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July Photo a Day Challenge

>> Saturday, June 30, 2012

A new month starts tomorrow so once again I'm encouraging everyone I know to join in the Photo a Day Challenge hosted by Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim. I've been doing this since mid March and I'm having fun with it. I'm very happy to see that many of my friends both online and off are participating too.

Every month Chantelle posts a list of subjects or prompts for each day of the month.

This is the list for July and Chantelle's instructions:

If you’re new to photo a day, let me tell you a bit about it. Photo a day is a fun photo-sharing challenge. Each day take a look at the list and take a photo according to the prompt. There are no rules. You don’t have to be super creative or take the most amazing photos, it’s all about the social sharing of it. Everyone is welcome to play!

Once you’ve taken your photo you can share it on which ever platform you like: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Blog, Pinterest … where ever! Make sure you tag it with #photoadayjuly if sharing on Twitter or Instagram

Where to share your photo a day pictures

INSTAGRAM: Upload your photo to Instagram, add a sweet filter and put #photoadayjuly in the caption so others can see your photos {share to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr etc from Instagram if you like}

TWITTER: Upload your photo to Instagram, add some words to describe it and use the hashtag #photoadayJuly so others can see your photos

FACEBOOK: Create an album titled something like, Photo a Day July, and make the album public, then upload your photos. It’s a good idea to upload the list too so you can refer to it and others can see what you’re doing. You can also share your photos on my Fat Mum Slim Facebook page. Don't add them to the comments, but instead upload the photo or share a link on my page. To see everyone’s photos just select ‘posts by others’ in the drop-down menu underneath the cover photo.

PINTEREST: Upload your photos to a board, and use the hashtag#photoadayJuly so that others can search for them.

BLOGS & TUMBLR: Upload your photos to your blog or Tumblr and share with the world.

FLICKR: Share your photos in the Photo a day group.

SHUTTERCAL: This is a new platform that I’ll be exploring in July. You can upload your pics online or with you iPhone and they sit in a pretty neat calendar template. My photos will be here.

I choose to participate in this challenge using only photos from my phone. Between Instagram and a few other photo appilications I have lots of options for editing photos on my phone. I have enjoyed seeing what I can do using just my phone and apps.

If you’d like to check out my June photos they’re on my Tumblr blog at at Whimpulsiveness

I'm also now using ShutterCal too. You can see my June photos all in a calendar format

One of the great things about this is the flexibility. The way I choose to do this is to only use photos I take with my phone. That takes a lot of pressure off for the photos to be perfect. It also lets me play with the many photo editing apps

I have created a Google Calendar for those who would like to have the daily prompts in their google calendar. Here is a link to the Instructions for subscribing to that.

I would love to see even more people I know participating. I hope you'll join in on the fun.

Here are a few of my favorites from the June Photo a Day Challenge

June 5th - sign
June 7th - drink
from a low angle
June 12th from a low angle
in your bag
June 17th in your bag
June 23rd movement
June 27th bathroom


Audiobook – The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

>> Friday, June 29, 2012

The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
(Translated by Stephen Sartarelli)

Genre: Mystery
Series: #1 in the Inspector Montalbano Series
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: 2006 by Blackstone (Book originally published
Length: 4 hours, 4 minutes
Read by: Grover Gardner
Source: Library

The Short Version:
This is the first in a police procedural series featuring a Sicilian detective that combines interesting mysteries with wit and an interesting locale.

Why I Read It:
I enjoy Grover Gardner’s narration and since I’m caught up with the Andy Carpenter series I was looking for another series featuring him. A conversation on Twitter led me to give this series a try

The Book:
Between the twisty plot and large cast I don’t think I can coherently summarize this one myself so I’m going with the publisher’s synopsis

From the publisher:
Andrea Camilleri's novels starring Inspector Montalbano have become an international sensation in eight different languages. This funny and fast-paced Sicilian page-turner will be a delicious discovery for mystery afficionados and fiction lovers alike.

