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Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle

inanutshell 

I read it in:  English

I liked it:       No

Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mystery, #2)Through the Grinder by Cleo Coyle
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Didn’t like this one. The constant thoughts of the killer got on my nerves. "Genius", give me a break!
Quinn comes in for some reason or other looking like hell, swamped with cases and Clare has nothing better to do than to educate him on the fabulous blend of coffee she is going to offer him once she has ground the beans to perfection. Please! You can take the theme a bit too far!

View all my reviews

 


Product info and buy link :

Title Through the Grinder
Author Cleo Coyle
Publisher Penguin USA
ISBN 9780425197141
I got this book from Birgit from The Book Garden
Buy link Buy Through the Grinder

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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Duke of Scandal by Adele Ashworth

I realized I can copy my Goodreads reviews into a blog post. How convenient for some short bits, especially if it is a DNF.

inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it:      Not particularly

Duke of Scandal (Duke Trilogy, #2)Duke of Scandal by Adele Ashworth

DNF
I didn’t particularly like the heroine and was not interested in what became of her.
Skipped about three fourths of the book to read the last chapter. Why did she leave him and then come back without giving any explanation for her stupid behaviour? Why did he accept his reputation as a sexual deviant? To protect his brother? Made no sense under the circumstances.

View all my reviews


Product info and buy link :

Title Duke of Scandal
Author Adele Ashworth
Publisher Avon Books
ISBN 9780060528416
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Duke of Scandal

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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Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle

 Cover Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle

Very short synopsis:

Finally Matt is getting married and will soon be out of the house. However, someone seems to be on the warpath and wants to kill bridezilla.


inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it:    Rather

For people who like: cozy mysteries, coffee

I must admit that I am jumping around a bit in this series. The last book that I read was no. 2 (Through the Grinder) and it was extremely disappointing. I got so annoyed with it in fact that I dnf’ed it. This one was much better again.

I am happy to say that Cleo Coyle has finally gotten the name of Jackson Pollock right. This was a huge bugbear for me, but eventually the man got his proper name.

Then again there is always room for more error…listen to this:

“…Saloma Sunrise.”

“Saloma?” Nunzio smiled. “My little hometown?”

“And Ovid’s, too, right?”

He nodded, clearly happy that I’d done my research.

I am afraid, not. Ovid’s birthplace is called Sulmona nowadays, and was then called Sulmo. Saloma is – according to my research which took me all of 30 seconds-  a community in Kentucky. A bit out of the way as far as Ovid is concerned. I don’t know why this author never gets the facts straight. Research, yeah, right.

Back to the story. It was quite nice, with tons of suspects, not too many corpses and a Clare as meddling as ever. In the end Breanna turned out to be human after all and with Matt  out of the house Clare finally has the flat to herself and Mike. All is well.


Product info and buy link :

Title Espresso Shot
Author Cleo Coyle
Publisher Berkley
ISBN 9780425230763
I got this book from Birgit at the Book Garden
Buy link Buy Espresso Shot

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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Movie: Sherlock Holmes and the case of the silk stocking

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the silk stocking

“The case of the silk stocking” is an uncharacteristic Sherlock Holmes movie with a newly written story and not based on any book by Conan Doyle. A serial killer with a fetish goes about and kills daughters of the high society. Lovely settings, foggy atmosphere and it features my favourite Watson. However, the best asset is Rupert Everett. He plays Holmes as a rather bored detective (no display of astounding deduction skills here) and I loved his calm manner. Nothing of the jumpy, bipolar Jeremy Brett, but rather a haunted drug addict with issues. Plus, Rupert Everett is pure eye candy. Very much looking like Holmes, and oh, so handsome. He could just stand there and not do anything and I would gush about him.

I wish they would remake every single Holmes episode out there with him. He is the perfect Sherlock Holmes in every way.

The case of the silk stocking on imdb

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Crafty Tuesday: Busy with balcony transformation

crafty_tuesday

Nothing too crafty today but rather a home decor project. As I have already done some very basic sewing for our balcony in 2011 I feel I can sort it under Crafty Tuesday.

Curtain shelfCurtain table

We are living in a flat and the balcony faces the soccer pitch of a small local club – which makes for some loud and amusing entertainment on weekends. About two weeks ago I decided that its current looks is not very inducive to relaxation so I am in the process of transforming it into a wellness heaven (well, sort of).

This is its state during a preliminary cleaning (with a little helper):

Balcony cleaning

My plan of action (already set in motion):

  • Buy plants and pots at the garden center
  • Order a bamboo rug for the stone floor on ebay
  • Buy a couple more cushions for the chairs at IKEA
  • Find a triangle pillow for the floor to lounge and read on
  • Buy large pillows for the floor at IKEA
  • Get prayer flags as decoration on ebay
  • At my swap site I discovered a couple of cute bottle holders that you can loop around the railing.

I will keep you posted over the next few weeks. Once everything gets here my balcony will be ready for summer. Can’t wait!

Do you have a balcony, patio or garden? Show me some pictures, please!

