Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hot on the heels of getting an R blog rating, I saw this on KristieJ's blog!

84%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?.

Hmmm....still room for a little more addiction!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

UK storms

I have been watching the news of the floods in the UK with growing concern. There have been quite a few mentions of Sheffield in South Yorkshire in the news, particularly in relation to flooding. It is amazing to me to hear stories of flooding in the city because in the 4 years I lived there, I would never have guessed that that would be possible in the city. The rivers are all quite small, lots of hilly terrain, and certainly while there was rain and snow, never anything like what we are seeing on the news.

The pictures we are seeing show Hillsborough stadium pitch covered in water, people being winched out of floodwaters by helicopters, and cars basically being swamped by water.

The house where we lived was built quite near to a little creek. There were quite steep banks but I can only imagine what the view out of our old kitchen window would be like at the moment.

I must try and get hold of the friends that I have still there and see if they are okay. They, and the others in the affected areas, are in my thoughts.

Image from BBC News -

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Books and Bucks Meme

Five Reasons the Best Writers Come from the Outback - and no, that isn't the US restaurant chain....the REAL outback! onion bread!

1. Need a cast of colourful secondary characters? It takes a special kind of person to live in the Outback for years at a time! They definitely count as colourful!

2. Lost your inspiration - the local pub is the best place to go searching for it! And it's likely you can get a nice cold drink to help cool down at the same time! Multi-tasking - you gotta love it!

3. Beautiful landscapes, vivid colours, wide open spaces. Wait...we're not meant to be painting are we?

4. You can talk to yourself, and your characters, all you like. After all, when your closest neighbours live hundreds of miles away, you can't just drop in for a coffee when you want to have a chat!

5. Well....what else is there to do?

Tied to the Tracks
by Rosina Lippi. July 3, 2007. ISBN: 0425215326

"[This] is a hilarious, smart, sexy novel with a heart of gold." -- Susan Wiggs

"[Lippi] turns her buoyant creative talents to the romantic comedy genre with an effervescent tale of a trio of offbeat Yankee filmmakers plunked down deep in the heart of Dixie." -- Booklist

Read an excerpt. (Adobe Reader required)| Watch the book trailer

You can find Tied to the Tracks at Amazon , Barnes & Nobel, Borders, Powells, or at your local independent bookseller.

This meme has been entered in the Tied to the Tracks contest, originating on Rosina Lippi's Storytelling2 weblog. If you'd like to enter the BUCKS & BOOKS meme contest, get the rules here.

Blog rating

I've seen this on a couple of blogs (most recently at Books of My Numberless Dreams), so thought I would check out my own blog!

Online Dating

Apparently, my blog is unsuitable for anyone under the age of 17 to read! Although the words "murder" (used 4 times), "pain" (used twice) and "hell" (used once)are enough to trigger an R rating.

How about you?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Shadows and Light by Anne Bishop

Ever since the slaughter of the witches, the Fae - who should be shielding their long-lost cousins from danger- have ignored the needs of the rest of the world. And shadows are again gathering in the Eastern villages - dark, potent shadows that threaten the lives of every witch, woman, and Fae. Only three Fae can stand against the growing madness and help prevent more bloodshed - the Bard, the Muse, and the Gatherer of Souls.

Aiden, the Bard knows how desperately the world depends upon the Fae's protection. but the Fae refuse to heed his warnings about the wickedness lurking amid the trees. Now Aiden and his one true love - Lyrra, the Muse - must embark on a perilous journey to find the one Fae who can convince the rest to leave their secure perches to save the witches and mortals. Because if the Fae don't act soon, no one will survive...

This is the second book in the Tir Alainn trilogy and follows on from Pillars of the World, and features many of the same characters. This time, the focus is more on Aiden, Lyrra and Morag. Aiden and Lyrra in particular are travelling through Tir Alainn trying to convince the other members of the Fae of the importance of the witches role in keeping their world whole.

