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Showing posts from November, 2005

Bonus book review: What do you say to a naked elf? (romantic fantasy)

The best I can say abut the title is that it’s certainly inspired.
Actually, it is among the tackiest and most embarrassing book titles I have come across, so tacky it made it onto my top 5 Tackiest Book Titles list. In fact, had I not read a favourable review of the book by a reviewer I trust, I would have dismissed it as über-tacky and never read it. I’m glad I did, because behind that tacky title there lurks an entertaining romantic fantasy that I wouldn’t mind re-reading at some future date.


Author: Cheryl Sterling
Year published: 2005
Availability: In print

Summary with SLIGHT SPOILERS:
Jane Drysdale is driving home late one night after a successful home sales party, her trunk full of samples of the sex toys and lingerie she was selling. Suddenly a rabbit jumps in front of the car and appears to turn into a man moments before disappearing under the car. Not unnaturally, Jane panics and ends up off road. She is promptly arrested by a group of elves and brought back through an inter-dime…

Mystery author #2: Hannah March

Title: Death Be My Theme
Year published: 2000
Number in series: 3
Availability: In print
Pages: 278
Settings and time: England: Chelsea (mostly) and surrounding country, London (a little), 1764.
Type of mystery: Murder (whodunit), historical (Georgian era England)
Type of investigator: Amateur sleuth/crime magnet
Deaths: 4
Some themes: Murder, music, obsession, love, false identity, forgery


Summary (no spoilers):
In the summer of 1764, private tutor Robert Fairfax has been sent by his employers to Chelsea, then a rural health spot, to recuperate from a serious illness. He discovers that a woman he is very much in love with (I assume he met her in one of the two previous books), is staying there as well, in the same house as the Mozart family. Herr Mozart is recovering from an illness, and when little Wolfgang claims to have seen a man coming out of a room in an inn moments after the man staying there had a stroke and died, and the dead man’s wife denies the existence of any such man, Fairfax be…

Bonus book review: It’s Not About the Tapas (travel)

Author: Polly Evans
Year published: 2003
Pages: 304
Genre: non-fiction, travel, Spain


Polly Evans, fed up with her stressful job as a journalist/editor in Hong Kong, decided to take a nice, long holiday. The obvious choice was Spain, where she had once spent a year, and so spoke the language after a fashion. She had a road bicycle built, light and strong, that would be her conveyance for the journey, and set off. The book tells of her journey, her adventures, people (and animals) she met, places she visited, along with some snippets of history. The first leg of the journey took her along the border with France, and the second through the Extremadura region in southern central Spain.

It was the title that grabbed my attention when browsing for books on TitleTrader. I checked the reviews on Amazon, saw the book was about travelling in Spain, where I spent two enjoyable weeks a couple of years ago, so I sent in a request and got the book within two weeks. For once, I was not disappointed.

Mystery author #1: Wilkie Collins - The Moonstone

As the first book of my challenge I chose a classic of the mystery genre. It has been called the first mystery novel ever written, which is not entirely correct, but it is true that it is the first mystery novel known to include all of the most important features of the modern crime mystery. Some of these features had been used in previous mystery stories, but some were new.

Title: The Moonstone
Year (originally) published: 1868
Availability: In print, or, since it has passed into the public domain, you can read it online or download it here
Pages: 518 pages in the e-book version, downloaded and read in Word (font: Geneva, 12 pt). The Penguin Popular Classics version is 464 pages.
Settings and time: English country manor and surrounding area (mostly), London (a little), India (scene setting and conclusion), mid 1800's.
Type of mystery: Whodunit: theft
Type of investigator: Amateurs and a professional detective
Some themes: Justice and injustice, misunderstanding between lovers, unrequi…

52 mystery authors

(If you’re wondering about the abrupt start to this blog, it’s because I have just moved it from another blogging service. To visit my old blog and see my original reading challenge, essays and book reviews, click here)

I just realised I have a perfect new reading challenge lined up. A while ago I asked the members of my favourite book forum to recommend to me some good mystery authors in the hope that it would yield a good number of “new” authors. The result was a long list of authors, some of whom I was familiar with, some I had only heard mentioned, and many I knew nothing about. I compared the list with the library database and found books by more than half the authors on the list. In addition, I have several books by mystery authors I have not read before in my TBR pile. Since I have this many authors and books lined up, and all in one genre, I decided to make it a challenge to discover new mystery authors (new to me).

I am not going to be strict about the time I give myself to re…