Sunday, January 31, 2010


Pages: 351
Date: 31/01/2010
Grade: 4.5
Details: no. 2 Friday Night Knitting Club

This book is set five years after Georgia Walker died. Walker & Daughter knitting store is still up and running under Peri's management and the women of the Knitting Club still meet on Friday nights.
Georgia's daughter Dakota, now 18, is trying to figure out what to do with her life and ready to discover love.
Lucie is struggling to juggle a demanding five year old, her elderly mother and a successful career.
Caroline needs to discover who she really is and stop looking for men to complete her life.
Darwin gives birth to twins and gains a new perspective on life.
And Anita decides to marry Marty, despite objections from her children and sets out to try and fix a mistake she made 40 years earlier.
A trip to Italy for several members of the group brings them closer together and to their objectives. But it is a disaster back home that provides the insight that many of them need with regard to the future.
It was nice, revisiting with the members of the Friday Night Knitting Club and discovering what happened to them after Georgia's death. I felt I got to know them a lot better in this book then I did in the first one. Just as I felt that the writing had improved since then.
I'm looking forward to reading more about these women in the not too distant future. 

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Pages: 281
Date: 30/01/2010
Grade: 4-

This book goes to show that sometimes it does pay to read both the blurb AND the author information if you want a good idea as to what sort of a book you're picking up.
I had never read anything by this author when the title made me pick it up while checking the shelves in the library. Curious I read the blurb and came to the conclusion that this was a mystery, maybe with some super-natural elements, and decided to bring it home.
It was only when I was about halfway through the book and found it was far more gruesome and graphic then I expected that I checked the author blurb and discovered that Masterton is "one of the world's bestselling horror writers".
This story though is not so horrific that I was tempted not to finish it. But, this is not a book for the feint-hearted; a lot of children (as well as adults) get killed and the sex scenes, although quite brief, do get graphic.
The book also suffers from another problem, one I encounted quite a lot when reading horror; I had to take too much on faith. Too much is unexplained and/or suddenly sprung upon the reader. 
Yet, despite all of that, I did find the story and characters interesting enough to keep turning the pages. Graham Masterton definitely knows how to write a story that draws you in.
This is the story of Frank Bell, a successful Hollywood comedy writer. When he brings his young son Danny to school, Frank witnesses how a white van drives into the school grounds and blows up, killing both Danny and several other pupils and teachers.
The bombing is claimed by a group called Dar Tariki Tariqat, and the authorities assume they're dealing with Muslim extremists.
But, as Frank teams up with Astrid, a mysterious girl he first meets immediately after the blast, and Neville Strange, a celebrated psychic detective and while the devastating attacks on Hollywood's entertainment industry continue, a different and tragic picture starts to emerge.
Frank is entering a world where terrible abuses from the past are being avenged and the dead are much closer than he could ever have believed. 

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Pages: 419
Date: 27/01/2010
Grade: 4
Details: no. 4 Haunted Bookshop Mystery
            Large  Print

After my previous reads I really needed something lighter. And this books fits that description perfectly; it's a fun, light but reasonably well plotted cozy mystery.
The events in this story take place during a Film Noir Festival, with Penelope Thornton-McClure taking care of book sales and signings for the guest speakers.
During the opening night, one of the special guests Hedda Geist, a former actress and famous femme fatale, is nearly killed in an incident that's written of as an accident. Penelope however has her doubts, as does her ghost, Jack Shephard, a P.I. dead since 1949.
When the next day someone does die in Penelope's bookshop, her doubts are confirmed, although the police continue to stick to their unfortunate accidents theory.
Penelope's case in the present has links to a case of Jack's in the past and the two of them set out to solve both cases, but not not before more deaths occur and Penelope finds herself in danger.
A fun book, although at times highly improbable and with one or two holes in the plot. Still, for light relief it was the ideal book.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


