Saturday, November 28, 2009

125. The Measure of Days, #30

Rated 4.5 Stars

Product Description

1916. England is at war, and the Morland family is in the thick of it, with two men already in France and three more soon to go. Tragedy strikes Morland Place when Jessie's husband Ned is reported missing on the Western Front. His father launches a desperate bid to find him, but the family fear the worst. Jessie, in mourning and frustrated by her job as an auxiliary nurse, goes to London to work in a military hospital. There she is reunited with her old friend Oliver, posted to the capital under the RAMC. Also in London is Violet, whose affair with the brilliant artist Octavian Laidislaw is about to erupt in scandal ...The Measure of Days paints a portrait of a family, and a nation, at war, at a pivotal point in history. With the onset of conscription, no one is left unaffected. Every man must hold himself in readiness; and every woman knows that when she says goodbye, it might be for the last time.

124. The Burning Roses, #29

By Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Rated 4.5 Stars
Format:  Book

This is book 29 in The Morland Dynasty Series.  It seems I forgot to finish the journal entry for this book at the time I first read it.  At the time I had started to get burn out on this series at book 11 so I skipped ahead to be beginning of WWI, a period which I am particularly fascinated with.

Product Description

In 1915 the first euphoria of the war has worn off, but the nation is more determined than ever to win. When Ned is sent to the Front ahead of his battalion, Jessie, already involved in various charity works, feels the need to do more and becomes an auxiliary nurse. But life on the wards is harder than she expects. Meanwhile, Helen and Jack settle in a home of their own at last, and Helen takes on a surprise war role of her own. And for Violet in London, a chance meeting with talented young artist threatens to destroy her calm and ordered life. With stalemate on the Eastern Front, everything now hangs on the new September offensive on the Western Front, the Battle of Loos. Both Ned and Bertie will be leading their men over the top, leaving the rest of the family to pray for their safe return.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

123. The White Road, #28

Rated 4.5 Stars


August 1914. In England, the outbreak of war is greeted with euphoria. The nation is inflamed with a desire to "teach Germany a lesson," and thousands flock to volunteer, believing the war will end by Christmas. Teddy Morland is proud to see his nephews, Jack and Ned, in the forefront. Soon, the family seat, Morland Place—untouched by war since Cromwell’s time—begins to feel the breath of war as its horses are requisitioned and its servants volunteer; then brutal reality sobers national high spirits as the death toll in France rises. When Christmas finally comes, the war is far from over, and nine in ten of the men who marched, singing, down the road to Mons have fallen. The White Road continues the saga of the Morland dynasty, ushering its members into conflicts that will alter their lives forever.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

122. The Restless Sea, #27

Rated 4.25 Stars

Well here I am back into my soap opera.  I took some time off from this series because some of the characters were getting tedious and predictable but lately there has been some posts in the Yahoo Group for the Moreland Dynasty and I got sucked back in.

I jumped back in 11 books down the line from where I left off and at this time I have not intention of trying to go back of read them all to catch up.  I am fine with where I picked back up. There is really no other way to describe this series other than an ongoing historical soap opera.


England still conducts herself with Edwardian confidence; but beneath the surface cracks are breaking society apart. Socialism, strikes and riots, social unrest, and then the disasters of the Titanic and Captain Scott shake the ordered world. Among the Morlands, Jessie and Violet struggle to adapt to the demands of married life; Jack, unlucky in love, designs aeroplanes and trains pilots for the new Royal Flying Corps; and Anne, as the struggle for the Vote becomes more violent, takes comfort in the friendship of an unusual young woman. Meanwhile, the war no-one wants comes ever closer

120. Testament of Youth


By Vera Brittain
Rated 5+
From Library
Recommended by Connie on Bookflurries

This is one of the most profoundly moving books I have ever read.

"When war broke out in August 1914, 21-year-old Vera Brittai was planning on enrolling at Somerville College, Oxford. Her father told her she wouldn't be able to go: "In a few months' time we should probably all find ourselves in the Workhouse!" he opined. Brittain had hoped to escape the Northern provinces, but the war seemingly dashed her plans. "It is not, perhaps, so very surprising that the War at first seemed to me an infuriating personal interruption rather than a world-wide catastrophe."

"Her father eventually relented, however, and she was allowed to attend. By the end of her first year, she had fallen in love with a young soldier and resolved to become active in the war effort by volunteering as a nurse--turning her back on what she called her "provincial young-ladyhood." Brittain suffered through 12-hour days by reminding herself that nothing she endured was worse than what her fiancé, Roland, experienced in the trenches. Roland was expected home on leave for Christmas 1915; on December 26, Brittain received news that he had been killed at the front. Ten months later Brittain herself was sent to Malta and then to France to serve in the hospitals nearer the front, where she witnessed firsthand the horrors of battle. When peace finally came, Brittain had also lost her brother Edward and two close friends. As she walked the streets of London on November 11, 1918--Armistice Day--she felt alone in the crowds:"

"For the first time I realised, with all that full realisation meant, how completely everything that had hitherto made up my life had vanished with Edward and Roland, with Victor and Geoffrey. The War was over; a new age was beginning; but the dead were dead and would never return."

