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Archive for the ‘My Week In Review’ Category

Here is my reading summary for the week ending 27th May 2012

Each week I am giving a short summary for each book I have finished and a bit of a blurb for each. I will also give you a sneak peek of all the books I am currently reading (as I never read just one book at a time) and I will also share any quotes or internet links that catch my eye.

A= Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and read in one sitting

B= Really Good Read

C= Average – very readable and enjoyable

D= it was OK, a bit of a struggle to finish.

1. This week I have finished:

  • Goodbye Sarajevo by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield (Non-Fiction) – C

This is a moving and compelling true story about a family fighting for survival in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war. The story is told from the point of view of two of the sisters. The first sister is Atka, 21, who remains in besieged city looking after her five younger siblings, grandmother and father. The second sister is 12-year-old Hana who is sent away in a refugee bus with her 14-year-old sister Nadia to fend for themselves in various refugee centers. The book follows the lives of all the family members for the next few years as they cope with separation from loved ones, the loss of friends and relatives and struggle for survival amidst daily bombings. Years ago I read The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway which was a brilliant work of fiction based on a true story. While GOODBYE SARAJEVO is a compelling read, a completely truthful real life experience that brought me to tears over the cruel and inhumane actions that people are capable of doing to each other it just didn’t compare to the Galloway book for impact.

  • The Spider Goddess by Tara Moss (Paranormal Mystery) – A

THE SPIDER GODDESS picks up two months after the end of ‘The Blood Countess’ ends. Pandora has settled in with her great-aunt in a creepy mansion in the fog shrouded New York suburb of Spektor. Spektor doesn’t appear on any map and no-one has heard of it. Pandora and her aunt do not live alone in the mansion, there are some creepy guests, some of whom would love to feed off Pandora and have no reason to like her and every reason to fear Pandora’s growing powers. Pandora has found out that she is the inheritor of a great family ability; she is the seventh, which means she has a power that only comes along in the family once in 150 years. And with the title comes a frightening responsibility which Pandora finally starts to understand as THE SPIDER GODDESS progresses. The plot is fun and easy to read, with some deliciously creepy, spider ridden, scenes. If you suffer at all from arachnophobia, take note, but don’t worry a fiction spider can’t hurt you! Tara Moss manages to slip in some of the history of New York that many people aren’t aware of including a hanging tree and the victims of a shirt factory fire. Yes both are true I googled them. Now I have to wait until the third booking the series is released later this year.

  • Anne Boleyn and Me by Alison Prince (YA Historical) – C

This book is from the ‘My Story’ series which is aimed at the 8 to 12 year-old market. Each book is written as if it is the diary of a young fictional girl living at a particular point in history and who is an eye witness to an historical event. As the title states this is the diary of 11-year-old Elinor who was a lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn. Elinor is firmly on the side of Queen Katherine so Anne is recorded in a very bad light, which you wonder if Elinor could be a reliable witness and slightly biased against the usurper to the royal bed. Through Elinor’s eyes we learn about the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn and how King Henry puts his reputation on the line to possess Anne as his wife. The historical detail was very good, and the facts presented were known truths. Before the end of the story Elinor had grown up, married and given birth to two children – but her narration did not mature and she was still writing in a very juvenile way at the end. Having said that it was easy to read, light-hearted look at a turbulent and blood ridden period of history.

2. My Current reads:

Blurbs from the books I am currently reading are:

Thin Rich bitches by Janet Eve Josselyn (Chick Lit) – An uproarious romp through the minefield of female one-upmanship! Leaving her cheating husband in Boston with the paralegal he impregnated, Pippin and her son move to a ramshackle farmhouse in the exclusive community of Dover, Massachusetts. Pippin finds employment with a local architect, designing kitchen renovations for wealthy Dover women who treat her as they treat the rest of the hired help. Concluding that social climbing is just another sport that she is no good at, Pippin finds a way to become the flavour of the month.

The Bookshop on Jacaranda Street by Marlish Glorie (Chick Lit) – Helen burns her bed and her bridges when she leaves home to run a second hand bookshop. But can you ever really discard the past? For starters there are thousands of musty books to sort through. Then her sons return home with more baggage than a Qantas 747 and on top of all that the drunk who sold her the bookshop is determined to muscle his way back into the business. Helen desperately wants life to be a literary novel but it’s looking more and more like a pile of pulp fiction. As quirky characters browse the shelves of her bookshop, Helen fights for the right to choose a future that is not yet written

3. Quote/s and links for the week

First some links:

For those of you who wait for this each year, the Richard & Judy Summer Book Club 2012 list has been announced:

http://www.whsmith.co.uk/CatalogAndSearch/RichardAndJudyBookClub.aspx How many have you read?

