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Friday Finds 9/4

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Today’s Friday Finds! so the three listed below are the ones that caught my eye this week:

Shades of Grey by Clea Simon

Twenty-something grad student Dulcie is having an awful summer. She’s had to put her beloved cat Mr Grey to sleep; she can’t decide on a thesis topic; and her best friend and room-mate has gone away, leaving her with a sub-letter, Tim, a boorish business school jerk. Walking home from her boring temp job she sees a cat the spitting image of Mr Grey and hears, in her head, a serious male voice saying, ‘I wouldn’t go in just now, if I were you’. Ignoring the cat’s advice she enters – to find Tim dead, stabbed with Dulcie’s own knife. Dulcie finds herself in the frame for murder, while the ghost of Mr Grey continues to appear, offering his cryptic advice. Then Dulcie discovers a ghostly Gothic novel, featuring a beleaguered heroine whose life is strangely reminiscent of her own…

Note: I attempted to ask for a review copy for this, unfortunately I was not lucky. No matter! I went to the store and picked up another one of Clea Simon’s works so that made me happy.  I love kitties, so this mystery should be an awesome read.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

Note: More TUDOR ERA STUFF! YES!!!!

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

England, 1916. Independent-minded Bess Crawford’s upbringing is far different from that of the usual upper-middle-class British gentlewoman. Growing up in India, she learned the importance of responsibility, honor, and duty from her offi­cer father. At the outbreak of World War I, she followed in his footsteps and volunteered for the nursing corps, serving from the battlefields of France to the doomed hospital ship Britannic. On one voyage, Bess grows fond of the young, gravely wounded Lieutenant Arthur Graham. Something rests heavily on his conscience, and to give him a little peace as he dies, she promises to deliver a message to his brother. It is some months before she can carry out this duty, and when she’s next in England, she herself is recovering from a wound. When Bess arrives at the Graham house in Kent, Jonathan Graham listens to his brother’s last wishes with surprising indifference. Neither his mother nor his brother Timothy seems to think it has any significance. Unsettled by this, Bess is about to take her leave when sudden tragedy envelops her. She quickly discovers that fulfilling this duty to the dead has thrust her into a maelstrom of intrigue and murder that will endanger her own life and test her courage as not even war has.

Note: I’m into mysteries and looking for good ones. This one caught my eye as I barely read anything having to do with WWI.

(All descriptions were taken from Amazon.ca)

What did you guys find?

Written by Karoline

September 4, 2009 at 11:14 am

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Friday Finds 8/29

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Oh Crap! I’m late for my Friday Finds! *screams and quickly posts up three books*

Small Wars – Sadie Jones

What happens when everything a man believes in — the army, his country, his marriage — begins to crumble? Hal Treherne is a young British soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. Transferred to Cyprus to defend the colony, Hal takes his wife, Clara, and their daughters with him. But Hal is pulled into atrocities that take him further from Clara, a betrayal that is only one part of a shocking personal crisis to come. Small Wars is a searing, unforgettable novel from a writer at the height of her powers. (Amazon)

Note: Looks good, caught my attention.

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas

In a city that runs on a dwindling supply of magic, a young boy is drawn into a life of wizardry and adventure. Conn should have dropped dead the day he picked Nevery’s pocket and touched the wizard’s locus magicalicus, a stone used to focus magic and work spells. But for some reason he did not. Nevery finds that interesting, and he takes Conn as his apprentice on the provision that the boy find a locus stone of his own. But Conn has little time to search for his stone between wizard lessons and helping Nevery discover who—or what—is stealing the city of Wellmet’s magic. (Amazon)

Note: I was going to take this out from the library but some twit beat me to it first. Damn them. It’s a first in a trilogy.

Heart Shaped Box – Joe Hill

Stoker-winner Hill features a particularly merciless ghost in his powerful first novel. Middle-aged rock star Judas Coyne collects morbid curios for fun, so doesn’t think twice about buying a suit advertised at an online auction site as haunted by its dead owner’s ghost. Only after it arrives does Judas discover that the suit belonged to Craddock McDermott, the stepfather of one of Coyne’s discarded groupies, and that the old man’s ghost is a malignant spirit determined to kill Judas in revenge for his stepdaughter’s suicide. Judas isn’t quite the cad or Craddock the avenging angel this scenario makes them at first, but their true motivations reveal themselves only gradually in a fast-paced plot that crackles with expertly planted surprises and revelations. Hill (20th Century Ghosts) gives his characters believably complex emotional lives that help to anchor the supernatural in psychological reality and prove that (as one character observes) “horror was rooted in sympathy.” His subtle and skillful treatment of horrors that could easily have exploded over the top and out of control helps make this a truly memorable debut. (Amazon)

Note: Autumn is coming. The scary books should be read during that time 🙂

What did you guys find?