Once again, the Inquisitors are at work, trying to bring all of the women under control, and to specifically destroy the power of the witches. This time, they are trying to exert their power by getting the most powerful leaders in the country to come round to their way of thinking and ban all women from reading, writing, painting, basically anything that can be seen to require independent thought is banned to all women in certain parts in the country.

We are introduced to a young baron, Liam, who is making his way to his first Baron's council, and as he starts to hear of plans to expand this policy across the country, he protests vigorously. The Inquisitor's are however very dangerous men, and Liam finds his life in danger, and has to flee back to his home via a very circuitous route. Liam and his new friend and fellow baron Patrick are determined to protect their women folk as much as they can, especially given that both of them have connections to Fae or witches themselves.

Meanwhile, Neall and Ari, who we first met in the last book have settled in their new home, and have Morag, The Gatherer, with them. As danger comes closer to their idyllic home, Aiden and Lyrra appear and no one is sure whether The Bard and The Muse can be fully trusted. It could be that sometimes you just need to take a risk in order to prevail.

In many ways this book feels like a second book! I know that that probably sounds funny in a way. It's just that it was very readable, but there were many things that were introduced that weren't explained. I realised that they probably will be in the third and final book, but by having things like Liam's power, Breanna (Liam's half sister) and Falco's budding relationship, and other things introduced and then kind of just left hanging meant that this book felt incomplete in many ways.

Another example is the marriage between Aiden and Lyrra. Whilst the reasons for their unusual union (in the Fae world at least) were very nicely written, there was lots mentioned about how horrified the rest of the Fae would be, but then when they met other Fae it either just wasn't mentioned, or was accepted.

So whilst I enjoyed reading this one, and am looking forward to reading the third and final book in this trilogy, it wasn't without it's faults!

Rating 4/5

Am I kidding myself?

I am trying to convince myself that my library list is now a bit more under control. is if you only look at the books I have on request! There is only one of the 11 books on request that the library already owns...the rest are books on order. Can't get much better than that surely.

Pardon? What's that you asked? How many library books do I have out at the moment? Well.....45......but we don't want to talk about that right now!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick

Following early beginnings as a knight in the English royal household and a champion of the tourneys, William Marshal's prowess and loyalty have been rewarded by the hand in marriage of Isabelle de Clare, heiress to great estates in England, Normandy and Ireland. Now a powerful magnate, William has weathered the difficult years of King Richard's absence on crusade and is currently serving him on campaign in Normandy while Isabelle governs their estates.

All the stability William and Isabelle have enjoyed with their young and growing family comes crashing down as Richard dies and his brother John becomes King. Rebellion is stirring throughout the Angevin domains and although John has created William Earl of Pembroke, the friction between the two men leads William and Isabelle to distance themselves in Ireland. The situation escalates, with John holding their sons as hostages and seizing their English lands. The conflict between remaining loyal and rebelling over injustices committed, threatens to tear William and Isabelle's marriage and their family apart. As the dramatic events unfold, William has to steer an increasingly precarious path that will lead him eventually to the rule of a country in desperate straits, and Isabelle walks with him every step of the way, fiercely intelligent, courageous - fearing for the man who is the light of her life.

The Scarlet Lion is a captivating historical novel, based on the true story of one of England's greatest leaders. Elizabeth Chadwick skillfully illuminates the complex lives of William Marshal, his wife Isabelle and the turbulent era of the early thirteenth century with all the texture, colour and dramatic detail of the richest stained-glass window.

Again this is a book that I finished a while ago, and having got around to reviewing yet!

The Greatest Knight was the first book that I read by Elizabeth Chadwick, and I really, really enjoyed it, so when this book came out, I had it on my request list as soon as it was added to the library catalogue! And I wasn't disappointed!

The Scarlet Lion basically picked up where The Greatest Knight left off. William and Isabel were married and enjoying life together. William was still serving the all powerful Angevin kings and queens of England, with Isabelle regularly giving birth to an ever growing number of children. Things are, however, destined to become a little less stable with the news that King Richard (known as The Lionheart) has died, and that he has supposedly named his duplicitous younger brother John as his successor.

