RIP V challenge


Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting another RIP challenge this year. RIP stands for Readers Imbibing Peril and includes reading the following:

Dark Fantasy.


The challenge comes at the right time for me. I am planning to read a psychological thriller in October. It is Laura Lippman’s “I’ll know you anywhere”. So not my genre, so this challenge is going to be a REAL challenge this time. Since ONE scary book is enough for me I signed up for the one-book-option, called  “Peril the Third”.



There is also a “Short Story Peril” option which I went for as well. I am planning to re-read “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs, a story that will give everybody the chills.

So my short reading list for the RIP challenge 2010 looks like this:

  • “I’d know you anywhere” by Laura Lippman
  • “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs

I’m a real scaredy cat, so wish me luck!


Annie and the Ripper by Tim Champlin

Annie-Ripper-Front Blurb:

1888, Whitechapel. Jack the Ripper terrorizes prostitutes and baffles Scotland Yard; 1888, London. Annie Oakley thrills audiences of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show with her expert marksmanship. The Ripper may have picked the wrong target in this fascinating retelling of the well-known case of Jack the Ripper… with a Western twist! A mentally unbalanced killer who slashes throats and eviscerates his victims is stalking the Whitechapel district of London’s East End. Whitechapel, with its odors of unlimed outhouses, cabbage, cigars, coal smoke and fish; Whitechapel, with its boarding houses and casual wards, its impoverished working people, its prostitutes. Full moon, dense fog, shrill whistles from Bobbies on the beat; Hansom cabs, horses’ hooves clopping along wet cobblestones. The chills up your back as you look over your shoulder into the dark for the crazy Ripper with the long, sharp knife. This blend of fact and fiction will keep you turning the pages long after bedtime as the story unfolds in gaslit, Victorian London.

My thoughts: 

Who does not like Jack the Ripper stories? When I saw that this book was available I picked it up. The description of Whitechapel in the blurb evoked a picture right away, so I was really looking forward to reading this book.

The story

At first it seemed to be more or less a re-telling of the Ripper case, while Annie Oakley hardly made any appearance, except as the star of the Wild West Show. I was wondering when she would eventually come into play. Since I enjoy reading the original story, though, I didn’t miss her much. The atmosphere was described in such a way that I could picture the area, the people and everything surrounding that mysterious case very well.

When Annie finally got involved in the hunt for the Ripper I found it a nice twist.  I just couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to find out whether they would trap the killer or not – and I wanted to know NOW.

Story vs. facts

Tim Champlin took some liberties with the story, some of which brought the people to life, like for example Abberline’s sudden desire to go and work out at the Police’s Athletic Club, others I found unnecessary.

For example, Walter Sickert was no suspect of the police at the time of the investigation, as far as I know, but was mentioned as such in the book. According to the police he was always around when the killings happened but in reality he was in France at the time of four of the murders.

The police at the time believed that the “Dear Boss” letter that coined the term “Jack the Ripper” was written by a journalist named Tom Bulling, and that it was not written by the killer, as they did here. However, those details, even though not quite correct, didn’t mar the story as it was.

The ending

Up to the end I was spellbound and couldn’t stop. However, I was disappointed with the ending which was an anticlimax if I ever read one. I will talk about this below. If you don’t want spoilers, please don’t read what I’m saying below the spoiler alert!

If you like historical mysteries, Jack the Ripper stories in general and foggy London, read “Annie and the Ripper”!



OK, the ending was anticlimatic, to say the least.

Not only was the killer somebody who had never been mentioned in the story before, something that I find highly unsatisfying, there was also an angle to his motives that was extremely boring.

Why the killer had to have supernatural strength at the end during the chase I didn’t understand. He could have just run away and fallen into the Thames without running and climbing for miles on end. Then the “possession” angle would have been unnecessary. To give Jack the Ripper a demonic touch, I don’t know, I just didn’t like it.

Also, I find religious motives very bland and obvious. Whether it is a crazed priest who kills whores because they act against the will of God or whether it is a Satanist who sacrifices humans makes no difference to me, religion is just too simple.

