Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh doesn't that look lovely?

Just too bloody hot. 97 right now. Have I mentioned that heat is kryptonite to me? Yuck

Steve has a board meeting tonight. I'll be watching Deadliest Catch. It will be a sad one covering Captain Phil's death.

I took Tug for a quick walk (because he just won't NOT walk) and now we're both wiped out. Frozen grapes for me later. Still reading the David Roberts and I'm a little over halfway done.

A storm is brewing so maybe we'll got some rain. Otherwise, it will blow over. It would be nice to have a good ol' lightning show.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mailbox Monday!

It's Mailbox Monday! Mailbox Monday gathers together for readers the books that came into the house last week. (feel free to share yours) Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I hit the motherlode last week. Many paperbackswap books came in. Let's get started.

I had the first book of PF Chisholm's series on my wish list which got fulfilled. I noticed the sender also had the next two books of the four book series listed so I requested them as well. She contacted me and said she had the fourth book but it wasn't listed because of some water damage. Would I be interested if she just threw it in? I said sure, I'm not a collector of pristine first editions or anything. I just want to read the story.

These books feature Sir Robert Carey, a nobleman in Elizabethan England (my favorite period!)

A FAMINE OF HORSES: When Sir Robert Carey, courtier to Queen Elizabeth, is transferred to the Scottish border, he finds many problems. His brother-in-law has appointed him Deputy Warden over Richard Lowther, who assumed he would get the job. Carey has to contend with Lowther and the distrustful Sergeant Henry Dodd, who has just found the body of the son of a powerful feudal lord. Carey must convince Dodd that stemming the lord's vengeful tendency and bringing the murderer to trial is the civilized way of justice. While looking for the killer, they stumble on the makings of a border attack, which Carey suspects is being masterminded locally.

A SEASON OF KNIVES: In 1592, Sir Robert Carey, a handsome courtier fleeing his creditors, his father's wrath, and the close scrutiny of his Queen, came north to Carlisle to take up his new post as Deputy Warden of the West March. The presence of his true love, the married Elizabeth Widdrington, was no mere coincidence. Before long, Sir Robert was up to his ruff in horse rustling and treason (A Famine of Horses), but he sorted that out with dispatch. Now he's in trouble again. The rowdy Grahams plan to kidnap Elizabeth as she journeys home to her husband. While Sir Robert storms out to stop them, someone murders the man he has just sacked from his post of paymaster to the Carlisle garrison. When Sir Robert returns, he finds his servant Barnabus slung into the castle dungeon, accused of the crime, and his arch enemy Sir Richard Lowther scheming to have Carey arrested for masterminding the murder.... When even faithful Sergeant Dodd is prepared to believe he did it, the courtier finds his hands full--while ruin stares him in the face--as he juggles the murder inquiry and untangles a skein of love and greed that reminds him most uncomfortably of how carefully he must conceal his love for Elizabeth.

A SURFEIT OF GUNS: After a skirmish on the Scottish border, Sir Robert Carey, Deputy Warden of the English West March in 1592, finds one of his men maimed by an exploding pistol. Carey discovers more faulty weapons back at Carlisle Castle, but these are soon stolen, necessitating a dangerous goodwill trip to the riotous camp of the predatory Scottish King James. Feuding clans, political unrest, rowdy humor and exploits, unwise love affairs, and the plight of the poor all play a part.

A PLAGUE OF ANGELS: Carey has been called to the city by his father, Lord Chamberlain Hunsdon, half-brother to Queen Elizabeth, to search for his missing brother Edmund. It seems Edmund, never the most sensible of men, has gotten himself mixed up in false alchemy and counterfeiting, a crime that is considered treason. As Carey and Dodd investigate the scheme that drew in Edmund, they discover that Thomas Heneage, the greedy and cruel vice chamberlain, is almost certainly involved. Facts, however, are as elusive as Edmund continues to be. Alternately helped and hindered by the playwrights Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare, and merely frustrated by the poet Robert Greene, Carey and Dodd dart about the streets of London, visiting bars and churches, literally avoiding the plague as well as the wiles of the lovely Mistress Bassano.

Also received last week:

OTHER GODS: The Averillan Chronicles by Barbara Reichmuth Geisler. The Averillan Chronicles, set in the aftermath of the Norman invasion of England in the mid-12th century. Dame Averilla struggles to protect her Benedictine abbey when an important book is stolen, another nun goes missing and an alleged witch suddenly returns.

FALCONER'S JUDGEMENT by Ian Morson. In 1261, England's King Henry III faces nobles and commoners disaffected with his foreign advisers, while factions in Europe vie for control of the papacy as Alexander IV lies dying in Rome. Into this turbulent stew falls William Falconer, Regent Master of the University of Oxford, who attempts to save some students accused of killing Sinibaldo, the master of cooks and brother of the much-unloved Bishop Otho, Papal Legate to England and a candidate for the Holy See. After the chief suspect is murdered, Falconer applies Aristotle's deductive logic, which he has learned from his friend Roger Bacon, to sift though ecclesiastic and worldly plots. He is aided by Knight Templar Guillaume de Beaujeu, sent from Rome to pursue his own order's ends, and Ann Segrim, the unhappy wife of one of the local plotters.

FALCONER AND THE FACE OF GOD by Ian Morson. Featuring William Falconer, a 13th-century professor and astute crime solver. Someone is trying to kill off the head actor, the supremely nasty Stefano de Askeles, in a traveling morality play that arrives in Oxford just as Falconer is doing some down-and-dirty research for his mentor, Roger Bacon. De Askeles survives a fatal blow, but his unlucky stand-in doesn't, which makes Falconer the actor's reluctant protector.

WHEN GODS DIE by CS Harris. Featuring Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, an investigator in Regency England. The young wife of an aging marquis is found murdered in the arms of the Prince Regent. Around her neck lies a necklace said to have been worn by Druid priestesses-that is, until it was lost at sea with its last owner, Sebastian St. Cyr's mother. Now Sebastian is lured into a dangerous investigation of the marchioness's death-and his mother's uncertain fate. As he edges closer to the truth-and one murder follows another-he confronts a conspiracy that imperils those nearest him and threatens to bring down the monarchy. [and this one is autographed]

WHERE SERPENTS SLEEP by CS Harris. Hero Jarvis, while doing research at Magdalene House, a refuge run by the Quakers for prostitutes in Regency England, narrowly escapes with her life when eight women living there are viciously killed, their murders concealed by arson. As one of the young women died in her arms, Hero decides she must determine why this victim, clearly wellborn, was working as a prostitute and why someone wanted her dead. Unfamiliar with murder investigations, she enlists the help of Sebastian St. Cyr, who has spent the last eight months trying unsuccessfully to deal with the loss of his lover. Sebastian, intrigued by the case and seeing the opportunity to anger Hero’s father, his sworn enemy, agrees to help her. The two investigate, both separately and together, in the slums and mansions of London, uncovering corruption and almost losing their lives on several occasions.


I've read the two Harris' but I'm collecting them. The others will be added to the TBR mountain range. I'll have a couple to mention for this week but otherwise I don't have anything else coming in. I have to say, I'm not wanting for anything to read, that's for sure. I'm wanting for time to read. :)

HOOOOOOOT today. 90s. Tomorrow is going to close to 100. Triple digit yuck.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Seconds

Sunday Seconds -- there are books that I would really love to re-read -- if I could make the time. Sometimes books have profound impacts on one's reading experience. Sometimes you just know these books could be even greater if you could go back and read them with again better understanding and life experiences under your belt. Sometimes books don't hold up the memory the second time around -- that's the risk. Sunday Seconds will be a cataloging of that kind of wish list.