And boy, did I get a surprise yesterday.
I wasn't really expecting anything for my birthday. With Christmas just behind us, and all the extra expenses as a result of the freezing cold lately I sort of hoped for a book or two, and that was it.
So, when I unwrapped my present from Dermot and saw he was after getting me an (Binatone) eBook reader I was flabbercasted. I think I didn't say a word for about five minutes. Just looked at the present, at Dermot and back at the present again, not quite able to believe my eyes. But, it was really there.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think this device is ever going to replace paper books for me. I love holding a paper book in my hands; love the way it smells and how great my house looks with all those shelves filled with books. But... every time I go on holidays there is that dilemma. What books do I bring?
It's not just that I have to make sure I bring enough books to last the duration of my time away. I also have to bring books that will fit with whatever mood I might find myself in during the holiday. As a result I always end up with luggage a lot bigger and heavier than is good for me or my budget.
With this eBook reader though, I can bring as many books as I like, in as many genres as I can think of without ever having to worry about fitting them all into my luggage or luggage charges.
So far I've only got four titles downloaded, but I'm sure that amount will steadily grow over the next few days, as I discover all the sites where I can download them. This is definitely a story to be continued.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Pages: 396
Date: 24/01/2010
Grade: 5
Details: Re-read for library Reading Group
            First read: 03/04/2005

This is a book that improved up re-reading it. I liked it the first time, I marked it 4.5 back then, but this time around I liked it even better. I think I may have tried to read it too fast in 2005 because while I remembered most of the general story, some parts of the book I didn't recognize at all. Shockingly one of the details that had either completely slipped my mind or I had missed, was the ending of the story. So, it's just as well I didn't decide to rely on my memory for this book discussion.
This is the story of some of the people travelling from Ireland to America on the Star of the Sea in 1847.
While we get a good overall impression of life on the ship through the Captain's journal, and a clear insight into the worse than terrible conditions under which the poor travelled in steerage, this is basically the story of a few of the passengers, with each character's part told from their own point of view.
There is Lord Meredith, who has lost his house and land in Ireland and is taking his family to America to escape bankruptcy and build a new life. Although he despises the abuses the rich landowners inflict upon their poor and starving tenants in Ireland, he is basically a weak man, lacking the backbone to do anything about it or make anything of his life. Frustrated he lashes out at those around him in general and specifically at Grantley Dixson.
He is an American journalist and socialist who is having an affair with Meredith's wife. Dixon is also the compiler and narrator of this story.
Also on the boat is Pius Mulvey, a criminal and murderer , who has been placed on board with orders to kill Meredith.
Finally there is Mary Duane, childhood friend of Meredith, former lover and sister in law of Pius and now servant and nanny for the Meredith family. She has good reasons to detest both Meredith and Mulvey.
As we learn the details of these characters lives and follow their progress towards America, tensions rise.
By the time the Star of the Sea arrives in New York harbour, Lord Meredith has been brutally murdered, the reason why appearing obvious. But is it?
This book, while being a solid murder mystery, gives a heartbreaking description of life in Ireland during the famine and makes you wonder at (to quote a song) "man's blind indifference to his fellow man".
A must read for anyone interested in Irish history.


Friday, January 22, 2010

WOLF HALL, A phenomenal read

Pages: 650
Date: 22/01/2010
Grade: 5-
Details: no. 1 Thomas Cromwell Saga

This was a fascinating book, telling the story of Thomas Cromwell and his rise to a powerful position in the court of Henry VIII.
In England in the 1520's King Henry finds himself with a male heir, with a wife unlikely to conceive again, and in love with Anne Boleyn.
When the king decides his marriage of 20 years needs to be annulled so that he may be free to marry Anne, he puts his advisor in an impossible position, caught between his king and the Pope, which will lead to his downfall.
Thomas Cromwell, a man from a very humble background and with a checkered and mysterious past, works for Wolsey and loves his patron. Yet, he steps into the vacuum created by Wolsey's demise and helps Henry achieve what he desires while at the same time advancing his own position and power-base.
This book pictures Cromwell as a diplomat in the truest sense of the word. A keen observer of people and hoarder of secrets, he shapes events to his own advantage.
Yet, he's not painted as a cruel man. He is very good and loyal to those he is close to. The impression given is one of a man doing what needed to be done, while not always liking it.
The book only takes us to the execution of Thomas Moore, with Anne still queen and Cromwell still in favour and planning a trip to Wolf Hall, the seat of the Seymours. Apparently a sequel is in the making, and I'm looking forward to reading it.
This was not an easy book to read and took a long time to get through. Yet the picture it paints of England at the time, the international politics and the intrigue at Henry's court made for captivating reading.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Well, the Mystery Read-a-Thon is, for me at least, over.
I had planned a very quiet weekend with lots of time for reading. It didn't quite work out that way. The aftermath of our week without water took up far more of my time than I had anticipated and resulted in my reading being a lot more interrupted than I would have liked. But, in the end, I did manage to find 12 hours for reading. And here are the statistics for this weekend:
Time spend reading; Approximately 12 hours
Books started: 2
Books finished: 2
* 206 BONES by Kathy Reichs
Pages read: 547.
Underneath I will write some more about the Read-a-Thon experience and my thoughts on the two books.

