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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Slash and Burn by Collin Cotterill

  • Slash and Burn
  • by Collin Cotterill
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Soho Crime (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616951168
Books in the series: 
The Coroner’s Lunch (2004) 
Thirty-Three Teeth (August 2005) 
Disco For the Departed (August 2006) 
Anarchy and Old Dogs (August 2007) 
Curse of the Pogo Stick (August 2008) 
The Merry Misogynist (August 2009) 
Love Songs from a Shallow Grave (August 2010)

This looks like a very interesting book. I'm so glad to get it. It's the first one in line that I'm going to read after I take my LSAT in December 3. I hope I only have to take the LSAT once. It's not like I'm a young girl anymore, after all.

From book jacket:

Laos, 1978: Dr. Siri, the national coroner of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, might finally be allowed to retire (again). Although he loves his two morgue assistants, he's tired of his job, which he never wanted in the firest place. Plus, he's pushing eighty, an dwants to spend some quality time with his wife before his untimely death (which has been predicted by the local transvestite fortune teller).

But retirement is not in the cards for Dr. Siri after all. He's dragged into one last job for the Lao government: supervising an excavation for the remains of a U.S. fighter pilot who went down in the remote jungle in northern Laos ten years earlier, during the Vietnam War. The presence of American Soldiers in Laos is a hot-button issue for both the Americans and Lao involved, and the search party includes high-level politicians and scientists. Then one member of the excavation party is found dead, setting off a chain of accidents that Dr. Siri suspects are not completely accidental. Everyone is trapped in a cabin in a jungle, and the bodies are starting to pile up. Can Dr. Siri get to the bottom of the MIA pilot's mysterious story before the fortune teller's prediction come true?
Just one of the many praises for the Dr. Siri Series:
Denver Post: "The sight, smells and colors of Laos practically jump off the pages of this inspired, often wryly witty first novel.

Collin Cotterill, the author

Thanks to Ms Rafferty of Soho Press for my copy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Amanda Scott and Margaret Mallory’s GREAT SCOTS & HIGHLAND HEAT Blog Tour

Two wonderful historical author grace my blog today. I asked both author two questions. These are very talented authors, and I'm very honored to feature then on my blog. Leave a comment, tweet the contest and post on Facebook. There will be two winners of these two books featured here. Contest open to US and Canada. Winners will be announced on December 8.

Ø When you're not writing about luscious hanky men, how do you occupy your time? 

Writing takes up most of my time! When I can, I love to read, watch movies, hike, and travel. I was very fortunate to be able to take an amazing trip to Scotland and visit many of the places that are in THE SINNER and the other books in THE RETURN OF THE HIGHLANDERS.

Ø What processes are involved when you conceive a book?

Because I write adventurous historicals, one thing I do is look for a period with a lot of conflict. For this series, I found exactly what I wanted in the year 1513, in the wake of the Scots’ disastrous loss to Henry VIII’s forces at the Battle of Flodden. With that historical backdrop, I could have my four Highland heroes return from France to find their king and chieftain dead, a rebellion brewing, factions fighting for control of the crown, and their clan in grave danger. What fun!

The next thing I had to do was decide on a clan for my Highland heroes. When I discovered that the first chieftain of the MacDonalds of Sleat had six sons by six different women and that the animosity among the six sons led to two generations of murder, I knew I had found my clan. J The hero and heroine and their romantic conflict are the heart of each book. Because all four heroes in this series appear in the first book, I already knew that Alex, the hero of THE SINNER, was a charming rogue dead set against being married. Naturally, I paired him up with a serious-minded heroine who is every bit as opposed to marriage, particularly to a known philanderer like him.

Ø Did you always wanted to write?

Not to write, necessarily, but I’ve told stories since I first began talking. I was the oldest of four kids and second oldest of a host of grandchildren (the oldest one being male), and that made me everyone’s babysitter of choice. I made up hundreds of stories in those days to entertain the younger children. We spent a lot of time on my grandparents’ ranch in northwestern California and at their cabin in the High Sierras. Neither place had TV, so we spent most of our time outside, playing games, and I made up many of them on the fly, although the others always added their ideas and fought to play their favorite roles. The lawyers in my family are all courtroom lawyers. If you stop and think about that, you’ll realize that they are all creative types, too, creating images and likely scenarios for juries. I’ve always liked to writer. However, I never expected to become “a writer.” The first chapter of my newest book, Highland Hero [Forever, Oct 2011] is posted on my website: If readers have questions or comments, they will also find a link there to my email, which is I love to hear from readers, have learned a great deal from them, and I answer all messages.

Ø How did you get started and how long was it before your first book was published?

My husband was in the Air Force, a targets officer for the Strategic Air Command on America’s airborne command post, known as “Looking Glass” or “Doomsday Plane.” One of them was in the air 24/7 at that time. His job meant that he was ‘on alert’ for 2 or 3 days at a time, so to entertain themselves during their off-time on alert, the guys played poker. He is very good at poker. Meantime, I’d be home alone in our one-streetlight town near Omaha, reading my way through our tiny library and throwing books across the room because the authors had done so little historical research. He saw me do that one day and asked me why. I said, “I could do better than that myself.” He asked me if I’d like to write, and I realized then that I would, very much. I had already researched and written the text for the photo-essay book Omaha City Architecture, and I’d played with an idea for a historical novel since college, and even written some scenes. That weekend, he asked me if I REALLY wanted to write. When I said yes, he took me to the famous Nebraska Furniture Mart, chose a spectacularly beautiful leather-topped desk despite my insistence that it was far too expensive, had me ‘try on’ chairs and try out lamps until I found ones I liked, and then bought me the whole setup with his poker winnings and told me to get to it. NOT to have at least tried to write a book after that would have been a betrayal of the highest order. So I wrote The Fugitive Heiress and sent it to an agent, who sent it to an editor at Signet, who bought it. It took about two months from agent to editor to sale and a year for production before the book was on the shelves. That was 58 books ago. I’ve sold every manuscript I’ve written.
Good luck and have fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hear Ye. Hear Ye!

