Tag Archives: SephiPiderWitch

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Remarkable Creatures

Remarkable Creatures was a most wonderful read.  The author, Tracy Chevalier is most known for having written The Girl With the Pearl Earring.  And I have a confession to make.  I never did read that book.  But, I did watch the movie.  However, after having read Remarkable Creatures, it will go on my to read list.

Remarkable Creatures is about two women from opposite sides of society.  Mary Anning, a poor girl who had been struck by lightening when she was little which left her with the ability to find “curies”.  Curies are little fossilized sea creatures that wash up on the shores of the town she lives in Lyme.

The other character, Elizabeth Philpot, though not rich, is definitely middle class.  But, Elizabeth is plain, or at least she has a sharp jawline that is not considered soft enough to attract a suitor.  When her brother marries, his new wife and he decide that the house is not big enough for his new family in the making, so he sends Elizabeth and her two sisters to live in Lyme, setting them into a small house with an annual allowance that grants them a modest means of living.

Elizabeth also collects Curies and meets Mary when she ventures into Mary’s fathers cabinet shop to see about ordering a cabinet for her collection.  They strike up a friendship initially based on the shared interest they have in the little fossils.  Over time, it progresses to a very deep sisterly relationship.

Its a very interesting story of a relationship between two women in an age where most people socialized only within their own social class.  It is also full of interesting knowledge and names of early collectors and scientists of fossils at a time when care must be taken not to allude to the possibility that these creatures separate from the proscribed God’s design.

Tracy Chevalier has created rich and layered characters that draw you in and immerse you in their world.  She does not just told a story, she has woven it and will trap you in the web of it.  Her voice is unique and lyrical.  And she will find a place on my authors to follow the works of list.

One thing I was pleased to note after finishing the book is that it is also based on real people with a fictional tale woven about the characters.  Both Mary and Elizabeth did exist and the were both fossil collectors whose finds can be found in museums in Britain and abroad.

Read more here:
http://www.tchevalier.com/remarkablecreatures/story/index.html

 

Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn

sharp-objects-book-coverShe has done it again!  Chills up my spine and flesh crawling amazing!  This woman is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors!

Sharp Objects is about a reporter, Camille Preaker who is sent to cover the murder of two young girls from the town where she was born and raised.  She returns to her home, which she hasn’t been back to in years, to her cold mother and a very precocious younger sister, Emma.

Camille is a cutter, but not a conventional cutter.  She is a word cutter and her body is a tapestry of the words she has cut through the years.  Years of therapy have gotten her to stop taking the knife to her body, but being back home with all its memories and ghosts makes the words whisper to her.

This book is haunting and spine chilling in the characters Gillian brings forth.  Complex characters that are conflicting balances of good and evil.  Through the tapestry of young and old women, she shows the cruelty that women are capable of inflicting on each other.  Far deeper and more scarring than the wounds of a man, for a woman wounds at an intimate level.  And there are a few in this landscape that are true artists in this regard.

From the mother who is cold and dispassionate until Camille is sick and then turns into a doting and caring nurse, to her sister, Emma, and her friends who think cruelty is a sport.  Yet, Emma also has a soft side that shows up.  A need, a fierceness, a desire to be loved as deep as what Camille carries.  One who hurts themselves, one who hurts others.  Both tortured souls that must manifest their torture outward.

Gillian’s writing takes you deeply into the head and the soul of Camille and allows you to see the world through a “cutter”, a damaged soul.  She vividly creates a possible world that can mold such a person and you breathe with her each experience and hear the whisper of each carved word.

The mystery unfolds and as in the other book of her’s I read, Gone Girl, I had somewhat figured out who the murderer was, but how she delivers it was once again a curve ball.

She has one last book that I have not read which had jumped to the top level of my list and I hope that she is working on the next, because I must admit, I am addicted to her stories now!

