"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: A Pointed Death by Kath Russell

A Pointed Death
Author:  Kath Russell
Copyright: 2010
Publisher:  Self-published using CreateSpace
Pages:  333
ISBN 978 1450563093
Genre:  Mystery
Content advisory:  sexual slang, some sex scenes, mild language

(from the back cover) "Can modern love, biotechnology and murder mix?  They do so exceedingly well in the edgy new thriller, A Pointed Death by Kath Russell.  When techno whiz Nora Billingsley finds her former employee, an amoral creep who was stealing from start up companies, dead, she doesn't she tears.  But she is determined to solve the crime, even as she begins falling for the detective assigned to the case.  Soon, though, both her life and her love are on the line.

Can she solve the case-and save her relationship?

With the help of her short-haired pointer Skootch and the stunning backdrop of San Francisco, Nola unravels a helix of clues to find a murderer.  A Pointed Death reinterprets the thriller as never before.  Smart, funny, and full of  plot twists and turns, A Pointed Death introduces a feisty female heroine solving crimes in the world of high finance, bioscience, and technology."

My Thoughts: 
I devoured this book, front to back, totally immersed in the story of Nola Billingsley as she plays amateur sleuth, much to the consternation of her boyfriend, Bob Harrison, a San Francisco city police officer. Kath Russell wrote this book as a light read for professional women to enjoy during flights as they jet set across the world.  "I have tried to produce a good read for professional women to take along on those long, lonely flights.  Although what I wrote is a light, irreverant story, it is set in a very serious industry that has produced enormous value, especially in the healthcare field."  The author once worked within this very field of biotechnology so her knowledge comes firsthand.  This book is a "cockeyed tribute" to that industry.

As I read this novel I marvelled at the intellects within and even more so at the protaganist, Nola, as she repeatedly went about investigating the murder of a former employee, putting herself in peril's path.  For someone so incredibly bright, I had to shake my head at her escapades.  Nola doesn't fully put her trust in the capabilities of the police, though her boyfriend is a member of the force.  Not since her best friend at school was murdered and the investigation produced unsatisfactory results.  The murderer remained at large, unknown.  You can see her lack of faith, can't you?  As the plot climaxes,  and Nola acts on an anonymous tip, the reader wants to yell at her not to do it!  How can someone so bright, act so foolishly?  One wonders.  But that is Nola.  She is intelligent, analytical, silly, quick to act and sometimes think later.  The reader really knows her by the end.  We cheer her on, while questioning her judgment.  Kath Russell did an excellent job of character development throughout this book.

I recommend this novel for those analytical minds out there, for the business woman, for the mother at home raising her children, for the average woman everywhere.  If you like a good mystery, some on the edge of your seat scenes, a story about relationships, and a good chuckle, this book provides all that and more.

This is the second book I've read by Kath Russell.  The first was Deed So (read review), under her full name, Katherine A. Russell.  A Pointed Death could certainly be the beginning of a series starring Nola Billingsley as there are hints throughout the book that could be developed into future novels.  

Rated 4/5.  I can't give it a 5/5 as that would leave no room for growth for upcoming novels featuring this character.  Here's hoping the next is soon!

Monday, March 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (Just Received) 3/28/11

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren.

The idea behind IMM was not only to put new books on your radar but to also encourage blogger interaction. IMM explores the weekly contents of my mailbox & books bought.

Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library.
Last week I received three books in the mail including:
 2nd Earth by Edward and Eunice Vought - a science fiction book about two Navy Seals who find themselves in a parallel world. Read Goodreads comments.
Quest for the Nail Prints by Don Furr - I read this book as an ebook and reviewed it here.  The author sent me a signed copy upon publication.  There is a neat effect in the design of this book, a nail hole throughout.  Now available for sale at Amazon.com.
Quip Factory by Caleb Spalding Atwood - could be an interesting tool for writing.  Read Goodreads comments.

From a nearby second-hand bookstore, Never Without a Book, I purchased with birthday money from my mom (thanks Mom!!!  XOXO) the following:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - this is an upcoming bookclub read
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - April's bookclub read (this is a graphic novel so I still want to find the original in paperback)
The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle - includes several short stories, previously published in The Strand plus the entire book of The Hounds of Baskerville (for my vintage mystery challenge)
Sticks and Scones by Diane Mott Davidson - a cozy culinary mystery
The Town Cried Murder by Leslie Ford - (for my vintage mystery challenge)

 And for my birthday, from a dear friend, a copy of...
Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.  I know!  She's a good friend!!!  I promised her she could read it after me as we both have been "dying" to read this much touted novel.  It's great to have a friend with similar tastes in books!
What's in your mailbox this week?  Did you purchase anything that you are "dying" to read?  Any new library books?  Share in your comments below or leave a link to your post for In My Mailbox.  I love to see what everyone is reading!!!   Remember to link up with The Story Siren too!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stalk Hop Friday

Stalk Hop Friday

It's time for Stalk Hop Friday again everyone!  This is your chance to get out there and see some amazing book blogs.  I recently discovered two with amazing design!

Blog hops are a great way to gain more followers! This hop follows in EVERY way: Google Friend Connect, Facebook, Twitter, Feed, Blog Frog, Networked Blogs! "Stalk Me" and I will return the favor!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Follow My Book Blog Friday Blog Hop 3/25/11

Question of the Week: Inspired by the inane twitter trend of #100factsaboutme, give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you.

Now, 5 book related facts about me:

1.  You know you're a bookish nerd when you'd rather spend recess in the library than outside playing.  That was me!

2.  By grade four I was reading adult level books.  My favourite at the time was Phantom Roan.  My teacher tried reading it to the class, at my request, for reading time but I was the only one who understood and liked it.  So she went to a story about cyclops instead!

3.  I read every Marguerite Henry horse book in elementary school! Loved them!!

4.  My favourite book from childhood is Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  I still have the copy my grandparents bought me.

5.  I feel euphoric after a visit to a bookstore or library!

What would you like to share about yourself? 

Enjoy your hop everyone and be sure to leave a link so I can come visit yours!!  Follow me, let me know, and I'll follow you back.

Booking Through Thursday 3/24/11

If you'd like to join in on Booking Through Thursday, just click here.

