Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis

Yay! A New Lucky Harbor book! And two more to come after this one! Let me dampen down my excitement for just a few minutes while I try and tell you a little bit about this book!

In the first Lucky Harbor trilogy, the author told us about three sisters who come to the small town of Lucky Harbor and then find each other, love and a home. This time, the focus is on three friends. Mallory is the town sweetheart, Amy is a bit of a bad girl and Grace has just arrived in town. Together they pledge to form the Chocoholics because nothing is better than sharing your issues with good girlfriends over chocolate cake - girls after my own heart!

One night while all three girls are at the diner where Amy works and there is a fierce snowstorm. Thanks to tree branches coming through windows and power going out, the girls are stranded there together. They are very surprised to find an injured man on the doorstep of the diner.

Mallory is an ER nurse and so she does what she does best - emergency care! It is only once they can see him properly that they realise that the man is Mysterious Cute Guy (MCG for short) - a stranger who has been seen around town recently but no one knows anything about him. Without really even being fully conscious MCG is talked into accompanying Mallory to a charity auction that is to be held in a few days time.

Whilst Mallory is known as a good girl, she comes from a family of rebels and she is being encouraged by her friends to loosen up a little. She has always felt responsible though, ever since the death of her sister when Mallory was 16 years old.

Mallory has a dream to open up a health clinic which aims to help those people who are often hidden in the community - the people battling depression or addiction for example - people like her own sister. There is some opposition within the community but Mallory is determined that there is a need and it needs to be met. The charity auction is being held to raise funds for the clinic. Mallory is sure that MCG is not going to remember that he agreed to the date and so she is surprised not only that they turn up, but that good girl Mallory behaves in a way that is very foreign to her! Thank goodness for a conveniently placed couch!

Mallory and MCG know that they aren't getting into a relationship but they really just can't seem to stay from each other. It does however make it difficult to be low key when the whole town is spying on their 'relationship' and any developments are making the town Facebook page on a regular basis. Whilst the Facebook stuff is entertaining, I don't know how realistic it is. Would small towns have that kind of gossip page? Almost makes me glad to live anonymously in a big city.

For MCG - okay, he really has a perfectly good name so I should probably use it. For Ty Garrison, this time in Lucky Harbor is temporary only. He is recovering from injuries sustained in a plane crash which left his friends and colleagues dead, and Ty was not only physically injured but is also mentally scarred. He hasn't practiced his actual profession since then, instead working in a dangerous role that has him facing risks every day. Once he gets the all clear from his doctor though, he is out of here!

One of my favourite parts of the book was Ty realising that even without trying he had put down roots in the town of Lucky Harbor - that he had reasons not to leave town. The way that realisation came over him was really well done.

Whilst this is the fourth book in a connected series, the characters from the previous three books are rarely seen which does mean that you could read this book without feeling as though you are missing out on background. I am pretty sure though that if you start with this book you will want to go back and read the earlier ones.

Personally, I loved the glimpses we saw of Amy and Matt and can't wait to read their story next, because woah, there is some tension already simmering there!

Since reading my first Jill Shalvis novel in July last year, I have read more than a dozen of them. Her books are perfect for taking to bed to read at night and then just keep on reading them until you finish the book! With this book I started it late at night (bad move - should have known better) and just kept reading until I finished it at 2.30am!

Whenever I pick up one of her novels I know that I am going to get a fun read with a bit of sexiness and a great read and this book is no exception! Bring on the next one.

Rating 4/5


Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone . . .

For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn't- including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all . . . anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Library Loot: 30 May to 5 June

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader 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!
My branch of our local library service is trialling a new system for picking up hold requests, and I am really not happy with it.

Previously, all the hold requests were put on the shelves in numerical order. I always knew pretty much exactly where my holds were going to be because I know my library card number off by heart, all the books were together so you could walk in and walk straight out again.

With the new system, there are a series of numbered hutches. You walk in and scan your library card, then print out a receipt which tells you which hutch your books will be (and they could all be in different hutches if you are picking up several books). It wouldn't be quite so bad if that was all you had to do to borrow, but then you still have to go and scan your card to do the self checkout business as well!

It is only on trial at the moment so I am hoping it isn't a permanent fixture! I guess it will save time for the librarian's because they won't have to worry about getting the books in the right order, but as a patron I don't really like it!

Then again, I am conscious that our library service is pretty darned fabulous so this is a small thing to complain about really!

Here's the loot that I got this week:

Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters - I loved the story arc of the last few Amelia Peabody books and yet I haven't actually read one of them for what feels like forever - maybe 18 months or so. Beth posted about a book from the series the other day and I was reminded that I really need to get back to the series.

Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson - I really liked both East of the Sun and The Water Horse by this author so when I heard she had a new book I requested it straight away. I was then offered a copy but haven't actually seen it in the postbox yet so I am not sure if it is coming or not. The setting also sounds like something I would love!

Until I Die by Amy Plum - I read the first book in this series last year and quite liked it! Even if I hadn't, my attention would have been caught by this totally gorgeous cover!

The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts - Next book in the Boonsboro Inn series. I wasn't blown away by the first book in the series, but it is La Nora and if nothing else it will give me a good Friday night read.

The Emperor's Spy by M C Scott - I have had quite a good week for publicist's contacting me really. One of the author's I was contacted about was Manda Scott which is this author with a slightly different name. I loved her Boudicea books and was somewhat surprised to find out that she had the third book in her next series coming out. I seem to have lost track of her. This book is the first in my attempt to catch up again.

Fables 2 by Bill Willingham - I read my first Fables story a couple of weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it so I am looking forward to this one now!

Letty's Christmas by Alison Lloyd - The next Our Australian Girl story about Letty. This is the fourth and final book about her.

What loot did you get this week? Leave your link in Mr Linky below so that we can all come and have a look!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Unseen by Katherine Webb (includes international giveaway)

Last year I read and really enjoyed The Legacy by Katherine Webb. When I saw that the author had a new book I was very happy and looked forward to reading it. 

