Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Review: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May DoddOne Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher's Summary

One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the Western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians.

The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world.

Toward that end, May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetimes.

Author Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.

©1998 Jim Fergus; (P)2006 BBC Audiobooks America

What the Critics Say

"Fergus lets his imagination go wild and creates a journal of one of his ancestors who became one of those brides in 1875. Laura Hicks renders this imaginative work splendidly. She is vivacious and expressive as May Dodd." (Audiofile)

My Thoughts

I stumbled onto this one in I read the above and listed to a snippet. I knew I had to know this story as it was a bit of history I knew nothing about.

The narrator was a grand voice for Mary Dodd.

What heroic women these were to agree to the plan and travel so far to meet and marry Indians for two years. When you think about the time and the articles in newspapers about the 'red man', how, why would they even consider such an adventure?

I not only learned about the women but also about life in one Cheyenne village.

This is indeed a book I would recommend to anyone else who doesn't know the history behind it, who wonder about some of the roles of women in the west, and life of a group of Indians of the plains! I think this would be a good book  for teachers and home schoolers to recommend to  students or school book clubs.

Even my husband found it intriguing.

Book Review: Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir

Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine | [Alison Weir]The Captive Queen by Alison Weir
Narrated by Rosalyn Landor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book dove tailed nicely as the first book I read about Eleanor of Aquitaine as it was of her early life up to her meeting with the man who would be her second husband (Henry, Duke of Normandy, King of England).

Publisher's Summary

Renowned for her highly acclaimed and best-selling British histories, Alison Weir has in recent years made a major impact on the fiction scene with her novels about Queen Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey. In this latest offering, she imagines the world of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the beautiful 12th-century woman who was queen of France until she abandoned her royal husband for the younger man who would become king of England.

In a relationship based on lust and a mutual desire for great power, Henry II and Eleanor took over the English throne in 1154, thus beginning one of the most influential reigns and tumultuous royal marriages in all of history. In this novel, Weir uses her extensive knowledge to paint a most vivid portrait of this fascinating woman.

My thoughts

As the oldest of only two girls, her father raised her to be able to rule after her he died. Thus she was not only a great beauty but intelligent and well educated but a desirable mate for most men of rank. One look between Eleanor and Henry and they were in lust. A bit more and they were in a love match that while contentious lasted for most of the rest of their lives in one form or another. Read the book for the expansion of the story.

I listened to this one from using my monthly credits.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: The Sugar House by Laura Lippman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Their summary:

Jess Monaghan's life is back on course. She is beginning to make a name for herself as a PI, she's even banking good money. And then her father asks her a favour: to investigate the death in prison of a friend's brother convicted of killing an unidentified girl, otherwise known as 'Jane Doe'. Tess's search leads her to 'the Sugar House', a brutal institution where she discovers Jane Doe's real identity. And then Tess's father begs her to drop the case ...It is not until her parent's house is set on fire and a body pulled from the wreckage, that she realises that her life may have taken a very wrong turning indeed - one from which there is no going back.

My thoughts:

Is there a series of books based on the character of Jess Monaghan? Of course there is!

Have I read any others in the series? Of course not?

Why no? Because had this one on sale and something about it made curious. For some reason, it reminded me of visit I had one week in Arkansas when I read every single Nancy Drew book! What a joyful experience it was! And so was reading The Sugar House. Jess is more mature but she manages to have some of those 'oops moments'! And then too, this is set in today's time and today's issues.

Why the comparison to Nancy? Because she is not getting shot at all the time or knocked out or hard drinking like some of the other mysteries that are out now.

Whoray for the author! She get added points for writing a book when I don't really need all the back story and bringing to it to a nice conclusion!

PS: DH liked the book as well!

Book Review: Scent of Danger by Autumn Dawn

Scent of Danger (Darklands, #3)Scent of Danger by Autumn Dawn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A friend suggested we read it together. I agreed. We got our copies from for our Kindles.

If you find yourself in need of a good romance (romances?), with nothing too scary, pick it up and enjoy. It's a light, fun, fast read that had me wanting to keep reading to the end.

I do have to give the writer koodos as you know how I feel about series books that leave you hanging, waiting for the next book which probably won't be out for a year.

You might want to read the others in the series but if this one is your first, don't panic! I liked the beginning and the clean end.  Think of this as a fairy tale where boy meets girl, problems occur, boy saves girl and they live happily ever after! Or maybe a modern take on one of Shakespere's comedies.

Would I read the other books in the series? Yes!

Would I suggest it to my husband? No!

Grace took me to Thailand!

It has been so long ago, I don't know when I started following Grace's blog: Sandier Pastures.  She is an expat (someone who is from one country who lives and works in another country).  What's more, whenever she goes somewhere, she takes her camera to accessorize the words about her trip.
This is her posting from Thailand.  If all the pictures don't come through, click on the blog name to zip over Dubai.  Without further ado, take it away Grace!