This is the first of a four-book series featuring Julian Kestrel, a dandy-about-town in 1820s London. Sadly, this series was cut short in 1998 due to the death of the author from cancer. Here is a description of CUT TO THE QUICK:

Hugh Fontclair is the proud scion of a proud family who has agreed to marry a wealthy Cit's daughter to save the family's good name since the Cit has information about the Fontclairs that would prove devastating if revealed. His daughter has no idea that she is a pawn in the game, however, and wonders why Hugh has offered for her. Hugh goes out the night of his proposal and gets gloriously drunk (an unusual circumstance for him), where he meets Julian Kestrel. After Kestrel saves him from a bad run at Hazard, Hugh gratefully asks him to serve as best man at the wedding, and to join his family at their country house as they host the bride-to-be and her father. Kestrel, for his part, is intrigued at Hugh's invitation, and goes to Bellegarde only to find a house teeming with mistrust, hidden secrets and an overriding sense of family. There are Hugh's parents, Sir Robert and Lady Fontclair; his cousins Guy and Isabelle; his aunt, the viper-tongued Lady Tarleton; his uncle, Colonel Fontclair. Also present are his sisters and Mark Craddock and his daughter Maud. It is immediately clear that Mark Craddock and the Fontclair family hate each other, and Julian discovers at least one reason why soon after he has arrived. Then an attractive lady is found in Kestrel's bed and, unfortunately, she's been murdered. Suspicion falls on Kestrel's manservant, Dipper, and it is up to Kestrel to clear him, in the course of which he discovers his true calling as a detective. He pokes his nose into all sorts of things, asks unpleasant questions, picks up a Watson to his Holmes (Dr. MacGregor, a straight-forward man who is initially put off by Kestrel's foppish appearance, but soon comes to respect his brain), and eventually solves the crime.

It was published in 1994 and has 352 pages.

More about this series I've taken from wikipedia:

The books in the series include CUT TO THE QUICK (1994) which won the 1994 Gargoyle award for Best Historical Mystery, A BROKEN VESSEL (1995), WHOM THE GODS LOVE (1996), and THE DEVIL IN MUSIC (1997) which won the 1997 Agatha Award for Best Novel. The Lullaby Cheat (1997), a short story featuring Kestrel, is included in the mystery anthology Crime Through Time, edited by Miriam Grace Monfredo and Sharan Newman.

The novels and short story in the series are set in the English Regency era in Great Britain. Kestrel is a trend-setting dandy, similar in influence to Beau Brummel, who takes up detection as a response to boredom with the emptiness of society. Over the course of the series, we learn that Kestrel is the son of a talented actress, who died giving birth to him, and the younger son of a Yorkshire squire who was disowned by his well-to-do family after his marriage. He was later mentored by a French nobleman who helped him learn the ways of society and the appropriate way to dress.

Kestrel's partner in detection is his valet Thomas Stokes, known as Dipper. Dipper got his nickname from his first career as a pickpocket. Kestrel hired Dipper as his valet after he caught Dipper stealing his watch. Other memorable characters in the series include Dr. Duncan MacGregor, a gruff Scottish-born physician who assisted Kestrel in some of his cases; Dipper's sister Sally Stokes, a saucy street prostitute who helps Kestrel and Dipper solve the mysterious death of a "fallen woman" in A BROKEN VESSEL and becomes Kestrel's lover; and Philippa Fontclair, a charming young girl whom Kestrel meets in CUT TO THE QUICK and corresponds with in later novels. The novels are heavily influenced by other fictional British detectives, such as Lord Peter Wimsey and Sherlock Holmes.

I started this series before the author passed away so that puts it in mid 1990s and I remember the huge outpouring when she died on DorothyL (Ross was fairly young). I wasn't a complete historical crime fiction addict then but I truly loved this character and the setting. It is so unfortunate that we are only left with four of her books. A fifth was in the works at the time of her passing. If you are interested in the Regency time period or like historical mysteries in general, this is one of the tops.


I worked on my newsletter yesterday and scrapped a bunch of what I did earlier in the week because I needed to tweek the design of the main pages. I'm playing with an idea that I need to work on today that would also change things up a bit. I'm thinking it is better to take the time now to get it right.

I'll be walking Tug soon before it gets hot. It will be in the 80s today and the next three days will be in the 90s. TOO HOT FOR ME! Yuck.

We watched the DVD of The Book of Eli last night. This stars Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman (who I've admired for two decades and can do no wrong). This is a post-apocalyptic story of a man who is on a mission to deliver the last known copy of The Bible somewhere west. Thirty years after "the flash", and other than the usual hazards of desparate people scavaging for food and water, Denzel wanders into Oldman's town and it turns into elements of classic western movies. The movie was beautifully filmed; kudos to the cinematographer. I've not seen anything that gorgeous in a long time. There are some things in the end that don't ring true but overall a pretty good movie.

Enjoy the day!

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Unless you're a 148 pound dog like someone I know

I think I've decided to read DANGEROUS SEA by David Roberts next. This is 4th of 10 in series featuring Lord Edward Corinth, a jaded English aristocrat, and Verity Browne, a leftist journalist, between the wars in 1930s London. Here is a description:

It is the spring of 1937 and distinguished economist Lord Benyon is on the Queen Mary, bound for New York. His mission is to persuade President Roosevelt to provide Britain with arms and money if it nters the war with Germany - as seems very likely. Many want the mission to fail and will not stop at murder to achieve their aim. Major Ferguson of Special Branch, a friend of Lord Edward Corinth, asks Edward to keep an unofficial eye on Benyon who refuses to be surrounded by policemen on the Queen Mary, but is prepared to have Edward at his side. Also on board is Verity Browne, travelling to America at the Communist Party's behest to liaise with sympathizers there. But it is not Lord Benyon who is murdered but the rascist senator from South Carolina who has managed to enrage a number of his fellow passengers - not least Warren Fairley, the black singer, actor and communist. But surely Fairley is too obvious a suspect? Might not the murderer be the German aeronautical engineer, or Marcus Fern, the city banker who is acting as Benyon's secretary? And what about Bernard Hunt, the art dealer, or even the young American union organiser Sam Forrest, with whom Verity is so taken?

It was published in 2003 and has 288 pages.

It was so nice to sleep in this morning. Of course for me that means waking up at 5:30 and then dozing until 7. It rained a bit this morning but now it is humid and getting warmer. I think it's supposed to hit the 80s again in the temps.

I just got done walking Tug before it got too warm. I'm reading some emails, news and blogs and he is now napping right behind my chair in my office so I can't move. Steve is out helping a gun class. I must have done dinner right a couple nights ago: he requested the leftovers for dinner tonight because it was so good. All I had done was put a roast in the crockpot with some beef broth and a packet of onion soup and let it cook all day until it was shredding. I put it in a hoagie bun with gooey cheese. He said the house smelled so good that day and I know he loves gooey cheese. I also got some strawberries and an angel cake loaf and Cool Whip -- he also likes strawberry short cake I discovered at my folks' house. I can take or leave just like cheese cake. But Steve's a good guy and I like to treat him sometimes. :)

I hope to work on my newsletter this afternoon ... and maybe take a nap. There's a garage sale up the street that the guy says he's bringing out an oak bookcase later so I'll go check that out. Always need bookcases.