Alright, nobody knows who the Ripper was and it is very possible that it was someone who never turned up in the investigation. But if Tim Champlin wanted to show that and give us a name we hadn’t come across before, why didn’t he use Montague Druitt? That man actually did exist, drowned in the Thames and after his death there were no more murders, which is – among other reasons -why he WAS suspected to be the Ripper later on. At least that solution would have been a true possibility, as opposed to the one with the guy who really nobody has ever heard of before.

The ending was not what I would have expected and it disappointed me quite a bit.


Title Annie and the Ripper
Author Tim Champlin
Publisher Pill Hill Press
ISBN 978-1617060373
Buy link Buy Annie and the Ripper

Selling our used books at booklooker

We finally decided to sell some of our used books. We have tons of obscure books (and not so obscure) that we want to get rid off and considered selling them from our own blog. However, a friend told us about booklooker, a site where you can sell your used books for a small commission. The exposure is much better, naturally, so we went with that solution.


We decided to call ourselves Motley Books because our collection is rather, um, motley. We only have a handful of books up, but will continuously add more. If you would like to know about new books available you can follow Motley Books on twitter.

To see our books for sale, please go to Motley Books’ booklooker page. See you there :)!


In my mailbox

Mailbox image by taj at
Hosted by The Story Siren



  • “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson for the Unputdownables Book Club September Read on Goodreads
  • “Fit for Life” by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond


  • “Annie and the Ripper” by Tim Champlin. A Jack the Ripper tale with a Western twist featuring Annie Oakley. The blurb sounded so enticing (and Jack the Ripper is such a cozy mystery topic) that I couldn’t resist getting it.
  • “Conventional Education” by TC Blue, the second instalment in a series. Here is my review.
  • “Unconventional” by TC Blue, the third and last instalment in the same series.
  • “After Hours” by Cassandra Gold, a very short story from Torquere Books.

What have you received in your mailbox since your last mailbox post?

There hopefully won’t be much in my mailbox in the next few weeks due to the Book Buying ban in effect fin September. Hopefully I will be able to stick to it, we’ll see.


Up for crafting some bookmarks?

3932104010_e2112fc0a6 I know, I know, I don’t even use bookmarks that much, but I like to have them. DROPS which is  a great website with lots of free patterns for crochet and knitting – they also produce great yearn – have a few nice patterns up for making your own bookmarks.

So get out your crochet hook or knitting needles and create some handmade bookmarks for yourself or a fellow book lover!

(Image source: flickr, framboise)


The Lion of Kent by Aleksandr Voinov & Kate Cotoner


lionofkentSquire William Raven has only one goal-to finally receive his spurs and become a knight. When his lord, Sir Robert de Cantilou, returns from a five-year crusade in the Holy Land, William wants nothing more than to impress him.

After Sir Robert’s return, noble guests arrive from France, bringing intrigue to the castle. William is oblivious to the politics, as he’s distracted by nightly visits from a faceless lover-a man who pleasures him in the dark and then leaves-a man he soon discovers is none other than his master, Sir Robert.

But William can’t ignore the scheming around him when he overhears a plot to murder Robert. He becomes intent on saving his lord and lover from those who would see him killed…

My thoughts: 

I am a sucker for Lord and Squire stories, so when I saw The Lion of Kent by Aleksandr Voinov & Kate Cotoner available on Netgalley I picked it up right away.

Of the three stories I read so far by Aleksandr and a co-author I liked this one best. I liked the historical setting, not to mention the two protagonists. William, a wild boy who wants to earn his spurs, and Robert, who recognizes himself as a young man in William. I found William as someone always reacting before thinking unless he forces himself to calm down and count to three very realistic. Robert as the older was the more reasonable and composed one, but still passionate and loving. The two men were absolutely great together.

The plot was solid and believable with some good side characters. Even though Stephen was a real jerk I liked him, well, as much as you can like a drunken priest who is droning on even though the only creature who listens is his dog.

The story was great from start to finish, there are not even minor things I’d like to have seen done differently. Only I would have liked it to be longer than it was. However, it seems this was not all. I read on Aleksandr’s website that two more novellas about William are planned which reconciles me a bit.

If you like a medieval setting, this is a must read.

Read more about The Lion of Kent and an excerpt at Aleksandr’s website.