When Cat Morley is sent from London to the small village of Cold Ash Holt, it is a chance for a new start for her. Whilst her new mistress, Hester Canning, knows something of Cat's recent past, she has decided that the rehabilitation of Cat will be her new pet project and so keeps the details to herself, which prompts plenty of speculation amongst the villagers as to what crime it was that she committed. Hester has been married to her husband for some time but things are not as they should be and the only person that she can confide in is her sister who has her own marital issues to deal with.

Albert is very interested in theosophy and when he believes that he sees some elemental spirits in the meadow, an 'expert' in the field, Robin Durrant, comes to stay at the vicarage and settles in for an extended stay. The longer that Durrant stays the more tensions rise in the house. Albert becomes more obsessed further neglecting his wife, Cat distrusts Durrant from day one and he isn't above stooping to blackmail to get  her to do what he needs her to do.

Hester is an extremely naive young woman. She knows that things are not as they should be but she can't seem to reach her husband emotionally in one crucial aspect of married life. Albert is a cold fish and Robin is smarmy and duplicitous from the first page that he appears on.

Whilst none of the characters are particularly likable, the most interesting character in the book is Cat. She has been in service at a big house in London but really she doesn't really fit fully within the servant class but she certainly is not a lady either. When she becomes involved in the suffragette movement she finds imprisoned and the reader is exposed to some of the terrible conditions that Cat and others like her were exposed to as they fought for a right that most of us take for granted - the right to vote. Cat was then freed to work as a Hester's servant but she finds it difficult to settle back into normal life. The only place that Cat can find solace is with George the barge man but even with him she cannot trust enough to not feel trapped or imprisoned.

The blurb talks about a murder, and there is one, but I was kind of surprised at how late in the book it occurred. Part of the reason is because this isn't a traditional mystery in that the reader is trying to figure out who done it, although that is part of the story, but more the feel of the story is related to the spiritualism elements and the strange goings on in the vicarage at Cold Ash Holt.

The story unwinds both in the present time and in the past. I am usually a big fan of the dual narrative storyline! I love seeing modern characters discover what was going on in the past at the same time as we are learning what is happening too, but it can be difficult at times to get the balance right. It is a very good author who manages to make you care about both story lines at the same time. Unfortunately for me, the balance between the two strands was all wrong and I think that in some ways that is even reflected in the book blurb where there is not a single mention of the modern storyline.

The opening premise of the modern story line was a good one. Leah is a journalist who has answered a call from her old boyfriend to go to Brussels. He works for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and they have uncovered the well preserved body of a soldier from World War I and he has two interesting letters sent to him by a H Canning. Leah's journey takes her from Belgium to the small town of Cold Ash Holt to try and discover who this man is. In Cold Ash Hold she meets a man who is the grandson of Hester and Albert Canning. Mark (I think it that was his name) is extremely distrusting of journalists. The reason for this is explained in due course, but could have been quite interesting but because the modern storyline felt tacked on, almost like an afterthought, none of the issues that were raised were explored as much as I would have liked.

While this book was interesting, I never really felt that I was caught up in the time and place and the book seemed to drag a bit as well. In summary, this book has the potential to be a really compelling read but it unfortunately did not live up to that potential for this reader.

Rating 3.5/5


England, 1911. The Reverend Albert Canning, a vicar with a passion for spiritualism, leads a happy existence with his naive wife Hester in a sleepy Berkshire village. As summer dawns, their quiet lives are changed for ever by two new arrivals. First comes Cat, the new maid: a free-spirited and disaffected young woman sent down from London after entanglements with the law. Cat quickly finds a place for herself in the secret underbelly of local society as she plots her escape. Then comes Robin Durrant, a leading expert in the occult, enticed by tales of elemental beings in the water meadows nearby. A young man of magnetic charm and beauty, Robin soon becomes an object of fascination and desire. During a long spell of oppressive summer heat, the rectory at Cold Ash Holt becomes charged with ambition, love and jealousy; a mixture of emotions so powerful that it leads, ultimately, to murder.

Tour and giveaway details

My copy of this book came from the local library but I requested it so that I could participate in this blog tour!

To visit other stops on the tour, check out the blog tour schedule here. It's interesting to note that this author has no web presence at all. Whilst I understand no Facebook, Twitter, blog etc I would have thought that a website would have been a basic requirement in these days.

If you think, though that this is something that you might be interested in reading, I am pleased to be able to offer up a copy of this book and the giveaway is open internationally! To enter leave a comment   including your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!

The giveaway closes on June 7.

Winner of State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Congratulations to

Beth from Too Fond

who won the giveaway of State of Wonder by Ann Patchett!

Hope you enjoy the book when you get it Beth!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Salon: Antici....pation!

I have so many things to talk about todayl I started off with two things and then added more and more. I hope I haven't forgotten anything.

Shadow of Night is coming soon!

At the beginning of the year when I named my most anticipated release for 2012 Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness was at the very top of the list! With the book coming out in July (I could do a countdown of weeks but I will resist), we are starting to see some of the PR starting to happen. I was very excited this week to wake up to an email with some of the details and so now I am going to share them with you! And  shhhhh..... don't tell anyone, but I will be hosting a giveaway closer to release date but there are also chances to win copies of the book before then!

Details below adapted from the publicists email to me!

Every Friday from June 1st to July 6th, four winners will be selected to receive an advance copy of SHADOW OF NIGHT signed by Deborah and sample bottles of two perfumes specially selected to represent the scents of Matthew and Diana. To enter, readers can click on this link to the contest page starting today.

Also, if you haven't read A Discovery of Witches yet, Amazon is offering the e-book as their “Deal of the Day” on June 10th, where readers will be able to buy it for just $2.99 on that day only. Then you will be ready to read SHADOW OF NIGHT when it hits stores!

Calling all Australian Terry Pratchett fans

Tickets to Nullus Anxietas IV, the Fourth Official Discworld Convention to be held in Australia have recently gone on sale! If you get in early, you will get super special discounted early bird prices! To find out more about the ticket prices follow this link.

The con is going to be held in Melbourne on the weekend of March 8 to 10, 2013.