Hope your weekend is spent doing things you love.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, June 25, 2010

Too cool for ...


Hot this afternoon. I had to go to Walmart after work for some groceries then took Tug for a quick walk. I'm not doing his long walk for a while other than weekends because it just gets too hot for him (and me) and he won't wait until later in the evening. So I take him to the field where he can be off leash most of the time and jump in the big ditch.

I finished BROKEN by Karin Slaughter. I really didn't need for it to end. I could have read about these characters for a while longer. I haven't decided yet what to read next.

Last night I worked on my newsletter, actually past my bedtime I was so caught up in it. Then we lost power -- on just our street. The streets to the north and south did not. There were power fixer guys out there with flashlights. Later, we got our power back but I heard them again out there at 2:40 am. Don't know what caused it and why just our street.

I don't really plan on going anywhere this weekend. Steve will be busy tomorrow and I'll be doing the usual chores.

I've got Say Yes to the Dress to watch tonight and then I'll go through my reading options. I'm thinking that it looks like not much on tv tomorrow night so maybe Steve and I can watch a DVD. We've got a few stacked up the the to-be-viewed pile.

Have a lovely evening....

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You can have them!

I'm really enjoying Karin Slaughter's book, BROKEN. In her most recent books she's combined her series, having Dr. Sara Linton meet Will Trent. The character of Trent is good; I like him. He has a flaw of being dyslexic but is a top notch cop and hiding his disability well. I find myself reading far longer than I mean to because I'm getting lost in the story. That's a good storyteller.

Oh, work is frustrating. The calls I get drive me to irritation which is saying a lot because I'm very even tempered. I have to say the same thing over and over that the program ended and why to the same person before they maybe accept it or just give up. And it looks like the TEUC federal program is done now too not just temporarily: the Senate didn't pass it today.

I'd like to work on my newsletter this evening. I didn't get to last night because Steve was shooting and not able to run interference with Tug who doesn't like me to be downstairs in the evenings. I also have a bone for Tug to chew on tonight. Bwa hahaha!

It was hoooot today. In the upper 80s. Oy, I just am not a hot weather person. And there may be thunderstorms this evening. It's getting dark to the west and south.

Have a good Thursday evening, everyone...

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesday!

I'm about to start BROKEN by Karin Slaughter which I teased you with last week.

Coming out next Tuesday is ICE COLD by Tess Gerritsen. This will be 8th of 8 in series featuring Jane Rizzoli, a detective, and medical examiner Maura Isles, in Boston, Massachusetts. Here is a description:

In Wyoming for a medical conference, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles joins a group of friends on a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. But when their SUV stalls on a snow-choked mountain road, they’re stranded with no help in sight.As night falls, the group seeks refuge from the blizzard in the remote village of Kingdom Come, where twelve eerily identical houses stand dark and abandoned. Something terrible has happened in Kingdom Come: Meals sit untouched on tables, cars are still parked in garages. The town’s previous residents seem to have vanished into thin air, but footprints in thesnow betray the presence of someone who still lurks in the cold darkness—someone who is watching Maura and her friends.Days later, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli receives the grim news that Maura’s charred body has been found in a mountain ravine. Shocked and grieving, Jane is determined to learn what happened to her friend. The investigation plunges Jane into the twisted history of Kingdom Come, where a gruesome discovery lies buried beneath the snow. As horrifying revelations come to light, Jane closes in on an enemy both powerful and merciless—and the chilling truth about Maura’s fate.

Here is an excerpt:

Chapter One

Plain of Angels, Idaho

She was the chosen one.

For months, he had been studying the girl, ever since she and her family had moved into the compound. Her father was George Sheldon, a mediocre carpenter who worked with the construction crew. Her mother, a bland and forgettable woman, was assigned to the communal bakery. Both had been unemployed and desperate when they’d first wandered into his church in Idaho Falls, seeking solace and salvation. Jeremiah had looked into their eyes, and he saw what he needed to see: lost souls in search of an anchor, any anchor.

They had been ripe for the harvest.

Now the Sheldons and their daughter, Katie, lived in Cottage C, in the newly built Calvary cluster. Every Sabbath, they sat in their assigned pew in the fourteenth row. In their front yard they’d planted hollyhocks and sunflowers, the same cheery plants that adorned all the other front gardens. In so many ways, they blended in with the other sixty-four families in The Gathering, families who labored together, worshiped together, and, every Sabbath evening, broke bread together.

But in one important way, the Sheldons were unique. They had an extraordinarily beautiful daughter. The daughter whom he could not stop staring at.

From his window, Jeremiah could see her in the school yard. It was noon recess, and students milled about outside, enjoying the warm September day, the boys in their white shirts and black pants, the girls in their long pastel dresses. They all looked healthy and sun-kissed, as children ought to look. Even among those swan-like girls, Katie Sheldon stood out, with her irrepressible curls and her bell-like laughter. How quickly girls change, he thought. In a single year, she had transformed from a child into a willowy young woman. Her bright eyes, gleaming hair, and rosy cheeks were all signs of fertility.

She stood among a trio of girls in the shade of a bur oak tree. Their heads were bent together like the Three Graces whispering secrets. Around them swirled the energy of the school yard, where students chattered and played hopscotch and kicked around a soccer ball.

Suddenly he noticed a boy crossing toward the three girls, and he frowned. The boy was about fifteen, with a thatch of blond hair and long legs that had already outgrown his trousers. Halfway across the yard, the boy paused, as though gathering up the courage to continue. Then his head lifted and he walked directly toward the girls. Toward Katie.

Jeremiah pressed closer to the window.

As the boy approached, Katie looked up and smiled. It was a sweet and innocent smile, directed at a classmate who almost certainly had only one thing on his mind. Oh yes, Jeremiah could guess what was in that boy’s head. Sin. Filth. They were speaking now, Katie and the boy, as the other two girls knowingly slipped away. He could not hear their conversation through the noise of the school yard, but he saw the attentive tilt of Katie’s head, the coquettish way she flicked her hair off her shoulder. He saw the boy lean in, as though sniffing and savoring her scent. Was that the McKinnon brat? Adam or Alan or something. There were so many families now living in the compound, and so many children, that he could not remember all their names. He glared down at the two of them, gripping the window frame so tightly that his nails dug into the paint.

He pivoted and walked out of his office, thumping down the stairs. With every step, his jaw clenched tighter and acid burned a hole in his stomach. He banged out of the building, but outside the school yard gate he halted, wrestling for control.This would not do.

To show anger was unseemly.

The school bell clanged, calling the students in from recess. He stood calming himself, inhaling deeply. He focused on the fragrance of fresh-cut hay, of bread baking in the nearby communal kitchen. From across the compound, where the new worship hall was being built, came the whine of a saw and the echoes of a dozen hammers pounding nails. The virtuous sounds of honest labor, of a community working toward His greater glory. And I am their shepherd, he thought; I lead the way. Look how far they had already come! It took only a glance around the burgeoning village, at the dozen new homes under construction, to see that the congregation was thriving.

At last, he opened the gate and stepped into the school yard. He walked past the elementary classroom, where children were singing the alphabet song, and entered the classroom for the middle grades.

The teacher saw him and jumped up from her desk in surprise. “Prophet Goode, what an honor!” she gushed. “I didn’t know you would be visiting us today.”

