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Telynor's Library, and then some

A woman of a certain age who has three cats underfoot, and has the dream of filling her passport with stamps. Books, classical music, tea, cats, movies, art, fancy needlework,  and anything else I can think of.

Author Lynn Shepherd thinks JK Rowling should stop writing so her own books could sell better

The Solitary House: A Novel - Lynn Shepherd A Fatal Likeness - Lynn Shepherd Murder at Mansfield Park: A Novel - Lynn Shepherd
Reblogged from Happy Booker:

Oh Hell No


According to her Huffington Post aritcle:


Lynn Shepherd thinks that JK Rowling should stop writing books and give less popular authors a chance...



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OH and she has some issues with adults who read Harry Potter instead of just reading it to their kids instead of reading books that are more suited to adult intellect....


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Good book, but I found out that I already had a copy of this....

The Real Life Women of Downton Abbey - Pamela Horn

This was a good start for anyone interested in finding out the lives of late Victorian and Edwardian aristocratic women. The author uses exsitant letters and diaries to show how some women were content to stay in the roles of mother and wife and benefactor, but others were more daring and took stands on such political views as socialism, and votes for women. While I had heard of many of these women before, such as Jennie Jerome, Consuelo Vanderbilt and Daisy Warwick, quite a few were new to me. Along with the narrative, there are photographs and drawings, as well as an extensive bibliography, notes and index. One caveat: This was previously published as [book:Ladies of the Manor|2066127], back in the early 1990's. I wish the publishers had made some note of this, as I had already a copy of the earlier book. Also, there isn't new information. Overall, this gets four stars and a recommendation, unless of course, you already have a copy of this book.

For the longer review, please go here:

Minutes, seconds, eons, what do they really add up to?

Thief of Time - Terry Pratchett

Usually, if a series has more than a dozen books in it, I don't keep up with it. Most of the time it is too unwieldy and just plain boring. The author either starts to repeat themselves with characters and situations or goes off into outlandish events that just are not believable. Not so with Terry Pratchett -- his inventiveness and biting humour keeps me coming back for more. This one, Pratchett looks at the nature and elements of time, and wraps it all up in a pretty shiny bow for his readers. Susan, and her grandfather, Death, are back in this one, and two very interesting monks from a distant monastery -- Lu-Tse and Lobsang. This time, the Discworld itself is in peril from the Auditors, who find that the universe would be much more tidy if humans and their ilk would stop cluttering up the place. What ensues is a peculiar sort of Apocalypse, and one that kept me sitting up late into the night. Five stars overall, and very much recommended.

For the longer review, please go here:

Reblogged from Debbie's Spurts:
Source: http://www.facebook.com/650007571706739/photos/a.662496460457850.1073741827.650007571706739/701643313209831/?type=1&relevant_count=1

Black Pyramids, archaeology, and death threats in _Lion in the Valley_

Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peabody Series #4) - Elizabeth Peters

In this fourth entry in the Amelia Peabody series, the Emersons (with Ramses and Bastet, of course) return to Egypt, and this time they get to excavate at the pyramids of Dashoor. Amelia is in raptures, with a chance to have a pyramid of her very own to explore. But when an adversary is discovered murdered in their Cairo hotel, things start to get a bit complicated. And it doesn't stop once they get to Dashoor, what with nosy American toursts (parasol fencing!), a young man named Nemo who appears to be more trouble than he is worth, and the mystery mastermind that wants to see the Emersons dead or at the very least, removed from Egypt. Clever writing, smart plot, and plenty of fun. Four stars overall and very much recommended.

For the longer review, please go here:

_Cocaine Blues:_ Phryne Fisher sweeps Melbourne, Australia before her

Cocaine Blues  - Stephanie Daniel, Kerry Greenwood

Every now and then I get to read a mystery that makes me think why didn't I read these earlier? The first book of the Phryne Fisher novels did that to me. A socialite with plenty of style and wit lands in Melbourne, Australia and embarks on a series of adventures involving cocaine, illegal abortions, wisecracking cabbies, some elegant Russian expats and lots of descriptive writing. Welcome to the world of Phryne Fisher, not quite your ordinary woman. There's Dr. Elizabeth MacMillan, a doctor and friend of Phryne's, the Princesse de Grasse and her two dancers, and the woman that caused Phryne to come to Australia in the first place -- Lydia.  The writing is tight, the story and plots involved, and the dialogue sparkles. All in all, I give this four stars and a reommendation, although the content might disturb some.

For the longer review, please go here:

Missionaries, sinister doings, a pet lion and Ramses.

The Mummy Case - Elizabeth Peters

Last year I started to read the Amelia Peabody series by the late Elizabeth Peters, and discovered that I liked it. In the third book in the series, the Emersons are returning to Egypt, but this time they have their young, precocious son Ramses in tow, along with the cat Bastet. Assigned a distant, unremarkable site to excavate, the digging season starts out uncomfortable, but soon enough there are plenty of eccentricities to complicate matters, from several American missionaries, an overstuffed overbearing German baroness who fancies herself an ancient Queen, and something peculiar about a coffin. But it is Ramses who is the real star of this novel who keeps finding more trouble and dirt than any young child should. Great fun, real archaeology, and a painless way to see the birth of modern Egypt. Four stars overall and recommended.

For the longer review, please go here:

Gold, lies, deception, astrology, and other assorted sins in the gold fields.

