Wednesday, June 21, 2006

One book down!

I finished the Tim Brookes book... Hell of a place to lose a cow. It was very good and I've prepared a good review of it for when I get home. I can't take to much time here at the library because they only give you an hour and I've got other things to do. But I did finish it.

Other literature news, I went to the chapel of the first women known to have written a book. She was St. Juliane (sp) and I bought her book and also a bio of her. So I'll have to post how that goes. Again when I have more time.

Plus, I picked up two autographed copies of Josi Dew books (travel writer) at a new books store.

And the best part...walked by a used book store and just walked in to see what they had and I got not only a first edition copy of a Dervla Murphy book....but a autographed copy of one of Miss Read's last books. I was thrilled ! They are so hard to come by! (Both actually.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I will be on vacation from June 17th through July 2nd. I plan on still posting, but it might be once or twice a week. I hope to be able to write up lots of reviews when I'm vacation though...taking the laptop! I want to get through several of the books on my list over the two weeks! Ahhh....two weeks of bliss!

Anyway, I will probably post a bit about my vacation and how it is going will have to follow though.....

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

An interesting Challenge

I like to go to the website 52 Projects for ideas to enhance my creativity. Today's project is a good one for readers and might be something you might want to try. The idea is to contact a few authors that you really like, find out how to contact them, and write them a letter about how their work makes you feel. He continues on saying you could ask if you could interview them for your book blog either in person, by phone, or through email. That part I might not do...but the rest really sounds like a good idea. I have contacted authors from their websites before and been pleasantly surprised when they respond back with a REAL reply...not just something from a assistant!

Website is:

Let me know how you get on if you do this!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Wanted to say thanks to everyone who has written such nice comments and added me to their list of blogs to read! I really have missed writing reviews and feel a bit rusty...but you have all given me much confidence!

Summer Reading Challenge

Here are the books I'm trying to read this summer....

Martin Davies - The Conjuror's bird - Finished June 11th VERY GOOD READ!
Tim Brookes - A Hell of a Place to Lose a Cow - Finished... good
Dana Stabenow - A Taint in the Blood - Finished...VERY VERY GOOD
Jasper Fforde - The Eyre Affair
Josie Dew - A Ride in the Neon Sun
Martha Grimes - The Winds of Change
Barbara Pym - An Unsuitable attachment
Gillian Tindall - The House by the Thames
Jeanne M. Dams - Silence is Golden
Julian Barnes - Arthur and George

If you are familiar with these books at all you might see a pattern. I have to admit that I have to force myself to be a bit more rounded. I love non-fiction (even science stuff!), but if I had my way I would read nothing my mysteries. That would get tedious and boring. I like to read books in some kind of order anyway. I've not figured out why I can be so regimented, when most of my life I want to be free to do what I want. I suppose we all need a bit of order every now and again.

So have you spotted the pattern? Mystery, Fiction and then Non-Fiction. I usually have other books hidden here and there I'm reading....but this is kind of my hour before bed reading!

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Conjuror's Bird by Martin Davies

Wow, finished with my first book of the Summer Challenge! This was an excellent book. It had a mystery element without being a murder mystery, and had a really interesting historical backdrop to it.

It looks like this was Martin Davies first book. I'm impressed! He had done his homework about the historical elements and talks about them at the back of the book. The chapters go back and forth between the modern times story of Fitz and the historical times of Joseph Banks.

Modern times story line:

Fitz is a tutor and leading expert in the field of extinct birds. He is contacted by a long lost love, Gabreilla, to help an important backer of her work, find the stuffed Mysterious Bird of Ulieta. This bird was found on one of Cook's exploration trips and when returned to England was given to the famous explorer Joseph Banks. Then it disappeared. The man that wants to find it, Karl Anderson, thinks that since Fitz has studied these extinct birds he might know something about it....but Fitz is clueless but his interest has now been raised. With the help of Katya, the girl that rents a room in his house, he sets off to find the bird. What Fitz can't understand is why the man is willing to pay for finding a bird that if it existed still would likely be in tatters and not worth much? Who and why has his house been burglarized, since he doesn't know anything special about the bird? What is the relationship between Fitz and Gabriella?

Historical story line:
The second half of the story follows the lives of Joseph Banks and a mysterious young girl who he meets in the woods near his childhood home. Joseph is set to leave on his first exhibition with Cook and finds his young girl who can draw and paint beautiful pictures of nature, which is his passion. She isn't from a respectable family, her father has always been an outcast, hence the reason we aren't given her name, and he is slowly dying. I won't give much away about this, because Davies does a good job of each chapter building on the story line from past to present. So the least said the better.

I found this book really enjoyable. I was never able to come up with an answer for the mystery, and I liked that. I also liked how one chapter built on the other. Many times I wanted to skip the modern chapter to go on to the next historical and vice versa when I had finished the other! But you would miss so much out of the story if you did that!

Next Book:
Anyway....happy reading! Tonight I'll start reading Tim Brookes "A Hell of a Place to Lose a Cow", which is a travel book about traveling around rural USA. I bought the book because I was really homesick at that moment standing in a bookstore in Much Wenlock, my hubby's place of birth and hoped it would be a really good, funny travel read about my home country!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Lauren Henderson

I just finished reading Strawberry Tattoo by Lauren Henderson. I’ve read most of her books, see titles below, and have enjoyed them. (You might actually now Lauren for her recently book about Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating.) Most of them are set in London, England. The lead character Sam Jones is an artist who makes large metal mobiles. She is definitely NOT the normal cosy amateur detective. She is part of the Tart Noir movement (don’t know if that is actually what it should be called..but anyway….) which is a good website if you want to check it out. There are other authors that are part of this website that I have read and might talk about later. Sparkle Hayter is one of them…but she hasn’t had anything new out recently…which is too bad because I loved her books.

A bit of a caution here….if recreational drug taking and drink to access will bother you then you might not want to read these books. I was a bit taken back myself. Now I’m not a total prude, but I have to admit that most drugs in books are seen as BAD, but in these books they are just part of her life. It makes it interesting, but I can’t say I am totally comfortable with. But the mysteries are good.

In this book, Sam has gone to New York to have her mobiles part of a Young British Art exhibition at a gallery. She goes over early because she knows someone whose house she can stay in. When she gets there it isn’t to long for her to find herself in the middle of a mess at the gallery. First, one of the girls that worked at the gallery turns up dead. Secondly, the same night someone uses a key and code to get into the gallery and throw red paint all over the current exhibition. These paintings are works from a lady who has made her enemies. There are a lot of different people that could be the perpetrator. Could it be the other British artist that just happens to be early to New York without telling anyone? Or, the lover of the deceased gallery worker? The long lost friend of Sam’s who turns out to be the estranged daughter of the painter’s husband? Is it an inside job? Sam will keep on picking at the problem until she solves it!

Her books do have reoccurring characters, but since this is set in New York and not London you can read this out of order if you want.

The other books by Lauren Henderson in order of publication oldest first:

Dead White Female

Too Many Blondes

Black Rubber Dress

Freeze My Margarita

Strawberry Tattoo


Pretty Boy

Here I am....

I've been thinking about this for awhile and I decided that since I'm doing the Summer Reading Challenge it was time to go ahead. There are several different blogs I read, so I'll talk about those. I also am a big series mystery reader and I will talk about that a bit and include some of the research I've done over the years regarding them and other books. I tend to be a bit anal and I read things in order that they were written. I think that gives me a good idea how the author grew and since I like series it makes since to see how the characters grow over time.

Anyway, will post again in a bit...just wanted to get this in the works so that if anyone comes by from the Summer Reading Challenge there was something here!