What follows is episode after episode of betrayal, double crossing, promises and lies as John and William constantly clash, to the point where many of their lands are taken away, only to be returned at later times. John is a very tricky man. He often doesn't want William at court, and yet he will play games with his approval for William and family to return to their Irish lands. Even there, John's hand can be seen muddying the waters.

Isabelle was an amazing woman in her own right. It was through her family connections that William was entitled to rule many of their Irish lands. Not only did she give birth to many children, when she decides to remain in Ireland and William returns to court, Isabelle has to face their Irish enemies, defeat them and to pass judgement when 9 months pregnant.

She is also terribly torn, as John orders that two of her son's are bought to the court to learn to be squires and knights, much to the distress of William and Isabelle, who distrust John intensely. Whilst William continues to walk the fine line between obeying and defying John, their son's lives are literally in John's hands, and it is a dilemma that begins to form a breech in the formerly strong relationship between them. The breech grows larger, as John and his cohorts begin to influence the eldest son and heir, there is yet more dissension, this time between father and son, and in the end, there is a potentially a stand off looming between father and son.

Yet for all the political maneuvering, William manages to keep a couple of major assets - his honour and the respect of his peers, even those who don't always agree with him - and when John dies, it is William who is asked to lead the country, acting as regent to the young king, Henry III.

Chadwick has once again delivered a fantastic story, filled with the colorful characters of time past - real people with different problems than ours, but yet still with other recognisable problems that we can identify with - the pains of letting go of children, of family disharmony, of growing older.

The story of William Marshal's life, begun in The Greatest Knight, and continued in this book, is a very interesting and exciting one, and both books are well worth reading. I really do intend to read some of Chadwick's earlier works and work my way through her backlist!

Rating 4.5/5

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas


Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas - if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty Jones is a complication he doesn't need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.


When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty finds herself under the spell of a billionaire tycoon - a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family's past.


Two men. One woman. A choice that can make her or break her. A woman you'll root for every step of the way. A love story you'll never forget.

So here's a test for a book! I read it weeks ago but only wrote down a couple of notes of my can I remember enough to write a review! Actually, I don't think it is too bad. It must be a sign of a good book that you can recall it fairly well after this length of time.

As everyone is no doubt aware, this was historical romance darling Lisa Kleypas' first foray into contemporary romance. Given how much I have enjoyed just about all of Kleypas' books that I have read, I was pretty confident that I would enjoy this one.

Reading the first part of the novel, I did begin to wonder whether or not the book was actually going to turn out to be a romance at all, because it is very unusual to get first person background for a character in the way that we did in this book. We hear about Liberty's youth and childhood, and in particular the effect of her life when she had to become the carer for her much younger sister Carrington. Also, we meet Hardy, the older teen that Liberty comes to love, in what is pretty much an unfulfilled relationship, because Hardy is determined not to capitulate to the cliches as so many others have done in their home town of Welcome, Texas. Hardy is determined to be something.

Having moved to Houston with Carrington, Liberty has a couple of pieces of luck and she begins to make her way through life. She eventually meets an older gentleman by the name of Churchill Travis, and I began to shudder - surely, surely not...this couldn't be what the title kind of implied! Churchill ends up being more of a guardian angel than a sugar daddy (thank goodness), offering Liberty a job, and both Liberty and Carrington a place to stay. Churchill's son, Gage, is particularly concerned by Liberty's motives in getting so involved in his father's life, but it isn't long before sparks begin to fly between Liberty and Gage.

In the last third of the book, the romance aspect definitely kicks in, and all looks to be smooth sailing, until just as Liberty begins to trust her feelings for Gage, Hardy shows up again, and this time he's ready for love, and Liberty needs to figure out her feelings and choose between two very different men.

I did think Hardy was a bit presumptuous waltzing into Liberty's life and expecting her to choose him, but I did think that Gage was a great match for Liberty.

One thing me it did feel like a bit of a historical romance novel epilogue! But I guess some habits are hard to break!

As well as the upcoming release featuring Cam who made a brief appearance in Devil in Winter, there apparently is going to be another contemporary novel from Lisa Kleypas. I will be reading both of them! I do have just a few more of her historicals to read at some point to, but I am just about caught up on her backlist I think.