This week's question...
Series? Or Stand-alone books?
I like them both.  The first series I recall reading was the Trixie Belden mysteries.  Childhood memories also include The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries.  Where would we be without those? 
Today there are several famous and fabulous series too including Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling), Twilight (Stephanie Meyers), Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis), Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery), Jurassic Park & Lost World (Michael Crichton), culinary mysteries by Nancy Fairbanks, Mitford series (Jan Karon)  and so many more.  Don't you just love a series that draws you in, making it a part of your life, so that you simply must get the next book and soon!  You actually count down to the release of the next one!  I think it's the whole anticipation thing.

I also enjoy stand alone novels like Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), Black Beauty (Anna Sewell), The Pelican Brief (John Grisham), Fire Starter (Stephen King), Granny Dan (Danielle Steel), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) and so many, many more!  The great thing about a stand alone is it is a shorter time investment.  They're great for something new and original to read.  It's often nice to have everything tied up neatly at the end so there's no frustration knowing you have to wait a year to read the next one.

So, to make a long answer short, I love them both!!!  Sorry, I simply cannot choose.  It depends on the series, my mood, the author, and available time as to whether I feel like a serial or stand alone read.  I'm just that complicated.

How about you?  Do you have a preference?  Stand Alone or Series?

Book Review: The Killing Game by J.C.Stevens

The Killing Game
Author:  J.C.Stevens
Copyright:  2011
Publisher:  Outskirts Press, Inc.
Pages:  141
Genre:  Crime/drama (the cover indicates true crime/espionage)

(from the back cover) "The Game of Killing is  Deadly Game...
The Killing Game is about a mob hit man forced out of retirement to kidnap and deliver a government witness but instead has a plan of his own to survive...The Killing Game."

This short book, a novelette I think would be appropriate, is action filled from beginning to end.  The story of a retired mob hit man, Bronson (Bronx) who leaves retirement for one last job.  He must kidnap Linda, who is about to turn evidence against a fellow mobster, and deliver her before she can reveal what she knows.  However, Bronson is tired of the killing game.  He was enjoying retirement. 

Bronson had lost it all, playing with the bad guys.  His wife was dead and his son in jail.  All he had left was the barber shop where he tried to eek out a living quietly obscured from prying eyes.  This last job may bring him the peace he desires.  How does he turn the tables?  You'll have to read this fast-paced story to find out.

Short and quick to read, this novelette is a fair story.  I enjoyed the plot and the twists that negated the plans initially set out.  Traitors and mafia keep this story interesting as they intertwine in their devious schemes.  But who will come out the winner?  You will find the ending a surprise.

Rated 3/5 a good story but not super memorable.  As I was reading, I kept thinking this would make a good tv movie.  Content advisory:  language and violence (not graphic) 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Theme Thursdays 3/24/11

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event that will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:

-A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday's)

-Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading

-Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post

-It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don't necessarily need to have the word)

Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have "They kissed so gently" or "Their lips touched each other" or "The smooch was so passionate"

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

This week's theme is - BUILDING

"Then the bus got underway after one last head check, slowly creeping out of the parking lot.  Sitting next to the window, Linda turned away, watching the buildings fade behind them." ~ The Killing Game by J.C. Stevens.  page 63

The Killing Game is about a mob hit man forced out of retirement to kidnap and deliver a government witness but instead has a plan of his own to survive...The Killing Game.
Leave a comment here with a link to your post. Be sure to link up at Kavyen's Reading Between the Pages. Do make sure to visit and comment on other Theme Thursdays.

Book Review: The Chinese Conspiracy by John Mariotti

 The Chinese Conspiracy
Author:  John Mariotti
Copyright: 2010
Publisher:  iUniverse
Pages:  404
Genre:  Thriller
Source: Complimentary copy provided by the author for review
Extras:  Glossary of Common Terms, A History of Worm Viruses, Prologue and Postscript
ISBN 978-1-4502-5789-3

Content Advisory:  contains scenes of sexual nature, profanity, and violence
(I don't review books that contain this type of material, thus this advisory.  Rated 18 A)

Press release - "Author John Mariotti announces his new cyber-thriller, The Chinese Conspiracy. This fast paced thriller is based around today's headlines of cyber-terrorism.

Your office phone hasn't rung for some time, which is unusual. You pick it up, and you hear a hissing sound. You grab your cell phone, punch in a number, and get an "all-circuits-busy".Your computer monitor shows your home page, so you select a web site and get a "server not responding" message. That's odd! You email your assistant, and ask, "Did if it go through?" The answer is, "no". You turn back to see another "server not responding" notice.

The TV screen behind your desk is filled with snow-the cable is out. The radio doesn't work either-just static hiss. If you go down to the ATM, it'll just spit your card back at you. Bank transactions are dead. On Wall Street, trading has stopped amidst massive confusion. The ticker is dead. The monitors are dead. Everything's dead-"silenced!"

At the airport, the lines are growing; people are restless and confused. No planes are landing or taking off-or even taxiing-ATC is down and the airlines overhead monitors are full of snow. Agents can't ticket passengers or issue boarding passes. Chaos reigns.

From the White House to Congress, the Pentagon to Parliament, nothing related to electronic communications works. It's all completely SILENT. The only things not silent are the car horns in the street outside. It's a veritable cacophony of horns blaring. This scenario is repeated across the country. Nothing works. All electronic forms of communications and computer control have been "shutdown"-TV/Radio, all kinds of phones, the Internet, Wall Street, banking, Air Traffic Control, etc. But how? And by whom? And why?

This totally new form of terrorism-Cyber-Terrorism-potentially the most frightening of all."

My Thoughts:  In the prologue the menace begins with lights within Manhattan turning green at every intersection. Wall Street, New York - all computers are down, the ticker is black and cell phones are not working.  ATM machines are down.  Anything and everything that relies on computers or satellites is out of commission.  In Vegas the casinos have to shut down.  Money transfers don't work.  No email, no cell phones, no internet.  Washington DC - internet down, email down, cell phones not operational. Airports are at a standstill.  What is happening?  More importantly, who is behind it and why?

