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Body Double by Tess Gerritsen

>> Thursday, July 29, 2010

Body Double by Tess Gerritsen

Genre: Mystery
Series: #4 in the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 391
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #31
Source: Library

The Short Version:
When Medical Examiner Maura Isles discovers that the woman found shot in front of her home looks remarkably like her, she and detective Jane Rizzoli investigate both the murder and what connection it may have to Dr. Isles.

Why I Read It:
I didn’t discover this series until a year or so ago and I’m trying to play catch up. I can’t watch the new TV series because I’m afraid of getting the plots spoiled for books in the series I haven’t read yet.

The Book:
Dr. Maura Isles returns home from a trip to find the street in front of her house the center of an active police investigation. Oddly the detectives and other personnel she knows seem stunned at her arrival. When she finds out that the dead woman in the car looks so much like herself, the case soon feels personal.

While the detectives investigate the murder, Dr. Isles observes the autopsy and begins her own search for the any connection that she might have with this stranger who looks so much like her.

At the same time a pregnant woman is kidnapped and held prisoner in brutal and terrifying conditions.

While Dr. Isles and her friend Detective Jane Rizzoli work both together and independently to investigate the murder and history of the dead woman, they find themselves looking into past events as much as they do the present investigation.

Long held secrets are revealed and a young mother-to-be fights for her life and that of her unborn child as the stories lead to their inevitable connection and conclusion.

My Thoughts:
The first half of this one was a little slow but it laid an extensive base for the spiral to the finish that wrapped the multiple storylines together. The second half had me hating ot put the book down and looking forward to getting back to it every time I did.

I like this series because it’s a blend of medical, police procedural, mystery, thriller, and the ongoing stories of Maura Isles and Jane Rizzoli. I enjoy that this series is not just the particular crime of the book but also about the ongoing development of the characters of Maura and Jane.

There were several somewhat predictable turns in the story but there were also several dead ends and plot twists that blew away some of the theories I had along the way. I like a mystery that can keep me guessing a little or change my mind along the way.

I know that there’s a new television series based on these books but I’m not watching it. I don’t want to happen on an episode based on a book in the series that I haven’t read yet. I’ll eventually catch up with the TV series on DVD if it lasts that long.

Rating 4/5


Wordless Wednesday #43

>> Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Hubster's BBQ Buddy

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Follow up to my Borders Coffee Rant

>> Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Borders: thank you for listening and making a positive change that encourages responsible coffee cup use!

Some background:
A while back I posted a pretty ranty blog post about Borders Cafe and the fact that their free drink after you buy five program disqualified purchases that were discounted due to using my own reusable coffee cup.  If you don't remember what that was all about, go read that post, then come back and read this follow up.

What I did:
Hi again!  Yeah - pretty ridiculous, huh?  Well after the encouragement I got in the comments from that post I took the step of writing a letter to both Borders and Seattle's Best Coffee (since while I think it was a Borders decision, it also reflects on Seattle's Best).  I explained my disappointment that the program encouraged the use of disposable paper coffee cups.

Boo !!!!!---------►

Then I waited.

The Responses:
Within a week or so I did get a nice "thank you for your feedback letter" from Seattle's Best, which was about what I expected.  I didn't get anything from Borders.

I waited some more.

About six weeks after my letter was sent I received an email from Borders
Dear _____,

Thank you for contacting Borders in regards to our Café Loyalty program.

 In regards to the letter that you sent in concerning the cafe accural program.In a continued effort to become a more "green" corporation, we do allow café purchases that include your 10 cent coffee cup discount to go toward your accrual for a free drink item. To take advantage, simply bring your own coffee cup the next time you visit one of our stores.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Thank you again for contacting If we can be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely, Customer Care

The Result:
Ever the skeptic, I wanted proof.  I had been using my own mug but the baristas at my cafe had stopped giving me the discount so I could get my free coffees.  When I told them I'd heard back from Borders and that coffee cup discounts were now included, they were more than willing to help me prove things had changed.  I went back to getting my 10 cent discount (which just gets added to what I toss in the tip jar anyway) and am now getting email coupons for free drinks after I've purchased five.

