Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WWW Wednesdays (June 19)

WWW_Wednesdays4To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank.  It is another in her collection of Low Country novels.  I am half done and it has me completely taken in. 

I just finished reading A Highland Christmas by M. C. Beaton.  This is the first in the Hamish Macbeth series and it was completely enjoyable. It was a short read but it was engaging and entertaining.  I  can't wait to start on the next one,

I am not sure but I think I will start The Secret of the Old Clock next -- I might even read concurrently with Sullivan's Island. As a child I was not a big Nancy Drew fan but since I have been so enamoured with the Macbeth and Dimity series, I thought I would give it a go.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

Ok, my teaser this week is coming from A Highland Christmas by M. C. Beaton, page 103.
"A red haired little boy  called Sean Morrison said "Folks say Morag has been visiting Mrs. Gallagher." There was an amazed chorus, "That old witch! Maybe she'll put a spell on her!"

This is a short little book -- only 130 pages -- and very easy reading but it is so relaxing -- you are simply transported to this little village of Lochdubh in Scotland and there you sit watching the antics and mysteries of the locals and you feel like you are right there.

Monday, June 17, 2013

MusingMondays5Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I recently bought Imitation of Life, The Secret of the Old Clock, and A Village Christmas.  I was pretty desperate to acquire Imitation of Life so, when I couldn't find it locally and actually wanted a physical book, I ordered it.  I haven't started it yet but am anxious to. 

I had to  hunt down A Village Christmas as well but managed to do so and that is what I am reading now.  This is the first book in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series by M. C. Beaton and, even though I listened to another title in the series on audio book and enjoyed it but I like to read a series in order of publication even though it might start with a Christmas book in the middle of summer!

I am also participating in a childrens book challenge requiring me to read books published prior to 1960.  When I was in elementary school, we were issued a required reading list at the beginning of the year and a due date for four book reports.  We could choose whatever books interested us off the list and I even had my favorite authors back then -- Lois Lenski, Kate Seredy, Laura Ingalls Wilder, etc.  I tried to enjoy the Nancy Drew series but I didn't so I thought I would give it a go for this challenge and since I have to start a series at the beginning (bit OCD maybe?) I acquired the first in the series -- The Secret of the Old Clock.  I haven't started it yet but since it looks like we have a long rainy day ahead of us, I might get a whole lot of reading done.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Finds is hosted by  This week my Friday Find is M. C. Beaton's "A Highland Christmas".

When I say it was a "find" I meant it-- literally.  I had checked this book out from the library via my Nook.  It was my first library book on the e-reader and, as I was finishing up some other reads, I didn't have time to finish it before it was due to be returned so I decided to purchase the book.  I went to my local B&N to find it and, for the life of me, I couldn't find any of the Beaton books.  Yes, yes, I know, I could have asked but asking for help in a bookstore for me is like a guy asking for directions while driving -- isn't going to happen.  Somehow I managed to find the books and I honestly don't know how they were shelved -- they just didn't seem to be in the correct place but I DID find them but not this title. Looking down at the lowest shelf, behind another title by another author, I found this little bitty book.  Was it shelved wrong or did somebody hide it there to be picked up later?  Who knows but the bigger question is-- this is such a short book why didn't I finish it before it was due at the library?  Anyway, I have the book and will be finishing it now.  As far as "discovering" a new read, I have to say that I discovered this entire series and look forward to enjoying it as much as the Aunt Dimity series.
Books and Movies and Books -- Oh My!

Life here at Casita de Brinkley is pretty ordinary -- we aren't trail blazing people! The Hubs has his cameras and his woodworking, and the ever-
present vine in the garden to pull out.  I have my quilting and cross stitching (both of which have gone dormant at the moment) and my books and vintage movie viewing.  Of course there are the everyday things of life like laundry and dishes which are a totally different blog -- NEVER!

During my time of babysitting this past school year, reading has become my go-to activity because it doesn't require hauling a lot of stuff or making a mess as sewing projects have a tendency to do.   I have explored audio books as well as e-books.  It has been really nice having a chunk of time each day that I can devote to reading and not feel guilty about taking time away from something else more important (read:  laundry and dishes). The audio books definitely made the commute more relaxing.  Now that I am home for the summer I am not only reading, I am able to enjoy my other guilty pleasure -- watching vintage movies. 

The first audio book I listened to was "Folly Beach" authored by Dorothea Benton Frank and read by Robin Miles.

  The book made several references to a Fanny Hurst book "Imitation of Life". 

Since the 1950's movie by the same title is one of my favorite movies (yes, I saw it as a 9 year old in the theater -- we didn't have movie ratings at the time) I was compelled to purchase the book and it is now in my reading queue.