There are various places where you can find out more

Nullus Anxietas IV on Twitter
Nullus Anxietas IV on Facebook
Nullus Anxietas IV on Google+

Nullus Anxietas IV Fundraisers

There are a number of different fundraisers that will be running over the couple of months (including a tournament of games today at Blackburn - see this link for details)  but one that is coming up soon is a showing of Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods. There are only going to be a limited number of big screen showings of this movie and we have tickets to one of them!

If you are in Melbourne on June 14 and want to see Cabin in the Woods, join us at Cinema Nova in Carlton. You can find out more details here.

Reminds me....I need to buy my ticket!

Want to participate in a Google+ hangout with Julia Quinn

Julia Quinn is one of my go to favourite romance authors and, thanks to the Australian Romance Readers Association,  you can win the change to spend time on a Google+ hangout on Saturday June 9. This will hopefully be the first of many hangouts with many of our favourite romance authors!

All the details on how to join the contest to win your chance to participate and how you can watch along if you aren't one of the lucky ones can be found here.

I would put my contest entry in except that is on the same day that I am intending to be at the following event.

Continuum 8: Craftonomicom

This year not only is the Victorian spec fic convention on, but it is also hosting the 51st Australian National SF convention. It is running over the weekend from 8-10 June in Carlton.

I have ummed and ahhed for months as to whether I am going to go to this or not, but the child minder has been arranged. Now I just need to hurry up and buy the tickets.

There are quite a few Aussie authors and bloggers that I am looking forward to meeting over the weekend, once I get over my "standing on the outside looking in" mentality!

Need to hurry up and buy the tickets for this one too!

Calling all Melbourne Book Bloggers

Stephanie from Read in a Single Sitting and some friends are organising a Melbourne bookish type get together on June 9. The plan is to meet at the Astor Theatre and see a double bill of The Artist and My Week with Marilyn. There seems to be quite a few people going (we won't talk about the abysmal attempt when I attempted a Melbourne book blogger get together last year. I try not to take these things personally).

It is an open invitation and you can find all the details here.

I am a maybe at this stage. It will really depend on how exhausted I am after a full day at Continuum.

Coming Soon

I am hoping over the next couple of weeks to bring exciting news for Australian historical fiction authors and fans!

I was going to talk about Jennifer Egan tweeting a novel too but I think this post is possibly already way too long so instead, here are my current and upcoming reads

Currently Reading

The Long Shadow by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Up Next

Eric by Terry Pratchett and Poseidon's Gold by Lindsey Davis

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weekend Cooking: The Red Spice Road Cookbook by John McLeay

A couple of years ago I went for dinner at Red Spice Road restaurant here in Melbourne. We were there on a Friday night, the restaurant was packed with happy diners and the food was delicious. Every time I get an email from them saying they have this event or that event on I think I really must go back but haven't got there yet. One day.

I don't normally browse much at the library. I head straight for the hold shelf where I pick up the books that are waiting for me and then I love. The hold shelf is, however, right near the cook books section so I do find myself stopping and having a quick look if something catches my eye. A couple of weeks ago I was rushing in and out but glanced over and say a red cookbook facing out and so I was drawn to go and have a look and it turns out it was this one, so it was a no brainer to grab it and take it home.

As an object, this cookbook is beautifully presented. If you look at the image that I have included above you may noticed that there is a deeper red stripe down the middle and that the name of the book looks a little fuzzy. That is because rather than being printed directly onto the glossy hardcover, the title details are actually printed onto a strip of fabric (maybe silk?) which is then attached to the book. How practical that is for a messy kitchen is a question that I didn't like to think about, but it does look very striking. The pages of the book are also edged in black so the whole book is encased in those very classical Asian colours of red and black.

In addition there is a red ribbon that you can use as a bookmark. I don't know about you, but as soon as I see a hardcover book with a ribbon it automatically suggest to me that it is a better quality book. Yes, it's the simple things that make me happy.

The gorgeous production values continue inside the book with lush photos of all the recipes as well as photos of the distinct decor of the actual restaurant as well. I also really appreciated that the font that is used is a decent size which hopefully you will be able to tell from the photo below. No squinting to see what comes next as you are trying to put your dish together.

Enough about the book though. It's all very well to have a gorgeous object if you aren't actually going to cook out of it, so let's talk about the content.

If you are a fan of South East Asian food you will really like this book. There are a variety of different nationalities influences featured throughout the book and the recipes run the whole gamut from seafood to meat to dessert and there is even a section on cocktails that feature Asian inspired flavours. One of the more surprising inclusions in the book was the recipe for Pork Belly with Apple Slaw and Chilli Caramel which I was expecting they would want to keep the recipe to themselves. In the intro to the recipe, John McLeay says 'This is by far the most popular dish on our menus; we go through a ridiculous amount and it seems like the oven is always full of pork belly. If I ever took it off the menu I would have a lot of irate customers!"

The dining philosophy when you go to eat at Red Spice Road is that you would go with a group and everyone would choose a selection of dishes that would then be shared - a kind of communal eating. This philosophy is extended into the book so a lot of the recipes state that they serve 4 as part of a shared meal. How practical this is if you are wanting to cook a family meal, I am not sure. I know I would be a bit frazzled if I was going to need to cook three or four different dishes in order to serve up a reasonable meal to a group of guests.

If I owned this cookbook, I think the section that I would refer to  the most would most likely be the basics section. In there, the author shares recipes for many of the flavours that are used in later book like chilli caramel and Asian chicken stock. What was more surprising though was the recipes for things that I have never even contemplated making from scratch, for example, red and green curry paste and sweet chilli sauce. I would always have just used bought sweet chilli sauce in recipes. It would never have even crossed my mind to make my own.

I am pretty sure I could convince the boy to try some of the milder curries. I think Lamb meatball and potato Penang curry sounds really good as does Rockling green curry, but I think that there are other flavours that he wouldn't be as willing to try. One recipe that I do think that I could quite easily get him to eat would be this one, although I might cut back on the chillies a bit!

