Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

I jinxed myself after my last post when I said that I was lucky to be able to be logged on tonight. Five minutes after I posted my connection dropped out again! I went to do something else, and came back again and got another connection. Hopefully it will be long enough for me to post my Teaser Tuesday post!

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 comes from page 228 of Calamity Jayne by Kathleen Bacus. This book was recommended to me as the kind of book that fans of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series might like. I can definitely see why people would think that. It is also reminiscent of the Bubbles Yablonsky series by Sarah Strohmeyer.

I debated how to proceed. My earlier bombshell routing with this male had submarined big-time. And it was a safe bet I couldn't intellectually spar with him. Frankly, I was getting too tired to do much more than breathe in and breathe out.

Just a little excited!

I am still having connection issues but, touch wood, I seem to be able to be on for a little while tonight so I had to take advantage to talk about what else I have been doing while I haven't been able to get on the internet! Years ago I remember seeing a saying:

"A clean house is a sign of a broken computer"

and that is definitely true for me! In the last few days, I have actually managed to get my craft area a bit more organised, all my clothes are folded and I made a card!

This month's card swap theme is kids birthday cards. I knew that I wanted to do something with a skateboarder aiming at a target age range of about 10 or 11 for boys. Originally I was planning to put the skate boarder on the inside of the card and do something on the outside. Then my sister and I were talking about doing some kind of peekaboo card or perhaps a pop up.

The idea led me to a website called Dawn's Stamping Studio, where Dawn does the most amazing cards and an idea for a pop up card. (Click here to see Dawn's gorgeous card, and a tutorial on how to make it)

I can not tell you how excited I am by this card. I suspect that I have ended up with a card more suitable for someone younger than my target age, but never mind. These two images aren't how the finished product is going to look, but rather my "how hard is this pop up really going to be to make" card. Fortunately the answer is not very! I am planning to make the card in bolder colours, and to colour in the skate boarder, but you get the general idea!

So the first picture is the card laying down (almost) flat. It slides into a standard sized envelope:

And here is the card standing up!

I was so excited that the card worked that I ended up taking the photos without worrying about what was in the background or anything! Whoops!

Tonight I decided that I am definitely going to upgrade my internet and get a new modem, but unfortunately I made that decision after the sales office closed, so definitely tomorrow I will ring them. Hopefully by this time next week my connection woes will be a thing of the past!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Library Loot!

I am still having connection issues with my internet. I think I am going to have to buy a new modem, but strangely enough it seems fine in the morning when I have very limited time to write posts, so this will be a quick Library Loot this week.

This week I returned more books to the library than I borrowed which has to be a good thing right? The books I picked up were:

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith - the latest book in the No. 1 Detective Agency series set in Botswana. Can't wait to reintroduce myself to Precious Ramotswe and her friends and family.

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong - The first book in a new series by Kelley Armstrong. I am a bit of a fan girl of this author, so it was inevitable that I was going to read this book eventually.

Made to be Broken by Kelley Armstrong - I really enjoyed the first Nadia Stafford book, and I am expecting to like this one as well! I was a bit worried about having a hit woman as a heroine but Kelley Armstrong totally managed it!

****Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Alessandra from Out of the Blue and Eva from A Striped Armchair****

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

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!

I am a little bit late with Teaser Tuesday this week for two reasons. The first is that I am having trouble with my home internet connection. If it disconnects, it takes hours to get the darned thing to reconnect. Very frustrating. The second reason is that I spent ages last night looking for a specific book. As a result I now need to restack my bookshelves as I have got books everywhere on the lounge room floor! I also discovered that a book I returned to the library unread a couple of days is one that I actually already own! Whoops!

