Posted by: Kelly | May 2, 2016

One-sentence Movies Reviews #18

1.     Spy  Melissa McCarthy is funny and she had a good supporting cast in this entertaining movie.

2.    Max – As a dog lover, I was sucked right into this movie and thought it was wonderful!

3.    Woman in Gold – Another film based on true events, we really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it.

4.    Results – Following three good picks, I should have known we’d get a stinker – one that was so boring we turned it off after about 20 minutes, then debated whose choice it was to add to the queue!

5.    The Intern – This was an enjoyable film, but then I’ve really become a fan of Robert De Niro in recent years.

6.    Secret in Their Eyes – My husband wanted to see the Hollywood version (as opposed to #1 here) and he thought it was as good or better than the original  – I still preferred the subtitled film, though this one had a good cast and was much better than I expected.

7.    Air –  I’m afraid this one fell rather short of its potentially good plot.

8.   Pay the Ghost – Not really my cup of tea and I thought it was only mediocre, even for that genre – but my husband seemed to enjoy it.

9.   Beyond the Mask – This movie had horrible reviews at IMDb, but we enjoyed it despite some melodramatic moments.

10.  Chappie –   Sufficiently entertaining, I’m not sure what to say about this film – I’m afraid I laughed at places which weren’t meant to be funny, but so much of the film bordered on the edge of ludicrousness and “wanna-be”.

Posted by: Kelly | April 29, 2016

Random April photos

toad

 

April 2016 #1

April 2016 #2

 

april 2016 #4

april 2016 #5

April 2016 #7

greek oregano

April 2016 #3

Posted by: Kelly | April 27, 2016

Music & Words Award

Music and Words

It’s been ages since anyone gave me an award, so I was surprised when Joey presented me with this one.  I’m not sure what that says about me or him, but hey – I’ll take it!.  Without further ado, I’ll answer the questions that came with the award.  If you’d like to know how Joey answered them, click on his name above.

 

1.   What does music mean to you?

Um… everything?  Seriously, I can’t imagine a world without music and there are very few genres I dislike.  I’m willing to give most anything a chance.  I’ll admit lyrics take a back seat, but even so… there are times the words are what really stand out for me.  And it’s not just listening.  Over the years I’ve sung in choirs (both school and church) and played instruments (piano, handbells and attempted the guitar and mandolin).  I play air guitar. I drum on the steering wheel when driving. When alone, I sing along heartily to songs with vocals.  I sing or hum in the shower. I hum under my breath while shopping in stores.  Needless to say, I always have an earworm.  Music relaxes me, provides escape, inspires me, helps me praise and worship God, makes me nostalgic, makes me laugh, makes me cry, and occasionally angers or irritates me.   As I said – I can’t imagine a world without music.

 

2.   What’s your first music-related memory?

I’m sure I’ve been listening to music since I was in utero.  My dad owned and managed a radio station when I was little, so music was always important in our household.  His station was a “middle of the road” format, so that mostly meant Big Band, Swing, Crooners, and Jazz along with some other stuff I’m not sure how to categorize.  That aside, my earliest distinct memories are the nursery songs my mother would sing to me, especially at bath time.  I also sang them to my children when they were small.  In fact, there’s one I still sing to my dog, Alice. (if you’re familiar with children’s bath time songs, you’ll know which one!)

 

3.   What was the first album you purchased yourself?

Our memory can play tricks on us.  I would have sworn the first album I bought was Green, Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones.  But – when I pulled out my LP and looked at it, stamped on the back of the album cover, plain as day, are the words “Promo Copy, Not For Sale”!  Hmmmm.  Maybe I swiped it from my dad’s radio station (or he let me have it).  I guess logically my first purchase would have been a 45 and I have such a stack of those in the cabinet that I have no idea which might have been the first.

 

4.   What’s the latest music you purchased?

This is easier to answer.   All I have to do is look at the “recently added” section on my phone since I rarely buy music any other way than downloading it there.  You might be surprised to know the most recent addition is Get Ugly by Jason Derulo.