◄-------- Yay!!!!

I'm happy, my baristas are happy (they thought it was as ridiculous as I did), and the environment is happy.

Thank you Borders for encouraging your cafe customers to do the right thing.

and now rewarding folks for saying no to disposable coffee cups.


Lavender Lies by Susan Wittig Albert

>> Friday, July 23, 2010

Lavender Lies by Susan Wittig Albert

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: #8 in the China Bayles series
Publication Date: 1999
Pages: 297
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #30
Source: Library ebook

The Short Version:
In the middle of last minute wedding stuff, herb shop owner China Bayles finds herself trying to help solve a murder so that her fiance can wrap up the case before they leave on their honeymoon.

Why I Read It:
This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series and I was in the mood for something a bit light.

The Book
It’s the 8th in a series so I can’t keep this spoiler free of storylines that have developed over the first 7 books. Skip to “my thoughts” if you care.

It’s a busy week in Pecan Springs. China and McQuaid are getting married on Sunday and there are a ton of last minute things to do. With McQuaid serving as interim chief of police it gets even more complicated when local businessman Edgar Coleman is found murdered. China is worried that if the murder investigation isn’t resolved, their honeymoon and possibly even their wedding might not happen.

In the interest of getting the investigation wrapped up at the same time as the last minute to do list for the wedding China and her friend Ruby get involved in trying to find out who killed Coleman. It turns out that many of their friends and just about everyone on the city council is a valid suspect.

Don’t forget about the stranger who shows up and asks for China’s help in connecting with her long lost daughter. And we don’t even want to talk about the hurricane in the gulf that could definitely put a damper (or downpour) on the outdoor wedding plans.

My Thoughts:
This continues to be one of my favorite cozy mystery series. There’s just enough of police/legal procedural mixed in due to McQuaid’s police background and China’s former legal career. It keeps it from being quite the total amateur/busybody sleuth type of story.

I also really enjoy the information about herbs and flowers as well as recipes scattered throughout the book. One interesting tidbit is this prelude to one of the chapters.

The god of silence is represented as a young man, half-naked, holding a finger to his lips and with a white rose in the other hand. A white rose used to be sculpted over the door of banqueting rooms to remind guests that they should never repeat outside the things they had heard I their festive moments. The same emblem was once carved on confessionals. Sometimes actual white roses were hung by a host over the tables where he entertained his guests – the origin of the phrase sub-rosa “under the rose”. The phrase goes back in English at least until the time of Henry VII
The Meaning of Flowers
Claire Powell

I didn’t know that and found it interesting.

I also found the story interesting. By book 8 I’ve come to know China and her family and friends and their story progressed in this one intermixed with a mystery that kept me guessing in as many places as it was predictable.

Rating 3.5/5


Wordless Wednesday #42

>> Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Late afternoon sun through the fence

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Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo

>> Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pray for Silence by Linda Castillo

Genre: Mystery
Series: #2 in the Kate Burkholder series
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 304
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #29
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Kate Burkholder grew up Amish and is now the police chief in her home town who is leading the investigation into the brutal killings of all seven members of a local Amish family.

Why I Read It:
I’ve been on the lookout for Castillo’s second Kate Burkolder book ever since I read her first one (Sworn to Silence). It was interesting crime fiction with troubled protagonists in an interesting setting and I wanted more of the story.

The Book:
When all seven members of the Plank family are found brutally murdered at their farm in Painter’s Mill, Ohio, it’s a shocking crime. The murders themselves are gruesome and with the victims being an Amish family it’s an investigation that will involve both the Amish and English communities in the town.