EDIT (09/02/2010)

On the Carina Press blog there are a couple of posts with background info on the Lion of Kent. If you would like to know more, go to:

Finding the story in history 

Aiming for a sense of place 

Title The Lion of Kent
Author Aleksandr Voinov & Kate Cotoner
Publisher Carina Press
ISBN 9781426890512
Buy link Buy The Lion of Kent (on sale 08/30)

Happy award

happyawardJudith from Leeswammes Blog has given me this absolutely cute looking Happy Award. My taste is pretty girly, I’m afraid to say, so this pink image is totally my thing. Thank you so much, Judith!

My task is to write down 10 things that make me happy and pass on the award to fellow blogger(s).

OK, let’s see…

  • Waking up in the morning knowing I have no schedule to follow.
  • Getting up and going into a clean and spotless kitchen – because I pulled myself together and tidied it up before I went to bed the night before.
  • Having breakfast at my favourite cafe with the kids being safely packed away in school and kindergarten.
  • Going to the family park to go on fun rides without having to queue for an hour.
  • Watching a cozy mystery movie while doing some crafts and having a coffee
  • Starting on a vacation, sitting in the car, a long drive ahead and knowing there is a ferry waiting for us at the end of the day.
  • Alternatively, starting on a vacation, sitting in the car, a long drive ahead and knowing we will be in Italy in a few more hours.
  • Getting an unloved task done, like for example filing away paperwork that has literally been waiting for years.
  • Going on a shopping tour and finding just the things I wanted for a bargain price.
  • Meeting people that I haven’t seen for a long time to find out that we still connect.

So, now to the passing on part. I’m passing this award on to Bella because she can do with some stress relief and think of some nice things. At the moment she is obsessing over her TBR pile mountain range and needs a distraction. Badly!


Comparing covers: The Gargoyle

It’s “The Gargoyle” today. Possibly this book will be the September book of the Unputdownables Book Club at Goodreads. But I am planning to read it in the buying ban month September anyway. I managed to finally get a copy at my book swapping site, a copy with my favourite cover, I might add. Even though the cover doesn’t play a part in my decision whether to read a book or not, I still like some better than others. In this case I very much prefer the 7th cover with the woman’s back and the heart.

gargoyle1 gargoyle2 gargoyle3

gargoyle4 gargoyle5 gargoyle6

 gargoyle German cover

I wonder why the English covers have two different quotes in that banner across the heart. One says “Accidents ambush the unsuspecting often violently, just like love”, the other one “Love is as strong as death, as hard as hell”. The German quote (cover 8)  is a translation of the first one.

Another funny thing is that they left out the definite article in the German title. Why would they do that? They could call it “Der Gargoyle” and it would be just fine.

Which cover do you prefer?



Conventional Education by TC Blue


When good friends and sometime-lovers-of-convenience meet again at a convention, sparks fly, but between Trent’s new job working for Neverwhere Games and Lucas’ co-star shocking the world, things get complicated.

Months later, during another convention, Trent and Lucas are faced with betrayal and manipulation from an unexpected source. Can they find a way to make things work or will their whole relationship suffer from an unexpected Conventional Education?

My thoughts: 

Slowly, but very slowly, Lucas’ and Trent’s “affair” turns into more, even if only in the minds of both men. They are still only meeting irregularly at conventions and – even though it is mentioned that they actually TALK about things on the phone – once they meet it’s clothes off immediately. I have to admit that I am eagerly waiting for the two guys to finally establish that there is more to their relationship than banging each other’s brains out.

A few more characters are introduced in person in this second instalment and they added some much needed distraction. Rory and Matthew, as well as Richard and Terrence are good side characters who are probably playing a bigger part in the third story. I’m looking forward to that.

The act of betrayal mentioned in the blurb will carry on into “Unconventional” as well and I am already curious to see how this will turn out.

All in all I regard this in between novella as a transitional story that continues what began in “Conventional Wisdom” and slowly leads to the conclusion to the story in the last novel. I wouldn’t read either of those books as a stand alone.


Title Conventional Education
Author TC Blue
Publisher Torquere Books
ISBN 978-1-60370-866-1
Buy link Buy Conventional Education

In my mailbox today… (special edition)

Today the postman brought all kinds of goodies to my door and I am totally excited.