Most Fridays the Aussie blogger at Oaken Bookcase gives us her Five for Friday – she picks a random topic and shares five bits of information about it – this week it is all about her experiences as a blogger and she shares five things she has learned in the three months she has been a blogger – all of which I found myself nodding in agreement to:

http://www.oakenbookcase.com/2012/05/25/five-friday-book-blog-newbie-2/

Now some quotes:

The first is the opening line of THE SPIDER GODDESS by Tara Moss:

“…I looked at the fashion model and reassured myself she wasn’t dead…”

The second is also an opening line it is from THE BOOKSHOP ON JACARANDA STREET by Marlish Glorie:

“…Shortly after five in the morning Helen Budd-Doyle chopped her bed to smithereens, manufacturing a million toothpicks, sufficient kindling for a week, pulp enough to make sixty rolls of toilet paper, and a thick layer of mulch for the garden bed – how ironic was that, she thought. Her bed could be all these things, yet could not provide her with one decent night of sleep…”

Slipping in a third this week is at the 49% point of THIN RICH BITCHES by Janet Eve Josselyn:

“…The gals in the kitchen looked less than thrilled to see the food arrive, despite the fact they’d been hired to heat and serve it. I didn’t think the "BITE ME" tee- shirt that one of them wore was exactly "appropriate holiday serving attire." Call me old fashioned…”

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Here is my reading summary for the week ending 20th May 2012

Each week I am giving a short summary for each book I have finished and a bit of a blurb for each. I will also give you a sneak peek of all the books I am currently reading (as I never read just one book at a time) and I will also share any quotes or internet links that catch my eye.

A= Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and read in one sitting

B= Really Good Read

C= Average – very readable and enjoyable

D= it was OK, a bit of a struggle to finish.

1. This week I have finished:

Prized by Caragh O’Brien (YA Dystopian) – A

Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but a baby, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone is barely surviving when she is taken in by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men despite being outnumbered by the men two or three to one. In order to see the baby again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her stand on justice, her need to protect and heal, or her heart? Then someone from her former life turns up and is thrown into jail to ensure Gaia’s compliance and that event triggers changes that will ultimately impact on everyone in the community. Gaia is a wonderful character – she is complex and made some whopping big mistakes, she was often confused and her motivation for making the various decisions were from her heart, which was not always reliable. The ending was not a surprise and sets the story up nicely for the final book in the trilogy

Days Like This by Alison Stewart (YA Dystopian) – A

A dystopian novel set in the near future in Sydney Australia. Global warming has resulted in a walled community with a chosen few living in a water rich oasis on the inside and a barren wasteland and the remains of the once bustling city on the outside. The people in Sydney believe they are the only ones alive and their lives are strictly controlled by ‘The Committee’ and their band of armed thugs called Blacktroopers. Lily, her twin brother Daniel and their younger sister Alice are not allowed to leave their house and are strictly controlled by their increasingly unapproachable and heartless parents. Then Daniel mysteriously disappears, Lily knows something bad has happened to him, but doesn’t realize how bad until it happens to her a few weeks later. I picked DAYS LIKE THIS up to read in my bubble bath and I ended up lying in cold water with skin so wrinkled that would make a Shar-Pei puppy jealous. What an incredible story – my other books were left to their own devices as I sat and read this in one day. This book is a stand alone and one heck of a thrill ride as Lilly jumps from one edge of the seat adventure after another.

2. My Current reads:

Blurbs from the books I am currently reading are:

Thin Rich bitches by Janet Eve Josselyn (Chick Lit) – An uproarious romp through the minefield of female one-upmanship! Leaving her cheating husband in Boston with the paralegal he impregnated, Pippin Snowe and her son move to a ramshackle farmhouse in the exclusive community of Dover, Massachusetts. Pippin finds employment with a local architect, designing kitchen renovations for wealthy Dover women who treat her as they treat the rest of the hired help. Concluding that social climbing is just another sport that she is no good at, Pippin opens a country club for dogs that offers services that the Dover women didn’t know they wanted until they found out that admission was required and spaces were limited.

Goodbye Sarajevo by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield (Non-Fiction) – A moving and compelling true story about two sisters fighting for survival in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war. The 46-month siege of Sarajevo in Bosnia in the 1990s caused more than 10,000 deaths. The sisters are Sarajevans who survived those grim years. Hana was 12 when her sister Atka, 21, placed her and sister Nadia, 14, on a refugee bus taking children and women from the embattled city. Atka stayed to look after her five youngest siblings, as their mother’s humanitarian work had trapped her and another sister, Lela, outside Sarajevo.

3. Quote/s and links for the week

First some links:

Buildings made of recycled books:

http://flavorwire.com/283928/10-gorgeous-buildings-made-out-of-books#1

An author gives her views on Chick Lit – back off literary snobs there is room for everyone in the book world, no-one should have to justify their reading choices:

http://blog.lisaheidke.com/?p=143

And the New York Times debated whether adults should read YA books:

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/03/28/the-power-of-young-adult-fiction

Now some quotes:

The first is the opening line of Prized by Caragh O’Brien:

“…She grabbed the hilt of her knife and scrambled backward into the darkness, holding the baby close in her other arm…”

The second is from page 165 of Prized by Caragh O’Brien

“…The sound of breaking bottles had been replaced by crickets as the full moon set behind the bluff, a peculiar, ashy light hovered over the road. Gaea strode rapidly, feeling her breath condense in the air before her face…”

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Here is my reading summary for the week ending 13th May 2012

Each week I give a short summary for each book I have finished and a bit of a blurb for each. I will also give you a sneak peek of all the books I am currently reading (as I never read just one book at a time) and I will also share any quotes or internet links that catch my eye.

A= Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and read in one sitting

B= Really Good Read

C= Average – very readable and enjoyable

D= it was OK, a bit of a struggle to finish.