Police Chief Kate Burkholder grew up in an Amish family in Painter’s mill which gives her both an advantage and disadvantage in dealing with local Amish families. Kate and her small police force investigate a brutal crime with little evidence and few leads and are soon frustrated with the lack of clues as to the motive. State investigator John Tomasetti joins the investigation team. He and Kate have worked together before and have since developed a personal relationship that is as rocky as the emotional states of both John and Kate. They both find themselves haunted by their pasts in the course of finding out who killed the Plank family and why.

My Thoughts:
As in the first book in the series, this is partly about the crime and the investigation and partly about Kate and John and their relationship. They are both deeply troubled individuals who may be good at jointly investigating a crime, but whether or not they are as good together as they are professionally is yet to be seen.

Once again the search for the killer leads the police to both the Amish and English communities in town. When they discover an important piece of evidence connected to the younger of the Plank’s teenage girls the case takes even more disturbing turns. It’s not a book for the faint of heart with some pretty gory scenes and troubling revelations.

I like the troubled protagonist aspect well enough with both John and Kate, but some of it is more of the same from the first book. It's a good police procedural and nice to get that in something other than a big city setting. I’ll be watching for more of this series, but I’m hoping for more development of the main characters and I’m wondering how many horrifying crimes the small town locale of Painter’s Mill can hold.

Rating 3.5/5


Audiobook - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

>> Friday, July 16, 2010

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (Audio)

Genre: Fiction
Series: #5 in the Harry Potter series
Publication Date: 2003
Read by: Jim Dale
Challenges: Support Your Local Library #28, The Harry Potter Reading Challenge #5
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Things got a little darker in the fourth book and they get downright intense and scary in this one plus it has the deliciously fun to despise Dolores Umbridge.

Why I Read It:
While there’s no hope of me finishing listening to the whole series by the end of this month, The Harry Potter Reading Challenge gave me the push to use the audio versions as a way of re-reading the series back to back and I’m more than happy to fail the challenge and just continue with the last two books beyond the end date.

The Book:
As I’ve said before on the re-read via audio posts, I’m not going to bother with any kind of plot summary. By now you either know it or you don’t want to know.

My Thoughts:
I was curious about how Jim Dale would voice Dolores Umbridge. She was one of my favorite despicable characters in the series and I think he did an excellent job with her voice. He captured her prissiness and her “Hem Hem” interrupting cough perfectly.

Harry is quite the selfish teenage whiner for much of this book, but he’s a 15 year old boy so it’s not out of place. Dumbledore finally gets around to explaining some of Harry’s history and helps him understand why he had to live with the Dursleys.

I noticed on the re-read of this one that there are lots of hanging plot threads from earlier books picked up again as well as a lot of development toward what is to come in the final two books. Little things are mentioned that either have now become important or will be soon.

I’m really enjoying the secondary characters as I re-read the series. I liked the way Ginny is becoming more of a presence and I absolutely adore Luna Lovegood. Even without knowing what was to come in the final two books this was the point where I developed a real soft heart for Neville Longbottom. After learning about his parents and their torture at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, it was great to see him develop his abilities in the secret DA meetings and to be a part of the battle at the Ministry of Magic (albeit with a few typical Neville Longbottom type results).

I can only continue to recommend the audio versions as a great way to re-experience this series and listening to them back to back has been great fun.

Rating 5/5


Wordless Wednesday #41

>> Wednesday, July 14, 2010


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The Killing of Mindi Quintana by Jeffrey A. Cohen

>> Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Killing of Mindi Quintana by Jeffrey A. Cohen

Genre: Crime Fiction
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 247
Challenges: none
Source: Copy provided by publicist/publisher

The Short Version:
It’s crime fiction with a slightly twisted look at both corporate America and the justice system and a couple of jabs at the media along the way.

Why I Read It:
When I got an email from the publicist offering a copy for review it sounded interesting so I said yes.

The Book
As you can guess from the title, Mindi Quintana gets killed, but that doesn’t actually happen until about the middle of the book. The first part of the book gives the background of the main characters and some of the events leading up to her death.

