Oct 31, 2012

Haunted Halloween Reads

Halloween Murder Halloween Murder by Shelley Freydont

I've reprinted a post from October 2009. The books are still good in 2012! A really good mystery book for Halloween!

Here are some other Halloween mysteries to ponder:

A Catered Halloween (Mystery with Recipes) by Isis Crawford
Who Stole Halloween? by Martha Freeman
Witches Bane by Susan Wittig Albert
Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
Cat with an Emerald Eye by Carole Nelson Douglas

Poisoned Tarts by G.A. McEvett
Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier
Wicked Witch Murder by Leslie Meier
Dance of the Scarecrows by Ray Sipherd
All Hallow's Evil by Valerie Wolzien

Click on the titles for book descriptions. What are some of your favorite Halloween books?

I found a Halloween mystery set in Hawaii, Livin' Lahaina Loca by JoAnn Bassett, sitting in my Kindle:

...I whirled around and came nose-to-nose with a plastic mask sporting an impish grin and saucer-sized black ears. Halloween night in Lahaina, Maui. The happiest place on earth for a cartoon mouse looking to cop a feel. 
"You don't wanna go there," I said, grabbing the groper's forearm just above the white four-fingered glove. 
Book description: "It's Halloween in Lahaina Town, Maui and the Mardi Gras of the Pacific is in full swing... But wedding planner Pali Moon isn't in costume--she's on a mission. A bridesmaid has vanished and Pali's canvassing Front Street, hoping to spot a girl with long red hair and a lingerie model's figure. No luck. Back at her car, Pali opens the door and finds the remnants of a bizarre trick or treat stunt. Turns out, Halloween in Lahaina isn't just a night for island high-jinx, it's also a night for vengeance."

I have just discovered Kindle Cloud Reader. I might start reading this one and more of my Kindle books after all.

Oct 27, 2012

What An Animal Reading Challenge: Completed

The challenge, What An Animal Reading Challenge V, began March 1, 2012 and will end on February 28, 2013. I completed my goals this month by reading more than six animal related books!

Visit the challenge website hosted by Yvonne of Socrates Book Review Blog for the complete rules and to sign up with Mr. Linky!

Here are the books I have completed. Click on the titles for details/reviews.

1. Roam by Alan Lazar

2. Fashion Faux Paw: A Dog Walker's Mystery by Judi McCoy - reviewed.

3. To Catch a Leaf: A Flower Shop Mystery by Kate Collins

4. The Big Kitty by Claire Donally

5.The Dog That Talked to God by Jim Kraus

6. Tahoe Trap by Todd Borg

7.  A Fistful of Collars by Spencer Quinn

8. Following Atticus by Tom Ryan

9. Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You to Know by Hy Conrad and Jeff Johnson

Novels of Erotica

Reflected in You by Sylvia Day, Lace by Shirley Conran, and The Pleasures of Winter by Evie Hunter all showed up on my doorstep recently, courtesy of the mail. I gather that erotic romances are all the rage, especially in England, after Fifty Shades of Grey came out. Now here are some in the same genre, by other writers, sent to me courtesy of the publishers.

I haven 't read Fifty Shades of Grey and don't plan to read these either, though Lace has my attention not as erotica but as the republishing of a "scandalous bestseller that defined a generation."  (publisher's description).

Have you read any of these? If so, what do you suggest?

Oct 26, 2012

Book Review: The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson

Title: The King's Damsel: Secrets of the Tudor Court, No. 5
Author: Kate Emerson
Paperback, August 7, 2012; Gallery Books
Genre: historical fiction

I'm giving this a 4.5 rating, not just for this new book but for the entire series - five books! Great storytelling and weaving of romance into 16th century English history - the Tudor Court and its customs, intrigue, and of course, it's ladies.

The series has as its main characters minor ladies at court who served the Tudor queens in some capacity, mostly as ladies in waiting. Their observations and experiences as well as their personal stories give us an inside look at the complex life of the Tudors, in particular Henry VIII, his forbears, relatives, and the men and women who serve and surround him.

