Thursday, October 30, 2008

A musical interlude

One of the forums that I hang out at on a regular basis has a monthly avatar theme. For November the theme is going to be Broadway or musicals. As tempted as I am to choose something from Wicked, or one of the other more modern musicals, in the end I think I am going to end up using something from one of the older musicals - My Fair Lady. This was actually on TV the other Saturday afternoon, and I really enjoyed watching the movie. There were so many beautiful scenes and beautiful dresses!

Of course, searching for images from the movie led me to Youtube, and so I have spent a while looking through the various clips available. In the end I have chosen the clip at the Ascot races. The only bit that is missing is Eliza yelling "C'mon Dover. Move your bloomin arse!". There was one that had both the song and that bit, but it is over 9 minutes long and so seemed a bit long!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's on Your Nightstand?

I was so pleased when this question was asked last month that something had actually moved off of the nightstand. Unfortunately I can't say the same thing this month! Instead the pile has grown.

Still on the nightstand are:

The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham
Archangel by Sharon Shinn
Mistletoe Kisses anthology
The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe
Dagger-Star by Elizabeth Vaughan
Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh
Just One of the Guys by Kristin Higgins

New books on the nightstand are:

Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas
Mr Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn
Many Bloody Returns anthology

The last one is the book that I am currently reading.

Visit 5 Minutes for Books to see what others have on their nightstand this month.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

My teaser today comes from page 167 of Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson. Jeri recently guest posted at Historical Tapestry and so I am supposed to have read this already. Should be getting to it by the end of the week, but in the meantime it sits at the top of the pile of books setting near to my computer. It's also a bit more than a couple of sentences, but I think it is worth it.

"That's right!" she screamed, throwing back her head and staring at each tight-lipped Walcote in the circle. "Why should I? I'd given up enough, haven't I? Peace of mind. Me soul. Which of you would go back to being a servant? I'd a done anything to stay where I was!"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Card Making Workshop - October 2008

This month's workshop was a little different than usual, because there was a decidedly pink flavour to the evening! Part proceeds of the evening went to Breast Cancer Awareness. There was about 12 or 13 of us, and all up I think we raised just under $300. Lots of pink and red lollies to keep us all energised, and the most delicious pink cupcakes and cream puffs. Yum! Good job we don't eat like that every month!

The workshops that I attend either focus on a particular project for the night, or a particular technique. This month it was a technique - using watercolour crayons. I loved the feel of the crayons, and the colour range in the biggest pack is awesome, but oh my goodness they are expensive! Now I have had some watercolour pencils here for ages, but haven't really been comfortable enough to try them, so this was a good opportunity for me to be a little braver. These are the cards that we made, each using a different type of technique (either applying directly to paper, via an aqua brush or directly to the stamp).

I have never been much of an artist, and I think that I probably need to practice at being a little more subtle and even handed with the watercolours.

This one was one where you coloured directly onto the stamp, then spritzed, and then stamped and then spritzed and stamped another two times to get the graduated image. It is fair to say that the instructor made this look a lot easier than it turned out to be!

This is one where we concentrated on getting the image, and then need to finish the cards off. I think I might end up taking it off the white card so that I can use it for something else. This appeared to be the easiest of the techniques that we used in my opinion, but there is more than one colour in there and we were trying to get a kind of graduation of colour.

I think it is fair to say that I need some more practice at the whole watercolour thing. Today a friend of mine who is just starting to make cards came over, and I introduced her to our local scrap booking store. I was very good and only bought a few things. Then we came home and made some cards. Actually I spent most of my time reorganising all my things, and I think it will be much easier to be inspired to make things now as I think that I have found a home for most of my craft items.

I did make her this handbag card to give to a friend. Unfortunately the picture is a little blurry but the other pictures I have don't really show the handbag shape very well.

Whilst I do think that I need more practice with the water colouring, last night's workshop did at least inspire me to get the pencils that I already have out and have a play. In fact I did lots of playing with different colour embossing as well. This is the images that I stamped and coloured this afternoon. I am hoping to put them into cards in due course.

Next month's challenge theme is a blue and silver Christmas. I think I am going to make a trifold card similar to this one that I made today. Normally I wouldn't have put this red check ribbon with this card, but it did echo the flowers nicely. You untie the ribbon and the card opens out.

I did make same maroon and gold cards using this idea last year and everyone really liked them. Now I just have to find the right card and paper. There was some gorgeous paper in the shop today, but we were looking at it thinking it looked more purple than blue, despite what the store assistant called it, and when we tried to find stock card to match it it turned out that the closest coloured card was purple, so will need to keep looking I think.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

HTML challenged!


