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Venice in February wrap-up

VeniceVenice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February is over and I must admit that I miserably failed with the Venice in February Reading Challenge. I only had one book planned to read, “Across the river and into the trees” by Ernest Hemingway, but it seems the time is not the right one for me to read a story about war. I came to about page 25 before I gave it up for now. I will put it back into my TBR pile (far to the bottom, too) and move on.

However, I wanted to do something for the Venice theme, so I compiled a small list of quotes about that lovely city.

Have you been more successful with Venice in February?

Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go

Truman Capote

In the winter, Venice is like an abandoned theater. The play is finished, but the echoes remain

Arbit Blatas

A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him.

Arthur Symons

Images from Venice by flickr user Dr. Savage and rbhamjee

This post is part of

Venice in February

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Venice in February Reading Challenge is hosted by Snow Feathers and Dolce Bellezza

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Crafty Tuesday: Woolly hat recycle

crafty_tuesday

Everybody who reads this blog knows that I am a sewing newbie and pretty much suck at it. Mainly because I lack patience and if I start a project I don’t want to spend hours measuring, adjusting, ironing, cutting, pinning and what not before I can sit down and actually SEW.

That reminds me, did you know you can enroll in a free quilting class over at Craftsy called The craftsy block of the month? I did enroll, just for the heck of it, we will see what happens.

Anyway, two days ago I found this great idea and tutorial (shows how much of a newbie I am, I NEEDED that tutorial) to create a woolly hat out of an old sweater at Make it and love it. So I rummaged in the “for the thrift store” basket and found this old but still nice baby sweater and went down to work. It turned out a bit wonky but cutting and sewing that knitted thick material is rather tricky, I found out. The little “Tiger” label was already on the sweater so I had no embellishment work to do either. Convenient, cute and cheap!

hat

Have you done anything crafty lately? Let me know, I am always looking for inspiration.

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In my mailbox


Hosted by The Story Siren

 

My mailbox was fairly empty this week. But more to come soon…

 

I swapped

  • Dukes to the left of me, Princes to the right by Kieran Kramer
  • Cloudy with a chance of marriage by Kieran Kramer.
    I have never read anything by her, but swapped those two books with a German fellow book lover. The title of the first one totally caught my eye because dukes and princes are so romance-y. The last romance I read was a DNF, not sure they will be for me either, but we will see.

 

What was in YOUR mailbox recently?  Check out other In my mailbox participants here.

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Weekend cooking: The world in your lunchbox by Claire Eamer

worldinlunchboxBlurb:

Discover the tasty stories behind the foods we love.

A ham sandwich on white bread. Macaroni and cheese. Peanut-butter-and-banana roll-ups. They may sound like ordinary items, but they take us on an amazing journey through the rich history and astonishing science of food.
Explore a week of lunches—from apples to pizza—by taking a romp through thousands of years of extraordinary events. With a vibrant design and quirky illustrations, THE WORLD IN YOUR LUNCH BOX is like the perfect lunch: satisfying, well-balanced, and totally delicious.

 

 


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:     Yes, I love visual reference books for kids

For people who like: food, history of food, children who want to know more about what they are eating


My thoughts: 

This is a book for 8 to 12 year old children. I got it because it sounded interesting, looked cute and I really like visual reference books for kids.

Unfortunately my e-reader makes it impossible to read such books, so I had to read it on my computer, which is not very comfortable. However, I enjoyed the book so much that I am inclined to get a print edition to get a better look and to go through it with my boys.

Now, the lunches we are talking about are definitely North American. Hot Dogs, macaroni & cheese or tortillas are not the typical European lunch for children, but we do know that kind of food, so it didn’t matter. Then again, you can’t get more old world-ish than a ham sandwich…

Every lunch (there are seven) consists of various food components, like for example, ham, bread, tomatoes and watermelons, each of which is explained in detail in the following chapter. There is a general information about the meal/dish (Earl of Sandwich), a historical info page (Ancient Romans knew cured ham) and a scientific one (how come salt protects meat from going bad?). I learned lots from this book, or did you know about sugar and hotness molecules in mustard seeds?

Of course, everything is explained in an uncomplicated way, suitable for children. So don’t expect detailed  excursions into the scientific ins and outs of food chemistry. But is is interesting, educational and fun.