So, night before last I found myself curled up on the couch, in a quilt, watching (read: weeping) "Imitation of Life" once again.

It never loses it's appeal for me and I just can't wait to start the book!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Bean

I am not one to post photos of my grandkids on the internet.  I never have been -- that is their parents prerogative.  However, my daughter was going through baby pics of Bean last night and posted this one so I felt it was probably ok if I did the same here.  I hardly remember her at this age as she is growing so quickly and she has changed so much.  So, anyway, without unnecessary gushing, here is The Bean!

I should find one of her mother at a similar age and post it -- they look so much alike!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Very Strange Day

I have spent the last nine months caring for my youngest grandchild while her mother teachers high school English.  Today is my first weekday at home and it feels very strange.  I am very used to the routine that we have developed and I miss her but it is time for her to have Mommy time.  So, what am I doing with my day, you might say.  Well, the stock answer for everything is "laundry".  Yes, I am doing laundry and, while it isn't my favorite chore, it does feel good to see the accomplishment of having the laundry pile dwindle. 

I have also taken the time to blog my book reviews before I forgot what I read and now I have taken the time, between laundry loads, to watch a couple of old movies.   I absolutely love vintage movies and watch them every time I get a chance. 

Today I viewed "Not As A Stranger" starring Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum and Olivia de Havilland.  It was the 1955 Stanley Kramer production based on the 1954 book by Morton Thompson.  What can I say -- what is not to like about a youngish Sinatra and Mitchum.

Now I am watching "The Miracle Worker" with Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke.  The 1962 movie, based on the 1959 play by the same name that originated as a 1957 episode on Playhouse 90.  I saw this movie when it first came out and was immediately taken with Helen Keller and did much reading on her life and her accomplishments.  Even today, when asked, I have to say that she was one of the most inspiring public figures I had ever learned about. 

So, what does my afternoon hold for me?  Hmmm...I don't know, maybe a little Sprout or Disney Channel.  I think this is going to be a bigger adjustment for me than it is for the munchkin!

Musing Monday - June 10, 2013

The questions of "what am I currently reading" and "what have I recently bought" sort of go together this week.  I am currently reading "Sullivan's Island" by Dorothea Benton Frank.  I originally purchased this for my Nook but, after getting aggravated about always needing to charge the thing, I opted to buy the book.

One of the problems I have with e-readers is, while you can see what page you are on, you can't "see" how far you have gotten in the book.  I was surprised to see how far I had gotten on the Nook when I found my place in the physical book.

Yesterday, while at B&N, I also bought "The Secret of the Old Clock".  This is the first in the Nancy Drew series and I decided this would be my next choice for the children's book challenge I am participating in.  I didn't read much Nancy Drew when I was growing up -- just didn't like mysteries but I think now, as an adult, I am really going to enjoy it.

Last week I also learned how to check out books from the library using my Nook.  The title I chose was "A Highland Christmas" by M. C. Beaton.  The checkout time is fairly limited so I am not sure I will get this one finished before I have to return it but I am enjoying the Hamish Macbeth series so I will probably have check it out again.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Book Reviews

In recent news, it has been brought to our attention that the US government has been spying on us -- yes, American citizens.  I understand the explanation why -- sort of -- but it still makes my skin crawl.  I have had friends say they are going to go back to using paper to write communication instead of email which I think is a lovely idea if we can get past the need for instant gratification.  Of course, a lot of folks will have to brush up on their handwriting skills for sure but I think actually sitting down and writing a note sounds refreshing.  I don't send a lot of emails so I am not too worried about being spied on in that respect.  If somebody wants to check my shopping habits well, there isn't too much covert operation going on there, either -- a bit of surfing at Vera Bradley and Barnes and Noble and some clothing shopping -- and really, who cares if the world knows what size underwear I wear -- I have recently lost over 25 lbs. so I am sort of proud of the fact that I will be shopping for new unmentionables in a smaller size -- shout it to the rooftops.  That brings us to my blog.  I thought about how blogs are being watched and recorded and kept and if there is a file for interesting blogs and boring blogs and decided that mine would file nicely under "boring" and since I mostly post book reviews and sometimes the random snowfall snap, I doubt I am going to be put on some sort of "watch" list.  If I am then they need to re-evaluate their system because they are watching the wrong person.  So, that leads into my current blog on book reviews -- I am behind and this is an effort to catch up so the reviews won't be lengthy.

I have been enjoying several formats for reading lately -- books, ebooks, and audio books during my commute.  I have come to realize that of the three, I prefer physical books and audio books.  I discovered that the library, at least Summerglen Branch, has a huge assortment of audio books and, since audio books are pricey to purchase, they are free and that is even better!