The Luminaries - Eleanor Catton

I found this one to be interesting, but it failed on several levels. Twelve men, plus one, form an impromtu jury to find out happened on a night several months earlier, when a woman is found beaten and bloody, a miner is found dead in his cabin, and a young man turns up missing. Set in the New Zealand gold rush of the 1860's there are all sorts of characters -- about twenty! -- and plenty of plot twists as well as shifting back and forth in time and place. Astrology, with some serious flaws, is used as a plot device, as well as spirituality and a seance. While most of the story gets tied up by the end, I was rather disappointed by this one. I give it four stars for the writing which gets very good in spots, and the research is fairly good, but overall, this is rather overwrought. Recommended, but with reservations.

For the longer review, please go here:

If you love Egypt, and all things about it, you deserve this book

Egyptomania: Our Three Thousand Year Obsession with the Land of the Pharaohs - Bob Brier

This was a great read on ancient Egypt and how it has influenced our world from the Greeks and Romans all the way up to today. There's some snarky comments, some great history, lots of coincidences that I had never heard of before, and a fun ride. It's a short book, just over two hundred pages long, and very entertaining. There are lavish illustrations as well. Four stars overall, and a recommendation.

For the longer review, please go here:

Wealth, archaeology and the high life

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle - Fiona,  Countess of Carnarvon

A very entertaining look at the real Downton Abbey -- Highclere Castle -- and one of the countesses that lived there. Almina Wombwell was pretty, but also very wealthy. Where it gets unusual is who Almina's real father was -- Alfred de Rothschild, and his wealth is what got Almina accepted by England's aristocracy. She grew up wealthy, privileged, and would marry the Earl of Carnarvon. She bore children, supported her husband, modernized Highclere, and would help back the event that launched Carnarvon into history -- the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb. While the writing isn't top-notch, the story that it tells is. Four stars overall, and recommended.

For the longer review, please go here:

The Battle of Gettysburg, told in evocative prose

The Killer Angels: The Classic Novel of the Civil War - Michael Shaara

I found this one to be very readable, very sympathetic without being partisan or saying one side is right or wrong. General Lee invades the north, hoping to bring the war to an end, and encounters the forces being led by General Longstreet. The two sides fight to the south of the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for four days, and resulted in horrific losses on both sides. Shaara gives an insight into what men on both sides of the conflict, as well as the men in the infantry as well as officers. While the style of having alternating POVs throughout was a bit confusing at first, it did settle into place quickly. As well as narrative there are maps showing the movements of both sides, and an afterword that goes into what happened next. All in all, this one gets five stars.


To read the longer review, please go here:


Arrogance, a young science, and those who paid the ultimate price

No Apparent Danger: The True Story of Volcanic Disaster at Galeras and Nevado Del Ruiz - Victoria Bruce

This was quite a read. Despite the length -- just over 200 pages -- this chronicle of the disastrous eruptions of two volcanoes in Colombia in the 1980's and 1990's is very well written and understandable for the lay person. Yes, there is some science in this one, but it is presented smoothly enough that it doesn't bog down the story. What is heartrending are the attitudes among scientists and politicians and sadly, the ordinary people who would pay the price for their arrogance. Geology nerds will have the best time with this one. I give it four stars and a recommendation.

For the longer review, please go here:

Climbing, an ongoing mystery, climbing, dumb finale, and oh yes, climbing

The Abominable - Dan Simmons

This one I picked up mostly for the fact that I had enjoyed the previous novels of Dan Simmons, and besides, tales of mountains and climbing them have always interested me. This one is set in 1924 and three skilled mountaineers discover that George Mallory and Sandy Irvine have vanished on Mount Everest, an event that would shock the world. These three, The Deacon, Jean-Claud, and the narrator Jake Perry, decide to try for Everest themselves, and so follows about six hundred pages of climbing, money, India and Tibet, climbing, Reggie, climbing and the merits of using oxygen and rope at high altitude. An awful lot of the book is taken up with technicalities, and it goes on for pages upon pages. Not just that, the last hundred pages approach the ludicrous as far as plot goes. To be honest, I was glad to see the book end, and that's not a good sign at all. Three stars overall.

For the longer review, please go here:

Witches, Igor, Vampires, Thcrapth -- just another day on the Discworld

Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23) - Terry Pratchett

Getting queasy over the proliferation of 'sparkly' vampires? You need this book. Terry Pratchett once again turns genres on their heads, and gives a wickedly funny look at the Discworld, and especially our three favourite witches. A Naming is about to happen in the small kingdom of Lancre, where King Verence and Queen Magrat rule with a benign if at times fuddled hand. Now they have a baby daughter, and they're inviting all sorts of people. One invitation seems to have been skipped -- that of the most important guest of all, Granny Weatherwax. Now Granny is in a snit, and that's never a good sign. Instead, the Magpyrs show up, a modern, forward thinking family of vampires, who happen to have plans for Lancre. You don't want to miss this one. Five stars overall and a happy recommendation.

For the longer review, please go here:

Reading progress update: I've read 378 out of 378 pages.

Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23) - Terry Pratchett

I really liked this one. A very different spin on the witches, and of course vampires. And I loved Igor and the dog -- brain of a spaniel indeed! Longer review to come.

Reading progress update: I've read 157 out of 378 pages.

Carpe Jugulum (Discworld, #23) - Terry Pratchett

Oooh, Magpyrs come to the ceremony of naming the infant daughter of King Verence and Queen Magrat of Lancre. And it seems they are impervious to traditional means of getting rid of them too. Also, Nanny Ogg, Granny Weatherwax and Agnes Nitt, not to mention Greebo, make a strong appearance.