Written by Karoline

August 28, 2009 at 2:29 pm

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Friday Finds 8/21

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Ack!! I almost forgot Friday Finds!!!! the ones listed below are my top three finds I have found this week:

Interred With Their Bones – Jennifer Carrell

Jennifer Lee Carrell’s highly acclaimed debut novel is a brilliant, breathlessly paced literary adventure. The action begins on the eve of the Globe’s production of Hamlet when Shakespeare scholar and theater director Kate Stanley’s eccentric mentor Rosalind Howard gives her a mysterious box, claiming to have made a groundbreaking discovery. Before she can reveal it to Kate, the Globe is burned to the ground and Roz is found dead…murdered precisely in the manner of Hamlet’s father.

Inside the box Kate finds the first piece in a Shakespearean puzzle, setting her on a deadly, highstakes treasure hunt. From London to Harvard to the American West, Kate races to evade a killer and solve a tantalizing string of clues hidden in the words of Shakespeare, which may unlock one of history’s greatest secrets. (Amazon.ca)

Note: This one looks awesome! I’ve never heard of this author or book before!

The Arms Maker of Berlin – Dan Fesperman

When Nat Turnbull, a history professor who specializes in the German resistance, gets the news that his estranged mentor, Gordon Wolfe, has been arrested for possession of stolen World War II archives, he’s hardly surprised that, even at the age of eighty-four, Gordon has gotten himself in trouble. But what’s in the archives is staggering: a spymaster’s trove missing since the end of the war, one that Gordon has always claimed is full of “secrets you can’t find anywhere else . . . live ammunition.” (Amazon.ca)

Note: Awesome cool WWII stuff 🙂

Duchess – Susan Holloway Scott

Sarah Jennings’s ascent from poverty as a 13-year-old to the highest echelons of late 17th- and early 18th-century English society has all the trappings of supermarket tabloids: intrigue, treachery, deceit and sexual scandals. In this first-person telling, Scott takes a near-scholarly approach but maintains the thrills as Sarah and her equally ambitious husband, John Churchill, risk charges of treason (and thus, their necks) to ensure the crown for Anne Stuart. Sarah and John become the ultimate power couple: she gets her way, her riches and her title nearly without sacrificing her own principles, while John, despite his personal ambition, seeks the best for his family and country, becoming England’s greatest military hero. If each is a bit too good to be true, that is a hazard of the first person and is easy to overlook with two such interesting and able characters. That Sarah is an ancestor of both Winston Churchill and Lady Diana Spencer gives this novel appeal to several generations of historical fiction readers.  (Amazon.ca)

Note: Thanks Lucy, for giving me the heads up on Susan Holloway Scott. Never heard of her until your review 🙂 this one calls out to me the most though.

What did all of you guys find today?

Written by Karoline

August 21, 2009 at 3:08 pm

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Friday Finds 8/14

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Today is Friday Finds. Here’s what I found that caught my eye for this Friday:

Where Memories Lie by Deborah Crombie

When a diamond brooch stolen decades ago turns up for sale at an upscale London auction house, the brooch’s owner, Dr. Erika Rosenthal, a retired academic who escaped Nazi Germany with her philosopher husband, David, during WWII, turns for help to her friend Insp. Gemma James in Crombie’s lively 12th mystery to feature Gemma and Scotland Yard’s Duncan Kincaid (after 2007’s Water Like a Stone). The suspicious hit-and-run death of Kristin Cahill, a young clerk involved in the brooch’s sale, is but the first in a series of fatalities to befall people connected to the auction. Crombie raises the suspense by alternating the contemporary story, which includes news of Gemma’s mother’s battle against cancer, with flashbacks to the investigation of David’s unsolved murder in 1952 while he was working on an exposé about Nazi sympathizers. With its echoes of Elizabeth George and even Danielle Steel, this entry will appeal as much to newcomers as to series fans (Amazon.ca)

Note: I know this is part of a series. I’m wondering if this can be read as a stand alone? it certainly looks really good.

The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva

The tragedy of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and despair of its resolution provide the backdrop for Silva’s (The Unlikely Spy) heart-stopping, complex yarn of international terrorism and intrigue. Israeli master spy Ari Shamron sets an intricate plot in motion to lure deadly Palestinian assassin Tariq al-Hourani into his net. Art restorer Gabriel Allon, a former Israeli agent whose family was killed by Tariq, is lured back into the fray by Shamron and teamed with Jacqueline Delacroix, a French supermodel/Israeli secret agent whose grandparents died in the Holocaust. Gabriel sets up in London to monitor Yusef, Tariq’s fellow terrorist and confidant. Jacqueline is assigned to seduce him in hopes of intercepting Tariq, who is devising a plan to kill Israel’s prime minister during peace talks with Arafat in New YorkDand he has similar plans for Gabriel. The tortuous plot leading the various parties to the showdown in Manhattan is a thrilling roller-coaster ride, keeping readers guessing until the mind-bending conclusion. Sensitive to both sides of the conflict, the narrative manages to walk a political tightrope while examining the motivations of Palestinians and Israelis alike. The duplicity and secret financial juggling to keep government hands clean is personified in publishing mogul Benjamin Stone, who backs the Israeli efforts. He is just one of many larger-than-life characters (both real and invented) thrown into the mixDArafat himself has a tense encounter with Tariq that underscores the volatility of terrorist loyalty. An array of global locales adds to the complexity and authenticity of the dizzying, cinematic plot. (Amazon.ca)

Note: Now THAT one looks really really good.

Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith

At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight. Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess’s personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl’s soul and plan the Master’s fast-approaching Death Day gala. In alternating points of view, Miranda and Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous and darkly hilarious love story for the ages.

Note: LOL this one made me chuckle a bit. I hope I can find it soon.

What did you find today?

Written by Karoline

August 14, 2009 at 11:56 am

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Friday Finds 8/7

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Today’s Friday Finds and I found the following three (I picked the most interesting of a group of books I found) 😛

Too Close to Home – Linwood Barclay
In a quiet neighborhood, in the house next door, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. You can’t help thinking, It could have been us. And you start to wonder: What if we’re next?

Promise Falls isn’t the kind of community where families are shot to death in their own homes. But how well did Jim and Ellen Cutter really know their neighbors—or the darker secrets of their small town? They don’t have to look further than their own marriage to know that things aren’t always what they seem. Now the Cutters and their son, Derek, must face the unthinkable: that a murderer isn’t just stalking too close to home…but is inside it already. (Amazon.ca)

Note: After finishing Fear the Worst (which I enjoyed) I figured why not? this one looks good! I found it at the store and was about to get it, but I think I found something else instead. However! no biggie! it’s at my library ready to get my paws on it! muaha!

Crossfire – Miyuki Miyabe
This provocative paranormal police procedural from the prolific Miyabe, like her two previous crime novels translated into English (All She Was Worth and Shadow Family), examines the dark side of Japanese society. The complex story is seen through the eyes of two very different women: Junko Aoki, who’s afflicted/blessed with pyrokinesis, the ability to start fires through willpower, which she uses to avenge unsolved crimes, and Sgt. Chikako Ishizu of the Tokyo police department’s arson squad, a pragmatic skeptic. Chikako and her partner gradually piece together a series of baffling cases in which suspected criminals, cars and even buildings are inexplicably incinerated. Their investigation leads to those with supernatural powers, including a troubled young girl, as well as to an underground citizens’ organization of justice seekers. Despite uneven pacing and some unlikely coincidences, this startling genre mix keeps the reader turning the pages right up to the breathtaking climax. (Amazon.ca)

Note: This is one of the books listed for my Japanese Literature Challenge. It reminds me a lot of Firestarter 😛

The Devil’s Queen – Jeanne Kalogridis
From Jeanne Kalogridis, the bestselling author of I, Mona Lisa and The Borgia Bride, comes a new novel that tells the passionate story of a queen who loved not wisely . . . but all too well.Confidante of Nostradamus, scheming mother-in-law to Mary, Queen of Scots, and architect of the bloody St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, Catherine de Medici is one of the most maligned monarchs in history. In her latest historical fiction, Jeanne Kalogridis tells Catherine’s story-that of a tender young girl, destined to be a pawn in Machiavellian games. Born into one of Florence’s most powerful families, Catherine was soon left a fabulously rich heiress by the early deaths of her parents. Violent conflict rent the city state and she found herself imprisoned and threatened by her family’s enemies before finally being released and married off to the handsome Prince Henry of France. Overshadowed by her husband’s mistress, the gorgeous, conniving Diane de Poitiers, and unable to bear children, Catherine resorted to the dark arts of sorcery to win Henry’s love and enhance her fertility-for which she would pay a price. Against the lavish and decadent backdrop of the French court, and Catherine’s blood-soaked visions of the future, Kalogridis reveals the great love and desire Catherine bore for her husband, Henry, and her stark determination to keep her sons on the throne. (Amazon.ca)

Note: Sure, Catherine was an evil witch, but this one sort of shows HOW she came to be that way. I haven’t read much on Catherine de Medici so this one would be interesting.

So! what did you find today?