Pages: 303
Date: 17/01/2010
Grade: 5
Details: no. 12 Temperance Brennan Series

The first book I started and finished during this weekend's Mystery Read-a-Thon. And I have to say it was great to dedicate twelve hours to just reading, I enjoyed every single minute of it. The fact that I'd picked two great mysteries for this weekend definitely helped in providing that enjoyment.
I've read every book in the Temperance Brennan series, and I don't think I've ever been disappointed by any one of them. This book was no exception.
In this book things get very personal and potentially lethal for Tempe.
When the book starts we find Brennan waking up in a pitch black, cold place, her hands and feet tied up and not know how or why she ended up wherever she is. As she starts her fight for freedom, safety and life, the reader learns about the events leading up to her ending up in the trouble she is in.
It all starts when Brennan is accused of having made a crucial mistake in the autopsy of a heiress. She is able to proof that she didn't, but is unable to find out who made the accusation.
Back in Montreal, she and Ryan are involved in the investigation of the murders of several elderly women. Murders that appear to be connected to each other and to the death of the heiress. But who or what links them them remains as unclear as the future of her future with Ryan.
Meanwhile Brennan appears to be making mistake after mistake in her work, while at the same time the atmosphere in her workplace grows ever more toxic. Is Brennan really losing it, or is something more sinister going on.
As always, Reichs delivered a well written and plotted mystery with just the right mix of technical detail and page turning tension. Brennan and Ryan's relationship remains interesting and believable. A good book that left me wanting more, and resenting the fact that I will probably have to wait at least a year before the next one will be available.

Pages: 220
Date: 17/01/2010
Grade: 5
Details: no. 15 Joe Gunther Mystery

And now for the second book I finished this weekend, and another great read. I have to say, I picked my books well.
It's been a few years since I last read a book in this series, and against my principles I skipped about 6 books in this series in order to read this one. But, I haven't been able to get my hands on the other books, and I like this series too much to be able to ignore a title when I do find it, even if that means reading it out of order.
The story begins with a domestic hostage situation going horribly wrong when someone is shot and killed. The gun used turns out to be connected to an 32 year old, unsolved murder case. A case Joe Gunther investigated at the time, while his much loved wife was dying from cancer.
At the time he had a likely suspect, who disappeared before Joe could get his hands on him, and hasn't been seen since.
Now that the gun has been found, Joe reopens the investigation, but with it the painful memories and doubts about his handling of the original case also surface.
And when the investigation of the past leads to murders in the present, the case gains a new urgency.
A very well written and plausible mystery. Gunther is a likable, recognizable, flawed and utterly human main character. I really hope that I'll stumble across more books in this series, soon.


It is Sunday morning in Ireland, and I have started my second day of this Read-a-Thon just over an hour ago. So, I thought it was about time for an update.
Yesterday I started reading 206 BONES by Kathy Reichs and managed to read 244 pages in about 5 1/2 hours. Which means that I have another 61/2 hours of reading ahead of me today.
I spend the first of those remaining hours this morning finishing the Reichs book which brings my page total up to 303. My thoughts on this book will follow in a later blog to be written after I've finished my 12 hours of reading.
I'm now about to start reading THE SURROGATE THIEF by Archer Mayor. This is a return to a series in which I haven't read a book in years because I couldn't get my hands on any of the titles I hadn't read yet. It's nice to now be able to return to Brattleboro for a visit, and hopefully a good mystery.
Yesterday, unfortunately, wasn't a quiet day with lots of time for undisturbed reading. There was just too much going on and too much that needed doing. Hopefully today will know less interruptions and more quality reading time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