1. This week I have finished:

  • Ruby Blues by Jessica Rudd (Chick Lit – Australian Author) – B

Ruby Stanhope is the sort of girl who lurches from one hilarious drama to another – she is so busy trying to be all things for all people that she spreads herself thin and starts to forget stuff. RUBY BLUES commences two years after book one (Campaign Ruby) and Ruby has a number of issues going on in he life. She is now an advisor for the PM after his landside win at the snap election in the first book; however now the PM is plunging in the popularity polls and nothing seems to be reversing the trend. There are more leaks in Canberra than in the Titanic – all of them untrue – and Ruby needs to track them down fast. Her lesbian aunties are expecting their first child and need constant reassurance. The irritatingly upbeat “life is wonderful’ acronym queen Bettina has been assigned to Ruby as a trainee much to the disgust of Ruby. Ruby’s relationship with the dynamic Luke has reversed and she is now the one who is never home, and forgets important dates, and faces an ultimatum: Luke or the job. But more important than any of these drama’s in Ruby’s life is the fact she is about to turn thirty. There are quite a few plot twists going on and they all get concluded before the last page is turned. I loved Bettina – she would drive me nuts – but everyone needs a Bettina in their life. Overall a really enjoyable, fun read and I am fairly certain it is a good indication of what really happens behind the scenes in politics in all the parties.

2. My Current reads:

Blurbs from the books I am currently reading are:

Devil-Devil by G.W.Kent (Mystery) – a mystery set in the Solomon Islands in the 1960s. Sergeant Ben Kella of the Solomon Islands Police Force is only a few days into a routine patrol, yet already he has been cursed by a magic man, stumbled across evidence of a cargo cult uprising and failed to find an American anthropologist who has been scouring the mountainous jungle in search of a priceless pornographic icon. To complicate matters further, at a local mission station Kella discovers the redoubtable Sister Conchita secretly trying to bury a skeleton then a mysterious gunman tries to kill her.

Thin Rich bitches by Janet Eve Josselyn (Chick Lit) – An uproarious romp through the minefield of female one-upmanship! Leaving her cheating husband in Boston with the paralegal he impregnated, Pippin Snowe and her son move to a ramshackle farmhouse in the exclusive community of Dover, Massachusetts. Pippin finds employment with a local architect, designing kitchen renovations for wealthy Dover women who treat her as they treat the rest of the hired help. Concluding that social climbing is just another sport that she is no good at, Pippin opens a country club for dogs that offers services that the Dover women didn’t know they wanted until they found out that admission was required and spaces were limited.

Prized by Caragh O’Brien (YA Dystopian) – Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but a baby, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see the baby again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

3. Quote/s and links for the week

First some links:

If you like reading lists then this one might interest you – The books that make the bestseller lists are pretty much predetermined months ahead of time when the publisher orders a certain number of books for the first print run — based on how well the author’s previous books have done in sales/reviews/awards, etc. The Indienext list is determined by independent booksellers and mainly based on early reviews – a more ‘real’ reflection of popular books:

http://www.indiebound.org/

Don’t know what to read next? These two web pages will help if you are trying to find an author/book similar to one you’ve read and enjoyed:

http://www.literature-map.com/

http://www.whatshouldireadnext.com/

Now some quotes:

The first is from pg 18 of DEVIL-DEVIL by GW Kent:

“…Peter Oro looked at Kella. All traces of the youth’s truculence had vanished. Suddenly he was just another frightened village boy brought against his will into contact with ghosts. The magic man has cursed you, Sergeant Kella,’ he said, his voice shaded by misery and despair. ‘Now surely you will die!’ The schoolboy turned and ran…”

The second is the opening line of Prized by Caragh O’Brien:

“…She grabbed the hilt of her knife and scrambled backward into the darkness, holding the baby close in her other arm…”

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Here is my reading summary for the week ending 6th May 2012

Each week I give a short summary for each book I have finished and a bit of a blurb for each. I will also give you a sneak peek of all the books I am currently reading (as I never read just one book at a time) and I will also share any quotes or internet links that catch my eye.

A= Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and read in one sitting

B= Really Good Read

C= Average – very readable and enjoyable

D= it was OK, a bit of a struggle to finish.

1. This week I have finished:

  • The Wanderer by Pippa Dee (YA Science Fiction) – A

Sasha and Andy have been friends for ever – they spend all their school time and spare time together and share everything. Justine has just arrived in town and she is finding it tough to make friends in the small country town where everyone has known each other for ever. The three fourteen-year-olds are drawn together when the wanderer arrives to destroy all that they love. Sasha opens an email attachment and is infected by the Wanderer who has just escaped from his prison of a thousand years. His sole goal is to spread a deathly sickness – but this is not the first time a wanderer has caused havoc. Justine and Andy have to look to the past to save the future. After a bit of a confusing start I was quickly sucked into this incredibly fast paced story. Everything got put to one side as I flipped my virtual pages to see what was going to happen next, how on earth the story was going to be resolved. The first in a proposed series, The Wanderer was a great debut for Pippa Dee and aimed at teens from 13 to 15 – and those of us who wished we still were! Although at the end there is an opening that you know is the link to the next book, overall the ending is complete with no loose ends. An Australian author, Pippa Dee has written five fantastic crime fiction books featuring Sophie Anderson – an FBI profiler – under the name of PD Martin.

Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book for review – and I made no promise that it would be favorable. Mind you that did not become a problem as the book is great and I can’t wait until the release of the second in the series later this year.

  • The Blood Countess by Tara Moss (YA Paranormal) – A

The Blood Countess is the first book in the new Pandora English YA series by author Tara Moss, known for her bestselling crime novels; and what an entertaining read it is – I loved it. Pandora is an orphan and has been living with her aunty in rural USA. She has now left school and wants a job in the fashion world. She is invited to New York to live with her great-aunt Celia and has soon settled in and has a new job as an assistant at Pandora magazine (yes a huge coincidence). There are a few indications that Pandora’s life is a little off beat – her aunt’s apartment building is a creepy looking building in a quiet misty suburb called Spektor that no New Yorker taxi driver can find. Her aunt is very young looking for an old lady and only comes out at night; she also has an extreme reaction to garlic. And we won’t even mention the good-looking man who visits Pandora’s bedroom at night – who’s been dead since the Civil War! A very clever story – with mentions of The Addams Family, Anne Rice and numerous other clever references – loved the Sesame Street connection – laughed myself silly over that one. The sequel is out ‘The Spider Goddess’ and I have it on reserve at the library – yes reserve – always an indication of a well liked book.

  • Whiskey Island by Emilie Richards (Mystery) – C

WHISKEY ISLAND has it all – suspense, mystery, history and romance. The Whiskey Island Saloon is been run by Megan Donaghue, a 5th generation Irish-American. She shares ownership with her two sisters, Casey and Peggy, who had both left home many years ago. The story opens with the two sisters returning, with a little girl in tow, and immediately being attacked in the carpark of the saloon. A former priest, Niccolo Andreani, is passing by when it happens and he goes in to rescue the women. The carjackers are eventually overcome, but Niccolo claims he had help from a homeless person. The story then follows the lives of the three sisters, Ashley the little girl, Niccolo and a sixth character, Jon Kovats – childhood friend of Casey and a prosecutor – in the present day; and also flashes back to the 1880s and tells the story of Terry and Lena Tierney, Irish immigrants who are struggling not only to make on Whiskey Island in the 1880s but to save money to bring their families to America. How these two stories connect, and how a murder is solved is the focus of WHISKEYISLAND and it is an enjoyable read and not confusing at all despite the two threads. There is a sequel to this – The Parting Glass.

2. My Current reads:

Blurbs from the books I am currently reading are:

Devil-Devil by G.W.Kent (Mystery) – a mystery set in the Solomon Islands in the 1960s. Sergeant Ben Kella of the Solomon Islands Police Force is only a few days into a routine patrol, yet already he has been cursed by a magic man, stumbled across evidence of a cargo cult uprising and failed to find an American anthropologist who has been scouring the mountainous jungle in search of a priceless pornographic icon. To complicate matters further, at a local mission station Kella discovers the redoubtable Sister Conchita secretly trying to bury a skeleton then a mysterious gunman tries to kill her.

Ruby Blues by Jessica Rudd (Chick Lit – Australian Author) – In the first book in the series (Campaign Ruby) the very fabulous Ruby Stanhope got the Leader of the Opposition elected and fell in love with Luke. In Ruby Blues she is back for more cocktail spills and political thrills. Two years into his first term, the new PM is on the nose. And Luke is demanding romantic dinners at home rather than takeaway on the run. What’s a girl to do when she’s about to turn thirty, when her wardrobe turns drab, her love life turns luke-warm and the government is leakier than a cheap umbrella? Can she find her inner Nancy Drew in time to save her boss? Will she succumb to temptation when Elliot, the hot vet, enters the scene? Luke? Elliot? Work? Love? Unladdered stockings? Can she have it all? And, more importantly, what should she wear to the Midwinter Ball?

Thin Rich bitches by Janet Eve Josselyn (Chick Lit) – An uproarious romp through the minefield of female one-upmanship! Leaving her cheating husband in Boston with the paralegal he impregnated, Pippin Snowe and her son move to a ramshackle farmhouse in the exclusive community of Dover, Massachusetts. Pippin finds employment with a local architect, designing kitchen renovations for wealthy Dover women who treat her as they treat the rest of the hired help. Concluding that social climbing is just another sport that she is no good at, Pippin opens a country club for dogs that offers services that the Dover women didn’t know they wanted until they found out that admission was required and spaces were limited. With irreverent wit, Thin Rich Bitches is a humorous chronicle of one woman’s quest to find her place within a community of people who are more blessed physically and financially, while learning valuable lessons about life, love, competition, and canine couture.

3. Quote/s and links for the week

First some links:

Looking for a book set in a particular country? Doing one of the many ‘reading around the world’ challenges? These links may possibly be for you:

http://www.bookssetin.com/

http://www.bibliotravel.com/places.php

Why are some of the award winning books going out of print?