First I received a gigantic package from Carin. We swapped tote bags and other nice things and look what she got for me:



A big tote bag from a local Austin book store called Book People and three more bags from Half Price books, all absolutely fantastic. Then she bought me a mug from Book People. How did she know I love mugs, that I buy one wherever I go and use them regularly? And on top of it all she doubled my bookmark “collection” by sending me a ton of bookmarks she collected at various shops plus her own (regular sized and tiny) bookmark and a few homemade Origami ones. What an awesome gift package! Thanks so much, Carin! This was a fun swap! I enjoyed shopping for it and unpacking my gift was just as pleasant.

Not done yet!kitchenhouse

Later the postman rang and delivered a letter from my crazy book swap partner who is currently residing in Croatia. Oh, I was a bit nervous when I opened the letter. After all it could have been almost anything in there. Robbie from Pink Sheep Cafe sent me “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom. Needless to say I had never heard of the book before. This is the blurb:

When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family.

Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.

The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.

I probably would not have picked up the book myself, but reading the blurb I think I will definitely like it. As this is Robbie’s favourite book for 2010 so far, I will move it up on my list and squeeze it into my September reads. According to the book swap rules I HAVE to review this, even if I hate it. Don’t think that there is any danger of that.

Thanks, Robbie, for being my swap partner. I just hope that the book I sent you will be something you’ll enjoy, too.


My reading list for September


For our book buying ban in September I went through my TBR pile and decided what books I am going to read in September. I’m planning 7 books, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to read them all, since my reading time is limited. 

  • The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
    This might be the September read for the Unputdownables book club at Goodreads. I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, I even went to Engelthal last year to have a look at the place. If this will be the September read it would be my first read along of sorts.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
    Seems everybody has read the Millennium trilogy.
  • The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Jay Fowler (from the library)
    Carin already told me she didn’t like it, but I think we have different tastes in books for the most time, so I’m optimistic.
  • The Shipping News by Annie Proulx (I am already reading it but find it hard to get into. I should not have watched the film before reading the book). Not sure whether this won’t turn into a DNF. I’d be very unhappy about it, but I’m not reading something just to be able to say I read it.
  • Girl with a pearl earring by Tracy Chevalier
    I’ve only heard good things about this book.
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
    So many people recommend it, I just had to get it.
  • And now for something completely different. Super easy reading: The Black Dragon by Allyson James. Paranormal romance, the second instalment in a series. I read and reviewed the first book “Dragon Heat” and was not particularly impressed. However, the second book deals with the characters I very much preferred to read about in the first, so I hope this is going to be better. 

These are the covers I have. Most of the shops here only sell the Canongate issue of The Gargoyle, but I very much prefer the Anchor cover (maybe I’ll show some of its covers in the next comparing covers post), so I waited for a bit until I found it on my book swap site. The same with I capture the castle. This cover below is so much nicer than the one with the castle photograph.

gargoyledragon-tattoo janeaustenclub 

shipping pearlearring castle



Readalong “The Princess Bride”

princess bride graphic

Chris from Book-a-rama is hosting a Princess Bride readalong in October. I already joined because I felt like re-reading the book. I only watched the film recently again and I so love Westley, Inigo and especially Vizzini (that might be down to Wallace Shawn though).

So, if you want to read “The Princess Bride” for the first time or re-read it for the umpteenth time, go over to Book-a-rama on October 02 and discuss it with all of us.

Chris’ copy looks interesting with the black and white cover. Mine is not even half as nice, but I want to show it nevertheless…

 My copy


55 quirky questions for readers, part 5

The Literary Lollipop created this fun quiz about your book habits. She says “Feel free to cut and paste the questionnaire onto your own blogs, or if you would like to add a question, please do so! Did I miss anything? Let me know! Change it around or leave as is… it’s up to you.”

I broke this up, because 55 long winded answers from me in one go will probably make you want to go to sleep. So here is the fifth (and last) set. Aren’t you glad?

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading: That would probably be the years before I actually knew how to read.

42. Name a book you could/would not finish: “Mr. Darcy takes a wife” by Linda Berdoll. That was unbearable, but at least I learned a new word, “betwixt”, lol.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? Not much. Even though I prefer reading in silence, I am able to read when there is chaos around me if I have to.

