Sunday, January 31, 2010

TSS: Life Support by Tess Gerritsen

Title: Life Support
Author: Tess Gerritsen

ISBN: 978-0671553043

Publisher: Pocket books/1998

Pages: 400

Back Cover:

New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen weaves authenticity into another novel of searing medical suspense, as a dedicated woman doctor probes into the cause of a mystifying and lethal outbreak.

The quiet overnight shift at Springer Hospital ER suits Dr. Toby Harper just fine -- until she admits a man in critical condition from a possible viral infection of the brain. The delirious man barely responds to treatment -- and then disappears without a trace. Before Toby can find him, a second case occurs, revealing a terrifying fact: the virus can only be spread through direct tissue exchange. Following a trail of death that winds from a pregnant sixteen-year-old prostitute to her own home, Toby discovers the unthinkable: the epidemic didn't just happen -- someone let it loose....

My views:

I have read almost all of the Robin Cook books but this is my first Tess Gerritsen book. And I am determined to read more of her works. Dr Toby Harper has to get into the bottom of it, when she finds similarities between the patients admitted in the hospital. She suspects an epidemic and when she gets around asking for facts, she finds herself isolated. She is suspected of abusing her own mother and even her sister thinks the worst about her. But all this makes Toby more determined. She is a very strong personality and is not deterred by the oppisition.

Gerritsen's knowledge about the medical world is commendable. Her writring is vey good which totally engrosses the reader. And with pharma giants involved, this book becomes so very real and scary...

TSS: The Switch by Sandra Brown

Happy Sunday to all, the last one of January 2010. A whole month is gone in a jiffy. After few weeks of cold, we are having sunny weather. I am soaking it up and enjoying the day. Life couldn't have been better than this. Personal front is really going good, although it hasn't been very conducive for reading.

Also I had been lagging behind my reviews. Today I wrote all those pending reviews and scheduled those to be posted in the next few days. I kind of feel very light. Here is one of those reviews I wrote.

:The Switch
Author: Sandra Brown
ISBN: 0446609943

Publisher: Warner Vision/2000
Pages: 550

Gillian and Melina Lloyd are identical twins. They share a bond which can only happen with identical twins. No one can tell them apart. Melina works as a media escort. And Gillian is desperate for a child. So much so that she gets herself enrolled into a feritilty clinic and is a prime candidate to receive sperm from a donor. The day she is artificially inseminated, she meets Melina and they celebrate. However, nothing can be known before a week or so. Seeing Gillian tense, Melina asks Gillian to take her place to escort a NASA astronaut Col. "Chief" Hart. Gillian refuses at first.

Next morning Gillian is found brutally murdered and Melina is devastated. It turns out that, as Chief was the person who saw her, he is the prime suspect. He along with Melina, is determined to find the killer. And they stumble upon a totally horrifying scheme of a so called fanatic, a television preacher, who has thousands of followers. He can go to any length to protect his interests, and is determined to use Melina in place of Gillian for his own ends. With the FBI entering the scene, the plot thickens as a major conspiracy is discovered.

The Switch is a good suspense thriller, with misuse of medical practices thrown in, in good measure. The worst part is, it can be true too, if we are not careful and let
psychotic megalomania rule over minds. There is this romance aspect too, which is no way deters the story.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekly Geeks/Booking through thursday : Winter Reading

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#Posting this for the BTT post of this week, which is on winter reading.

"The northern hemisphere, at least, is socked in by winter right now… So, on a cold, wintry day, when you want nothing more than to curl up with a good book on the couch … what kind of reading do you want to do?"

For this week's Weekly Geeks, share with us the books which call out to you during the cold, wintry months. Are there genres which appeal to you most? Why do you think you are drawn to these types of books during winter? Do you have some book recommendations for other readers who are looking for some escape from the blustery weather? Give us some of your favorites and tell us why you recommend them

I am one of those, who doesn't let the weather affect my reading habits. I read pretty much what I want. It can be anything, poetry, memoirs, fiction etc etc. However, this year we had severe winters, which is unusual for Delhi. Somehow I picked up a lot of romances and read those at a stretch. Maybe the warm feelings those romances aroused helped me combat the winter. I found myself hooked to those books. In January, I did not read much but what I read were romances or had underlying romances even if those came under suspense/thrillers too. What do I reccomend?

Do check out the following:

15 romances in two months? Thats a lot!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Find: The Ravenous Audience by Kate Durbin

The Ravenous Audience by Kate Durbin

Kate Durbin's debut volume is not for the weak of gut. Cum, blood, vomit, and other bodily juices slop off the page in a grotesque reanimation of history and art's female villains and s/heroes. Unlike other feminist revisionist texts, The Ravenous Audience refuses to rescue the misunderstood bitches of our cultural past, instead viscerally imposing the scope of their bodily and existential horrors--including each woman's culpability. Durbin even throws the reader, and the poet, into the cauldron. Complicating all easy notions of responsibility, she points the finger in every direction possible--before biting it clean.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Booking Through Twisty

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1. Do YOU like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings?

2. What book with a surprise ending is your favorite? Or your least favorite?

I do prefer to read books with complicated plots and unexpected endings. I like to go on a roller coaster ride while reading. A well written book can do that for us if those have interesting characterization. The whys and hows oought to be justified. And a book for the sake of twisty endings puts me off. I have read a lot of books wit unexpected endings.

The Suicide Collecters by David Oppegaard is one such book with a totally unexpected ending. And the ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling totally sucks for me.

The Courtship by Catherine Coulter

Title: The Courtship
Author: Catherine Coulter
ISBN: 9780515127218
Publisher: Jove/2000
Pages: 352

1811, London, England.