A loss for words: winning books hit the dust:

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/a-loss-for-words-winning-books-hit-the-dust-20120428-1xs13.html

Finally, the world’s smallest library is seen here: http://t.co/wGtcWaXo

Now some quotes:

The first is from pg 18 of DEVIL-DEVIL by GW Kent

“…Peter Oro looked at Kella. All traces of the youth’s truculence had vanished. Suddenly he was just another frightened village boy brought against his will into contact with ghosts. The magic man has cursed you, Sergeant Kella,’ he said, his voice shaded by misery and despair. ‘Now surely you will die!’ The schoolboy turned and ran…”

The next is the opening line of ‘Thin Rich bitches’ by Janet Eve Josselyn:

“…I have never done club drugs, younger men or Botox. But I have done other stupid things, like a marry a morally promiscuous frat boy who came to believe that his sexual prowess shouldn’t be squandered solely on his wife…”

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Here is my reading summary for the week ending 29th April 2012

Each week I give a short summary for each book I have finished and a bit of a blurb for each. I will also give you a sneak peek of all the books I am currently reading (as I never read just one book at a time) and I will also share any quotes or internet links that catch my eye.

A= Excellent Stuff

B= Really Good Read

C= Average

D= it was OK, a bit of a struggle to finish.

1. This week I have finished:

  • Flying The Coop by Ilsa Evans (Women’s Fiction) – A

Chris Beggs is a divorced mother of two who in an impulsive, spur of the moment decision to annoy her ex-husband buys a free-range chicken farm. Chris knows nothing about farming and her only experience with a chicken as a child was not a happy one. She tries desperately to get out of it but her children think it is great and a few months later they leave the big smoke and head for the country. Then the fun starts – early morning egg collections, bossy neighbours, a revengeful accountant, possum poo and a psychotic alpaca all add to her steep learning curve. So many things I liked about this book – the one that sticks in my mind is that Chris’s seven year old son plays with toy cars in the dirt and does really stupid things like falling in ponds – so normal and a refreshing change from being portrayed as a techno geek. He does love his computer games – but is just as happy using his imagination. All in all a very enjoyable read. Ilsa Evans is a new discovery for me, but luckily she has been writing for a few years now so I have a few books I can go back and read. Flying the Coop is her 5th book – but she has written a total of 8 books plus an e-book of short stories. Have the first two of the laundry series on order – so that should get me started. I never cease to be amazed how many really good Australian female authors there are – and I shouldn’t be, we Aussies are a talented mob!

  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (YA Dystopian) – A

‘How I Live Now’ is set in modern day England, slightly in the future. 15-year-old Daisy has been sent to England to stay with her Aunty and cousins from her home in New York as her father and step-mother don’t know what to do with her. Daisy has issues, she is guilty that her mother died giving birth to her and she is intensely jealous of her father marrying again and now a new baby is coming. She is collected from London airport by her cousin Edmond and taken to her Aunt Penn’s country farmhouse and meets her other cousins. There are rumors of war, which like most young teens they are not concerned with, in fact think of it as some sort of Internet game rather than reality. Daisy falls in love with Edmond but their special link is soon broken when the rumored war becomes reality (NB – love between first cousins is NOT incest – in fact they can legally marry). The aggressor is never named and the reason for the aggression is never really revealed – only that it is world wide. Soon the four cousins are living in occupied England

This is a terrific read. I read it in one 24 hour period. It is hard to read in the sense of the odd punctuation, capital letters all over the place at the oddest times – but taking into consideration the age, education and trauma experienced of the narrator (Daisy) it all adds to the mood of the book. Teenage angst, love, shock and horror is followed by a terrifying battle against an unnamed enemy and coping with witnessing atrocities that no human should have to see, or experience. The author engulfed me her world and even compelled me to shed a tear or two.

2. My Current reads:

Blurbs from the books I am currently reading are:

Whiskey Island by Emilie Richards (Mystery) – Once a struggling community of Irish immigrants, Lake Erie’s WhiskeyIsland has a colourful past. The Whiskey Island Saloon has been a local gathering place for many generations, and it is now run by the Donaghue sisters, whose lives have been shaped by family tragedy and a haunting mystery. The book opens with an act of violence sets the wheels of fate in motion, Megan Donaghue, a woman unwilling to trust in love, and Niccolo Andreani, a man unwilling to trust in himself, are determined to learn the truth about one fateful night in the family’s long-forgotten past. As an old man struggles to protect a secret as old as Whiskey Island itself, a murder that still shadows too many lives is about to be solved–with repercussions no one can predict.

Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (General Fiction) – A story set in Freetown, Sierra Leone featuring two triangular relationships separated by a generation and a Civil War, with parallel accounts set during the political unrest in 1969 at the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing and during the period 1999 to 2001 following the vicious civil war. The 1960s story features Julius Kamara and Elias Cole who have only one thing in common; their love for Saffia. The later story features Adrian, a disenchanted Psychologist from London who takes advantage of an overseas government sponsored post in Sierra Leone to research Post Traumatic Stress disorder. He befriends Kai Mansaray a dedicated and accomplished young trauma surgeon who works tirelessly at the city hospital. The past meets the present through memories of love.

Devil-Devil by G.W.Kent (Mystery) – Sergeant Ben Kella of the Solomon Islands Police Force is only a few days into a routine patrol, yet already he has been cursed by a magic man, stumbled across evidence of a cargo cult uprising and failed to find an American anthropologist who has been scouring the mountainous jungle in search of a priceless pornographic icon. To complicate matters further, at a local mission station Kella discovers the redoubtable Sister Conchita secretly trying to bury a skeleton then a mysterious gunman tries to kill her.

