Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cynthia Roberts answers a few questions

It's lovely when an author will take the time to answer a reader's questions. As Cynthia Roberts was nice enough to do so, I want to share them with you. 

Romance novels are easily set in any time or place. Why did you chose to set yours among Indians?
I chose to write an historical Indian romance because the first fiction I ever read was a novel from Cassie Edward’s Savage series. I read her entire sequel and since most of her books were mostly based on the Plains Indians, I wanted to focus on a tribe indigenous to my area. My series of 5 consists of the original tribes that made up the Iroquois League of Nations here on the East coast. 

Where did your love of Indians come from?
I've always had a fascination for Native Indian culture since as long as I can remember. I think it started back when I was a little girl and use to watch all the John Wayne movies with my dad. Even at such a young age I felt they was no justification as to how they were treated by our forefathers. As my passion for writing grew, so did my desire to portray them for who they really were. 

I've not done a lot of fact checking about your representation of the Indians of the time but it does seem to "ring true". Where does your information come from? How did you research it?
I spent hundreds of hours sitting upon uncomfortable wooden chairs at the state museum library handwriting notes on multiple legal pads as I researched their folklore, religion, language and culture. I personally feel that if I'm using a culture in one of writings and benefiting from it, it's important to pay tribute to the true essence of who they are as a people. For far too long Native Indians have been painted in a savage light and not the honorable, respectful and reverent individuals they truly were.

Will your next novel continue with the tribes of the north east?
Book #2, "Captive Heart", actually picks up where my female villain is banished to the tribe of the Oneida as punishment. The very fate she has mocked her entire adult life sends her on a dangerous journey that tests the very essence of who she is and the woman she secretly wishes to become.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #1: Wolf BrotherChronicles of Ancient Darkness #2: Spirit WalkerChronicles of Ancient Darkness #3: Soul EaterChronicles of Ancient Darkness #4: OutcastChronicles of Ancient Darkness #5: Oath BreakerChronicles of Ancient Darkness #6: Ghost Hunter

While tooling around in ITunes, I came across a podcast of Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver that was narrated by Sir Ian McKellum. While I could listen to him read just about anything, I found myself intrigued with the story (as was DH).

The story came to a nice conclusion but I just could not let it go! I wanted to know more about what would happen to this young boy who lost his father and became linked to a wolf.

This is the summary from GoodReads:
Six thousand years ago. Evil stalks the land. According to legend, only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined. Torak and Wolf are terrified of their mission. But if they do not battle to save their world, who will?

I gotta tell you, while this series may have been written for a young adult audience, this little old lady and DH enjoyed all 6 books as told by Sir Ian McKellum. Hardback or audible, if you too are young at heart, you might want to check this series out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Water for Elephants

Water for ElephantsWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My mom (91) recommended this book to me. I had already put it on my wish list but as she has good taste in books... When I found I had credit and the book there, I went for it.

The joy of this audio version is hearing the voices of the our hero in his 90+ year old as well as in his 20s.

Just prior to taking his finals to become a vetranarian, his parents die leaving him nothing as it appears they spent everything they had to send him to a Cornell. After burying his parents, he returns to take his finals only to walk out on them and walks and walks until ultimately he ends up in the circus...not THE CIRCUS but 'the circus'. THE CIRCUS would be one you would know today. 'the circus' would be one of less known circuses of the depression era that did not survive.

Between the different time zones we learn of different love stories...human love, animal love, circus love as well as the evolusion of a man.

I am afraid to say much more for fear of giving away too much. So let me just say, my mom made a good recommendation which I think others will find equally enjoyable.

Wind Warrior by Cynthia Roberts

I love reading stories about Indians and have since probably since the 5th grade when I heard the legend of the blue bonnets. I searched our school library for more myths and legends and stories about people who could come up with such beautiful stories. When the book mobile came around, I checked every time! The pickings were slim. Most of what I have found has been about the plains Indians. And most was a sad history of mistreatment at the hands of the white man. But occasionally I found stories the before times of how they lived.

When I had the chance to win a copy of Wind Warrior, I jumped at the opportunity. When I was told I had actually won, I was ecstatic. It is the story of 2 people who have visions of one another. Leslie is a white woman who has lived through the lose of her beloved husband and child and is living with her cherished father in the wilderness. She is strong of mind, heart, and spirit. As a new horror descends upon her, those characteristics help her fled for her life..

Enter the second dreamer, an Indian war chief, Winnokin, the head chief of the Senecas (a north eastern tribe). He will find and heal her only to have to deal with the horror she was fleeing from when they met. They must win out for the book to continue to educate both Leslie and readers about the ways of the Seneca; a truly evolved and civilized people.