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Fix-it and forget-it: Vegetarian Main dishes by Phyllis Pellman Good

Cover Fix it and forget it Vegetarian main dishes


inanutshell 

I was slightly disappointed with this book. The last vegetarian book in this series had plenty of slow cooker meals, but in this book a lot of the recipes were non-crockpot meals and I am not sure how that ties in with the fix-it and forget-it idea.

Right the first recipe is for mushroom manicotti, and, frankly, I do not see the “forget-it” in a meal that calls for cooked manicotti, preparing the stuffing, stuffing the pasta, bake it and then prepare a tomato sauce on the side to serve it with.

So far to me this series represented easy recipes where I could throw the ingredients into the slow cooker and forget about them until the cooker had worked its magic. This concept seems to have been given up now for the sake of “roasting, stir-frying and steaming – all the methods that so highlight vegetables’ star qualities”. Admittedly those recipes sound mouth watering and lovely: Tasty lentil tacos, Polenta with spicy bean sauce, Quinoa with broccoli and hoisin sauce, but they are not what I came for.

I saved some of the slow cooker recipes and am definitely planning on making them soon. The non-crockpot dishes are definitely worth a go as well, just that they are not the fix-it and forget-it kind. If you don’t mind that, go for this book.


Product info and buy link :

Title Fix-it and forget it: Vegetarian main dishes
Author Phyllis Pellman Good
Publisher Open Road Integrated Media
ISBN ASIN B00AYRI3GM
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy Fix-it and forget-it: Vegetarian Main Dishes

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. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

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The Borgias–The hidden history by G J. Meyer

Cover The Borgias by G. J. Meyer

 

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

An unbiased (or maybe not quite, rather a little pro-Borgia) look at the Borgias from pope Calixtus III. to Cesare and Lucrezia.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Very much

For people who: like European history, the Renaissance


My thoughts: 

When I started reading this I knew next to nothing about the Borgias. I only knew that they are said to have been an infamous family, poisoning people to the left and right, power greedy as nobody else before or after, you know what I mean. Other than that I was clueless.

G.J. Meyer set out to write a book to rehabilitate that family and he does an excellent job. He starts at a time when the first member of the Borgias, Alonso de Borja, who later became pope Calixtus III., begins his career. We then are taken on a mind spinning journey through the next 80 years or so, learning about the rise of this incredible family, their drawbacks, the ramifications of their actions as well as all the political goings on in Renaissance Italy. And there is a lot to tell.

Alliances were formed one day and withdrawn the next, warlords were usurping cities all over the place, condottieri sold their services to one baron this moment and to another one the next, foreign kings were meddling nonstop. The intermarriages between families and the various relationships were mind-boggling; this is not a book that you can read without concentrating on it. The author, however, has a writing style that just flows and he explains everything so well that it is a pleasure to follow otherwise confusing events.

After every chapter he inserts a background chapter where he explains one specific aspect of the time, for example a short history of Venice and how come it was the only city state reigned over by a council of men, what condottieri were, great discoveries of the time etc. Those chapters were breaks where one could learn about a subject in more detail before the eventful family story was taken up again.

While being pro-Borgia the author still does not sugarcoat what the Borgias did. He tells facts and does not gossip. He interprets events for which there is no evidence in the Borgias’ favour, but always mentions other points of view as well. However, his interpretations make sense.

I feel that I can hold up a conversation about the Borgias now and know what I am talking about. Next time someone mentions Lucrezia Borgia being the ultimate venefica of the last millennium, I will be able to defend her with ease. What more can you ask for?

If you even have a faint interest in history and the Renaissance and/or the Borgias, you have to read this book.


Movie tip

I could recommend the TV series from 2011 “The Borgias”, but somehow I have the feeling it won’t do justice to the Borgias, so better stay away from it.


Product info and buy link :

Title The Borgias – The hidden history
Author G. J. Meyer
Publisher Bantam
ISBN 9780345526915
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy The Borgias – The hidden history

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 isn't Fiction Reading Challenge Button

This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

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The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen

 Cover The Chinese orange mystery by Ellery Queen

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Ellery Queens once more helps his father to solve a baffling mystery.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: love whodunnits, locked room mysteries


My thoughts: 

I always liked Ellery Queen mysteries. They are the perfect whodunnits with a clever detective, a father/police officer sidekick and a nice atmosphere. The plots are always elaborate and puzzling.

This one is no exception. A body is found in an anteroom and the murderer has left curious clues behind. The dead man has all his clothes on backwards, all furniture, clocks, paintings are turned to the wall, even the fruit bowl is turned upside down. All people involved seem to have a past or a secret to cover up or – at the very least – an obnoxious attitude. 

As usual, Ellery solves the mystery in his own style and leaves everybody speechless. I completely failed the challenge to the reader that you will find in every Ellery Queen mystery. It tells the reader that now he has all the clues and he should be able to figure it out. I didn’t. This mystery is so tied to the time it is set in that no modern reader would deduct the solution from what he knows. Times have changed and what was common and obvious back then is now so extraordinary that it would not come to mind immediately. Once explained it makes sense, though.

A very quick and enjoyable mystery. If you like whodunnits you will love this.

Beware! Spoilers follow:

There are various  things I want to mention for people who don’t mind spoilers. If you do, do not read on!

