Sunday, December 10, 2017

Strange But True Tales of Car Collecting

Strange But True Tales of Car Collecting
Drowned Bugattis, Buried Belvederes, Felonious Ferraris and other Wild Stories of Automotive Misadventure
by Keith Martin
Quarto Publishing Group – Motorbooks
Crafts & Hobbies , Nonfiction (Adult)
Pub Date 01 Nov 2017   
 EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9780760353608
PRICE $19.99 (USD)
FTC Reviewed for Net Galley


Most car collectors exhibit a healthy enthusiasm for their favorite hobby with a tendency to dig into their favorite marques, chase parts, swap stories, and generally live the car-guy lifestyle. Some, however, step over that fine line between enthusiasm and obsession--and that’s the dusty place where these legendary car-collector stories come from.

In Strange but True Tales of Car Collecting, Keith Martin and the staff of Sports Car Market Magazine recount the wildest car-collecting stories of all time. You will be blown away by these eccentric and over-the-top stories of collectors, and their collections.

Have you heard of the fellow who squirrelled away dozens of Chevelles, Camaros, and other classic muscle cars in semi-trailers? How about the president of Shakespeare fishing rods who sold 30 Bugattis for a mere $85,000? What about the English nobleman who cut up and buried his Ferrari horde in an elaborate insurance scam? Or how about the Duesenberg abandoned in a Manhattan parking garage for decades only to be uncovered by Jay Leno? They only get crazier from there.

My Thoughts

I was born into a family of motor heads that are car/racing enthusiast. And, most people  I know recognize that rust buckets were once something much more than ...well...rust buckets. 

Yes, fully restored might cost a pretty penny but it sure would gleam. And there's nothing better than a car that gleams unless it would be a car that...runs.

The first car I owned was red with black racing stripes but it was not a Ferrari Tessa Rosa .

Over the years, I have attended countless car shows and, I, along with thousands of other bystanders spent our July's at the Grand Lake Festival watching  30-40 Amphicars participate in a “swim-in'.  We all experienced a fleeting moment of joy as these cars enter the water to become boats. 

What's better than a car that can swim? 

Perhaps, a magical car that can swim and fly.

I admit it. I love the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Partly because of Dick Van Dyke but mostly because of the car. 

I'm fortunate in that I currently live close to the Classic Car Capital of the World. Yes, Auburn is the birthplace of the greatest car show on earth and simply stated, the luxurious Duesenberg uncovered by Jay Leno is smashing. 

In all honesty, this is a 5 star read for me. I thoroughly enjoyed studying the details in this book. I am fond of them all. The Moxie mobile and the Bubble-Screened Boondoggle stood out as the most intriguing. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Memories of Cherished Books

I have people from many different parts of the world come to my blog and I just want to let you know that I have been struggling with trying to recall the title of a children's book I had when young. 

Odd, when you get to be older, the things you recall from childhood that brought a smile to your face. 

This book had a bold cover with a purple animal and when I rubbed my hand over it it felt like velvet. I have been searching on-line, and through old book stores, but have yet to find a copy of it.  It  is one of those cases where you'll know it, when you see it.

This situation made me think about cherished books and the memories we attach to them.

With that stated, it probably is no surprise to you that my favorite Christmas gift is books. And since I live in the Midwest and appreciate nature. I have  been blessed to receive most of Gene Stratton Porter's works, as gifts. So, that collection is in a bookcase in our dining room. 

Our family had a subscription to Readers Digest Condensed Books which contain several condensed  novels. If you are familiar with them, you probably know the series was produced from 1950 - 1997. Today, a collection of these books reside in a small book case in our living room ( shown in photo above).  I love to pull out these books during the Holiday's an read selections from them.  Anyway, these bring me joy.  Kind of like the joy that  'currently nameless' children's book brought me.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Runaway Children

The Runaway Children
by Sandy Taylor
Historical Fiction , Women's Fiction
Pub Date 08 Dec 2017  

FTC Review ARC for Bookouture and Net Galley


A heart-wrenching, unforgettable story of two evacuee sisters during the Second World War… Perfect for fans of Orphan Train, Nadine Dorries and Diney Costeloe. 