44. Favourite film adaptation of a novel: Probably the BBC mini series of “Pride & Prejudice”, “Misery” and “LOTR”.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation: Don’t know where to begin, but I was very disappointed about “Needful things”.

46. Most money I’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time: I don’t know. I don’t buy many books in one go, so it probably wasn’t very much.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? I don’t skim but often read the first two paragraphs. They will tell me right away whether a book is for me or not.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through? If the plot went into a direction I definitely don’t like. Or (that happened once) a character that I liked got into a situation that made me cringe. I couldn’t go on reading about the embarrassment and stopped right there.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? Not particularly. I like a bit of disorder.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once they’ve been read? Usually I keep them. If I didn’t particularly care for a book I might swap it.

51. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding? If you mean specific books, not many. I can only think of “The Lost Symbol” which I wouldn’t read if it was the only book left in the world. I wouldn’t read any Christian fiction or horror books that are gory.

52. Name a book that made you angry: It’s not a book but a series. The Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton really made me so mad. In fact mad enough to start this blog. I never liked Anita Blake to begin with, but when the series that started out quite interesting turned into porn with the help of a stupid device called “ardeur” I got mightily pissed of..

53. A book I didn’t expect to like but did: Can’t think of one. As superficial as it sounds I only start a book if I think I will like it. If I already think I won’t like it I won’t bother.

54. A book I expected to like but didn’t: I suspect one of them will be “The Shipping News”. I’m on page 13 (have been for a long time now). Just not at all what I expected. Don’t think I will finish it. Another one I tried to read years ago and DNF because I found it boring is “A heart so white” by Javier Marias. Maybe I would think differently now, though. I should start to re-read it, I suppose.

55. Favourite guilt-free guilty pleasure reading: Oh, no! Reading is no guilty pleasure, no matter what you read (unless maybe you are a regular reader of Perez Hilton).


Weekend cooking: Pizza Pie

When perusing my mom’s magazines I found this recipe for what they called a “stuffed pizza”. My husband tells me this would be called a pizza pie, ok, then, pizza pie it is. Since there were some pizza posts in the last weeks I’m adding this one to the lot.

I’m not one for making pizza dough herself but on this occasion I thought I’d give it a try. The recipe called for ham as part of the stuffing, but I simply left the ham out. 

Pizza Pie


  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tsp pizza seasoning
  • 200g mushrooms (slices)
  • 2 bell peppers (cubes)
  • 500g Spanish onions (cubes)
  • 250g Mozzarella
  • 200g boiled ham (left that one out)
  • 125g tomatoes
  • 1 twig rosemary and oregano
  • pizza dough


1. Peel onion and garlic, cut into cubes and stew them in oil. Add chopped tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and pizza seasoning. Cook for ca. 10 minutes.

2. Steam mushrooms, bell peppers and Spanish onions in a bit of oil. Add salt and pepper. Cut Mozzarella into slices, cut ham into strips. Slice tomatoes. Cut herbs.

3. Roll out half of pizza dough on a baking tray, cover with the tomato sauce from step 1. Spread the vegetable mix, ham and 2/3 of the mozzarella. Put second half of the pizza dough on top of it and press the edges down. Put the sliced tomatoes on top in the middle. Add herbs on top of the tomatoes and add the last of the mozzarella on top. Bake at 180 degrees C for about 35 minutes.


Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads


Friday Coffee Chat: Books that saved my life

Carin’s Friday Coffee chat is taking a break on her blog and has moved this week to Jennifer’s blog Girls Gone Reading. Jennifer has been through a lot and tells us about a couple of books that saved her life in problematic times.

At first I thought there are no books that ever saved my life, but actually this is not so. There was a time when a book and a short essay did help me tremendously to realize that not only it was not the end of my life as I knew it, but also that I’m not the only one around who is in my situation.

When our younger son was born it turned out that he had one chromosome too many. I was not completely caught by surprise by this, but it still came as a shock to have your fears all of a sudden become reality.