Can anyone tell me how to put a cut in my post so that I can just show the top part, and then people can click to view the bottom part of the post if they are interested.

I'm being punished!

Some time ago Michele from A Reader's Respite tagged me to do a post about 6 things about myself. I started the post, and have been thinking about what I might possibly say as my six things, but never quite got around to actually finishing deciding what they were or posting my list.

Now, my tendency to procrastinate has got me in trouble, because now I have been tagged by Ana (and I think someone else) to do the Six or Seven Random Things About Myself meme that is going around!

How did it grow by a further item? I am not going to ignore it this time, because next time it might be 8 random things I have to think of!

1. I can touch my nose with the tip of my tongue and I can curl my tongue. This is as close as I get to having a party trick. Good job I don't go to parties very often!

2. Like Ana, I hate being photographed and avoid it whereever possible. I think part of it is that when I look at a photo I see myself how other people see me and not how I think I look when I look in the mirror.

3. I think I was probably a bit mean today. My son has a friend over to stay. He has been a few times, but the first time he came I posted about it here. He just about drove me crazy. Tonight, I served him up the same pasta he wouldn't eat last time, and guess what...he's eating it! Guess if you are hungry enough you will eat anything!

Uh-oh. Might have got a bit excited here, he has eaten a bit, but not nearly enough.

4. My computer monitor really doesn't like the heat. If I am on it for too long it goes black and I then need to give it a rest for a while. It has always done this. The unfortunate thing is that we are coming into summer and we tend to have quite warm summers. It can be very irritating at times!

5. Every morning when I get up I spend at least an hour on the computer checking emails, some blogs and forums, and then I get ready for work. It is a habit that I really must break, but I don't think I can! Then when I get home from work, I spend even longer doing the same things, including trying to get my Bloglines feeds down to zero - something I am not always successful at.

6. I can not begin to express how much it bugs me when people park outside of the marked bays at the train station car park when there are still spaces left at the back. Once it is full, park where ever you can, but if there are still spaces, then use them and walk instead of being lazy!

7. I am currently in the middle of a reviewing slump. Notice that I didn't say reading slump, because I am definitely still motoring through the books, but I am struggling to sit down and write reviews for my books even if I have just finished them, or if I loved them. Hopefully this goes away soon, because I have a list a mile long of books that I need to review.

Now for who to tag: (Bwahahaha!)

We'll start with some reason commenters - Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness,
Strlady from Sandy's Reading Journal, Kerrie from Mysteries in Paradise and Julia from Julia's Book Corner. I am also going to tag Jane, Natasha from Maw Books, Bonnie from Bon's Time Out.

Of course, if you feel inspired to do this meme yourself (and lets face it...why wouldn't you be! LOL!) then leave a comment with a link so I can find out a little about you too.

2009 Pub Challenge

It can't possibly be too early to start thinking about next year's challenges can it? I haven't even posted the reviews for half the challenges I am already signed up to, but given that I have a big Reading Challenge Addict button on my blog it shouldn't come as a complete surprise to see that I am already thinking about these things!

The details for the 2009 Pub Challenge have now been posted here but I will repost the rules here for my own benefit as much as anyone elses:

  1. Read a minimum of 9 books first published in 2009. You don’t have to buy these. Library books, unabridged audios, or ARCs are all acceptable. To qualify as being first published in 2009, it must be the first time that the book is published in your own country. For example, if a book was published in Australia, England, or Canada in 2008, and then published in the USA in 2009, it counts (if you live in the USA). Newly published trade paperbacks and mass market paperbacks do not count if there has been a hardcover/trade published before 2009. Any questions on what qualifies? Just leave a comment here, and I’ll respond with the answer.
  2. No children’s/YA titles allowed, since we’re at the ‘pub.’
  3. At least 5 titles must be fiction.
  4. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
  5. You can add your titles as you go, and they may be changed at any time.
  6. Sign up HERE using Mr. Linky.
  7. Have fun reading your 2009 books!

I am not going to specify my books for this challenge just yet. I am hopeful though that there may be a new Diana Gabaldon book, and maybe a new Sara Donati. I am also looking forward to a new Michelle Moran, Catherine Delors, Jules Watson and David Blixt book. Wow! I am nearly up to 9 already!