London, 1942: Thirteen-year-old Nell and five-year-old Olive are being sent away from the devastation of the East End. They are leaving the terror of the Blitz and nights spent shivering in air raid shelters behind them, but will the strangers they are billeted with be kind and loving, or are there different hardships ahead?

As the sisters struggle to adjust to life as evacuees, they soon discover that living in the countryside isn’t always idyllic. Nell misses her mother and brothers more than anything but she has to stay strong for Olive. Then, when little Olive’s safety is threatened by a boy on a farm, Nell has to make a decision that will change their lives forever…

They must run from danger and try to find their way home.

Together the two girls hold each other’s hands as they begin their perilous journey across bombed-out Britain. But when Nell falls ill, can she still protect her little sister from the war raging around them? And will they ever be reunited from the family they’ve been torn from?

An unputdownable novel of unconditional love, friendship and the fight for survival during a time of unimaginable change. The Runaway Children is guaranteed to find a place in your heart.

My Thoughts

This deeply touching story gives us a glimpse of the perspective of Olive and Nell as they adapt to life as evacuees during the devastation of the Second World War.

In among the hardships, ration books,  bombings, plane crashes and unspeakable acts, I  learn I have things in common with these sisters. 

We share the love of the same books.

I also saw the beauty they saw as well as recognized their horror. Horror in what they overcame and beauty in their expression of love in a prayer over men they did not know, and a shared hope that others would return home safely to their loved ones.

It's a tale of sibling remembrances with lots of intense action written into its short chapters. It would make an excellent book club selection.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles A Graphic Novel

Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles
A Graphic Novel
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Illustrated by David Shephard
Printers Row Publishing Group
Canterbury Classics
Comics & Graphic Novels
Pub Date 06 Mar 2018   
EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781684121007
PRICE $15.99 (USD)
FTC Reviewed ARC for Printers Row Publishing Group and Net Galley

This classic “whodunit” story with the famous Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson is now told in graphic novel format. More than 100 pages of illustrated action and adventure! Sir Charles Baskerville, master of the Baskerville estate, is found dead at the gates with a look of horror on his face. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are called in to investigate the possibility of foul play. After several false leads, they solve the mystery and reveal the truth.

My Thoughts

Graphic novels are great in that they lure in people who would perhaps have never read the story otherwise. This almost seems unimaginable to us who are fans of Sherlock Holmes and deeply appreciate his wit and word play in his relationship with Dr Watson. 

In this novel, I like the way they introduce the story and the cast of characters. 

I did like that when they took you back in time to 1742 they stuck with a print font instead of cursive making it easier to view. Also,  the graphic weight of the piece, which is thick with dialogue, especially in the 1st half, seems decent. 

This novel does focus on the main characters, perhaps a little bit more than I would have liked, early on. But, I felt the artwork and display of emotion on page 62 was outstanding and the focus on the shoe in the mud ....beguiling. ..along with the split in the way they captured Dr. Watson peering in the window.

I was not extremely fond of the speech balloons with the exception of the brilliant one depicting the moon. But, I'm viewing a small galley so the work may appear differently later on, and in the print edition.

In general, I think this is a great graphic novel. l felt the 2nd half of the novel out-shown the first. And that feels authentic to how stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the story builds and cycles through some small crescendos before the reveal. 

I highly recommend. And, look forward to seeing this graphic novel in print.

The Fruit Gardener's Bible and Our Sugared Fruit Tree

  • The Fruit Gardener's Bible: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruits and Nuts in the Home Garden 

  •  by Lewis Hill and Leonard Perry

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC 
  • (November 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603429840
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603429849
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.1 x 11.2 inches
FTC Purchased 


Enjoy bushels of crispy apples and baskets of juicy blueberries from your own backyard. Authors Lewis Hill and Leonard Perry provide everything you need to know to successfully grow delicious organic fruit at home, from choosing the best varieties for your area to planting, pruning, and harvesting a bountiful crop. With tips on cultivating strawberries, raspberries, grapes, pears, peaches, and more, this essential reference guide will inspire year after year of abundantly fruitful gardening.

