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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CJ Box and Yellowstone National Park

I have recently finished reading Free Fire by CJ Box and I can definitely recommend it. I have not read many CJ Box books so it is difficult to compare it to others he has written but as a book on its own it was a very enjoyable read.

Joe Pickett , after having been fired, is working on his father-in-laws ranch. He is rehired by Governor Rulon, of Wyoming,to help investigate four murders which took place in Yellowstone National Park. A man has committed murder, and due to a judicial loophole, cannot be prosecuted. While he is quite willing to admit to the murders, what is his motive? It is with this in mind that Joe once again returns to uniform. This detective story is compelling and the pace is good. Set against the backdrop of Yellowstone Park, which I have always found a fascinating place, with doomsayers and some ancient history that catches Joe completely off guard, this really is a must read for all of you who enjoy a good detective novel set in the great outdoors. I found it a bit gruesome in parts but that is just a personal opinion, so make up your own mind on this score.

The one thing about a great read is that it  opens your mind and inspires your imagination. It takes you on an armchair journey and wakens your curiosity. Some of the places this book led me  to were Ken Rockwell's exquisite photographs of some of the hot springs found in Yellowstone as well as photo's of the Old Faithful Inn. I also find the idea of the whole of Yellowstone as a super caldera waiting to blow at any moment very interesting.

Although CJ Box's stories are set in a  similar environment to Nevada Barr, his style is very different. If you are a Nevada Barr or a Tony Hillerman fan, then I am sure that CJ Box is going to become a firm favourite on your must read list.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Some more children's books....


photo courtesy of nickutopia.com

The cycles we go through in what the children love to read is very interesting. They will often return to favourites and read them over and over and then forget about them for a while until they are " rediscovered". Green eggs and Ham and The cat in the hat by Dr Seuss are both firm favourites at the moment. The Peppa Pig books are also a good choice. The illustrations are bright and cheerful and the stories are simple and easy to follow.

The fish who could wish by John Bush and illustrations by Korky Paul is a great read. A fish who could wish for anything finally wishes for the silliest thing of all. The children really enjoy the story and I love the illustrations.

Another book getting a lot of lap time at the moment is It was you, Blue Kangaroo! by Emma Chichester Clark. Lilly has a blue kangaroo that is very naughty and gets up to all sorts of mischief until he gets banished to the top of the bookshelf. Lilly has to sleep without him and is very heart sore. For any of you with little one's, this is a very sweet story and my children enjoy it very much.

Happy reading!





Thursday, July 12, 2012

A whole lot of reading going on

I have been on holiday for nearly three weeks and have managed to pack in a number of good and not so good reads in that time. The bodies left behind by Jeffrey Deaver is one of the books that I recommend. Jeffrey Deaver, as always, keeps you guessing until nearly the last page.  A 911 call cut short leads deputy Brynn to a house on Lake Mondac, where she discovers two bodies and nearly becomes a victim herself. On the run from the murderers with only her wits to keep her alive, Brynn's fight to survive keeps you turning the pages. Deaver writes a good story and I was not disappointed. If you need a good page turner for a chilly winter's night ( or a lazy day on the beach for those lucky souls in the North) then you this is a good choice.

 Z by Michael Thomas Ford was one of the books that I reviewed for my husband's slibrary. If you are a teen reader and enjoy a good zombie thriller, then this might be for you. The plot is good and it is well written. It does however highlight the depths to which we as so called " civilized" beings can and do descend and is a bit gruesome in places, but then what can you expect from a book about zombies.

 Yet another zombie book that I reviewed is Monster Island, the first in a trilogy written by David Wellington.  This book was a bit too weird for my taste, although it is a great page turner and will certainly keep you reading.  A small band of Somali girl soldiers accompany a former UN inspector to New York city to look for AIDS drugs. The catch is that all of the civilized world has fallen to a zombie infection and Manhattan is crawling with the undead. Join Dekalb and his girl soldiers as they invade New York in their quest for these drugs. Besides these newly undead, a greater threat awaits them, as one of the undead is not quite as mindless as one would assume. A thinking zombie is far more  of a threat than the other undead and this twist in the tale lends itself to all sorts of action.Throw in an ancient druid, a couple of mummy's and this all makes for a good but disturbing read.
                                   
Finding a book by an author you enjoy that you have not yet read is like coming home. I have not read a Tony Hillerman in a long time and I really enjoyed reading Talking god . What do a corpse and a grave robber have in common? This question brings Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee together and as Joe tries to identify the victim and Jim arrests the grave digger. This story is well written and the plot all comes together in the last pages, leaving the reader guessing. I love a good detective novel where the plot is not given away in the first half of the book. Tony Hillerman hooks you and keeps you to the last page. It is also fascinating getting a glimpse into a world so far removed from my own, which is one of the special joys of being a reader and an armchair traveller.