** This is a part of a series of posts about my blog trip to Thailand. **
Day two and we are still in Hua Hin, Thailand. After our visit to the Hua Hin Train Stationand Flintstone Hill, we went to Wat Huay Mongkol. In our itinerary it says, “home of the sacred Luang Pu Thuad statue revered by the locals” – of course we don’t have any idea what it means till we got to the place.
Wat Huay Mongkol houses the largest statue of Luang Phor Thuat in Thailand in a park-like setting. From far, the size of the statue is already obvious, much so when we got near.
And nearer:
There were lots of visitors there, including foreigners like us and local Thai people.We all went up the stairs to get nearer. I was curious what the people were doing there.
The Luang Pu Thuad statue sits on a pedestal with four other smaller images in niches where the faithful pastes gold-leaf in honour of the monk. Here are the people with thin pieces of gold leaves pasting it on one of the the smaller statues.
An excerpt from Luang Pu Thuad’s life story and as told by our tour guide:
Luang Pu Thuad became famous during the 16th century when he saved the people from draught. There was the time where there was not enough drinking water, and the weather deteriorate day after day. According to an account related by villagers, a monk was sighted in a small boat which moving along the river. He was in deep meditation and prayer. After he’d finished chanting, he lowered one of his legs into the river, and within short while, the river is filled with clear and clean drinking water. A miracle had happened. This bit of good news spread throughout the province and to other parts of Thailand. The monk was no other than Luong Pu Thuad himself. The people highly respected and graciously revered him from then on.
Also, it is said that amulets in the likeness of the monk (with varieties impossible to count) bring great protection and good luck. If you are amulet collector, dont forget to buy the amulet there. I didn’t buy any because I was not listening to the guide regarding the protection and good luck part. I could have bought one to keep. Maybe next time!
Going down again, there’s this three headed elephant at the foot of the statue where people walk under. Locals say walking under the three headed elephant will make some of your wishes come true. I do remember, walking underneath it wishes for a baby soon.
Little did I know I was already with child here! Anyway, Thailand really loves elephants, even the water fountain has got elephants on it. How cute are these?
We saw a monk in meditation in the shelter nearby. Local people gathered around him but I have no idea what they were doing. They must be praying?
At the other side, there are statues where people paste the gold leaves.
A golden statue.
Up next: Hua Hin Hills Vineyard for wine tasting and lunch. Yes, there’s a vineyard in Thailand!
* Photos taken using Canon EOS 550D and Canon PowerShot SD960IS 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Book Review: Harry Bosch Box Set by Michael Connelly

Harry Bosch Box SetHarry Bosch Box Set by Michael Connelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Would you believe the box set was on!? AND they were spring cleaning so bought it as Charlie and I love his books...and this was 3 in one! Especially the character of Harry Bosch! He's a really good cop who won't give up on a case even if everyone else in the department has. And don't mess with his daughter or he will 'hunt you down'!

The thing I like about Mr. Connelly's books are you can read them in any order, as they all have a beginning, murder, and an ending.

Yes but what about the back story?

The salient parts are there to add to the character of the man, so what if you know something is going to happen to the family in the future...the important thing is how Bosch is going to solve the mystery!

Yes, I do highly recommend this trio of books if you like a good mystery!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: The Seventh Son

Seventh Son (Tales of Alvin Maker, #1)Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm stuck! I've lost the words...which you know is abnormal for me!

There is a seventh son with special abilities, a watchful guardian (sort of) who also has abilities, a hell fire and damn nation minister, and a wondering story teller. I tend to think of Seventh Sun as mystery (well, there are a lot of dead people), then paranormal.

I found the book to be very compelling with many lessons; some of which linked the past and present. It's a good story even if you don't get the lessons and links I felt.

The ending is clean but I did wonder what will happen as this boy grows up. (Good news, there is a follow up!)

I want to tell you more about the story but every time I start, I feel I'll give away too much! My best advice is to read the summary anywhere you can find it. Reading the summary and listening to a snippet on was enough to use a monthly credit for it.

I really do recommend this book!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I got two funnies today, so you get them too!

From YouTube,

George Lucas Strikes Back {HD Trailer}

From KSki,

Thought this was interesting...

The Year 2011, is the year of Feng Shui and Luck.

The month of July this year has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays.  This combination arrives only once every 623 years. The Chinese call this phenomenon  “The Sacs of money” .

If you pass on this message, Chinese  tradition says you will receive money in 5 days. And according to Feng Shui, those who do not pass on this message will have financial problems for the rest of the year.

This year is a bit special. We will have 4 unusual dates:

1/1/11,  11/1/11,  1/11/11,  11/11/11

...and that is not all.

Take the last two digits of the year of your birth and the age you will have or have this year, add them, and the sum for everyone is 111  !

Ex:    63 + 48 = 111

This year is the Year of Money and Wealth.  The month of October will have 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays !  This combination arrives only once every 823 years !  These years are called the years of Gain.