Friday, August 31, 2007

August Reads

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
One Good Knight by Mercedes Lackey
The Red Queen's Daughter by Jacqueline Kolosov
Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFreeless by Ahmet Zappa
I Went to Vassar for This? by Naomi Neale
Pinhoe Egg by Diana Wynne Jones
Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Just One Look by Harlan Coben
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
The Trouble with Magic by Madelyn Alt
48 Shades of Brown by Nick Earls
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Midnighters #1 The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld
Midnighters #2 Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld
Midnighters #3 Blue Noon by Scott Westerfeld
The Manny Files by Christian Burch
The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer
Stuck in the 70's by DL Garfinkle
Keturah & Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Shakespeare's Counselor by Charlaine Harris
The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper
12 Sharp by Janet Evanovich


Rune: Ansuz #4 (awn-sooze) The god Odin belonging to the goddess Freya

Odin, the All-Father was the most revered and most powerful leader of the gods. Warriors went into battle knowing that should he be slain, he would go to the halls of Vaihalla in the company of Odin. To be blessed by Odin was the highest honor for both men and gods. His throne was callled Hidskialf and was the highest vantage point in Asgard. His companions were the ravens Huginn & Muninn and the two wolves, Geri and Freki.

Object: Spear
Animal: Wolf
Color: Purple
Tree: Ash

Meaning: A gift, visit or advice from an older person. Learning & wisdom.
Reversed: duplicity, interference by an older person.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hanged Man

Card: The Hanged Man #12, the Major Arcana

Description: A young man hangs upside down from one foot on a cross. A golden halo surrounds his head. His mood seems jaunty rather than gruesome.

My thoughts: A time of waiting, reflection.

Traditional Meaning: Pausing to reflect, soul searching and prophecy.
Reversed: Lack of Spirituality, selfishness, self-centered.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Queen of Cups

Card: Queen of Cups, Minor Arcana

Description: The queen sits on a throne on the shore by the ocean. She holds in her hand a large golden cup.

My thoughts: Cups traditional element is water. Water is elusive, always moving, never constant, therefore, cups are the symbol of emotion and relationships. The queen is gazing sedately at the cup. She seems to be a woman who is content and loving. However, she can be a lioness if any threatens her or her family.

Traditional meaning: Sensitivity and loving. Deep caring.
Reversed: Emotional access. A distinguished person who is not to be trusted.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Rune: Thurisaz (thoor-ee-saws) #3 The god Loki and belonging to the goddess Freya

Loki was known as the Prince of Lies and Sly One because he delighted in causing trouble. He was one of the gods who lived in Asgard. He was the trickster who shape-shifted. He used his magical ability for personal gain. He eventually became malevolent and was destined to be responsible for triggering Ragnarok, the final conflict that resulted in the destruction of the world.

Object: Knife
Animal: Snake
Tree: Blackthorn
Color: Purple

Meaning: Mischief making, unrealiability.
Reversed: A hasty decision that causes anxiety and regret.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Eight of Pentacles

Card: Eight of Pentacles, Minor Arcana

Description: Man sits working, chiseling a pentacle onto a disk. Another lies on the floor and six others hand from a column. Not all the pentacles chiseled in are symmetrical.

My thoughts: Hard work will bring success.

Traditional Meaning: This is the apprentice card. It is a card of starting over, new beginnings. A time of learning, making mistakes, beginning anew.
Reversed: Dread of work, poor performance at work, doubt in abilities.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Two of Swords

Card: Two of Swords, Minor Arcana

Description: Woman sits beside a choppy sea in the evening. Her back is to the ocean. She is dressed in a long white robe and she is blindfolded. She holds in her hands a pair of crossed swords.

My thoughts: A decision has been made and the one who made it is blind to any other suggestion.

Traditional meaning: A clash of ideas with the questioner caught in the middle.
Reversed: falsehood, duplicity, disloyality

Monday, August 20, 2007

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Jacob Jankowski is ninety, or maybe he is ninety-three, he can’t remember for sure. What he does remember in vivid detail is his life the year after his parents died and he missed his final exam in veterinary medicine at Cornell. He walked out of town, leaving everything behind him and jumped the first train that passed by. This one just happened to belong to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. His life in the circus was hard work, little or no pay, and a political structure that rivals any college campus. He falls in love with Marlena, who is married to the abusive animal trainer. He also falls in love with Rosie the elephant whounderstands Polish and is often the target of Marlena’s husband’s torturous abuse. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. I did not like the ending, but what I mean by ending is the very last paragraph. I did not like the very last paragraph. It made no sense, but the rest of the book was awesome! I listened to the unabridged audiobook. It was 11 ½ hours on 10 CDs. It was read by David LeDoux and John Randolph Jones.