He smiled, and the woman reddened, delighted by his attention. “Sister Janet, there’s no need to make a fuss over me. I simply wanted to stop in and say hello to your class. And see if everyone is enjoying the new school year.”

She beamed at her students. “Isn’t it an honor to have Prophet Goode himself visiting us? Everyone, please welcome him!”

“Welcome, Prophet Goode,” the students answered in unison.

“Is the school year going well for all of you?” he asked.

“Yes, Prophet Goode.” Again in unison, so perfect it sounded as if it had been rehearsed.

Katie Sheldon, he noticed, sat in the third row. He also noticed that the blond boy who’d flirted with her sat almost directly behind her. Slowly he began to pace the classroom, nodding and smiling as he surveyed the students’ drawings and essays tacked on the walls. As if he really cared about them. His attention was only on Katie, who sat demurely at her desk, her gaze tipped downward like any properly modest girl.

“I don’t mean to interrupt your lesson,” he said. “Please, continue what you were doing. Pretend I’m not here.”

“Um, yes.” The teacher cleared her throat. “Students, if you could please open your math books to page two oh three. Complete exercises ten through sixteen. And when you’re finished, we’ll go over the answers.”

As pencils scratched and papers rustled, Jeremiah wandered the classroom. The students were too intimidated to look at him, and they kept their eyes focused on their desktops. The subject was algebra, something that he had never bothered to master. He paused by the desk of the blond lad who had so clearly shown an interest in Katie, and, looking over the boy’s shoulder, he saw the name written on the workbook. Adam McKinnon. A troublemaker who would eventually have to be dealt with.

He moved on to Katie’s desk, where he stopped and watched over her shoulder. Nervously she scribbled an answer, then erased it. A patch of bare neck showed through a parting of her long hair, and the skin flushed a deep red, as though seared by his gaze.

Leaning close, he inhaled her scent, and heat flooded his loins. There was nothing as delicious as the scent of a young girl’s flesh, and this girl’s was the sweetest of all. Through the fabric of her bodice, he could just make out the swell of newly budding breasts.

“Don’t fret too much, dear,” he whispered. “I was never very good at algebra, either.”

She looked up, and the smile she gave him was so enchanting that he was struck speechless. Yes. This girl is definitely the one.

Flowers and ribbons draped the pews and cascaded from the soaring beams of the newly built worship hall. There were so many flowers that the room looked like the Garden of Eden itself, fragrant and shimmering. As the morning light beamed in through the ocular windows, two hundred joyous voices sang hymns of praise.

We are yours, O Lord. Fruitful is your flock and bountiful your harvest.

The voices faded, and the organ suddenly played a fanfare. The congregation turned to look at Katie Sheldon, who stood frozen in the doorway, blinking in confusion at all the eyes staring at her. She wore the lace-trimmed white dress that her mother had sewn, and her brand-new white satin slippers peeped out beneath the hem. On her head was a maiden’s crown of white roses. The organ played on, and the congregation waited expectantly, but Katie could not move. She did not want to move.

It was her father who forced her to take the first step. He took her by the arm, his fingers digging into her flesh with an unmistakable command. Don’t you dare embarrass me.

She began to walk, her feet numb in the pretty satin slippers as she moved toward the altar looming ahead. Toward the man whom God Himself had proclaimed would be her husband.

She caught glimpses of familiar faces in the pews: her teachers, her friends, her neighbors. There was Sister Diane who worked in the bakery with her mother, and Brother Raymond, who tended the cows whose soft flanks she loved to pet. And there was her mother, standing in the very first pew, where she had never stood before. It was a place of honor, a row where only the most favored congregants could sit. Her mother looked proud, oh so proud, and she stood as regal as a queen wearing her own crown of roses.

“Mommy,” Katie whispered. “Mommy.”

But the congregation had launched into a new hymn, and no one heard her through the singing.

At the altar, her father at last released her arm. “Be good,” he muttered, and he stepped away to join her mother. She turned to follow him, but her escape was cut off.

Prophet Jeremiah Goode stood in her way. He took her hand.

How hot his fingers felt against her chilled skin. And how large his hand looked, wrapped around hers, as though she were trapped in the grip of a giant.

The congregation began to sing the wedding song. Joyful union, blessed in heaven, bound forever in His eyes!

Prophet Goode tugged her close beside him, and she gave a whimper of pain as his fingers pressed like claws into her skin. You are mine now, bound to me by the will of God, that squeeze told her. You will obey.

She turned to look at her father and mother. Silently she implored them to take her from this place, to bring her home where she belonged. They were both beaming as they sang. Scanning the hall, she searched for someone who would pluck her out of this nightmare, but all she saw was a vast sea of approving smiles and nodding heads. A room where sunlight glistened on flower petals, where two hundred voices swelled with song.

A room where no one heard, where no one wanted to hear, a thirteen-year-old girl’s silent shrieks.


Yeah, not so happy, that.

I accomplished much in my second day of the Publisher class. I've pretty much finished my template for my newsletter and I've gotten some other ideas as well. Back to work tomorrow.

Looks like not much on tv for me tonight so maybe I'll get a chance to start the Slaughter book.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday gathers together for readers the books that came into the house last week. (feel free to share yours) Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.


I'm collecting the series by C.S. Harris via eBay -- I had previously read them from the library. This series features Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, an investigator in Regency England. There are five books thus far with a sixth scheduled next March ... a very long way away. (sigh) In the mail during the week are:

- WHAT ANGELS FEAR (book 1): Set in England in 1811. When Sebastian Alistair St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is accused of the rape and murder of actress Rachel York, mistress to various members of Spencer Perceval's wobbly Tory cabinet, Sebastian goes "on the lam," in the words of young Tom, his adopted companion and faithful servant, and must spend frantic days in clever disguises chasing "across London and back." Uncanny powers of sight and hearing help him to identify several suspects, including Hugh Gordon, Rachel's fellow actor and ex-lover; shadowy French émigré Leo Pierrepoint; and even his own wayward nephew, Bayard Wilcox, who had been stalking the victim for weeks. Also implicated is portrait painter Giorgio Donatelli, for whom Rachel often posed nude, whose current patron, Lord Fairchild, is expected to be the next prime minister. Waiting in the wings to rule over this gathering chaos is dissolute Prince George (aka Prinny), soon to become regent for his incompetent father, George III.

- WHY MERMAIDS SING (book 4):Sebastian St. Cyr, an unconventional nobleman with a talent for detection, is called in by Westminster chief magistrate Sir Henry Lovejoy after two scions of the upper classes are found butchered and left on public display. St. Cyr soon finds a connection between the killer's calling card and a John Donne poem. As shadowy figures threaten and the parents of the victims display an inappropriate hostility to his efforts, the sleuth doggedly persists, uncovering a secret with shocking repercussions for London's upper class. Neatly meshed in the page-turning whodunit plot are major developments in St. Cyr's love life.

Also in this week were two books for Father's Day gifts for my dad -- so they came in, they went out again:

- THE POACHER'S SON by Paul Doiron. Doiron’s debut crime novel is set on the coast and in the North Woods of Maine, the home of rookie game warden Mike Bowditch. As tensions rise across the state with the impending sale of huge tracts of paper-company forest land to an out-of-state developer, Mike receives a strange message from his father, left on the same night the paper company rep and a state trooper are shot and killed after a heated town meeting. With realistically flawed characters and a strong sense of place—both on the coast and in the woods—the novel avoids tourist stereotyping, of Maine itself and its citizens. As a game warden, Mike is devoted to upholding the law, and as a conflict appears to develop between that responsibility and his love for his estranged father, he finds himself with both his job and life on the line.