I could see this novel as a film with some judicious "cuts" of content.   John Mariotti has developed a cyber-thriller that will catch your attention and raise your level of awareness of the dangers that lurk in unseen places:  the hackers, the virus developers, and the like.  This book is available on Amazon.
I was excited at the prospect of reading this novel.  The premise of The Chinese Conspiracy is good, timely and frightening. The plot has been developed with great attention to detail and if it weren't for some of the R-18 content, I would recommend this book whole-heartedly.  Skimming through scenes I'd rather were not included, I found the plot to be thought provoking. However,  I did not finish this novel.  I would have loved to have read it cover to cover but I just couldn't get beyond the content.  So there it is.  An unfinished book.     I'm a believer in the adage, if it's not good enough without adding sex scenes, graphic violence or profanity, then it's not any better with it.  That's my opinion.  I leave it to you, the reader, to determine for yourselves.  It's a personal choice.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

W...W...W...Wednesdays 3/23/11

W...W...W...Wednesdays are hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

What are you currently reading?
  • Currently I am reading The Chinese Conspiracy by John Mariotti.  It was sent to me as a complimentary copy for review purposes.  It is a cyber thriller where world domination doesn't take place on the fields of war but within computers worldwide.  Using worms, viruses, trojan horses and the like, one group of cyber terrorists plan to gain control using the very technology we all rely upon.  "What happens when nothing works?"  Fascinating!
  • Cooking From the Garden (NetGalley) is another I am reading.  I just want to cook everything in this book!
What did you recently finish reading?

I finished reading and posted reviews for:
You may read my reviews by clicking on the title of the book.
What do you think you'll read next?

I have a few titles from NetGalley that I must read.  Next on my list of hard copy books are:  21st Century Great Global Depression by Orest Andrew Harrison and Hot Leaders Cool Facilitators: Learning to Lead One Meeting at a Time by Bart R. Wendell, PH.D..  I think I'll throw in some fiction to lighten things up a little.  Perhaps one of my NetGalley titles or an Agatha Christie book or perhaps Hounds of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for my Vintage Mystery Challenge.  That sounds exciting!

What are you up to this week?  Reading anything good, relaxing, funny, stimulating, or inspiring?  Tell us!  Please comment below and remember to link up with MizB at Should Be Reading too.  Happy Reading!

Tyndale Press Contest and Newsletter

Tyndale Book Club E-Newsletter

I just discovered this posted at  Crazy For Books and thought you might want to know!

"In honor of Tyndale launching its new book club enewsletter we’re running a 30 day giveaway on our website. The Book Club Hub Newsletter will be an email newsletter geared towards people who are in or are running book clubs. It will feature suggestions, discussion guides and great ideas for your book clubs. You can see a preview by clicking here.

To enter the giveaway you just need to visit the contest page and click on the book you’d like to sign up to win. You can even go back and sign up for both books. Each day is a new giveaway so you can return to the site each day and try to win. Every few days the books change, so check back!"

As a bonus, bloggers can win! Here's how:
1. Visit the page and sign up to win one or both of the free books daily
2. Post about this giveaway and about the Book Club Hub Newsletter on your blog.
3. Fill out this form with the address of your blog post.
4. Shake at least two people’s hands today and tell them about the contest.

The first 100 people to fill out this form will win a free copy of The Holy Bible Mosaic: NLT!
Good luck!

Open to U.S. residents.

Dead by Midnight new book by Carolyn Hart

Carolyn Hart is one of my absolute favourite authors.  She has written several "cozy mysteries" including the Annie and Max Darling series, Death on Demand, of which she has a new one.  The latest in this cozy series is Dead By Midnight as announced by Harper Collins Publishing.  I just received the press release and am excited to share the good news!!

Here's a tease by way of a synopsis to get you going:

Solving puzzles comes naturally to Annie Darling, cheerful owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore on the lovely sea island of Broward's Rock. Annie is aided and abetted by her admiring husband, Max, who runs an unusual business that offers help to people in trouble.

A recent death appears to be suicide, but Annie suspects murder. To solve the case, she unravels the mystery of a towel hidden at midnight in a gazebo, the lack of fingerprints on a crystal mug, blood on a teenager's blue shirt, and the secret of a lovers' tryst.

Annie believes she has set the perfect trap for a merciless killer until her cell phone rings and Death whispers in her ear.

This is a must acquire for me!!

Dead by Midnight

A Death on Demand Mystery
By Carolyn Hart
On Sale: 3/29/2011

Formats: Hardcover, E-Book, Large Print
Pre-order with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders.  Coming soon to a store near you.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Teaser Tuesday 3/22/11

 Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here's mine this week:

"Horns honking, the crunch of metal on metal and the screams of the injured created a cacaphony of chaos.

All over Manhattan similar scenes were evident, because somehow all the traffic lights in the bulk of Manhattan had switched to green at one time." ~ vii Prologue, The Chinese Conspiracy.

And this is the prologue of a book about a conspiracy to control computers all over the world to gain ultimate power using viruses, worms, trojans and more.  Makes for an exciting read!

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Please take a moment to introduce yourself and your teaser and then stop by Should Be Reading to join the linky. Have a great day!

Do you have your tease ready?  Share a bit here or your link to your tease.  Be sure to link up with Miz B at
Should Be Reading too!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/21/11

Holy Cow!  It's the 21st already!  Where has the time gone?  I've spent a lot of it reading, cooking, cleaning, the usual, but it seems like time is whirring away, out of control!  So let's get down to It's Monday, What Are You Reading, a weekly bookish meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Right now I am reading The Chinese Conspiracy by John Mariotti.  It's all about some nasty people who devised worms, viruses, and trojans that shut down computers worldwide.  Suddenly in New York traffic lights all over are green!  Imagine the chaos and it's not limited to New York. This is their attempt at world domination.  If you've never had a virus, consider yourself lucky and read this book.  If you have, you can educate yourself while reading this!  Fascinating action/drama!! (I'm on page 84 so far).

I have several e-books from NetGalley to read.  I'm not sure where to start on those.  I've ventured a look through a cookbook, Cooking From the Garden.  That will be a fun review to do!!  Something from my TBR pile will likely find its way to the forefront this week too.