Freddy Builder is an odd person. He’s stuck in middle management in a department store, but he dreams of a different life. When he happens to meet up with a woman he dated briefly in college, a series of events is set in motion that spiral out of control.

A killer who becomes a celebrity and a media darling may end up becoming more famous than he ever anticipated, but will that provide justice for the death of a young woman? Freddy’s attorney is increasingly disgusted with his client’s hunger for fame, but can he do anything about it?

My Thoughts:
The title makes it clear who is going to die and it’s a slow start since the actual killing doesn’t happen till the middle.  It’s a somewhat jumpy and disconnected set up in the first half, but it fits because it raises the discomfort level.  Just reading about Freddy made me feel uncomfortable, and when the story moves into the investigation and after the arrest, things actually start to move along much quicker.

It’s a book that brings to mind many real life stories of criminals who become famous and media and fan favorites for all the wrong reasons. It’s a plot that will make you think, but it’s also got some wickedly fun dark humor in the mix too.

The department store where Freddy works and his co-workers there had me giggling. It’s a sardonic look at ridiculous corporate structures and the middle managers who get caught up in the games that go along with them.

It was an entertaining and quick read, but I would have liked to know Mindi more. It was easy to hope for a certain outcome due to disliking Freddy, but it wanting that outcome because I cared more about Mindi would have added to the experience of this book. I did like it well enough that I’ll be on the lookout for future work from the author.

Rating 3.5/5


Has it really been four years?

>> Monday, July 12, 2010

Has it really been four years since I started this blog? Sometimes it seems like I’ve been posting here forever and other times it seems like just a few months ago that I decided to keep my reading journal online.

Back in 2006 I had no idea there was such a thing as ‘book blogs’. I was just going to use the blogging format to keep my own reading journal and have a place to point friends when they asked “Read any good books lately?” Within a short time after I published my first posts I started getting comments from people I didn’t even know and from those folks I discovered a whole new world of reading friends. It wasn’t long before I had a core group of regular readers and commenters who sort of became my online book chat group and my primary source of book recommendations.

Then I found out about reading challenges . . . and that got pretty much out of hand. I love the challenges and I love having the chance to get to know other bloggers through them, but someone with a reading addiction can easily become challenge addicted and I overdid it after a couple of years. When I found myself reading almost nothing that wasn’t on a reading challenge list I knew I had to make changes. I reduced my challenge commitments to a select few and returned the fun to my reading.

That’s the key for me. I read for fun. I read for relaxation. I read to be taken to other places, times and worlds. I don’t want to read according to a schedule to fulfill an overwhelming set of commitments. That’s also my approach to this blog. I don’t want it to become an overwhelming commitment I started it for fun and I continue it because it’s fun.

This blog has changed over the years. In addition to the name change, the domain change and the changes to the appearance of my blog, I’ve also gradually modified the content.

As for the appearance, I don’t see myself changing how things look around here. I’m happy with the colors and that photo at the top (one of my very favorites that I’ve ever taken). Some folks change their blog templates pretty regularly, but every time I go looking at other templates and designs I come back here and like it just the way it is.

The content, on the other hand has gradually evolved. When I started I wanted to keep it strictly about the books. I only posted book reviews. Then came the challenges and there were challenge related posts added. About that time I started a couple of other blogs for non book related stuff but after a while I just combined everything here in one spot except for Pirate Bendy.

So – what you’ll find here:

What you won’t find here (Let me be clear – these are great for lots of blogs but they’re just not my thing):
  • A post every day because I do this for fun and when I have something to say and not something I want to feel is an obligation or work
  • Book giveaways because I neither enter nor host them
  • Author interviews because the thought of interviews gives me horrible flashbacks to my days as in middle management
  • Guest posts because this is me
  • A high percentage of new releases and review books because I can’t afford to buy lots of new releases and while I enjoy getting offered review books I limit them so I’m not overcommitted and unable to read the backlist stuff I like so much
  • Regular memes because they’re not my thing (except for Wordless Wednesdays of course)
  • Anything about subscriber or site visit numbers because this is simply not ever going to be one of those blogs with hundreds or thousands of readers. I have a small but regular group of readers and folks who comment and I appreciate all you who fit into that category far more than I care about building a huge blog audience. If new folks join that group I’m thrilled, but a large subscriber number is not my primary goal for this blog.