Early one morning, Silvio Lupanello, a big shot in the village of Vigàta, is found dead in his car with his pants around his knees. The car happens to be parked in a rough part of town frequented by prostitutes and drug dealers, and as the news of his death spreads, the rumors begin. Enter Inspector Salvo Montalbano, Vigàta's most respected detective. With his characteristic mix of humor, cynicism, compassion, and love of good food, Montalbano goes into battle against the powerful and the corrupt who are determined to block his path to the real killer.

My Thoughts:
I was looking for some fairly short audiobooks that would appeal to The Hubster as well as me for our vacation road trip listening. This one at just over four hours was perfect. I already knew that The Hubster enjoys listening to Grover Gardner as much as I do so I figured he’d be willing to give this series a shot.

I have to say that at first we both commented that due to the high number of similar sounding names it might have been better to read this instead of listening so we could flip back and keep track of characters. Fortunately that feeling did not last long. By about a third of the way through the first disc we were no longer concerned and were thoroughly enjoying the story.

The setting in, the various political intrigues and the wealth of quirky characters makes this a fun story. Montalbano is a delight. He’s moody and melancholy yet at the same time his cynical wit made us giggle.

Grover Gardner does what he does best in this book. His delivery has just the right level of sardonic tone that lets you almost hear the slight grin he must have on his face. He’s not a narrator that does markedly distinct voices or accents for every single character and that works in this book because there’s a gazillion Italian male characters. Gardner makes this a series we’ll continue.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration

SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.


Confessions of a Serial Reader – The ones that are Graphic Novels

>> Thursday, June 28, 2012

Confessions of a Serial Reader

I have just recently read my first graphic novels and it so happens that both of them are first in a series books. I enjoyed both of them and plan on continuing with both series.

The Drops of God series written by Tadashi Agi and illustrated by Shu Okimoto.

Volume 1 of this series was not only my first graphc novel but also my first experience with a manga book. Originally a hit in Asia and later translated to English this has become a treat for wine enthusiasts all over the world.

It’s about the estranged son of a well known wine critic who has recently died. Young Shizuku has turned his back on his father and the world of wine he was trained for beginning at a young age. He has gone to work for a beer distributor. His father’s will, however holds a surprise. Shizuku is pitted against another young man who had ingratiated himself with Shizuku’s father. They are in competition to identify thirteen stellar wines known as The Drops of God. The winner of the competition will inherit the valuable Kanzaki wine collection.

The artwork and the story are incredibly well done and entertaining. I learned a lot about wine and wine tasting and even though the focus is on French wines I’m looking forward to continuing with the story in the next volumes.

I was a little hesitant to try this a manga but the book has a handy warning
Drops of God - Wrong Way

when you try to open it to read from left to right - I only opened it the wrong way a couple of times and quickly got used to reading right to left.

The Unwritten series written by Mike Carey and illustrated by Peter Gross

This series is a more traditional format and the first volume is actually a collection of the first 5 issues of this ongoing series.

Tom Taylor is the son of a famous author. He is also the model for the main character in his father’s books about Tommy Taylor, a young wizard. Tom’s father disappeared and now Tom makes his living by appearing at fan conventions and while he resents his dad, he really has no other career. It is at one of these conventions that Tom meets a mysterious young woman who causes Tom to begin questioning his own identity and whether or not he is truly the son of Wilson Taylor.

The journey Tom begins in this first volume takes him to places where his father did his writing and he meets up with a strange group of people who seem to be involved in some sort of conspiracy. The story turns both violent and mysterious and the final of the five sections takes you into the past and leaves you eager to explore the series further. I already have the next two volumes out from the library and plan to read them soon. This series appealed to the Harry Potter fan in me as well as being an interesting and fun mystery.

The artwork in this one is well done in all phases of the story including present day, the fantasy world of Wilson Taylor's books and the historical sections.

What about you? Have you read any graphic novel series? Which would you recommend?


Wordless Wednesday #141

>> Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Evening Fishing Boat
Yachats, Oregon

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

>> Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 415
Source: provided by the publisher through NetGalley

The Short Version:
The story of a marriage falling apart takes several surprising turns and is in part suspense thriller and part very very dark comedy.

Why I Read It:
I’ve been a fan of Gillian Flynn ever since I read her first book Sharp Objects. I like the twisty disturbing type of books that she does so well so her ‘next book’ is always on my TBR list.