 

April Island Shots

 April 2014 Camano Island-15
When driving along the freeway, what to my wandering eyes should appear but a yard of rusty trucks and cars and trailers and such.  This little beauty here, well, it used to be a rum runner taking the back roads from the wharves to the seamstress’ quarters in the university.
April 2014 Camano Island-16
All you need is close your eyes for a moment and think of the Speakeasy, flappers, gangsters (the real ones with the Tommy guns and Zoot suits and fedoras with yet more flapper girls hanging off their arms) then open your eyes.  Or, maybe little Dorothy Parker would have liked to drive around in this looking for the latest poetic inspiration.
April 2014 Camano Island-17Want to protect your interest in these pristine relics?  Have no fear!  There is a squad of ancient warrior trees that will watch over them for a nominal fee.  Don’t let the rumors about the blood sacrifice deter you.  It really doesn’t need to be a friend or family member.  Then again, that may just be the answer to one of those prayers you are afraid to voice.  And not to worry these talented trees show their appreciation by absorbing all of the offering, leaving no trace that could ever point back to you!
 April 2014 Camano Island-20
You know?  I could be Bonnie and Clyde’s car.  But, it isn’t because its lacking that unique embellishment of all those bullet holes.  Of course, it could be their spare car!
 April 2014 Camano Island-22And here we have one of those lovely guardian trees showing its appreciation for an offering it received by doing the solar dance of freedom.  The supplicants are hiding in the little shack, as it has been rumored that these dances can bring about the dropping and flinging of branches and pine cones of most unusual size.  Injuries and death have been known to result to unprotected supplicants and it has been proposed that there might be an intentional component in this as it would provide additional sacrifices to these ravenous creatures.
 April 2014 Camano Island-24And as I drive onto the island, I take a turn on one of the side streets that I have been eyeballing for quite some time.  It was a beautiful long stretch of road that ended at the coastline on the other side.  I’ll save that area for another day.  But, I had to stop for the clouds.  And this one just looked like a storm God baring in for an assault on the ground below!!
 April 2014 Camano Island-25Or maybe its a momma cloud Goddess chasing after its runaway offspring.  Poor little thing!  Oh Wait!  No!  Its dancing and chanting, “naner, naner, naner!  Can’t catch me!”  Ah, but we all know that mom will win this battle.  And that light misty rain that followed?  The little one with the paddled bottom!
 April 2014 Camano Island-29
Just looks more ominous with the hues changed, don’t you think?  You almost expect a tornado to rear its body off in the distance!
April 2014 Camano Island-34
Okay, all I have to say here is:  Breathtaking, isn’t it?
April 2014 Camano Island-37
I was seriously considering going over and knocking on their door to see if they would give me the ritual they used to summon their own cloud above them.
 April 2014 Camano Island-39Ah yes, and we step again into that wayback machine to a simpler time, a time of Laura Ingalls and John Wayne and no electricity and not internet . . . . Yeah, maybe not.
 I do love the broken down, dilapidated structures!!!April 2014 Camano Island-43
 April 2014 Camano Island-45Looks like they have more than plenty of room for guest here.  And don’t have to worry about them being underfoot!  And its nice there are windows so they can look out, or be watched!
 April 2014 Camano Island-47
And right close to the barn too!  They won’t have far to walk to milk those cows on the way in for breakfast,
 April 2014 Camano Island-51
And one of my favorite trees on the island.  Yes, you know its Spring as its getting in is lovely foliage!
 April 2014 Camano Island-52And this was the last picture I got before my beloved camera got sick.  Its now at the camera hospital and though I do have the point and shoot to keep me somewhat occupied, life will not be the same till my baby comes home.
Oh, and do note that I am now adding a slide show at the bottom of the posts where you can look at all the pictures, some of which are not shown above.  Feel free to leave comments and there is a subscribe button if you want to see new posts as I write them.  Thank you for stopping by!
[easyrotator]erc_85_1397437157[/easyrotator]
 

Clipping and Planting the Garden, Oh My!

 