Anyway, this week's teaser comes from Australian author Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden (page172):

A distant face, bleached by candelight, was watching. Eliza moved claser to the window to get a better look, but when she did the face was gone.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding Anthology

Werewolves, vampires, witches, voodoo, Elvis---and weddings

An “ordinary” wedding can get crazy enough, so can you imagine what happens when otherworldly creatures are involved? Nine of the hottest authors of paranormal fiction answer that question in this delightful collection of supernatural wedding stories. What’s the seating plan when rival clans of werewolves and vampires meet under the same roof? How can a couple in the throes of love overcome traps set by feuding relatives---who are experts at voodoo? Will you have a good marriage if your high-seas wedding is held on a cursed ship? How do you deal with a wedding singer who’s just a little too good at impersonating Elvis?

· L. A. Banks
· Jim Butcher
· Rachel Caine
· P. N. Elrod
· Esther M. Friesner
· Lori Handeland
· Charlaine Harris
· Sherrilyn Kenyon
· Susan Krinard

Shape-shifters, wizards, and magic, oh my!

My main reason for picking up this short story collection was so that I continue working my way through Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. An unfortunate side effect is that I am pretty sure I read something out of order for the Harry Dresden series, but what can you do really? I am not 100% sure if some of the other stories were parts of series as well because that will really knock my "only read a series in order" mantra around a bit as well!

In Spellbound by L A Banks, the Hatfields and the McCoys have been feuding for generations, "working roots on each other, casting evil spells, dabblin' in hoodoo". When Odelia Hatfield and Jefferson McCoy fall in love, the one thing that can be guaranteed at the wedding is problems! It doesn't really help that the wedding was something of a surprise to all parties who thought they were coming to town to celebrate individuals graduations!

L A Banks is an author who I only ever seem to read in anthologies, but I do like her voice, and will maybe try to make an effort to read more of her longer books!

I really enjoy reading Jim Butcher's Dresden files stories, and Something Borrowed was no exception. Wizard Harry Dresden is a last minute replacement best man for his friend's wedding, but there just isn't quite something right about the bride! Once he puts his finger on what the issue is, it's a matter of life and death and Harry has to pull out all the stops to save the big day!

The only thing that was a bit annoying for the OCD in me, is that this story should be read between Dead Beat and Proven Guilty (books 7 and 8 in the series) and I am only up to book 3. I have previously read another short story out of order as well! Let it go Marg, let it go!

Dead Man's Chest by Rachel Caine was a really fun read. At first I was really confused at where the author was trying to take the story, but in the end I think this will be one of my favourites from the collection.

Cecilia couldn't believe her luck when romance cover model Ian Taylor fell for her. Only problem is that things are going a little bit fast for her when suddenly she is whisked onto an old style sailing ship to be married in what appears to be a ship wench outfit. Turns out there is something strange about the crew, and suddenly Ian doesn't seem to be quite the catch either. Lots of fun.

All Shook Up by P N Elrod was another fun read. Frankie is catering at a celebrity wedding reception when she is completely shocked to see that the entertainment is a VERY good Elvis impersonator. Whilst she is an excellent caterer, she also has another gift - seeing the future, and she is not sure that she likes what she sees, but Elvis seems to be doing a good job of distracting her for now! Another author that I only seem to read in anthologies. Last time I reviewed one I said I can definitely see myself reading more by this author. Same still applies - I just need to get around to starting a whole book by her.

If there was one story in this collection that didn't really work for me, it was Esther M Friesner's The Wedding of Wylda Serene. There haven't been many events held at the exclusive Club, basically because absolutely anything could, and has happened. It is therefore something of a surprise when the local darling, Wylda Serene insists that she must get married there, especially when no one seems to have met the lucky man yet. Whilst I did enjoy the premise, and think that it is one that the author could have a lot of fun with (who couldn't have fun with a bunch of ancient and trouble making Greek Gods), I don't think I really got the mother-of-the-bride-zilla moments enough to be able save this story from being meh!

Lori Handeland seems to be yet another author that I only read in anthologies, and yet I liked the last story I read from her featuring characters from her Jager-Sucher series. In this story, Charmed by the Moon, Jessie and Will are about to get married when they find a love charm that has been hidden amongst their belongings. This leads them to question whether they are really in love or if they have been manipulated, and by whom?