Rating 4/5

Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah Swensen and her bakery, The Cookie Jar, bask in the glow of Hollywood glamour when Main Street becomes a movie set. And although tensions simmer as the cameras roll, no one expects the action to turn deadly...until it's too late...

There's no such thing as privacy in Lake Eden, but Hannah never thought things would go this far. Everyone has been telling her what to do ever since she got not one but two marriage proposals. Movie mania soon shoves Hannah's marriage dilemma into the background and even gives her cat a shot at stardom. The Cookie Jar serves as snack central with Main Street rented out for the week. She stirs lots of fresh gossip, whipping up treats for cast and crew, including demanding direct Dean Lawrence's favourite - cherry cheesecake.

Everything's on schedule until Dean demonstrates a suicide scene with a prop gun that turns out to be all too real. As filming continues, Hannah sifts through the clues, hoping against hope that the person responsible for Dean's death is half-baked enough to have made a mistake. When it happens, Hannah intends to be there- ready to rewrite a killer's lethal script with the kind of quirky ending that can only happen in Lake Eden...

It has actually been nearly 18 months since I read a Hannah Swensen story, and whilst I knew that I was a bit jaded with the relationship aspect of the book, I couldn't think of any other reasons why I hadn't read any. So I went ahead and bought this book, and now I remember! I guess I have a few months before the next book in the series comes out in paperback, and whether or not I am ready to give it another try!


This post may well turn into a bit of a rant, so I can't guarantee that there won't be any spoilers in this review for anyone who hasn't read the last couple of books in this series. In all honesty, I probably should not call this be a review, because there were a few things that happened in this book that made me think about giving up this series, and therefore I am going to talk about them, as opposed to the actual storyline of the book! Where to start?

The Movie:

So, it turns out that there is going to be a movie that will have some of it's scenes filmed in Lake Eden. Fair enough. The news comes in, and then just days later the movie crew arrives. Okkkaaayyy. But then it turns out that some of the central roles in the film haven't yet been cast. I understand minor characters, but to have pretty integral roles not cast seems unusual to say the least. Of course, luckily, Hannah's precocious niece Tracy is perfect for the role. Can you see me rolling my eyes!

The Family:

Hannah's sister Andrea seems to think her husband Bill who has gone to a policing conference in Florida is having an affair, and there is a lot of time spent in the early parts of the book, talking through whether or not he is! And there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that he is! Andrea is annoying most of the time! Then there's the fact that she has a new baby that she doesn't seem to spend any time with. And this time there is the younger sister Michelle in the story more than usual. At least I don't want to slap her.

The Incidentals:

There was some talk about stuff that was completely irrelevant to the story in this one. For example, at one point in the book the three sisters were talking about marcelling - basically the finger wave that they used in the 20's and 30's - it seemed as though Fluke had learnt something new and then wanted to add it into the story. Of course, then there is the old murder that crops up and is resolved in the last few pages as an added extra!

The cat:

I'm sure that other cat people think Moishe is adorable, but I think he needs less page time!

And now for the big one - The Relationships - and this is where the spoilers will come in.

At the end of the last book, both men that Hannah is dating, Mike and Norman, proposed to her. Now to be honest I didn't get that myself. She has apparently been dating both of them for well over a year. There is no suggestion of hanky panky with either man, but it seems that they both love Hannah enough to want to propose marriage. So this book opens with Hannah thinking about which man to accept - Mike or Norman - and the whole town has taken sides and is putting pressure on her to make up her mind. Eventually, she says no to both of them - or more precisely said that when she has decided to get married she will be asking the man that she wants to marry, so whilst they both sulk they both hang around. So, what is an author to do when she has an unresolved love triangle??? Add another suitor of course!! Ugh. To be honest, I think that both Mike and Norman are schmucks for putting up with Hannah's crap, no matter how irresistable she is, even though she is apparently plain and a little on the plump side. Perhaps it is her cookie making skills that are so attractive??