Click to enlarge
Chicken with chilli and basil

30ml peanut or vegetable oil
400g chicken thigh fillets, chopped finely
3 shallots, peeled and sliced finely
2 large red chillies, seeded and sliced
5 small red chillies, seeded and sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 cup basil leaves
4 kaffir lime leaves, sliced finely

Heat oil in a wok or frypan until it's smoking. Add the chicken, shallots, chilli and garlic, and stir fry until chicken is cooked. Add a little water if you feel the mixture is burning

Add remaining ingredients and stir fry a further 30 seconds.

On the restaurant website there are links to three of the recipes that are in this book -  Garfish with cucumber, avocado, chilli and basil, Ox cheeks with star anise, mushrooms and hot mint and finally Lamb wrapped in betel leaves.

As an object, this is a lovely book. As a cookbook it is one I could see myself using occasionally but I don't think it would be an everyday type book.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal by Grace Burrowes

I am going to preface my thoughts about this book by saying that I did actually like it. I just want to get that out there because there may be times when it might sound differently.

Maggie Windham is an illegitimate daughter of  the Duke of Moreland, however she has been formally adopted by the Duke and Duchess and so has grown up as part of the large extended Windham family. She has, however, always known that she is different from her brothers and sisters. She is both part of the family and set apart from it by the circumstances of her birth. She knows that, for her, there will be no brilliant marriage match and so she has instead sought to make herself completely independent. In doing so Maggie has shown good intuition when it comes to the making of money and so is independently wealthy.

Benjamin Hazlit is an investigator who has been hired to perform various tasks for Maggie's family. He too knows what it is like to be both part of and apart from his family and in this aspect, he and Maggie are a good match! Another reason for this is because Benjamin is a man with big secrets of his own, and Maggie has been hiding a very big secret from her family for years.

Maggie hires the investigator after her reticule goes missing from her house and Maggie is terrified that the wrong people may get hold of it. She must do anything she can to avoid more scandal for her family. To be honest, I found this a flimsy pretext to start the story on and thought that the mystery of what exactly was in the reticule was unravelled far too slowly. Once the big secret is revealed, I understood why Maggie was scared but it took way too long to get to that point.

Benjamin is determined to give Maggie some relief from her self inflicted isolation and so he slowly and surely begins to seduce her, but along the way he also begins to understand that he must open himself up to his loved ones as well. One of the things that I appreciate about Burrowes' writing is that she does do the slow, intense build up between her couples so well. Page by page, moment by moment the tension builds.

While I liked Benjamin a lot, I did wonder about the practicalities of his super-secret identity. I just don't see how he could have kept his secret for as long as he did without drawing attention to himself. This is just one example of where Burrowes' stretches the bounds of historical accuracy within her books. To be honest, I go into her books expecting historical accuracy to be one of the casualties, but the way she builds the characters and tension make up for that. In my review for the previous book in this series I said "There is no one else that I am reading in historical romance at the moment that has that kind of mellow tempo and fluidity that Grace Burrowes has in her books whilst still having sizzling chemistry between the characters." Aside from the issue that I am quoting myself... I would still stand by this exact sentiment!

The bad guys were very bad and as such a bit two dimensional, and to be honest the resolution of the suspense sub plot was a bit flat too. It turns out that one or two decent conversations with the duke and duchess could have completely changed everything in relation to this story, but Maggie is so darned busy being a martyr in trying to protect those around her that she can't see the forest for the trees.

Where the characterisations are much better is in the secondary characters. Benjamin's business partner, and heir, is his cousin Archer and the scenes featuring the two of them were filled with fun banter and definitely helped draw a fuller picture of the man that Benjamin really is. The Duke and Duchess are also a real treat to read. I wasn't all that fond of the Duke in the first couple of books that he appeared in, but now I almost anticipate the next scene that the two of them will appear in!

Like the other books I have read by Burrowes, there are both positives and negatives. Regardless, I will be looking forward to when the next book in the Duke's Daughters series comes out.  Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight is due out in October!

Rating 4/5


Maggie Windham, oldest of the Windham sisters and a by-blow from His Grace’s pre-marital wild oats, finds herself in desperate needs of an investigator to help her retrieve a missing reticule. Benjamin Hazlit knows the Windham family secrets, and can be trusted to keep them to himself, so Maggie turns to Benjamin, though it means ignoring his too-broad shoulders, his too-knowing smile… and his too-skilled kisses. As Benjamin starts the search for Maggie’s missing purse, he realizes two things: First, whatever was in that purse, its loss has Maggie not just rattled, but terrified. Second, Benjamin will go to any lengths to see Maggie’s peace of mind restored, even if it means he must keep himself in very close proximity to the shy, secretive lady who says she wants nothing to do with him.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy I read.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Smythe-Smith story so far

To say that the Bridgerton series is one that is loved by a lot historical romance fans is possibly a bit of an understatement. Like many other readers I made my way through the series thoroughly enjoying the romance and the humour of Julia Quinn's writing and spending time with all eight of the Bridgerton siblings and their romantic partners.

There were lots of regular characters in the series, and there have been a couple of different spin-offs as a result. One was Lady Whistledown who was a society gossip writer who regularly reported on the budding romances and scandals of the ton. Not only did we get to read her insights in the Bridgerton book but she also inspired two anthologies - The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown and Lady Whistledown Strikes Back.

The other spin off is the current series by Julia Quinn - the Smythe-Smith quartet. The first book, Just Like Heaven, was released last year with the second book, A Night Like This, going on sale this week. I thought I would take a few minutes to talk about the series before focusing on the two individual books.

The members of the ton know exactly what to expect when they attend the annual Smythe-Smith musical gala - lots of gala but not much in the way of music. Despite having hosted the gala for many years, none of the musicians are at all proficient and it just seems like each year it gets worse and worse. The event is always very well attended though.

It is quite clever of Julia Quinn to take this one joke and spin it through not only the Bridgerton books, but then to build a new series out of it, and to do so without the concept feeling very tired.

So let's look at the two books individually:


A) a really bad violinist
B) still miffed at being nicknamed "Bug" as a child
C) NOT in love with her older brother's best friend
D) All of the above


A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) NOT in love with his best friend's younger sister
D) All of the above

A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever AND world's worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love.

It's Julia Quinn at her best, so you KNOW the answer is...