What are you reading?  Anything fun and exciting?  I love to see what others are reading.  You can leave your comments here and remember to link up with Book Journey too!

In My Mailbox (Just Received) 3/21/11

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren.

The idea behind IMM was not only to put new books on your radar but to also encourage blogger interaction. IMM explores the weekly contents of my mailbox and books bought.

Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library.

Last week, in my mailbox, I received one book The Millenium Diet: The Practical Guide for Rapid Weight Loss by Mark Davis. M.D. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a review.

"Lose thirty pounds in five weeks utilizing this unique diet plan that works with your body's physiology to maximize weight loss.  The Millenium Diet is a physician conceived program to cause rapid weight loss in a short  period of time.  No other program on the market today is designed for expeditious weight loss at the levels achieved by this diet.  Diet histories of thousands of people were studied.  Certain common foods and food groups were noted to cause most of their weight gain.  When these foods were eliminated or reduced in portion size the dramatic weight loss that occurred caused this program to come into existence.  The Millenium Diet is safe, effective and adaptable to most lifestyles.  The book is packed full of information every dieter should know and is now available to anyone interested in a quick weight loss program."

I bought Beastly by Alex Flinn for my daughter to read and so far she is enjoying the story. 


"I AM A BEAST.  A BEAST!  Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright.  I am a monster.
    You think I'm talking fairy tales?  No way.  The place is New York City.  The time is now.  It's no deformity, no disease.  And I'll stay this way forever--ruined--unless I can break the spell.
     Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me.  Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night?  I'll tell you.  I'll tel you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life.  And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly...BEASTLY."

Sizzle by Julie Garwood.  I bought this novel.

"Lyra Prescott, a Los Angeles film student, is closing in on graduation and dives into work on her final filmmaking assignment:  a documentary transformed by a twist of fate into a real-life horror film. While working on her project, a rash of mysterious incidents convince Lyra that she's trapped in a sinister scenario headed for a violent ending.  Running scared, she turns to her best friend, Sidney Buchanan, whose connection brings devilishly handsome FBI agent Sam Kincaid into Lyra's life.  As the noose of intrigue tightens, the passion between Lyra and Sam escalates with dangerous intensity.  With the rugged FBI agent beside her, Lyra must learn to let down her defenses and follow her heart--even if that leads to deadly peril."

What's in your mailbox?  Something exciting, I'm sure.  I'd love to see what's new.  Won't you share and link up with The Story Siren in this weekly meme? 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Just For Fun: What Kind of Book Reader Are You?

I was reading a "Just For Fun" post on Book'd Out.  It piqued my interest so I decided to do the quiz too.  To do the quiz yourself go to BlogThings and just for fun post your results linking back to me.  (as I did above)  Here are the results of mine:

You Are Realistic Fiction

You are an outgoing person and very interested in others. You have many relationships that are important to you. You are always willing to lend an ear to a friend with a problem. And you're even pretty good at giving advice!  Some may accuse you of loving drama, but you just seem to find yourself in the middle of it.  You are a true people person. You find the lives of others to be fascinating. You're up for hearing anyone's life story.

You Are a Paperback Book

You are an avid reader, and you probably buy a lot of books. And nothing beats an inexpensive paperback you can carry around.  You read whatever you feel like reading. You aren't a snob, and you aren't ashamed of your tastes.  You always have a stack of books to get through, and it seems to be constantly multiplying.  You don't mind waiting for a book you want to come out in paperback. You have plenty to read in the meantime!

You Are Fiction

You believe that life is magical, especially when you enter the world of ideas.  You are highly creative and imaginative. The real world often isn't enough for you.  You are optimistic and hopeful. You believe that we craft our own destinies. You believe that if you can dream it, you can do it. And you do a lot of dreaming.

Some of this I agree with but some not so much.  I'm a dreamer alright but I don't always seek action on those dreams.  I am not exactly outgoing either.  (see my post A Stranger's Choice).  Go ahead, give it a try.  It's all in fun.

Book Review: The Day Before the Berlin Wall: Could We Have Stopped it? An Alternate History of Cold War Espionage by T.H.E. Hill

The Day Before the Berlin Wall: Could We Have Stopped It? An Alternate History of Cold War Espionage
Author:  T.H.E. Hill
Publisher: CreateSpace
Copyright 2010
Pages: 188
Source: Review copy received in exchange for review
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
ISBN 9781453825143
Includes:  Chronology of the Wall, Illustrations and Photographs, German/GI Glossary
Released on the 21st anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall 9 November 2010 from T.H.E. Hill, the author of Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary

(from the back cover)  "The plot is based on a "legend" that was still being told by U.S. Army soldiers in Berlin in the mid-1970s. According to the legend, we had advance knowledge of the wall, and we knew that the East-German troops who were going to build it had been told to halt construction if the Americans were to take aggressive action to stop them.

In Hill's version of the tale, a young American sergeant is the one who gets this piece of intelligence, but he is in East Berlin and has to get back to his unit to report it. The Stasi (the East German secret police) are prepared to kill to keep him from reporting it. They have killed his postmistress, and framed him for her murder. Now it is not only the Stasi, and the Vopos (the East-German "People's" Police), but also the West-Berlin municipal Polizei and the U.S. Army MPs who are after him. It's the day before construction is scheduled to start, and time is running out, so the sergeant is running as fast as he can.

The key question of the novel is "even if he is lucky enough to make it back across the border, will anybody in the West believe what he has to say and take action on it before it is too late?" History says that he either didn’t make it, or they didn't believe him, or …. You will have to read the book to find out what the third "or" is."

My Review: From the very beginning of the novel, The Day Before the Berlin Wall, I was captivated. Though this is a fictional version of a legend still shared among U.S. Army soldiers, by the book's end the reader is convinced of the truths it portrays. 

The main character, Dieter, (one of a few of his alternate identities), is an American soldier taught in the skills of espionage.  When Dieter awakens with a nasty bump on his head and his postmistress dead, he immediately searches the room and finds the hidden papers for which he would risk all.  He is in East Germany but somehow must gain passage past the Stasi (East German Secret Police), the VoPos (East Germany's 'People's Police) and the West-Berlin Municipal Police, to enter West Berlin to share his intel.  Framed for the murder of his 'postmistress,' his photo, beside hers, is plastered all over the papers.  He is a wanted man.  Even his own Army MPs are after him.

I read this novel in a day, totally mesmerized by the story of one American soldier's attempt to pass on his intel at the risk of imprisonment or death.  T.H.E. Hill has created a page-turner that the reader won't soon forget.  The Day Before the Berlin Wall raises several questions.  Should this legend be true, why didn't the US Army prevent the building of the wall, provided they were in possession of the intel?  Was the soldier successful in passing on his information and, if he were, why did USA and Britain ignore it, allowing the wall to be built?  Who benefited from it and how?

The Day Before the Berlin Wall is a gripping tale not only for history buffs, but for lovers of stories of espionage, war, legends and unsung heroes.  It would make a fascinating and controversial movie!

Rated 5/5

Map of pre-wall Berlin (1960) is available online at:  http://www.alt-berlin.info/cgi/stp/lana.pl?nr=9
To learn more about this author, The Day Before the Berlin Wall, and his other published works see:     http://www.voicesunderberlin.com/

About the author:
T.H.E. Hill served with the U.S. Army Security Agency at Field Station Berlin in the mid-1970s, after a tour at Herzo Base in the late 1960s. He is a three-time graduate of The Defense Language Institute (DLIWC) in Monterey, California, the alumni of which are called "Monterey Marys". The Army taught him to speak Russian, Polish, and Czech; three tours in Germany taught him to speak German, and his wife taught him to speak Dutch. He has been a writer his entire adult life, but now retired from Federal Service, he writes what he wants.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Orange Prize For Fiction Long List

"The major international prize for books written by women, the UK’s Orange Prize For Fiction announced their long list of 20 nominees yesterday. Much is being made of the fact that Téa Obreht, whose novel The Tiger’s Wife was released last week to lavish attention, is, at 25, the youngest person on the list.

The prize was created in 1996 by a group of reviewers, librarians, and others in the U.K. book world, who felt that book prizes were disproportionately awarded to men. The Guardian‘s “Books Blog” yesterday addressed the question of whether the Orange Prize is still needed, pointing to recent research that women are still under-represented in literary magazines and criticism."


Thursday, March 17, 2011

TGIF (Thank Goodness It's Friday) and Weekly Recap

TGIF is a new weekly meme for Fridays hosted by GReads.  In addition to an end of week recap of posts, tgif features a question too.  Here's this week's question:

Cover Lust: Which book covers are you lusting after right now?

Lust is a strong word but I did get a new book last week that has the most amazing cover.  See for yourself:

My daughter already read it and LOVED it!!  There are some hidden items on this cover.  Can you see them?

This week's posts in the order of most recent to last:

Book Blogger Hop Friday! 3/18/11
Theme Thursday 3/17/11 - Crockery/Utensil
Book Review: Nana: The Four Crystals
 W...W...W...Wednesdays 3/16/11
A Stranger's Choice (I am excited about this new feature on My Bookshelf!)
And the Winners Are
Teaser Tuesdays! 3/15/11
Book Review: Good Returns: Making Money by Morally Responsible Investing/A> Win a Book! In My Mailbox (Just received) 3/13/11Contest Closes Tomorrow at Midnight

What covers are you lusting after?  Did you recap your week's posts?  Don't be shy, leave a comment here with your answer or a link to your post.  I'd love to see your favourite covers!  Remember to go to GReads and link up too!

Book Blogger Hop Friday! 3/18/11

This weekly bookish meme is hosted by The Crazy Bookworm

Question of the Week: "Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?" 

This is a great question and one that I certainly wondered about.  I know some bloggers have several going at once and, honestly, I don't know how they can do it.  Perhaps if I were a student, I would and could because it would be necessary.

Before blogging, I didn't read more than one book at a time.  Now that I blog, I've gotten so I have two books going at once, rarely three.  I find it confusing otherwise.  I can read a non-fiction and a fiction book at the same time because there's often a great variance between them.  I feel that in order to do justice to the author and his/her work, I need to be focused and I can't if I have too much going on.  Maybe I'm just not that great of a multi-tasker.

How about you?  Do you read several books at once?  How do you keep the plots and characters separate and clear if you do?  Do you read a non-fiction and a fiction book at the same time?  Leave your answers here in the comments and remember to link up with The Crazy Bookworm too!

Have a great weekend!!

Theme Thursday 3/17/11 - Crockery/Utensil

Theme Thursdays, created by Kavyen @ Reading Between Pages, is a fun weekly event that will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:

*A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
*Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
*Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
*It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

This week’s theme is – CROCKERY / UTENSIL 

Here's mine from Nana:  The Four Crystals:

Nana went directly to the kitchen area and from the oven took a small pot from which she poured a prepared tea into three wooden cups.  She brought them to the canvas cloth on the floor and invited Serge and Alexa to sit upon the cushions.  ~ page 151, Nana:  The Four Crystals by Guillermo Romano

Book Review: Nana: The Four Crystals by Guillermo Romano

Nana:  The Four Crystals
Author:  Guillermo Romano
Copyright:  2011
Publisher:  self-published
Pages:  262
ISBN 9781453825051
Source:  complimentary copy provided by the author for review

Nana. The Four Crystals by Guillermo Romano

(from the back cover) Serge is a self-made man with an intense curiosity and thriving ambition.  Desperate for his own sense of meaning, he finds himself in a time of economic downturn, and overwhelming daily challenges.  Burdened with the struggles of life, he finds himself trapped behind his own questions, understanding that life changes in an instant.

To him the answers may lie on an enigmatic woman he unexpectedly meets in the deep jungles of Belize.  This woman, her ancient pendant, and most importantly, her wisdom, will lead Serge on a string of self righteous series of events that could determine his future and the future of the ones around him.

Four crystals stand between him, and discovering who he is.  The meaning of life, past and future will take him through an unbelievable journey to another culture, and another time.  Serge is forced to step up to the challenges presented and figure out who this woman is, what the crystals mean, and one of rediscovery, history and awareness. ...he will be faced with multiple choices. Four Crystals stand between him and discovering who he is. Serge is forced to step up to the challenges presented and figure out who this woman is, what the crystals mean, and more importantly-who he is."

My Thoughts:  The cover art is superb and the plot is reminiscent of Indiana Jones, but with a hunt for something of greater worth than physical value.  However, it is a bit slow to get going which caused some frustration because I could sense the story in those pages just waiting to explode but lacking the ignition.

Though I wanted to identify with the characters, I didn't and found the story was explained more than told,  if that makes sense.  I wanted to find the rhythm of it, to develop a kinship with Serge, to feel the pain and uncertainty he did.  I did momentarily but it didn't last.  But the overall story is interesting and, at moments, exciting. Romano has a great story to tell and the help of a good editor would definitely assist Nana: the Four Crystals to find its momentum and showcase its strengths.  I have no doubt the story is strong and this would help it reach its potential.

One of my favorite scenes in the novel is that of Serge's job interview.  Many a person would have walked away from it all, having endured intense scrutiny, judgment, bribes and temptations, but not Serge.  This shows a strength of character with high morals and scruples.  Serge also proves himself to be a genuine gentleman in the face of temptation.  Satisfied with the results, the "big guy" offers Serge a job that he has a mind to refuse but doesn't and it makes all the difference in the direction his life takes.

Nana:  the Four Crystals is a story of love, hope, adventure and mysteries in the jungles of Belize.  It was an enjoyable journey, once on the road it began.

Rated 3/5

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

W...W...W...Wednesdays 3/16/11

W...W...Wednesdays are hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? 
  • I am finishing Nana: The Four Crystals by Guillermo Romano.  I began this book last month but have had to set it aside more than once.  I am determined to finish reading it today.
  • Also bookmarked is The Day Before the Berlin Wall by T.H.E. Hill
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (online version).  I simply must read this before seeing the movie which has seriously piqued my interest!  It comes out here in Edmonton this Friday ! 
• What did you recently finish reading?
  • Good Returns: Making Money by Morally Responsible Investing by George P. Schwartz, CFA review here.
  • Proud to Have Been A New York City Transit Cop by John R. Martin review here.
  • At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon (for bookclub and previously reviewed here.)
• What do you think you’ll read next?
  • Next on my To Read List is The Chinese Conspiracy by John Marriotti
  • who knows?  If time allows, I'll tackle my TBR pile.  Which reminds me I have several E-books in wait too.  So much to read ;)
What did you finish this week and what have you begun reading?  I'd love to know.  Please comment below and remember to link up with MizB too.  Check back next Wednesday to see if I accomplished my goals.  Til then, have a great week and good reading!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Stranger's Choice

I just had a wonderful idea which actually requires me to step outside my comfort zone and talk to strangers!!  I know!  It has been mulling around in my head for a short time and yesterday I made it happen!  So, here's how it goes.  On occasion, depending on how brave I am, I will go up to a total stranger who is reading, wherever that place may be.  The task is to inquire about the book they are reading and ask how they are liking it.  Then the homework begins.  I will research the title and blog about the book!!  Fun and unique (I hope).

So, today's the first day.  The first ever installment in this new series, A Stranger's Choice, on My Bookshelf.  My husband and I managed a lunch date at Costco, of all places.  As we were sitting at our table and having a nice little chat, another customer sat at a table near ours, eating a cone and reading! 

After explaining my plan to my hubby, I sullied my courage and walked to her table and did it.  In case you didn't know, this took a fair bit of courage as I can be painfully shy.  I totally shocked my husband!  So this actually helps me in a couple ways as I battle my inborn trait of shyness and accomplish this new task!  You know, she was actually happy to talk about her book!!!  Who knew?  Well, I guess I should have expected it because I love to talk/write about what I'm reading so it stands to figure that others will too!

Her book of choice, which she had just purchased, is Rules of Life by Richard Templar.  She said she is really enjoying it and let me know that the author has written others with a similar theme.  They're even available at Costco!  (Must be new because I hadn't seen them there before.)  She proceeded to tell me about the other books in this author's repertoire that I noted to be available at Costco including Rules of Work and Rules of Parenting.  After determining my husband's patience quota for the moment, I walked speedily to the book stacks and found three of his titles there.  Here's what I learned about Rules of Life.

"Some people seem more contented, fulfilled, enthusiastic about life... just plain happier. Is it genes? Money? No. It's the choices they make, how they behave, every single day. Now, Richard Templar brings together the rules that happy, successful people follow: small, simple, common-sense, doable rules that can change your life!" (Google Books)

The Rules of Life is a philosophy book written by Richard Templar. The book is divided into sections: personal; partnership; relations; social and universal, with each topic suggesting rules to make life better. The book is an international best seller and is the next book in the 'Rules-of' series, succeeding 'The Rules of Work'.  Here are the other titles in the series:

Rules of Management: The Definitive Guide to Managerial Success (Paperback - 30 Nov 2004)

The Rules of Life: A Personal Code for Living a Better, Happier, More Successful Kind of Life (Paperback - 8 Nov 2005)

The Rules of Wealth: A Personal Code for Prosperity (Paperback - 31 Oct 2006)

The Rules of Money: How to Make It and How to Hold on to It (Paperback - February 2007) ISBN 0-13-239410-3

The Rules of Parenting: A Personal Code of Raising Happy, Confident Children (Paperback - 3 March 2008)

The Rules of Love: A Personal Code for Happier, More Fulfilling Relationships (Pearson Education Limited, UK 2009)

The Rules of Work, Expanded Edition: A Definitive Code for Personal Success (FT Press, June 22, 2010)

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rules_of_Life)

 Of course, you  know, I didn't stop there!  I had to peruse the tables of books, noting new releases, popular books which continue to take their place amongst the stacks, and found several that I really want to read.  Did you know Frances Mayes has a new novel out called "Every Day in Tuscany"?  If you've read or had the occasion to watch "Under the Tuscan Sun," you'll understand my excitement!  This is based on the author's real life experiences as she moves to Tuscany, buys a little villa on a whim (bad decisions...don't you just love them?), and starts over in this new land among strangers.  Humourous, witty and touching.  It's a feel good kind of story with depth and likeable flawed characters. 

Also noted were "The Imperfectionists" by Tom Rochman (I really want to read this story about journalists), "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest", "The Forgotten Garden", several novels by Jodi Picoult, Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy and so much more.... Can I work there?