As to who I would choose - no contest - Mike Kingston, the hot policeman...without a doubt!

At the end of the new potential suitor leaves town, and you have everyone gathered at a family gathering. Hannah is sitting between Norman and Mike, and seemingly thinking that everything is well with the world, which I don't get either. Unless I really misunderstand the dating rules in the US, it doesn't exactly seem like a normal situation to me. Hannah thinks to herself:

Hannah smiled at Norman and then she turned to smile at Mike. On past occasions she'd resented the fact that she was always seated between them. She'd even made cracks about being the filling in a Mike and Norman sandwich. Today she didn't mind at all. She'd upset their equilibrium by going out with Ross and it was time to reassure them. Ross was like an exotic dessert, a diversion to tingle the taste buds and make her savor her own life with a more discerning palate. he was like a baked Alaska flambeed with fine brandy, flashy and exciting, but not something you'd serve with an ordinary supper of meat and potatoes. Mike and Norman were more like ....cookies. Cookies were something you could have every day without ever tiring of them.

She then goes on to choose what type of cookies, they would be. Norman would be an Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookie...."perfect for any occasion and at any time of day", and Mike a Black-and-white cookie....."perfectly shaped and gorgeous to look at. It was sweet on the outside, and darker and more intense once you got past the powdered sugar." In my opinion, they both need to give Hannah the flick....or Mike could have me, and Hannah can have Norman!

So having said very little about the actual storyline, I can tell you that these things annoyed me so much that I was going to rate this as 2.5/5, but I do have to concede that the recipes included in the mystery sound great, so instead I give it...

Rating 3/5

Miles Franklin Award winner

And the winner was:

Carpentaria by Alexis Wright:

A portrait of life in the newly established coastal town of Desperance centres on the powerful Phantom family, whose members are are the leaders of the Pricklebush people.

It does sound like an interesting read from articles I have read about it. I've added it to my TBR list!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

And THIS is why I don't read series out of order!

I am currently reading Borrower of the Night, which is the first book in the Vicky Bliss series of mysteries by Elizabeth Peters. I actually listened to the second book in the series, The Street of the Five Moons, when I went away at Easter because there weren't really many other audiobooks available at the library that I wanted to listen to.

As I am reading Borrower, I have actually been pretty distracted, because I don't remember any mention of one of the main characters from this book in Five Moons. So how could Tony just disappear without a mention in the second book? I even asked someone I know who read the second book more recently than I did, but they don't remember any mention either. I asked her if I just didn't remember because the name had no significance to me when I read it! Maybe all will be explained eventually, but in the meantime it is definitely distracting.

Of course, I could have just listened to those Vicky Bliss fans who suggested that it would be no big deal if I didn't read this one in the first place!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Books AND Bucks

Rosina Lippi (who also writes under the name Sara Donati) has a fun contest happening on her blog at the moment to help the promote the paperback release of Tied to the Tracks. Of course, she requires you to work for your prizes, so you have to come up with some fun answers to a meme she has created. And the prizes are good - $100 to spend on Amazon, and a pile o' books, including some of hers, signed and all!

I don't know if I am creative enough to come up with anything, but there's still a couple of weeks to go so maybe I will give it a go! To find out more details, check out the contest post!

My review of Tied to the Tracks can be found here .

Noice, different, unyusual....

Blatant Kath and Kim reference there!

So, I am thinking that on the weekend I might try and post some reviews. I's a pretty shocking thought. I mean it's not like I don't have a gazillion posts in draft....okay, so maybe not a gazillion, but it is definitely close to 20! Oh my poor brain - it will be straining to think about some of those books that I finished a few weeks ago!

School Days, Golden Rule Days

This week's Booking Through Thursday.

Since school is out for the summer (in most places, at least), here’s a school-themed question for the week:

1. Do you have any old school books? Did you keep yours from college? Old textbooks from garage sales? Old workbooks from classes gone by?

2. How about your old notes, exams, papers? Do you save them? Or have they long since gone to the great Locker-in-the-sky?

