Sunday Salon 1/22/17


We have another Sunday upon us and it has been an up and down week for me. Down as one might suspect because of my previous post about the kindle being broken. Up because there is a new little light among those in the household. Perhaps not book related exactly but I noticed some time ago that cats and book people seem to go hand in hand. More of my bookish friends enjoy cats and or have cats then don’t. As I announced at the start of the month sadly we lost our sweet boy Pasha. His soul came along and directed the next life into our family.



This is Misha Castiel Pasha, the newest little fellow in our life. He looks similar to our sweet departed Pasha but also different. The only white he has on him is there in his muzzle and he has white stripes that go along with his black stripes. Pasha had white mittens and Misha has black mittens and little black jelly bean toes. All of my kitties have either mixed color or pinkies never had a boy with just black ones (or a girl). He is fitting into the house rather well so far. There have been no major blow ups he just seems to have slipped into that puzzle piece where Pasha was. Cubby was the first one to greet him and decided to call himself the little guys mentor. He climbed right into the carrier that Misha was sitting in while the little guy hissed and fussed and then laid down. Misha noticed he wasn’t trying to do anything mean or anything so he settled down and there was napping.

I am sure we have a fair amount of adjusting and other things coming in the next weeks. I know how this goes. We are seeing his lovely and fun little guy so far, but I know he will start to come out of his shell more as he gets more comfortable. No doubt he will end up doing as little guys do and start making some mischief. There is nothing wrong with a little bit of that it is part of the fun after all. Thus far he is a purring machine a wonderful sweet little guy who has a curious tail and seems to take in everything.

One of his favorite spots to settle in and watch the world from so far is of course one of my bookshelves. You won’t see me complain about that. I rather adore when my kitties like to spend time with me and read. He hasn’t discovered the yarn yet, that will be an interesting time.

Book Review: Blood and Roses by A.K. Alexander

Someone is torturing and killing high-stakes players in the horse-racing world, deliberately mimicking equine injuries. Legs shattered, knees hobbled, shot point-blank between the eyes, all signs point to an animal activist gone rogue. But San Diego CSI Holly Jennings knows better. She’s seen enough violence in her time to know the difference between a killer bent on revenge and a killer seeking sheer destruction.

To stop him, Holly must venture beyond the gleaming facade of jockey silks and Derby hats into the seedy underbelly of the racing world, where ambition and greed trump ethics and fair play, and people will do anything—even kill—to win. But just when she thinks the killer is within her reach, a ghost from the past returns to threaten it all: her case, her job…and her life

It has been a while again since I have read a dirty and gritty crime novel, but what can I say I love anything in the horse racing area so I thought I would give this one a try. I love the idea behind this book and the writing pretty much carries that out. There were a few parts that for me dragged a little and could have either been cleaned up more, or left out all together.

Other than that this really is a win if you are a lover of mystery and thriller genre. It has everything you could want for that and set in the horse racing world. I will be looking for some more by this author when I am in the mood for a good thriller again.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Dragonwich

Who Will Dare to Face the Dragonwitch?

Submissive to her father’s will, Lady Leta of Aiven travels far to meet a prospective husband she neither knows nor loves–Lord Alistair, future king of the North Country.

But within the walls of Gaheris Castle, all is not right. Vicious night terrors plague Lord Alistair to the brink of insanity. Whispers rise from the family crypt. The reclusive castle Chronicler, Leta’s tutor and friend, possesses a secret so dangerous it could cost his life and topple the North Country into civil war.

And far away in a hidden kingdom, a fire burns atop the Temple of the Sacred Flame. Acolytes and priestesses serve their goddess to the limits of their lives and deaths. No one is safe while the Dragonwitch searches for the sword that slew her twice…and for the one person who can wield it.

I was not aware that this was part of a series when I signed up for the tour, but I am so glad that it is. I am now going to go back and read the others. That said Dragonwich can stand on it’s own feet and is a book apart. The story is deep and entrancing and takes you on an adventure as you flip through each page. There were moments when I thought I had it all figured out, and then I was shown that I really did not know anything at all. This is one of the better Fantasy reads that I have read all summer.

Tour Giveaway

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Ends 8/13/13

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My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain

I laughed, I cried I gave this book the not easy to get this year 5 gemstones from me. If I had more to give I would give it more! This is a fantastic book that has everything in it that makes for a good and emotional story. You will follow the life of Denny and his family, the ups and downs through the eyes of the loyalist friend of them all, Enzo the dog.

