Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: The Rival by Roland Yoemans

The legend of the dashing Victor Standish continues.

In a new chapter of Victor's story, we see our hero and Alice being tossed back in time to the 1830s.  Victor must use his knowledge from the future to 'step through the moments' and generally test the limits of his enemies and his friends.

The Rival cover, Roland Yoemans prop.

Sitting at the tomb of Marie Laveau in New Orleans, Victor discovers some of his hidden abilities, and his lack of knowledge about his mother's background.  This is also where and when he meets the Victorian ghoul, Alice Wentworth.  Alice belongs to the undead who haunt New Orleans. They share memories inadvertently as they sit on the tomb in the cemetery.   A bonding occurs when Victor promises to provide lunch to the hungry Alice, rather than be lunch. 

In the past, with his future knowledge, Alice and Victor meet a young Sam McCord and the lovely masked Meilori.  Most of the action takes place in the CASA, a transformed place out of time.  Hold onto your seats.  There's a bit of time travel. 

Before the end of this book, a bird is put into a cage, a war threatens, and Victor must prove his worth many times.  There's a bittersweet feel to certain parts, as if doom is omnipresent. Victor, as usual, leaves us hanging by a thread. . .


The journey of Victor Standish continues in Three Spirit Knight. More information on ordering and art work can be found at Roland's website/blog.

Art work in The Rival is by Leonora Roy.  It's a very sumptuous style and appeals to me as a believable detailed translation of Roland's characters.  The illustrations in many of Roland's other works are also by Roy.

Have you read any of the Victor Standish books by Roland?  Have you read RIVAL? If not, Have you been to New Orleans?  Any favourite dishes or venues?
Please share in the comments.


References: Roland's Blog


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Genre Faves Blogfest - Books, Movies, Music

Name your Genre Favorites in three categories: Movies, Books and Music and tell us your Guilty Pleasure from one of those categories. Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, a friend to an army of bloggers and followers, be sure to check out the list of participants and what they have to say.  You might discover the names of new books, movies, or music to explore. Hope you enjoy the bloghop.  Thanks, Alex!

DG's choices:


Science Fiction:  DUNE, based on original book by Frank Herbert.

The DUNE universe is vast, spanning centuries and worlds, with the power struggle for control of the spice pitting high-born families against one another and against an empire starting to lose its grip.  In the background is the story of a family who supports the wrong side in a political struggle, a planet that is terra-formed, and a species nearly wiped out.

DUNE, the movie.  The Spice Planet.


Science Fiction: I. Asimov's Robot Series
The Robots of Dawn:
I, Robot, Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn

This series introduces Elijah Bailey and Daneel Olivaw, a humanoid robot.  I re-read these new copies a couple of years ago when I received them as gifts.  Want more Asimov? Read the Foundation series.  The movie, I, Robot, with Will Smith is a favourite too!

Asimov, The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn


My All-Time singer, song-writer, author and poet: Bob Dylan

Songs:  Thunder on the Mountain, (Modern Times) and Idiot Wind, (Blood on the Tracks)  This guy kept on a-changing. - Thunder on the Mountain youtube
(An ad shows first but after, there's a montage of images behind the song showing Dylan through the decades.)

My Guilty pleasures:

Guilty of Reading a variety of literary books, especially novels about Paris, France.  And mysteries, Dashiel Hammet's, The Maltese Falcon

*  *  *  *

Did you find it hard to choose just one? Let me know if you're in the Genre Faves Blogfest.  Please share in the comments. I'll reply and visit your blog.

To continue bloghopping, visit the Genre Favorites list on Alex's blog. Thanks for dropping by.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cannonballs and Shell Walls - St. Augustine FLA

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine, by DG Hudson

Looking out from inside the fort, were the soldiers anxious in the early years?  The area was more remote, supplies may have had to come by ship, communication was sparse. 

The crenelations which decorate the battlements are guarded by cannon.  Iron cannonballs are stacked and ready. 


The Castillo construction has endured since the late 1600s 

The Castillo de San Marcos is located on the shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida, USA.  Built from the year 1672, when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire.  These walls were made with a unique building material called coquina, shown in the photo below.
Coquina stone walls of Castillo de San Marcos, by DG Hudson

The Castillo, a masonry star fort design is made of a stone called coquina, Spanish for 'small shells'.  Coquina (koh-kee-nah) is basically made of ancient shells that have a texture similar to limestone.  It is quarried from Anastasia Island, in Matanzas Bay and ferried to the site of the fort.  This early building material was formed during an interval of the Pleistocene Age, approximately 500,000 years ago.  I purchased a sample of coquina at the fort, and the label bears this description: "a calcarenite stone whose particles are chiefly fossils, whole or fragmented, cemented together by calcite."

Castillo Men's Barracks, Interior by DG Hudson

The barracks were utilitarian, at least for the men who lived at this fort.   There are tours or you can explore on your own.  Information is available at one of the offices at the fort.  The staff are friendly and can answer most of your questions.


Inner Courtyard Castillo de San Marcos by DG Hudson


Have you visited any forts from our colonial past, or the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine?  Have you heard of coquina and its usefulness?

Did you have or build a fort when you were younger? (even temporary ones)
Please share in the comments.

All images property of DG Hudson, taken on location in St. Augustine, Florida.

References:  Castillo de San Marcos,_Florida  Wikipedia History of the fort