D) All of the above
Marcus Holroyd grew up as an only child, heir to an earldom, growing up lacking nothing, except for familial affection. Luckily when he was 12 years old where he met Daniel Smythe-Smith, who also has grown up in a comfortable home but with a surplus of familial affection, particularly of the female variety. There are sisters galore and too many cousins to count. Marcus spent every family holiday with the Smythe-Smiths and that includes having to spend time with Honoria (known as Bug because she followed the boys everywhere). His bond to the family was strong, but it was tested when Daniel had to flee the country after being involved in a duel that left another friend badly injured. His last request to Marcus was look after his youngest sister, Honoria, and particularly make sure that she did not fall prey to the marriage machinations of any inappropriate beaus.

Marcus has been doing a good job of running off the men that looked as though they may be becoming interested in Honoria, and doing it so subtly that she has no idea why she can't find a husband and she is, quite frankly, getting a bit desperate. Marcus is not quite your standard aristocratic hero. He may have a reputation for being quite stand offish and a bit humourless, but the reality is that he is a quiet, shy man. Only those who know him really well can see the warm, loyal and funny man who lies beneath the solid exterior.

A trip to the country leads to our main two characters meeting up again, but it is only after an unfortunate incident with a man-made molehill leads to a life and death infection that the two of them see each other as something other than pseudo brother and sister. Even then, the build up between the two is slow, mainly thanks to Honoria finding out what he has been up to and then misinterpreting his interest in her. I loved that Marcus felt compelled to defend her, and that meant that he had to step into the spotlight in order to make his declaration, but I did find the whole bedroom scene that proceeded it a little bit awkward. In some ways, it was almost as though the author had realised that she had forgotten to put one in and therefore had to shoehorn it in there somewhere.

I liked Honoria, especially the parts where she was either by herself or with only a couple of characters. The scenes with all the cousins, and the rehearsals for the musical evening were less enticing because there sounded like there was supposed to be lots of funny dialogue between them all but it just became a bit of white noise in the end.

I liked the way that we got to see why the girls put up with being put on stage year after year even though everyone knows how bad they are as musicians from Honoria's perspective. It's not about music. It's about family, bonding and tradition and you just know that in time her own daughters will be taking the stage and she will be proud as punch for that to happen.

One of the reasons why I love reading series of linked books is because of the recurring characters, and there are quite a few who appear in these pages and to see little moments that we have seen in previous books but from a different perspective! The one recurring character who did steal the show each time she showed up in the book was Lady Danbury! She is one scary older lady, but she would be lots of fun to sit next to and gossip with!

When I read this book last year, I had gone into the city to meet up with some other romance readers. We had visited the local romance specialty shop and I picked this up on a whim. I started it on the train home and had finished it later that day. I also credited this book with starting a romance reading craving that saw me reading a lot of romance in a very short period of time last year.  Here's the thing though. Normally I have memories of the books that I read even after quite some time but not with this one. Couldn't remember a thing. I found myself having to skim through read the book again today to refresh my memory. There are worse ways to spend a couple of hours I guess.

It's not the best Julia Quinn novel, but I think most fans will be happy to read the first of the Smythe-Smith books.

Anne Wynter might not be who she says she is…

But she's managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge — in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy—no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he's the first man who has truly tempted her, and it's getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger…

But that's not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family's annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if that means spending his days with a ten-year-old who thinks she's a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending…

The opening of this book overlaps the closing of the last book. Daniel Smythe-Smith returns home unexpected after three years in exile abroad on the night of the annual Smythe-Smith musical evening. He sneaks into the room and is surprised to find that the woman playing the piano is not a sister or cousin at all but rather a beautiful stranger.

Anne sees an unknown man lurking behind the quartet and freezes in fear, not knowing if this is her past catching up with her or something less sinister. When the stranger tracks her down soon after she finds that it is Daniel Smythe-Smith, prodigal son, and that there is a very intense attraction between them. She is however glad that their interlude is interrupted when Daniel suddenly launches an attack on one of the other guests who is also one of his best friends, Marcus.

Daniel was exiled three years previously after a night of drinking and cards led to an allegation of cheating and then a duel at dawn which left another of his friends, Hugh Prentice, clinging to life and Hugh's father promising to track Daniel down and ensure that he would pay for the damage he had done. Ramsgate was true to his word and had tracked him Daniel down through France, Spain and Italy and so Daniel was used to living constantly looking over his shoulder. He had however been convinced by Hugh  that the danger was over and that he could now return safely.

He begins a flirtation with Anne. The whole time she knows that it is inappropriate and that she could lose her position as governess to Daniel's cousins if she is caught so she tries to resist but finds it increasingly difficult to do so. Daniel constantly manipulates events to try and get time with Anne, whether that means by acting in some of his young cousin Harriet's terrible plays or by inviting the cousins to his country house.

Anne has her own history. She was bought up in a good family but she was disowned when she is seduced by the son of the most important local landowner. Sent off in disgrace, she has moved from one job to another, constantly aware that the son has promised that he will make her pay for the wrong that she did him in self defence.

When Daniel is attacked as he walks home later the night of the musicale he is convinced that Ramsgate was still after him. When both Anne and Daniel are put in danger whilst in country he still thinks that it is him that is putting her into danger but he still can't stay away.

Whilst we are giving Daniel's history up front and that is how it is dealt with by the characters, Anne's story is fed to the reader in a much more measured way, gradually unfolding more and more for the reader until we can more readily understand her skittishness.

I am not really sure where to put this book in terms of my preferred Julia Quinn books. The last few have been up and down quality wise, but when I am in the mood for something light and easy and fun, she is an author who I would instantly think of. They are perfect in the moment books. This book was fun, it was light but I suspect I might need to reread when the next book in the series comes out to refresh my memory, or at the very least reread this post!

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for a copy of this book.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Library Loot: May 23 to 29

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader 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!

Claire has Mr Linky this week so be sure to head over to her blog and add your link to Mr Linky so that we can all come and have a look see at the loot that you got this week.

Here's my loot:

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore: One of my most anticipated reads of this year and yet I was really surprised to see how big this book is! Apparently I hadn't been looking too closely at the information that was coming out about it!