There are tons of cute illustrations by Sa Boothroyd that add another layer of entertainment to the book. Additional in-between pages with information on cultural differences (British chips are not like American chips) or with historical facts (what did a medieval child have for lunch? – Pottage!) complete this delightful and informative book for children who want to know more about their daily food.

Highly recommended!


Product info and buy link :

Title The world in your lunchbox
Author Claire Eamer
Publisher Annick Press
ISBN 9781554513925
I got this book from Netgalley
Buy link Buy The world in your lunchbox
More info You can have a look inside the book and learn more about author and illustrator at Annick Press

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

This post is part of

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

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Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

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Agatha Raisin and the walkers of Dembley

dembleyBlurb:

After six months in London, Agatha Raisin returns to her beloved Cotswold village and her dashing neighbor, James Lacey. Well, sort of. James might not be so interested in Agatha. But soon enough, Agatha becomes consumed by her other passion: crime-solving.
A woman has been found dead in a lonely field nearby. Her name is Jessica Tartinck, a hiker who infuriated wealthy landowners by insisting on her hiking club’s right to trek across their properties.
Now it’s up to Agatha, with James’s help, to launch an investigation. Together, they will follow no shortage of leads; many of Jessica’s fellow Dembley walkers seem all too willing and able to commit murder. But the trail of a killer is as easy to lose as your heart and your life. So Agatha and James had better watch their every step . . .


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:     Yes

For people who like: cozy mysteries combined with affairs of the heart


My thoughts: 

This book introduces us to an interesting concept and the resulting fanatism of some people. The English right of way and the ramblers. According to “The walkers of Dembley” there must be some pretty weird groups of people out there who like to cause trouble and love confrontation with landowners. I understand not all ramblers are militant but the murder victim here certainly is. Why someone would want to walk across the land of someone else with no other purpose than to get into an argument with the landowner and insist on his/her right of way is beyond me. There are other paths to use without less trouble after all.

From what John told me it seems that a right of way expires if it is not used for a certain amount of time (we are not talking weeks or months  here), but why someone would like to uphold the right of way straight through a field of rapeseed God only knows. This must be one of those peculiarities like train spotting or plane spotting that other nations don’t understand.

Spoiler:

Agatha gets weirder and weirder. Somehow that woman must think that her life has nothing to do with reality.

At the end of the book James asks her to marry him (I can’t imagine why, but that is neither here nor there) and she agrees. The fact that she is still married and has no clue as to the whereabouts of her drunkard of a husband doesn’t seem to fluster her in the least. Instead of saying to James, who later recalls to have heard something to that effect, that she needs to divorce her husband first and that is that, she just claims that everybody remembers wrongly what she said and that her husband, indeed, has been dead for years. Is she insane? She is vaguely aware of what she is about to do is called bigamy and illegal, but so what?! She even goes so far as to say to Bill Wong that she will kill anybody who will stand in her way to marriage. I bet this is going to cause quite a bit of trouble for her in the next book in the series “Agatha Raisin and the murderous marriage”, especially since her former friend, now arch enemy Roy is already calling detective agencies in order to find Jimmy. How fun! The next book will be a blast, if I can get myself to reading it, I hate big time liars.


Location: The fictional village of Carsely, Cotswolds, England, UK

Cotswolds mapFootpath


Product info and buy link :

Title Agatha Raisin and the walkers of Dembley
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson
ISBN 9781849011372
I got this book from I swapped it
Buy link Buy Agatha Raisin and the walkers of Dembley

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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Quizzical Monday

quizzical_monday

It’s time for another “Quizzical Monday”!

Question:

What are the names of the five sisters in “A Bloodsmoor Romance” by Joyce Carol Oates?

Leave a comment with your answer. Then, to see whether you got it right,  click on "Show" below.  As usual, there is nothing to be won, this is just for fun!

Answer SelectShow
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In my mailbox


Hosted by The Story Siren

 

It is a very mixed bag today. Everything from cozy mystery to suspense to kids’ books…

 

For review

 

I bought

  •  Agatha Raisin and the walkers of Dembley by M. C. Beaton, the next instalment in the Agatha Raisin series
  • The 2 1/2 pillars of wisdom by Alexander McCall Smith. This is a collection of the three books Portuguese Irregular Verbs, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs and At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances about Professor Dr. Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld

What was in YOUR mailbox recently?  Check out other In my mailbox participants here.