Friday, October 24, 2008


This was pretty much me on Thursday morning:


Absolutely tearing my hair out! Why, you may ask. Well, because I am the mother of a ten year old boy and sometimes it is just much harder than it should be!

My child has an allergy to tree nuts, and therefore he has to take allergy medication and an Epi-pen to before and after school care, as well as anywhere else we go, every day. For once, we were leaving on time for school, and I was on target to get my normal train, when just as we were pulling into the school car park he turns to me and says "I've forgotten my epi-pen. Sorry Mummy." Because it could potentially be very serious if something happens and he doesn't have the medication, I turn around and drive home again. He goes inside the house to get it, but returns to the car empty handed.

"It's not there" he says. So I check in his school bag, and look at that, it has been there the whole time. At this point, I am just a little bit cross, have now missed the normal train and I am aiming for the late train. I drop him off at school, and then go to the train station, and am lucky enough to find a carpark in a marked bay (lucky because at that time of the morning the carpark is usually completely full).

Now, before I go too much further in this story, I need to tell you that he asked for a lunch order today. I said yes and so he got the money required out of my purse and did what we need to do.

Back to the story. With the extra trip I made I had missed the normal train, but was early for the late train, so had the brainwave that maybe I could go and get some breakfast from the nearby bakery. I needed to check if I had enough cash, so went to get my purse out of my bag. purse! You guessed it. The little darling had left my purse on the cupboard at home instead of putting it back where it goes.

Another trip back home to retrieve the purse, and I got back to the train station (no parks now) just as the late train left, so I ended up catching the even later train! Eventually I got to work, and all was well, but seriously, there are days when it takes all your energy not to be a complete screaming banshee all day long!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Monthly challenge

I mentioned a while ago that I was going to start posting about my other hobby (yes, I do occasionally do something other than read, blog and mod forums!) which is card making. Eventually I intend to move all my posts here from the very neglected card making blog that I started a while ago, but for tonight I have something new to post about!

Every month I attend a card making class that a friend of mine runs . Each time there is either a new skill, technique or theme that we learn or use. One of the new things we have been doing recently is having a monthly card challenge, where we are given a very broad outline of what to make, and then have to make 8 cards the same for the 8 other people who participate in the challenge. I do have the last two months challenge cards here to take photos and post at some point. Every time I have been determined that I would not leave the making of the challenge cards to the last minute, but the class is tomorrow night, and yes, I have only just finished my batch of cards tonight, and even then it was only achieved with the assistance of my son in putting them all together!

So the theme for this month was Background - the idea was that you had to make your own background, and not used patterned papers etc. I took as my inspiration spring, and the fact that I bought a stamp a few months ago that I really liked and just have never used before now! And the reason I bought this particular stamp is because I love tulips!

So here's my card:

(I might try to take another photo in the daylight on Saturday and see if I can get a better photo.) Darn! I just noticed that the card I have taken a photo of is the wonky card! I somehow ended up with more pink flowers than orange and yellow, and so this card has two pinks instead of one pink, one yellow and one orange flower.

Now I just have to hope that the other 7 people in the challenge group don't hate it! And then when we get the details of the next challenge tomorrow night, try not to leave it to the last minute next month.

I really should start thinking about what I am going to do for Christmas cards too, and I really must clean up all my craft stuff so that I can find things when I am looking for them. The reorganisation of it all seems to be a constant requirement, especially seeing as I keep on buying more!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

That's not very long!

I saw this over at Lezlie's today and thought it looked like fun, so here are my results! I might need her to shelter me for a while I think!

I could survive for 41 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk Beds Pedia

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

This week's Teaser Tuesday is from page 126 of Mudbound by Hillary Jordan, although it should be mentioned that I am reading the large print version so this quote is probably on a different page in the other versions of the book.

That night after supper he read to us from the Revelations. When he go to the part about the beast with seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns and upon his heads the name of blasphemy, I knowed he was talking about that tractor.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Time of Singing by Elizabeth Chadwick

One woman forced to make a heartbreaking sacrifice...

When Roger Bigod, heir to the powerful earldom of Norfolk, arrives at court in 1177 to settle a bitter inheritance dispute with his half-brothers, he encounters Ida de Tosney, young mistress to King Henry II. A victim of Henry's seduction and the mother of his son, Ida is attracted to Roger and sees in him a chance of lasting security beyond the fickle dazzle of her current life; but in deciding to marry Roger, she is forced to make a choice.