As my holiday draws to a close, I find myself intensely wrapped up in the world of Henry and Claire in The Time traveller's wife by Audrey Niffenegger, as they fight to live a normal life with Henry time travelling throughout their relationship.  They meet when Claire is 6 and Henry 40, get married when Claire is 22  and Henry 30. While this is a beautiful love story , there is nothing typical about it and you keep reading , wanting to know how they resolve the fact that Henry keeps disappearing. I have an allergic reaction to most love stories and while I am not immune to chic lit, I generally avoid these types of books. However, this story is lovely and I would recommend it to anyone who is a romantic at heart.

Still on to read list is a Sue Grafton omnibus, The Worst Hard time by Timothy Egan and two murder mysteries by authors that I have not read before, which is always something to look forward to. What are the books you are reading these holidays or the ones still on your bedside table, waiting like a large box of chocolate allsorts? I would love to hear from you. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A different take on the art book

Having been off for a while, I thougth I might post something a little out of the ordinary. I came across this list of books as artwork. It is truly bizarre and thought provoking. From nail encrusted books to books as three story high sculptures, this link is just plain weird on one level but some of the art work is also quite beautiful. In a world where books seem to be rapidly being replaced by the one minute thought bite, I love the idea of books as pieces of art, not only for the words between their covers but also as a solid object occupying a three dimensional space. Follow this link to see some of the other works of art.
 http://www.flavorwire.com/292899/10-incredibly-bizarre-works-of-book-art/comment-page-1#comment-135048

Don't you just love this waterfall of books by Alicia Martín. It gives me the idea of a house that is so overflowing with books that the walls cannot contain them anymore.As a book lover I find this a wonderful idea ( or am I just a bit peculiar?) I spent a pleasant twenty minutes in the car yesterday wondering what I would do if I won the Lotto. Filling a house with books would probably be high on my wish list and this image gives a visual idea of what that might be like.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cookbooks and mystics: The cookbook collector

I have just finished reading the Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman. I really enjoyed the book. She makes beautiful use of language, weaving words together to create vivid mind pictures for her readers. The book focuses on the lives of two sisters, Emily and Jessamine Bach. Emily is practical, intellectual and business minded.She is engaged to a fellow dot com entrepreneur. Jessamine is studying philosophy and is dating a tree hugger.

The book is about cookbooks and cooking, mysticism, finding love in very unexpected places and putting your life together again when it does not go as planned. This is the first of Allegra Goodman's books that I have read but it will not be the last.She has a lovely way with words and she transported me to a very different world from my own

Friday, May 4, 2012

So sweet

It is seldom that one gets to combine sweetness so well in a book blog. For those of you who love sentimental stories and have a sweet tooth, look no further than today's installment of Bookmark That.

Here is another of my favourite children's books. Guess how much I love youhttp://www.amazon.com/Guess-How-Much-Love-You/dp/076360013X, written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, tells the charming story of Little Nutbrown Hare trying to outdo his dad in telling him how much he loves him as a stalling technique before bedtime. Big Nutbrown Hare always manages to go one better in his declaration of love for his son. Children need to be reassured of their parents love and this book gives this reassurance abundantly. It is charming and beautifully illustrated and you should have it on your bookshelf if you are a parent or grandparent. It makes a lovely gift for a young family as well.

I found this  birthday cake on one of the baking blogs I follow and thought I would add it, as it combines two of the things I enjoy the most, namely reading and cakes. The cake was baked by Anne Heap of the Pink Cakebox and I think it is gorgeous. If you are looking for some inspiration, you have to visit her blog. Jacob is definitely a lucky birthday boy.

A sweet book and an even sweeter cake. Two of life's greatest pleasures. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Where to put my books?

Here are one or two bookshelves/bookends that I found on the net and thought I would like to share. Don't you just love the books "falling" over. Just putting a book on a shelf is never quite as interesting a finding somewhere quirky or unusual to store them. See if you can spot what is so different about the bookshelf on the left. If you can, let me know what it says.While my books line shelves in our home, I am always trying to find new and unusual book shelves or bookends. Do you have any quirky bookcases to share? Please send in the photo's.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

We're going on a bear hunt..........

I have decided to start a series on some of my favourite children's books. Some of these I enjoyed as a child and am rediscovering them with my own children, others are new books and authors that I love to share with my children. My two pre-schoolers have just received a book as a gift from their granny overseas and they have enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoy reading it to them. We're going on a bear hunt is retold by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. It is a lovely read and takes me back to sitting round the campfire on youth camps, doing all the actions and shrieking with laughter. I enjoy the story as it makes  a family outing of going to go and look for the bear, with much splashing and squelching and swishing as the family traverse fields, mud puddles and streams on there expedition. The children love finding the bear and all the running back to the house, especially when their dad makes big growly noises and adds the sound effects( you can tell who the extrovert is in our family). This is a great read and is beautifully illustrated. It is published by Walker Books and is a must have for the bookshelf.