 

5.   What’s the last song you listened to? (be honest)

Well of course it was Get Ugly –  I listened to it when looking for the answer to the last question!  The last random song would be whatever was playing on the Jazz station in my car earlier today (I’m composing this post on Sunday).  The last song I can actually account for was Slumber by Needtobreathe, which played on my iPod while I was working on a jigsaw puzzle yesterday.

 

I’m meant to pass this along to five other bloggers, but instead I’m going to just offer it up to any of you who would like to receive it.  Just grab the award banner and answer the five questions in a post of your own.  Easy peasy!

 

Posted by: Kelly | April 25, 2016

Activity!

This first photo doesn’t really go with the topic of this post.  It’s what still remains above ground of a small Buddha statue I used to block an escape route in the fence, back when we still had Betty and Veronica.  I only posted it because I was afraid you wouldn’t click on this entry if you saw one of the others in your reader preview!

buddha

 

It’s warming up quite a bit now and the snakes are active.  Last Thursday, my husband saw two big Kingsnakes, one at the pasture and the other in our garden spot.  We have at least two varieties in our area (Common and Yellow-Bellied) and since I didn’t see either one, I can’t tell you what kind they were (or provide you a photo).  All I know is he said they were big and he didn’t know who was more startled.

I’m not of that “the only good snake is a dead snake” contingency, because many non-poisonous varieties are good at keeping down the vermin.  However, there are certain kinds I believe in killing, and Copperheads fall into that category.  As we turned out of our driveway that same Thursday evening, we saw one in the road next to our mailbox.  That warranted backing up for a closer look before running over it.  I made sure to get a photo for you the next day.  It measured over 30″ which is quite long for a copperhead!

copperhead #1

 

Closer…

copperhead #2

 

If snakes bother you, I hate to end with that image – so here’s one of Elly, Blue, and Suzy.  Do you think there could be a mouse hiding in there?  They sure do.

hiding mouse

Posted by: Kelly | April 22, 2016

The Bone Angel Trilogy by Liza Perrat

Spirit of Lost Angels

 

Spirit of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat  (Volume 1)

FROM AMAZON’S BOOK DESCRIPTION:

“Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her impoverished peasant roots.

Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the 18th century old regime.

Imprisoned in France’s most pitiless madhouse, La Salpêtrière asylum, the desperate Victoire begins a romance with fellow prisoner Jeanne de Valois, infamous conwoman of the diamond necklace affair. With the help of the ruthless and charismatic countess, Victoire carves out a new life for herself.

Enmeshed in the fever of pre-revolutionary France, Victoire must find the strength to join the revolutionary force storming the Bastille. Is she brave enough to help overthrow the diabolical aristocracy?

As this historical fiction adventure traces Victoire’s journey, it follows too, the journey of an angel talisman through generations of the Charpentier family.

Amidst the intrigue and drama of the French revolution, the women of Spirit of Lost Angels face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse. ”

FIRST SENTENCE:

“Prologue (July 1794) The early light burns Victoire’s cheeks, like a beacon warning her this summer day will bring something special.”

MEMORABLE MOMENT:

(from 65% into the Kindle version) “I joined the fidgety pit audience, the engraved handle of my pistol pressing cool and hard against my flesh.  I’d wondered wherever I could procure such an item, but purchasing a pistol in Paris had proved as simple as selling diamonds.  Money, it seemed, could buy whatever a woman desired.”

