Monday, November 5, 2018

A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons
Marie Brennen



You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon's presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one's life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .



All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world's preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.



Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.


Brilliant book. The entire series
  • The Tropic of Serpents
  • The Voyage of the Basilisk
  • In the Labyrinth of the Drakes
  • Within the Sactuary of Wings
captured the voice of a woman fighting to take her place in a fantasy academia.
The writing is clear and to the point. A historical fantasy set in a pseudo-Victorian world with a large part of Lady Trent's time taken with the study of dragons. The plotting is hole free and the descriptions capture an imaginary world in the mind's eye.

A fantastic book and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Purchase at Amazon
Purchase the Entire Series at Amazon (Trust me, you'll want them all)
Purchase at Barnes and Noble 
Purchase at Powell's

Friday, October 26, 2018

All the Paths of Shadow

All the Paths of Shadow - Frank Tuttle

18899861


The king’s orders were clear enough. “Move the tower’s shadow,” he bellowed. “I refuse to deliver my commencement speech from the dark.”

As the newly appointed mage to the Crown of Tirlin, Meralda Ovis has no choice but to undertake King Yvin’s ill-conceived task. Tirlin’s first female mage, and the youngest person to ever don the robes of office, Meralda is determined to prove once and for all that she deserves the title.

The Tower, though, holds ancient secrets all its own. Secrets that will soon spell destruction for all of Tirlin—unless Meralda can unravel a monstrous curse laid by a legendary villain seven centuries before she was born.

A delightful light fantasy. Meralda is the youngest person ever appointed to be the royal mage. We meet her familiar, Mug a house plant, and her mentors (or should I say meddlers). Even the tower makes for an excellent character in its own right. The interactions between the characters are pithy and funny.

I enjoyed the setting, even if the details were laid on pretty thick at times. Meralda lives in a frothy mix of earth, standard fantasy, and the early part of the twentieth century. I'm always a sucker for an airship.

Recommended.

Good Reads
Amazon
Powell's

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Nasturtium



We went to Half Moon Bay last weekend for a few days away from the hustle and bustle. We relaxed and enjoyed the days away. I enjoyed these late Nasturtiums blooming next to the bridge over Pilarcitos Creek on Main Street.

We had a chance to eat at Sushi Main Street. It replaced the yarn store since the last time we visited. Loved the food even if the furniture was a bit odd. Driftwood pieced together and finished. Not uncomfortable, but heavy and bulky.

Our old favorite, Half Moon Bay Bakery, is still going strong and we had cookies for dessert, me with my Mexican Wedding Cookies and Chris with her Walnetto.

Looking forward to visiting again.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fire in Jamestown

Jamestown, Tuolumne Co., Oct. 3rd, 1855 Editors Alta:—

Yesterday afternoon, about 5 1/2 o'clock, a fire broke out in this town which consumed about 25 buildings, mostly stores. It commenced in a stable used by Mr. Butterfield, a merchant of this place The buildings in the portion of the town consumed being all frame ones, the flames spread with great rapidity. About the time the fire get good headway the wind completely died away, and bad an effect in a great measure of stopping the fire from going up the street. But the main check was given to the fire by the able and efficient manner in which the operatives of our Hook and Ladder Co were used. Below you have the names of the principal sufferers :

B F. Butterfield. $10,000; Col.Wm. Donavan, $15,000; Chat Heffernan, 10.000; Drs.. J. W. and M T. Dodrre, 4,000; Leland A Rayner, 1,500; B. Keebin, 5.000; Masonic Lodge, 3,000; Zuttnan. 2,000; Peter Mitchell, (colored) 3,000; Mrs. Meyers, 800; Am Carlio. 2,500; W. Luberg, 500, and some others whose losses are small.

Yours, &c. MORRISON & CRIM, Agents Pacific Express Co.


-- Daily Alta California, Volume 6, Number 246, 6 October 1855


In antebellum California, fire was the greatest danger. Films and TV show us gun fights and outlaws, but San Francisco experienced seven great fires between 1849 and 1852. Each destroyed hundreds of buildings. The largest in 1851 burned three-quarters of the city. Millions of dollars pouring in from the Gold Rush provided the funds to rebuild.

Monday, October 8, 2018



Bill Baynes is a local author who does excellent work building and maintaining a writer's community. I heard about his new book at the California Writer's Club meeting and jumped at the chance to review it.


Tokyo, 1945. A Japanese boy too old for his years, a survivor of the American firebombing, dares to cross the wasteland where he saw thousands burn to death, and approach the occupying forces to get food for his family. A young Navy lieutenant, proud of the Allied victory but appalled by the devastation he sees across the city, cares enough to help. As post-war pressures mount between the two cultures, he becomes entangled in the lives of the boy, his infant sister and his beautiful mother.


It's an adult historical fiction that moves a good clip. Excellent portrayal of the ruins left by the incendiary bombing and the hardships of the people who had to negotiate losing the war. A young American naval officer entangles himself in the lives of three survivors trying to find his own humanity.

A quick read, I didn't put it down (well, after I wrestled it away from my wife).

It's a compelling story, but I found the emotions muted for such a life and death story. I’d recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about the early parts of the occupation. 

Sold at Amazon and wherever fine books are sold.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Special Notices

Volunteer Engine Company, No. 7. -- An adjourned Monthly Meeting
of your Company will be held THIS (Friday) EVENING, at 8 o'clock.
By order. J.BREWSTER, Jr., Sec'y 


Knickerbocker Engine Company, No. 5 --- Attend a special meeting
of the Company, to be held THIS (Friday) EVENING, at 8 o'clock.
Punctual attendance requested.
H.G. LANGLEY, Sec'y.


Empire Engine Company No. 1 -- The monthly meeting of the
Company will be held THIS (Friday) EVENING at 8 o'clock. By order.
EDWARD B CUTTER, Sec'y.



Daily Alta California
Volume 11, Number 243
2 September 1859

In the 1850s, fire companies competed to be the first to fires. Hundreds of men pulled engines ( large, heavy, hand operated pumps) through muddy streets. Since only the first company at a fire was paid, the crews sometimes engaged in massive brawls to decide who would have the honor.

Well heeled patrons purchased engines, hired captains, and established fire houses that were more like club houses.

Apparently, the competition extended their competition to holding all their meetings at the same time.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Suffrage in the Sandwich Islands


The right of suffrage having been granted to the people residing in the Sandwich Islands, an election is to lake place on the first Monday in January, for members of a Legislative body, termed the Parliament. The Honolulu Times congratulates its citizens upon the attainment of this great privilege, and hails the event as auspicious for the future growth and prosperity of the country. We have not seen the law prescribing the right of suffrage, and do not know precisely how far it extends, but believe that it embraces all, both native-born and foreign, who have resided in the Island for a specified period. An adopted Hawaiian writing upon the subject, says that this is the long wished for opportunity to engraft a vigorous shoot of Anglo-Saxon energy upon the less thrifty tree of Hawaiian Legislation, and that it is sincerely to be hoped that the friends of progress will not supinely suffer the precious time to pass without taking some vigorous steps in the matter.

Sacramento Transcript
Volume 2, Number 30
28 November 1850

Good start guys, right up until you started engrafting things. 

A Natural History of Dragons

A Natural History of Dragons Marie Brennen You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than...