The story first doesn’t appear to be a locked room mystery, however, when we get the solution it turns out to have been one all along. Unusual!

How the murderer was supposed to have done the crime is unfeasible. Yes, Ellery explains the how and that is plausible, but there was just not the opportunity. The situation is almost a little bit like in Agatha Christie’s “The murder of Roger Ackroyd” where the murderer is the narrator. Here the story is not told from the killer’s point of view but we accompany him during the hour in which the murder takes place and there is just no evidence that he had time to commit the crime. He works in his office and during that time four people come in to talk to him. Are we to believe that he is supposed to have gone next door, bludgeon a man, discover something unexpected, think of a ruse to cover that up, execute it (which includes rearranging all the furniture) and then process with his original complicated plan of bolting the door inside from the outside? Um, no!

The title of the book, by the way, is a MacGuffin. All the time Ellery goes on about the tangerines, aka Chinese oranges, which were available in the anteroom and of which one was eaten, either by the victim or murderer. In reality the tangerines are of no importance at all, the orange refers to something completely different.

Still, a very good mystery and baffling to the extreme.


Movie tip

The Mandarin Mystery (downloadable for free as it is in the public domain). However, I would only watch it for scientific reasons, it is absolute bollocks and does not resemble the book in the least. I am not kidding.


Product info and buy link :

Title The Chinese Orange Mystery
Author Ellery Queen
Publisher Open Road Media
ISBN ASIN: B00B1MSILY
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy The Chinese Orange Mystery from various sources

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 this week…

What interesting tidbits have you found lately?

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Crafty Tuesday–Guerilla Crocheting

crafty_tuesday

No crafts project from me this week, but a fun thing I saw this morning on the way to work. I was so enthusiastic about it that I had to park my car, walk back to the corner and take a couple of pictures. Isn’t that the cutest thing ever? Decorating a few boring traffic bollards with crochet? I feel some adventurous spirit coming on! There are plenty of those plain bollards around…

Guerilla crocheting

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

This post is part of

Join us for Needlework Tuesday which is hosted by Heather from Books and Quilts.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles (2002)

The Hound of the Baskervilles

This BBC production is so far (and I think my opinion won’t change anytime soon) my favourite version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Not sure about the “terrifying new adaption” bit on the cover but – terrifying or not – it was just brilliant.

Richard Roxburgh is a great Sherlock Holmes, a lot grittier than the previous bunch, but what totally made the film for me was Dr. Watson. I loved loved him. He is played by Ian Hart, a name I was not familiar with until I checked and noticed that he played Professor Quirrell in the first Harry Potter movie.

Holmes was as smart as ever, but not nearly as showing off and capricious as we have known him so far. There is no famous deduction scene where he conjures Dr. Mortimer’s whole life and personality from a bloody walking stick and – now that I come to think of it – Mortimer hasn’t even got a dog. They changed a lot of other things as well: there is a séance with Dr. Mortimer’s wife – no doubt an homage to the Basil Rathbone version -, the convict has a violent meeting with Sir Henry in the kitchen and there is a merry Christmas party at Baskerville Hall.

Watson does an autopsy and is generally more able and involved than in earlier movies. He isn’t the usual bumbling idiot, but tough and focused. The relationship between him and Holmes was a bit different, at times he was quite pissed off at Holmes, in the end Holmes lost his trust, and in general their interaction seemed a bit cooler than normally, but I liked that.
I immediately checked whether there is another movie with Ian Hart as Watson and there is one, “Sherlock Holmes and the case of the silk stocking” – unfortunately not with Richard Roxburgh, but with Rupert Everett as Holmes. Hm, maybe not a bad choice. I will definitely have to watch that one, even though there are no evil dogs involved.

Speaking of the dog. The Baskerville dog here is a true computer generated creature from hell, quite different from the usual Great Dane or whatever it is they are using. And the accompanying villain is a great one as well, superbly played by Richard E. Grant.

If you like Baskerville movies and are not a complete stickler for 100% adaptations you just have to watch it. And if you are, you should have a look as well, it might change your mind.

______

I have read on Amazon that the German edition is an abridged one with a few scenes missing. What a shame! But after watching it I ordered a DVD from the UK to get the full monty.

The Hound of the Baskervilles on imdb

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My reading list for May and April recap

readinglist

Wow, April went by so quickly. I only noticed it was time for another recap when I saw another one pop up in my RSS feed.

In April I

Also I

This month I am planning to

  • finish The Borgias by G. J. Meyer which is a great non-fiction read
  • read a couple more books on ancient Rome that I got from the library
  • watch another movie for my Baskerville marathon

How was YOUR reading month?

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Non-fiction giveaway blog hop winner

You are a winner!

Thank you everybody for participating in the first non-fiction giveaway blog hop. For another chance to win non-fiction make sure you follow my blog as I am planning to launch another blog hop with non-fiction giveaways in fall. Now, on to the winner:

Random.org drawing

Random.org picked comment no. 5 which is by Suzanne from Bibliosue. Congrats, Suzanne, you won a new copy of Alain de Botton’s “A week at the airport”. I will be in touch shortly. Happy reading!