You know I don't think I do have any old school books or notes etc. any more. They did live in the cupboard at my Mum's place for years, but before I moved from Adelaide to Melbourne I was gently asked to get rid of them....or perhaps the correct wording is forced to remove them!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What is it with tradesmen?

Seeing as my window was smashed in yesterday, you can probably guess what I spent most of today doing? Yes, that's right...getting it fixed! Which means I entered into the world of tradesmen once again!

What I don't get about them is how is their whole sense of time so skewed? Don't they have clocks anywhere in their workshops?


When I dropped my car off, the bloke said there's a cafe just up the way a bit, you can have a coffee or whatever there and your car will be ready in about 45 mins. Allowing a little bit of extra time, I had a sandwich and read my book for an hour.


I am just walking back to the workshop when my phone rings and he says, yes, we're just finishing your side window but it looks as though your windscreen needs to be replaced too as it appears that they hit it with a hammer. Okay....but why did you wait until it is supposed to be finished before calling me? That will take another half an hour to put in. Okay. Back to the coffee shop.


Walk back to the workshop, and he says to me...just finishing up on that now, so I get my book out.


Won't be long now.


Okay, I'll just bring that out the front
, so off I go to wait in the cold.


He walks past me as he is going to lunch and says, oh, the other bloke is just bringing that around now.


Finally...they bring my car around, but there is masking tape on the front windscreen. I ask how long that needs to stay on and he says, oh, until tomorrow, but you need to keep it dry. I just look at him with's raining. How the hell am I supposed to keep it dry? Do you have a car umbrella I can borrow while I drive home. I'll bring it back when it's not raining.

So, the best part of 3 hours lots of money, and two thirds of the way through a book that I hadn't even started this morning, I now have a new windscreen and a new driver's side window...which doesn't match the rest of the car because they didn't put the tint on. They could have done...but that would have taken longer!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What a pain!

I catch the train to work everyday - about an hour and a quarter of reading time each way - normally a pretty uneventful journey, but I got back to the train station tonight to find that some idiots had smashed my car window, and that of the car in front of me. They stole a CD Walkman that I had, and emptied the contents of the glove box. Whilst it is annoying that they did this, it is more the inconvenience of having to wait for the police to decide if they are going to take fingerprints, and then get all the glass cleaned out of the car, and then get the window replaced. It is so cold and rainy here at the moment that I really can't leave it for much longer than a day to get fixed!

What a complete pain in the butt! Speaking of which, I think I got some glass in my butt, even though I sat on my jacket...which will now need to be thrown out I think. Ouch!

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Simple Book Meme

I have been really bad at doing meme's I have been tagged for lately (I promise they are all in draft at various stages of completion!), but this one was pretty easy so when I was tagged by Darla, I thought I could do it pretty much straight away!

161 & 5 Book Meme


1. Grab the book closest to you

2. Open it to page 161

3. Find the fifth full sentence

4. Post the text of the sentence to your blog

5. Don't search around for the coolest book you have, use the one that is really next to you

6. Tag five people to do this meme.

"They look fantastic, and I think that's more important than how they taste."

From Cherry Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke.

Now...who to tag? I think most people have done this at some point or another, but I will go with Ana, Ana from Cosyworld, Kailana, Ames and Nath.

I'll fix the links when I get home! Have to go and pack ready for the flight!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Miles Franklin short list

The short list for the Miles Franklin award for 2007 have just been announced. The Miles Franklin award is the most prestigious prize awarded for Australian Fiction.

The finalists are:

Careless by Deborah Robertson

In the midst of her life with her small brother and unpredictable mother, Pearl is a child who strives to get things right. But the events of one summer's day are about to change her life, and nothing may ever be right again. In ways connected but unforeseen, this child's tragedy will also enter the lives of two strangers. Sonia lives in a cooler, greener part of the city, where she is learning to live alone after the death of her famous husband. And at the edge of the city, close to the beaches, in a run-down building, the young sculptor Adam Logan contemplates the celebrity that his artwork has brought to him. Through a seductively woven plot that reflects the interlacing nature of our lives, Careless explores the ties of caring and responsibility, for the living and the dead, that are formed, and broken, in our society.