Letty and the Stranger's Lace by Alison Lloyd- next book in the series. I've already this one but I think I will most likely review all four Letty books at once in a similar way to the post I did about the Grace books in the Our Australian Girls series.

The House on Olive Street by Robyn Carr - I am working my way through the books that my library has by Robin Carr and this is the next one.

On the Steamy Side by Louisa Edwards - the next book in the Recipe for Love series.

Movida Rustica by Frank Camorra - a few weeks ago I reviewed the Movida cookbook and this is another chance to drool over delicious sounding Spanish food.

The Return by Victoria Hislop - a few weeks ago I read and really enjoyed The Island by this author and so I am looking forward to reading more by her.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Teaser: Lords of the White Castle by Elizabeth Chadwick

Do you ever sit down and read through your own blog posts? Every now and again I like to do so, and sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by what I read and other times I cringe! Today I took a few minutes to go through my past posts about Elizabeth Chadwick. The thing that stood out is that when I do post about her books, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive and filled with praise at the way that medieval life comes to life in the pages of her books. Whilst this isn't a review as such, I can guarantee if I was to get around to writing one it would be another positive one.

I have been working my way through her back list very slowly. I could have read more of her books, but the thing is that I know that once I have finished then I will have to wait for each new book. By not devouring them all, which is definitely tempting, I know that I will still have a Chadwick fix for a little while yet!

The interesting thing for me is that I think this book seems to be something of a turning point for Elizabeth Chadwick. As far as I can remember, prior to this, Chadwick populated her books with real historical figures, but the main characters were fictitious. In this book, the main male character is Fulke Fitzwarin and he is a real figure from history and has been suggested as a possibly inspiration for Robin Hood. You can also clearly see the transition that the author is making from writing meaty historical romances with strong historical themes to meaty historical fiction with strong romantic themes.

I have a number of passages marked to choose a teaser from. In the end, I decided to go with this teaser from page 228:

I told you that we should have ridden straight to Whittington when Papa died and taken FitzRoger then," William muttered as they led their horses across the ward and found a boy to tend them.

"Hindsight is a wondrous thing,' Fulke sneered. "Likely we'd have ended our lives swinging from a gibbet."

"Well, if you think there is going to be a happy outcome from this, you're a greater fool than you've ever taken me for."

Fulke rounded on him with bunched fists and Jean hastily put his wiry frame between the. "Peace!" he hissed. "We're not clear of the guards yet, and you do yourselves no favours by this childish brangling. If you cannot handle yourselves, then what use are you going to be before John?"

Fulke clamped his jaw until the muscles showed in two rigid grooves below his cheekbones. "You do well to remind me, Jean," he said with a stiff nod. He looked at William. "We need to be united by our brotherhood, not split by our differences of opinion. Are you ready to go within?"

William wriggled his shoulders within the thickly padded gambeson. "No point in coming just to stay outside." It was the nearest he would come to conciliation.
Do you have an author who you want to rush through their booklist, but you also want to take your time to savour?

Monday, May 21, 2012

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (includes international giveaway)

Dr Marina Singh was studying to be a doctor. After a terrible incident, she gives up that course of study and instead becomes a pharmacologist, studying cholesterol. She works for a drug company, is involved in an secret affair but other than that we don't know a lot about her. If I was to use one word only to describe her I would say that she was repressed.

She normally works closely with her lab mate, Dr Anders Eckman, but months ago he had been sent to the jungles of the Amazon to try and track down the woman who was previously Marina's lecturer, Dr Annick Swenson. Dr Swenson is in the Amazon working on developing a lucrative new medication but she is something of a maverick. She won't respond to requests for updates on where she is up to with her research and so the company have sent Dr Eckman to find out exactly how her research is going and more importantly when this drug will be ready for testing.

When they receive notification that Dr Eckman has died and been buried in Brazil, his widow wants to know more about the circumstances. Her employer still wants to know about the research project and so Marina is sent south to find out more..

In terms of setting, there are three distinct sections in this book. The first part of the book is set in Minnesota and in this world Marina is very controlled in almost every way. The first stop on her journey to the Amazon is Manaus in Brazil where she spends several weeks whilst she waits for the appearance of the mysterious Dr Swenson. Whilst there she spends time with an Australian couple, the Bovenders, who run interference for Dr Swenson, trying to stop anyone from finding where she is, what she is doing and from generally disturbing her in any way. Finally, she makes it to the research station in the jungle on the banks of a tributary of the Amazon where there are many surprises in store.

Whilst Marina undertakes a physical journey, it is more the philosophical and emotional journey that forms the core of this book. She loses her luggage more than once, and each time she becomes less reliant on her westernness and in effect ends up stripped back to her bare soul.

The research that is being undertaken is perceived  to be leading to a wonder infertility drug. The women of the tribe are able to sustain healthy pregnancies well into their seventies, but there is more happening at the station than just that research and the scientists working there are doing their best to keep the other research secret until the time is right. There is discussion of the moral and ethical responsibilities related to medical research and about bringing Western ways to the remote tribes but I never found those elements to be too dry or inaccessible.

I don't want to say too much more because part of the beauty of this book is watching the story unfold.

What a surprise this book was! I had only listened to one Ann Patchett book previously (Bel Canto) and I really didn't like it. I am not sure if it would have been different if I had of actually read the book, but I thought it was slow and a bit pointless.

So why did I volunteer for this book tour then? When this book first came out, I heard Ann Patchett on several podcasts that I listen to and each time I heard her I became more and more interested in the book. Then she was one of the big name guests to appear at last year's Melbourne Writer's Festival and I went to hear her talk. She is so good in a crowded room - funny and charming, engaging and passionate about writing and books.  It was a case where despite not liking the only book I had read from the author, I liked the author and so I was prepared to give her another go. I am so glad that I did.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it much more of a page turner than I was expecting it to be. The topics discussed were interesting without feeling overwhelmed with the scientific details. There was adventure and drama - a particularly gruesome scene with a snake had my heart racing - and whilst a lot of the characters were not people I would particularly like if I met them, there is a young deaf boy named Easter who has made his home in a little corner of my heart. I enjoyed reading the way the author bought a group of individuals together to form a small community in an isolated place.