The first hour of the third Mystery Read-a-Thon is behind me, and I've settled nicely into my reading. It's going to be a bit of a disjointed reading weekend for me though, since we have visitors coming tonight from about 8, and since they were wonderful to us during our week without water I do owe them some of my time and attention. But, not to worry, since we've got two days to read for 12 hours, there should be more than enough time left.
First the details of my first hour:
I've started reading 206 BONES by Kathy Reichs and got to page 49 when the hour was up. As soon as I finish the post, I'll be diving straight back in.
Now for the questions:

1) Give us five fun-facts about you. (Things that are so trivial you wouldn't think of them right away, but that might make others smile.)
Hmm, this question is harder than it seems:
* I used to be a swimming teacher
* I own an adorable but not very clever dog names Sparky who is currently playing outside with another dog about 10 sizes smaller than she is.
* While I have about 200 unread books sitting on my shelves, I can't stop myself from bringing books home from the library where I work.
* I recently had the opportunity to discover exactly how much water we use even if we can't have showers, do laundry or flush the toilet. It amazed me.
* I'm happy to report I'm clean again...

2) What is on your TBR stack for the next two days?
I've just started my first book and have two other books lined up, although I doubt I'll get to both of them. They are:
* INNOCENT BLOOD by Graham Masterton.

3) Do you have any specific hopes and plans for this read-a-thon?
None, except to enjoy the almost uninterupted reading.

4) Did you participate in the Mystery Read-A-Thon in the past?
This is my third one.

5) If you already participated, can you give the new participants any tips on what to do and what not to do?
My only tip would be to enjoy yourself. There are no goals to be reached other than to read 12 hours. It doesn't matter how many books or pages you manage to read.
Maybe another tip would be to try and not spend too much time on the computer. Keeping an eye on the blog posts can really eat into your reading time. I've decided to check in about once an hour when I can and leave it at that.

And that is my update for this hour. I should be back at around 3, local (Irish) time. Actually, it will be a bit later before I'm  back with my next mail. It's now an hour after I started this blog post, and the computer is just too slow for me to go back to it often. I could spend all my reading time trying to post, and still not get anywhere. I'll try again later and see if the situation has improved.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010



Pages: 538
Date: 13/01/2010
Grade: 4.5

Sometimes I wonder why I enjoy Nora Robert's books so much. I've been known to not finish books if I feel they are predictable. And Robert's books are nothing if not predictable. The reader knows exactly what to expect and how the story is going to develop and end. Yet, it works for me. Whenever I need a comfortable read, a bit of brain candy, I turn to Roberts, safe in the knowledge that I'll get exactly what I'm looking for, and that I'm rarely disappointed. And I wasn't disappointed this time either.
When Lil Chance first meets Cooper Sullivan  she is 11 and he is a sulking teenager, unhappy to be on his grandparents farm in South Dakota, away from everything he knows and loves in New York City. But during that summer the two kids turn into friends. A friendship that deepens into more during the subsequent visits from Coop.
When Coop suddenly ends their relationship when they're both in their twenties, he breaks Lil's heart.
Twelve years later, Coop is back on his grandparents farm and this time to stay. A little distance away, Lil has fulfilled her childhood ambition and opened a wildlife refuge.
Still hurting from the past rejection, Lil is reluctant to let Coop back into her life and her heart. But, with someone hiding in the mountains, committing murders and determined to kill Lil and destroy everything she loves, Lil has to work with Coop and trust him if she's going to survive.
The ending (and I don't mean the romantic conclusion) was very predictable, but that didn't lessen the enjoyment I got out of this book.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Pages: 306
Date: 09/01/2010
Grade: 4-
Details: Reading Group January book.