Now, 5 years have gone by and I am over the initial shock. Our son is adorable, happy and so loving, you wouldn’t believe it. But when it was all new I searched the net and bookstores for information. I found a book called “Aussergewöhnlich” (Extraordinary) by a certain Conny Rapp. Conny, whom I have met in person meanwhile, is a photographer and has an absolutely wonderful daughter who also has Down Syndrome. She put this book together about mothers and their children with Down Syndrome which is so uplifting that I was not afraid anymore. It didn’t tell me everything would be just perfect, but it puts things into perspective. The book gave no advice, was no self-help book and didn’t tell me what to do. But it told me that everything would somehow be alright. And it was.

Conny has a wonderful blog where she posts lots of photos of people with Down Syndrome among others. The photos are beautiful and the kids are all adorable and unique. We met her last year at a photo session at our zoo. If you would like to see our pictures you can see them here.

The second story that helped me to put things into perspective is a very short essay that probably everybody with a special needs child knows already. It is called “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley. It is often given out by organizations to new parents of a special needs child and it is obvious why. It is a very general essay and even though it was written about having a child with a disability it is extremely adaptable and can be used almost every time when you are confronted with an unfamiliar and unexpected situation.


Per Ardua by Jessie Blackwood


Addicted to the soaring skies, brash high-flier Arthur Edward “Jack” Ratigan returns to Britain to fly bombers when his birth country goes to war against Germany in World War II. It also means a return to his ancestral home of Pren Redyn House in Wales—and risking his career and freedom if it comes to light that he is homosexual.
The drama and peril of combat will create profound changes in Jack both during and after the war, as will the influence of Ifan Griffith, the young butler at Pren Redyn and the one person who seems immune to the Ratigan charm. The sky has always been Jack’s true love, but when he faces a future of never flying again, he’ll discover he’s already found a surprising new home for his heart—with Ifan.

My thoughts: 

When I saw the title of Jessie Blackwood’s book I was immediately drawn to it. It promised not only difficulties to overcome but also a perfect ending. What else could you possibly ask for? The fact that is is set during and after the end of WWII made it even more interesting for me. And I was not disappointed.

The story jumps back and forth between now and Ifan’s and Jack’s pasts. Basically we follow the two men from a very early age on, Ifan is a young boy and Jack a teenager. One thing I would have liked to read a little more about is the reason why Ifan felt that strong dislike towards Jack. It was explained, but I never got a concrete example of what Jack actually said or did to deserve it. That made it hard for me to picture him as the boy respectively the man he was supposed to be.

The relationship between the two men goes through more or less all stages, master and servant, companions, friends and eventually lovers. That was nicely done, even though I never got rid of the nagging feeling that their being lovers – or rather their falling in love with each other – was the result of the situation. Not that this is a bad thing, very often a certain situation decides the birth of a relationship, but in this case I am wondering whether Ifan and Jack would have come together if Jack hadn’t been in the situation he was. Or whether he would have fallen in love with another caretaker as well. I don’t know.

Those doubts, however, didn’t spoil the enjoyment of the story as it was. There were a lot of good side characters like Gordon or Bronwen to add to the overall good feel of the book and the title kept its promise. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.


Title Per Ardua
Author Jessie Blackwood
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 9781615815432
Buy link Buy “Per Ardua”

German(y) for the bookish traveller 1

Credits for image: Blackboard image by gfordham
from Stock Exchange, Fonts: Viper Nora & Vaguely repulsive

Book prices in Germany

I posted this previously in my guest post at Leeswammes Blog in her Book bloggers abroad series. But since it fits the topic I thought it’s a good start.

In Germany as far as the price of books is concerned it doesn’t matter where you buy your books. They are generally not that expensive (ca. 8-12 EUR for a paperback) and over here we have something called book price control (I suppose this is the same as or similar to agency pricing).  The price of a book has to be fixed by the publishing house and the book dealers are obliged to sell the books at that price. So whether you buy a bestseller, a non-fiction book or a classic at a book shop, a department store or a supermarket, it always costs the same. The only exceptions to this law are faulty books which have to be labelled as such, used books that have been sold once already at the fixed price or books that have been on the market longer than 18 months and for which the publisher has lifted that fixed price. You won’t find a book published in Germany cheaper online than in your local bookstore. For imported books, which is the majority of what I buy, this control is not applicable, so those books are rather inexpensive. Often I get an imported English book cheaper than the German version.