Tacky by Charlaine Harris is set in the same world as the Sookie Stackhouse books, but Sookie isn't one of the characters. This short story examines what might possibly happen if a vampire decides to marry a werewolf. The main character is neither bride nor groom, but the bridesmaid. She also has to figure out what the bridesmaid's role in the wedding is meant to be, with a special focus on not ending up with a bridesmaid dress that looks tacky! There is also the fact that not everyone on either side is comfortable with this union, which leads to some problems on the big day, and then there is also the opinions of regular humans that might well get in the way as well.

A Hard Day's Night-Searcher by Sherrilyn Kenyon was the reason I read this book, and was in itself an okay story. It certainly didn't blow my mind though. Rafael Santiago's squire Jeff is a bit of a problem. He has published a story where he has changed the names, but other than that he has basically written about the Dark Hunter world, and now the top squires want to see him. They send Celina to pick up Jeff, but Rafael manages to stall by offering her a deal - he can get her to break the Squire within a week if she has to stay with him.

"...Or Forever Hold Your Peace" by Susan Krinard, was more a mystery than a romance, but I would love to read more set in this world. It is set in a alternate Victorian style world called Albion, where all the best families pass on not only land and treasures but also paranormal Talents. At the key moment in the wedding of Lady Emma Wakefield and Lord Edward Parish, a stranger bursts into the wedding and objects to the union. As he runs away from the wedding, he is killed. The next day, the bride goes missing and it is up to Lady Olivia Dowling and her friend, Kit Meredith, to figure out how those two events are connected. I really liked Olivia and Kit as a couple and you could easily see something more developing between the two characters.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Library Loot

I havne't been adding books to my request at the library for the last couple of weeks as I need to get the number of books that I have down again, mainly because they won't let me take out too many more books. Having said all that, I still managed to borrow 4 books this week, and I have three waiting there to be picked up, but I will be taking back more than I borrow next time I go which has to be a good thing right?

The books I borrowed in the last week were:

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - I read House at Riverton last year and quite enjoyed it, so I am looking forward to this one.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare - I think there is a movie or something coming out soon so I thought I would give this a go.

Betrayed: A House of Night Novel by P C Cast and Kristin Cast - I read the first book a few weeks ago, so this is next in the series.

Shields of Pride by Elizabeth Chadwick - My quest to work my way through Elizabeth Chadwick's backlist in a slow and leisurely way continues. The only reason why I want to do that slowly and leisurely is that I don't really want to get to the point where I don't have any left to read. It's such a dilemna.

****Library Loot is a weekly meme hosted by Alessandra from Out of the Blue and Eva from A Striped Armchair****

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Guy Love

I don't often watch Scrubs, but when I do I really enjoy it. Tonight I was at a friends place for dinner, and they were playing the episode which was all done like a musical, which I thought was lots and lots of fun, including this song!

I should try and watch more episodes really!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Boat by Nam Le

A stunningly inventive, deeply moving fiction debut: stories that take us from the slums of Colombia to the streets of Tehran; from New York City to Iowa City; from a tiny fishing village in Australia to a foundering vessel in the South China Sea, in a masterly display of literary virtuosity and feeling.

In the magnificent opening story, “Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice,” a young writer is urged by his friends to mine his father’s experiences in Vietnam—and what seems at first a satire of turning one’s life into literary commerce becomes a transcendent exploration of homeland, and the ties between father and son. “Cartagena” provides a visceral glimpse of life in Colombia as it enters the mind of a fourteen-year-old hit man facing the ultimate test. In “Meeting Elise,” an aging New York painter mourns his body’s decline as he prepares to meet his daughter on the eve of her Carnegie Hall debut. And with graceful symmetry, the final, title story returns to Vietnam, to a fishing trawler crowded with refugees, where a young woman’s bond with a mother and her small son forces both women to a shattering decision.

Brilliant, daring, and demonstrating a jaw-dropping versatility of voice and point of view, The Boat is an extraordinary work of fiction that takes us to the heart of what it means to be human, and announces a writer of astonishing gifts.
Last year there was a great deal of excitement around this collection of short stories, culminating to being awarded at least one major literary prize (The Dylan Thomas Award). The author, Nam Le, was born in Vietnam, came to Australia as a child, and has lately been splitting his time between Australia, America and soon in the UK as well. We definitely claim him as an Aussie!