In The King's Damsel, Kate Emerson has given a name to an unknown woman referred to in historical letters as "the handsome young lady of the court" and the "damsel" that was a beloved of Henry VIII. This woman was also a faithful friend of Princess Mary, the king's daughter by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Emerson named her  character Thomasine (Tamsin) Lodge and filled in her story as a wealthy heiress sent to the royal court by her guardian to serve first Princess Mary and later, Anne Boleyn, who became Queen Anne, the second wife of Henry VIII.

At court, Tamsin spies for Princess Mary while serving as a lady in waiting for Queen Anne, sending secret messages about the goings on at court that could affect the Princess's claim as rightful heir to the throne. Tamsin also becomes the king's mistress, supposedly to try to influence him to favor his first daughter, whom Anne Boleyn wants to see disinherited in favor of her own child, Elizabeth.

So many tangled connections in the plot, but they are intriguing and the main characters do stand out. It also helps if you remember your English history.

I recommend this series to all lovers of historical fiction and Tudor history. This is the first series I've read set in this period and I must say it was worth reading all the books. I still have the fourth to finish, At the King's Pleasure, but enjoyed The Pleasure Palace, Between Two Queens, By Royal Decree, and this latest, The King's Damsel.  Happily, the novels don't have to be read in consecutive order.

Thanks to the publisher for complimentary copies of the books for my objective review.  

Oct 23, 2012

How To Love Wine by Eric Asimov

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB; choose sentences at random from your current read. Identify author and title for readers.

No longer did it seem advisable to me to pick bottles randomly at wine shops and to drink them without thought. Clearly I needed help. (p. 151)
How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto by Eric Asimov
Published October 16, 2012; William Morrow hardcover

Book description: Eric Asimov, the acclaimed chief wine critic for the New York Times, has written a combination memoir and manifesto, How to Love Wine. Asimov tells how he went from writing beer reviews for his high school newspaper on Long Island to the most coveted job in the industry. He evaluates the current wine culture, discussing trends both interesting and alarming, and celebrates the extraordinary pleasures of wine while, at the same time, questioning the conventional wisdom about wine. Throughout, he incorporates in-depth discussions of beautiful wines, both easy to find and rare. (goodreads)

Oct 21, 2012

Sunday Salon: Autumn Reads

The Sunday Salon.com Welcome to the Sunday Salon!

I seem to be reading more during this cool weather, in between taking rides to see the changing leaves and to buy pumpkins from local farms. Got some local fruit preserves for gifts and pumpkin bread for myself!

I finished reading Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Ella Macneal, though I flipped through the last third of the mystery novel, impatient for the ending and feeling the book was too padded after a very good first half.

I felt the same about Forgotten by Catherine Mckenzie, an excellent book and plot but padded with  drawn out conversation for pages and pages later on. I also flipped to the end after enjoying the plot lines of the book as laid out in the first half.

Lest you think I'm just an overly impatient reader, I'm reading every word of Joseph Kanon's Istanbul Passage, a thriller and novel of intrigue set in post-WWII Istanbul, featuring international spies and people runners trying to wrap up the frayed edges of the end of the war. I'm in the middle of the book and don't feel impelled or the least bit inclined to flip to the end!

Backyard maple makes a statement
What books have captured your attention this fall?

Oct 19, 2012

Book to Movie: The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I saw the trailer last week for the upcoming movie The Life of Pi based on the book by Yann Martel. Directed by Ang Lee, it premiered in September at the New York Film Festival.  The trailer was dramatic, showing a young Indian boy on a raft with a fierce tiger for company, in the middle of the ocean. It made me curious about the book and of course about the movie.

Winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, the book is expected to be  a good film, with Ang Lee and his history of cinematic successes such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Eat Drink Man Woman.

 Publisher's book description:  "Pi Patel is an unusual boy. The son of a zookeeper, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior, a fervent love of stories, and practices not only his native Hinduism, but also Christianity and Islam. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks.

Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again.

The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional-but is it more true?  Life of Pi is a realistic adventure tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction."

Author Yan Martel calls the movie version "sumptious," in his comments. I am slowly reading this book at the library, hoping to finish before the film arrives here next month.

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