OK, this was just some general information about the book prices in Germany. Check back soon for another German(y) for bookish travellers post


Comparing covers: The Mummy

Today it is “The Mummy” by Anne Rice. I just thought about this book the other day, no idea, why. I have read it years ago and liked it quite a bit. As far as I can remember Ramses was quite a sexy character, once he was unwrapped and had recovered from thousands of years of death, wasn’t he?


mummy mummy1 mummy2

die-mumie1 diemumie2 diemumie3


Abu Simbel The first English one, sorry, but this just reminds me of Tut-Ench-Amun. I know it is not his death mask, but it sure evokes it. Just does not fit. They should have used a face from those statues at Abu Simbel. I like the second English one best. Black background, I like the color combo and the fonts. This is the audio book, read by Michael York, hm, I might check this one out. The third one, oh, not sure. I don’t like the evil looking eye.

The Germans: No. 1, yeah, ok, some pharao. No. 2, ditto and a relief, could it be any more Egyptian? No idea whether they have anything to do with Ramses II. No. 3 is downright creepy. Maybe not a bad idea, but I really don’t want to think of the hero in that way. Unfortunately it’s the one I have got.

As for the title. No surprises here. They simply used the  exact literal translation once more.

Source photo Ramses II. Wikimedia


September Book Buying Ban

Bella from A Girl Reads Books is hosting a Book Buying Ban in September. When you go over and look at this post about her TBR pile (or rather TBR mountain) you will understand why this is necessary.

I decided to join, not because I desperately need to work my way down a tower that is a mile high but simply because I could do with reading a few books from my stack.

I have adapted Bella’s guidelines a little bit for myself:

(a) No purchasing of new books, regardless of reason, for myself. I can purchase books for other people, as gifts etc;
(b) No entering giveaways or going to the library "to acquire" books;
(c) No borrowing books from any other source, ie. family or friends;
(d) No accepting new review books;  I am not banning review books
(e) My goal is to get down to 2,700 books before I buy a new book. I was thinking of decreasing my pile by about 5 books if that. Actually I am considering giving some of my books in my TBR pile away since I’m not very likely to read them. Still thinking about this. That would be a reduction of sorts, too.

I’m actually already mentally putting a list of books together that I want to read. I want to get through this ban in an efficient way. I’ll post the list shortly.

As a little additional incentive Bella is also organizing a bookish swap where participants are swapping a little bookish item with each other to celebrate the end of the ban.

OK, that’s it for now. Who else is going to join us in September? I’m sure we will need all the cheering on we can get.


Conventional Wisdom by TC Blue


When B-list syndicated TV star Lucas runs into Gaming-goth-geek Trent in the hotel bar the night before the convention starts, he isn’t expecting to become attached. And since Trent is obviously out of touch with television, Lucas figures he’s safe using his ‘con name’, Bill Speare. When Trent– Mainstream Video clerk and goth with big dreams–meets a stellar hottie who seems to be into him, he goes with it, happy to be free of his recent dry spell.

But one night turns into so much more, and when he finds out that his very temporary lover has been lying to him about something as unimportant yet vital as his name, he gets… miffed. Thanks to a new acquaintance, Cindy Lou, Trent works through his anger in a drunken evening, and when he finally goes to see Bill –Lucas– he’s figured it all out.

So has Lucas, and the two men do what comes naturally to them, but can they come to an explosive and enjoyable conclusion?

My thoughts: 

I really like TC Blue’s stories and when I saw that she has a new one out at Torquere I wanted to get it but learned that there are two prequels to it. So, instead of starting with the third I got the first book “Conventional Wisdom”.

It was a good story. I liked both characters Trent and Lucas, aka Bill. Since the whole situations is more or less a one night stand, or rather three nights stand, it deals with quite a bit of sex and only little other interaction. However, Cindy Lou, the housewife from the Bible Belt who was refreshingly open minded, added the necessary relief from too much of a good thing.

The way Trent got over his initial anger was rather pleasant. Usually the “betrayed partner” broods and sulks for a long time, but Trent was very rational and reasonable about Lucas’ lie.

“Conventional Wisdom” was rather short and just calls for a sequel. The ending was satisfying as it is with Trent and Lucas deciding to stay friends (with benefits), but there was much more underneath that just needs to come out. I’m already looking forward to reading that. 