The Book:
Because of the way this book plays out and my fear of spoiling anything I’m going to use the publisher’s description:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

My Thoughts:
Gillian Flynn is so good at twisty disturbing intriguing stories that keep you guessing along the way. Who is really telling the truth?

I liked the way that the truth is gradually revealed. At first you get Nick’s side, then you start getting Amy’s diary entries. At this point you’re still unsure of what the real story is and I’m not going to say much more because pretty much anything beyond that is spoilerish.

Gillian Flynn, Chelsea Cain and Mo Hayder are my top three authors who can draw me in to a story that is not for the faint of heart but so well written. This one is not as gruesome as Dark Places which in my opinion is a good thing. It’s much more in the psychologically twisted realm that Sharp Objects was.

I loved the way that Flynn gradually developed this one. Just about the time I thought I’d figured it out, she’d spring another twist on me. As with her other books the characters are not likeable but they are so intriguing I couldn’t resist continuing to turn the pages to see what surprise might be waiting.

It’s the story of a marriage gone bad and revenge in a very twisted way, which is just what I expect and love from Gillian Flynn’s books.

I’ll be eagerly anticipating her next book. This one was good, but I still think Sharp Objects was her best so far. If you haven’t read any of her books please give them a try.

4 stars Rating 4/5


Weekend Update June 24, 2012

>> Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
Other than Wordless Wednesday I took this week off from the blog because we were on vacation.

I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and enjoyed it. I still think her first one Sharp Objects was her best so far. She does delightfully disturbing so very well. I started Life Without Parole by Clare O’Donohue which is the second in her Kate Conway series. It’s a good second in a series so far. I’m also reading Hannah’s List by Debbie Macomber. It’s one that’s peripherally connected to her Blossom Street series and it’s predictably pleasant.

I spent the most of my vacation reading time alternating between two print books. I’m switching books every 50 pages (or nearest chapter break) and have found I enjoy that reading format. I’m going to see if continuing to do that once I’m back in a non-vacation routine works as well. It seems to appeal to my short attention span.

In audio, I put The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith on hold until after vacation. The Hubster and I listened to two short audiobooks while we were gone. Both are first in a series books and we’ll definitely be getting more in each series for future road trip listening.

The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri is the first book in the Inspector Montalbano series. It’s a mystery series set in Sicily. Grover Gardner narrates it and he’s a favorite of both The Hubster and I. It was a bit confusing at first because of many characters and semi-confusing names but it settled in pretty quickly and we enjoyed it.

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming and read by Simon Vance was the other audiobook we listened to this week. It was our first experience listening to Simon Vance and I now understand all the praise. He’s really an excellent narrator. As for the book – Bond is just fun. Neither of us have seen the movie so we can’t really compare it to that but it was fun road trip fare.

Other than books and reading:
Vacation was fabulous! We were in Yachats, Oregon at the same rental house we’ve been going to for several years. I always overestimate how much reading I’ll get done while we’re over there. I’m too easily distracted by this . . .

Yes, that's right outside the window. The edge of the deck of our rental house is at the bottom of the video. 

We had a good mix weather on this trip. There were sunny days when we went out and explored and played. There were also days that were cloudy and kind of damp when we just hung around the house reading and staring at the ocean.

We also went up to Agate Beach to see the Japanese Dock that washed up there recently. It broke loose during the March 2012 tsunami and washed up in Oregon 15 months later.
Japanese dock on Oregon beach
They’ve been saying we would be getting tsunami debris on the Oregon Coast but they weren’t expecting much until sometime next year. Obviously this dock was designed to float so that probably had something to do with it washing up sooner than experts had expected us to see debris.

We were over at the coast earlier than normal this year so the seagulls that nest on the house next door didn’t have any babies yet, but they were keeping the eggs warm.
nesting seagull

Hope you’re having a great weekend.


Wordless Wednesday #140

>> Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wine Glasses
Matello Wines in McMinnville, Oregon

Wine glasses

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Weekend Update June 16, 2012

>> Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I read and thoroughly enjoyed another graphic novel. This one is the first in a series called The Unwritten. The first volume is a collection of what was originally five comics and is called Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity. It’s written by Mike Carey with artwork by Peter Gross. I already picked up the second in the series from the library.

In audio, I started listening to The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith. This is one of my go to audio series and I’m enjoying it. I’m going to be putting it on hold for a few days though because we’re headed out on vacation so The Hubster and I will be listening to something together. I’ve got several audiobooks for us already loaded onto one of the iPods but I’ll let him make the final choice about what our road trip book or books will be.

Other than books and reading:
It was a busy week both at work and home getting all the pre-vacation things done. We’re headed to the Oregon Coast for the week and I plan to spend much of the next 7 days reading and watching the ocean.

Reading spot and view
My reading spot and view for the next week

I’m a little worried about Abby, though – I’m concerned that she’ll get in her official waiting for bedtime treat spot tomorrow night around 9pm as usual and have a long wait.
Abby waits for treats

Hope you’re having a great weekend.


Audiobook – One Dog Night by David Rosenfelt

>> Friday, June 15, 2012

One Dog Night by David Rosenfelt

One Dog Night by David Rosenfelt

Genre: Mystery
Series: #9 in the Andy Carpenter Series
Publisher: Listen and Live Audio
Publication Date: 2011
Read by: Grover Gardner
Source: Library

The Short Version:
A case involving a six year old arson that killed 26 people turns out to be far more complicated than anyone expects.

Why I Read It:
I’ve been a fan of this series for years and this was one of the series I targeted for catching up in 2012.

The Book:
From the Publisher
For six years Noah Galloway has lived with a horrible secret and the fear that his rebuilt life could be shattered at any moment. Now his dread has become a certainty, and he has been arrested for the arson murder of twenty-six people.

What he needs now is defense lawyer Andy Carpenter, who most definitely is not in the market for a new client. So Noah plays his hole card: a shared love for Andy’s golden retriever, Tara, and the knowledge of what her life was like before Andy rescued her. Because Andy wasn’t her first owner—Noah rescued Tara first, and when he wasn’t able to care for her any longer, he did everything in his power to make sure that she was placed in the right home: Andy’s.

With that knowledge, Andy has little choice but to take Noah on, and he soon learns that the long-ago event that may destroy Noah’s life is only the beginning of an ongoing conspiracy that grows more deadly by the day. Andy will have to pull out all of his tricks to get to the bottom of this cold case turned white hot in the latest in David Rosenfelt’s popular mystery series.

My Thoughts:
I’ve been a fan of David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series for years. I’ve recently discovered that the audio versions read by Grover Gardner are just fun entertainment for my driving around town listening.

This installment in the series however was a disappointment. Most of the things I usually enjoy about an Andy Carpenter book are there but they seem only partially executed. The story gets convoluted with too many characters to keep track of particularly when listening rather than reading. Andy is suddenly making huge leaps of logic that miraculously turn out to be accurate.

On the other hand, we do learn some interesting things about Marcus. He’s always been big, quiet and scary but there’s a lot more to Marcus and we only get a bit of a glimpse in this book. That part was fun.

Even though the story was a bit of a disappointment, the narration by Grover Gardner continues to be excellent. He gives just the right sardonic tone in all the right places. His Marcus is absolutely perfect.

I see that if Rosenfelt has another Andy Carpenter book coming out soon. I’m hoping that he gets back to the style that made the series a favorite of mine but I’ll wait to see what the reviews are like. In the meantime, I’m going to check out what other series Grover Gardner has narrated.

2 stars Rating 2/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration

SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.


Wordless Wednesday #139

>> Wednesday, June 13, 2012

at ADEA Wine Co.
Gaston, Oregon


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The Unwritten, Volume 1 by Mike Carey & Peter Gross

>> Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Unwritten by Mike Carey & Peter Gross
The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity written by Mike Carey with art by Peter Gross

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 144
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Tom Taylor’s father wrote a successful series of books featuring a character named after his son then disappeared, leaving Tom to try to explain to fans that he is not the character . . . or is he?

