium/ laudanum. And talk briefly about the effect it had on him at some point.

“ Yet in the end it had a degenerative effect and became a serious addictive rather than a restorative. On a journey to Switzerland he discovered that the chemists of the country could only supply a limited measure of the drug; his travelling companion had to visit four separate establishments to make up the amount that Collins needed.  In later life, too, he began to suffer from nervous hallucinations as a result of  his addiction. A second Wilkie Collins sat at the desk with him, trying to take control over the writing pad, struggling with him until the inkstand was upset.  Then the “real” Collins woke up.  When he ascended the stairs at night he was confronted by a swarm of ghosts who tried to push him down.  Sometimes he saw a woman with green tusks, and sometimes a monster with eyes of fire and big green fangs.

   One of the characters in The Moonstone, Ezra Jennings, laments that “even the virtue of opium have their limit.”

I have really enjoyed this book, and even the ‘not so nice’ things said could not drive me from liking Wilkie Collins stories.

Having read this make me realize even more, how much “homework” Simmons did when he wrote Drood!

I have really enjoyed reading about Wilkie and I have, my sis across the pond, Cath, to thank for it.. so, thank you Cath!!!

I wish I could read more of Wilkie’s books but they are always paperbacks and small print which makes it very hard.. but I will continue to keep looking and hoping to find print dark enough and hopefully double spaced so that I might read it!  Until then… anyone who is a fan of Wilkie Collins might well like to read this book!

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(Book 3 of The Journey/ Once Upon a Time)

Tuck by Stephen R Lawhead.

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (December 15, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1595540903


Book Description

King Raven has brought hope to the oppressed people of Wales–and fear to their Norman overlords. Deceived by the self-serving King William and hunted by the treacherous Abbot Hugo and Sheriff de Glanville, Rhi Bran is forced again to take matters into his own hands as King Raven.

Along the way Friar Tuck has been the stalwart supporter of the man behind the legend–bringing Rhi Bran much-needed guidance, wit, and faithful companionship.

Aided by Tuck and his small but determined band of forest-dwelling outlaws, Rhi Bran ignites a rebellion that spreads through the Welsh valleys, forcing the wily monarch to marshal his army and march against little Elfael.

This epic trilogy dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood as Stephen R. Lawhead conjures an ancient past while holding a mirror to contemporary realities. Filled with unforgettable characters, breathtaking suspense, and rousing battle scenes, Stephen R. Lawhead’s masterful retelling of the Robin Hood legend reaches its stunning conclusion in Tuck.

Well, the chubby Friar comes thru for his friend !  As was expected the third and final book of “king raven” delivers the conclusion you thought it would, but there are some surprises along the way.  A goodly war and some helpful surprises. Combined with a bit of sadness and the whole thing becomes an enjoyable trilogy to read.

I liked the way Lawhead kept many things “true” to the tale of Robin Hood and yet made it his own story. It wasn’t easy letting go of Errol Flynn or leaving Sherwood Forest, but Rhi Bran (Robin) did well, and so did Marien and “Little John” (though the name was rarely used) and the good Friar Tuck.  Some things don’t change.. and that’s a good thing.  He also gave us a new character , one who saves Bran and leads him towards his destiny.  I won’t say more because she’s a welcome character and one that I would have liked more background on to know more of her.

Over all this trilogy was quite delightful.  The reading was easy.  The book is “double spaced” and so you virtually fly thru the books despite their sizes.   I did enjoy all three books and I’m sorry I left them in the tbr pile for so very long.

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I had to laugh when dear Naomi asked me where I manage to keep all my tbr books plus the ones I keep in such a small apartment. (and it IS small !)  So here we go with pictures because seeing is believing!

This first photo is along side of my chair where I read and crochet and watch television. (these books are TBR) (click on pictures to enlarge)


Next is looking from the same chair into my (so called) dining area. Note: two more shelves with TBR books!


Big surprise huh? lol


I made all of these closer photo’s because I know “readers” and we have to try and see all the titles!


Ok, so.. leaving the dining area you enter my bedroom.. this is the first corner by my dresser.


These books are all TBR…


…and a few more on my dresser!


And finally… the other side of the room which houses books I have already read but refuse to get rid of.  I have to thin these every few months to fit others..so they get donated to thrift stores.


Closer view of the tall case. On the bottom shelf are large paperbacks and art books.


More books I have read.  I made this so there would be a shelf across the top by the window so BooBoo could watch the lizards in the Palmetto trees.


..and lastly, the book shelf at the foot of my bed which also holds the television on top.

These are the books I’ve read more than once and  someone will have to pry them from my cold dead hands to get them from me. 

The top shelf houses the 6 Dragonlance books, and the Harry Potter books.   The middle shelf has The Inkheart Trilogy, The Bartimaeus Trilogy,  and David Eddings  Belgarath series.  The bottom shelf houses Anne McCaffrey’s “PERN” series! 

A wish I have is that before I die I own Dragonflight, Dragonquest, and The White Dragon as separate hardback books!  But the chances of that happening… well.. let’s just say don’t hold your breath!  The only chance I have of that happening is if the publishers decide since Anne has passed away to republish them in hardback…that would be glorious!!!!!


And so… to conclude this “book tour” all I can say is: Boo and I have a chair to sit on and a bed to sleep in and the rest is space for books! lol… aren’t you glad you asked Naomi?? LOL…

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