I enjoy and appreciate all of my blogging friends and hope to be chatting with you here and on your blogs for many more years.


Whiter than Snow by Sandra Dallas

>> Friday, July 9, 2010

Whiter than Snow by Sandra Dallas

Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 292
Challenges: None
Source: Copy provided by publicist/publisher

The Short Version:
Interesting historical fiction about the families in a Colorado mining town who are affected by a devastating avalanche in 1920.

Why I Read It:
I’d read a couple of Sandra Dallas’s earlier books several years ago and remembered them to be enjoyable reads, so when I was offered a copy of her latest book I decided to give it a try.

The Book:
On an April afternoon in 1920 an avalanche races down the mountainside in the remote mountain mining town of Swandyke. Nine children walking home from school are buried in the snow and only some of them survive.

The middle and main portion of the book takes a step back from both the avalanche story and the present time to tell the history of the families of the children involved. Each chapter is the story of a different parent or guardian who will soon be wondering if their child is alive. Lucy and Dolly are sisters who grew up in Swandyke, but haven’t spoken in years. Joe Cobb came to Swandyke with his daughter because life as a black man there is better than in the South. Grace Foote grew up privileged and married in haste to run from scandal. Minder Evans carries his memories of the Civil War and tries to raise his grandson as best as he can. Esther Schnable is a local prostitute who keeps the fact that her daughter is being raised by a friend in Swandyke a secret from everyone.

The tragedy brings about change, forgiveness, loss, hope, and love for everyone in town.

My Thoughts:
Since by the end of the first chapter I knew how many of the endangered children survived it was clear that several of the people I read about in the middle of the book would be faced with devastating news in the final chapters.

As I read each chapter I found myself thinking please let this person’s child or children survive. The stories of how they all came to be in Swandyke and have their lives and their children’s lives intertwined are interesting and both sad and hopeful along the way.

It’s a fairly short book, so none of the multiple plots are extensively developed, but it reads more like related short stories with the avalanche and its aftermath bringing them together and finally connecting them.

It’s a bit predictable at times with each of the main characters managing to face their past and either forgive, reveal, let go or find peace as I expected from this author.

Although not the type of book I read a lot of, it was a nice change of pace and an interesting story

Rating 3.5/5


Wordless Wednesday #40

>> Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Best Part of Sunday's Parade

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Sorrow's Anthem by Michael Koryta

>> Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sorrow’s Anthem by Michael Koryta

Genre: Mystery
Series: #2 in the Lincoln Perry series
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 309
Challenges: Support you Local Library #27
Source: Library

The Short Version:
PI Lincoln Perry tries to help out an old but estranged friend, but when the friend dies, Perry is unwilling to accept the police department’s quick conclusion of his friend’s guilt.

Why I Read It:
I’d read the first in the Lincoln Perry series a couple of years ago and when I started seeing friends reading Koryta’s latest release it reminded me that I needed to get back to this series and this author’s work.

The Book
Lincoln Perry's old friend Ed Gradduk is in trouble. Even though they haven't spoken in years, Lincoln seeks out Ed after Ed is implicated in an arson and murder. He feels like he owes Ed some help because of what happened that caused their estrangement.

Unfortunately before Lincoln can do much of anything for Ed, he gets a few mysterious clues and then Ed dies.

While the cops are ready to close the arson/murder case and place the blame on Ed, Lincoln is not so willing to accept their version of the events.

As Lincoln convinces his partner that they need to investigate this case, he also has to deal with his past before the truth can come out.