3. Quote/s and links for the week

First a link or maybe two:

I was one of the early members if Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/) – but it is becoming very trendy these days. And now there is a Pinterest challenge!!! As far as I know it is the first one – and I am certainly going to challenge myself to cooking something I have pinned!!

http://www.lovelaughterinsanity.com/2012/04/pin-it-and-do-it-pinteresting-challenge.html?spref=tw&m=1

Also my friend Lisa Hill is a ‘words and writings’ finalist in the 2012 best Australian Blogs competition for her blog ANZ Litlovers Litblog. Winners will be announced 10th May, all of us in the ANZ Litlovers yahoo group are very proud of her: http://tinyurl.com/83dah3g

Now some quotes:

The first is from pg 19 of ‘Memory of Love’ by Aminatta Forna:

"…A fly is trapped, one moment frenziedly hitting the window, the next hurtling across the room above Adrian’s head. He swats at it and misses. Now his concentration is broken and so he sets down his pen, crosses to the window and prises it open…"

The second is from WhiskeyIsland by Emilie Richards – is an e-book so is at 32% read position:

"…There was nothing more she could say right now. She had been manipulated, extolled, critiqued, confided in and kissed. It was more emotion, more conversation, than she had experienced during her entire marriage…"

The last one is from pg 121 of ‘How I Live Now’ by Meg Rosoff.

“…If you haven’t been in a war and are wondering how long it takes to get used to losing everything you think you need or love, I can tell you the answer is no time at all…”

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Here is my reading summary for the fortnight ending 21st April 2012

Each week I give a short summary for each book I have finished and a bit of a blurb for each. I will also give you a sneak peek of all the books I am currently reading (as I never read just one book at a time) and I will also share any quotes or internet links that catch my eye.

A= Excellent Stuff

B= Really Good Read

C= Average

D= it was OK, a bit of a struggle to finish.

Last week I was away on leave sipping cocktails in the tropics so this week is actually a fortnight’s worth.

1. This fortnight I have finished:

  • Nightsiders by Sue Isle (Science Fiction/Short Stories) – C

This book is the first volume in the Twelfth Planet Press’s series of short collections by Australian female authors. The instructions given to each of the authors was to write 4 short stories of up to 40,000 words in total. This collection is set in the near future in Perth. Because of global warming the west coast of Australia has been evacuated to the east coast and all the infrastructure and services have long gone. Still, a few thousand people remain, trying to stay alive anyway they can.

The Painted Girl – this story is set around a young girl who has been stolen from her parents while a baby. This story sets the reader up for the lengths that people have gone to in order to survive the harsh conditions.

Nation of the Night – A young man has been born in a woman’s body, the lengths he has to go to in order to have his sex change, and gives us a glimpse of life in the rest of Australia

Paper Dragons – back to Perth and this time we see life through an acting troupe who put on a play about how life was before the evacuation.

The Schoolteacher’s Tale – This was my least favourite story, two characters from the troupe decide to marry and live outside the city.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I did ‘Love and Romanpunk’ by Tansy Rayner Roberts but there are still 10 more in the series to go – so will work my way through all of them. For more information on the Twelve Planets series, visit: http://www.twelfthplanetpress.com

  • Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (Paranormal/Young Adult) – B

In the first book of the series ‘Hex Hall’ Sophie Mercer always thought she was a witch who couldn’t control her powers, she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent paranormal children. There she discovered that she is actually a powerful demon, just like her dad, and they are the only two in the world. Utterly scared of her powers, and after the events of the first book, scared of what she could potentially become, in Demonglass Sophie requests that her powers be removed; a very dangerous procedure that could end up with her being very dead. Her dad flies her to London along with her friend Jenna, and Cal. There she discovers that two more demons have been raised and this is very worrisome indeed. The eye is still looking for her and a war between the two movements is imminent. Lots of twists, turns edge of the seat danger and betrayals that leave the reader set up for the final book in the trilogy.

  • Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich (Mystery) – B

I have to say upfront that I am a Stephanie Plum fan through and through and have enjoyed every book in the series, some less than others admittedly, but the slapdash humour and silliness is why I read them. This book begins with the Stephanie returning after being in Hawaii and during the return flight a man sticks an envelope with a photograph in Stephanie’s bag. She sees it when unpacking and comments the man in the photo is a hunk and then throws it away. The man turns up dead and people are looking for the photograph and don’t believe Stephanie when she says she tossed it. This scenario immediately sets Stephanie up as a target for some crazy photo hunters – Russian, fake FBI and the real FBI. What happened in Hawaii is a bit of a mystery too – Ranger, Joe and Stephanie are all tip-toeing around each other – and wounds, and a wedding ring tan mark, are there for all to see. Throw into the mix a car full of horse manure, some bail dodgers, an arch enemy moving into Stephanie’s flat, a love potion and Lula and grandma and you have one silly, crazy and funny story.

  • Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (General Fiction) – A

The story opens just after the end of WWII with a grave being dug. That the character is disliked by the two gravediggers is obvious – but why the character is dead and why they are disliked is the foundation of the story. Told from six points of view, Laura is the voice heard the most often. Laura is a city woman who accepts Henry’s proposal and settles down to rural life in urban Memphis as a wife and eventually mother. She is not aware of Henry’s dream to own a farm and is shocked to find that she, Henry, their daughters and Pappy (Henry’s hateful father) are soon living in a mud-ridden cotton farm rural Mississippi. The other voices telling the story are Laura’s husband Henry; Jamie, Henry’s much younger and charming brother, a returning war hero with a serious drinking problem; Hap, a middle-aged black tenant farmer and part time preacher, and his wife Florence who acts as a midwife to the poorer people in the area and as housekeeper for Laura. Finally, there is Ronsel, son of Hap and Florence, who is also a returning war hero but is finding it hard to return to his expected subservient position after seeing the greater acceptance of blacks in Europe and other parts of the United States. So there you have it – Laura is not coping living in a constant quagmire with an uncaring husband, no electricity, no running water and a nasty father-in-law. Jamie is not coping with the memories of war and being in love with his brother’s wife, Ronsel is not coping with being thought of as less than human. Henry is oblivious and the tensions start to rise. I could not put this book down!!!

  • The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough by Neta Jackson (Christian Chick Lit) – B

I love the world of the Yada Yada prayer group, for each of the ladies life is not perfect they have their problems, but stand together to face whatever is thrown at them. This time the ladies have to get tough as they face the threats from a white supremacy group to interracial churches sharing the same church premises, wining the lottery, teen romances and unplanned pregnancies and the violent attack on one of their husbands that leaves him in the ICU.The ladies of the group still manage to find the time each week they need to get together and pray over all the hot issues in their lives. This book will make you laugh, get very angry and even shed a tear or two, but I defy you to read it through and not feel any emotion.

  • The Murder at the Murder at Mimosa Inn by Joan E Hess (Mystery) – C

This is the second in the Claire Malloy series, and is not my favourite. I happily read series out of sequence so this is the sixth one I have read. Claire decides to go to a murder mystery weekend at the Mimosa Inn and drags her less than enthusiastic teenage daughter with her. Claire is determined to solve the mystery and win the prize, a bottle of champagne. Her boyfriend Peter (a police investigator) ridicules the whole idea of pretend murder games which only makes Claire more determined. The game commences and the ‘victim’ turns up dead – really dead; so all the hotel guests are now suspects – real suspects. The storyline had so much potential, and I really enjoyed the other books I have read, its just that this one fell a bit short for me.

  • Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry (Mystery) – A

Bronwyn Parry is fast becoming one of my must buy authors. I am very reluctant to call this book a romance. Sure there is attraction between the two main characters but the focus is on suspense and murder with the opening murder being a grizzly one indeed. National Parks ranger Jo Lockwood stumbles across a mutilated body in an isolated park in north-west region of New South Wales while on a routine inspection of camping grounds. The victim had been tortured before his death and a stash of drugs are found near the scene. Detective Nick Matheson is brought in to investigate the crime and soon realises that that Jo is at risk from the murderer as it would appear she had spoken to him without realizing it. As the body count rises it becomes clear there is a leak in the task force. Jo and Nick have to find out where the murderer, and his increasingly growing gang, is and stop him. They also have to battle against snipers, bushfires and finally one-on-one combat as they struggle to expose police corruption and thwart an illegal drug smuggling route being set up. This is a fast-paced and exciting story with some unexpected twists that kept me on the edge of my seat for a four hour flight.

2. My Current reads:

Blurbs from the books I am currently reading are:

Flying the Coop by Ilsa Evans (Light Fiction) – All Chris wanted to do was teach her ex-husband a lesson, but somehow she ends up with a free range chook farm – when her only poultry experience is a childhood rooster that was repeatedly violated by the resident rabbit. So soon Chris finds herself in the country where the neighbours have deep secrets, her teenage daughter is bent on world domination, the bookkeeper is bent on revenge, and the alpaca is psychotic. By flying the coop she may have put all her eggs in one basket. And they’re each about to hatch.

Whiskey Island by Emilie Richards (Mystery) – Once a struggling community of Irish immigrants, Lake Erie’s WhiskeyIsland has a colourful past. The Whiskey Island Saloon has been a local gathering place for many generations, and it is now run by the Donaghue sisters, whose lives have been shaped by family tragedy and a haunting mystery. The book opens with an act of violence sets the wheels of fate in motion, Megan Donaghue, a woman unwilling to trust love, and Niccolo Andreani, a man unwilling to trust himself, are determined to learn the truth about one fateful night in the family’s long-forgotten past. As an old man struggles to protect a secret as old as Whiskey Island itself, a murder that still shadows too many lives is about to be solved–with repercussions no one can predict.

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Here is my reading summary for the week ending 8th April 2012

Each week I give a short summary for each book I have finished and a bit of a blurb for each. I will also give you a sneak peek of all the books I am currently reading (as I never read just one book at a time) and I will also share any quotes or internet links that catch my eye.

A= Excellent Stuff

B= Really Good Read

C= Average

D= it was OK, a bit of a struggle to finish.