If there is a weakness in the book, it was the ending which didn't totally work for me, and I know that there are lots of other reviews out there which talk about the ending being a let down and this was one of the big issues I had when I listened to Bel Canto. I enjoyed the journey so much though, that I can live with the ending, mainly because I am not sure how else the story could have been all wrapped up. We are left not knowing where Marina goes next in her life, but that is okay because I was left feeling that she knew a lot more about herself at the end of the book than she did in the beginning.

I was so pleasantly surprised by how much of a page turner I found this book. Am I brave enough to try other Ann Patchett books? Maybe in due course, but for the time being I want to savour this reading experience.



In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, scientific miracles, and spiritual transformations, State of Wonder presents a world of stunning surprise and danger, rich in emotional resonance and moral complexity.

As Dr. Marina Singh embarks upon an uncertain odyssey into the insect-infested Amazon, she will be forced to surrender herself to the lush but forbidding world that awaits within the jungle. Charged with finding her former mentor Dr. Annick Swenson, a researcher who has disappeared while working on a valuable new drug, she will have to confront her own memories of tragedy and sacrifice as she journeys into the unforgiving heart of darkness. Stirring and luminous, State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss beneath the rain forest’s jeweled canopy.

Tour and giveaway details

See what other participants on this blog tour thought of this book by following the tour

Tour schedule 
Ann Patchett's website 

I am very excited to offer up a in international giveaway of the paperback of this book! To enter, leave a comment including your email address.

Giveaway closes 28 May 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekend Cooking: The Sweet Life by Kate Bracks

A few weeks ago now, our local bookstore held an event with Kate Bracks, the winner of the last series of Masterchef here in Australia. I actually didn't watch any of that series of Masterchef, so only had a vague idea of who she was but the event was a chance to catch up with friends and there was an inference that there would be cupcakes on offer so I was happy to go.

I also try to support the bookstore and buy something whenever they do have an event, so I purchased this cookbook. As I was driving home I did contemplate how wise that was given that I really didn't know much about Kate Bracks, but having now spent time going through the cookbook a couple of times, I don't think it is a purchase that I will regret.

Kate was incredibly generous with her time. We (being Bree and I) spend a lot of time talking to us about  several topics. One was getting your kids involved in cooking which was clearly something that she is passionate about. Our kids are at different stages but I talked bout the little chef and the fact that he loves to cook things but not necessarily to try the things he cooks (except what he cooks at school apparently) and Bree talked about engaging her younger children. We also talked about the process she went through when creating the cookbook which was actually really fascinating to listen to. She had roughly organised the chapters, tested the recipes repeatedly until she was happy with them, then sending the recipes off to friends/volunteers who tried the recipes to see if the instructions were clear and then to a professional recipe editor - who knew there was such a thing?

One of the other things we touched on was her future plans include her website which will include a kids club section with recipe videos which sounds fantastic as the little chef and I like to sit down and look at cooking videos together. At this stage the website isn't up yet, but I am looking forward to when it is!

In this video, Kate talks about the cookbook including some of her family's favourite recipes from the book.

I should probably talk about the book itself which focuses on sweet treats of all types, hence the title The Sweet Life. There has clearly been a lot of thought put into how to put this book together. There are nine chapters touching on different techniques: syrups and sauces, meringues, custards and sabayons, ice creams and sorbets, frozen desserts, gelatine, pastry, cakes and puddings and baked treats. Each chapter is then broken into two parts. There are the basics and then beyond the basics. For example, in the gelatine chapter the basics includes recipes for Strawberry Mousse, Blackcurrant Jelly and Earl Grey Panna Cotta and then in beyond the basics there is Turkish Delight, Plum and Red Wine Mousse and Mango Panna Cotta with Orange Blossom Jelly.

Every recipe has been photographed (which I love in a cookbook), many of them includes suggestions for variations and the other thing that I love is that each recipe has been given a visual rating as to how difficult it is to make. If the recipe has one spoon, then the recipe should be "simple and relatively quick to master" ranging through to a four spoon recipe which is for "the avid home cook who wants a bit more of a challenge". The other thing that I was really impressed by is that, in addition to your normal recipe index, there is also a page that specifically lists which recipes are suitable for those that deal with food intolerances which is a great idea!

The final chapter in the book brings together all the techniques in the book and gives us some of those four spoon recipes that would be at home in a restaurant; Chocolate Terrine with Spiced Praline, Mandarin Oil and Creme Fraiche (yum), Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream with Bitter Caramel and Salted Almond Crumb and Raspberry and Hazelnut Tarts with Poached Meringue and Frangelico Syrup! Yum! I don't think I would be making any of these recipes any time soon but they are very pretty to look at.

There are however lots of other recipes that I could see myself making ranging from Bung in Chocolate Cake, Baked Honey and Rosemary Apples, Little Lime Meringue Pies, Blueberry Croissant Pudding, Lime Curd and Coconut Slice, Raspberry and White Chocolate Puddings and.....well, lots more. If the little chef didn't have a hazelnut allergy I would be making Embarrassingly Simple Chocolate Hazelnut Pastries all the time!

Today though, I am making Little Lemon Syrup Cakes, so I am including the recipe for that below.

In my experience there are a couple of different types of cookbooks. There are those that are pretty objects - gorgeous presentation, yummy looking recipes but when it comes to picking a recipe to cook they are not all that accessible. The other type is a cookbook that you can find numerous recipes that you want to cook out of. The best type though is one that combines both of these, and I would think that this book is one that I will cook out of time and time again!