My Thoughts:
I liked the first book in the Lincoln Perry series well enough, but I thought this one was even better. The way that the Perry’s own history was doled out through the telling of this story was great. I enjoyed the investigation and effort to prove that Lincoln’s old friend Ed really didn’t kill the woman in the house that burned. What I liked even more was the way that Lincoln’s own history with his friends and family was revealed.

I enjoy the relationship of Perry and his partner Joe Pritchard who is a retired Cleveland cop. Their banter is humorous without really feeling too strained and Lincoln is definitely my preferred type of protagonist - an intelligent smart mouth. This book is much more about Perry though than it is about Joe or even the two of them as a team. I like mystery and crime fiction with a bit of humor in them and this book had enough of that to keep me entertained without taking away from the primary investigation.

Koryta does a good job of creating a sense of what Perry’s old Cleveland neighborhood felt like as he was growing up and of how it’s changed over the years. It has politics, corrupt cops, gangsters and people just trying to survive in a tough neighborhood. All in all, it’s a good second novel from a young and talented author. I’m looking forward to the next in the series as well as Koryta’s standalone novels.

Rating 4/5


What's in a Name? 3 Challenge Wrap Up

>> Monday, July 5, 2010

I thought I was going to have to do without one of my favorite challenges this year, but Beth Fish Reads stepped in to take over for Annie and host the What’s in a Name? 3 Challenge.

The categories just seem to get more and more interesting every year.

For this year’s challenge readers were once again required to read 6 books. The books had to be chosen based on words their titles matching up with the six categories. I was able to find books that fit the challenge from my TBR list or that came up in my normal adding to that list.

The books I read for each category were:

A book with a "food" in its title: Blood Orange Brewing by Laura Childs – this was part of her Tea Shop Cozy mytery series and while it was enjoyable enough, I think I won’t likely continue with that series.

A book with a "body of water" in its title: Lake of Sorrows by Erin Hart – this was the second in a mystery series that features mystery, archeology, and forensics all wrapped up with Irish history and culture.

A book with a "title" in its title: The Queen's Secret by Jean Plaidy – Historical Fiction about Katherine of Valois who married Henry V from one of the Grand Dames of the Genre who wrote prolifically under several pseudonyms from from the 1950s into the 1990s.

A book with a "plant" in its title: Chile Death by Susan Wittig Albert – another one from a cozy mystery series. This is the Herb Shop series and is one I will continue with. It’s a great cozy series with fun characters and a bit of information about herbs thrown in the mix.

A book with a "music term" in its title: Lullaby Town by Robert Crais - #3 in his Elvis Cole series was a fun missing person case that took Elvis and Joe across country, but didn’t take the fun out of Elvis and Joe. This category was a surprisingly tough one.

A book with a "place name" in its title: Ghosts of Everest by Jochen Hemmleb, Larry Johnson and Eric Simonson was a truly fascinating combination of adventure and history.

This is a great challenge because the books end up being such a variety. I’m thrilled to know that Beth Fish Reads is already working on the categories for next year’s challenge. I’ll be signing up just as soon as she opens the door.


Happy Independence Day

>> Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!!

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton


Sookie Stackhouse Challenge Wrap Up

>> Friday, July 2, 2010

I just barely completed this on before the deadline.

Beth Fish Reads hosted The Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge and it was a lot of fun.

The Rules and time frame were fairly easy to work with:

Between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010, catch up on Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series. No matter if you're starting with book 1 or book 8, you have a year to read all about Sookie. Read Sookie in print, listen to the audio, read an eBook -- format is not an issue.
The Books (links are to my reviews):

  • Dead Until Dark

  • Living Dead in Dallas

  • Club Dead

  • Dead to the World

  • Dead as a Doornail

  • Definitely Dead

  • All Together Dead

  • From Dead to Worse

  • Dead and Gone

  • When this challenge was announced I jumped on it because I’d been wanting to read the series anyway and it gave me a good reason to plow through them fairly quickly. I spaced the books out fairly evenly but still had to rush a bit at the end.

