During my September Goals Update post and video, I stated that I would be travelling in October. Well, I’m back from my trip! I had a wonderful time with my husband over in England. We participated in an archaeological dig, but I’m not allowed to divulge anything; eat a multitude of cuisines while there; and went to some of the bigger tourist attractions in London for research for a book I’m writing. Fun times!

2nd night’s dinner was at Tandori Nights, right down from the hotel. Introduced the crew to poppadoms and chutneys.

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1st Saturday we were there, a quiz night was held at the local history museum against some of the locals. I’m proud to say the Americans didn’t do too badly, until the category was Local History.

Monday, we went for a six and a half mile hike to Stonehenge, up the Processional Avenue the ancients would have walked. English weather being what it is, we were right in the middle of a sheep pasture when it started to rain and hail. Lovely….”It’ll only last five minutes!” BS! It lasted 15! With the exception of my feet and my head, thanks for my insulated boots and hat, I was soaked through. Thanks, David.

Video filmed once the rain stopped: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45vVBt_GT-E

The next day we actually went to Stonehenge officially and walked around the site. I FORGOT MY HAT!!!! Yes, it was a big deal. I had to wrap my scarf around my head like a babushka. It didn’t really help.

At Stonehenge video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAON4jW3A_k

After Stonehenge, we went to High Tea at the local tea room: McGuire’s Vintage Tea Room. They had my china pattern!!!!!

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Tuesday afternoon was Salisbury to see the cathedral. My mom had specifically talked to me about what it was like for her to see it when she was there in the late 1970s. After the cathedral tour, and while most of the group attended Evensong, I dragged Husband and other group member to a yarn store.

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Wednesday was spent in Bath. We ate at Sally Lynn’s for lunch. Did tours of the Roman Baths, which was pretty cool. Then, of course, I had to hunt down the two local yarn shops. Found my Hedgehog Fibre yarn!!! Dinner was at a Moroccan restaurant. The food was soooo good!

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Thursday, we traveled to London. Spent the afternoon in the British Museum doing a scavenger hunt. But before we got there, we all stopped to eat at this adorable Italian restaurant that was two blocks away from the museum. I have never had gnoochi as light and fluffy as they made it.

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Friday was the Tower of London. We actually took the tour this time. Very interesting. We got to see the inside of Her Majesty’s Private Chapel. I later asked the Yeoman (aka Beefeater) when the last time the Queen stopped by: 2014! A lot more recent than I thought.

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After the Tower, we were set loose on our own, which meant Husband and I went and hunted down a yarn shop. (Are you starting to see a pattern?) We had to play real-life Frogger to get to this one. Scary! Don’t ever want to do that again. Lunch at a pub. Husband got his Lincolnshire sausages and mash for lunch. Any British expats reading this will understand how important that is.2nd Saturday, we went to the Natural History Museum. Very impressive collection. They had coconut crab specimens! Holy crap! As well as the giant squid!

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I also hopped over to consult a detective…

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I convinced everyone to go a French restaurant for our final night in London. Once we found the place (it was on a side road, off a side road, off a main road), we all settled in. The food was delicious! Vichyssoise, lamb wellington, and chocolate mousse! Perfect way to end the trip!

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That was my latest adventure!

© Cori Large 23 Oct 2016

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Being Lazy and Catching Up on Book Reviews Quickly..

Yes, the title should speak for itself. I’ve got so much other stuff I want to post on here, but because of my undiagnosed OCD, I feel like I can’t until I get all the book reviews posted. Well, I found a way around that!

I’ve also changed up the way I do book reviews again. I don’t have the energy any more to write up a summary. I’d much rather give you the basic information and let you check the book out on Amazon or Good Reads for yourself.

So…

The Princess Bride

  • Author: by Morgenstern; abridged by William Goldman
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: 512 pgs / 1-31-2014
  • Brief Review: Movie was adapted from the book and consisted of all the “good parts,” unless you’re a diehard fan, skip the book.
  • Recommend: Eh, preferred the movie
  1. Dear Abby
  • Author: Abigail Van Buren
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: 201 pgs / 2-28-2014
  • Brief Review: Printed letters dating from the 1950s and 1960s, however, based on content, nothing seems to have changed.
  • Recommend: Neutral.
  1. Relic
  • Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: #1 of Pendergast Series / 455 pgs / 3-4-2014
  • Brief Review: Hooked from the beginning! Couldn’t put it down! Caution-very gory!
  • Recommend: Absolutely!
  1. Reliquary
  • Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: #2 of Pendergast Series / 461 pgs / 3-9-2014
  • Brief Review: Sequel to Relic. Who dunnit isn’t so much the question as how and why.
  • Recommend: Yes.
  1. The Cabinet of Curiosities
  • Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: #3 of Pendergast series / 629 pgs / 3-16-2014
  • Brief Review: Hard to get into. Very disturbing.
  • Recommend: Can be skipped.
  1. Still Life with Crows
  • Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: #4 of the Pendergast series / 458 pgs / 4-7-2014
  • Brief Review: Very interesting, but got extremely creepy towards the end.
  • Recommend: Yes.
  1. The Sword in the Stone
  • Author: T.H. White
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: #1 in trilogy / 287 pgs / 5-1-2014
  • Brief Review: King Arthur’s childhood and schooling by Merlin. Had to compare to Disney movie by the same name.
  • Recommend: Interesting for an Arthurian scholar.
  1. Brimstone
  • Author: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: #5 in the Pendergast series / 752 pgs / 5-11-2014
  • Brief Review: Loved it! Fire & Brimstone, the devil, Stradivarius violins!
  • Recommend: Absolutely!
  1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: #4 in the Sherlock Holmes Casebook / 240 pgs / 5-11-2014
  • Brief Review: Starting to have a difficult time reconciling literary Holmes, who will look into a case no matter how trivial, with movie and TV Holmes, who learn towards arrogant @$$es.
  • Recommend: Yes.
  1. Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
  • Author: Julie Powell
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: 325 pgs / 5-16-2014
  • Brief Review: Disappointed. Thought it would be the blog in book form. NOPE! Just the highlights.
  • Recommend: Neutral.
  1. My Life in France
  • Author: Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: 333 pgs / 5-25-2014
  • Brief Review: Interesting and insightful.
  • Recommend: Neutral, but I liked it better than Julie Powell’s book.
  1. Stitch’n’Bitch: the Knitter’s Handbook
  • Author: Debbie Stoller
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: 237 pgs / 6-10-2014
  • Brief Review: Very interesting. Loved the family history. Going to try out some of the patterns in the back of the book.
  • Recommend: Yes.
  1. A Good Yarn
  • Author: Debbie Macomber
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: 384 pgs / 6-13-2014
  • Brief Review: Shows the positive side and the relaxation aspects of knitting.
  • Recommend: Yes.
  1. Dixie Ghosts: Haunting, spine-chilling stories from the American South
  • Author: edited by Frank D. McSherry, Charles G. Waugh, and Martin H. Greenburg
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: 6-18-2014
  • Brief Review: An anthology of stories. I didn’t read them all. The couple I did read were suspenseful, not spine-chilling.
  • Recommend: Neutral.
  1. Sisters, School Girls and Sleuths: Girls’ Series Books in America
  • Author: Carolyn Carpan
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: 147 pgs / 6-24-2014
  • Brief Review: Great source for a research paper.
  • Recommend: Yes.
  1. My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop
  • Author: edited by Ronald Rice and Booksellers Across America
  • Series/Pages/Date Read:
  • Brief Review: Couldn’t get into it.
  • Recommend:
  1. The Book is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All!
  • Author: Marilyn Johnson
  • Series/Pages/Date Read:
  • Brief Review: Couldn’t get into it.
  • Recommend:
  1. The Book of the Dead
  • Author: Douglas Pendergast and Lincoln Child
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: #6 of the Pendergast series / 451 pgs / 6-27-2014
  • Brief Review: Couldn’t put it down!
  • Recommend: Absolutely!
  1. Year of No Sugar
  • Author: Eve O. Schaub
  • Series/Pages/Date Read: 305 pgs / 7-13-2014
  • Brief Review: A writer conducts an experiment on/with her family to see if they can go without eating any added sugar for an entire year. Very interesting. Recipes are included.
  • Recommend: Yes.

I apologize for the numbering. I tried to fix it, but it made everything worse.

The Case of the Baker Street Irregular by Robert Newman

Summary:

An orphan is brought to London by his guardian, who is later kidnapped, leaving the boy on his own. The boy meets up with some of the other street kids, several of whom work for Mr. Sherlock Holmes. When Holmes requires the boy’s assistance, will his own mystery be solved at the same time.

Opinion:

I am by no means a Sherlock Holmes scholar, but in my opinion, this author did a fair job with the characters of Holmes and Watson.

The story itself was interesting and had all the elements of a Doyle Holmes story.

©Cori Endicott June 2013

Young Adult Lit class project, pt. 1

For my Young Adult Literature class this summer, I had to read 24 books total from various genres. The project was split into two parts. The following list is the first part of the project.