And the Winners Are:

(drumroll, please).  After submitting the numbers to random.org the winner was #6:  Sidne, the BCR who commented:

I would love to win a copy of Utopia Texas rdg.rendezvous@gmail.com. By Sidne,the BCR on It's Monday, What Are You Reading AND Giveaway!!! ... on 3/8/11
Sidne lives in the United States. 

The other winner was supposed to be from Canada, but no Canadians entered!  hmph... So the closest would be Heather who was once a Canadian.  Here's her comment:

Thanks for the opportunity - heather @ actingbalanced dot com from the USA, but originally from Canada ;) By heather@actingbalanced.com on It's Monday, What Are You Reading AND Giveaway!!! ... on 3/8/11

Thank you everyone for your comments and Congratulations to the winners!  I have sent emails to notify the winners.  You have 48 hours to email me with your mailing address or the prize will be forfeited and another winner will be chosen.

Teaser Tuesdays! 3/15/11

"A gentle rhythmic knocking sound swam down into the darkness that had swallowed my consciousness and attracted its attention.  My consciousness hung out the 'Do Not Disturb' sign and tried to ignore it." ~ page 1, The Day Before the Berlin Wall by T.H.E. Hill

And this is how the story begins!  The next few sentences get even better!!  Looks like it'll be a page turner!

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Please take a moment to introduce yourself and your teaser and then stop by Should Be Reading to join the linky. Have a great day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Review: Good Returns: Making Money by Morally Responsible Investing by George P. Schwartz

Good Returns:  Making Money by Morally Responsible Investing
Author:  George P. Schwartz, CFA with William J. Koshelnyk
Copyright:  2010
Publisher:  The Barnabus Agency and Geodi Publishing
Pages:  191
Includes:  Table of Contents, Foreward, Introduction, Photo Section, Appendices A,B,C, and Index
ISBN 978-0-9844042-0-9

"Schwartz persuasively demonstrates that we can be successful investors without owning shares of companies that violate Catholic Church teachings" - Laura Ingraham, Nationally Syndicated Radio Host

"George Schwartz, a highly successful mutual fund founder and investment manager, explains the important distinction between the pop culture notion of socially responsible investing and the narrower and more exacting demands of morally responsible investing.  He reminds investors that even the smallest shareholder is an owner of the corporation and therefore accountable for the moral suitability of its products, services and policies...." - Hon. James L. Ryan, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit

Many people invest in stocks as their financial advisor recommends or they follow the stock market and hope they are choosing something that will profit them in the long run.  How many actually think about the companies they are buying stock in?  This book recommends the reader exercise some good moral judgment when choosing their investments.  Using the teachings of the Catholic church, George P. Schwartz presents some ideas that perhaps the average investor doesn't think about.  He advises his clients and now his readers to choose  investments based on what the company they're investing in stands for and the practices it supports. 

Good Returns offers good advice for the investor to do/consider before making their choices including some age old advice, reminders and tips before selecting where to put your money.  There are chapters on investment planning, how to diversify, hedge funds, annuities and so much more.  An eye-opener for sure, if you are looking to invest, consider the future you're investing in and the vehicle you are using to get you there.

I learned a lot from reading this book and I have a bit of a background in the financial industry.  The biggest message Mr. Schultz seeks to convey is that we can make a difference in our society by making well-informed decisions about our investments.

Rated 3/5  Good for those who are in the market, looking for good investments.  Mr. Schwartz has some excellent ideas for you.

Win a Book!

(updated 03/30/11 CLOSED) -Enter now to win a copy of Utopia Texas.  Entries are low so chances to win are great!!  Contest closes at midnight tonight!  (March 14, 2011) Click here to enter for your chance to win one of two copies.  Open to US and Canada.  Winner selected by random.org and posted tomorrow.  Include in your comment your Email and Country.  New followers get a bonus entry!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (Just received) 3/13/11

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren.

The idea behind IMM was not only to put new books on your radar but to also encourage blogger interaction. IMM explores the weekly contents of my mailbox & books bought.

Anyone can participate in IMM and you are not limited to only sharing books that arrive via your mailbox. You can also share books that you've bought or books that you've gotten at the library.

Quicksilver by Joy Spraycar
- A recurring nightmare holds Serry Miller in its grip and has for most of her life. In spite of her fear of the man who becomes a monster, she's in love with him. Not only does she have nightmares while she sleeps, she's living in one with an abusive, alcoholic husband. When, Serry's drunken husband hit's Quinton Worthington's car, she sees the face of the man from her nightmares on a stretcher entering the hospital. When he looks at her and calls her by her name, she is plummeted into a life that she has only dreamed about. Quinton Worthington has suffered for over a hundred years. That's when his evil father ripped Serenity, the love of Quinton's life, from him. At the same time, he changed Quinton into a monster. When Quinton sees Serry's face in the hospital, he believes that Serenity has come back, and he will do anything to be with her. There's only one thing that stands in their way of having the life they want: Quinton's father and the curse of the werewolf.

Animal Stories Daddy Told Us by Innocent Emechete. 
Animal Stories Daddy Told Us is a sixteen chapter collection of African animal stories for children describing day to day activities in animal kingdoms. These animals think, talk and manage their affairs. Like humans they have governments and political intrigues; argue their cases and settle their disputes....an all round entertainer and moral teacher for children and young at heart. It affords children the opportunity to look at real life experience through interactions with animals they already love and trust. Like cartoon stories, children of all ages will have fun with this set of African animal stories with animals interacting in their kingdoms far, far away.

Pursuit of Happiness by Sheldon Greene
The American Revolution is near collapse. Joshua Rutledge, a Quaker and a member of the Rebellion’s first spy organization, the Committee of Correspondence, is sent to the Caribbean to retrieve a desperately needed French arms shipment. He must both locate the arms and persuade a Jewish ship owner to transport them back to America through the British blockade. Rutledge falls for Amelia Sayre, the unconventional wife of a slave owner known for his brutality. From Jewish life in the Caribbean to the birth of the Marine Corps, from slave rebellion to Benedict Arnold’s seducer, Pursuit of Happiness is rich in detail, spiced with romance and action, larded with trenchant dialogue and an abundance of interesting, well-rounded characters. This fact-based page-turner never falters as it moves to a stunning climax. Fans of Patrick O’Brian, Bernard Cornwell, or Daphne Du Maurier should love it.

