Bloggiesta

 

  • Clean up pages (change goals page)
  • Check all links.
  • Clean up tags
  • Visit blogs and comment :)
  • Check in with twitter for #Bloggiesta
  • Visit my Goodreads page and do some fall clean up there as well (library shelves, TBR list)
  • Visit my FIctFact account and catch it up with my series reads.
  • Set up a calendar and/or goals for posting and meme participation.

I am pretty happy with what I accomplished with everything going on this weekend.  I will be visiting blogs and commenting this evening.  I am relatively new to blogging (less than 1 year) so I have been learning a lot from other people – twitter cards, hosting book clubs, branding, and many other things.

Hope everyone else is enjoying their Bloggiesta!

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Peg Cochran: Allergic to Death

Very cute opening to a new series.  I liked the fact that even though it was a series about a health conscious caterer/chef, you aren’t lectured about diet or exercise.  It flows as a natural part of the story.  This was a very quick read with red herrings and misdirection to drive the mystery.  I enjoyed it and I will read more in the series.   I will say that there is not as much humor in this book as one usually finds in modern theme based cozies, there was more emphasis on setting, character building and the mystery elements.

Muriel Barbery: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

 

Initially I read the first few pages and put this book down, realizing that I had to be in the right frame of mind to read this.  I suppose it could be read as a light read, just skimming the surface, but there is much more depth to it than that.  The book tackles many themes, among them philosophy, consciousness,  politics, family, suicide, social class, death, and deception.  There are references to many cultural icons and philosophers.

The two protagonists both live “lives in hiding”.  They have their complex, hidden, inner lives and then the “normal” or expected face they show the world.  An interesting contrast is that one is an older woman concierge of the apartment building, while the other is a 12 year old prodigy from a well-to-do family.   The 12 year old suffers from the fear of  “living the unlived life”, she sees no hope for any other outcome.  Renee, the concierge, doesn’t want to invite  the disparagement that she feels revealing her inner intellectual and cultural life, the life of an autodidact, would  cause.  Both the characters, develop strategies to allow them to maintain the facades that they present to the world.

A tenant in the building dies and and a new tenant moves in to the empty apartment.  This is the catalyst for the protagonists, Renee and Paloma, to meet and interact and eventually change, not necessarily themselves, but their world view.  One of the last passages in the book reflects this shift, “I have finally concluded, maybe that is what life is all about:  there’s a lot of despair but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same…Something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never.”

Overall a well written book with many clever, interesting and thought provoking turns of phrase. For me personally, it raises the question of  “How does having a “hidden life” contribute to a sense of disconnectedness from others?”   To get the most out of  The Elegance of the Hedgehog, be prepared to read a little, then stop to digest what you have read before you move on.  Highly recommended read.

 

 

 

Long Gone by Alafair Burke

This book had a lot going for it.  A female protagonist floundering along her career path, something I can relate to well.  A current plot hook to drive the story, identity theft connected to social media.  A Hollywood royal family rounds out the cast of characters.  All of these factors should add up to a great book, but for some reason it was just okay, not great.  I didn’t really feel that sense of suspense that you want to feel building in a thriller.  There were no feelings of dread or foreboding.  I just read through to the end with no real feeling of anticipation for the resolution.  I can’t point to any one attribute of the book that caused this lack of emotional response to it, but nonetheless there it is.

S.J. Bolton: Now You See Me


I read this book as a selection from the British English Kindle Mystery group on Goodreads. It was a very engaging and well written mystery.  So much so that I actually took my Kindle to work so I could finish it at lunch because I didn’t want to wait to find out how it ended. Twists and turns throughout, but still kept within the realm of the probable. I got slightly confused at one point but I assume that was due to the boatload of cold meds I was taking while reading .Although, I knew some of the mystery prior to the reveal, I didn’t have all the details right.

Great, well-developed characters with strong, authentic feeling personalities. The character of Lacey Flint is complicated with secrets of her own, much like a real person.  The chemistry between Lacey and DI Joesbury keeps the reader guessing throughout the book.

The author took a big risk with the “Jack the Ripper” hook. There are so many Jack the Ripper books and movies that it is difficult to be original.  S.J. Bolton managed to keep the story line fresh and interesting in Now You See Me.  There were some similarities to a plot from an old Dirty Harry movie, but to say more would be a spoiler so I won’t…besides most people reading this now probably don’t even know who Dirty Harry was :). Highly recommended for British mystery fans.

Independent Book Stores

Just a quick post to push forward a small second hand and new bookshop I found and visited yesterday: Booktrader of Hamilton. I

Anyway, I had gone to their shop years ago when they were in a different location and I lived closer. I assumed that it had gone the way of many of our other independents and closed its doors, but it hadn’t. It had just moved. They had a great selection of books and several that are on my to-be-read list and on top of that, they gave very good credit for books I turned in. Yay! I will definitely be returning with a list in hand.

Now, I just need to get rid of this cold. It is making my head hurt so bad I can’t read for any extended period of time :(, very sad, so very sad. My pile of books is sitting next to me all lonely and neglected.

It was a dark and stormy night…

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.Edward Bulwer-LyttonPaul Clifford (1830)
English dramatist, novelist, & politician (1803 – 1873)

 

There it is, the often parodied quote, “It was a dark and stormy night..”. and tonight, at least here, it is.  But for me, no worries, home in bed with a cup of tea and  a stack of books and a book light too, in case of power outage.  Starting The Elegance of the Hedgehog tonight, finally.  I’ve had it about a week and am  just now cracking the cover.   I also have a few others in case I can’t get into it right a way.  The first sentence was enough to make me want to put it down for a minute, but I’ll give it a try.