Having dogs myself and having always had them since I was a young child it is not hard to imagine the thoughts as they go through Enzo’s head. I have often wondered if my dogs are thinking the same thing and with some expressions they get I give them their own voice. Like Denny I often have conversations with my dogs. What true pet owner doesn’t? I think the only thing missing in the whole of things that Enzo takes on is what he would have done if there was also a cat in the house.

The events that take place in this story are so emotional. From Denny struggling to become what he wishes in his career, to his marriage, the child and his wife dying of brain cancer. As if that was not bad enough the Grandparents scheme to take his child away. All while Enzo ages but stays loyal, and shows us what is going on as a dog would see it. This is a must read for anyone.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen

A stunning new voice in American fiction, Sara Gruen makes a masterful debut with a novel of family, tragedy, rebirth … and the breathtaking love of something wild.

As a world-class equestrienne and Olympic contender, Annemarie Zimmer lived for the thrill of flight atop a strong, graceful animal. Then, at eighteen, a tragic accident destroyed her riding career and Harry, her beloved and distinctively marked horse.

Now, twenty years later, Annemarie is coming home to her dying father’s New Hampshire horse farm. Jobless and abandoned, she is bringing her troubled teenaged daughter to this place of pain and memory, where ghosts of an unresolved youth still haunt the fields and stables — and where hope lives in the eyes of the handsome, gentle veterinarian Annemarie loved as a girl … and in the seductive allure of a trainer with a magic touch.

But everything will change yet again with one glimpse of a red and white striped gelding startlingly similar to the one Annemarie lost in another lifetime. And an obsession is born that could shatter her fragile world.

Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen is an emotional story that takes you down several different paths. It takes you down the what might have been and the what could be path with Annemarie Zimmer. Once a promising eventer on the way to the fast track to the Olympics, that all came to an end in a horrific accident. Annemarie almost lost the ability to walk, move and most of all she lost the horse love of her life Harry. Twenty years later her world starts to fall a part at the seams again with the loss of her job and the end of her marriage and it sends her home. Memories of her beloved horse fill her and consume her when another rare brindle patterned horse comes into her life.

As someone who has been a rider since I can remember I connected with this story on so many levels. I could understand her deep love of Harry. I can understand the basic feelings she had when she walked into a barn, her love of the smell of hay, manure and horse. When Annemarie went up to a horse and pushed her nose to its neck I smiled because I have done that exact same thing many times. Annemarie seems to have her life closing in on her, she has to deal with her past while being hit with a lot of new things that are part of life and difficult. Having to handle a teenage Daughter and the upcoming death of her Father.

This is really a great book that is both emotional and inspirational. There was not any character that I did not like. I could in some way relate to most of them. I would recommend this one to any reader.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Noor by Milton C. Toby

While Seabiscuit is perhaps the best-known Thoroughbred in history, Charles S. Howard owned another remarkable racehorse that should never be forgotten. Irish-bred Noor dominated the 1950 racing season, setting world records in victories over Citation and winning the Hollywood Gold Cup by defeating a Triple Crown winner, the Horse of the Year and the previous year’s Kentucky Derby winner. Sadly, that fame faded as he failed to sire champions, and Noor was buried in an unmarked grave in Northern California decades later. Veteran turf writer Milt Toby recounts Noor’s colorful career and the inspiring story of racing enthusiast Charlotte Farmer’s personal mission to exhume the Thoroughbred’s remains for reburial in central Kentucky years after the horse was inducted into the hall of fame.

It is not often that I get to read a book about something that is very close to my heart and that is a real story, Noor by Milton C Toby is one of those books. I was lucky enough to get to read this book through Walker Author tours, but I was drawn to read it because of my love of horse racing and my Great Grandfathers Love of the subject Noor.

I grew up on my Great Grandfather’s knee learning about racing and learning about the Irish bred horses. Being that his side of my family is where I get my half Irish side this came as no surprise. He always favored Irish bred horses, and taught me to, something that holds true at the track for me even today.

Milton C. Toby brings everything to life again in a vivid wash of well put prose. Not only does he cover the life and racing career of Noor, but the journey to find him again. So many people do not understand what can (and often has) happened to a horse that while perhaps well known is not in public graces as much as say Secretariat, when they pass. Often they are put in a little known place and forgotten, much like what happened to Noor.

This book made me both sad at what happened to Noor and then Happy at the fact he was able to find his place in the pantheon of famous racers we can now visit. For all my love of this horse instilled in me by my Great Grandfather I did not know the final end to his story until I read Noor by Milton C. Toby, I am so happy I did. I can happily say I am making a trip to Old Friend’s this summer in honor of my Great Grandfather so see the living legends and those who have passed on. Thanks for the great book Milton!

My Gemstone Rating:


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