Nam Le has a chameleon like quality to his writing. In one story he is a struggling writer dealing with the visit of his father, in another he is a teenage assassin in the barrios of Columbia, and then again as a young woman visiting her friend in Tehran. He really doesn't miss a beat no matter whose voice he is telling the story in.

In Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice, the voice is that of a writer in his late 20s who is struggling to meet the deadline for an essay that is due, and with the visit by his father. Despite being of Vietnamese our writer has chosen to try and avoid telling the refugee stories that he knows, but during this visit by his father he gets to hear at least one more story of how his dad came to be living in Australia.

Having read that first story, it was something of a surprise to realise that the next story, Cartagena, is told from the point of view of a 14 year old hit man from the barrios of Columbia who needs to face up to the consequences of at least some of his actions.

Meeting Elise is another complete change of pace. This time the story is written from the perspective of an older man who is fast coming face to face with his mortality. He is hoping to meet up with his estranged daughter, but there is nothing at all certain in the arrangements.

The fourth story is probably my favourite, Halflead Bay. The main character is a young boy who is trying to deal with his mother's serious illness, and with the budding attraction he feels to Alison, who just happens to be connected with the town bully. My teaser from Teaser Tuesday came from this story.

If I had to pick my least favourite of this collection it would probably be Hiroshima. Le once again assumes a female voice, this time a young girl who is living in Hiroshima in the days before the end of WWII. Despite saying that it was my least favourite it was still a very poignant story, especially as the young girl comments about being able to differentiate between a squadron of planes flying overhead, and the war time slogans such as "do without until victory". One question that this story did make me think of is whether there are any historical fiction novels that are out there that speak about the Japanese WWII experience. There are a few that are set in Germany, but I don't know of any set in Japan about the normal Japanese persons experience.

In Tehran Calling, a young woman is trying to escape her broken romance and goes to visit her best friend who is now living in Tehran, and who is agitating for women's rights. Sarah and her friend Parvin had been somewhat estranged, but Sarah sees this as a chance to rectify that, but her visit to Tehran surprises her in many ways.

The final story in this collection, The Boat, is the story of a young girl who is trying to escape from Vietnam as one of the boat people. The boat is barely seaworthy, and very overcrowded, and it isn't long before the journey becomes perilous in many ways.

If you are looking for a short story collection, then this is certainly one to consider.

This is one of my reads from the Book Awards Reading Challenge II.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I can sleep a bit easier now

Thank you to everyone who commented about my lock and key issue yesterday. In the comments Teddy Rose said "do not pass go, do not stop to collect $200, do not blog, get the locks changed now, as in yesterday!"

I'm telling you, I could do with that $200 right about now. Today I took the day off at work, and the locksmith came and changed every lock in the house that could be changed, as well as adding one to the garage door. So, several hour and $600 later, we are feeling a little more secure.

I may have to replace two screen doors and maybe look at some kind of security system, but for now, anyone using the old keys won't be able to get into the house at all, and that is the main thing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

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!

I am not quite sure how this has happened but I seem to be reading two short story collections at the same time. Luckily, they have very different tones - one is paranormal/romance and the other is more literary! This week's teaser comes from page 135 of The Boat by Nam Le. The lines comes from a short story called Halflead Bay:

The sea was like this. You could wait all day and then, just when you were leaving, it might offer something up - the rubbery back of a whale, the glass-sharp glint of jumping mackerel - something.

Anyone know a locksmith?

I am freaking out a little at the moment. I think someone has managed to get hold of the key to my sliding doors that lead to my deck and has been trying to get in while I have been at work.