Book sculptures

Book sculpture is not what you do when that pile of unread books next to your bed reaches gravity defying heights and you try to rearrange them so that they do not all come crashing down. If the idea of taking a pair of scissors to a book horrifies you, STOP READING NOW. For those book lovers out there who can bear the thought, this beautiful work of art has been done by taking an old Boys Own manual and cutting out the inside pages to form a collage. This artwork is done by Alexander Korzer- Robinson and I think it is exquisite. He makes use of antiquarian books in his sculptures, giving us a glimpse into a forgotten past and making what is old and forgotten, new again. If you want to see some more of his work , follow this link to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/9211702/Book-sculpting-by-Alexander-Korzer-Robinson.html?frame=2196639#?frame=2196646. Tell me what you think. I would personally love to have one ( or two)  of these in my Christmas stocking ( hint,hint).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to show off my books

I love Book Riot. Here is a link on displaying your books, this time a bit more doable for us mortals than those libraries features in the Rich and Famous section ( see previous blog post http://bookriot.com/2012/04/18/mouth-watering-book-nooks/. I live in rented accommodation so I cannot do anything to the structure but really enjoy seeing how other people display their books and dream about what I would do with a bit of money and my own house. Which one is your favourite? Please share, I would love to hear what you think. You could even post some of your ideas here or send in photo's. I just love the bedroom book nook. I think I would never want to leave my bed, at least until all the reading is done.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A bit off topic

Dear all ( making the assumption that there is an " all" reading this blog, as I have as yet had no comments or followers) don't you just love getting mail? By this I mean the physical, letter in an envelope in your mailbox kind of mail. I love receiving letters and for years and years felt letdown every time I went to the mailbox, as there is only ever accounts or junk mail.Then I had a brainwave ( this does not often happen). If I love getting mail, then surely other people also like receiving something other than bills. So I searched the Internet for other mail mates, which is ironic considering how many people have stopped writing letters, as sending an e-mail is so much easier, cheaper and far less time consuming. I found one or two good sites, namely http://www.sassociations.net/ and http://www.sandbook.net/ and then started writing. Some people answered and some did not. I have not been as faithful a pen pal as I could be, as sometimes life just gets too busy too keep up with writing letters. Nonetheless, I am slowly building up a worldwide friendship network of like minded letter writers. I look forward to getting the post, as I never know who will be writing to me today. I know this is a book blog but anyone who loves books loves words and letters and paper and stories. Letters are just a different kind of book, a personal book written just for you, telling someone's story. Isn't that an exciting thought? How many people can say they have received a book written specifically with them in mind? If you are a bit tired of corresponding by e-mail, which is convenient but far less exciting than receiving an actual handwritten letter, why not pick up a pen, buy some pretty notepaper and join the revolution!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Katniss Everdeen

I am always wary of the hype surrounding a movie based on a book, as the movie rarely is an improvement on the written word (yes I know, I am a bit of a snob when it comes to the movie versus book debate). Having read The Hunger Games long before there was even a suggestion of a movie, I was taken in by Katniss. She is a strong, intelligent female protagonist who is not afraid to take chances to protect those that she loves and to stand up for herself. She is a complex character and does not just swoon into the arms of the leading man and expect him to save her. She also brings hope to a people who are oppressed at great cost to herself. I was intrigued by the books because they also made me think about our society's lust for reality television and how far we would  be willing to go to be entertained. Is a battlefield arena where the last person standing takes the prize so very far fetched? How far would we go to get our kicks in a society that is becoming increasingly jaded? I am not saying do not watch the movie but rather suggest that you do yourself a favour and read the book first, so that you are not so caught up in the Hollywood glitz and glamour that you forget to think and question what the movie says about our society.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Stumbled upon Library Thing

Hi fellow bibliophiles, I just had to share this link with you. I was looking for creative ways of storing books ( something I know that all book lovers battle with ) when I came across this new site. It allows you to catalogue your library, share it with others, they have free book giveaways ( yes FREE) and it allows you access to the libraries of thousands of other readers. They also have a number of groups and forums that you can join. The link is http://www.librarything.com/. Visit Library Thing and tell me what you think. Happy browsing

Friday, April 6, 2012

Jay Walkers library

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-10/ff_walker?currentPage=all

Follow this link to read the full article on Jay Walkers library

Libraries of the Rich and Famous: Part Three

Here is part three of Libraries of the rich and famous. There are no words.....Libraries of the Rich and Famous: Part Three