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Weekend cooking: iPhone edition

OK, until very recently I have been anti-Apple. I admit it. Then my Android phone turned out to be total crap and useless. So I needed a new phone and had a choice between some Symbiant thing and an iPhone (Android being out of the question for good).

I grudgingly ordered an iPhone and have become an Apple convert since. Enough said!

This is my weekend cooking iPhone edition with fun and/or useful foodie apps.

  • Coffee counter app for iPhone. Totally cute and useful for the coffee addict.
  • Evernote food app to keep track of what you eat, where and everything else you might ever want to remember about any given meal. If you are an Evernote user and a food lover this is great for you.
  • Sense Cooking, a cooking simulation game where you have to cut ingredients into halves, spread oil in a pan evenly, guess amounts of water etc. It is supposed to train your sensory motoric skills and sounds like fun.
  • Foodmeter tells you how healthy a certain type of food is, complete with nutritional facts.
  • Easy temperature converter for your recipes with foreign temperatures
  • Learn how to make Sushi with the Sushi Cook

Have you got or do you know of any cute, neat, practical iPhone apps that are food related? Link us up, please!

 

 

This post is part of

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

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Literary Giveaway Blog Hop

 

Welcome to the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop!

feb18Thank you to Judith from Leeswammes’ Blog for hosting the  fourth Literary Giveaway Blog Hop.

I hope you are enjoying your stay at my blog. If you do, please consider subscribing to my RSS feed or follow me on twitter. You can also add me on Google+. That way you will know about future giveaways and new posts in general right away.

 

 
What am I giving away?

beneath_the_wheelI need to make room on my shelves so I am giving away a used copy of  Hermann Hesse’s Beneath the Wheel. This is the blurb:

Hans Giebenrath lives among the dull and respectable townsfolk of a sleepy Black Forest village. When he is discovered to be an exceptionally gifted student, the entire community presses him onto a path of serious scholarship. Hans dutifully follows the regimen of study and endless examinations, his success rewarded only with more crushing assignments. When Hans befriends a rebellious young poet, he begins to imagine other possibilities outside the narrowly circumscribed world of the academy. Finally sent home after a nervous breakdown, Hans is revived by nature and romance, and vows never to return to the gray conformity of the academic system.

 

Above is a picture of the actual book you will be getting. It is in good condition, but it IS a used book, so please don’t expect it to be pristine!

Enter the giveaway

To enter all you need to do is leave a comment. Please, don’t just leave your email address without a word! Tell me whether you have read anything else by Hesse. What was it and how did you like it? Why would you like to read “Beneath the wheel”?

Please, don’t forget your name and email address. The giveaway is international.

The other participants

Don’t forget to hop on to the other participating blogs and have fun! You will find a list at Leeswammes’ Blog.

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Agatha Raisin and the potted gardener by M. C. Beaton

gardenerBlurb:

Agatha is taken aback when she finds a new woman ensconced in the affections of her attractive bachelor neighbour, James Lacey. The beautiful Mary Fortune is superior in every way, especially when it comes to gardening. So when Mary is discovered murdered, Agatha seizes the moment and immediately starts yanking up village secrets by their roots.

 

 

 

  


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:     Yes

For people who like: Cozy mysteries with quirky characters and extremely unusual killing methods


My thoughts: 

M. C. Beaton comes up with quite a few unusual killing methods. To pot a gardener isn’t your run-of-the-mill murder method, is it? Where is the poison typical for cozies?

Anyway, I can’t say the victim didn’t deserve it, she is a right bitch from the start. Not that you’d notice from chatting to Mary superficially but after her murder it turns out that she was evil. I wondered what was wrong with James Lacey. How on Earth could he ever get involved with that woman? And not only on a friendhsip basis either! Agatha is abrasive, but at least she has got her heart in the right place. He would have been better off getting together with her.

Agatha is her usual cheating self. As if the quiche of death hasn’t been enough, she – together with Roy who is rather selfish once more – concocts this elaborate plan to present her magnificent garden on Garden Open Day to the public after buying an instant garden in secret. Give me a break! Everybody in the village knows that she has not exactly a green thumb! Her desire to impress (and win competitions) borders on the ridiculous.