Just a head's up. Margaret Mallory is coming to my blog. There's an interview and maybe some goodies, too. Make sure to check on Friday the 18th. Have to mooch off my husband's computer. My internet is down. I hope to have it up by this afternoon.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

106 Most Unread Books

has nothing to do with the post, except that
it's a book and it's by Jodi Thomas
and it saved me from being extremely bored while waiting
at SAMS for my tires to be installed.
Hmmm, I found this on my 'draft list'

The below listed books are the top 106 books most often tagged as being unread by LibraryThing users (as of October 3rd).

The instructions are simple: Bold what you have read, and italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish. Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once. Underline those on your TBR list (in my case this means I own them, but have yet to read them). The ones marked in red are books I am considering reading one day but do not have on hand.

I'm not sure if I would read the other books listed here which I haven't gotten around to before now. There's just so many new books that comes up. So unless I know how 'fabulous' a book listed here is, I'd probably just keep them in my TBR pile.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre*
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife (awesome!)
The Iliad
EmmaThe Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner (awesome!)
Mrs. Dalloway
Great ExpectationsAmerican Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a GeishaMiddlesex
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales (I read assigned tales of this book for school many moons ago and never read beyond that)
The Historian (captivating)A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels and Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (wonderful!)
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s AshesThe God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake: A Novel
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The HobbitIn Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Skywatch Friday, Season 5, Episode

Took this while driving my kids to school. I love the cloud cover...though too much white makes it spooky
Wires! I love wires on my picture. Yeah, it interferes with the clouds and skies, but I love it.
My children love to play in these playground. I usually drive them here and wait for them to finish playing. It takes two hours or more, and then they whine because we have to go home.
More skywatch here. Click on the pictures to see bigger size. All pictures taken with iPhone 4G.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: Welcome To Harmony by Jodi Thomas

  •  Welcome to Harmony
  • by Jodi Thomas
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (June 1, 2010)
  • Language: English>br>
  • ISBN-10: 0425235106
"I've a vision," she announced. "A terrible vision, all black smoke and fire." (page 1)

Jodi Thomas is a masterful author who wield her pen like a fence master extraordinaire. She use words that portray her story to the maximum enjoyment of her readers.

Welcome To Harmony is her first book of the series. Here we meet a 16-year old runaway named Reagan. She works at a nursing home where a former resident of Harmony, Texas reminisce about her childhood hometown in a most favorable way. When that old lady passed away, she travels to Harmony.

"I'd wish, if I were reverse wishing, that I didn't have to leave this place." (page 21)

Reagan took a chance and went to the last living Truman in town, Jeremiah, the pretend great-uncle. He's quite crotchety, but he's also fair and caring in his own way.

While Reagan is the central character of this book, there's also hoards of secondary characters. There's the mayor who seem to have the hots for the sheriff. There's the funeral director and his very interesting love story. I

"Any chance you'd kiss me?"
"No," she answered. "But, I might snuggle a little. It's getting cold and I guess if you're tied, you'll be safe enough. (page 347)

It is nearly impossible to get bored with this book. There's romance, mystery and interesting residents of this town. What I'd really like to know is...will I know Reagan's love story when she's finally grown up? The saddest part about this book is it's only a trilogy. I'd want more. There's that many characters that I want to get to know more.

Other books in the Series:
Somewhere Along the Way
The Comforts of Home

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044655894X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446558945

I bought this book for Kindle after I finished reading Scandalous Desires. I was so captivated with that book as I have not been recently. In fact, the reduced number of books I've read recently can attest to my lack of interest to most books. But this one, it reminds me why I want to give up some of my sleep just to be able to read. Elizabeth Hoyt is costing me a lot of sleep!
Once upon a time, in a land long forgotten now, there lived a might king, feared by all and loved by none. His name is King Lockedheart....
I love how there's a fairy tale on each of the Maiden Lane Series. I'm pleasantly surprised because I'm not at all familiar with the ones Ms. Hoyt used in this series. This is better than fairy tale love story. In addition to happily-ever-after, there's this amazing chemistry between the two main characters. Note that I read the third book of the series before I got to the first one. It doesn't seem to matter to me. The story is excellent by itself.

Temperance Makepeace is a very capable lady with a devastating secret. She's living in atonement of that secret, her secret shame. Temperance and her brother managed an orphanage. Her family owns a brewery but they're barely making it. Still, it doesn't stop them from saving babies who needs saving. The foundling home is located in the bad part of town, so Temperance is familiar with the place.

The hero, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is well-known for his shocking sexual preferences. He doesn't like to be touched. He likes his partners tied when he's undergoing sexual congress. He need Temperance to guide him throughout the complicated passages of St. Giles in search of a killer of his previous mistress. Temperance cannot refuse since she needs the money for the rent and other necessities of the orphanage. Here their uneasy alliance started.

This book has excellent, hot, romantic interludes.  It's cleverly woven into the fabric of the story so it never felt contrived. My main complaint with erotica is it's  thick on sex and sparse on plot. This book could pass as erotica, but the romantic story dominates the book. The secondary characters are fascinating, I want to know more about them. I want to know more about Godrick St. John, Caire's best friend.

Overall, you will not regret picking up this book. The story and characters and finely crafted. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.