First published in 1933, Testament of Youth established Brittain as one of the best-loved authors of her time. Her crisp, clear prose and searing honesty make this unsentimental memoir of a generation scarred by war a classic."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Castle The Complete First Season

Rated 5 Stars
This series was a little hard for me to get into right at first because I had to get over the Mal thing. I also had some problems with the part of Kate. I took a great effort suspend my disbelief that a woman detective, working in an all male environment came to work every day in high heels, too tight pants, and shirts unbuttoned half way to her navel.

Also Castle always looks like he needs a shave. I understand that they (the shows producers or whoever it is that makes these decisions) are probably going for a rugged sexy look that they hope is a turn on for the young (and maybe not so young) ladies watching. I finally accepted that this series was being marketed too a much younger audience than me so got over it.

One of the best shows to emerge midway through the 2008-2009 TV season, Castle has a cast and a sense of humor that set it apart from the normal police procedural. Nathan Fillion plays Rick Castle, a bestselling author of pulpy crime novels who's called in to assist the New York police when a serial killer begins committing copycat murders based on situations in his books. Castle helps crack the case, then decides to kill off his longtime character and create a new one, named "Nikki Heat," and research her by shadowing Det. Kate Beckett (Stana Katic). Much to her irritation, he pulls strings with the mayor's office to embed himself in the department, and helps her solve a wide range of whodunits, including a woman drowned in a bath tub full of motor oil, another frozen and suspended at a construction site, and a corpse stuck in a clothes dryer. To alleviate the grim proceedings, Fillion is in his element as the wisecracking Castle, while adding another ray of sunshine is Castle's impossibly likeable teenage daughter, Alexis (Molly Quinn), who lives with Castle and his mom (Susan Sullivan), a former Broadway star. Castle's circle of poker buddies includes veteran TV writer-producer Stephen J. Cannell and author James Patterson playing themselves. Like many (or most) he-and-she cop shows, there's an element of "Will they or won't they…?", but the beautiful Katic keeps Castle at bay by radiating cool. Clearly she's a woman who wants to separate herself from her emotionally draining and predominantly male job, so it makes it all the more enjoyable when she momentarily steps out of that mode, such as an impromptu appearance at his book signing. Much to the relief of Fillion fans who feared their man was a show killer after the aborted runs of such shows as Firefly and Drive, Castle was renewed for a second, full season.


The Scarlett Pimpernell (1934)

Rated 5+ Stars

Out of the many versions of this movie this is my very favorite one.  Merle Oberon and Leslie Howard are perfect for the roles of Marguarete St. Just (Lady Blakney) and Sir Percy Blackney.

Technically the quality of this DVD is very poor.  The sound track hisses all the way through and the film (black and white of course) fades in and out.  However the acting is so superb that I felt like I got more than my $10 worth, which is what I paid for it on amazon.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

121. Cutting for Stone

Rated 5 Stars
From Library

This is a book that has surprised me. I checked it out from the library on a whim and It;s probably going to be my best book of this year for me.  I stayed way late to finish it and am darn near cross eyed.

Publisher Summary

A sweeping, emotionally riveting first novel—an enthralling family saga of Africa and America, doctors and patients, exile and home.

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon at a mission hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother’s death in childbirth and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Yet it will be love, not politics—their passion for the same woman—that will tear them apart and force Marion, fresh out of medical school, to flee his homeland. He makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him—nearly destroying him—Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.

An unforgettable journey into one man’s remarkable life, and an epic story about the power, intimacy, and curious beauty of the work of healing others

Saturday, November 7, 2009

119. Hugh and Bess

By Susan Higgenbotham
Rated 2.5
From:  Libarary

I  thought this was a very dull book.   It's a medeavil romance and if I hadn't been such a fast read I would not have finished it.  The author never came up with a decent plot.  Lots of atmosphere though.  Like a hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion but no beef patty.


Forced to marry Hugh le Despenser, the son and grandson of disgraced traitors, Bess de Montacute, just 13 years old, is appalled at his less-than-desirable past. Meanwhile, Hugh must give up the woman he really loves in order to marry the reluctant Bess. Far apart in age and haunted by the past, can Hugh and Bess somehow make their marriage work?Just as walls break down and love begins to grow, the merciless plague endangers all whom the couple holds dear, threatening the life and love they have built.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

118. Her Fearful Symmetry

By Audrey Niffenegger
Rated 3.5
From:  Library

I finally finished this book and am going to rate it about 3.5 stars.  It got way too crazy at the end.  Shaun however loved it but she is way more into the paranormal than I am. {sigh}


a haunting tale about the complications of love, identity, and sibling rivalry. The novel opens with the death of Elspeth Noblin, who bequeaths her London flat and its contents to the twin daughters of her estranged twin sister back in Chicago. These 20-year-old dilettantes, Julie and Valentina, move to London, eager to try on a new experience like one of their obsessively matched outfits. Historic Highgate Cemetery, which borders Elspeth's home, serves as an inspired setting as the twins become entwined in the lives of their neighbors: Elspeth's former lover, Robert; Martin, an agoraphobic crossword-puzzle creator; and the ethereal Elspeth herself, struggling to adjust to the afterlife.