This is the story of two women, Meri and Delia.
Meri is 36 when she marries Nathan and very unsure about what she wants from life and expects from marriage. When she and Nathan buy a house they are told that their neighbours will be Senator Tom Naughton and his wife, Delia. A fact that really excites Nathan, who is a huge fan of the now retired Tom. However, they soon discover that Tom never spends any time with his wife in the house next door.
Meri soon strikes up a somewhat unlikely friendship with Delia. Where Meri is 36, a bit of a tomboy and uncertain about life, Delia is in her seventies, sophisticated and apparently very sure of her place in the world.
Despite those differences the two women grow close, although Delia seems to always be holding parts of herself back.
In a story told in turn by either Meri or Delia, we see the friendship grow, watch Meri abuse the trust placed in her and are helpless as events move towards a, for me rather predictable, painful climax.
This book left me mostly feeling indifferent. I didn't get to like either of the women enough to really care about how their story would unfold. I didn't understand either Meri or Delia's motives or actions and felt so removed from the story that I didn't want to try and understand them either.
The reasons the book appears to be giving for the way the two women are, a not ideal childhood, having been born to a certain generation and set of morals and love, seemed like nothing but stereotypes to me.
All of this didn't make this a hard to read book though. Sue Miller is a good enough writer to keep me turning the pages of a story, even when the characters leave me cold. But, I won't be rushing out to pick up another book by Sue Miller any time soon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Pages: 326
Date: 06/01/2010
Grade: 5

This is a great thriller. It is a fast paced story, with good characters and some fascinating supernatural events, without ever slipping into Sci-Fi territory. Throughout the whole reading experience I had the feeling that these events or something like them might be happening somewhere, with the possible exception of the very explosive climax. And my feeling turned out to be right. . The phenomena as described in this book as well as a large part of the story turned out to be based on real events. Which goes to show that there really is more between heaven and earth than we can explain. It also made the story even more fascinating.
The book starts with police officer Dan Page coming home after a traumatic day to find his wife, Tori, gone without a word of explanation or any indication where she may have gone.
When he catches up with her near Rostov, a small town in Texas, she is sitting in the dark staring at the horizon where she claims she can see lights. At first Dan can't see anything, but after a while he too sees the beautiful and enthralling lights which appear to be dancing in the air, changing colour and shimmering into each other.
As more spectators arrive it becomes clear that not everybody can see them.
The peaceful watching of the lights is brutally disturbed when a man starts shooting, first aiming at the lights and then at those watching them, with devastating results.
In the aftermath of the massacre, the media descend on Rostov and the story of the lights, as do masses of spectators. Also arriving in Rostov are others who's motives are obscure and not peaceful.
In order to save his marriage and his wife, Dan Page needs to discover the secret of the lights. With the lights becoming ever more volatile and people seeking to use them in a deadly way, far more is at stake than Dan could ever guess.
I'll say it again: WOW!

Also have a look at: and/or google "Marfa".

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Pages: 454
Date: 03/01/2010
Grade: 4

I can't help wondering if the author was being cynical when she decided on the title for this story. A title like "Love All" would lead me to expect a story in which love plays a big part with some sort of happy ending. And although love, the feelings we mistake for love, the things we do for love and the lack there off is very much the subject of this story, a happy ending is nowhere to be found.
Another problem with this book was that it had more characters and therefore more story lines than it needed in my opinion. As a result some of those story lines were underdeveloped and unresolved or only partly resolved by the end of the book.
There are main characters though, and although I wasn't happy with the way the book ended for any of them, their stories are well developed and engrossing.
Set in the 1960's this book opens with Percy deciding to accompany her aunt Floy on a gardening assignment in Melton. Percy's life is pretty much on hold since she's resigned her job and her affair with a married man ended, so a change of scenery seems to be just what she needs.
In Melton the two women work for Jack, a very rich and socially somewhat inept man.
Also in Melton are Thomas and his sister Mary. Mary has been looking after Thomas and his young daughter Hatty for some years now, ever since Thomas' wife Celia died leaving him devastated. Also sharing their household is Francis, Celia's brother.
With the exception of Floy, all these characters are at a point where they have to make decisions about their futures, what they want from life and where their priorities and loyalties lie. Ties are severed, hearts are broken, love is found and lost and losses endured.
But by the end of the book it's hard to see how any of the characters is better off then he or she was when the story started except maybe for Percy who appears to have at least grown up some.
It is of course possible that that was the message of this book to begin with and that just because I wanted a fairy tale doesn't mean that I will receive one.
Mostly the characters in this story and their actions frustrated me, and made me want to slap some sense into them. But then, the fact that the book made me react so strongly towards the characters only goes to prove how well written and engaging it was.
Definitely a book that left me with mixed feelings when I turned the final page; I had finished a story that fascinated me from start to finish and had left me unsatisfied as far as the ending was concerned.