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Hannah doesn’t think much of the old Crowleigh Lodge her parents rent after their own house is in need of repair. The lodge is small and some rooms are closed off from storm damage or have been sealed off over the years. When it rains, secrets bubble out giving Hannah strange dreams of leaves.

In the church yard Hannah finds the grave of the girl who lived in Crowleigh Lodge a hundred years ago and it’s the very month that she died. As if to celebrate the anniversary, weird things begin to happen in the house. Hannah starts to wonder who killed Maise and why is she trying to contact Hannah?

This is part mystery and part ghost story. Both worked. The story lingered with me, something many books don’t. I did wish the author included an Afterward to explain what might be true in the story and what not and just to explain a few things.

I did have to wonder why anyone would rent a house with a damaged room, but that’s only the adult in me and I’m sure there are reasonable explanations.

There’s another story with Hannah, which I’d love to read, but I haven’t been able to find it. If you read this book, maybe you can find the other.

 

While sitting at the doctor’s office, I read through the ‘Entertainment’ magazine. Seeing that ‘Anne of the Green Gables’ was going to be on television, Netflix I think, I thought cool. Not that I get Netflix now, but, one day. And then I read more. The show would focus on the darker aspects of Anne.

Really?

Seriously?

We have to Game of Thrones and Walking Dead Anne of the Green Gables? Why? Why does everything have to have a ‘dark’ side? That pretty much spoiled the whole series for me. A nice, wholesome story every once in a while should be okay.

This pretty much as me gobsmacked. Next thing you know Dennis the Menace is a serial killer and the kids in Family Circus are in rehab.

I will not be watching this.

This is how I planned the Saturday. There were two good garage sales. One I could walk to and encompassed the immediate neighborhood. The second I’d drive to with my Mom. She’s been wanting to go to garage sales, but getting in and out of the car constantly is not an option. The second place was at an apartment complex. She just needed to get out once and I’ll wheel her around in the wheelchair. After that, we’d go to the library.

This is how my Saturday went. Me on the couch with my foot up.

See, on Friday, I’d gone out the front door to get the mail. The sidewalk makes a sharp bend to the driveway. Along the driveway the ground is a good inch or two lower. My left foot hit the edge of the driveway and slipped. I twisted. I turned. I fell. Bam. Ouch. Major ouch. I must have lain on the cement for a good two-three minutes holding my ankle and being mad at myself. Why hadn’t I watched out where I was going? I can’t even remember what we got for mail, but it wasn’t worth all this. It wasn’t worth not paying attention.

I hobbled in. Mama wants to know what we got for mail. I twisted my ankle, I said. And It hurts. Mama still goes on about the mail. I have to shout what happened and then she goes into supermom mode except without the actual tending to me part because she can’t move far fast. She does try and made dinner and I’m there, laying on the couch, listening to her and she sounds just about to faint and drop on the spot so I know that I can’t be laying around with my foot for long. And I don’t. Next day I teeter-totter about doing the meal things and that’s okay. The foot’s swollen and bruised, but not so much the latter, because I’m using Mama’s wonder medicine, something with annika, a plant I think. It really gets the bruising down.

And there’s my Saturday. And pretty much my whole week. I’ll be paying a lot more attention when I got out that door.

Blackout! Twelve-year-old Christopher Nichols is thinking party. Celebrate the loss of contact with Earth as Perses slides behind the back side of the sun. He and his friends will celebrate the event and have fun, lots of fun. But, that’s not how it ends up. Instead, Christopher and a few others end up deep in the mines, hiding, surviving, from an unseen enemy.

Another great science-fiction story. It’s set on the planetoid Perses. There’s a good back story about how it got into Earth’s orbit and humans started mining it. There are a number of sad elements I didn’t particularly like, but then I’m the one who reads the back pages of an animal story to make sure no animals die particularly the main one.

This fast paced story has a great twist revealed midway. It’s first in a series, which made me go ‘aaaaargh’ at the end because of the cliff hanger ending. Can’t wait for the next installment.

 

I had big plans for May 6. Comic Book Day. By great luck there was also a community garage sale that morning. I bought nothing. The only books I would have bought were a bit grimy. They didn’t have anything else on my shopping list because, yes, I have a shopping list for when I go. I need a secure, plastic box for notebooks and I’m always searching for artificial flowers because they’re easier to maintain then real ones. Also, I can’t accidentally kill them.

But it was the thrill of the comic books that got me up that morning. In the preceding days I’d gone on-line to check out the comic book stores, to check on changes. One is gone. To tell the truth I’d never once found it and I tried, driving up and down a stretch of road several times searching for the address. Nothing. Just when I get an idea of where it might be, it’s gone out of business.

I thought that this year I would check out two new places. I like to get a feel for the store. No comic book shop is like another. Some aren’t even comic book stores, they just sell them among their DVDs, vinyl, CD’s and books. Then other places are comic book heavens with walls and racks and boxes of comic books. There are super hero posters and cardboard figures and toys and all the wonderful comic book and super hero related ‘stuff’. I’d discovered one of the latter last year and this year found another one. I nearly ran over Loki as I entered the parking lot, but not because I was going fast, he walked in the way and he was standing smack in the middle of the driveway.

It was hard to decide which free comic book to get. You can get only three. I don’t like the place where you can’t look at the book, but point and they’ll give it to you. I ended up with a listing of upcoming stories that way. I like to look at them and even then I left with a horror story where a little girl is killing people. Don’t like those kind. The ones I liked best was the Star Trek Next Generation one set in the Mirror universe. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a good one, and I had to get Sponge Bob. I managed to get Bongo (with the Simpsons) too.  Plus I got a free hot dog and Cheeze Doodles. The latter are not to good to eat when your reading comic books.

On my way out of the parking lot, I nearly ran over Loki again. Good thing he wasn’t real. Next year I hope I remember to give everyone a heads up via the blog so they can head out and get their own free comic books.

Solar Eclipse

On the 21st of August, we, here in South Carolina, will experience a total solar eclipse. Cool. The city thinks so too and they’re expecting a million people to converge on Columbia. On the 21st of April they did what they called a dry run for the event. I had a little trouble wrapping my mind around that. Where are they getting the million people was one thought that went through my head. It turned out they meant a dry run to see where the sun will be at what time and scouting for the best viewing spots. Turns out the sun will be covered the longest someplace south of the city. Where I live it’ll be covered for two minutes and ten seconds, that’s twenty-seven seconds less. I can live with that.

My Mom asked what if it’s at night. I said that it wouldn’t be a solar eclipse then. I don’t think she was paying attention to what she was saying.

The newspaper already listed several viewing places. I’d told someone I’ll them out making eclipse viewing instruments. They’re not glasses and you don’t look at the sun. Instead you make a hole in some cardboard and look down at the circle of light going through the hole. It may sound weird, but it works. I’ve tried it before.

Back in the 80’s or early 90’s, there was a solar eclipse in Houston. I was at work when it happened and sat out on the step with my contraption and watched the circle of light. Sure enough, as soon as the moon began to slide over the sun you could see it.  More and more sun was covered and it got darker and the birds stopped peeping. It was weird. And cool.

I’ve seen a lunar eclipse too, also in Houston. There was a quasi pool party I attended and we sat there, everyone in the complex and gazed upward as the Earth’s shadow covered the moon. Someone took a picture. Using the flash. I still wonder how that turned out.

Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong has a plan. She’s going to St. Claire’s School for Girls. It’s the first step in getting wealthy. In the year 1906, however, the idea of anyone from Chinatown entering such an institution is ludicrous. The Chinese, nevermind if they were born in America or not, are second hand citizens to be despised and tormented. But Mercy is going to that school and wrangles a deal with one of the board members. She’ll have to room with the daughter someone who hates her, but she can live with that. She has a plan and she’ll follow it.Nature makes a mockery of it when the April 18th earthquake strikes and Mercy could lose everything she worked for in order to become successful.

I have read quite a number of books on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and this is one of the top ones. There’s humor, a bit of romance, trauma, and drama. It introduces a different angle by making the main character Chinese America. By happenstance I’d read a book a few weeks earlier on the plague in San Francisco and that was mentioned in the book. For those wondering, yes, the black plague really did kill a few people in San Francisco in the 1900’s.

Mercy is a strong character, not daunted by little things like trying to conduct a tea ceremony without having a clue how it’s done. Even with her own sorrows she manages to cheer others up. I found it a positive book.

There’s some historical notes by the author to give more information. While interesting there could be more so why not check out a companion book about the earthquake and Chinatown?