 IMG_2361
Oh Hai!  Seems today is clearing and planting day.  I hope you don’t mind if I just wait here by the window and get some sun.  Naw, we don’t have to worry about that sun cancer thing you humans have to deal with.  I have SPF 85 Sun Protection (Silky Protective Fur)
Gardening 21
My Bad!  I need to FIRST take the camera out and snap some pictures of what I am about to do BEFORE I do it.  So, that leaves me this time with only the after and having to tell what the before was.  Well, the before on this picture had the branches covering half of the steps going down.  I also cut back a lot of the dead underbrush and there is much more yet to do.
 Gardening 4Pretty much the same here.  The branches were clear out across the steps.  Oh, ad the small brown building there behind the bushes?  That’s the pain cave.  Or, at least the part that involves the larger pieces of electronic equipment.  But, there are also speakers in there so I can be a nuisance to the hag.  I am willing to bet that she doesn’t have a taste for Nightwish, Garbage and probably not Pink either.  Gonna try a few more out before I am done.  🙂
 Gardening 3
And the walkway to the back porch?  Totally clear.  Oh okay, I do still have to pull up those weeds at some time.
 Gardening 5And here is the front view of it.  Nice and pretty, isn’t it?
Gardening 25
That’s right!  I’m still chasing the sunlight!  You would be too if it had been as evasive for you as it has for me.  Did you have fun whacking up the bushes?  Any chance you found me any tasty birds under there?  No?  Well, could you at least toss me a couple of treats from the container in the drawer?  Its right behind you, remember?
 IGardening 9 love this tree!  I know, I know!  But the blossoms are such a soft shade of pink.  But they’re flowers and pink is okay on flowers.  I didn’t do any work on the tree today.  I just saw it when I was heading to the garage for something and thought it needed having a picture taken of it.  I am certain I saw one of the branches wave at me to get my attention.  And no, it wasn’t the wind.  That was blowing in the OTHER direction!
Gardening 10 Okay, two pictures!  And she smiled after!
Gardening 1Pretty little purple flower star!!!
 Gardening 17
Okay, so here’s the first bed that has been planted.  We have (lets see how much I can get without looking at the book!)  artichokes, beets, cabbage, radishes, dragon carrots, asparagus, onion, and I think I maybe forgot a couple of things.
 Same bed, just different angle.Gardening 19
Gardening 7 Okay, so here’s one of the herb gardens.  I have no idea what that broad leaf plant is in there with the red stalks, but its pretty, so I will leave it for now.  Many standard kitchen herbs like dill and fennel and sage and cress and parsley. Couple of healing ones like astragalus, and motherwort.  Will be adding more to other areas later.  And I also have some inside boxes with some of the same for easy access while cooking and climate control come next winter.
Gardening 11
You gotta just love beans when they sprout!  They look like little finger puppets that you want to grab hold of and start a conversation in the bean patch with.  “Hey you!  Over there!  Your momma’s a weed and your daddy’s an insect!!”
Gardening 12
More babies.  Springing up and making me such a proud plant mommy!
 Gardening 15
And my little pea plants and some other unknown things here.  The peas are getting big enough to start weaving them in the fencing.  Yay!!
 Gardening 22
Well, I hope you enjoyed your time.  Okay, well, the truth is I am rather indifferent to it.  But, I was hoping if I tried that polite thing, you might toss me a treat.  I’ll be friendlier next time if you take a seat for a while so I can take a nap in your lap while you dote on me.  Think about it, okay?

M

 

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
I requested Gone Girl from the library because I kept reading wonderful reviews on it.  It was actually the second time I had requested it from the library.  The first time, I made the mistake of not putting it at the top of the stack and I had to return it before I could get to it.  I didn’t make that mistake this time.

This isn’t normally my type of book.  And to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of it when I began to read it.  And at one point, I almost started to lose interest.  Not because it is badly written or boring, but because I was starting to think it was a standard husband kills wife murder mystery.  And then . . . . .

She made a sharp turn that I did NOT expect.  She showed that you should not assume what is going on in a story (and I think that can also apply to real life)  This was so very NOT the story I imagined it was.

Gillian Flynn has created a superbly twisted character in this tale of betrayal, obsession, vengeance.  She takes us deeply into the mind of a psychotic sociopath and along a rollercoaster ride with this character, egocentric and void of any empathy to any other human.  Its a chilling study of how an attractive face and pleasant personality can hide a vile and cruel soul.

And the good thing is?  I understand she has written two other books!