Why I Read It:
A recent discussion of graphic novels on Twitter brought this series to my attention. After reading about it online I stopped on the way home that day to pick it up at the library

The Book:
From the back cover:

Tommy Taylor’s the main character in a series of fantasy novels that have become a cultural phenomenon. Fans gather on websites and at conventions to celebrate his magical stories and hope that his missing creator, Wilson Taylor, will someday resurface to write one last adventure.
But there’s one dangling plot thread: the real Tom Taylor, the son Wilson abandoned. The inspiration for the magical boy wizard, Tom is now worshipped worldwide as a literary legend made flesh.
As Tom’s life begins to take on eerie and deadly parallels with Tommy’s, he’s drawn into a strange literary underworld where the power of storytelling is as strong as any spell.

My Thoughts:
This volume is actually a compilation of the first 5 issues of the series so each chapter was originally a separate comic. They fit together nicely though and for the most part transition smoothly from one to the next. The final section seems to be an abrupt departure but it doesn’t take long to learn that this is some explanatory history that has direct relevance to the present day troubles of Tom.

This is only my second venture into the world of graphic novels and I appear to once again have picked a winner of a series. I thoroughly enjoyed this and plan of picking up at least the next two in the series at the library very soon. This one ended with multiple cliffhangers that made me wish I had volume 2 in my house when I turned the last page.

The parallels between the Tommy Taylor series of books, movies, merchandise, etc and Harry Potter is clear, but the difference is that with this one, maybe Tommy Taylor really did have special powers. He’s torn between anger at what he sees as abandonment by his father and relying on his famous name to make an income from personal appearances.

When he hears things that make him question his past and whether or not Wilson Taylor really is his father he sets out to learn the truth. I really don’t want to say too much more because it will give away too much.

This reads like a suspense thriller and is definitely for mature audiences both due to language and some pretty violent content. Nevertheless it’s extremely well done both as a story and as artwork. The bits and pieces of literary lore and history are a treat for book lovers. Character names and places that are familiar are mentioned often. At one point the action shifts to Switzerland and the Villa Diodati, where Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein. The literary legends that appear in the final background history section of this volume bring a whole different possibility to literary history as you know it.

I cannot wait to read more of this series and I encourage you to give it a try.

4 stars Rating 4/5


Weekend Update June 10, 2012

>> Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading The Yard by Alex Grecian. I really enjoyed this one and was happy to see that it’s the first in a planned series. It’s a little like a modern TV Detective show (think NYPD Blue or CSI) but set in Victorian London. I enjoyed it a lot and hope The Hubster does too when I make him read it.

I also read 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross. It’s somewhat of a suspense thriller but didn’t really wow me. I’m going to clear my head after that one by reading a highly recommended graphic novel. It’s called The Unwritten and it’s written by Mike Carey with artwork by Peter Gross. I hope my second venture into graphic novels is as successful as my first.

In audio, I finished listening to One Dog Night by David Rosenfelt. This series is fun and so very well narrated by Grover Gardner. This is one of the series I targeted for catching up with in 2012 so it’s nice to check off a goal for the year. My new audiobook is The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith. I so thoroughly enjoy Lisette Lecat’s reading of this series and it’s wonderful driving around entertainment.

Other than books and reading:
My evenings this week were devoted to knitting. I needed to get to a certain point on the scarf I’m knitting for Thursday’s class. It was a bit stressful because lace knitting is new to me and I’m a bit intimidated. I got it to where I needed to be and I’m really pleased with this yarn for this pattern.

First section of sampler scarf
I’m also relieved that I can now proceed without any time pressure. I’ll alternate working on this and working on projects that are a little more mindless knitting. It was nice to just work on my sweater which is at the easy point last night.

Helvetia Half/Widmer 10K start
Yesterday I did a 10K walk. The Helvetia Half Marathon & Widmer Brothers 10K is one of my favorite 10K events every year. Usually The Hubster runs the half while I walk the 10K but he’s injured and couldn’t run this year.
He was pre-registered so he went over with me and waited while I walked, then joined me for the post-race burger and beer. After a few days of typical Rose Festival time rain, we lucked out with perfect race weather. Despite the crowd at the joint start the 10K route is a nice one once the half marathon folks break off.

Portland fire boat greeting Rose Festival Fleet
Speaking of Rose Festival, my office has a great view of the river so this week when the Coast Guard and Navy Ships arrived
I was able to catch the Portland Fire Boat in full party mode as part of the greeting committee right from my cubicle.

Abby would say hi, but it’s naptime.

We're considering changing her nickname from "Abby Tabby" to "Abby the Flabby Tabby". She's a fan of food.

Hope you’re having a great weekend.


The Yard by Alex Grecian

>> Friday, June 8, 2012

The Yard by Alex Grecian

The Yard by Alex Grecian

Genre: Historical Mystery
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 421
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
It’s really suspense more than mystery combined with a Victorian London setting that make this dark and moody story a winner.

Why I Read It:
Historical fiction and mystery together is often a winning combination for me and the initial descriptions and reviews of this one looked promising.

The Book:
In 1889 London, Scotland Yard is viewed with some skepticism by much of the public for their failure to capture Jack the Ripper. But Jack has changed the way that murderers are viewed by the Yard’s twelve member Murder Squad. When one of their own becomes the victim of a brutal murder, the case is assigned to the newest member of the squad, Walter Day.

Day finds that much of his best investigative information comes via Dr. Bernard Kingsley who is able to identify leads due to his study of the emerging field of forensics. He is also assisted by a young constable by the name of Hammersmith who becomes involved in the murder case while conducting his own unauthorized investigation into the death of a young boy.

Day, Kingsley and Hammersmith are only part of an extensive cast of characters which includes the killer himself. Interspersed in the story of the investigation are scenes from the viewpoint of the initially unidentified killer. Because the reader learns the killer’s identity before the detectives it becomes more of a suspense story than a mystery.

There are multiple story lines of other crimes that may be connected to the initial murder of the detective. All of them wind around the streets of London and in and out of Scotland Yard headquarters.

My Thoughts:
As soon as I finished this book I checked the author’s website in hopes that a second book featuring at least some of the characters was in the works. I was very happy to see that Grecian is working on a second in a possible series.

Mentally put the detectives and squad room atmosphere of NYPD Blue or some comparable TV crime show in the middle of Victorian London and you’ll get a feel for this book. It’s a police procedural but it’s also historical fiction and the blend worked well for me. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to hearing what The Hubster thinks when he reads it.

I liked the primary characters. Day was a bit dense at times but still likeable enough. Hammersmith was oozing earnestness and while plunging ahead and getting in over his head became his routine, I couldn’t help hoping he’d come through and be the kind of policeman he hoped to be. Kingsley was interesting and while his early forensics were perhaps a bit too easily accepted by the others, I found his character and role in the story interesting. All three are fleshed out as characters by flashbacks which give a glimpse into their past histories.

Grecian blends fact and fiction in an entertaining way with an interesting setting and characters. The story plays out over a period of just a few days and the exhaustion and lack of sleep play into the feeling and mood as the story progresses.

I'll be watching for the release of the next book in this series and definitely recommend this one.

4 stars Rating 4/5


Wordless Wednesday #138

>> Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Old Baler at ADEA Wine Co.
Gaston, Oregon


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Weekend Update June 3, 2012

>> Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark. I enjoyed it every bit as much as her first novel. Now I just have to wait a long time for the next book in the Rachel Knight series.

I started The Yard by Alex Grecian. This is a wonderful historical mystery set in 1890’s London. It features several characters associated with Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad. I’m very impressed with this debut. If my mythical plan for today works out I’ll finish this one today. I’ll definitely be passing this one along for The Hubster to read. I think he’ll enjoy it too.

Next up for me is another Graphic Novel. I enjoyed my first foray into this realm with The Drops of Gog, vol. 1. My next one comes highly recommended by several of my bookish twitter friends. It’s called The Unwritten and it’s written by Mike Carey with artwork by Peter Gross. The story sounds interesting. After that I’m not sure what I’ll read but I’ve got several in the want/need to read soon section of the TBR piles.

As for audio, I’m listening to One Dog Night by David Rosenfelt. I should finish this one up this week. It’s another enjoyable Andy Carpenter story wonderfully narrated by Grover Gardner. This will actually put me up to date with this series which was one of my targeted series for 2012.