As Roger's importance as a mainstay of the Angevin government grows, it puts an increasing strain on his marriage. Ida is deeply unhappy with the life she has to live in his absence and grieving for her losses. Against a volatile political background the gulf between them threatens to widen beyond crossing, especially when so many bridges have already been burned.

With so many new books coming out all the time, there are lots of authors that I am pleased to hear have new releases coming up, and then there are the authors that I am genuinely excited about new books from. Among the latter category is British author Elizabeth Chadwick. A quick look through my archives at any of the reviews for her books will confirm just how much I really enjoy them. Luckily for me, she once again has not let her readers down with this excellent novel about the life of a medieval couple trying to walk the narrow path between serving those troublesome Plantagenets and their own happiness.

Our main characters are Ida de Rosnay and Roger Bigod. Whilst still a very young woman, Ida makes her debut at court as one of King Henry II's wards, and very quickly catches his eye for much more earthly reasons. Whilst Ida is aware that it is a great honour to be the King's mistress, she is also aware that she is now damaged goods in terms of the marriage market, even though Henry has promised to look after her, especially once she gives birth to his son.

Enter Roger Bigod, a man who is in the middle of a fight for his inheritance and therefore has to do everything that he can to stay on the good side of Henry, so feeling an attraction to the king's mistress is probably not a great place to be! Like so many of Elizabeth Chadwick's other leading men, Roger is a man of honour, determined to do what is right. In fact, one of those other leading men, William Marshal, is one of Roger's friends and allies. It was interesting to see some of the events that were covered in William's books from an outside point of view. Anyway, back to Roger. What makes him unusual compared to so many of his contemporaries is his treatment of women. There are no dalliances with the court ladies, noble or otherwise, and he never loses sight of what his goals are. He has a determination that comes from knowing what it is that he wants, and doing everything he can to get it.

For Roger and Ida the chance to be together is a chance at happiness despite the odds, but it comes at a terrible price - one that continues to be paid by Ida year upon year. As Roger is called to perform task after task for the Plantagenet kings, always hoping that this time will be enough to have his full inheritance restored to him. There is always a chance, however, that spending all his time and energy in the fight for his entitlements that Roger may well lose something far more important to him.

What this author is really good at is balance. Whilst her books are definitely historical fiction of the highest order, there is an underlying romance as well. There is some sex in her books, but she knows how much detail to give and how much to leave up to the reader's imagination!

With lots of detail and colour, Chadwick knows how to bring the past to life vividly, but doesn't let the detail get in the way of a really good story. She also manages to include something new to me in all of her books! In this case, it was about jousting in the middle of the River Thames. If I was younger and fitter, a man (oh and alive in the 1100s), then river jousting sounds like a lot of fun!

If you haven't yet, read Chadwick, add her to your TBR list. Her books may be difficult to track down in the US, it is well worth the effort of getting them from either Amazon Canada or The Book Depository.

So, the only question left to ask really is when is the next book out?

Also posted at Historical Tapestry. By the way, Elizabeth Chadwick recently guest posted there about why she loves writing medieval fiction. The post was really very interesting, and you can check it out here

Other Blogger's Thoughts:

A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore

Sunday, October 19, 2008


As I mentioned in my previous post, there was no way I was ever going to make it all through the night reading for the Read-A-Thon, so instead of participating I have spent all day visiting the blogs of the people who were actually reading and trying to cheer them on. Let me tell you, there were a lot of blogs on that list! I think I made it around to everyone who is participating at least once. Sorry if I missed you. It definitely wasn't intentional.

Because I don't have enough feeds in my Bloglines account, I also found several more interesting looking blogs to my feed reader, but at least I am all caught up to with the feeds I did have - for now at least. It's just a case of staying caught up!

In case you were wondering about how I went with the soccer game last night, the answer is not that great! I missed the first ten minutes because I just wanted to read the end of the current chapter in the book I was reading. Then I moved into the lounge to watch the soccer and fell asleep after about ten minutes. I woke up at the end but by that time I had missed all of the five goals that were scored in the game! Whoops!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's about knowing your own limitations!

I just wanted to wish everyone who is participating in the Read-a-thon on Saturday good luck!

I am not participating because whilst I survive on around 6 hours sleep most nights (not enough really), anything less than that and I will be feeling it for days and days afterward! All those who have signed up have my admiration, and good luck wishes for staying awake and alert!

As it is, I laid down on the couch for 10 minutes this afternoon after getting everything ready for dinner tonight and nearly fell asleep in that short amount of time! With the warmer weather, it is perfect barbecue weather, so I had friends around for dinner! The highlight was the fresh strawberries from the local market dipped in chocolate for desert - very simple, but oh my gosh it felt decadent!