Books 1-12

  1. Title #1: The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds
    1. Author:                Paul Zindel
    2. Recommended Audience: High School
    3. Reading Recommendation: **
    4. Curriculum Connections: Family, Drama, Psychology, Science, Biology, Earth Science
    5. Review:                This play is about a young girl who is trying her best in school despite having self-centered mother who is constantly coming up with get-rich-quick-schemes.
    6. Evaluation: This play goes back and forth between the mother’s monologues about how she used to be something and still would be if it weren’t for her kids, and her children trying to have as normal of an adolescence as possible.
  2. The Chocolate War
    1. Author: Robert Cormier
    2. Recommended Audience: High School
    3. Reading Recommendation: ***
    4. Curriculum Connections: Peer Pressure, School Spirit, Manipulation, Fundraising
    5. Review: The annual chocolate fundraiser becomes interesting for the boys when the school’s enforcer group try to turn it into a farce and then a fierce competition.
    6. Evaluation: This book is told through multiple points of view from the boys in the book and gives an inside look at how they truly feel about the school fundraiser.
  3. Title: Amelia Lost: the Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
    1. Author: Candace Fleming
    2. Recommended Audience: Middle School
    3. Reading Recommendation: ****
    4. Curriculum Connections: Biography, American heroes, U.S. History, Geography
    5. Review: This book combs through the historical data on Amelia Earhart and presents the information in a chronological order.
    6. Evaluation: The amount and the quality of the research done for this book is excellent and allows the book to be very informative.
  4. Title: House of Stairs
    1. Author: William Sleator
    2. Recommended Audience: Middle School
    3. Reading Recommendation: ***
    4. Curriculum Connections: Literature, Story Hour
    5. Review: This book fits right in with 1984 and Animal Farm.
    6. Evaluation: It was quite frightening how easily the author made it seem that humans can be trained and manipulated. Very thought provoking.
  5. Title: The Time Machine
    1. Author: H. G. Wells
    2. Recommended Audience: Middle School & High School
    3. Reading Recommendation: *****
    4. Curriculum Connections: Literature, British Literature, British Authors
    5. Review: An alleged time traveler regales his companions with his alleged travels to the future.
    6. Evaluation: This book is a classic and there are many cultural references today because of it, so it should be read.
  6. Title: One More River
    1. Author: Lynne Reid Banks
    2. Recommended Audience: High School
    3. Reading Recommendation: ****
    4. Curriculum Connections: Social Studies, History, Current Events/Recent Events
    5. Review: A Jewish-Canadian girl gets plucked out of her cushy life when her parents decide to immigrate to Israel.
    6. Evaluation: This book gives an inside look at what it is like to be only a river away from a culture that wishes genocide on you and what it is like to go through a war with the aforementioned culture.
  7. Title: Ender’s Game
    1. Author: Orson Scott Card
    2. Recommended Audience: High School
    3. Reading Recommendation: *****
    4. Curriculum Connections: Problem-solving, Peer Pressure, Manipulation
    5. Review: Gifted child Ender is chosen for training because of his aptitude to command the fleet of starships against an alien race bent on destroying humanity.
    6. Evaluation: This book keeps your attention and doesn’t hit you over the head with points, has subtlety.
  8. Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    1. Author: Douglas Adams
    2. Recommended Audience: No one under High School
    3. Reading Recommendation: ****
    4. Curriculum Connections: Being yourself, Cool people shouldn’t always be followed, the Geeks are usually having the best time
    5. Review: Human Arthur Dent joins best friend and alien Ford Prefect on a Hitchhiker’s Trip across that galaxy with runaway Galaxy President Zaphod Beeblebrox who has just stolen the greatest starship to have ever been built.
    6. Evaluation: This book at times becomes very confusing to read, but never stops being interesting.
  9. Title: Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator
    1. Author: Jennifer Allison
    2. Recommended Audience: Middle School
    3. Reading Recommendation: *****
    4. Curriculum Connections: Family, Suicide, Mental Illness, Creativity, Ambition
    5. Review: An ambitious young girl goes to visit distant relations and helps solve a family mystery.
    6. Evaluation: This book teaches children, especially girls, not to be afraid to try new ideas and figure out your passions.
  10. Title: Who Am I Without Him?: Short Stories about Girls and the Boys in Their Lives
    1. Author: Sharon G. Flake
    2. Recommended Audience: African-American High School girls and boys
    3. Reading Recommendation: ***
    4. Curriculum Connections: Modern African-American culture, Relationships between boys and girls, Ownership, Self-esteem, Self-respect, Dating
    5. Review: This book gives semi-fictional accounts of the types of relationships young Africa-American teens go through.
    6. Evaluation: I found this book very sad and concerning. It really shows how good role models are needed for all youth.
  11. Title: The Case of the Baker Street Irregular
    1. Author: Robert Newman
    2. Recommended Audience: Middle School
    3. Reading Recommendation: ****
    4. Curriculum Connections: General Reading, Character Evolution with new author
    5. Review: An orphan is taken to London by his handler. The handler is subsequently kidnapped, leaving the orphan to fend for himself. He meets up with other street children and ends up doing a job for the infamous Sherlock Holmes. In the mean time, he is trying to get his own mystery solved.
    6. Evaluation: This book was a very interesting take on a well-known character by a new author. This author stayed true to the Holmes makeup.
  12. Title: The Silver Kiss
    1. Author: Annette Curtis Klause
    2. Recommended Audience: High School girls
    3. Reading Recommendation: ****
    4. Curriculum Connections: Family Illness, Hormones, Family Death
    5. Review: A teen whose mother is dying and her dad’s in denial befriends a vampire who is trying to track down and kill the other vampire responsible for killing his mother. They form a unique bond.
    6. Evaluation: This book stuck to the original canon for vampires. Not Bath and Body Works sparkle body lotion. This book also shows family dynamics when a loved one is dying.

© Cori Endicott July 19, 2013