This review may also be found at:


Rune: Mannaz (mawn-nawz) #20 The All-Father and belonging to the god Tyr.

Man is represented in runes because he has gained supremacy over the other creatures by his power of reason.

Object: Man
Animal: Hawk
Color: Orange

Meaning: Man-woman-human being. Reflection, self, humaniarian attitude.
Reversed: Selfish, egotistical. Be warned of an enemy.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

The dead all lived together in one city. They stayed as long as one person left living remembered them. Luka was one of the dead. He printed a newspaper and passed it out among the other dead that grouped together at the coffee shop. Soon, there are less and less dead. More and more were going to that "other place", the place you went when no one living remembers you. A virus has spread and was killing off millions of people. It was a rapid virus, people died within the day the symptoms started. Fewer people were remembered and more and more were going to the other place. Laura Byrd was alone and trapped in Antarctica. She had been working on an exploration team for Coca Cola. The radio had broken. Her two team mates had taken one of the sledges to see if they could make it to the main camp. They had been gone three weeks, far longer than it should have taken them to get there and back. The cabin’s heating was failing. It was getting colder. She finally takes the remaining sledge and makes it to the camp only to find it deserted and twenty burial mounds in back. Where had her team mates gone? What had happened to the team that was stationed here? Back in the city, more and more people were disappearing. How long before they all disappear?

I really liked this book. It was very well written and all the elements of the story tied together in surprising ways.

This book review can also be found at:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Rune: Kaunaz (kane-awze) #6 The Goddess Skuld belonging to the Freya.

Skuld was one of the three Norn sisters, Skuld, Urd and Verdandi. The Norn sisters impart wisdom to the gods. Skuld is therefore identified with enlightenment and divinatory meanings. Urd represented the Past, Verdandi, the present. Gods visited and sought the sisters for their advice, but the ultimate fate of the gods was kept secret from the sisters. The Norns lived near the Urdar Fountain where Skuld collected water for the roots of the sacred ash tree, Yggdrasil. Skuld road with the Valkyries to collect fallen warriors.

Object: Torch
Aminal: Owl
Tree: Pine
Color: Blue

Meaning: For a woman - good fortune. For a man - giving a giftl Lust, empathy, enlightenment are also meanings. The possibilty of health problems.
Reversed: Loss, endings, resignation.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Card: The Chariot #7, Major Arcana

Description: The chariot driver sits in a silver chariot with blue sky curtains. The chariot is being drawn by two spinx, one black, one white. The driver wears armor with cresent moons on the shoulders and a star crown. He wears a necklace with a square shaped jewel.

My thoughts: A triumph, a glorious procession. A hard won victory.

Traditional meaning: A union of opposites. Control is needed over opposing circumstances, people or things in your life. Confidence and motivation are needed.
Reversed: Unbalance and no control. Rushing head long into a situation without thought.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

White Chocolate

You are White Chocolate

You are White Chocolate

You are sweet, caring, and truly very innocent.

Whether your naive ways are a bit of act or not, people like to take care of you.

You are a quiet flirt, and your power is often underestimated!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Rune: Teiwaz (tea-wawz) #17 The god Tyr.

Try is the god of justice and defence. He is the patron god of the sword. To the majority of Germanic people, he was the original sun god. He had no consort. When the evil Fenris Wolf had to be contained, he did what needed to be done even though it cost him his hand. He was made one of the council of twelve gods because he was honorable, his leadership qualities and his concern for humanity.

Symbol: Sword
Meaning: Victory
Tree: Hazel
Color: Yellow

Meaning: Success is indicated, a legal advantage. If the querient is a man, he is love smitten. If a woman, great love will be hers.
Reversed: untrustworthy relationship, romantic troubles

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Four of Swords

Card: Four of Swords, Minor Arcana

Description: Setting appears to be in a church crypt. Three swords hang on the wall by a sarcophagus of a knight. A sword decorates the side of the coffin. A stain glass window is beside the swords on the wall.

My thoughts: A heroic end. A period of rest. A hard battle has been fought and now it is time to step back and restore.

Traditional meaning: meditation, time for reflection, an end to stress or arguement
Reversed: Need to slow down, rest, and reflect. Cowardice.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Hermit

Card: The Hermit, Major Arcana # 9

Description: Grey bearded man dressed in gray robes holds a lantern in his right hand and a staff in the other. He stands on a flat surface covered in snow.

My thoughts: This is my card. I always feel such an affinity for this one. I was raised almost like an only child because I was so much younger than my brother and sisters. I have married, had children, but still long to find time just for myself, to be alone. My hobbies and pursuits are mainly things I do by myself. I read, I listen to music, I watch old movies.