Carpentaria by Alexis Wright

A portrait of life in the newly established coastal town of Desperance centres on the powerful Phantom family, whose members are are the leaders of the Pricklebush people.

Dreams of Speaking by Gail Jones

'She wished to study the unremarked beauty of modern things, of telephones, aeroplanes, computer screens and electric lights, of television, cars and underground transportation. There had to be in the world of mechanical efficiency some mystery of transaction, the summoning of remote meanings, an extra dimension - supernatural, sure. There had to be a lost sublimity, of something once strange, now familiar, tame. We must talk, Alice Black, about this world of modern things. This buzzing world.' Alice is entranced by the aesthetics of technology and, in every aeroplane flight, every Xerox machine, every neon sign, sees the poetry of modernity. Mr Sakamoto, a survivor of the atomic bomb, is an expert on Alexander Graham Bell. Like Alice, he is culturally and geographically displaced. The pair forge an unlikely friendship as Mr Sakamoto regales Alice with stories of twentieth-century invention. His own knowledge begins to inform her writing, and these two solitary beings become a mutual support for each other a long way from home. This novel from prize-winning author Gail Jones is distinguished in its honesty and intelligence. From the boundlessness of space walking to the frustrating constrictions of one person's daily existence, DREAMS OF SPEAKING paints with grace and skill the experience of needing to belong despite wanting to be alone.

Theft: A Love Story by Peter Carey

From Australia to Manhattan via Tokyo, Peter Carey’s new novel is a strange sort of love story. Once famous artist Butcher Bones is reduced to being a caretaker for his biggest collector and nurse to his erratic brother, Hugh. When the mysterious Marlene turns up, events take a very peculiar turn.

Dessert First

This week's Booking Through Thursday questions:

1. Do you cheat and peek ahead at the end of your books? Or do you resolutely read in sequence, as the author intended?

2. And, if you don’t peek, do you ever feel tempted?

I ALWAYS peak ahead to the end of my books....pretty much without fail.

Usually I read the first few pages, and then read the last page or so, and then I read the book. I have no idea why I feel compelled to do this, but I just can't help myself!

There have only been two occasions when I have regretted reading the end, and that was because the twists were so dramatic in the last couple of pages that it changed the reading experience for me. Those two books were My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult and Red Leaves by Thomas Cook.

Free books....where?

It is pretty unusual to see historical fiction authors giving away books on their blogs, but Susan Higginbotham is!

I've owned the book myself for a while, and have bought it with me to sunny but cold Adelaide to hopefully read while I am on holidays.

Susan's book, The Traitor's Wife focuses on the life of Eleanor le Despenser, wife of Edward II. You can read an interview with Susan at History Buff and can join in on the giveaway at Susan's blog, but you will need to hurry. There's only a couple of days of giveaways left to go!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'm ...... on the list!

Remember when KristieJ used to stalk blogland searching out the people who hadn't read Dreaming of You? (When I say used to, I saw she posted something about this on someones blog just a few days ago, so it isn't exactly distant past!)

Well, she's starting a new list, this time for Karen Robard's One Summer, and it's all Cindy's fault. Of course, I was on the first list, and now I am on this one again!! She hopes I fold like wet tissue on this one...not that I didn't on DoY!

You have been warned!

Do you all have The Rich List? It is a very silly game show that's pretty popular here, and the catch cry is "It's on the list".

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Loyalty in Death by J D Robb

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. D. Robb's phenomenal series has captivated readers with it tantalizing blend of romance, suspense, and futuristic police procedural. Now, New York cop Eve Dallas returns to face her most ingenious foe -- a "secret admirer" who taunts her with letters...and kills without mercy.

An unknown bomber is stalking New York City. He is sending Eve Dallas taunting letters promising to wreak mass terror and destruction among the "corrupt masses." And when his cruel web of deceit and destruction threatens those she cares for most, Even fights back. It's her's her job...and it's hitting too close to home. Now, in a race against a ticking clock, Eve must make the pieces fit—before the city falls.