1. This week I have finished:

  • A Lie for a Lie by Emilie Richards (Cozy Mystery) – B

This the 4th book in the cozy ‘Ministry for Murder’ series starring Aggie Sloan-Wilcox, wife of a small town Minister and mother of two school-aged daughters. She is cajoled by a committee to drive around a celebrity, Grady Barber – who once lived in Emerald Springs, to save costs for a fund raising event. He is rude, tyrannical and demanding, so Aggie is not surprised when someone murders him. The main suspect is his ex-wife who has just moved to town. Aggie decides to prove the ex-wife’s innocence, but there is a long list of people who would have like to kill the victim!!! In the background she has to deal with a family upset when her husband uses their daughter Deena as a shining example in one of his sermons – Deena is horrified and ends up being grounded and giving her parents the silent treatment. Oh so familiar to parents of teens! I love the characters in this book and Richards makes them all come alive on the page

  • Addition by Toni Jordan (Chick Lit) – C

Addition is an unusual romance. Grace’s whole life is defined by numbers – numbers give her a sense of being. Numbers dictate how many steps she takes, how many poppy seeds are in her cake, how many slices of zucchini she eats. She is so ruled by her obsession that she has lost the ability to live a ‘normal’ life. Life for Grace is predictable, with no room for spontaneity, but she doesn’t think her life is bad – she is so busy counting. Then she meets Seamus and slowly life changes. But is it for the better?

  • Fire and Fog by Dianne Day (Mystery) – B

The second in the Fremont Jones series and Fremont is woken up in the early hours of dawn in 1906 to find San Francisco being shaken to bits and she narrowly misses being killed when her heavy cupboard falling over. Fremont is ordered out of her accommodation as the huge fires are burning out of control through the city, so she is quickly made homeless. However, this doesn’t stop her from almost immediately becoming engulfed in a mystery that includes missing people, a crazy woman, a marriage proposal, ninjas and treasure.

  • Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Fantasy/Short Stories) – B

This is the second of Twelfth Planet Press’s series of short collections by Australian female writers. Tansy writes four short stories that all interconnect, they are:

Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary – the true story of the Caesars, my least favourite story, but understood later it set up the rest of the tales.

Lamia Victoriana – two sisters, Fanny and Mary, run away from London with a mysterious poet and his sister.

The Patrician – My favourite story – In the Australian bush a replica RomanCity has been built using some bricks from ancient Roman ruins. It’s a popular attraction – except for the monsters.

Romanpunks – But waits there more, the last hurrah

For more information on the Twelve Planets series, visit: http://www.twelfthplanetpress.com

  • Desperate Pastors’ Wives by Ginger Kolbaba and Christy Scannell (Christian Chick Lit) – B

Mimi, Felicia, Jennifer and Lisa all live in Red River, Ohio. They are also all the wives of Pastors from different Christian denominations. Once a month on a Tuesday they secretly escape to the next town and have lunch together at Lulu’s Cafe. They are a support group as no one can understand the problems they have, except another pastor’ wife. The four women use some very unorthodox methods to solve their problems, proving that God really does move in mysterious ways. There are tears, anguish and laughter before the story comes to an end. The first in a series, there are two more books to follow.

  • Fire me Up by Kate MacAlister (Paranormal/Mystery/Romance) – B

Ashling has left her want-to-be Dragon mate Draco, and headed for Hungary for a paranormal conference to find a mentor to train her for her role as a Guardian. With her is Jim, a demon she has raised by accident, in the form of a Newfoundland dog. Her uncle has given her an amulet to deliver to a customer of his. Trouble is the customer is a hermit with no fixed address. First person she sees on arrival is Draco, who tells her that she can’t walk away from being his mate. Ashling ignores him and continues to search for a mentor however trouble usually follows her and it would appear she is lusted over by any and all eligible males – both human and paranormal! Then throw in a couple of murders and a Dragon war and this book keeps you enthralled until the end. I have the next two lined up ready to go.

2. My Current reads:

The books I am currently reading are:

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (YA Paranormal) – Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch and when she couldn’t control her powers she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent paranormal children. Turns out she is a powerful demon, just like her dad, the only two in the world. Sophie travels to London with her father who is head of the Paranormal Council where she hopes her powers will be removed in a dangerous procedure that could end up with her being very dead.

Nightsiders by Sue Isle (Science Fiction/Short Stories) – Nightsiders is the first volume in the Twelfth Planet Press’s series of short collections by Australian female writers. This collection of four stories is Science Fiction – set in the near future in Perth – the west coast has mostly been evacuated to the east coast and all the infrastructure and services have long gone. Still a few thousand people remain – scrapping a living anyway they can.

3. Quote/s and links for the week

No links this week – so here are some quotes:

The first is from pg 187 of ‘Addition’ by Toni Jordan

“…When white pills – when 22 little white pills – hit the toilet bowl, they float…When I push the button, they hesitate for a moment then huddle together in a paroxysm of fear. They shudder. They’re going down! Bracing themselves, they hurl violently clockwise before disappearing in a scream and a gurgle…”

The opening lines of ‘Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary’ in LOVE AND ROMANPUNK by Tansy Rayner Roberts are:

"…Let us begin with the issue of most interest to future historians: I did not poison my uncle and husband the Emperor Claudius. Instead, I drove a stake through his heart. In my defense, several of my close relatives have been vampires, and I have had little occasion to kill any of them. Claudius was a particular case…"

From pg 86 of ‘Romanpunks’ in LOVE AND ROMANPUNK by Tansy Rayner Roberts

"…Here’s a tip: don’t spike a whole bar’s worth of wine with those devious silver droplets. Unless you want a zeppelin full of silver-blooded vampiric women soaring over your city…"

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