Last night when I got home from work I noticed that both the sliding glass door and sliding security doors were open. We had had one of the doors open on Sunday afternoon but I was sure that it was all shut up before I went to bed on Sunday night. I looked around the house and it doesn't look like anything had been touched so then I thought maybe we really hadn't shut it. Only problem is the keys that were in the sliding security door were missing, but I couldn't remember if I had taken them out a while ago and just not put them back. So last night before I went to bed, I locked both doors from the inside (don't need the keys to do that), put the barbecue against the door on the outside, and then put the dining room table, some chairs and the heavy leather couch up against it on the inside.

When I got home from work tonight, the barbecue has been moved, the sliding security door was open, and I think that the sliding glass door has been locked from the outside as now I can't open it from the inside.

I think I am going to have to get the locks changed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Last Queen by C W Gortner

Juana of Castile, the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country’s throne, is an enigmatic figure, shrouded in lurid myth. Was she the bereft widow of legend who was driven mad by her loss, or has history misjudged a woman who was ahead of her time? In his stunning new novel, C.W. Gortner challenges centuries of myths about Queen Juana, unraveling the mystery surrounding her to reveal a brave, determined woman we can only now begin to fully understand.

The third child of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain, Juana is born amidst her parents’ ruthless unification of their kingdom, bearing witness to the fall of Granada and Columbus’s discoveries. At the age of sixteen, she is sent to wed Philip, the Archduke of Flanders, as part of her parents’ strategy to strengthen Spain, just as her youngest sister, Catherine of Aragon, is sent to England to become the first wife of Henry VIII.

Juana finds unexpected love and passion with her handsome young husband, the sole heir to the Hapsburg Empire. At first she is content with her children and her life in Flanders. But when tragedy strikes and she inherits the Spanish throne, Juana finds herself plunged into a struggle for power against her husband that grows to involve the major monarchs of Europe. Besieged by foes on all sides, her intelligence and pride used as weapons against her, Juana vows to win her crown and save Spain from ruin, even if it could cost her everything . . . .

With brilliant, lyrical prose, author and historian C. W. Gortner conjures Juana through her own words, taking the reader from the somber majesty of Spain to the glittering and lethal courts of Flanders, France, and Tudor England. The Last Queen brings to life all the grandeur and drama of an incomparable era; and the singular humanity of this courageous, passionate princess whose fight to claim her birthright captivated the world.

As much as I love reading historical fiction that is set in England, every now and again I really appreciate a change of location and characters. If that sounds a bit like you, then you can't really go wrong with The Last Queen by C W Gortner.

Whilst a lot of historical fiction fans will be familiar with the life and times of Catherine of Aragon, I must confess that I knew very little about any of her other family members. In this book, the author focuses on the life of Juana, Catherine's older sister who married into the Hapsberg family, to Phillip of Flanders (known as Phillip the Handsome). What started out as an arranged marriage quickly turned into a passionate, loving marriage but just as quickly turns into a passionate marriage of what can be a far stronger emotion - loathing and hate.

Due to a series of tragedies that hit the Aragonese royal family, Juana becomes the rightful heir to the Castilian throne. She is however forced to fight for her birthright against not only against her husband who was determined to claim the throne for himself, but also against the church, her own remaining family members, and against the distrust of the idea of a queen reigning.

As husband and wife engage in political power plays to try and gain the upper hand, as family members betray each other, and as mother becomes separated both physically and emotionally from her children, we are left with a portrayal of a woman who many would have envied as having everything, but who is left with nothing. Some of the choices that Juana did make seem somewhat foolhardy and yes, slightly mad, and the author does not shy away from these events. The portrayal of Juana is handled with sensitivity and perceptiveness, and yet as a reader, it is quite easy to be swept up in the drama and the emotion of the story.

I am glad to have been introduced to this fascinating character who in some ways is a footnote in history for many non-Europeans. I will definitely be looking forward to reading more from C W Gortner.

Rating 4.5/5

Cross posted at Historical Tapestry

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May Card Swap

For the second month running I have managed to get all my card swap cards made with time to spare - very unusual! This month's theme was circles.