The Killing Game by J.C. Stevens
The Killing Game is about a Mob hit man forced out of retirement to kidnap and deliver a government witness but instead has a plan of his own to survive...

The Cholesterol Delusion by Ernest N. Curtis M.D.
Approximately one-half of the adult population of the United States are being told that they harbor within their bodies a silent killer. This "killer" is cholesterol. Millions are prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs making these pills the most prescribed (and most profitable) medications in the history of American medicine. They are told that these drugs will protect them from the ravages of heart disease. Dr. Ernest Curtis points out in his new book, The Cholesterol Delusion, that this is patently untrue and can be easily demonstrated by critical analysis of the data presented in the very medical studies that purport to show their benefit.

Sentimental Me by Charles L. Fields

Don't let the nostalgic title Sentimental Me fool you. This fast paced travel mystery is a true gem. It takes Boston lawyer, Charles Stone to Agua Prieta, Mexico to see why a slain U.S. Border Patrol Agent made a woman with known Drug Cartel connections the beneficiary of his $500,000 life insurance policy. Stone was often called in by the Franklin Life Insurance Company to investigate what they referred to as "exotic cases." He recently returned from an assignment in Ireland involving the Real IRA and a notorious international arms dealer. Exposing fraudulent activity almost cost him his life.

Needing a little R&R, he accepted the retainer and hoped the trip to Arizona and the Mexican border city would not be as dangerous, but nothing Franklin Life assigned him had ever been a "piece of cake". This investigative journey, rich in descriptive side events, introduces the reader to murder, drugs, arms smuggling and the powerful people who make it all happen. It is a ride to hell and back.

Reflections of a Successful Wallflower by Andrea Michaels
Andrea Michaels is literally one of the backbones of the special events industry. Launching her business when there was no formalized or defined marketplace, she was and still is a trailblazer, pioneering the way for others to follow. Always on the cutting edge of the business, she has stacked up a pile of firsts (and 50 prestigious awards) in her legendary career - from initiating corporate branding and messaging into events and interactive themes that create experiences for the guests to entering the international market ahead of her colleagues and incorporating never-before-used technology into her events, just to name a few. That alone should make her extraordinary, but she runs much deeper. Noted as one of the most caring and giving educators of our time, she has traveled the world to teach others not just her art and craft but to help them learn from her own mistakes. How did this genius evolve? Why is she so revered by all her peers? What does she know that we don't?

Reflections of a Successful Wallflower can only be compared to reading Andrea's diaries. This first inductee into the industry Hall of Fame shares, openly and candidly, not only the public wunderkind but the inner woman. Discover the workings of one of the foremost event producers in the world. You'll laugh; you'll cry; you'll be in disbelief and fascinated at the same time. She is a storyteller, and her stories and her life are great lessons for everyone.

Now that I have put these titles together in a post, I realize just how much reading I have ahead of me!  Wow!  I hadn't posted my "Just Received" for 2 or 3 weeks so this is somewhat lengthy but there are some  promising reads here!!

Contest Closes Tomorrow at Midnight!!

Enter now to win a copy of Utopia Texas!  Open to residents of USA and Canada!

To enter, just leave a comment here and include your email and country. One book will be given away in Canada and one in USA.

Contest runs until midnight MST March 14, 2011. The winner will be chosen using random.org and will be announced Tuesday, March 15.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Win a Free E-reader!

Bibiophilic Book Blog is holding an amazing contest!!  Go on over to check it out and enter to win an E-reader.  Details on her blog.  Don't miss out!!  Be sure to mention I referred you (it's a question on the contest form).

Vintage Mystery Challenge

Now that I've completed the Dewey Decimal Challenge, I found another which is right up my alley, so to speak.  Bev at My Reader's Block is hosting the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge.  Here's her introduction to the challenge: 

Introducing: The 2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge. A challenge for all you mystery lovers out there who already love mysteries from the years prior to 1960 and also anyone who's ever thought, "I should give Agatha Christie (Dorothy L Sayers...Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...etc) a try."

Here are the rules:

All books must have been written before 1960 and be from the mystery category.

*Some suggested authors include: Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Dorothy L Sayers, Earl Derr Biggers, Georgette Heyer, Edmund Crispin, Cyril Hare, Ellery Queen, Elizabeth Daly, Cyril Hare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ngaio Marsh, S. S. Van Dine, Philip MacDonald, Rex Stout, Phoebe Atwood Taylor, Josephine Bell, Josephine Tey, Frances & Richard Lockridge, Michael Innes and Stuart Palmer. (Please remember that some of these authors published after 1960 as well--so keep an eye on the original copyright date.)

*You are welcome to count these books towards any other challenges as well.

*Challenge runs from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. Sign up any time between now and November 30, 2011.

*I would love to see reviews of your challenge books, but it is not necessary to participate. If you do not have a blog, post to the comments what your challenge level will be and then post again at the progess site (see below) when you have completed your challenge (include a list of books read).

*No matter what level you choose, please try at least two different vintage authors.

*The best part? A prize for everyone who completes their challenge. Once you declare your challenge level...you are locked in for that number of books. But you may change your list of books at any time. Let me know when you have met your challenge goal and I will send you a list of prizes (books) to choose from. Of course, the earlier you finish, the longer the list of books will be.

*Please post about the challenge on your blog (feel free to grab the image) with your declared challenge level.

A Reminder of the Challenge Levels:

In a Murderous Mood: 4-6 Books
Get a Clue: 7-9 Books
Hot on the Trail: 10-12 Books
Capture the Criminal: 13-15 Books
Take 'Em to Trial: 16+ Books


The Golden Age Girls*: Read 5-7 books from female authors from the vintage years
Cherchez Le Homme: Read 5-7 books from male authors from the vintage years
*I am going for the "In a Murderous Mood" level and have my first review up for Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie 1934.  (Thank you to Bev for allowing a retroactive post.  It was posted February 6, 2011.)


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