Again the on/off friendship with James is annoying. He really should make up his mind over whether he wants to be friends (or more) with Agatha or not. My other bugbear is the luring London. Agatha must come to a decision soon! Does she want to go back to London because life in the Cotswolds is boring or not? The everlasting temptation to go back into PR gets on my nerves. Either go or stay, for Christ’s sake!

In spite of these misgivings, I very much like Agatha and her fellow “Carselyians”, most of all the vicar’s wife, and will definitely stay with the series.


Location: The fictional village of Carsely, Cotswolds, England, UK

Cotswolds mapBibury cottages


Product info and buy link :

Title Agatha Raisin and the potted gardener
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson
ISBN 9781849011365
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Agatha Raisin and the potted gardener

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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The comforts of a muddy Saturday by Alexander McCall Smith

The comforts of a muddy SaturdayBlurb:

A doctor’s career has been ruined by allegations of medical fraud and Isabel cannot ignore what may be a miscarriage of justice. Besides, Isabel’s insatiable interest is piqued and she finds herself asking questions. Would a respected doctor make such a grave mistake? If not, what explains the death of the patient? Clearly, an investigation is in order. Meanwhile, there is her baby Charlie, who needs looking after; her niece Cat who needs someone to mind her deli; and a mysterious composer who has latched on to Jamie, making Isabel decidedly uncomfortable. Whatever the problem, whatever the case, we know we can count on Isabel’s instincts to help her find the right solution.

 


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:     Yes

For people who like: Edinburgh, philosophical musings, busybodies who regard anybody’s business to be their own


My thoughts: 

Once more Isabel’s idea of “moral proximity” gets her into a situation where she feels the need to help someone out. She does realize that she could be considered to be an “intermeddler” but that knowledge doesn’t deter her from intermeddling…Her investigations once more go a totally wrong way and the result has nothing to do with what really happened. Somehow, however, her interference helped after all.

I don’t think I have ever come across a heroine who thinks so much about how to be a good person and how to behave properly and who – I don’t want to say “fails”, because she doesn’t fail really –, but is far from perfect. She constantly thinks about being charitable and trusting and what not, and she is everything but. She suspects Jamie of all sorts of things (falsely), she thinks Eddie is a liar (falsely), she hates Dove (possibly with a good reason, but we have no proof of his machinations), she takes an immediate dislike to Nick Smart… She just stumbles along constantly pondering the right ethical behaviour in any given situation, but does she apply her standards to herself? Not really.

And yet you can’t help but like Isabel in spite of or even because of all her failings.

This is another good, comfortable read with plenty of things to think about. The descriptions of the Edinburgh atmosphere add another layer of coziness to this very pleasant book.

Disclaimer: If you do not have children and read those books, please don’t consider Isabel’s motherhood to be typical. Charlie is a model toddler, Jamie a doting father with plenty of time for his son and there is Grace who wants Charlie for himself. Isabel’s experiences as a mother don’t have much in common with the everyday woman, that is for certain. Real life is much different!


Location: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Map UKRamsay Garden

Images from Google maps and wikipedia user David Monniaux


Product info and buy link :

Title The comforts of a muddy Saturday
Author Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher Anchor Books
ISBN 9780307474339
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy The comforts of a muddy Saturday
More info The Sunday Philosophy Club series

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for the last couple of weeks…

  • Why not try a book? from The Doghouse Diaries
  • I didn’t think I’d EVER post something even remotely wedding related on this blog as I am really not into wedding stuff at all, but look at this gorgeous Steampunk wedding. Everything is perfect there.
  • Judith is hosting the fourth Literary Giveaway Blog Hop this weekend. There is still time to sign up for it here.
  • Have a look at some objects made from repurposed books
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Agatha Raisin and the vicious vet by M. C. Beaton

vetVery short synopsis:

Vet who hates small pets gets killed in what looks like an accident and Agatha investigates together with her stand-offish neighbour James.