- NORTH BY NORTHWESTERN: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters by Captain Sig Hansen. The fishing vessel captain prominently featured in all three seasons of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch tells his family’s story and that of the Norwegian American role in Pacific Northwest fishing—and not only in the now-declining crab industry. If this family saga has a hero, it is Sig’s father, Sverre, who survived immigration from Norway, service in the cold-war army, several shipwrecks, and raising three civilized, if somewhat original, sons to become one of the deans of the crab-fishing fleet in its golden era and still die peacefully at home. Captain Sig still takes his father’s boat into the Bering Sea, one of the harshest environments fishermen have ever faced, and is proud in a gentlemanly way of his Norwegian heritage and celebrity status. Nothing more nor less than a cracking good sea story.


I took today off from work to attend an adult ed class of MS Publisher. I learned a whole heckuva lot so I'm well pleased that it is worth the time and expense. I have another class tomorrow.

Hey did you see the tornado footage on the news that hit here? It tore the roof off our multiplex sports/entertainment arena. We got marble-sized hail at the house here but the tornado didn't touch down until it passed us by on the West end but hit a little further east. There hasn't been a tornado touchdown since 1957 I think they said.

Steve is staying a little late after work to do some recycling. I've got Lie To Me to watch tonight. Otherwise, I may audition a read but I do have the new Karin Slaughter being auto-delivered tonight on the Kindle for the morning so I guess I'm actually set for a bit.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Seconds

Sunday Seconds -- there are books that I would really love to re-read -- if I could make the time. Sometimes books have profound impacts on one's reading experience. Sometimes you just know these books could be even greater if you could go back and read them with again better understanding and life experiences under your belt. Sometimes books don't hold up the memory the second time around -- that's the risk. Sunday Seconds will be a cataloging of that kind of wish list.



This is an amazing, stand alone book. Things I love about it:

  • The historical setting of 1663. It is just after the restoration of the monarchy following the English Civil War, when the authority of King Charles II is not yet settled, and conspiracies abound.

  • The book is an epistolary novel, which is difficult to pull off, but this succeeds.

  • It is a story of a murder in 17th-century Oxford that is related from the contradictory points of view of four of the characters, all of them unreliable narrators.

  • A contrast portrayed in the novel is, on one hand, a philosophy based on ancient and medieval learning, and, on the other, the scientific method that was beginning to be applied in physics, chemistry and medicine.


In 1663 Oxford, a servant girl confesses to a murder. But four witnesses--a medical student, the son of a traitor, a cryptographer, and an archivist--each finger a different culprit... Opinionated, influential Dr. Robert Grove is poisoned with arsenic in his New College lodgings. A missing signet ring leads his colleagues to his former servant (and rumored strumpet) Sarah Blundy, who, swiftly brought to trial, confesses and is promptly hanged--and dissected by enthusiastic physician Richard Lower. But the crime, evidently so simple in its events, is presented through the distorting lenses of four narrators whose obsessions place it in dramatically different contexts. Visiting Venetian Marco da Cola, a dandy trained in medicine, who has been treating Sarah's ailing mother Anne, grieves for the ruin of mother and daughter and the wreck of his own friendship with Lower. Sarah's former lover Jack Prestcott, an undergraduate jailed for attacking his guardian, is consumed with proving that his exiled father was hounded to his death innocent of the charge of treason the returning monarch Charles II's supporters had lodged against him. Dr. John Wallis, mathematician and divine, sees no inconsistency between his endless petty intrigues on behalf of Charles's scheming minister Henry Bennet and his vituperative condemnation of Sarah. In the brilliantly illuminated world in which medical experiments, religious and political debates between Roundheads and Royalists, and the founding of the Royal Society bring debates about the nature of science, history, religion, and authority into a focus whose sharpness has a special urgency for our own time, each of these narrators has his own slashingly conflicting claims to make. But it's not until the final narrator, burrowing historian Anthony Wood, weighs in to judge among the sharply competing visions of the earlier narrators that Pears produces his
most memorable surprises, or unveils his deepest mysteries. Rashomon meets The Name of the Rose. Who is telling the truth about the poisoning of Dr. Robert Grove? They all are, depending on one's definition of the truth.

It was published in 1998 and has 691 pages.


Chapter One

A Question of Precedence

There are Idols which we call Idols of the Market. For Men associate by Discourse, and a false and improper Imposition of Words strangely possesses the Understanding, for Words absolutely force the Understanding, and put all Things into Confusion. -Francis Bacon, Novum Organum Scientarum, Section II, Aphorism VI.

I will leave out much, but nothing of significance. Much of my tour around that country was of interest only to myself, and finds no mention here. Many of those I met, similarly, were of little consequence. Those who in later years did me harm I describe as I knew them then, and I beg any reader to remember that, although I was hardly callow, I was not yet wise in the ways of the world. If my narrative appears simple and foolish, then you must conclude that the young man of so many years past was similarly so. I do not go back to my portrait to add extra layers of tint and varnish to cover my errors or the weakness of my draftsmanship. I will make no accusations, and indulge in no polemic against others; rather, I will say what happened, confident that I need do no more.

My father, Giovanni da Cola, was a merchant, and for the last years of his life was occupied in the importation of luxury goods into England which, though an unsophisticated country, was nonetheless beginning to rouse itself from the effects of revolution. He had shrewdly recognized from afar that the return of King Charles II meant that vast profits would once again be there for the taking and, stealing a march on more timid traders, he established himself in London to provide the wealthier English with those luxuries which the Puritan zealots had discouraged for so many years. His business prospered: he had a good man in London in Giovanni di Pietro, and also entered into a partnership with an English trader, with whom he split his profit. As he once told me, it was a fair bargain: this John Manston was sly and dishonest, but possessed unrivaled knowledge of English tastes. More importantly, the English had passed a law to stop goods coming into their ports in foreign boats, and Manston was a way through this difficulty. As long as my father had di Pietro in place to keep an eye firmly on the accounts, he believed there was little chance of being cheated.

He was long past the time when he took a direct interest in his business, having already converted a portion of his capital into land on Terra Firma to prepare for admission to the Golden Book. Although a merchant himself, he intended his children to be gentlemen, and discouraged me from active participation in his business. I mention this as an indication of his goodness: he had noticed early on that I had little mind for trade, and encouraged me to turn my face against the life he led. He also knew that my sister's new husband was more fitted for ventures than I.

So, while my father secured the family name and fortune, I--my mother being dead and one sister usefully married--was in Padua to acquire the smatterings of polite knowledge; he was content to have his son a member of our nobility but did not wish to have me as ignorant as they. At this point and of mature years--I was now rising thirty--I was suddenly struck by a burning enthusiasm to become a citizen of the Republic of Learning, as it is called. This sudden passion I can no longer recall, so completely has it left me, but then the fascination of the new experimental philosophy held me under its spell. It was, of course, a matter of the spirit rather than of practical application. I say with Beroaldus, non sum medicus, nec medicinae prorsus expers, in the theory of physick I have taken some pains, not with an intent to practice, but to satisfy myself. I had neither desire nor need to gain a living in such a fashion, although occasionally, I confess with shame, I taunted my poor good father by saying that unless he was kind to me, I would take my revenge by becoming a physician.