While I truly enjoyed the basic love story, I especially enjoyed the vision of the Seneca Nation and its people.

Oh, good news! Cynthia Roberts plans to come out more books about the Indians of the north east. And if like this one, they will stand alone.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Ramona (Avon Romance)Ramona by H. Jackson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was first published in 1893. I think I read it before I went to college but I am not sure. What I am sure of is how it has hung in my memory. I think I saw recently that TTN had a movie version with Loretta Young playing Ramona.

What did I learned from this book? About prejudice. About why I need to watch out for it within. Looking without I am sadden to feel that much has not changed in 100 years.

I do remember thinking it a good love story.

I think I would like reading it again.

View all my reviews

Elmer Gantry

Elmer GantryElmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

drat rat it! i had a lovely well thought out review that the computer gods ate up! so now all you get is the condensed version: my dad banned me from seeing the movie...'might destroy what religious beliefs you have!' college, first review assignment...grabbed.

piffle! may have effected him but ...he had to be kidding. oh, it is well written but not a mind bender...well, not mine anyway.

FYI, this is the summary GoodReads posted:

Today universally recognized as a landmark in American literature, Elmer Gantry scandalized readers when it was first published, causing Sinclair Lewis to be "invited" to a jail cell in New Hampshire and to his own lynching in Virginia. His portrait of a golden-tongued evangelist who rises to power within his church - a saver of souls who lives a life of hypocrisy, sensuality, and ruthless self-indulgence - is also the record of a period, a reign of grotesque vulgarity, which but for Lewis would have left no record of itself. Elmber Gantry has been called the greatest, most vital, and most penetrating study of hyposcriy that has been written since Voltaire.

View all my reviews

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Character Interview w/ Percy Parker! {Strangely Beautiful Series by Lean...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A true story

We were traveling down to the Panama Canal Zone by boat as that was where my father was stationed (by the way, his 3 daughters were born there during two earlier tours of duty). As I did not remember any childhood boat trips, I was excited and curious to find out if I would be subject to "mal de mer".

Turns out I was not. My problem was the boat not only went up and down, it rolled side to side at the same time! For a person with little sense of balance to start with, this was a challenge!

Baby sister (newly graduated from high school) was victimized. As the dutiful 'big sister' (OK, so she is way taller than my 4'8"), I got her as settled as I could with a damp cloth on her head and trash can close by the bed before going to find my father, THE DOCTOR.

Given some Dramamine, I returned to save the green sister. Ah, magic! Not long after taking said pill, her green hue turned back to its normal porcelain beauty and she dozed off to sleep.

I returned to the report the good news to my father, THE DOCTOR. Happy parent proceeded to give me the same medicine!

"But Daddy, I am not sea sick!"

"Ah, but preventative medicine is a good thing."

In obedience, I returned below to take said pill, recheck sister's comfort, and read.

That, good friends, was about the last thing I remember until shortly before we landed. No joke, I slept for 3 days and 3 nights (trip took 4 days). (Little sister was never again sea sick. And I missed a lot of really, really good food!)

Moral: Sometimes my father,THE DOCTOR, was fallible. Sometimes preventative medicine is not a good thing. I dearly love my father, THE DOCTOR stories! ('Just wish he was still alive to share the laugh.)

My Father, the doctor

He said "preventative medicine is a good thing." I know, you didn't have a father to say this. You've read it. You've heard it. So why am I talking about it? Because they are talking about it right now on TV.

I have probably lived 35 years past my father's best expectation because I listened to him. I found good doctors that will communicate with me.

The number one killer of women is heart disease. It took my grandfather and father. I've had high blood pressure since my early 30s and have been treating it that long. I never could check my blood pressure with a cuff and stethoscope but when my doctor told me about new machines that didn't require a stethoscope, I got one. I used to use it daily. Now I listen to my body all the time and know when I need to check it daily and keep a record for my doctor.

Ah, they just said it....listen to your body and push your doctor to hear what it's saying. If you have a doctor that does not listen to you, FIRE THE DOCTOR! The program is called "Speak up to save lives". That's your job, to speak up.

Did you know that women do not exhibit the symptoms you have so often heard? Check it out! Knowledge can save your life. DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU, YOU ARE TOO YOUNG TO THINK ABOUT IT!  My dad's first heart attack was in his early 30s.

Take care of yourself! And share what you learn with your family and friends!

Why do so many books I read get such high ratings?

