Thursday, August 27, 2009

Weekly Geeks - Good intentions and all that!

My history of participating in Weekly Geeks rather sporadically has continued! Most of the time it isn't because I don't like the theme. Usually I start a post but never actually get around to finish it. This week's theme is tailor-made for me! I am always buying books and not reading them.

I think just about every reader has a least one book that they've been meaning to read for awhile (months or even years) but, for one reason or another, they just haven't gotten around to it. Maybe it's a book a friend recommended last year, or a title you've flirted with in a bookstore on more than one occasion, or maybe it's a book that's sitting right there on your
bookshelf, patiently waiting for you to pick it up -- but the thought is always
there, in the back of your mind: Why haven't I read this yet?This week, tell us
about a book (or books) you have been meaning to read. What is it? How long have
you wanted to read it? And, why haven't you read it yet? When you have written
your post, be sure to come back and leave a link to the post's URL (not your
blog's main URL) to Mr. Linky. Be sure to visit other Geeks and see which books
they've been meaning to read. Have a great week everyone!

I have a list of books a mile long that I have been meaning to read! Far too long in fact for one post. In order to try and narrow done the list a little I have decided to only focus on those books that I own that I have been meaning to read and not think about all the books that I know that I can get from the library. Some of these books I have owned for six or seven years and I still haven't read. Others are books that I really, really wanted to read more recently but still haven't been able to get to.

Even with only that criteria there are still a LOT of unread books around my house! In fact, I just shocked myself and all my workmates when I discovered that there are actually more than 300! Obviously I am not going to list them all here. I thought that instead of just listing the books here, I would make this an informal poll! Every year I always try to read some of the books that I owned before the start of the year so that I can kid myself that all these unread books are not completely taking over my bookshelves. Below are the 10 books that I really MUST read, and so if you all vote on which book you think I should read by leaving a comment, then I will promise to read the winning book before the end of September. So here are the choices:

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis - I bought this book more than 4 years ago. I think I first heard of it after reading the early Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon and looking for more time travel novels.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - Bought this one when it first came out. Never read it.

Time and Chance by Sharon Kay Penman - I love Penman's writing, but I had been waiting to read this one until it was closer to the release date of the third book in the trilogy, The Devil's Brood. That book came out nearly a year ago. Whoops!

Tully by Paullina Simons - I am a huge Paullina Simons fan, but I still have two books by her to read. With a new one coming out in November, maybe now is a good time to read this one as well.

Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier - I loved Rebecca when I read it, but really haven't managed to read any more of her books. Every time I read a review of one I think "I really must read more".

Winter in Madrid by C J Sansom - One of those authors I fully expect to love to read, when I get around to actually giving him a go!

Tangled Webs by Anne Bishop - I was so excited when I heard this book was coming out. I actually won it in a contest which possibly makes it worse that I still haven't read it.

Fire Study by Maria V Snyder - The third book in the Study trilogy. This author has now moved onto a spin off series that I really, really want to read.

The Huntress by Susan Carroll - I was so excited at the prospect of this book being released. The next book in the series has recently been released which makes it worse that I haven't read this one yet.

Mariana by Susanna Kearsley - This is a relatively new acquisition. One of my favourite books so far this year has been The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, and I really want to read more of her books.

That only leaves 290+ more books that I have wanted to read enough to buy!

So, which book do you think I should read?

Coming soon!

There's no cover image yet, but we do have a book description for the new Paullina Simons book which is due to be released here in Australia on 1 November:

How well can you ever really know someone?

If anyone asked Larissa′s husband, children or friends if she was happy, they would say yes. Sometimes too busy, sometimes irritable - but really, what in her wonderful life could be wrong? She has a happy marriage, a dream house, and everything she ever wanted at her fingertips.

Yet a chance encounter with a young man new to town hits her like a lightning bolt. Their connection is electric. Suddenly her lovely home life seems claustrophobic, and the familiar mundane. Irresistible passion drives her to contemplate the unthinkable. But if she dares to make the impossible leap, what will her life be then? Whatever choice she makes, someone will be betrayed...

This is one book that I will be buying the first time I see it! Can not wait!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Library Loot!

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and me that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

After being quite controlled with my library loot for the last couple of weeks, I seem to have had a bit of a blow out this week! Lots of books out, and most of them are new loot, not books that I have borrowed before and had to return unread.

This week the Mr Linky is at Eva's blog, so please be sure to add your link where you have shared all of your loot.

My new loot this week:

Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon - the second book in the Guido Brunetti series set in Venice. I read and enjoyed the first book in the series just recently.

Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden - the third book in the Genghis Khan trilogy. I just finished the second book last week and I am looking forward to once more riding the plains and hassling the Chin with Genghis in this book.

Undone by Rachel Caine - the first book in the new YA series that has been spun off from the Weather Warden series by this author.

A Distant Shore by Peter Yeldham - a couple of years ago I read my first book by Peter Yeldham called Barbed Wire and Roses and absolutely loved it. I have borrowed some of his earlier books before but didn't actually even start them. I have high hopes for this book.

The Night They Stormed Eureka by Jackie French - As part of YA Appreciation month mentioned that I was surprised that I hadn't read much YA that was either historical fiction or written by Australian authors. This one fits both of those criteria.

Valiant by Holly Black - this one will be going back as I didn't realised that it was book number 2 in the series. Next time I will borrow number 1.

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory - Whilst I am not prepared to part with my hard earned cash to get hold of this book I am interested to see what happens what PG can do with the War of the Roses.

Duchess by Night by Eloisa James - This is the third book in this series.

And my reloot:

Vision in White by Nora Roberts - this is the first in the new series from the very prolific Nora Roberts, and I am very much looking forward to reading it this time before I return it.

Remember When by Nora Roberts/J D Robb - This is the next book in the In Death series.

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver - More YA. This book has been on my radar for quite a while now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's RIP time!

I was just thinking to myself this morning that it must be about time to start thinking about the next RIP challenge, and lo and behold, as I was doing my blog hopping I started to see posts around the place about that very thing!

Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings has announced RIP IV. RIP is Readers in Peril, where the idea is to read books that might have a dark or gothic feel to them mainly from the following genres:

Dark Fantasy.

Carl's challenges are so well organised and thought out and this year's RIP is no exception. There are a number of different levels to choose from. I think I am going to try and complete Peril the First, where I commit to reading 4 books from any of the above genres. We can read the books from now until the end of October.

The books that are going to be in my pool of potential reads for RIP this year are:

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold
Undone by Rachel Caine
The Likeness by Tana French
Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray
Kissing Sin by Keri Arthur
Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon
The Suspect by Michael Robotham
Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin
An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson
The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon

I am also seriously considering putting in an ILL request for King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner and I am thinking about buying Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins when it is released.

I am also thinking about participating in Short Story Peril, as I know that I have Moonlight and Vines by Charles de Lint here to read shortly as well.

Chances are that I will end up reading completely different books than those listed below, but those kinds of surprises are part of the fun of these challenges!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page

  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

  • Two weeks ago I said something about having read a few YA books recently, and that continues to be true. In fact, with starting City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare today I have just started my fifth YA book in the last month, and I still have a couple out from the library to read in the next few weeks!

    My teaser comes from page 144 (which is coincidentally where I am up to. Who knew that having a bookmark in a page would help the book open at that page!)

    "Underground?" said Simon worriedly. "Nobody said anything about underground."

    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Emotional Rollercoaster

    It's been a very emotional week for me! I mentioned briefly that I have resigned from my job. When you say it like that it's very matter of fact, but I have been with my current employer for just under 10 years, and I have a connection with them that goes back to when I was 14 years old. I started with them with the idea of doing a couple of weeks of data entry and here, I am, only just leaving now. I have moved locations several times, including a move from Adelaide to Melbourne, and I have moved through several different systems as well.

    Whilst I was excited to hear that I got my new job and very relieved, it is also hard because I have worked with some of these people ever since I moved to Melbourne. When I resigned I cried (and so did my boss's boss), and there is a 100% guarantee that I will again on my last day. All the staff who work for me are calling me all sorts of names (mostly traitor), and assuring me that I will be back again, but I really don't think I will. We are still waiting to hear the final funeral details of my colleague as well. Hopefully that will happen next week.

    This move has been on the cards for a while now. When I did my reading goals past at the beginning of 2007 I adjusted down the number of books that I was aiming to read for the year because I was hoping to reduce my commute time down. At the moment my commute takes up over 3 hours each day. When I start the new job it will drop down by just over an hour. Still not 5 minutes from home, but definitely more reasonable.

    I was also very excited this week to find out that this blog has been nominated for several BBAW awards and so was Historical Tapestry.

    This blog was nominated in three categories:

    Best History/Historical Fiction

    Most Chatty

    Best Romance.

    and Historical Tapestry was nominated for two:

    Best History/Historical Fiction

    Best Collaborative

    I was very amused to see that both were nominated in the same category. It will be interesting to see what happens in that category because I read quite a lot of really great historical fiction blogs who are also nominated. Speaking of historical fiction and Historical Tapestry, we have got a huge week lined up over there on Monday, so if you like historical fiction with a medieval setting, or would like to try some, please be sure to pop over there during next week as there will be lots going on!

    Can I just say that I am so thrilled to be nominated to Most Chatty. Over the last couple of years in particular I think that the content on my blog has changed quite a lot, from being only book reviews and book related posts to being lots of book things, but also a bit about my life, a bit of craft and a bit of whatever else I fancy. I have not always been sure that that change has always been welcomed, but it has enabled me to continue to feel enthusiastic about blogging. I have been doing this blogging thing for quite a while now, so you would think that I would feel relaxed about what happens here, and I do enjoy it very much still, but like everyone, every now and again I have my doubts!

    I was also pleased this week to be given the BINGO award by Allie from Histfic Chick for being N(eighbourly). Allie is a relatively new blogger, but we share a passion for historical fiction. Thanks Allie!

    I would like to pass this award onto the following people:

    Beautiful : Alex from Le Canape, not only for her own blog, but also the work that she has done on other's blogs like Aneca's World and Historical Tapestry. Have I mentioned that I am thinking about revamping my template Alex?) *wink*

    Informative - Reading the Past - Whenever Sarah posts, particularly the seasonal previews, I always end up adding lots of books to my TBR list!

    Neighbourly - Aarti from Booklust. I have known Aarti for a long time now, and have always enjoyed her blog. Just recently she has also started the excellent new series, Rosie's Riveters. Besides, if I suck up enough, maybe she will smuggle me in her suitcase when she goes away!

    Gorgeous - Michele from A Reader's Respite. You can really see Michele's personality shining through in every post!

    Outstanding - Literate Housewife - I love visiting this blog and seeing what is going on there! And Jennifer is so creative as well!

    Oh and in completely unrelated matters, I was very excited to see that Girl who Kicked a Hornet's Nest, the third book in the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson is going to be released here in Australia in October. Not sure about the cover though. I know that the second book has only just been released in the US and don't get why the published dates are so different, but I am happy for me at least!

    Almost final thing...I signed up for a LJ Smith reading challenge earlier today but didn't copy the link down before I closed the page. I know who I think is hosting it, but I can't find it on the blog! The idea is to read The Vampire Diaries and watch the TV series. Anyone know who is hosting this challenge?

    Really final thing...I changed the title of this post just so it made sense to put this video up! If you can imagine it, I am totally dancing in my chair while this is playing! An oldie, but a goodie!

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    Library Loot

    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and me that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

    I am a bit late putting up Library Loot this week! Sorry about that.

    I was really glad to see a couple of new participants in Library Loot last week! Special welcomes to Christine from Happily Ever After and Lori from Let's Gab.

    In terms of my loot, I had a pretty quiet library week. I am not sure what is going on but it seems like transfers between sites are taking ages as there are two books that have been in transit for more than three days. What will most likely happen is that all my holds will come in at once. That's what normally happens anyway.

    Counting the Stars by Helen Dunmore - I cannot tell you how many times I have borrowed this book and returned it unread.

    Grand Finale by Janet Evanovich - I think I have read all the other rereleased romance and thought some were better than others. Hopefully this is a good one.

    City of God: a Novel of Passion and Wonder in Old New York by Beverly Swerling - I have been waiting for this book to both be released and for my library to get it in. I am the first person to borrow it so it will have that lovely new book smell!

    What did you get out from the library this week?

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Facebook style update

    ... that I can't put up on Facebook just yet.

    Marg resigned from her job today!

    Making friends

    Last night I went to the movies to see My Sister's Keeper with some friends. The movie itself wasn't bad, and certainly wasn't the worst book to movie adaptation going around even with the fact that the ending of the movie was changed significantly. And yes, I cried loads!

    When I said that I was going to see it, the people around me were interested but the biggest reaction I got was when I said who I was going with rather than what I was going to see. I went to see this movie with a group of three ladies who are my train buddies. All the people I work with think it is very strange that I have train friends, but I do. These are people who I generally end up seeing on the train every day at least one way and so after a period of time we started talking to each other about various things from kids and family, to social life, to personal issues, and of course I have to talk books with at least one of them!

    What I wonder though is why is this so strange? I find it harder to make friends now than I did when I was very young, both from building a new friendship once you have met someone new, but also in that meeting new people phase. Where do you meet new people? The most obvious place is work, but hopefully there is some stability in your workplace so that there are not constant changes to the staff members. Kids sporting events are another possibility, or maybe a craft group or something, but even then the opportunities to move beyond acquaintance to friendship can be limited. I certainly don't know many people who started talking in a cafe for example and are still close friends years later.

    Over the years I have got to know quite a few people that I met initially online. There are a group of ladies that I see semi-regularly that I met at, then there are the people in other states and countries that I count as my friend even though we have never actually met and there's every chance we never will.

    I guess one of the questions to ask is that will I still be in contact with my train buddies if for some reason I started catching different trains. Maybe, maybe not, but I do know that if when I get on the train tonight, one or all of them are on the train, then they will have brightened my day just a little bit!

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Teaser Tuesday

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page

  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

  • My teaser this week comes from Royal Harlot: A Novel of the Countess of Castlemaine and King Charles II by Susan Holloway Scott. I read the third book in the series a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, so now I am going back to the beginning to read the first book. The teaser comes from page 262:

    This passage was ordinarily overseen by Will Chifflinch, the Page of the Bedchamber, who used it to squire in every manner of secret visitor, from actresses to couriers from King Louis. Now I'd hoped to employ Chifflinch myself to find Charles without being seen by the others still carousing in the privy chamber.

    Sunday, August 16, 2009

    Wearing the hat

    To explain the post title, whenever anyone in our office does or says something incredibly stupid, the punishment is to have to put on the fire warden's hat, and stand and say a line in front of everyone else. I think the line comes from What's Eating Gilbert Grape, although I could be wrong there and it is something about climbing a water tower.

    So in my recent analysing my YA reads post, I said:

    As for mystery, are there even YA mysteries around?

    I think that perhaps I meant any new YA mysteries around, because there was plenty around during the years when I really was YA. These days I am way past target audience range, but like so many other adults I still enjoy reading YA novels.

    The big three were probably the Nancy Drew books, the Hardy brothers, and, my favourite, Trixie Belden and her friends. I cannot tell you how many times I read through the Trixie Belden series.

    Confession time - over the years I have felt quite an affection for quite a few auburn/red haired men in fiction. Yes, Jamie Fraser is right up there, but my first ever love in literary terms was Jim Frayne, adopted brother to Trixie's best friend Honey Wheeler. I always thought Marty was really funny and older Belden Brian very serious, but to make a young girl's heart flutter then Jim was the man for me.

    I wonder if tweens or teens who read this series now would find the books dated? I certainly didn't despite the fact that I would have been reading these in the early 80s (*ahem*) but the first of these books was originally published back in 1948. They certainly experienced a bit resurgence twenty years or so ago.

    I was a little surprised to see that there were 39 books in this series. I know that I owned the first twenty or so, but no idea if I read the whole series or not. As an aside, over the last few days I have been thinking about doing a post on the series that I am reading. Apparently my love of ongoing series of books started early and has continued all through my reading life!

    This next part of the post is only connected to the first part because it relates to my teenage life. I was watching Pretty in Pink tonight. Such good music, such fun fashion. I do have one question. Why on earth was Andrew McCarthy such a huge teenage heart throb? I will say that Jon Cryer made me laugh in this movie, and he still does now! Here's the Duckie dance just for fun.

    Saturday, August 15, 2009

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    As promised in my last post, in honour of YA Appreciation Month which is being hosted over at The Book Smugglers, I am reposting my review of this book. The review was originally posted over at Historical Tapesty in September 2007.

    It is 1939, Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier and will become busier still.

    Liesel Memminger and her younger brother are being taken by their mother to live with a foster family outside Munich. Liesel's father was taken away on the breath of a single unfamiliar world - Kommunist - and Liesel sees the fear of a similar fate in her mother's eyes. On the journey, Death visits the young boy, and notices Liesel. It will be the first of many near encounters. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

    So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife library, where ever there are books to be found.

    But these are dangerous times. When Liesel's foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel's world is both opened up, and closed down.

    The Book Thief is a story about the power of words to make worlds. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

    The Book Thief is one of those books that you see overwhelmingly positive reviews for around the place. There was therefore a sense of some anticipation, but also some trepidation on starting this book because if so many people like it, it must be good right? But what if I don't? I shouldn't have worried because this was a good book - a very good book!

    Just the set up of the book is intriguing, let alone the content. The narrator of the book is Death, and the setting is inside Nazi Germany during WWII. We hear from Death throughout the book, as he injects his own thoughts on life and death throughout the book. He first meets the main character of the book, Liesel, when her younger brother is dying by the sides of the train tracks. Liesel and her brother were being taken to a new foster family who live on the outskirts of Munich. With their father having already been taken away for being a Kommunist, her mother lives in fear, and has decided that it will be safer for her children to be cared for by others...just in case.

    Liesel ends up living with a couple by the name of Rosa and Hans Hubermann. They have older children, boys who are off fighting the fight. Rosa is a woman with a tough exterior, but as the book goes on we find that she really has a heart of gold, and Hans is the one who shows Liesel the tenderness that she needs, the one who sits up during the night teaching Liesel to read and comforting her when she can't sleep. Along with the Hubermann's, there are also the other families who live on the street like the next door neighbour who has been feuding with Rosa Hubermann for years and the Steiners, most especially Rudy who becomes Liesel's best friend and fellow adventurer.

    There are many subjects that are dealt with in this book. Death is just a few minutes away, the time it takes a bomb to fall, there are food shortages, there is the need for ordinary Germans to join the Nazi party, and the consequences of not joining, young love, loss, and for Liesel there is the thirst to read, to own books, regardless of how she comes to possess them.

    Whilst the subjects sounds somewhat depressing, the observations in the novel are sharp, and there are many funny and poignant moments through out the novel. Death (the character) provides many moments where he makes fun of himself, and his own job, but without making it a complete joke. We get to see his own torment as he collects the souls of many people through out the book.

    I had not read any of this author's books before, but if all of his other books are of a similar quality to this one, I will definitely be reading more!

    Rating 4.5/5

    Analysing my YA reads

    For the last month, Ana and Thea from The Book Smugglers have been hosting Young Adult Appreciation Month. Over the last few weeks, the Smugglers have been hosting many different authors, guest bloggers, book reviews and giveaways all designed to show the love to YA readers, bloggers and authors. To quote from the girls "we will be discussing the merits of the genre, the apparent boom of YA literature, and the crossover appeal of YA novels."

    I first started keeping a fairly accurate track of my reads just over four years ago, and a quick look at my stats reveals a quite varied level of reading during that time as per below:

    2005 - 6 YA novels read
    2006 - 4 YA novels read
    2007 - 8 YA novels read
    2008 - 7 YA novels read
    2009 - 12 (so far) YA novels read

    I expect the number for 2009 to end up being much higher as just recently I have started reading four YA series - the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, the Attolia series by Megan Whalen Turner, the House of Night series by PC Cast and Kristin Cast and most recently The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins - and I definitely intend to keep reading all of those series as soon as I can.

    Over the last few years some of the books I have read include the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series by Ann Brashares, the first two books in the His Dark Materials trilogy (one day I will read the third one), the Twilight books (of course), as well as the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix.

    Whilst I read across a few different genres most of the time, my main genres are really historical fiction and romance, with some fantasy and mystery thrown in there. One thing I find interesting is that almost all the YA books that I have read are fantasy. I get that there isn't much straight YA romance novels, and to be honest I am not sure I would want to read them even if there were, but it does surprise me a little to see how little historical fiction YA I have read. As for mystery, are there even YA mysteries around?

    So why do I seem to enjoy reading YA fantasy in particular so much? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy well written adult fantasy (you know what I mean), but I must confess that my preferred fantasy settings are ones that aren't too far from the world we live in so while I need some world building, I don't need huge amounts. I am far more interested in the relationships between the characters and I think that is something that a lot of YA books do really well. The friendships between the characters, the discovery of the new emotions associated with young love and trying to discern a way through those emotions in an adult world are all

    If my lack of historical fiction YA is one area that I am lacking in, then the other is really Australian authors. Over the last four years I have read seven YA books by Australian authors. That doesn't sound that bad, until you realise that six of those seven books were actually written by one author, and are all part of one series (Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix).

    One example that I do have of a book by an Australian author, with a historical setting is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Despite the fact that I really enjoyed this book when I read it, I still haven't managed to read more from this local author. I really should rectify that! In the meantime, in honour of YA Appreciation month, I will repost my review of The Book Thief in the next few hours.

    So, I am looking for recommendations for two different types of YA books, the first being YA historical fiction and the second being YA written by Australian authors. Are there any absolutely must read YA novels out there that I haven't mentioned?

    I look forward to hearing everybody's recommendations!

    Friday, August 14, 2009

    Sometimes the little things don't matter

    It was my intention to come home tonight and write up a post about my card swap cards for this month. It would have been a post about how I couldn't think of any half decent ideas for the theme (men are always really hard to make cards for), and then about how the theme that I had chosen didn't really come together. Then there was the part about how hard it is to stamp on vellum and just generally how the card was really hard work.

    That post will probably still happen in the next few days, but to be honest, this minor issue has been put into a more realistic perspective today. This morning one of my work colleagues was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was someone who I dealt with regularly in the course of my role, and I am, well, I guess shell shocked is the best description I can give. There will be many more people who were closer to him, friends, family, wife and daughters who will be feeling this sudden loss so much more than I can even begin to fathom.

    Rest peacefully my friend.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Library Loot!

    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and me that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

    I am feeling a little impatient with my library at the moment! I mentioned in my last post that I was a bit disappointed that my library didn't have the third book in the Thief books by Megan Whalen Turner on the catalogue yet. Today I finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, another YA book, and I really, really enjoyed it. The next step after finishing a book is to look up the library catalogue for the next book in the series. Uh-oh! No Catching Fire! Admittedly Catching Fire isn't released yet, but still! I want to read it, and I want to be able to request it right now!

    Now that I have had my little tantrum *grin* here's my library loot for this week!

    City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - after enjoying the first book in the series I had to pick up the sequel as soon as I can.

    Grave Peril by Jim Butcher - I don't know how many times I have borrowed this book from the library before, but I really do want to read it. Maybe this time!

    Painting Mona Lisa by Jeanne Kalogridis - there has been quite a lot of chatter about this author on the Historical Fiction blog circuit as a result of the recent release of her latest book, The Devil's Queen. Seeing all those posts reminded me that I actually still hadn't read the previous book either yet!

    So how about you? What books did you get out of the library this week? Be sure to add your link to Mr Linky so we can all check out your hauls.

    Tuesday, August 11, 2009

    Teaser Tuesday

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page

  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

  • I've read a number of YA books over the last few weeks, and my teaser today comes from another one. I am currently reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and I am really enjoying it. My teaser comes from page 178:

    Then I hear the legendary announcer, Claudius Templesmith, as his voice booms all around me.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, let the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games begin!"

    I did have one problem today in relation to books. I finished The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (also a YA novel) and I was all very excited to request the next book from the library but they don't have it yet! Oh my goodness, what is a girl to do!

    Monday, August 10, 2009

    My weekends in pictures

    I was going to try to only do this post in pictures to try and show what I have been up to over the last couple of weekends, but you know, it really isn't possible for me to do, so there are going to be words as well!

    Last weekend I drove down past the other side of the city to a place called the Red Hill Estate winery for the 40th birthday celebrations of a friend. The views were fantastic, the food was fantastic, including a fantastic piece of pork (yum!), the wine was good and the company was good too!

    One of the things that they had going on was a Barrel Art contest. I don't particularly like being in photos, so I don't often take photos with people in either, but I thought that these were quite fun so took some of these with my phone camera. Click on the images to see clearer and larger images. Some of these were incredibly details. For example the first one was a whole whimsical little arrangement including the frog you can see.

    After this day out on Sunday we wandered around the city with new friends, and ended up having an all chocolate afternoon tea. Yum! Is it any wonder that I have completely gone off the diet for the last week. I really need to get back on the diet band wagon...tomorrow.

    Yesterday I went with a friend to experience some more culture (pronounced Kulcha amongst my friends) and saw the Salvador Dali exhibition which is showing here at the moment which is called Liquid Desire.

    I had seen some Dali pieces before, but I don't think that I had ever realised how much he did in so many different mediums, from fashion and jewellery, to movies and cartoons and different styles of art.

    Like so many of these really big exhibitions, there were loads of people around but I am really glad we went. After a long lunch, we went back to the gallery and visited another couple of rooms. One was called Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen . We stopped by and had a look at some of the displays on ancient items, but by that time we were pretty much galleried out! There are still lots of the permanent exhibits there that I would like to see eventually.

    I was meant to be going to the museum yesterday but decided that I needed to be a home for just a while. So what did I end up doing then. Playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook! I just can't play only a couple of games on that thing. Talk about time wasting, although it is a good accompaniment to kind of watching the cricket!

    Wednesday, August 05, 2009

    Library Loot

    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and me that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

    A couple of posts ago I worked out what proportion of my last twenty reads had come from the library. It turned out to be 85% which is quite a high percentage I think. Then I looked at how many of my reads for the year had come from there and the percentage was only a fraction lower at 81%. Whilst it's not surprising as such it was interested to see what the final percentage was!

    This week I picked up the following books from the library. The good thing this week is no reloot! I have never borrowed any of these books before!

    An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson - Danielle was talking about this book a couple of weeks ago. The main reason I added it to my list is that it features author Josephine Tey as a character. I have only read one of her books but I really liked that book.

    Untamed by PC Cast and Kristin Cast - Next book in the House of Night series.

    The Golden One by Elizabeth Peters - Next book in the Amelia Peabody series.

    The Food of Love by Anthony Capella - I really enjoyed The Wedding Officer when I read it a couple of weeks ago so now I am on a quest to read all of Anthony Capella's books.

    The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein - I first added this book to my TBR list when someone posted about the book back in April last year. It has taken this long for me to get the book. I hope it was worth the wait!

    I think that the Mr Linky will be up at Eva's this week I presume. It is isn't up in the morning, I will add it into this post later.

    Edited to add Mr Linky


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