Instead of reading all night I will be attempting to stay awake for the full 90 minutes of the Chelsea FC soccer game tonight. I do attempt to do this most Saturday nights, but generally am not too successful! I don't see tonight being very different I have to say! It is a little concerning when I set myself up to watch a triple header, and wake up to the sound of car racing having slept through all three games and not seen a single ball kicked! That's happened more than once!

Blog of Note

I woke up this morning to lots of comments overnight. My first thought was 'Oh, no. The fact that I have removed the verification letters for comments has come back to bite me!' But no, there is another, much nicer reason!

I am today's Blog of Note on Blogger! Wow! What a thrill!

If you are stopping by for the first time, welcome! I hope you enjoy looking around in the archives of my blog!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

My teaser this week is from page 249 of The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory. I am reading this latest book, even though I still haven't read The Boleyn Inheritance! One day I am sure I will get to this book.

He smiles at that and bows to me, a great sweep of a bow as if I were an empress, and then he dashes off, long-legged like a cold in a springing field. Such a sweet, sweet boy, he makes me think of my own son, little James, and the man that I hope he will be.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

Well, the sixtieth birthday certainly seemed to be a success to the only person who mattered and that was the birthday girl! It was a very busy trip to Adelaide, and I didn't get to see anyone other than family members and people who were at the party! I might go back again some time next year and spend some time...maybe!! I also didn't get any reading done. I took four books with me, and only read one chapter of one of them!

The trip wasn't too bad. We had to have pretty frequent breaks because we had a 10 year old and a 1 year old in the car with us. Today we even had time to stop of at a place in Ararat that I have been thinking about going to for age - Gum San - a museum about the Chinese immigrants who came to Australia during the Gold Rushes in the 1850's.

And in answer to my own question, I have just logged into Bloglines, and I currently have a grand total of 1867 feeds to read! Eeek! It's a pity I have to go to work tomorrow isn't it!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Road Trip

I am going to be a bit scarce this weekend around blogland, as I have to go back to Adelaide for my mother's 60th birthday celebrations. The way it is shaping up we are going to partying like it is 1948, but if that is what she wants to do, then I guess that is up to her!

I would have quite happily not worried about travelling for the event, but I missed her 50th birthday because I was living in another country, and had just given birth a couple of weeks before. I couldn't really come up with a good enough excuse to miss this one.

It's going to be a pretty long drive because we will have my 10 year old son, and 1 year old nephew in the car with us, which means quite a few stops along the way.

The scary thing is before I am even away, I have 816 feeds waiting to be read in my Bloglines account. Anyone want to take a guess at how many will be waiting for me by the time I get home?!

I think a few people know, but I don't blog a lot about the fact that I do occasionally do something for fun other than read, or blog. Surprising but true! I make cards. I don't make them particularly well, and I am not particularly great at photographing them to get them at the best angle, but I do it nonetheless, occasionally at least.

For a long time, sitting under the sidebar has been a link to my other blog - Card Making Adventures - where the plan was to post pictures of the cards that I have been making, so that going forward if I wanted to remember how something looked I would have somewhere to go and look at the final product.

Let me tell you just how neglected my poor Cardmaking Adventures blog is. Yesterday I went into it to look at something, and was surprised to see that it had a background. I visit it so rarely that I couldn't even remember adding a background to the blog. How bad is that?

So, instead of maintaining a separate blog, I am going to post my card making stuff here. You will notice that it is pretty rare. I think about making cards, and buy the things necessary for making cards a lot more regularly than I actually DO the making of cards. The other thing which limited my posting there was that my digital camera was playing up, but I wasn't sure if it is the camera or the battery charger. Last weekend I bought a new charger so we should be able to see exactly where the problem is soon.

Some time in the next couple of weeks, I will move the posts over from the other blog, and then going forward, very occasionally I will post something here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Big Picture

Does anyone else read The Big Picture? It is a photoblog that is connected to the website, and often the photos that they show are amazing.

A couple of days ago they posted a really beautiful series of images of the Earth from Above by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

If I was in New York I would totally be making the time to go and see his exhibition because the photos are breathtaking.

A&R 2008 Top 100 Books

For the last few years one of our major bookstore chains, Angus and Robinson, have done an online survey asking what are Aussies favourite books as published in the Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago.

The results of this year's survey have just been released, and I think the results are quite interesting. I have bolded the books that I have read off of the list:

1 Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling (some of them at least)
2 Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
3 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
4 The Obernewtyn Chronicles - Isobelle Carmody
5 My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
6 To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
7 The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
8 Breath - Tim Winton
9 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
10 Break No Bones - Kathy Reichs
11 The Power Of One - Bryce Courtenay
12 Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
13 Magician - Raymond E. Feist
14 The Bronze Horseman - Paullina Simons
15 Mao's Last Dancer - Li Cunxin
16 Memoirs Of A Geisha - Arthur Golden
17 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
18 Cross - James Patterson
19 Persuasion - Jane Austen
20 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
21 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
22 The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
23 Marley and Me - John Grogan
24 Antony and Cleopatra - Colleen McCullough
25 April Fools Day - Bryce Courtney
26 North & South - Elizabeth Gaskell
27 In My Skin - Kate Holden
28 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
29 A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
30 The Other Boleyn Girl - Phillipa Gregory

31 Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult
32 Atonement - Ian McEwan
33 Shantaram Gregory - David Roberts
34 Pillars Of The Earth - Ken Follett
35 The Pact - Jodi Picoult
36 Ice Station - Matthew Reilly
37 Cloudstreet - Tim Winton
38 Jessica - Bryce Courtenay
39 A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
40 The Princess Bride - William Goldman
41 Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
42 Anybody Out There? - Marian Keyes
43 Life Of Pi - Yann Martel
44 Seven Ancient Wonders - Matthew Reilly
45 People Of The Book - Geraldine Brooks
46 Six Sacred Stones - Matthew Reilly
47 Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
48 Brother Odd - Dean Koontz
49 Tully - Paullina Simons
50 Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
51 The Catcher in the Rye - J.D Salinger
52 Eragon - Christopher Paolini
53 Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
54 It's Not About The Bike - Lance Armstrong
55 A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
56 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
57 The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
58 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
59 A Fortunate Life - A.B. Facey
60 The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
61 The Notebook -Nicholas Sparks
62 Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen
63 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
64 The Host - Stephenie Meyer
65 Dirt Music - Tim Winton
66 Eldest - Christopher Paolini
67 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
68 It - Stephen King
69 World Without End - Ken Follett
70 Emma - Jane Austen
71 Temple - Matthew Reilly
72 Little Women - Alcott Louisa May
73 Lean Mean Thirteen - Janet Evanovich
74 Scarecrow - Matthew Reilly
75 American Gods - Neil Gaiman
76 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
77 P.S, I Love You - Cecelia Ahern
78 All That Remains - Patricia Cornwell
79 The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch
80 Past Secrets - Cathy Kelly
81 The Persimmon Tree - Bryce Courtenay
82 Husband - Dean Koontz
83 Plain Truth - Jodi Picoult
84 Wicked - Gregory Maguire
85 Spot Of Bother - Mark Haddon
86 Always And Forever - Cathy Kelly
87 The Road - Cormac McCarthy
88 Cents & Sensibility - Maggie Alderson
89 Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris
90 The Shifting Fog - Kate Morton
91 We Need To Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver
92 Everyone Worth Knowing - Lauren Weisberger
93 Hour Game - David Baldacci
94 Darkly Dreaming Dexter - Jeff Lindsay
95 The Woods - Harlan Coben
96 Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
97 Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

98 Scar Tissue - Anthony Kiedis
99 Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali
100 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

I was interested to see Twilight in number 2, and also Breathe at number 8. There were quite a few newer books in the list, but Breathe has only been released for a few months, so it is quite an achievement to end up on the list at all, let alone in the Top 10.

One noticable omission on the list is Outlander, which I am sure has been on the list for the last couple of years at least. Where is the Jamie love??

Thanks to Kat for the heads up!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

This week's teaser is from page 431 of The Time of Singing by Elizabeth Chadwick - so good!

She searched his face. "Is it what you want?"

I have about five pages to go before I finish this book, but I have totally enjoyed reading it, to the point where I was disappointed yesterday when I got on the train and there were people on there that I knew. I knew that I would have to chat with them for at least a little while before I could dive back into my book.

Monday, October 06, 2008

My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes

The Absorbing Story of Henry VIII's Fourth Queen, Her Secret Love, Her Power-Hungry Husband, and the Country That Ruled Them All
"At long last Anne of Cleves gets her day as a noble and highminded heroine in the lists of historical fiction!"
My Lady of Cleves reveals the mesmerizing story of Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's fourth wife, one of the rare women who matched wits successfully with the fiery king and lived to tell the tale.
Written by world-renowned historical novelist Margaret Campbell Barnes, My Lady of Cleves gives readers an intimate portrait of the warm, unpretentious princess who never expected to become Queen of England. Knowing the king's ravenous desire for a son, and aware of the disastrous consequences of not bearing an heir, Anne of Cleves bravely took on the duty of weathering the Tudor King's temper, whims, arrogance, and irresponsible passions - and won the hearts of his subjects in the process.
A treat for readers of Tudor fiction and those fascinated by the complex relationships of Henry VIII and his wives, My Lady of Cleves leads readers into a world of high drama and courtly elegance.
"Turns a brilliant light on one of the lustiest and one of the most dramatic periods of English history."

Having read Brief Gaudy Hour earlier this year, I was really pleased when I was offered an ARC copy of My Lady of Cleves. There is so much written about the various Tudors, but it was an added bonus that this book was about one of the lesser written about Tudor wives - Anne of Cleves.

I have to say that from the moment I read the inscription, I was hooked in this book. It was originally published in 1946 and the dedication reads:

To The courage and endurance of all women who lost the men they loved in the fight for freedom.

Now whilst this dedication isn't really about the book itself, it resonated with me as it reminded me that when this book was written the world was a different place. WWII had just ended, and for many around the world were dealing with the loss of loved ones (including the author herself). In the UK, there was heavy rationing, and I could almost imagine being a reader at that time who managed to forget about the hardships of real life and get lost, for a few hours at least, in Tudor times, at the court of Henry VIII, as he searched for a new wife.

The book opens with Henry VII trying to decide which of the princesses of Europe would be the lucky girl to marry him. And what a catch! By this time in his life he was, shall we say, larger than he had been, he had health issues, and he was shopping for his fourth wife, albeit for political purposes mainly. Yes, he was a king, but it is fair to say that there was a known risk in marrying Henry.

When he sends his messengers to the duchy of Cleves, accompanying them is court painter Hans Holbein. His role is to paint miniatures of the two eligible princesses, and send them back to England so that Henry can choose which of them is the more attractive. Henry chooses Anne based on the portrait painted by Holbein, a man who plays a big role in Anne's life for a number of reasons.

For Anne, this journey to her new life as Queen of England is very strange. She is unaccustomed to the ways of the brash English, and she is aware that her family is very much depending on her to do her duty. On the journey, she gets to see the sea for the first time, and is terrified that she has to cross in a storm. In some ways it is an easier storm to face than that she faces at the court, where there is very little in the way of introduction to the ways of the Court, and plenty of criticisms of the way that she dresses, she acts, her lack of dancing skills etc.

The initial meeting between the betrothed couple is a disaster. Anne is naive to the ways of the Court, the petty jealousies, the jockeying for positions, and soon it becomes clear that Henry is displeased with his choice of bride.

For Anne, where being divorced could very well be a source of shame and unhappiness, she must learn a way to make her own life, her own happiness, and she shows her true strengths. We also get an insider's view at court as Anne witnesses the heady and tumultuous times as Katherine Howard rose to be Henry's wife, albeit for a very short time, and gradually coming to her own kind of special relationship with the ailing king.

Reading through the pages of this book, Anne is bought to life, and is portrayed as a capable woman, who loves strongly, who takes a bad situation and turns it in such a way as to emerge from the disaster that was her marriage to Henry with both her head and body intact, and a happy and fulfilled life.

The writing by this author stands the test of time, and did not feel aged in any way. There were nuances of humour and depth throughout the text. I liked the Hans Holbein storyline very much. It gave some reasons as to why the main players in the drama acted in some of the ways that they did, and gives this book a point of difference from some other books that, however briefly, told some of Anne of Cleves life story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more from this author.

Special thanks to Sourcebooks for the ARC.

BTW, over at Historical Fiction Online we have a giveaway of this book, and also of Brief Gaudy Hour. You will need to register, but I promise that everyone is very friendly!

Other Blogger's Thoughts:

Linus's Blanket
Passages to the Past
Becky's Book Reviews

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Weekly Geeks #20

This week's Weekly Geeks task is as follows:

This week, let’s see if we can get our readers to help us come up with our one big top books of 2008 list. The more contributors we have, the more accurately our final list will reflect the book blogosphere’s opinions.

How to:

1. Please post about the project in your blog, asking your readers to make their own lists. Please refer them to Weekly Geeks #19 for the details.

2. You can tell your readers that next week I’ll be giving away another box of 11 books from Hachette. ONLY bloggers who have made a top books of 2008 list will be eligible to enter. That means you, too, of course! By the way, I also have two other giveaways going on right now, one that’s open until the 6th and one that’s open until the 8th. Just in case you want to enter those.

3. Your readers who make lists should go back to Weekly Geeks #19 to leave their urls in the Mr Linky by October 11th. I’m not even going to put a Mr Linky in today’s post just because I don’t want the urls left in more than one place. That might confuse me and my wonderful helpers, Renay and Jackie. The url in the WG #19 post counts as an entry for the Hachette box of books, so if you already left your url there, you’re all set.

4. Every time one of your readers leaves a comment on the Weekly Geeks #19 post saying they heard about the top books of 2008 project from you, you get a bonus entry in the drawing.

My Weekly Geeks #19 is here

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Springing Forward

It seems very early, but our time zone springs forward tonight. I really should think about going and doing all the clocks, but I have been out for a bike ride this afternoon, and then out again tonight, and I have just opened a bottle of chardy so perhaps I will leave it until the morning. As long as they are done before Monday when the boy goes back to school we will be fine.

I should really have caught up on my sleep when we went to the drive-in tonight. The movie was definitely boring enough for me to have slept for an hour without missing too much!

Little Gordon

I don't remember where I first saw these, but I wish I could so I could thank the person! I find them very funny, and I don't even watch any of Gordon Ramsey's shows!

Little Gordon 1

Little Gordon 2

Little Gordon 3

And just because it made me laugh this morning when I saw it:

more animals


Like a lot of other people there are times when I do wonder about blogging and whether I am talking to myself or not. In fact, today over at I saw a new poster that could almost sum things up for me in the mood that I was in for the last few days. **Going off on a tangent here, but have you all visited They have some very funny demotivator posters over there!**

Don't get me wrong. I love blogging, I love visiting everyone's blogs, but sometimes I watch groups form of people who are obviously becoming close friends and I wonder if and why I sit on the peripheral of all that - a question that I often ask myself in real life as well! A sign of where my head is at I am sure!

But then, just as I am about to engage in a full on pity party, along came three blog awards to show me that I am may well be wrong! Michele from A Reader's Respite gave me the I Love Your Blog award. She also awarded it to Historical Tapestry which is awesome! And then I got that same award from Books and Other Stuff and Teddy at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time too. Thanks so much to all of you! I would love to give the award back to each of you, because I do love all of your blogs, but instead I am going to try and give them to a few different people!

The rules for this award are that you need to:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!

Carolyn Jean from The Thrillionth Page - Always a lot of fun!

Zeek from The Way I See It - A mix of movies, life and reading. I always enjoy reading her posts.

Kerry from Saving my Sanity... One Stitch, One Scrap, One Page at a Time. Very talented with a needle (something that I am not, nor will ever be) and she reads as well!

Amy from Passages to the Past - another HF fan, and she has a really great template as well. Looks great Amy!

Bobbi from Bobbi's Book Nook - Recently she has been reviewing one of my first mystery series, which included my first literary crush. Jim Frayne, you rocked my world!

Kailana from The Written World - It was a bit quiet for a while over there, but appears to be back now. Besides, it's her birthday, so here's your present Kailana!

Raidergirl3 from AnAdventure in Reading - every Tuesday she asks 'Where are you now' - such a great question! I love hearing what books other bloggers are reading and where those books are set!

One final thing for this post, Bethany from B&b Ex Libris is starting a movement to Kill Word Verification. I must confess that mine is turned on, just because I assumed that I would get spammed without it, but I am willing to turn it off and see what happens. If I do start getting spammed, then I will turn it back on.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Author Interview at Historical Tapestry

We have a special event over at Historical Tapestry - an interview with author Barbara Quick, full of interesting info. Come over and visit to see what Barbara had to say.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

RIP Rob Guest

We awoke to the news this morning that legend of Australian and New Zealand stage musicals has passed away at the very young age of 57. He had suffered an enormous stroke on Tuesday and died last night.

Rob Guest is most famous for being the longest running actor to play the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera in the world.

I last saw him on stage performing just a couple of weeks ago, performing as the Wizard in Wicked and he was really awesome and had previously seen him in Phantom as well. It is a great loss for the musical theatre industry here and obviously for his family, friends and cast members.

RIP Rob Guest


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