Easy...I read books I expect to really enjoy! Why else take the time to read (or listen) to them.

But how can you rate a book like say The Kitchen House as highly as The Secret History of the Pink Carnation?

Again, easy. They are different genres. Think of it like would you compare a great steak with a great pie? I wouldn't. I would appreciate each in it's own category. Like food, my book appetite varies. Consequently, my expectations start high (5) and if they meet my expectations, that's what they get. Rarely do books go below 'good' which means just that...I enjoyed them for what they are but...

Do you ever give anything less than a 'good' (3) rating?

Unfortunately, yes. It makes me sad when I do. Sometimes even angry. I've wasted time I could have spent with a book I could have really enjoyed! I wonder at my could I not have seen before hand this would not meet my escapist need? Why didn't the person that wrote the blurb write the book? What happened to my writer who normally gives me so much pleasure?

One didn't ring, it clunked but I couldn't figure out why. It was after all, 'fiction'. Half way through the book, I read every review I could find; every interview. Everyone else liked it. What was I missing? I read some more. Still not likening it but still wanting to like it. Then I researched the historical foundation. I talked to my 90yo mom about human nature of her youth and what she had learn about what it was like for her parents. Now I knew why the story did ring for me.

FYI, it is permissible to dislike a book. It's also OK to write a negative review. Reviewers should try to explain why it was 'amiss' for them. Authors should not take personal affront as the review just one person's opinion about the book, not about the writer.

I really want to enjoy books I read! I want to share my excitement as I do! When I do get into one that does not come up to my expectations, I will share that with you...hopefully with good reasoning for my opinion and with the knowledge that I may be in the minority. Sometimes broccoli is really good, but some times it just tastes bad!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Snapea Crisps

After finishing with the vampires in preparation for my doctor's appointment next week, DH took me to Sprouts (who have opened a store just down the road from us...YEA). I love them as they are so nice to me when it come to helping me pick the best of the best fruit!

While whizzing around the store, I came to am abrupt halt in front of a display of Snapea Chips...original flavor baked made by Calbee Snack Salad.  Isn't that a good looking product? And it looks like it should be crunchy. And I was craving a good salad with lots of textures. So I bought a bag. I recommend you break them up when using in a salad.

These are so good! Even without the salad or dip or anything! But I have to warn you...very addictive! I looked them up on the web, you can see all their products here.

No, I am not getting any rewards from Sprouts or Calbee....but I do so like both!

The Postcard Killers

The Postcard Killers   by, James Patterson , Liza Marklund
OK, so I have no patience! but after I loaded it, I just had to start listening to it. Besides, having dumped my butt (no bounce) onto the ground twice yesterday, I needed something to distract myself from my pain filled self. This was a was an excellent distractor!

The story is about a very attractive couple who attract other couples only to gruesomely kill them. One victimized couple consisted of the only daughter of a New York cop. He will travel Europe to find the killers. Along the way he is joined by a Swedish reporter. 

I know that doesn't sound very exciting, but trust me, if it can draw me in and keep me interested more in the story than my pain filled body, it is a hell of a story! The murders are horrific but you mostly know that from the reactions of the finders which keeps the goriness to a minimum. 

I also liked listening to this book because I did not have to struggle with foreign words and names and accents as the 3 narrators did such a great job!

O, I did check, The Postcard Killers is available at as well as in Kindle format as well as wherever you get your paper copies.

I must thank Hachette Book Group for sending me this book for review! Especially as they know it will have no bearing on my review. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I got Postcard Killers in the mail!

From Karen Ukraine at Hachette Book Group! O, yes, James Patterson and Lias Marklund's The Postcard Killer, read by Katherine Kellgren, Eric Singer and Reg Rogers. (Audible, unabridged, 6 discs) I wonder if DH can get this onto the Kindle so we could listen to it on our way to and from and while waiting for the vampires?  (Blood must be sucked a week before the doctor sees me.) I think I will go ahead and load the disks onto my computer (just incase).

What? O, sorry. Picture:

The Postcard Killers   by, James Patterson , Liza Marklund

Cool cover! This is a quote from the book site:




Now see why I wanted it? Don't worry, you'll get my thoughts when I finish!

Thank you!

Why? For the following!