As for the other books that we have read in the In Death series, this post will be another buddy review from Kailana from The Written World and I. Kailana's thoughts are in blue and mine are in black.

Eve Dallas seems to really attract the interest of all the crazy people in New York City. They have a personal interest in taunting her and staying one step ahead of her. They are determined to be the ones that are going to bring down New York's top cop. Dallas has still not fully recovered from having her badge taken away from her, so she is determined to do whatever she can to redeem herself. There's no question that Eve is a target for many reasons, but it is a tribute to her skill that Robb manages to still keep each book fresh, and without becoming too cliched.

This book starts with a case that seemed open and close, a woman kills her boyfriend and admits to it. It is a simple case compared to other books involving her. (Which in itself should have been a dead giveaway - nothing is ever that straight forward in Eve's world!) Then, things start to heat up and it is really a different book from the other books in the series. She finds herself involved in an organization that is determined to wipe out a entire city, not the normal serial killers that she is normally hunting down. This time it is serial destruction with taunting messages to test whether Dallas can get to the bottom of the case before they bring another building down and kill a lot of people. In some ways I found it quite poignant that Robb suggested that the Twin Towers at the World Trade Centre could become a target of terrorists, especially given that this book was originally published in 1998, and interesting that some of the other locations that are well known in New York could also be targeted in such a way.

One of the things that bothered me about this book was I sort of found Roarke annoying. He just always has to be in the middle of things. I suppose that is what happens when he owns most of the world's buildings, but I just found his meddlesome qualities annoying in this book. It was like he is going out of his way taking care of Eve in this book and that she is not capable of taking of herself. She gets to the bottom of the case and I really enjoyed it for a nice light read, but Roarke annoyed me. I think it might have something to do with this not being my normal genre and I think Robb goes too far to have Roarke involved. At least he was not a suspect, but sometimes it would be nice to just have a character and not always someone involved in every case. I actually thought that Roarke's presence was more real in this case than it has been in the last couple of books, and certainly didn't find it annoying. I like that Roarke knows when Eve is pushing herself too hard, even before she knows it herself, and takes steps to ensure that she does take care of herself. Yes, he is sometimes domineering, but to be honest, I think he has to be, because otherwise Eve just would not listen, and would push herself to the point of collapse on a regular basis.

What I really liked about this book was that there was more going on than in her regular books. Normally she is just hunting one person, but in this book there is a lot more going on and the messages that the organization sends to her will get your brain thinking. There was a lot going on in this one, and I enjoyed the subplots in this one as well as the main story. The sexual tension between Peabody and McNab fairly crackled off the page, and provided much needed comic relief as they tried to hide their feelings from each other, and from those around them, and helped balance the seriousness of the main plot.

Another interesting book in the
In Death series. I look forward to reading the next book. This is right up there with my favourites of the series that we have read so far! When are we reading the next one?

My Rating: 4.5/5


Booking Through Thursday

Almost everyone can name at least one author that you would love just ONE more book from. Either because they’re dead, not being published any more, not writing more, not producing new work for whatever reason . . . or they’ve aged and aren’t writing to their old standards any more . . . For whatever reason, there just hasn’t been anything new (or worth reading) of theirs and isn’t likely to be.

If you could have just ONE more book from an author you love . . . a book that would be as good any of their best (while we’re dreaming) . . . something that would round out a series, or finish their last work, or just be something NEW . . . Who would the author be, and why? Jane Austen? Shakespeare? Laurie Colwin? Kurt Vonnegut?

First of all - how slack! Not posting for a whole week! And still managing to be two days late with BTT!!! It's not like I don't have a whole heap of posts in draft either! Maybe I will try and finish a couple off tomorrow! No real reason for no posts, although I did blow out a candle on a cake this week! Yep, another year older.

In answer to the question, I nominate Margaret Mitchell. I would love to have seen what else she could come up with and to see if it would rival Gone With the Wind! There are of course others, like Anya Seton and Jean Plaidy, but I know that others have nominated them, so I will go with this one!