My original idea was to try and create a photo frame effect with a silhouette of an old fashioned woman inside the circles, sort of inspired by a cameo brooch. The idea was to have several circles of expanding diameter building up around the sides of the silhouette to give it dimension. It very quickly became obvious that there were several issues with this idea. It was incredibly difficult to locate a suitable silhouette that was either free to use from the internet or that was a stamp that I could use. The second issue was creating the circular frames themselves in such a way that they would all align when the card was created.

So, I had a rethink, and instead of having a silhouette, I decided to use half of a stamp that I bought a little while ago of a Victorian lady and go the opposite way, so that one circle is smaller than the other, and they are built up with Magic Mount, give three levels of dimension. Originally I bought this stamp to use for bookmarks for Historical Tapestry, and while I still may use it for that purpose, I haven't figured out the rest of the components yet. This is an image of what the lady looks like normally:

The next issue I had was getting hold of papers to use. What I wanted was so blue and cream type colours. I had a look through the papers that I had, and I had one sheet each of a couple of designs which would have been perfect, including those pictured below. Unfortunately, when I went to the scrap booking shop there was nothing that was really similar, so had to rethink that was well.

So what I ended up with instead was this finished card which is more brown and light blue than dark blue and cream, but never mind. The embossing is really getting caught in the flash and kind of hides the fact that there is a small pearl stuck just at the collar of the dress to try and bring the idea back to the cameo idea.

I did have a bit of an issue with the ribbon that I used because when I wanted to buy 2 metres, there wasn't that much on the roll, but I just had enough allowing for a test card and also for one screw up. There is a certain irony with the screw up because before I had finished making all the cards, I had to clear the table for dinner. When I came back to it I happily started working away, not realising that I was working on a scrap piece of paper that wasn't the same width as the actual card until far too late in the process. I thought I would try to rescue that card for my own use and not as part of the card swap (because you needed 11 identical cards) and so I put a strip of brown down the side to cover the fact that this one was narrower. Only problem is that I think that my rescued card looks better than the 11 actual cards! Whoops! Too late now though.

The other thing that I did over the last couple of days is play with a sheet of images that I bought a while ago when I went to the Stitches and Craft show. The idea is very similar to decoupage with the idea that you build up different levels of a picture, but this time with a twist. I love the image that is on this sheet. I kind of wish I had of bought a couple more of this type because with the fact that the shapes are all rectangles it was really quite easy to assemble. I also bought some Japanese ladies to do, but the cutting out on those ones is much more intricate so I will save them for a bit later. Below are two images of the same card. The first is from above, and the second is from the side so hopefully it will be clearer to see how the layering works.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Quick post

Just a quick note to say, (a) I am still around and (b) we are giving away a copy of Christine Blevins' The Tory Widow over at Historical Tapestry!

I have a relatively busy weekend coming up but have finished a few books lately so hopefully will get a more substantial post up shortly.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

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!

Last year I really enjoyed reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I am therefore really happy to be reacquainting myself with Lisbeth and Mikael in the sequel, The Girl Who Played with Fire. This week's teaser comes from page 279:

In this situation I should probably urge you to turn yourself in to the police, but I suspect I'd be wasting my breath. Sooner or later you're going to be found and when that happens you're going to need a friend.

Thank you!

I want to give a big shout out, and thank you, to Nicchic from Obsessed with Books (my kind of girl with a blog title like that) who has given me the following award:

Another award, this time from Susan at You Can Never Have Too Many Books (another truth if ever I heard one!). Susan has been convinced that she needs to not only watch North and South, but own it as well! We love it when we share the North and South love!

And a belated thank you to Alaine from Queen of Happy Endings who bestowed this award on me. Well actually, she said it was to Marg from Historical Tapestry, but I figure seeing as this is me and it was to me, it can be posted here!

Speaking of Historical Tapestry, it's a big week over there this week! On the weekend we had a guest post from Anna Elliott whose debut novel Twilight of Avalon is released today. On Monday we had a guest post from CW Gortner, author of the excellent The Last Queen, and on Friday we have a guest post from Christine Blevins, author of The Tory Widow, and there is going to be a giveaway as well!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Library Loot!