 

April in the Garden

IMG_2350Hello there again!  It’s Cassie, in case you forgot.  Don’t listen to any of the humans who try and tell you that I am Missy Floof.  I will put up with the little princess as I am sure that will result in the generous offerings of tasty treats.  They’re in the drawer in the end table, by the way.  Feel free to fish some out and make an offering.Okay, it seems mom has been working a bit in the garden and there are pictures and stories to tell you about it.  And no pictures of me at the moment.  We don’t need to give mom more evidence to support her theory that I drool on myself.  Its really just an odd play of the light.  Trust me.  Here, let me show you.  *lick lick*  See?  All gone.  Uhm, never there!  Well, carry on!
 April 2014 Camano Island-3
Well this little tree has sure perked up and fluffed out from the bare sticks coming out of the ground a couple of weeks ago.  One on either side of the door.  Guardians and blessings on the comings and goings of the home.
 April 2014 Camano Island-4
And the morning begins with such lovely blue skies with a bounce of clouds off in the distance.  Cloud watching has always been such a wonderful pastime, and I spent far too many years living in an area where there was so little of it.  Here you can spend days and days just watching the amazing clouds that play in the skies.
April 2014 Camano Island-6
The fairies have been quite busy gathering together this lovely blue bouquet.   But it seems there is also a small faction of artist fairies that have painted some Art Nouveau additions they are attempting to sneak into the scene.
 April 2014 Camano Island-8
And what garden would be complete without a place to hang and dry the hearts collected during the weeks escapades?
 Hmmmm?   Scarlet darts!!April 2014 Camano Island-9
April 2014 Camano Island-11I don’t think I will ever get tired of looking at these lovely flowers.  The stark contrasts in the colors with their white petals vivid yellow stamens.  I am a bit proud of this shot as it got a lot of likes on my Google + feed.
 April 2014 Camano Island-12As she looks out upon the garden about her and contemplates the world as she knows it.
April 2014 Camano Island-13The sun in me recognizes and honors the sun that is in you!
IMG_2357
Whee!  New toy!  Mom is so very thoughtful in giving me such new and interesting toys and leaving them in places she knows I will find them.  Not quite as good as treats, but I do enjoy them!
 IMG_2358Oh!  Hi there!  hehehehehe, didn’t see you come in.  No!  I am sure mom meant for me to play with these.  Why else would she have left them laying on the bed where I could find them?  You’re not going to tell her are you?  She might not give me extra treats if you do.
IMG_2364Okay, so here’s the mission for the morning.  To turn the dirt in as many of these compartments as my energy will allow for.  I will obviously not need to engage in any additional modes of exercise this day.
 IMG_2367Sometimes I just utterly amaze myself!!!  I would have been happy to have completed a couple of those squares.  But, I actually managed to get ALL of them done.  And I found many large stones in the process.  I forgot to take a picture of the fire area, but I made a circle about halfway around it.  I figure if I dig up enough stones, maybe I can accumulate enough to make a real fire pit.  On the downside, I didn’t find any bones.  Ah well!  Can’t win them all.
IMG_2369And I have beans sprouting up!!!  Though it seems something ate three of the bean types.  Those critters need to be bones fertilizing my garden!!!
 IMG_2361Ah, you are done?  I have spent a pleasant time watching one of my new big screen kitty TVs that came with mom’s new house.  Hope you had a fun time.  Oh, and before you leave, can you toss me another treat?  This sunbathing is hard work and I have worked up quite an appetite.  Actually, if you could make that two, that would be great!
 

The Magicians – Lev Grossman

The Magicians

Quentin receives an envelope from a dead man he had an interview with and in it finds a book, The Magicians.  A wrong turn and seasons changed and he is offered the chance to take a test.  What’s he got to lose?  He passes and so begins his entrance into a magicians school, something he had dreamed of as a child but never knew such a thing really existed.

I was quite charmed with the first half of the book and highly entertained at the escapades of the blossoming magicians and the school they were in.  It was kind of a Harry Potter to the university level, complete with adult activities such as drinking, sex and an occasional orgy.   There was even a special game, not quiddich, but it did ring heavily of borrowing the concept, if not the actual game.

The second half of the book was not quite as fun as the first half.  All of these students have read a series as children about a place called Fillory, which is almost borrowing close to the Lion, Witch And Wardrobe books.  Add to that, throwing in the God influence and struggling story, it became tedious to get through.  It felt almost like he had set up the second half with the Fillory references and therefore had to follow through with it.  And its not that it was “bad”, just a bit tedious and drawn out and lacking in the fun and humor of the first half.  And its obvious that he has set it up for a sequel.  We’ll see what he does with that.

I am torn on what to rate this one.  I would give the first half a 4 and the second a bare 3 and since you can’t rate at a half star, I think I will have to go with 3.  Its a good book, but could have been a whole lot better.