Other than books and reading:
It was nice to have an extra day of weekend last week. We pretty much just relaxed and enjoyed it. Short work weeks always leave me confused about what day it is and always seem to have a full week’s worth of work to be accomplished.

I really haven’t been doing much other than work, reading and knitting this week so it’s probably a good time for a projects update.

I haven’t done much knitting on my sweater the past couple of weeks.

Red Sweater
This project is at the mindless just straight knitting stage so I really should make an effort to put the laptop aside and knit while we’re watching TV.

I started a new class at my local yarn shop this week. It’s just a two session class for a lace sampler scarf. I haven’t actually started the scarf yet. This is my first attempt at knitting lace patterns so for the first class we just did some practice with a couple of the patterns in the scarf. This approach is good for me. I like getting a chance to get familiar with the patterns with some practice yarn before I actually start the scarf with the good stuff.
Lace Practice
These are samples of the first two pattern sections of the scarf. I’m feeling a bit less intimidated by learning it this way.
Yarn for lace scarf
MadelineTosh Prairie in Well Water
This is the yarn I’ll be making the real thing out of. It’s just yummy looking and feeling.

And for this week’s gratuitous Abby photo is one I took last weekend. I had the iced tea maker going and she was very intrigued. It was making noises she hadn’t heard before and every few minutes the ice would shift around on it’s own.
Abby and the iced tea maker
I think she thought it was talking to her.

Hope you’re having a great weekend.


Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark

>> Friday, June 1, 2012

Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark
Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark

Genre: Mystery / Legal Thriller
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 423
Source: provided by the publisher through NetGalley

The Short Version:
Special Trials Prosecutor Rachel Knight takes on a case of a homeless man who was stabbed and left dying on a public sidewalk.

Why I Read It:
Marcia Clark impressed the heck out of me with her first Rachel Knight mystery and I have been eagerly anticipating the follow up book ever since.

The Book:
The book opens with a prologue of a brutal murder. Two years later a homeless man is stabbed on a busy public sidewalk and left dying as people pass by and ignore him. The preliminary hearing for the suspect in the murder of the homeless man is botched by an incompetent DA and. Rachel Knight happens to be in the courtroom and is determined to seek justice for the nameless victim.

While it’s not a case that would normally be assigned to her Special Trials Unit, Rachel gets the go ahead to look into the case further without jeopardizing her existing caseload. As she and her friend Detective Bailey Keller begin to follow leads to the identity of the homeless man and the faceless killer they discover a connection to the brutal killing of a cop. Suddenly the case is clearly something that falls in the responsibility of her department of the LA District Attorney’s office.

The clues lead to a complex web of lies and misdirection. The legal and investigative story is combined with Rachel’s personal story. Her current love interest discovers some things about her past that Rachel has chosen to keep hidden. Events from her childhood still haunt her and while this causes a rift in her love life it also causes Rachel to face things she’s been avoiding. Making things even harder are the political games being played within the DA’s office.

The links between the dead cop and the dead homeless man have Rachel and her team in danger of more deaths before the case is solved.

My Thoughts:
Everything I liked about Marcia Clark’s first novel continues in her second. I’m already looking forward to the next Rachel Knight book.

Rachel and her two best friends are fun and smart. The friendships read as real and Clark’s background (yes, she’s THAT Marcia Clark) means the legal and investigative parts also read as real. The primary mystery develops into a bit of a double pronged investigation that makes for a fast paced and complex story.

I liked that this time around Rachel’s background is explored more in depth. Yes it also causes tension in her love life but that part doesn’t become a distracting romance drama to the major storyline. It exists alongside and is an element that again makes Rachel seem more genuine with genuine personal life distractions that impact her work life. Rachel and her friends drive much of the story but the male characters are also well done.

All of the stories blend in a good mix of action and legal procedure that resolves the major issues in the book yet immediately puts the next book in the series on the waiting list.

Although it’s the second in a series this one can easily be read without having read the first. Pour yourself a vodka martini and enjoy.

4 stars Rating 4/5


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