 

Wolfangel

 

Wolfangel by Liza Perrat (Volume 2)

FROM AMAZON’S BOOK DESCRIPTION:

“Seven decades after German troops march into her village, Céleste Roussel is still unable to assuage her guilt.
1943. German soldiers occupy provincial Lucie-sur-Vionne, and as the villagers pursue treacherous schemes to deceive and swindle the enemy, Céleste embarks on her own perilous mission as her passion for a Reich officer flourishes.
When her loved ones are deported to concentration camps, Céleste is drawn into the vortex of this monumental conflict, and the adventure and danger of French Resistance collaboration.
As she confronts the harrowing truths of the Second World War’s darkest years, Céleste is forced to choose: pursue her love for the German officer, or answer General de Gaulle’s call to fight for France.
Her fate suspended on the fraying thread of her will, Celeste gains strength from the angel talisman bequeathed to her through her lineage of healer kinswomen. But the decision she makes will shadow the remainder of her days.
A woman’s unforgettable journey to help liberate Occupied France, Wolfsangel is a stirring portrayal of the courage and resilience of the human mind, body and spirit.”

FIRST SENTENCE:

“We gather in the cemetery, before the ossuary, with the straggle of other remaining survivors and their families.”

MEMORABLE MOMENT:

(from 27% into the Kindle version)  “I couldn’t banish the images from my mind – those lifeless bodies of sons, brothers and fathers.  I saw the mothers, the sisters, whole families heartbroken.  I did not know a single one of them, but I felt bound to them all by some invisible strand, and my grief for those strangers gushed out and drenched me in an icy sweat.”

 

Blood Rose Angel

 

Blood Rose Angel by Liza Perrat (Volume 3)

FROM AMAZON’S BOOK DESCRIPTION:

“1348. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it––heretic, Devil’s servant, saint.

Midwife Héloïse has always known that her bastard status threatens her standing in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. Yet her midwifery and healing skills have gained the people’s respect, and she has won the heart of the handsome Raoul Stonemason. The future looks hopeful. Until the Black Death sweeps into France.

Terrified that Héloïse will bring the pestilence into their cottage, Raoul forbids her to treat its victims. Amidst the grief and hysteria, the villagers searching for a scapegoat, Héloïse must choose: preserve her marriage, or honour the oath she swore on her dead mother’s soul? And even as she places her faith in the protective powers of her angel talisman, she must prove she’s no Devil’s servant, her talisman no evil charm.

Héloïse, with all her tragedies and triumphs, celebrates the birth of modern medicine, midwifery and thinking in late medieval times. ”

FIRST SENTENCE:

” ‘Christ’s toenails, ignore him Héloïse,’ Isa chided, as I glared at Drogan sauntering towards us through the market-place stalls and customers.”

MEMORABLE MOMENT:

(from 46% into the Kindle version) ” ‘Our priest might try and convince us all that divine punishment is the source of this sickness,’ Isa said, ‘but in their misery, people will always look for a human to blame.  When we can’t vent our anger on God, we must vent it on someone.’ ”

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THE SERIES:

What a wonderful trio of books!  Each is a stand-alone story and can be read as such, however, I would recommend reading them all and in the order written to gain the most from them.  There are several common threads that make them a “set”, the most obvious being the setting,  Lucie-sur-Vionne, and the “bone angel” necklace.  But also connecting the stories are the strong women they feature, the hardships they encounter, and the herbal remedies they practice.

I’m glad I chose to review them as a whole rather than individually.  While I enjoyed the first and thought it was good, it became better after the addition of the next two, if that makes any sense.  Maybe it was just the author hitting her stride by book two, but the latter books seemed to have more weight and depth to them, totally drawing me in emotionally.   All three heroines were likable and relatable (Héloïse was by far my favorite) but there were parts of the second book that were so gripping I could almost feel Celeste’s pain and anguish, knowing full well what was about to happen.  Each book is taken from a different period in history and I felt the facts of the times were well researched and informative.  The timeframe of the last book is a particular favorite of mine and I was tickled to note how many books from the bibliography are in my personal collection.

Thanks to both Tracy and Yvonne* for featuring the author and her books on their blogs on more than one occasion, and thanks to Liza Perrat for generously sending me a copy of Blood Rose Angel for review.  (which in no way influenced my opinion)

 

*Click on their names to take you to a list of these posts on their sites.

 

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