The Runaway Quilt - Jennifer Chiaverini

This title is part of the Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini.  In this particular story, Sylvia Compton is approached by a stranger at a quilt show who asks about a quilt in her possession named after Elm Creek and she wonders if it is connected to the Elm Creek mansion that belongs to Sylvia.  The question sparks Sylvia's inquisitive nature and after searching the attic for a trunk, Sylvia discovers some old quilts and a journal that sheds light on a lot of things including the stran -gers quilt.  It is part history, part mystery and all enjoyable.  I recommend.

Austenland - Shannon Hale

I don't read much "chick-lit" but I found this on audio book and decided it would be something really fun and light to listen to  on my commute and I was right.  The main character has a lot of back luck in love because, being obsessed with Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy, she compares every man in her life to HIM and they all fall short.  So, upon the death of her great-aunt, she receives as an inheritance, a vacation to Austenland, a reality, living history amusement park sort of place that she is to visit for three weeks and hopefully have an attitude adjustment.  She goes, she participates, she does a lot of soul searching and does, indeed, adjust her attitude and her life accordingly.  It was fun -- I recomment.

Porch Lights - Dorothea Benton Frank

Franks books seem to be very formulaic and this one is no different. The main character, a thirty-something nurse in the military with a fire fighter husband and a ten year old boy loses her husband in a fire while she is stationed in the Middle East.  She comes home to an a life that has been abruptly altered while she wasn't even there, a very depressed child, and the idea that she has no idea what to do so she retreats to her mother's house in the Low Country only to find that her mother is entranced by the doctor next door, her father now spends all his time in his "alternate residence" in the next town and her son doesn't want to go back to their home in New York.  It all works out as you know it would, it has a happy ending -- and a scary hurricane -- but it is a feel good book and one you can curl up and get "into".  I recommend.

The Christmas Blizzard - Garrison Keillor

What can I say -- this is Garrison Keillor's answer to "A Christmas Carol".  It was another audio book and I have to say that I found myself laughing out loud, all by myself, in the car at 6 a.m.  It was fun, it was odd, it was strangely insightful and  I enjoyed it and I recommend it -- actually, I don't know about the physical book but I really enjoyed the audio book, read by the author - very good.

Life Class - Pat Barker

Another audio book, this was the story of three friends in art school at the beginning of World War I.  As could be expected the three friends form a love triangle.  The war takes is toll on the trio in different ways -- it is sad, it is frustrating, and you just get sort of angry at the girl because she seems to be playing both guys against each other while being the quintessential "artist".  It was good but it was sad but still a definite recommend.

Death of a Village - M. C. Beaton

If you read my blog you know that I absolutely love the Aunt Dimity mystery series.  I was never much of a mystery reader until I discovered those and I am still reading that series.  So, while looking for yet another audio book I ran across the M. C. Beaton books on CD and decided to give one a go so I chose "Death of a Village" and now I am just as taken with these as the Dimity series.  The best way to describe this story is "George Gently" meets "Waiting for God".  It was funny, in a way, and you had to fall for the bumbling, affable Hamish Macbeth.  I have a mental picture of the tall, lanky, ginger haired copper that, while seems to be a great policeman, seems to lack a lot of pizazz with the ladies.  It was really good and I am now reading another title in the series on my Nook - one that I actually checked out of the library on my e-reader -- a new talent I just discovered! I recommend "Death of a Village" and I will review the next one when I get done.

This year I have engaged myself in two book challenges  -- the Goodreads 2013 Book Challenge which I signed up to read 20 books, 17 of which I have completed.  They suggest that I "up" my goal but I think not, I think I will just enjoy my summer of reading and not worry about a challenge.  I have also signed up for the Pre-1960 Children's Book Challenge of which I have only read two.  I would like to enjoy this challenge a bit more during the summer -- I have the burning desire to read "Little Women" yet again -- I will  probably revisit some of my childhood favorites -- most of which were published before 1960 and I will review here.

So, as my summer begins I wish all of you a happy summer!

Saturday, June 08, 2013

The Eagle Has Landed!

For those of you who don't know, my little netbook crashed and burned a couple of weeks ago.  Hubs did a search for a new one and decided on a new Asus.  It is a little bigger than my old one -- a very nice size -- and it is very thin.  The keyboard is a lot more user friendly and I am very pleased.  It came in the mail a couple of days ago and I have been spending a little time to learn my way around it although it isn't much different than the old one.  It is much faster and very lightweight and I am thrilled.  So, hopefully I can get caught up n my emails and get back to blogging.