Elizabeth George has a new novel

I love Elisabeth George and was really excited to hear that her new novel,Living the lie, has been published. Hear her talk about it at http://www.authormagazine.org/interviews/interview_page_georgia.htm. I love her rich characterization and the way she draws you into her stories. You develop great compassion for her killers,as often their motives are never simplistic. Her detectives and their families are also complex characters and I always finish a book feeling as if I have left in the middle of a conversation. Watch this space for a review as soon as I can find a copy of Living the le

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I am busy reading Last child in the woods and it makes fascinating if somewhat scary reading. I am only halfway through but it is eye opening in terms of the link between nature and children's growth and emotional development. Children today are being isolated from nature due to the technological growth ( Internet, games, television,Wii,Ipods to name a few) that has taken place in the past few decades as well as the physical isolation that has been imposed on them by the move to built up urban and suburban living spaces.There is either no "nature" available for children to experience or we as adults have imposed so many rules and regulations on children that they may no longer enjoy nature as we did as children. This books also looks at the link between what the author calls nature deficit disorder and ADHD. He has some very practical guidelines as to what we can do as individuals,communities and business to reintroduce this new generation to nature and help them to love and experience it as we did when we were children.If you have children this book is a must read. Even if you do not have children, it is a thought provoking look at what we as a society are doing to ourselves by isolating us from what has been for thousands of years our natural habitat. Do yourself a favour and read this book.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Libraries of the Rich and Famous: Part One

I am doing this a bit back to front but check out part one of
Libraries of the Rich and Famous: Part One. Keth Richards library would fit so well into my home, although I am not sure which part unless I added on a rather large extension. It is messy and casual and I would feel really comfortalbe plopping down on a couch with a cup of tea and my latest bestseller. I also love the Hearst library but I would be too scared to breath in case I damaged something. Not a place for a busy young family to curl up with The cat in the hat or Maisy. One can but dream...

Libraries of the Rich and Famous: Part One

I am doing this a bit back to front but check out part one of
Libraries of the Rich and Famous: Part One. Keth Richards library would fit so well into my home, although I am not sure which part unless I added on a rather large extension. It is messy and casual and I would feel really comfortalbe plopping down on a couch with a cup of tea and my latest bestseller. I also love the Hearst library but I would be too scared to breath in case I damaged something. Not a place for a busy young family to curl up with The cat in the hat or Maisy. One can but dream...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Discovering a new author

I was introduced to Geraldine Brooks by my husband. I am smitten.She writes so beautifully and her characters are full of life and complexity. If you enjoy historical fiction, then this author is for you.She is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and this honor is well deserved. In Year of Wonders she explores the effect of the Plague on a small English hamlet that isolates itself from the world when a bolt of cloth infected with the Plague arrives from London and decimates the villages' population. The story is told from the viewpoint of Anna Frith, a housemaid. Courage, fear and a struggle for survival bring out the best and worst in her fellow villagers and the story makes villains and heroines of the most unlikely people.The story is beautifully told. I love Anna, the main character. She is strong and resourceful, even as she battles her own grief. This book is definitely going on my list of favourites. Other books written by her include March and People of the Book.Watch this blog for further reviews.

Of robots and riots

What would happen if the entire network of technology that we use to make our lives easier were to rise up against us and try to destroy the human race? In ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson this idea is turned into terrifying reality, as man and machine battle for survival. Killer cars, buildings bent on destroying their inhabitants and a mastermind bent on destroying the human race while preserve life on the planet. This all makes for an interesting read.The writing is a bit stilted and is written as if it were a non-fiction account of this technological rebellion but I think this adds to the reality of the book. Initially did not think I would enjoy it but after the first few pages I could not put the book down. It is really creepy and a bit gruesome in parts but it is not your typical end of the world novel. Mankind fighting for survival against a common enemy is not a new theme in fiction but Daniel Wilson has a way of keeping you turning the pages. His characters, both human and electronic, are sympathetic and the reader actually cares about what happens to them. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Robopocalypse and if end of the world novels are not generally your cup of tea, why not give this one a try. It makes a riveting and scarily plausible read.

Libraries of the Rich and Famous: Part Two

Dear all,

I found this link from Bookriot and I had to share on my blog. This is a dream for any bibliophile out there.
Libraries of the Rich and Famous: Part Two
Do you have any links to famous or favourite libraries? Please share

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Proudly South African

I have just finished Tracker by Dean Meyer.What a great read. The plot is very plausible and has some very unexpected twists and turns. I enjoy reading Mr Meyer's books because they combine two of my favourite things, namely  Cape Town and  a good thriller/detective novel. Throw in some international terrorists, local gang violence and main characters with whom one can empathise and this has the makings of a novel that was very hard to put down. If you want a good read and enjoy detective novels, reach for this book.