 

 

 

 

 

 


inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it:    Yes, but the constant up and down in the “relationship” of Agatha and James got on my nerves. It’s like a childish “Help, she fancies me!” – “Thank God, she fancies me not!” on his side and a “I must come on stronger” – “I need to back up and play it cool” on hers. Too much, that. They are not sixteen anymore, you know.

For people who like: Cozy mysteries where people get killed in not so cozy ways.


Product info and buy link :

Title Agatha Raisin and the vicious vet
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson
ISBN 9781849011358
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Agatha Raisin and the vicious vet

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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Checking out again

I am checking out again for a few days. I need to go to hospital for surgery and am planning to be back next week. At least this intermezzo will give me plenty of time to read again while recovering, let’s just hope my roommates won’t be too talkative. The last thing I want is people I don’t know wittering on non stop about their ailments, expecting me to answer. Or is that common hospital tradition? Oh, well, they won’t kick me out for misbehaviour, will they?

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Death of a perfect wife by M. C. Beaton

Death of a perfect wifeBlurb:

Although the Thomases were not initially liked by villagers, Trixie Thomas had become a model of domestic efficiency – the perfect wife. So it came as a great shock to everyone when she was found dead – to everyone but police inspector Hamish Macbeth.

 

 

 

 

 


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:     Yes

For people who like: Very cosy mysteries, Scotland


My thoughts: 

After his short stay in Cnothan Hamish is back in Lochdubh now. The murder victim is Trixie, a scrounger par excellence who always needs a few pet projects she can work on only to discard them when she is finished with them. Good riddance! Hamish has got his work cut out and his old nemesis Blair isn’t helping either. A new superior officer has the chance to see them both in action and draws the right conclusions about them both, however, towards the end of the book, we get a hint that Blair’s days might not be numbered still.

Hamish finally goes off Priscilla, which doesn’t please her one bit. Serves her right. The way she is going on, dragging one "fiancé" after the other to Scotland is a shame. Not only has she got a terrible taste in men in general, not only is she weak willed and has no spine, she also changes those men like there was no tomorrow. You get the impression as long as she has ANY man at her side she is validated. I dislike her more and more in each book.

Apart from the annoying women in this book (one of them gets killed fortunately, bless the killer) this is again another pretty good mystery with an enjoyable cosy atmosphere.


Location: The fictional village of Lochdubh, Highlands, Scotland, UK

Map HighlandsHighlands

Images from wikipedia and sxc.hu user theoneill


Movie tip

Hamish Macbeth TV series

 


Product info and buy link :

Title Death of a perfect wife
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson Publishing
ISBN 9781845296674
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Death of a perfect wife
More info The Hamish Macbeth series

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Important artifacts and personal property from the collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, including books, street fashion and jewelry by Leanne Shapton

Important artifacts and personal property...Blurb:

In Leanne Shapton’s marvelously inventive and invented auction catalog, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relationship between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris (who aren’t real people, but might as well be). Through photographs of the couple’s personal effects–the usual auction items (jewelry, fine art, and rare furniture) and the seemingly worthless (pajamas, Post-it notes, worn paperbacks)–the story of a failed love affair vividly (and cleverly) emerges. From first meeting to final separation, the progress and rituals of intimacy are revealed through the couple’s accumulated relics and memorabilia. And a love story, in all its tenderness and struggle, emerges from the evidence that has been left behind, laid out for us to appraise and appreciate.


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it: I loved the idea, I kind of liked the result

For people who like: Fiction that looks like non-fiction, putting two and two together without being explicitly told what happened.


My thoughts: 

I was quite fascinated with the idea of an auction catalogue to tell the story of a relationship. It sounded intriguing, interesting and different. When I started reading this book I realized how much work it must have been to put this together. There are photos of the couple (standing in for Lenore and Hal were Sheila Heti and Paul Sahre), tons of letters and notes, various items, clothes, pictures of cakes and what not. The thought that someone put a part of the lives of two fictional people together in that way is fascinating.

However, I would have liked it better if those people were a little less hip and outstandingly original, but a little closer to everyday people in everyday life. There are a few short conversations that Lenore and Hal had written on brochures during a concert etc. and the dialogue to me sounds just too much of a good thing. Listen to this (about the poodles on the cover):

I can tell you hate them/ No!/ But I love the dogs, the dogs love you, they are perfect pets, as they do not poo./ Dearest Hal, they are not our pal, their breed is a pain, a firm hand must train./ Lenore, Lenore, fear not evermore, these unbroken pups you’ll soon adore./ You win, dark knight, at least they don’t bite.