Traditional meaning: introspection and a desire for peace and solitude, and eventually, enlightenment.
Reversed: Outside events may influence you. You solitude may lead to alienation, isolation.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Rune: Algiz (all-yeese) #15 The god Heimdal and belonging to the god Hagal.

Legend has that Heimdal was the son of Odin and nine maidens who simultaneously gave birth. He grew swiftly and was strong. The gods chose him to guard the rainbow bridge, Bifrost, and to take note of all who passed over. He had acute hearing and sight and needed little sleep. Because of these attributes, he became the watchman of the gods. His most important possession was a blowhorn that he used to sound a warning when enemies approched. The horn was kept in the branches of the world tree, Yggdrasil, or beneath the water of Mimir's well. While in the water, it became the new moon, and the eye that Odin sacrificed was the full moon. At the time of the final world battle, Heimdal and Loki destroyed each other.

Symbol: Horn
Animal: Elk
Tree: Lime
Color: Green

Meaning: Defence or to protect. A reward , new job or pursuit to stimulate intellect. Can also be a warning.
Reversed: Beware, there are those who would take advantage of you. Caution

Friday, August 3, 2007

Dragonwyck by Anya Seton

An oldie but goodie, this is the first time I've ever read anything by Anya Seton. This book was first published in 1944 and was a national bestseller that was made into a movie in 1946.

I would classify it a gothic romantic tale, complete with the clueless heroine, Miranda Wells, and the lord of the manor, Nicholas Van Ryn. Miranda lives on a farm with her parents and a lot of younger brothers and sisters. She is fanciful and prefers reading and daydreaming to churning butter or milking the cows. Her mother receives a letter from a distance relative who lives in a manor in upstate New York. The relative, Nicholas Van Ryn, needs a governess for his daughter. Nicholas is involved in a loveless marriage and Miranda soon falls in love with him. The book is full of the usual dark secrets, tenant unrest, and dark overtones.

I enjoyed reading this book, but it was a bit predicable. Perhaps it is because I read so many similar books when I was younger (Gothic romance held my attention for all my junior high and high school years).

This review can also be found at : The Smoke Lives! TBR Bookmooch Blog

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

The Bean Trees is the story of Missy Greer from Pittman County, Kentucky. She graduates high school, buys an old Volkswagon and leaves. She doesn't have a plan, she doesn't know where she is going, just that she wants a change. She drives till her car runs out of gas in Taylorville. There she decides to change her name to Taylor. Later, she stops for a burger and coffee at an old bar in the middle of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. As she goes back out to her car, a woman approaches her and puts a baby in the front seat of her car telling her to take it. When Taylor protests, the woman tells her she is the sister of the baby's mother. Then she leaves. Taylor takes the child with her and calls her Turtle because she clings to things like a mud turtle. Taylor's car has a blow out and she has no money for new tires. She has made it as far as Tucson, Arizona. She finds a job and rents a room from LouAnn Ruiz, another native Kentuckian. LouAnn has a brand new baby and they have been abandoned by LouAnn's husband. The story is about how they make a family out of themselves and the people around them that they grow to care about.

I really liked this book and I want to read the follow-up book "Pigs in Heaven". I went to a book talk by Barbara Kingsolver a couple of months ago and this was one of the books I purchased. I had never read anything by her before seeing her, but now have audios of several of her books and a copy of her newest book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" on my list of TBRs.

This review can also be found at : The Smoke Lives! TBR Bookmooch Blog

July 2007 Read

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows JK Rowling
Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver *reviewed
Shakespeare's Trollop by Charlaine Harris
Dragonwyck by Anya Seton *reviewed
Stolen by Kelley Armstrong
Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris
Templar Legacy by Steve Barry

Six of Swords

Card: Six of Swords (Minor Arcana)

Description: Woman and child sit huddled in a boat being rowed by a lone man. Six swords are firmly planted in the front of the boat, driven into the wood. They are crossing a vast sea heading toward a distant shore.

My thoughts: The family has been though a tragedy. They are having a hard time seeing far enough into the future to know that a new life or better times awaits them on the distant shore.

Traditional meaning: Leaving difficulties behind. A trip - especially by boat. Finding solutions.
Reversed: declaration or confession, perhaps a public one

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Rune: Inguz (eeeng-gooz) #22 The god Frey and belonging to the god Tyr.

Frey was the son of Njord and the brother of Freya. When he was a child, he and his sister lived with Njord in Asgard. When he cut his first tooth, he was given the realm of Alfheim where he ruled over the fairies and elves. He is attributed with bringing light forth from darkness. He is the god of fertility, sunlight, peace and prosperity.

Symbol: Helmet
Animal: boar & cuckoo
Color: Orange

Meaning: Male fertility, family, children, health.
Reversed: Conclusions, beginnings.