I imagine that he knew all along I would do no such thing, and that in reality I was merely captivated by ideas and people which were as exciting as they were dangerous. As a result, he raised no objections when I wrote to him about the reports of one professor who, though nominally charged with lecturing in rhetoric, spent much of his time enlarging upon the latest developments in natural philosophy. This man had traveled widely and maintained that, for all serious students of natural phenomena, the Low Countries and England were no longer to be disdained. After many months in his care, I caught his enthusiasm and, having little to detain me in Padua, requested permission to tour that part of the world. Kind man that he was, my father immediately gave his assent, procured permission for me to leave Venetian territory, and sent a bill of credit to his bankers in Flanders for my use.
I had thought of taking advantage of my position to go by sea, but decided that, if I was to acquire knowledge, then it would be best to see as much as possible and this was better done in a coach than by spending three weeks in a ship drinking with the crew. I must add that I also suffer abominably from seasickness--which weakness I have always been loath to admit, for although Gomesius says such sickness cures sadness of spirit, I have never found it to be the case. Even so, my courage weakened, then evaporated almost entirely, as the journey progressed. The journey to Leiden took only nine weeks, but the sufferings I endured quite took my mind off the sights I was viewing. Once, stuck in the mud halfway through an Alpine pass, the rain coming down in torrents, one horse sick, myself with a fever and a violent-looking soldier as my only companion, I thought that I would rather suffer the worst gale in the Atlantic than such misery.

But it would have been as long to go back as to continue, and I was mindful of the scorn in which I would be held if I returned, shamefaced and weak. to my native town. Shame, I do believe, is the most powerful emotion known to man; most discoveries and journeys of importance have been accomplished because of the ignominy that would be the result if the attempt was abandoned. So, sick for the warmth and comfort of my native land--the English have the word nostalgia for this illness, which they believe is due to the imbalance caused by an unfamiliar environment--I continued on my way, ill-tempered and miserable, until I reached Leiden, where I attended the school of medicine as a gentleman.

So much has been written about this seat of learning, and it has so little to do with my recital, that it suffices to say that I found and profited greatly from two professors of singular ability who lectured on anatomy and bodily economy. I also traveled throughout the Low Countries and fell into good company, much of which was English and from whom I learnt something of the language. I left for the simple reason that my kind good father ordered me so to do and for no other reason. There was some disarray in the London office, a letter told me, and he needed family to intervene: no one else could be trusted. Although I had little practical knowledge of trade, I was glad to be the obedient son, and so discharged my servant, organized my affairs and shipped from Antwerp to investigate. I arrived in London on March 22nd, 1663, with only a few pounds left, the sum I paid to one professor for his teaching having all but exhausted my funds. But I was not concerned, for I thought that all I needed to do was make the short journey from the river to the office maintained by my father's agent, and all would be well. Fool that I was. I could not find di Pietro, and that wretched man John Manston would not even receive me. He is now long since dead; I pray for his soul, and hope the good Lord disregards my entreaties on his behalf, knowing as I do that the longer he suffers fiery torment, the more just his punishment will be.

I had to beg a mere servant for information, and this lad told me that my father's agent had died suddenly some weeks previously. Even worse, Manston had swiftly moved to take all the fortune and business for his own, and refused to admit that any had belonged to my father. Before lawyers he had produced documents (naturally, forged) to prove this assertion. He had, in other words, entirely defrauded my family of our money--that part of it which was in England, at least.

This boy was, unfortunately, at a loss about how I should proceed. I could lay a complaint before a magistrate, but with no evidence except my own convictions this seemed fruitless. I could also consult a lawyer but, if England and Venice differ in many ways, they are alike in one, which is that lawyers have an insatiable love of money, and that was a commodity I did not possess in sufficient quantity.

It also rapidly became clear that London was not a healthy place. I do not mean the famous plague, which had not yet afflicted the city; I mean that Manston, that very evening, sent round hired hands to demonstrate that my life would be more secure elsewhere. Fortunately, they did not kill me; indeed, I acquitted myself well in the brawl thanks to the fees my father had paid to my fencing master, and I believe at least one bravo left the field in a worse state than I. But I took the warning nonetheless and decided to stay out of the way until my course was clearer. I will mention little more of this matter except to say that eventually I abandoned the quest for recompense, and my father decided that the costs involved were not worth the money lost. The matter was reluctantly forgotten for two years, when we heard that one of Manston's boats had put into Trieste to sit out a storm. My family moved to have it seized--Venetian justice being as favorable to Venetians as English law is to Englishmen--and the hull and cargo provided some compensation for our losses.

To have had my father's permission to leave instantly would have raised my spirits immeasurably, for the weather in London was enough to reduce the strongest man to the most wretched despair. The fog, the incessant, debilitating drizzle, and the dull bitter cold as the wind swept through my thin cloak reduced me to the lowest state of despondency. Only duty to my family forced me to continue rather than going to the docks and begging for a passage back home. Instead of taking this sensible course, however, I wrote to my father informing him of developments and promising to do what I could, but pointed out that until I was rearmed from his coffers there was little I might practically accomplish. I had, I realized, many weeks to fill in before he could respond. And about five pounds to survive on.

The professor under whom I had studied in Leiden had most kindly given me letters to gentlemen with whom he had corresponded, and, these being my only contacts with Englishmen, I decided that my best course would be to throw myself on their mercy. An additional attraction was that neither was in London, so I picked the man who lived in Oxford, that being the closest, and decided to leave as swiftly as possible.

The English seem to have strong suspicion of people moving around, and go out of their way to make travel as difficult as possible. According to the piece of paper pasted up where I waited for the coach, the sixty-mile trip to Oxford would take eighteen hours--God Willing, as it added piously. The Almighty, alas, was not willing that day; rain had made much of the road disappear, so the coachman had to navigate his way through what seemed very like a plowed field. A wheel came off a few hours later, tipping my chest on the ground and damaging the lid and, just outside a mean little town called Thame, one of the horses broke a leg and had to be dispatched. Add to that the frequent stops at almost every inn in southern England (the innkeepers bribe the drivers to halt) and the journey took a total of twenty-five hours, with myself ejected into the courtyard of an inn in the main street of the city of Oxford at seven o'clock in the morning.


Happy Father's Day to my dad. I'll be going over to M&D's in just a little bit to drop off present(s) and card. Afterward, I'll walk Tug (who is limping with his arthritis after chasing a bunny yesterday) and finish laundry.

Have a lovely Sunday ...

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Snuggle bunny, er, moose ...

Meme day, meme day! I came across this one -- it's new to me so I thought I'd give it a shot -- but there are some strange questions...

1. What author do you own the most books by?

Probably JD Robb, I've got them all from the very beginning of the series.

2. What book do you own the most copies of?

Either DAUGHTER OF TIME by Josephine Tey or A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN by Virginia Woolf

3. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

Darcy of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, who isn't? Although that may be influenced by the wet shirt scene of the movie.

4. What book have you read more than any other?

Meaning re-reading which I don't do a whole lot ... maybe PERSUASION by Jane Austen.

5. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

I don't remember much about kid-hood but that would have been 1976. Maybe the Trixie Belden books.

6. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

I try not to read books that I'm not enjoying because it's a waste of time but I'll say PASSION by Lisa Valdez.

7. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

2010: HERESY by SJ Parris


8. If you could tell everyone to read one book, what would it be?

You know what? I wouldn't. I would just say "Read!" Read anything you enjoy but just read more than once a week. It is the most amazing invention ever: touching minds and thoughts and images with someone else across time or language barriers.

9. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

Difficult could mean different things here: difficult as in struggling to understand or difficult in subject matter, difficult as in finding the time to read it ...???

10. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

Russian novels.

11. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?


12. Austen or Eliot?


13. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

Contemporary fiction and short stories and young adult

14. What is your favorite novel?


15. Play?



Jesus Christ Superstar

16. Poem?

W H Auden "Stop all the clocks..."

17. Essay?

Virginia Woolf

18. Short Story?

I've read some, very few actually, so I don't really have an opinion here.

19. Non Fiction


20. Graphic Novel?

The Watchmen

21. Science Fiction?

DUNE by Frank Herbert

22. Who is your favorite writer?

Dead: Jane Austen Living: CJ Sansom

23. Who is the most over-rated writer alive today?

Stephanie Meyers (TWILIGHT, et al.)

24. What are you reading right now?


STORM FRONT by Jim Butcher on audiobook

I've got to have some breakfast now then get laundry going. Later I'll be walking Tug and I need to get some groceries. No idea what to have for dinner tonight. It's a bit overcast this morning but supposed to get up into the 70s.

Have a good Saturday

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Friday, June 18, 2010

TGIF, yes really

Ah, Friday at last. It was a really tough week on the phones at work. The EB program is ending this week and over and over I had to tell people that they had used everything that was available to them and there was no more funds for them; they were done. It has to stop at some point, of course. But it wasn't easy in the telling.

Next week, I'm taking Monday and Tuesday off from work to attend an adult ed class on MS Publisher so I can be expert at that program for my newsletter. It will be all day both days.

I'm about halfway through the Peter Tremayne. I've always liked the character of Sister Fidelma, the Ireland background, the early church history and I'm only on book 3 of many many more books -- like 18 I think. :)

I read an article in the free book newsletter/mag from the library, Bookpage, about Justin Cronin and his supposed blockbuster book of the summer, THE PASSAGE. I hate vampire stories, but this book is being compared to THE STAND which is pretty incredible. It is the first of a trilogy (book 2 in 2012) and movie rights have been sold to Ridley Scott. I've downloaded the sample to my Kindle so I'll give it a try based on the comparison to the Stephen King.

Tomorrow Steve has a gun class to help teach. I've got weekend chores and I should get some things at Walmart. I also need to clean out the car and work on my project this weekend.

I'll be reading for a little bit here and then get some good sleep and maybe sleep in until 6. Woo hoo!

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dieting sucks

Major rain storm passed through yesterday, as you can see by yesterday's photo. Today it is windy. I hate wind.

Took Tug for annual vet appointment. He's healthy they say though lab results will be forthcoming. He's considered a senior citizen now at 7 years old. He's gained weight, eight pounds, since last time (so he's 148). They're not too concerned about it and didn't say to put him on a special or diet or anything and they kept giving him cookies. Oy. They love him there. My checkbook really doesn't. No splurging now until next paycheck. (and no, that's not a picture of Tug here)

Steve is helping with a gun class tonight. I'll probably get a chance to do some reading. I've been able to do some wish fulfilling via paperbackswap tonight but I'll tell you about them when they come in the mailbox.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Released Tuesday of next week is BROKEN by Karin Slaughter. There are apparently no excerpts available anywhere so here is a synopsis:

When the body of a young woman is discovered deep beneath the icy waters of Lake Grant, a note left under a rock by the shore points to suicide. But within minutes, it becomes clear that this is no suicide. It's a brutal, cold-blooded murder. All too soon former Grant County medical examiner Sara Linton - home for Thanksgiving after a long absence -- finds herself unwittingly drawn into the case. The chief suspect is desperate to see her but when she arrives at the local police station she is met with a horrifying sight - he lies dead in his cell, the words 'Not me' scrawled across the walls.
Something about his confession doesn't add up and deeply suspicious of the detective in charge, Lena Adams, Sara immediately calls the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Shortly afterwards, Special Agent Will Trent is brought in from his vacation to investigate. But he is immediately confronted with a wall of silence. Grant County is a close-knit community with loyalties and ties that run deep. And the only person who can tell the truth about what really happened is dead.

Released today -- I don't have it yet though it is available for the Kindle -- is THE OVERTON WINDOW by Glenn Beck. A thriller that sounds interesting. Here is a description:

A plan to destroy America, a hundred years in the making, is about to be unleashed . . . can it be stopped? There is a powerful technique called the Overton Window that can shape our lives, our laws, and our future. It works by manipulating public perception so that ideas previously thought of as radical begin to seem acceptable over time. Move the Window and you change the debate. Change the debate and you change the country. For Noah Gardner, a twentysomething public relations executive, it's safe to say that political theory is the furthest thing from his mind. Smart, single, handsome, and insulated from the world's problems by the wealth and power of his father, Noah is far more concerned about the future of his social life than the future of his country. But all of that changes when Noah meets Molly Ross, a woman who is consumed by the knowledge that the America we know is about to be lost forever. She and her group of patriots have vowed to remember the past and fight for the future--but Noah, convinced they're just misguided conspiracy-theorists, isn't interested in lending his considerable skills to their cause. And then the world changes. An unprecedented attack on U.S. soil shakes the country to the core and puts into motion a frightening plan, decades in the making, to transform America and demonize all those who stand in the way. Amidst the chaos, many don't know the difference between conspiracy theory and conspiracy fact--or, more important, which side to fight for. But for Noah, the choice is clear: Exposing the plan, and revealing the conspirators behind it, is the only way to save both the woman he loves and the individual freedoms he once took for granted.

And what I'm starting to read today is SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN by Peter Tremayne. It is 3rd of 18 in series (not counting short story collections) featuring Sister Fidelma, a 7th century Celtic sister and legal advocate in Kildare, Ireland. Here is a description:

In A.D. 644, a respected scholar of the Celtic Church is murdered during a visit to the Irish Kingdom of Muman. The kingdom's ruler summons Sister Fidelma to solve the brutal murder, but her time is limited. The victim, as it turns out, was a comrade of the arrogant King of Fearna, who threatens war over the suspicious death of his friend. But during her inquiries, Sister Fidelma comes to realize that there is more at hand than what appears, and finds her own life caught in the balance.
It was published in 1996 and has 320 pages.

Steve may be getting the crud now. He hasn't been feeling well today and went to bed when he got home from work. I think it will be an early night for both of us.

Much love,
PK the Bookeemonster

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mailbox Monday!

Mailbox Monday gathers together for readers the books that came into the house last week. (feel free to share yours) Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Last week I rounded out my collection of Deryn Lake's series featuring John Rawlings, an apothecary and associate of John Fielding, in 18th century London. I've now got DEATH IN THE SETTING SUN, DEATH IN THE VALLEY OF SHADOWS and DEATH AND THE CORNISH FIDDLER. That should set me for the next few months -- via eBay because paperbackswap.com was taking too long. I also got another Elizabethan text to add to my strange obsession: ELIZABETH'S SPYMASTER: Francis Walsingham and the Secret War that Saved England by Robert Hutchinson.