Often there would be song lyrics scribbled down in books, unfortunately I knew none of the songs, and so couldn’t relate too much. The clothes are mostly vintage clothes, the items are all vintage or artsy. Everything was just a little bit too extraordinary. I mean, who on Earth would go as a litmus test on Halloween? I just couldn’t relate to those two and frankly, I didn’t give a damn whether they would stay together or not (even though, of course, it was clear from the start, they would not). Also, I saw no reason why they would auction off the things they did. Why would you sell on your bathing suits after a break up?

Most of the hints as to what happened in the relationship of the couple we receive from notes to each other, emails, letters (who nowadays writes postal letters from the US to Europe, esp. when the other is only gone for a week or two?) either to each other or from friends or family to either Lenore or Hal. I must be missing something completely because I think that basically the same effect could have been achieved with an epistolary novel of some kind. Maybe in the style of Love Virtually. Somehow I simply expected more of that auction catalogue idea and it didn’t deliver it.

All in all I enjoyed reading this (I love catalogues in general), but the book left me a bit disappointed in the end.


Product info and buy link :

Title

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris: Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry

Author Leanne Shapton
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN 9781408804728
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Important artifacts….

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

In my mailbox


Hosted by The Story Siren

 

I got plents of nice and light reading this week…..

 

I swapped

I bought

 

What was in YOUR mailbox recently?  Check out other In my mailbox participants here.

Article

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin and the quiche of deathBlurb:

Agatha has moved to a picture-book English village and wants to get in the swing. So she buys herself a quiche for the village quiche-making contest and is more than alarmed when it kills a judge. Hot on the trail of the poisoner, Agatha is fearless, all the while unaware, that she’s become the next victim …

 

 

 

 


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:     Very much

For people who like: Cosy mysteries, the Cotswolds, the English countryside, Miss Marple atmosphere with a tougher touch


My thoughts: 

This is the first book in the Agatha Raisin series. After reading some of M. C. Beaton Hamish Macbeth books I decided to give Agatha Raisin a try and I was not disappointed.

Agatha Raisin is not a very likeable heroine, at least not at the beginning. She is a tough business woman who usually gets her way by bullying and/or flattering others and that’s about all she can do. Being nice doesn’t come naturally to her. When she – very uncharacteristically – gives all the credit for a local charity event that she organized to a friend, she immediately regrets it when he benefits from her action.

Obviously she also does not learn any lessons from previous events. She buys a quiche to enter it into a competition, someone dies from eating it which gets her into an awkward position. However, a little later she has no scruples to take a cake from a communal freezer to offer it to someone as her own, even though she has no idea whose cake it is and what might be in it. She just does what gets into her mind, not considering any consequences.

This also brings me to another question. Don’t they have to keep retained samples from food at such occasions? That should be standard procedure on occasions like the competition or even the storage freezer! That way the mystery would have been solved a little earlier.

All characters in the village were interesting and entertaining, and the Cotswolds are a great setting for the whole idea of a hardened ex-PR agent trying to ingratiate herself with the locals. The whole story was a pleasure to read; humour, atmosphere and a cosy mystery all combined to a very nice package.

Oh, the cover! Isn’t that a lovely cover?I don’t read chick lit but always like those illustrated covers and fancy fonts. So I am more than pleased with the covers of these Robinson editions.


Location: The fictional village of Carsely, Cotswolds, England, UK

CotswoldsChipping CamdenChipping Camden


Product info and buy link :

Title Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson Publishing
ISBN 9781849011341
I got this book from I swapped it
Buy link Buy Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death
More info The Agatha Raisin series

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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Blogthings quizzes

Birgit from The Book Garden reminded us of the fun Blogthings quizzes once more. I took some of them, the results are quite interesting.

 

You Read to Be Entertained
You remind others to have fun. Life should always be celebrated.
You love to dance. You express yourself through movement, and you’re rarely sitting still.

You’re optimistic about life. You feel excited about what’s to come… love, work, and new experiences.
You feel at ease around others. You are a very socially oriented person.

