Saturday, November 26, 2016

Memories Are Made of This: In The Mood

I learned to dance from a 45 rpm record of  Glen Miller's 'In The Mood'. This video shows scenes and dances during the '40's when we were at war.  We were still dancing to this music in the early 50's.  It wasn't until Elvis Presley came along in the mid fifties that dancing changed.  It is still evolving along with the music. How many of these stars to do recognize?

Monday, November 14, 2016

A New Reading Adventure

Just when I thought I was entrenched in Regency Period Romances and Contemporary Mysteries, my library friend (LF) introduced me to Maureen Ash, 'The Alehouse Murders'.

Now I am venturing into old territory, but new scenery: Midieval with Gil Cunningham, Templar Bascot de Marins, Sir Baldwin Furnshill with Simon Pottock, Brother Cadfael, and Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon. 

I always like to read a series in order and each is the first book in each series along with my review that was posted on I recommend them all.

The Harper's Quine (Gilbert Cunningham, #1)The Harper's Quine, Gilbert Cunningham by Pat McIntosh                 My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Main character: Gil Cunningham

This is the first of this series. I had a hard time getting into the story with this author. There are a lot of Medieval words and expressions that are not explained. Another Medieval series that I read has a dictionary of those words and their definitions. I am hope that Ms. McIntosh adds that to the next book. It would be helpful. I do like Gil and his friends. I had more or less figured out the mystery by the end of the book. There were enough clues along the way that maybe you can solve it, too. 

 The Alehouse Murders (Templar Knight Mystery, #1)The Alehouse Murder, Templar Knight Mystery 
by Maureen Ash                                     My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Main character: Templar Bascot de Marins

I am into another medieval mystery series. My library friend keeps recommending and I keep reading her recommendations. This story takes place in the 1200's with the main character being a Knight Templar. I have read some about the Templar's, but this one is on a more personal level and I like learning at that level. It seems more real. It is interesting to me that the people of the time had the same concerns as we do. However, they didn't have the modern conveniences to aid them in their journey. I like Bascot and the characters that will support him in this series. This is the first book so I have just now been introduced to them. I am looking forward to knowing them better and seeing how Bascot deals with the decisions he must make about the Templar Order. 

The Last Templar (Knights Templar, #1)The Last Templar, Templar Series by Michael Jecks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Main characters: Simon Pottock and Sir Baldwin Furnshill

This was my second adventure into Medieval Mysteries. I never kept up with the series, but have decided to pick it up again since I have jumped into this genre with both feet! I might have to go back and read this one again to refresh my memory of the characters.

A Morbid Taste for Bones (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #1)A Morbid Taste for Bones, Chronicle of Brother Cadfael 
by Ellis Peters                                             My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Main character: Brother Cadfael

This takes me back in time. I love Brother Cadfael. He was my first experience with Medieval mysteries. There was a BBC series based on these books. I watched them all on DVD's from my Library. This is one series I would consider reading again. 

 The Unquiet Bones (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #1)The Unquiet Bones, The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, 
a Surgeon by Melvin R. Starr                       My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Main Character: Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon

Well, I found another series-again recommended by my library friend. I normally do not read this far back in history; however, the characters and the mystery of this story brought the time period to life for me. It reminds me of Ellis Peters 'Brother Cadfael' series. His time period was later, but still British history. Learned a lot while being entertained. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

These Is My Words

These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner                             My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was recommended and loaned to me by a friend. I admit I took it and read it to be nice. That being said, it will one of those books that remain in my memory. It wasn't one that I could sit down and read for hours. It was not a page turner. I had to read it in blocks so I could digest what was happening and how the characters handled each event. I couldn't read it at night, because I would either dream about the story or lay awake thinking about it. Ms. Turner has a way with her characters that sucks the reader in and makes you a part of the story. Highly recommend.

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Surgeon Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton

I began this series upon a friend's recommendation. I also loved Ellis Peters' Cadfael Chronicles. Once I started I couldn't stop until I caught up with the author and the publisher.  They are fast reads-no more than 200 to 250 pages. My reviews are all on  They are included below as I read and reviewed them.

I think Michael Jecks, author of The Templar series, said it best: "At last a worthy successor to Ellis Peters. Mel Starr brings medieval crime to life, He has a brilliant understanding of the language and nature of the people of the 1300's."

The Unquiet Bones (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #1)The Unquiet Bones  Chronicle No 1
Well, I found another series-again recommended by my library friend. I normally do not read this far back in history; however, the characters and the mystery of this story brought the time period to life for me. Learned a lot while being entertained.

A Corpse at St Andrews Chapel (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #2)A Corpse at St Andrews Chapel Chronicle No. 2
I am still loving this Mel Starr mystery series. The history is intriguing. The details of the life and times of the 1300's are seamlessly woven into the story. I didn't even know I was getting a history lesson. Then again, the life and times 650 years ago does seem like fiction.

A Trail of Ink (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #3)A Trail of Ink Chronicle No. 3

This story is getting even better. Mel Starr is giving us a little romance along with the mystery. Our hero may even be getting a partner in crime. Can hardly wait for the next installment.

Unhallowed Ground (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #4)Unhallowed Ground Chronicle No. 4

The more I read the more I am hooked on this series and its characters. I am not particularly fond of this period of history, but I am learning a lot about it. The mystery and the personal stories are woven together seamlessly. I don't get a sense that Mr. Starr is giving a history lesson one moment and a mystery in the next. This story is a little more bloody that the last one, but I can skip over the gruesome parts.

The Tainted Coin (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #5)The Tainted Coin Chronicle No. 5
This is by far the most complicated mystery in the series to date. Now it seems we will have a continuing villain. He seems to appear in each book and escapes before he or his accomplices can be brought to justice. Hugh is getting more sophisticated in his surgery and his job as bailiff.

Rest Not in Peace (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #6)Rest Not in Peace Chronicle No. 6
This series is still holding my interest. I love the history and the characters. Mel teaches/taught history. I wish I had him for a history teacher. He makes it come alive in his characters as they go about their daily lives. Hugh is a multi-faceted character and I love that he is now a family man in addition to being a surgeon and a bailiff.

The Abbot's Agreement (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #7)The Abbot's Agreement Chronicle No. 7
Still enjoying reading about the adventures of Hugh de Singleton. However, I am getting used to some of the process he goes through to solve a crime/mystery. I found myself skipping through some of it to get to the solution. This story was a little complicated and I am not sure how some of his tactics would work in real time.

Ashes to Ashes (The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon #8)Ashes to Ashes Chronicle No. 8
Seems to be a formula setting into these stories. However, the story is still worthy and I really like living in Bampton for a couple of days with Hugh and his family. I could see where this was going, but there is always some surprise to keep the reader guessing. Mr. Starr is educating me in an entertaining way.

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