Old Tune Tueday – Boogie on Stevie

I wanted to play some Stevie Wonder for my birthday. He is one of my early favs. I also like this video. Kind of an old Women Power montage.

Boogie on Girls!

Published in: on July 28, 2015 at 11:26pm07  Comments (2)  
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Flint and Silver by John Drake

6467836Another of my audio book library roulette picks. Note: This is not a child’s pirate story. This is for adults.

Stats: Audio book – Narrator: Tim Gregory, 9 or 10 discs – I don’t remember, print 359 pages, published 2009

Blurb: John Silver had never killed a man. Until now, his charisma, sheer size and, when all else failed, powerful fists had been enough to dispatch his enemies. But on a smoldering deck off the coast of Madagascar, his shipmates dead or dying all around him, his cutlass has just claimed the lives of six pirates. Finding himself surrounded by their revenge-thirsty crewmates, Silver fears his promising merchant navy career is at an end. But then the pirate captain makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

On the other side of the world, Joseph Flint, a naval officer wronged by his superiors, plots a bloody mutiny. Strikingly handsome, brilliant but prey to sadistic tendencies, Flint is regarded as the most dangerous bandit on the high seas.

Together these gentlemen of fortune forge a deadly and unstoppable partnership, steering a course through treachery and betrayal while amassing vast treasure. But the arrival of Selena, a beautiful runaway slave with a murderous past, and Flint’s schemes to secure the pieces of gold for himself trigger a rivalry that will turn the best of friends into sworn enemies.

What I liked: I think Drake did well in capturing the feel of swash-buckling pirates and the time period and making up a good story for John Silver and Captain Flint pre-Treasure Island. He probably makes John Silver a little to good, but he does well with the nasty Mr. Flint. It really makes you want to read Treasure Island again, and I probably will. I just picked up an original book at a estate sale last weekend. He also makes Selena – the woman Silver loves – more of a character and more sexy than she was in  Treasure Island, which would make sense since TL is a children’s book and this is not. Tim Gregory does a fine job narrating this tale. It must have been fun doing the pirate voices, especially Flint, who he makes the typical growly pirate voice – arrrg.

What I didn’t like: It was a bit slow to get into – partly the story was slow but also it took a bit to get into the pirate lingo.

Rating: 4/5

John Drake has a sequel – Pieces of Eight, which I will probably listen to as well.


What Was Said About “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 1960

PBS NewsHour did a piece about how To Kill a Mockingbird was talked about in 1960 when it first came out.

Harper Lee said:

“I would like to be the chronicler of something that I think is going down the drain very swiftly. And that is small town middle-class southern life,” Lee told Roy Newquist of the New York radio station WQXR. “There is something universal in it. There’s something decent to be said for it and there’s something to lament when it goes, in its passing.”

photo by James Hansen courtesy of PBS NewHour

photo by James Hansen courtesy of PBS NewHour (Harper Lee is on the right, James Flynt – who assists Ms Lee – is on the left)

Flynt said he and many others initially thought “the book was really about race.”

“As time went by, I think the book transcended race,” Flynt said, adding that he had asked Lee the very question that many critics, columnists, essayists and civil rights leaders have debated over several decades: What is the book about?

“‘Oh, you know what the book’s about,’” Flynt said he remembers Lee telling him. Flynt said Lee then asked him the same question.

“I think it’s about power,” Flynt said.

“Of course,” Lee said.

Here is the whole report: PBS NewsHour

Published in: on July 15, 2015 at 11:26am07  Comments (3)  
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Presenting… Christine Keleny!

Christine Keleny:

I nice post Kevin Cooper did for me.

Originally posted on Kev's Great Indie Authors:

Kev’s Author Interviews Presents: 

Christine Keleny

my image

New Glarus, WI, USA

 A Short Bio

Christine is a writer, reader, author, editor, book designer and publisher. But her main loves are writing and helping others publish the book of their dreams through her publishing company: CKBooks Publishing. She offers editing, book formatting and design, and writing services. She started writing stories in college (a while ago!) and hasn’t stopped since. She had published 6 novels to date and is working on number 7. Her first book: Rosebloom, won a national IPPY award for historical fiction and her latest book: Will the Real Carolyn Keene Please Stand Up is a finalist for a Midwest Book Award for historical fiction. Her publishing company is at http://www.ckbookspublishing.com. Her book blog is at http://www.ckbooksblog.wordpress.com.

Kev: What is your latest book about?

Nancy cover sample 10

If you always wondered how the plucky, intelligent, resourceful, and famous girl…

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Published in: on July 13, 2015 at 11:26pm07  Comments (5)  

Photo Phriday – Twinkling eyes

Christine Keleny:

I wonder if he did this or someone did it to him?!

Originally posted on Joshi Daniel Photography | Images Of People:

Portrait of a little boy during the festival of Holi in Sowcarpet, Chennai Little boy during the festival of Holi | Sowcarpet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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Published in: on July 10, 2015 at 11:26pm07  Leave a Comment  
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Sleeping with the Blackbirds by Alex Pearl

I was asked to be part of a blog tour for  Alex Pearl and his book Sleeping with the Blackbirds so below is my review of his book.sleepingwiththeblackbirds

It turned out to be something I didn’t expect.

Stats: 124 pages, published in 2011.

Genre: Middle-grade fantasy fiction (? – I’m guessing a bit here).