Lemon Syrup Cakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
Makes: 8


125g butter, at room temperature, chopped
165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
185g (1 1/4 cups) self raising flour
Pinch of salt
80ml (1/3 cup) fresh lemon juice


80ml (1/3 cup) fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest, optional
110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar

  1. Preheat the over to 170 celsius. Grease and flour 8 holes of large (1/2 cup capacity)  muffin tins and line the bases with a small round of baking paper (Alternatively you can line the tin with paper muffin cases.)
  2. Use electric beaters to cream together the butter, sugar and zest until pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour and salt, followed by the lemon juice.
  3. Divide evenly among the muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of a cake cakes out clean.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the syrup, combine the lemon juice, zest and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat without boiling until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat until medium and simmer for 1 minute.
  5. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, loosen them from the edge of the tin. Prick them with with a skewer all over and then spoon the syrup evenly over each cake (you may not use up all the syrup).
  6. All the cakes to cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack, discarding the small round of baking paper.
Yum! They smell and taste delicious! The photo above is from my own efforts today. I should clarify and say that I actually used a friand tin to cook them in because I have had that darn tin in the drawer for years (no exaggeration) and had never used it, so I decided today was the day. Also, the little chef was assisting and forgot the rule about only filling the tin up three quarters so they are a bit overfilled but that has meant that there are some really tasty crunchy bits. He did taste the batter and then the finished cake and exclaim that it was very lemony. Ummm..... yes.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. For more information, see the welcome post. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fables, Vol 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

I am not sure how long I have been meaning to start reading the Fables series by Bill Willingham, but it has been a long time - as in probably 3 or 4 years. Many of my favourite bloggers are big fans, but I never did get around to getting any of the books in the series, particularly since my library doesn't have any of them. Apparently, I never did get around to checking the inter library catalogue. I must have seen someone mention it because a few weeks ago I thought to check there, and voila! a short wait later and I finally had this graphic novel in my hands.

Quite frankly, I wish I had of thought to check the ILL catalogue earlier! This book is so much fun. I have already requested the next book in the series.

 This is a fairy tale story, but not as we normally know them. In this world, a group of fairy tale characters have come to live in modern day America because, in their homelands, they were being hunted to the point of extinction by their enemy who is known as The Adversary. For those who can pass as humans there is a home for them in New York, but those with animal form go to live at The Farm, away from human civilisation. There are lots of familiar characters here: Old King Cole, Snow White, the big bad wolf (although he goes by the name Digby now), Jack (of the beanstalk fame), Bluebeard, Prince Charming, Beauty and the beast and more. For some of the characters, life here is easy. They managed to bring their riches to their new life, but for most of them life is a struggle, trying to get by in the mundy world without bringing attention to their otherness.

Our story starts with a mystery. Jack's girlfriend, Ruby Red is missing from her blood-soaked apartment, and so detective Digby is called in to investigate. Her powerful and influential sister, Snow White, is determined to assist him with his investigation. She has been estranged from Ruby for some time, and so there are several revelations along the course of the investigation. Digby has several suspects in mind, including Snow herself. There is chemistry between Snow and Digby straight away, as much as Snow might try to fight it, and I can't wait to read more about the two of them. It doesn't help though that Snow's shonky ex husband, Prince Charming, is in town and is trying to sell off his some of his titles and lands in the homeland to raise some quick cash.

Each year, the fables come together at a grand ball to remember their homelands and their escape from The Adversary and the mayor, King Cole, has made it clear that the case must be solved before the big event, which also happens to be the biggest fundraiser of the year. Can Snow White and the big bad wolf find out what happened to Rose Red. Will Beauty and the Beast be able to make it through the whole evening without fighting about money, and will Prince not-so Charming get his comeuppance?

I think that one of my favourite cameo appearances was that of Pinocchio, destined to be trapped in a pre teen body for ever! Bratty and whiny, and oh so desperate to be able to get laid! Very funny stuff.

One thing to remember with these graphic novels (or are they cartoons given that this is a collection of separate cartoon chapters?) is that whilst these characters are the ones that we know from childhood, this series is one for more mature audiences. There is blood, violence, greed and plenty of flesh on display. The women are drawn voluptuously and the men are often hirsute and muscular!

Not one for the kiddies, but oh so much fun for the rest of us!

Rating 4.5/5

Who Killed Rose Red?

In Fabletown, where fairy tale legends live alongside regular New Yorkers, the question is all anyone can talk about. But only the Big Bad Wolf can actually solve the case–and, along with Rose’s sister Snow White, keep the Fabletown community from coming apart at the seams.
The author of this one is Bill Willingham but the art is by Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton, Sherilyn van Valkenburgh, Todd Klein, James jean and Alex Maleev. Just wanted to make sure I had recorded this somewhere for future reference.

I have finally read another book for the Once Upon a Time challenge! Woo-hoo!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

If I was at Hampton Court Palace today....

If I was lucky enough to be in London today, or indeed anytime between now and the end of September, I would be sure to head to Hampton Court Palace to visit the temporary exhibition, The Wild, The Beautiful and the Damned. The exhibition features the portraits of many of the famous people who lived and played in the court of King Charles II including his numerous mistresses.

I have mentioned before how much I have enjoyed books set during the Restoration period  and to see all those portraits and learn more about the people and the time would be fascinating.

Alas, a trip to London is not about to happen, so instead, I have to make do with this introductory video.

If I was lucky enough to be there during the time when the Palace is holding one of the live Tudor cookery events, I would be hard pressed to pass by without stopping by for a look!


I would be sure to spend some time admiring Henry VIII's astronomical clock too:


Hmmm. Maybe I better set aside two days to spend at Hampton Court Palace.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Library Loot: May 16 to 22

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader 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!

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera - This is the next choice of my face to face book clubs.

The Winding Ways Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini - I have stalled on this series for a couple of years now. I want to read one of the later books in the series but I don't like reading out of order so I need to get back to it.

Fool Moon by Jim Butcher - Reloot! I reread the first book in the series last year. Need to read this one so I can move forward in the series.

Clara and Mr Tiffany by Susan Vreeland - All of a sudden I realised that if I was going to read this book in time for the blog tour date then I needed to actually borrow it! I have reviewed the book here.

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith - The next book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan - Another reloot! Darn those other patrons who request books before I can read them!

Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes - During a #spbkchat session a few weeks ago someone mentioned that Marian Keyes had a new book coming out and it was about cake! Couldn't resist!

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye - More reloot. See comment above about Sea Hearts.

Share your loot by adding your Library Loot post link to Mr Linky below:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP