Archive for June, 2012


In June I read 6 books. The first two: The Talismans of Shannara and The Enchantress wrapped up Once Upon a Time.  The rest are not for any challenge, simply what I chose to read.

I have to say that I’ve enjoyed each and every book I read this month!  Sometimes I wonder what I did all the years that I barely read anything!

1. The Talismans of Shannara……Terry Brooks ( 453 pgs)

2. The Enchantress…………………..Michael Scott (513 pgs)

3. A Cottage by the Sea…………..Ciji Ware (532 pgs)

4. The Legacy…………………………….Katherine Webb (496 pgs)

5.  The Witch Hunt in Hollywood… MIchael Freedland  (278 pgs)

6.  The House at Tyneford………..Natasha Solomons (368 pgs)

(a total of: 2640 pages)

Below are “new books” to the apartment.. but each one is “used”. 

The first Eleanor Roosevelt book was at the used book store that I go to.  It had been there for 3 trips that I went and I picked it up each time, remarked to myself that it was in pristine condition for only 1.00 and finally decided to take it home, knowing I might not read it for a really long time.  Then I saw it was Vol 1. Geez! I can’t stand having only part of a series so I searched Amazon and found Vol 2 for dirt cheap plus no shipping since I made sure I spend enough money.

Because of my age, sometimes I look at all the books I have and laugh because I know when I die someone else has to pack them all up to get rid of them!


New but “not new” are all of the five books!  I got Eleanor Roosevelt at the used book store for 1.00 (volume 1 and it’s huge!)  Then Vol. 2 of Eleanor Roosevelt is another used book from Amazon. I am not sure I will even ever get to them, but who knows, I might.   Nevermore and Out Stealing Horses are also used from Amazon, as is The House on the StrandSo… nothing new, and all cheap! (hooray!)

Have any new (old) books come into your home lately???


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Summer Happenings

Carl posed a question on his blog of what we looked forward to this summer.

I guess things just change when you get old and income is limited… but some things can be had without costing, as …the Olympics!!  I am a big fan of watching the Olympics and this year they are in England where my “sis” lives.


Has anyone been watching the trials???

The men’s swimming is off and running!

First off Ryan Lochte (who continually lost to Michael Phelps 4 yrs ago) beat Phelps while swimming the 400!  Ryan smiled a lot.. Phelps did not. heh.


I like Phelps and Lochte and although they are rivals while swimming against each other  here in America I do believe we will see them bring home some medals when they are in London!!


I’ve been watching other trials as well and it’s looking like America will have some very strong athlete’s going to London.

Besides swimming I am looking forward to the floor exercises. Hopefully we will do well there also.

I just totally love the Olympics.  Both summer and winter.  I am hoping we get a lot of tv time with the athletes.  I have noticed over the many years I’ve watched them that we actually get less and less air time.  And I find that wrong.  Very wrong.

Anyway.. tonight is more swimming trials  (oh! did anyone see the diving?  Way good!) so guess what I will be watching!

A below photo is of little interest except to me…

I still have an old (in poor condition from wearing it so much) Speedo jacket that was used by our swim team in 1996, when the Summer Olympic Games were in Atlanta Georgia.


Sure wish I could get this one new again.  But each year they change the styles and the prints.  I absolutely loved this one!  Maybe I will put it on when I watch some of the Olympics next month from London!!

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 The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Plume;(December 27, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0452297648


Book Description

Publication Date: December 27, 2011

It’s the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford’s young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford-and Elise-forever.

I was entranced to read on the top of the cover: Fans of Downton Abbey and Kate Morton’s, The Forgotten Garden will absolutely adore: The House at Tyneford.

I did something I don’t usually do.. I took their word for it and sent for the book!  I am pleased to say it was a very good read!  

Yes, there was a Manor house.

Yes, there were servants. (and it was obviously the difference between the two!)

And yes, it did remind me somewhat of Downton Abby… war and all!

The first  half of the book was Elise and her family and her being sent  to the Manor.  She had been brought up a bit spoilt and having privilege, but was moving from Austria to England to become a maid so that she would be safe from the war.

Aside from the obvious differences, both religious and upbringing, this book is more of a love story.  Once again, this is not my comfort zone. (not that romances aren’t good…. it’s just that I go for more escapism  than that)  That being said, it was really written well and very descriptive so that you began to feel that you were right there with Elise seeing what she saw and smelling what she smelled.  And I totally agree with the blurb at the top of the book, that if you like Downton Abby the feelings here would be similar.

A most enjoyable book…and of course it takes place in my “sis’s” country of England… so what’s not to like? If you are a bit of a romantic, and if you like stories like Downton Abby.. you will most likely enjoy this book and the very fine writing inside it’s cover.

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Witch Hunt in Hollywood by Michael Freedland.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Jr Books Ltd (July 25, 2009)
ISBN-10: 1906779090


Book Description

This is the story of how the politicians took Tinseltown to task in the late 1940s and 1950s. As the Cold War with the Soviet Union began in earnest, the search for ‘Reds under the bed’, later led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, was felt most keenly in Hollywood where the investigations were carried out under the full glare of the flashlights. Painstakingly researched and drawing on numerous exclusive interviews, the book charts the generation of actors who found their livelihood ruined by being ‘blacklisted’ and the writers forced to hire ‘fronts’ to continue to work; it reveals how Arthur Miller was offered the chance to have his hearing dropped in return for a photo-opportunity with Marilyn Monroe; and how Kirk Douglas’s naming of Dalton Trumbo as the writer of Spartacus signaled the end of this extraordinary era. Witch Hunt in Hollywood is the definitive account of how political paranoia shaped cinema for a decade. Michael Freedland is an author, journalist and broadcaster. He has written over 40 books, many of them telling the stories of the Hollywood greats, from Frank Sinatra to Al Jolson. He is also a BBC broadcaster and writes regularly for national newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Most of us who have any interest at all in movies and Hollywood have heard about  Hollywood’s “Blacklist” and the investigations by Joseph McCarthy for those who “might be, or ever was a communist”.  Some of us are old enough to have seen the tail end of some of the “interviews” on television. 

Some time ago I read a book by one of the “Hollywood Ten” most involved called Odd Man Out by Edward Dmytryk.  In my many  moves I must  have lost the book because I met Mr Dmytryk once for a few moments late in his life and I wouldn’t have gotten rid of the book. My interest in him was because DeForest had made a few westerns and he was the director and he had some comical stories of working with him.


As I was reading this book (and it is quite informative) I had a feeling in the back of my head that I couldn’t shake.   Quite possibly something I had heard when I was very young while the “trials” were going on.  It lingered in my head while I read.

As a young person I could remember the word “communist” which seemed to be  someone to fear, but I couldn’t remember why.  Nor, why I was so sympathetic to feeling about those being accused of being a communist.

Finally I came to a page that reminded me WHY I was so confused… remember I wasn’t even a teenager when this happened and things influence young children differently than they do an adult..  so, I read:


I read it and then I understood, once again, why it had never seemed to me to be such a  bad thing to be a “communist”! (back then)  What they told these people was too good to be true.  And we all know better … we know if it sounds too good to be true.. it is too good to be true.

But you have to admit if you were led to believe those things…well.. they sure do sound good!

But even knowing this was what was being told to them, and what they “wanted to believe”…how could you fault them?  How could you ruin their lives because they believed there was a “possible” life where no one was neglected or frowned upon, and everyone, EVERYONE, was truly treated equal. 

However, if you believed what was being preached to them… you were a traitor. You were un-American.  You no longer had the rights of other Americans to believe life could be anything but what it was.  

Later most would learn, that it wasn’t the sort of thing it seemed to be, and there was more to it than meets the eye… but it didn’t  help those that got prosecuted back then. And it ruined many lives.  Many more then the Ten that went to prison.

I think this subject is most interesting to me because of knowing DeForest and his connection to the director Edward Dmytryk and because of feeling like I knew a bit about Betty Garrett and her husband Larry Parks from reading Naomi’s blog.  So when those names appeared I took it a bit more personal. 

It’s quite a bit of history for anyone interested in Hollywood and those who have entertained us all our lives.  I would suggest you read this book or another on the topic, there are many books out on McCarthy’s War on Tinseltown.

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The Legacy

The Legacy by Katherine Webb.

Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks(August 30, 2011)
ISBN-10: 006207730


Book Description

When they were children, Erica Calcott and her sister, Beth, spent their summer holidays at Storton Manor. Now, following the death of their grandmother, they have returned to the grand, imposing house in Wiltshire, England. Unable to stem the tide of childhood memories that arise as she sorts through her grandmother’s belongings, Erica thinks back to the summer her cousin Henry vanished mysteriously from the estate, an event that tore their family to pieces. It is time, she believes, to lay the past to rest, bring her sister some peace, and finally solve the mystery of her cousin’s disappearance.

But sifting through remnants of a bygone time is bringing a secret family history to light—one that stretches back over a century, to a beautiful society heiress in Oklahoma, a haunting, savage land across the ocean. And as past and present converge, Erica and Beth must come to terms with two shocking acts of betrayal . . . and the heartbreaking legacy they left behind.

Ahhhhh, yes!  A book in the tradition of The Thirteenth Tale (I haven’t found a book to beat Thirteen Tale,  but still  this was… VERY good!).

I have found that I really enjoy “gothic mysteries” when they concern trying to find things that happened in the past of the family involved.  This book is written with that in mind and continued to grow with each chapter, until you found you couldn’t leave it on the side table longer then an hour!

Sheesh! lol. I do love when a book “makes me read it quickly”.  It means it won’t let me go and this one filled the bill.  

This is my first book by Katherine Webb. I’ve been seeing others by her out there and will keep an eye on them that’s for sure.

To sum it up: I really enjoyed this book.  If you like “unsolved mysteries” to be solved you will most likely enjoy this book too!

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Wow… who woulda thunk that 3 months could go by so fast?  It always seems that Once Upon a Time and RIP fly by!

I surprised myself this year and did pretty good!  THIRTEEN books!

I was especially happy to finally have read the Stephen Lawhead trilogy that I’ve had here for longer than I care to remember! 

The same with the Margaret Weis Trilogy! AND the Terry Brooks series!!  Weis and Brooks I’ve read before but this was my first for Lawhead. I enjoyed them all.

Hood……………………..Stephen R Lawhead
Scarlet…………………..Stephen R Lawhead
Tuck……………………..Stephen R Lawhead
The Snow Child…………….Eowyn Ivey
The Night Circus…………..Erin Morganstern
Amber & Ashes……………..Margaret Weis
Amber & Iron………………Margaret Weis
Amber & Blood……………..Margaret Weis
The Scions of Shannara……..Terry Brooks
The Druids of Shannara……..Terry Brooks   
The Elf Queen of Shannara…..Terry Brooks     
The Talismans of Shannara…..Terry Brooks
The Enchantress……………Michael Scott

(5637 pages)

The Snow Child that everyone loves was “ok” I enjoyed most of it but it didn’t really grab me to tell everyone to read it. 

The Night Circus I can’t say I enjoyed very much and I don’t know why.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea I guess.

As much as I enjoyed the other books I will say I ended on a high note by reading the last book of the Nicholas Flamel series, The Enchantress, by Michael Scott!  This may have been a YA series but it was chuck full of Mythical and Historical characters and I really (really!)enjoyed it. (except for the fact that it ended the series).

So…. another OUaT has come and gone. :o(   So now we begin to look forward to RIP!!! yeah, that’s the ticket!!

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Every Father’s Day I think of you..

Of the Daddy, I never knew.

I never got to see you, or even hear your voice..

But of course,.. it wasn’t by my choice.

Through all these years I wondered.. just how it would be..

To be daddy’s little girl and have you bounce me on your knee.

Now I am old and you have passed on..

and all my hopes and dreams are gone.


For you see, I always wanted you to know me..

I wanted so much for it to be..

So I could say just one word… Daddy.


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A Cottage by the Sea by Ciji Ware.

Paperback: 544 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (June 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 140222270X


Amazon.com Review

What would you do if you caught your sister in bed with your husband? Chances are at the very least you’d nix your relationship with both of them and run as far away as you could get–especially if the story is going to be plastered all over the tabloids. This is exactly what Hollywood mogul Blythe Stowe does. She heads to England and the Cornish Coast. There she steeps herself in Daphne du Maurier’s wonderful novels, finds love with an Englishman, and discovers family secrets that have been long concealed.

Well now.. when I read the blurb and Amazon review, I thought this book sounded good. It takes place in Cornwall and there’s mystery about “family secrets”.  That was enough to convince me to read it.

At first I got  worried… it didn’t take long and you knew there was going to be a romance.  I don’t intentionally read romance stories, they just never made it to my *must read* lists.  But other parts of the story did start to be interesting. ..so I read on.

Somewhere along the line, romance or not, the story did grab me and I found I was enjoying the book very much.  There was a little bit of “there must be a better way” when it came to how Blythe seemed to go back in time to the family history..but even that seemed to not bother me so much as the first time it happened.  Soon I was hooked on the back story and the now story…and it was in Cornwall, and Ciji Ware did her homework and made the actually setting in the real Barton Hall Gardens which is located on the coast of Cornwall between Mevagissey and the River Luney, near Hewaswater.

The author  tossed in the fact that it was near the home owned by Daphne du Maurier and that the people who live there were admirers’ of her books.

There are some love scenes in the book which i skimmed over.  I’m not prudish but when you are young you enjoy those scenes, when you are old and alone you just sorta feel like: been there done that fell in love etc. lol.  But over all this book was surprising, and although it was a bit out of my reading zone,I can say it is a really good read.  (at times I couldn’t leave the book down !)  I guess ever since The Thirteenth Tale, family secrets makes for good reading!

If you like books based in Cornwall with a touch of romance and a bit of early history tossed in you will probably enjoy this book.

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There wasn’t a part that DeForest ever played that I didn’t love…

But most of all…

I loved the man that he was.



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The Enchantress


(Book 13 for Once Upon A Time)

The Enchantress by Michael Scott.

Hardcover: 513 pages
Publisher: Delacorte (May 22, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0385735359


Book Description

Publication Date: May 22, 2012 | The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

The two that are one must become the one that is all. One to save the world, one to destroy it.
San Francisco:
Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.
But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race?
Danu Talis:
Sophie and Josh Newman traveled ten thousand years into the past to Danu Talis when they followed Dr. John Dee and Virginia Dare. And it’s on this legendary island that the battle for the world begins and ends.
Scathach, Prometheus, Palamedes, Shakespeare, Saint-Germain, and Joan of Arc are also on the island. And no one is sure what—or who—the twins will be fighting for.
Today the battle for Danu Talis will be won or lost.
But will the twins of legend stand together?
Or will they stand apart—
one to save the world and one to destroy it?

Wow. How to begin…

I’ve read quite a few YA series of books over the years. I have kept only 2 trilogies to reread. That was until I finished the final book of Michael Scott’s *The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel* (a series of 6)  this too will be saved.  

Of other YA Series that were longer than 3 books I seemed to have lost interest waiting year after year for the latest edition to come out. But it wasn’t like that with this series.  If there was one thing I worried about during the releases of Michael’s books it’s that I am old and I hoped I would be around to finish them! :o)  Here I am!  And I finished them! lol.

I am really (REALLY) going to miss this series. I kept looking forward to the next book. Occasionally I would email Michael with questions.. “you aren’t going to kill of Nicholas are you?”.  He would indicate I had to wait and see.. argh!

I kept hoping that Nicholas Flamel would not die, I mean really!  He’s Immortal! He’s not supposed to die!  Is he?

I was totally flabbergasted at the amount of real, mythical,  and historical figures he managed to cram all into one story. Let alone keep track of them!  I still don’t know how he knew who was with who, and where or even *when*. (this is where you hear the Jaws theme)  Any who know me know I am not a lover of time travel in books.  But Michael Scott is such a good writer that when (and if) this occurred I always knew where I was.  That my friends is called: amazing writing.

The last book of any series is the wrap up book.  Wrap up all the loose endings and bring them all to a conclusion. This could not have been an easy task.  For in this book there are a slew of characters! (just how many were there Michael?).

Just to name a few (an in no particular order):

Josh & Sophie

Nicholas Flamel & Perenelle


John Dee






Joan of Arc



Virginia Dare

Black Hawk

and Billy the Kid…  to name just *some*!

Never have I read books with so many characters! …and I loved every moment! I can’t begin to comprehend how much *homework* Michael did to actually know all about the historical and mythical characters he was  using!

…And if all that isn’t enough… Michael even mentions the original Star Trek! (and McCoy!!!).


If he hadn’t waited until the final book to do this I’d say he did it to make me keep waiting for “the next book”… but he managed to do that all by his writing, without the mention of McCoy… but I have to say.. it was a great touch!

And so, without giving anything more away, other then what the Amazon Review says, I will just say Thank you so much for a most Wonderful Series of books Michael!! 

I do hope that any of you who haven’t read these books will give them a try and find out for yourself just how fantastically wonderful they are! (that would be my way of saying I think you should read this series!)

Oh.. and Michael: if you should be reading this…. what’s next??!!

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