I'm currently reading FALCONER'S CRUSADE by Ian Morson. This is 1st of 8 in series featuring William Falconer, a 13th century university regent master in Oxford. Here is a description:

Oxford University, in 1624, the savage murder of a young girl kindles a frenzy of suspicion between privileged students and impoverished townspeople. And when one of Falconer's students who may have witnessed the crime narrowly escapes being beaten to death by a lynch mob, the Regent Master rushes to his defense. The stabbing murder of Margaret Gebetz, Master John Fyssh's French servant girl, is followed by the murders of three students. What connection, if any, do the slayings have to the visit to Oxford of Prince Edward, weak King Henry III's son, who is being wooed by rebellious barons? What is the nature of the small book that illiterate Margaret possessed and which she believed would protect her?

It was published in 1996 and has 200 pages.

I just finished watching Lie To Me on Fox -- the body language show starring Tim Roth. Like it a lot. I'll read for a little bit and then get some lovely sleep and start all over again tomorrow. :)

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Seconds

I have been thinking lately there are books that I would really love to re-read -- if I could make the time. Sometimes books have profound impacts on one's reading experience. Sometimes you just know these books could be even greater if you could go back and read them with again better understanding and life experiences under your belt. Sometimes books don't hold up the memory the second time around -- that's the risk. Sunday Seconds will be a cataloging of that kind of wish list.

Let's start with THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand. I know: you either love this author or hate her. I read this book around 1989, my first summer in Virginia City, right out of college. It was rainy cold and dark and I had to have the Brewery open in the afternoons for tourists but virtually no one stopped by; we were too far really off the path for people to know we were there and open. I've mentioned before my experiences reading there, alone, with my boombox of cassette tapes of Brahms and Vivaldi in the 100+ year old building that was rotting at the bottoms of the walls. I read Ayn Rand that summer. THE FOUNTAINHEAD is one of those chunky big books that you would normally pass by because of its size and reputation. I had it in a book club edition for whatever reason (still do). It was full of ideas and characters and I loved it. Here's a short description:

On the surface, it is a story of one man, Howard Roark, and his struggles as an architect in the face of a successful rival, Peter Keating, and a newspaper columnist, Ellsworth Toohey. But the book addresses a number of universal themes: the strength of the individual, the tug between good and evil, the threat of fascism.

It was first published in 1943 and the edition I'm viewing on Amazon has 752 pages. Oooh, I see a Kindle edition. Hmmm.

From wikipedia (I know, I know) here's a longer plot summary:

Howard Roark, a brilliant young architecture student, is expelled from the Stanton Institute of Technology for refusing to abide by its outdated traditions. Despite the determined effort of some professors to defend Roark, and the subsequent offer to continue at Stanton from the headmaster, Howard chooses to leave the school. He goes to New York City to work for Henry Cameron, a disgraced architect whom Roark admires - being formally Cameron's employee but in fact his disciple, and in effect, his adopted son. Cameron who once was architecture's modernist hero, has fallen from fame due to the fickle demands of society and his own caustic personality. His work serves as an inspiration for Howard. Roark’s highly successful but vacuous schoolmate, Peter Keating, also moves to New York to work for the prestigious architectural firm, Francon & Heyer. Roark and Cameron create inspired work, but their projects rarely receive recognition, whereas Keating’s ability to flatter and please brings him almost instant success despite his lack of originality.
Roark closes his office rather than compromise his drawings, and his ideals, to the whims of his clients. He takes a job at a Connecticut granite quarry owned by Guy Francon, whose beautiful, temperamental, and idealistic daughter, Dominique, beguiles Peter Keating. Upon the urging of his mother, Keating breaks off his engagement with Catherine to facilitate his romance with Dominique. While Roark is working in the quarry, he encounters Dominique, who has retreated to her family's estate in the same town as the quarry. There is an immediate attraction between them. Rather than indulge in traditional flirtation, the two engage in a battle of wills. Not long after, Roark leaves to build the Enright House.
Ellsworth Toohey, a columnist for The New York Banner (a yellow press-style newspaper owned by Gail Wynand) and author of the popular column One Small Voice, is an outspoken socialist, who is covertly rising to power by shaping public opinion through his column and his circle of influential associates, and whose quite openly proclaimed designs are not understood or taken seriously. Toohey sets out to destroy Roark through a smear campaign he spearheads at the Banner. As the first step, Toohey convinces a weak-minded businessman named Hopton Stoddard to hire Roark as the designer for a temple dedicated to the human spirit and gives Roark carte blanche to design it as he sees fit. Roark designs the temple, with a naked statue of Dominique, which creates the first public outcry against Howard and Stoddard is (with Toohey's encouragement) appalled at what Roark has built. Toohey further manipulates Stoddard into suing Roark for general incompetence and fraud. At Roark’s trial, every prominent architect in New York (including Keating) testifies that Roark’s style is unorthodox and illegitimate. Dominique defends Roark, but Stoddard wins the case and Roark loses his business again.
Dominique believes that greatness such as Roark's should never be offered to a public unable to appreciate it, and decides that since she cannot have the world she wants (in which men like him are recognized for what they are) she will live completely and entirely in the world she has, which shuns him and praises Keating. That evening, Dominique pays Keating a visit, and makes him a one-time offer of her
hand in marriage. Keating accepts, though he is engaged to Toohey's niece Catherine, and they are married that evening. Dominique turns her entire spirit over to Peter, hosting the dinners he wants, agreeing with him, and saying whatever he wants her to say. She fights Roark, and herds all of his potential clients over to the slowly weakening Keating. Despite this, Roark continues to attract a small but steady stream of perceptive, intelligent clients who see the value in his work.
To win Keating a prestigious architecture commission offered by Gail Wynand, the owner and editor-in-chief of the Banner, Dominique agrees to sleep with Wynand. Wynand then buys Keating's silence and a divorce for Dominique and Keating, after which Wynand and Dominique are married.
Wynand subsequently discovers that every building he likes is done by Roark, so he enlists Roark to build a home for himself and Dominique. The home is built, and Roark and Gail become great friends, although he does not know about Roark's past relationship with Dominique. Now washed up and out of the public eye, Keating realizes he is a failure. Rather than accept retirement, he pleads with Toohey for his influence in favor of Keating to get the commission for the much sought after Cortlandt housing project. Keating knows that his most successful projects were aided by Roark, and he knows Roark is the only person who can design Cortlandt, due to its economical requirements. Roark agrees to design it in exchange for complete anonymity—and the agreement that it would be built exactly as he designed. When Roark returns from a long yacht trip with Wynand he finds that, despite the agreement, the Cortlandt Homes project has been changed. Roark asks Dominique to distract the night watchman and dynamites the building to prevent the subversion of his vision. The entire country condemns Roark, but Wynand finally finds the courage to follow his convictions and orders his newspapers to defend him. The Banner’s circulation drops and the workers go on strike (thanks to Toohey's quiet conspiracy to "stack" the paper with those who agree with him, or those whom he can control), but Wynand keeps printing with Dominique’s help. Eventually the tide of public opinion rises against Wynand and most of his staff leaves in protest. Wynand is eventually faced with the choice of closing the paper or reversing his stance and agreeing to the union demands; he gives in, the newspaper publishes a denunciation of Roark over Wynand's signature. At the trial, Roark seems doomed, but he rouses the courtroom with a speech about the value of ego and the need to remain true to oneself. The jury finds him not guilty. Roark marries Dominique. Wynand, who has finally grasped the nature of the "power" he thought he held, asks Roark to design one last building, a skyscraper that will testify to the supremacy of man: "Build it as a monument to that spirit which is yours...and could have been mine."

Have a good Sunday .... Mine will be spent continuing laundry, walking Tug, and figuring out what to read next.

Much love,

PK the Bookeemonster