Written by Karoline

August 7, 2009 at 10:22 am

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Friday Finds 7/31

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Today is Friday Finds and let’s see…as usual I found a lot but I’ll narrow it down to three that stood out for me the most:

The Black Tattoo – Sam Enthoven
London teen Jack leads a not-very-interesting life. His friend Charlie is none too bright and is blinded by his anger over his parents’ divorce. Jack stands by his best mate through thick and thin, even when Charlie, possessed by a demon, crosses into Hell itself. Khentimentu, also known as the Scourge, has been trapped in the roots of an ancient tree for thousands of years by a secret society called The Brotherhood of Sleep. Charlie, thinking he is being recruited into it, unwittingly becomes a host for the escaped Scourge, manifested in a writhing, black tattoo. With Charlie’s help, the demon kills all the members of the Brotherhood except the young warrior-woman Esme. When the demon and Charlie escape into Hell, it is up to Jack and Esme to rescue Charlie and save the universe from Khentimentu’s evil plan. Enthoven has created an interesting and original universe and a gripping story. Hell is a demon-populated Roman empire at its most decadent, complete with gladiators and an all-powerful emperor. (Amazon.ca)

I’m in the mood for some dark stuff. That suits it perfectly.

Jar City: A Reykjavik Thriller – Arnaldur Indridason (Author), Bernard Scudder (Translator)
When a lone septuagenarian is murdered in his apartment in the Nordurmýri district of Reykjavík, detective inspector Erlendur Sveinsson is called in, along with partner Sigurdur Óli and female colleague Elínborg. Everyone is related to everyone else in Iceland and refer to one another by first name, even formally. Erlendur is about 50, long divorced, with two kids in varying degrees of drug addiction. The victim, a man called Holberg, turns out to have been a nasty piece of work, and Erlendur is disgusted by the series of rapes Holberg apparently committed. The rapes and the deaths of a number of young women may be connected, and the search brings Erlendur to the forensic lab, whose old “jar city,” since disbanded, held research organs. Meanwhile, Erlendur’s daughter, Eva Lind, is pregnant and still using; she flits in and out of his life angrily, but may be crying out for help. Reykjavík’s physicality, and the fact that crimes are relatively rare in Iceland, gives things a defamiliarizing cast. The writing, plot and resolution are nicely done, but remain fully within genre boundaries.(Pub. Weekly)

There’s a trend in foreign detective novels so I figured I might as well jump on the wagon and see how it goes.

The Plantation – Chris Kuzneski

One by one, in cities across America, people of all ages are taken from their homes, their cars, their lives. But these aren’st random kidnappings. They’sre crimes of passion, planned and researched several months in advance, then executed with a singular objective in mind. Revenge. (Amazon.ca)

Like I said, I’m in the mood for real dark stuff.

These three are available at the library so I’ll have to wait until perhaps next week’s trip. We’ll see 😀 I have quite a bit to read (quite a bit being a major understatement!)

What did you guys find?

Written by Karoline

July 31, 2009 at 1:00 pm

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Friday Finds 7/24

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Today’s Friday Finds! as usual, I found a lot of books through surfing through book blogs and through publisher websites so here’s three that stood out for me:

Dark Hours by Gudrun Pausewang Translated by John Brownjohn

Pausewang has created another World War II story, from the perspective of a German Christian teen whose life is at risk when caught in the brutality of war. Several days before Gisel’s 16th birthday, the family must flee their small village as the Russian army advances and the American forces approach. Waiting in the overcrowded train station, the teen is suddenly left responsible for her three younger brothers, including 18-month-old Rolfi, while her grandmother is at the information desk. When the air raid sirens go off, everyone tries to reach the nearest shelter and Gisel becomes separated from six-year-old Harald. Several harrowing hours ensue before the children are reunited, and when the bombs fall, they become entrapped in the rubble for two very long and frightening days. Gisel is a strong heroine who is able to maintain calm and optimism while hiding her fears and doubts from her young charges until their long rescue. Told by an elderly Gisel to her granddaughter in the form of a letter, Pausewang’s book seeks to make a statement that war is a crime and never good for either side. Yet some may bristle when she compares the difficulties of Gisel’s family with the suffering of so many in the inhumane conditions of the concentration camps, calling the Holocaust an “injustice” rather than organized genocide. Well written with suspense and powerful sentiments, this story will spark discussion when used in conjunction with other Holocaust literature. (Amazon.ca)

Note: Yes..I’m still craving WWII stuff.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Note: This reminds me a lot of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy for some reason.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

Some secrets are too terrible to reveal . . . Some crimes are too unspeakable to solve . . . In the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and “English” residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. In the aftermath of the violence, the town was left with a sense of fragility, a loss of innocence. Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from its brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish. Now, a wealth of experience later, Kate has been asked to return to Painters Mill as Chief of Police. Her Amish roots and big city law enforcement background make her the perfect candidate. She’s certain she’s come to terms with her past—until the first body is discovered in a snowy field. Kate vows to stop the killer before he strikes again. But to do so, she must betray both her family and her Amish past—and expose a dark secret that could destroy her.

Note: This looks really damn good.

What did you find this week? 🙂

Written by Karoline

July 24, 2009 at 11:53 am

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