    All in all it’s been a fun series, and I’m glad I finished the first 9 before the end of the challenge, but after reading the last three fairly close together I’ll probably let the next book languish at the bookstore for a while before I buy it. I’m perfectly happy to wait for the paperback. I don’t normally read a series too close together because it tends to tire me of the sameness. I did OK with this series and do plan to continue, but . . . later.


    Ghosts of Everest by Jochen Hemmleb, et al.

    >> Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Ghosts of Everest by Jochem Hemmleb, Larry A. Johnson, and Eric Simonson

    Genre: Non-Fiction
    Publication Date: 1999
    Pages: 194
    Challenges: Support Your Local Library #26, What’s In a Name 3 #6 (Place Name)
    Source: Library

    The Short Version:
    Fascinating parallel telling of both George Mallory’s ill-fated 1924 attempt to summit Mt. Everest and the 1999 research expedition that found his body 75 years later.

    Why I Read It:
    I outlined in my post a few days ago how this book ended up coming home with me from the library, but the short version of that is I’ve had a fascination for years with stories of climbing Mt. Everest and this one featured both one of the longest lasting unknown stories and a recent expedition.

    The Book:
    In 1924 George Mallory and Andrew Irvine left their highest camp in an attempt to become the first to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Neither was seen alive again. For seventy-five years their story remained one of the most fascinating mysteries and myths of the mountain. Did they fall, did they run out of oxygen and succumb to the awful sit down and wait to die fate that has claimed so many on Everest? Perhaps the greater question is did they reach the summit or not. If they did, then it was nearly 30 years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did.

    In 1999 an expedition was formed to try to find out what had happened by retracing the route of the 1924 climbers and search under incredible conditions for clues to what happened to Mallory and Irvine and if possible determine whether or not they’d actually reached the summit.

    The three co authors told their story to William Northdurft, but the story really does come from three key people involved in the 1999 research expedition. Jochen Hemmleb was an Everest historian who has studied the mountain and the many expeditions that sought to conquer it. Eric Simonson was the expedition leader for the 1999 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition. Larrry Johnson was a climbing enthusiast who was crucial to making this expedition happen.

    The book tells the story of both the 1924 and 1999 expeditions. Moving back and forth the reader follows both teams in parallel stories, from the beginnings of the idea, to the selection of the team members, the arrival at the mountain, establishing the ever higher camps and eventually the reach for the summit.

    That the body of George Mallory was actually found 75 years after he disappeared came from a combination of excellent research, excellent weather conditions, and perhaps a lot of luck.

    My Thoughts:
    I know I was predisposed to like this book because of my fascination with Everest stories, but it was good enough that I’m renewing it from the library so that The Hubster can read it.

    It occasionally gets a little lost in the inside knowledge and jargon of Everest expeditions, particularly when describing features, camp locations and some of the details of climbing, but it really doesn’t take away from the stories at all. The way it goes back and forth between 1924 and 1999 at each of the stages is really a very interesting parallel telling. The comparisons between the two in terms of resources, equipment, and technology are remarkable.

    The question of whether or not Mallory and/or Irvine reached the summit is left unresolved, but several theories are discussed based on the evidence the 1999 expedition discovered. Nevertheless that they were able to reproduce the route Mallory took and to find his body after all those years is truly an achievement. I already knew that even in modern times bodies are not carried down from Everest, but the men in this group were still able to make a better final resting place for Mallory and treated him with respect throughout the archeological research portion of their expedition

    There are photographs of both expeditions, many of the artifacts that were found on the mountain and yes, even a few of Mallory’s remains. These are not exploitative at all and in fact are almost hauntingly reverent as they are on the pages where the 1999 climbers are describing their own feelings at putting a legend to rest high on Mt. Everest.

    I highly recommend this book and plan to read the follow up Detectives on Everest which is about a follow up expedition two years later to learn more about what may have happened to Andrew Irvine

    Rating 4.5/5


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