Title Conventional Wisdom
Author TC Blue
Publisher Torquere Books
ISBN 978-1-60370-769-5
Buy link Buy Conventional Wisdom

To prevent further dog earers

In the course of recent events (for more info on that see last weeks Friday Coffee chat) I decided to tell Corin about bookmarks and how important they are (to some). Since crafting of any kind is a good pastime for children anyway I suggested he create a bookmark for himself. So he cut out the shape, traced the animals (mice at the bottom, something else on top) , coloured them in with watercolour pencils and added a bit of glitter. After that we laminated it. So, now, if he only started reading his books instead of having them read I’d be the happiest mom ever.



Extinction by Carol Lynne


Professor of Environmental Science/Wildlife studies at UNLV, Jack McBain has spent his adult life trying to track a legend overheard during his youth. Born and raised in the Canadian Province of Newfoundland, Jack remembers his grandparents telling stories of a race of people eradicated by European settlers in 1829. According to the legend, the Beothuk people didn’t die out as first thought, but were transformed into wolf shifters.

When Newfoundland wolves began to appear in great numbers, the European settlers began killing them under the guise of population control. In 1910, the last of the Newfoundland wolves was shot, making them one of the few extinct species of wolves in the world.

Following spotty leads, Jack begins to track what he believes are Beothuk/Newfoundland shifter wolves. His search leads him to the Lake Mead National Recreational Area outside of Las Vegas. There, on Spirit Mountain, he finally comes face to face with not only the shifter he’s been looking for, but the man of his dreams he didn’t know he needed.

My thoughts: 

I only know Carol Lynne’s writing from the two Cattle Valley books that I read recently and thought I’d try something different by her. And, wow, different this was. I don’t know whether it was for the better or worse, though.

But first let me say something about Resplendence Publishing’s so called “Heat Levels”. They have 5 heat levels that go from “heat behind closed doors” (Diamond) to “intense, hotter than hot” (Fire Opal). “Extinction” is rated that last level. However, it seems ALL same sex romance books are in that category, obviously because of the contents being offensive to some (my assumption, they don’t say that explicitly). So, if you buy a m/m romance at their shop your book will automatically be rated “Fire Opal”. I didn’t know exactly whether this means the heat is “hotter than hot” or whether it is simply in that category because of the potentially offensive contents (unless of course ALL m/m books are that heated anyway).

Let me get this straight, I don’t mind a heat level up to the roof, but if about 85% of the book are sex scenes I tend to get a bit bored. This is what happened here, I actually found myself skipping over sex scenes desperately trying to find the next scene with other content.

For all intents and purposes the plot was interesting and could certainly have been elaborated on. Unfortunately Carol Lynne decided to keep explanations to a minimum, just barely enough so you could understand what was going on, and filled the rest of the story with sex.

I really liked the first few pages, but then it quickly turned around to being monotonous.  I never even felt a real connection between Jack and Toby. The whole story. even though the idea is a good one, was –in my eyes- badly executed.

Title Extinction
Author Carol Lynne
Publisher Resplendence Publishing
ISBN 9781607350408
Buy link Buy Extinction

In my mailbox

Mailbox image by taj at
Hosted by The Story Siren


  • “Velvet Whispers” by Joan Elizabeth Lloyd. Not sure what this is yet. Erotica? Erotic romance? Whatever it is, it is fun to read so far.


  • “Extinction” by Carol Lynne. A shifter m/m romance. I hate the cover. Even though it is not, it looks as if it came straight from Ellora’s Cave. Actually after looking around at Resplendence Publishing their covers are even worse. I already read it. The review will be posted soon.


  • “Conventional Wisdom” by TC Blue from Torquere. This week TC Blue’s “Unconventional” came out. It sounded interesting, but is the third (and, I think, last) in a series. So, instead, I got the first book and will work my way to it. Not fussed on that cover either.
  • “Per Ardua” by Jessie Blackwood from Dreamspinner. Especially interesting because it is set in 1945 during WWII. I love the title. Forget the cover, though. I feel a special edition of “Comparing Covers” coming on.


  • “The Jane Austen Book Club” by Karen Joy Fowler (German translation). I have heard a lot about it, so I’ll give it a go.



extinction conventionalwisdom PerArduaLg

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