America's First Saint

Not a Catholic myself, I was curious about this woman so went searching electronically. There are lots of citations. Her birth in 1774 "was just before the fight for our Nation's birth.  Catholicism was not the religion of the time as evidence of this event (found in Wikipedia):
"Some anti-Catholic political movements like the Know Nothings, and organizations like the Orange InstitutionAmerican Protective Association, and the Ku Klux Klan, were active in the United States. Indeed, for most of the history of the United States, Catholics have been victims of discrimination and persecution. It was not until the time of the Presidency of John F. Kennedy in the following century that Catholics lived in the US largely free of suspicion. The Philadelphia Nativist RiotBloody Monday, the Orange Riots in New York City in 1871 and 1872,[54] and The Ku Klux Klan-ridden South discriminated against Catholics (as they did the Jews and African Americans) for their commonly Irish, Italian, Polish, German, or Spanish ethnicity.[55] Many Protestants in the Midwest and the North labeled Catholics as "anti-American Papists", "incapable of free thought without the approval of the Pope." During the Mexican-American War, Mexicans were portrayed as "backward" because of their "Papist superstition". In reaction to this attitude, some hundred American Catholics, mostly of Irish origin, fought on the Mexican side in the Saint Patrick's Battalion.[56]"

"In 1850, Franklin Pierce, as the US Attorney for the District of New Hampshire, presented resolutions for the removal of restrictions on Catholics from holding office in that state, as well as the removal of property qualifications for voting; however, these pro-Catholic measures were submitted to the electorate and were unsurprisingly defeated.[57] As the 19th century progressed, animosity between Protestants and Catholics waned. Many Protestant Americans came to understand that, despite anti-Catholic rhetoric, Catholics were not trying to seize control of the government. Another reason was that many Irish-Catholic immigrants fought alongside their Protestant compatriots in the American Civil War on both sides. Nonetheless, concerns continued into the 20th century that there was too much "Catholic influence" on the government.[citation needed]Some anti-Catholic political movements like the Know Nothings, and organizations like the Orange InstitutionAmerican Protective Association, and the Ku Klux Klan, were active in the United States. Indeed, for most of the history of the United States, Catholics have been victims of discrimination and persecution. It was not until the time of the Presidency of John F. Kennedy in the following century that Catholics lived in the US largely free of suspicion. The Philadelphia Nativist RiotBloody Monday, the Orange Riots in New York City in 1871 and 1872,[54] and The Ku Klux Klan-ridden South discriminated against Catholics (as they did the Jews and African Americans) for their commonly Irish, Italian, Polish, German, or Spanish ethnicity.[55] Many Protestants in the Midwest and the North labeled Catholics as "anti-American Papists", "incapable of free thought without the approval of the Pope." During the Mexican-American War, Mexicans were portrayed as "backward" because of their "Papist superstition". In reaction to this attitude, some hundred American Catholics, mostly of Irish origin, fought on the Mexican side in the Saint Patrick's Battalion.[56]"

So how did I go from the first American saint to talking about American Catholic history...well, it seemed to just flow in my mind to today's news that there was a mosque and a Muslim pray area in the Twin Towers;  bet there was a chapel or two for Christians (maybe) and a synagogue too. 

So it is important to note that the terrorists did not care who was in those buildings!  They didn't care that  a mosque or a chapel was there...they just wanted to kill and terrorize our country. So they killed Muslims! Christians!  Jews! and countless people of other faiths, even people without faith! They killed many people as they could....that's what they did. They wanted  to do...kill as of many people in those buildings as possible. I don't think they cared a whit about what the political, nationalities or religious persuasions of any of their victims...inside or outside! They created live Americans victims...a country of victims....made some of them forget that we love our country and that people founded our country on freedom of religion even when it difference from mine or yours. 

Don't let those awful men push our country back to intolerance! We, the people, are better than that!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Medieval helpdesk in English

Ok, this is for those who don't like to read their movies! I love my friends that share their sillies with me!

You just gotta smile!

I received this in an email and...

Always try to help a friend in need
Believe in yourself
Study hard
Give lots of kisses
Laugh often
Don't be overly concerned with your weight, it's just a number
Always try to see the glass half full
Meet new people, even if they look different to you
Remain calm, even when it seems hopeless
Take lots of naps..
Be weird whenever you have the chance
Love your friends, no matter who they are
Don't waste food
Take an occasional risk
Try to have a little fun each day.'s important
Share a joke with friends
Fall in love with someone..
...and say 'I love you' often
Express yourself creatively
Be conscious of your appearance
Always be up for surprises
Love someone with all of your he art
Share with friends
Watch your step
It will get better
There is always someone who loves you more than you know
Exercise to keep fit
Live up to your name
Seize the Moment
Hold on to good friends; they are few and far between
Indulge in the things you truly love
Cherish every Sunday
At the end of the day... PRAY
......... And close your eyes
And smile at least once a day!