Blurb: (from Alex himself) Eleven-year-old schoolboy, Roy Nuttersley has been dealt a pretty raw deal. While hideous parents show him precious little in the way of love and affection, school bullies make his life a misery. So Roy takes comfort in looking after the birds in his suburban garden, and in return the birds hatch a series of ambitious schemes to protect their new friend.

As with the best-laid plans, however, these get blown completely off course – and as a result the lives of both Roy and his arch tormentor, Harry Hodges are turned upside down. While Harry has a close encounter with God, Roy embarks on a voyage of discovery that draws in and impacts on everyone around him, including the local police, his headmaster and the national media. Where will it all end, and will life ever be quite the same for Roy Nuttersley?

What I liked: It was an interesting story in that I had no idea where it was going to end up, which is a good thing when writing for middle-grade readers or any readers for that matter. I like the smart blackbirds and the cooperation of the geese to the blackbirds plight to help Roy and get their birdhouse (and food) back. The bully even turns his life around.

What I didn’t like: It wandered a bit with Pearl telling about a man who ends up contributing his nice, colorful ties to Roy’s cause, introducing Roy’s protagonist, Harry Hodges, to the life of a girl on the streets, telling of the life of a man who wants to capitalize on what the birds end up doing for Roy. These are interesting people, but hearing their back stories doesn’t really add to the story in general. Even though the story has thinking and plotting blackbirds in it, the ending is a bit too far fetched. It’s a happy ending, which is nice, but too unrealistic for even this imaginative story. The cover is nice, but a little dark for the light/upbeat story that this is.

Rating: 3/5 (maybe the kids won’t care about the ending)

Who is Alex Pearl?portraitAlex

It’s a question I often ask myself. Well, basically I’m a short-sighted bloke aged 50, which I suppose is pretty old really. And for 27 years I have worked at various advertising agencies and marketing companies as something called a copywriter. This means I have to sit in an office and write the words that appear in adverts, leaflets and letters. It’s a funny old job. Sometimes it can be fun when, for instance, you have to make a TV or radio commercial. But this doesn’t happen very often. At other times it can be rather dull and frustrating when a client rejects your work that you created and insists that you do something far less interesting.

Outside work I’m a husband and a dad, and I live in North West London with my wife and two children. We don’t have any animals in our house but we do see lots of birds in our garden. And yes, we do have a bird table, but only the one, and this is usually attacked by the squirrels before any bird can get to it.

Ways to connect with Alex and his book:




Published in: on July 8, 2015 at 11:26pm07  Leave a Comment  
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Happy Birthday USA!

Happy July 4th from Robin Williams



Published in: on July 4, 2015 at 11:26pm07  Comments (2)  
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Ready to Boogie on Old Tune Tuesday?!

I little Tuesday pick-me-up compliments of the Andrew Sisters.

Published in: on June 30, 2015 at 11:26pm06  Leave a Comment  
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If you want something doing, ask Edith Wharton

Christine Keleny:

Interesting piece on Edith Wharton. I didn’t know anything about her before reading this. (I see a book in my future!) I really enjoyed her “Ethan Frome” but I haven’t read anything else from her.

Originally posted on Hard Book Habit:


Edith Wharton, best known for her novel ‘Ethan Frome’, was one hell of a woman. Born in New York in 1862 to affluent parents, her equally affluent and well-to-do marriage didn’t work out, and she realised there was no hope of salvaging it, she found herself living in France. Then the first world went and broke out, and she stayed to help. Not just in the drawing rooms of the rich, raising funds and holding benefits, although she probably did that too, but she also set up work programs and did hands-on humanitarian work, at one point, taking charge of 600 children who had to flee their orphanage due to the German advance. I break into a cold sweat if I have to marshal and keep alive one child that’s not my own, let alone 600.

In 1916, Edith took six weeks off, and went to the Fountainbleu to work…

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Published in: on June 26, 2015 at 11:26pm06  Comments (4)  

Dodger by Terry Pratchett

16028966Another blind library find. I have not read any of Terry Pratchett’s other books (and there are many) so this was a surprise.

Stats: 11 discs for the audio, 360 pages for print, published in 2012

Blurb: (Goodreads) A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he’s…Dodger.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London’s sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He’s not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl–not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger’s encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

What I liked: Most everything. I am a Dickens fan so when I started this, I thought I had started a book that was written in Dickens time. It was supposed to take place in the mid-1800s. I came to find out it was published in 2013! Pratchett does a wonderful job with the language – I enjoyed all the old English slang: tosher -a person of the sewers, Richard – from kind Richard the third, which rhymes with ____, Peelers – the name for a policeman after Sir Robert Peel, head of police in London… (As a writer, I would like to know how one finds out what the slang was in 1800 London!) Then Pratchett puts Dickens and Sweeny Todd in the story in such an artful way, it just ups the comedy. Much as Dickens novels, it’s a commentary of the hard times and inequities of the different classes, though he has you wanting to join Dodger in the sewers much more than hobnobbing with the upper class. It also has a happy ending. The book couldn’t go any other way for such an upstanding young man. I listened to this and I took it back to the library before I could note the narrator, but he does a wonderful job.

What I didn’t like: Honestly, I can’t think of anything. (See, Rachel, I can find books that I’m not critical of!)

Rating: 5/5    I’ll have to try more of Terry’s books, though I don’t think he has any more like this one from what I can tell.

Published in: on June 24, 2015 at 11:26pm06  Comments (4)  
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