While I do read to be entertained, I don’t know how they came to that conclusion. I express myself through movement? Hardly. If I have to choose between being on the computer, zoning out on the couch or working out, I will opt for either no. 1 or 2. And while I feel at ease around others I value time alone. This reminds me of someone who gets to the correct math result with the wrong method. Oh, well.
 
Your Name is Miss Selina Collins
How quick come the reasons for approving what we like! – Jane Austen
Who, oh, who is Selina Collins? Never heard of her. Do they make those names up? Nevertheless, I refuse to be connected in ANY way with Mr. Collins, even though I loved David Bamber playing him.
 
You are a Dreamer
You tend to have your head in the clouds. You love to be drawn in to a whole other world.

You are a sensitive person. You find it easy to be emotionally effected by books.

You are a person with a few deep interests. If you’re drawn to something, you learn everything about it.

You are a person who loves to acquire possessions. You can’t resist a sale, and you own a lot of things.

Quite right with that one again, even though I am AFFECTED by books and not EFFECTED, but that is neither here nor there now. Yes, I get worked up about books, I get obsessed with things and I do love a sale. How do they know it from those four meager questions?

 

What are you bookish results at Blogthings?

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Death of an outsider by M. C. Beaton

outsiderBlurb:

Murder is a Tasty Dish. The most hated man in the most dour town in Scotland is sleeping with the fishes, or-more accurately-dumped into a tank filled with crustaceans. All that remain of the murdered victim are his bones. But after the lobsters are shipped off to Britain’s best restaurants, the whole affair quickly lands on the plate of Constable Hamish Macbeth.
Exiled with his dog, Towser, to the dreary outpost of Cnothan, Macbeth sorely misses his beloved Lochdubh, his formerly beloved Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, and his days of doing nothing but staring at the sheep grazing in a nearby croft.
Now the lawman has to contend with a detective chief inspector who wants the modus operandi hushed up, a dark-haired lass who has an ulterior motive to seduce him, and a killer who has made mincemeat of his victim-and without doubt will strike again …


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:     Yes

For people who like: the Highlands, cosy mysteries


My thoughts: 

I can’t say I was too thrilled with the murder method. Not that I ever am, mind you, but the corpse in the fishtank being completely eaten is rather unsavory. The whole idea has been done more tastefully (but maybe tasteful was not M. C. Beaton’s intention anyway) by David Wishart in Food for the Fishes.

All that aside, this time the setting was different again. Where in book one there were tourists to be questioned, in book two the local gentry, here they are hostile villagers. There is quite a surprising variety of characters in those books.

One word to Blair. Why this oaf is still leading the investigations is a mystery to me. Why do the “rival” police officers always have to be so mind-numbingly dumb and antagonistic. Instead of securing Hamish’s cooperation (after all, he has solved the last two crimes single handedly and made Blair look rather stupid) he gives him mundane tasks and does everything he can do be an ass. By rights he should have been sent packing after book two.

Priscilla is becoming more and more of a nuisance mystery. She turns up at the end of the book and acts kind of jealous because of another woman’s affection to Hamish. Of course, her own various fiancés and guys she drags up to Scotland are perfectly ok. Strange double standard. Can’t say I like her.


Location: The fictional village of Cnothan, Highlands, Scotland, UK

Map HighlandsHighlands

Images from wikipedia and sxc.hu user arinas74


Movie tip

Hamish Macbeth TV series

 


Product info and buy link :

Title Death of an outsider
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson Publishing
ISBN 9781845296681
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Death of an outsider
More info The Hamish Macbeth series

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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My reading list for February & January recap

readinglist

In January:

I started to read and put back on the shelf for later:

  • Changeless by Gail Carriger. Not at all in the mood for vampires and werewolves. Book beginning can be found here.
  • A supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again by David Foster Wallace. Book beginning can be found here.
  • The Prague cemetery by Umberto Eco. Wow, the first sentences was almost a whole page. Too much to handle for me right now. Will tackle this one another time.

 

For this month I am planning to:

  • participate in the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop
  • and read quite a bit as I will be in hospital for a while. Plenty of time for books – I hope! Alexander McCall Smith and M. C. Beaton will be the perfect bookish hospital fare.

What was  YOUR reading month like?