My Thoughts

I find The Fruit Gardener's Bible has wonderful for tips on where to place, when plant, how to fertilize and when to harvest. 

There is a wealth of useful information on a large variety of fruit trees, berries and nuts, in general.

I love it  when I can walk outside and pick from a tree or bush. And, we are fortunate in that we have family with property that has pears, cherries, strawberries, grapes. raspberries,  mulberries, walnuts, etc. 

For centuries, crystallized fruits were considered delicacies. Apples, grapes, peaches, pears, strawberries adorned Holiday tables.

So, every holiday season when we decorate our home, we make sure to save a place to display our sugared fruit tree and a cake plate of freshly sugared fruit.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Kitty's Magic 1 Misty the Scared Kitten

Kitty's Magic 1
Misty the Scared Kitten
by Ella Moonheart
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Children's Fiction
Pub Date 20 Feb 2018   
EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781681193854
PRICE $5.99 (USD)
FTC Reviewed ARC for Bloomsbury USA Children's Books and Net Galley


Kitty always wanted a cat of her very own, even though they make her eyes puffy and her nose tickly. When her best friend's new kitten, Misty, causes Kitty to have a sneezing fit in the middle of their sleepover, something magical happens--Kitty turns into a cat!

Being cat and human means that Kitty can have the best of both worlds! But with this special power comes a new role: Kitty becomes the Guardian of the local cats' Cat Council and must help them find the purrfect solution to their feline problems. Kitty's first challenge comes when Misty is too scared to go outside because of trouble in the neighborhood. Can Kitty's magic help Misty to be braver?

Ella Moonheart grew up telling fun and exciting stories to anyone who would listen. Now that she’s an author, she’s thrilled to be able to tell stories to so many more children with her Kitty’s Magic books. Ella loves animals, but cats most of all! She wishes she could turn into one just like Kitty, but she’s happy to just play with her pet cat, Nibbles--when she’s not writing her books, of course!

My Thoughts

I must say this book is not anything like I expected and yet it is exactly like its description.

So, what was I thinking?

I imagine my thought has something to do with our dogs.

When we yell Kitty, they all run and look out the window to see if the neighborhood kitty is sitting on our porch. A spot she frequently seems to fancy.

So, despite the cover with a cute kitty and girl. The girl, Kitty, learns that she and other females in her family become ...well...Kitty's. 

Are you following me?

"Human hands to kitten paws. Human fingers to kitten claws."

 Hummm.  Yes, I think there must be a little bit of magic in this story and I did like the descriptive writing and adorable illustrations. Plus it was fun to see cats mentioned whose names we've heard before.

 Kitty soon becomes the Guardian of the local cats' Cat Council and in order to help other cats with their problems she must trust her human and cat heart.

A cute read that is purfectly whimsical.

Make in a Day: Crafts for Kids

Make in a Day: Crafts for Kids
by Cintia Gonzalez-Pell
Dover Publications
Crafts & Hobbies
Pub Date 15 Nov 2017   
EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9780486813738
PRICE $14.95 (USD)
FTC: Reviewed for Dover Publications and Net Galley


These colorful and easy projects for kids can be made in a single day! Suitable for ages 7 to 12, with the help of an adult, the crafts will appeal to boys and girls alike. Projects include a dream catcher, painted plant pot, leather treasure pouch, and felt pennant flag. Children can also learn how to paint their pillowcases, personalize their sneakers, recycle a sweater into a gadget cozy, and make other decorative and practical items.

Each book in Dover's Make in a Day series presents 15 projects with illustrated step-by-step instructions. The beginner-friendly projects are ideal for anyone wishing to whip up something simple but special. Supplies are easy to obtain and readily available at major craft stores.

My Thoughts

I think craft/activity books are a great choice for those buying for our youth. The range of craft projects in this book will be sure to interest ages 7-12 years. There's simple instructions for projects that include, cutting,  embroidery, fusing, masking, modelling, painting, planting, printing and weaving.