Normally I do Teaser Tuesday and the Library Loot on Wednesday of every week, but this week I just didn't feel up to doing Library Loot. In fact I was in bed at the very early time of 9.30 three nights in a row during the week. Part of the reason for that is that I am trying to change my eating habits, and so I think my body was going into shock at the fact that it hadn't had any chocolate, or normal Coke or anything like that for a few days. Once I got through those early nights I actually felt pretty good so we will have to see how we go from now on.

Anyway, it has been a pretty interesting week library wise this week. I found something out. They actually DO have an upper limit when it comes to the number of items out. Who knew? And how did I find this out? By reaching that upper limit of course! I have had a whole heap of items that I have had on hold come in so my library list looks very scary again, but it will get back under control soon. (Hah! Who am I trying to kid?).

So the books that I picked up from the library this week were:

Frantic by Katherine Howell - I am supposed to have read this already for OzMystery Readers but it didn't come in for ages.

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman - another book of the month for OzMystery Readers. Luckily I have read the next book already otherwise I would be in danger of striking out completely!

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian - HF, set in WWII. Exactly my kind of read.

The Dark Rose by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles - I read the first book in this series a while ago and really enjoyed it. I had borrowed this previously but had to return it because I could not renew it, so now I have it out again to hopefully read this time.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - lots of buzz around for this book so I thought I would find out for myself.

First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh - I do enjoy Mary Balogh's writing, and this is the first in her latest series.

Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden - Another book I have had out before.

Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon - Donna Leon is one of those authors that I have been meaning to read for ages, so I finally requested the first book in her mystery series.

April edition of Good Reading Magazine

Saturday, May 02, 2009

April Update

Numbers wise my books read for this month seems to be a little down on a normal month (whatever normal is!) but for a change this doesn't really worry me that much. This is because in addition to the books listed below I also read more than 600 pages in two chunksters, which equates to 3 or 4 books.

The books I read this month were:

Tiger Claws by John Speed 3/5
The Gilded Web by Mary Balogh 4/5
Comanche Moon by Larry McMurtry 4/5
Marked by PC Cast and Kristin Cast 4/5
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon 3/5
Don't Bargain with a Devil by Sabrina Jeffries 4.5/5
Coraline by Neil Gaiman 4.5/5
Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan 4.5/5
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner 4/5
The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson 5/5
Miranda's Big Mistake by Jill Mansell 4.5/5

The best book was The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson, and the biggest disappointment was Tiger Claws by John Speed.

I didn't do any reviews for April, although I do have a couple that are nearly ready to post! I think it is safe to say that this is a blog about books mostly these days. It's certainly not a review blog anymore!

It wasn't a bad month for reading challenges either.

I managed to read two books for the Book Awards Reading Challenge II - Shaun Tan's book was the Winner of the 2008 Aurealis Award for Best Illustrated Book/Graphic Novel, and Coraline by Neil Gaiman won a whole bunch of awards when it came out.

For the Library Challenge, I have now read 36 books, so only 14 books left to go before I have completed this challenge, and for the 100+ Challenge I have completed 49 out of the 50 books required. Given that I have more than 60 books out from the library at the moment, I should be able to read both of these targets!

This month I read 3 Chunksters - Comanche Moon is 752 pages long, The Swan Maiden is 540 pages and Miranda's Big Mistake is 475 pages long. Only one more book to go and that challenge is complete.

It was a good month for the 2009 Pub challenge as well. The Swan Maiden and Don't Bargain with a Devil are both books that were (or are going to be) first published in 2009. Five more books to go in this challenge. Silver Phoenix was also just released but because it is a YA book it doesn't count for this challenge.

This month I read five books that would count for Once Upon a Time III - Marked, Silver Phoenix, Coraline, Silver Phoenix and The Thief - so in effect I have done all the reading I need to do to call this challenge complete! Yay!

Finally, I did join one new challenge this month - the Love Bites challenge. I think that Marked fits the criteria, so that is one book down, two to go on that challenge.

I was going to do my Library Loot post in this post as well, but I think I will save that for later today instead.


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