Spenser Heatherington, Lord Beecham, overhears two ladies discussing discipline. One, he knows as Alexandra Sherbrooke, but doesn't know the other, who is really Lady Helen Mayberry, a beautiful tall woman, who runs an inn. He is intrigued to know more about her and somehow it seems to him after a while, that she is pursuing him.

Spenser Heatherington is a well-known womanizer, a confirmed bachelor, is very happy with his life. When Helen throws him to the ground and sits on top him, and he is ready to be her lover. But Helen doesn't want that. She wants him for a partner in the pursue of a magic lamp.

They both have their own opinions on discipline, and they fall in love. When Spenser asks Helen to marry him, she refuses because she is already married to a spouse who has disappeared. But the pursue of that mythical magic lamp keeps them in close proximity and Spenser is even more determined to marry her.

Coulter has written a witty, humorous story filled with odd eccentric characters. A amazon of a heroine and a sarcastic hero make it a perfect read.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Marshall and the Heiress by Patricia Potter

Title: The Marshall and the Heiress
Author: Patricia Potter
ISBN: 978-0553575088
Publisher: Fanfare/1996
Pages: 368

US Marshall, Ben Master, adopts the four-year old girl, Sarah Ann. The little girl has a big heart and Ben Masters finds himself loving that little girl more and more each day. All his life, he had never considered that someone so little can manage to wrap him around her little finger! She, loves everything that moves. That includes a disreputable cat, Annabelle, who by no stretch of imagination be called sweet. Only Sarah Ann can see beauty in her! Ben hasn't the heart to tell her otherwise. The cat seems to dislike him all the time!

Then it appears that, Sarah Jane is supposed to be an Heiress! Ben arrives in Calholm, Scotland, to claim it for her. However, the path is not smooth. Someone wants the little girl out of the way. There are too many people who want that inheritance and can go to any length to get it. Ben is determined to find out who is responsible and doesn't let Sarah Ann out of his sight. He can't even trust Lisbeth, Sarah Ann's aunt, who seems to like the girl. Ben too is attracted to her but his adoptive daughter comes before everything!

With grey shaded characters, a bully of a cat, and a soft-hearted dog, a sweet little girl Sarah Ann, this novel is very enchanting. I liked Ben's devotion towards that girl and her trust in him. Drew Cameron too is another interesting character.

A-Z Wednesday: Yellowknife by Steve Zipp

Title: Yellowknife
Author: Steve Zipp
ISBN: 9780973632118
Publisher: Res Telluris, Canada/2007
Pages: 286

It is one of those books, which is not easy to review. It is kind of very difficult to summarise the novel. Almost fruitless.

It is set in 1998, in Yellowknife, which is home for assorted people like bureaucrats and businessmen. Many arrive here for the lure of opportunities. This takes us into a world filled with humour, imagination, hope, love, lost love and much much more. It touches certain myths taking us through a tunnel of humanity. Both mysterious and mystical, we get to read about people who bond despite being strangers. There are no dark characters here, or purely good. The grey shades only endear them to us as we somehow identify with them. The scientific references...biology mixed with physics, chemistry and mathematics instantly gelled with me. Detailed prose too worked well for me.

Zipp has used motifs, metaphors which make this an excellent read. Although I had to go and back and forth while reading this, I couldn't leave it in the midst as I do with a few novels. I had to finish it till the end. I got glimpses about a world I know nothing about. Very insightful. Some might not like the book as it is not an easy read. However, it is well worth the effort. I would say, go for it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: The Captive by Brenda Joyce

"Alex felt a wave of grief sweeping over her as she thought about how unjust his execution was. Why had the bashaw of Tripoli condemned him to death while his crew were ransomed and freed?"

Title: Captive
Author: Brenda Joyce
ISBN: 9780380781485
Publisher: Avon/2001
Pages: 448

One thing I will say about Brenda Joyce is that she sure knows how to involve the reader in her romance novels. We all know the romance novels have predictable endings but it is the plot and twists that can make it memorable. Joyce has the abilty to do that. I consider her one of the best romance writers of our times, even though she writes historical novels.

In this novel, Alex, a graduate student, is studying history and is drawn to a man, who lived 200 years ago. A commander of US merchantmen, he for some unknown reason has been captured by the Bashaw of Tripoli and executed. Alex is compelled to know more about him and lives for Tripoli on a whim. There is she finds herself going back in time and awaits meeting Xavier Blackwell. She has been taken for a slave and is being prepared to marry the Bashaws' son.

The plot is good but somehow Alex seems totally unfit for those times. She seems frivolous and too daring, not thinking about the consequences of her actions in those days of slavery. However, the chance encounter between Xavier and Alex changes the course of history. It does have loose ends but with a different story line it has its good moments.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Crime Fiction Alphabet: Ordeal By Innocence by Agatha Christie

Recovering from amnesia, Dr. Arthur Calgary discovers that he alone could have provided an alibi in a scandalous murder trial. It ended in the conviction of Jacko Argyle. The victim was Jacko's own mother, and to make matters worse, he died in prison. But the young man's innocence means that someone else killed the Argyle matriarch, and would certainly kill again to remain in the shadows. Shaded in the moral ambiguity of murder, the provocative psychological puzzler of guilt, vengeance, and blood secrets is among Agatha Christie's personal favorites.

As I had read it long time back, I had forgotten all about it. Today sorting through my Agatha Christie novels, I found it. Thought why not post it for Crime Fiction Alphabet: O? Will re-read it soon and post my views.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monday: Musing/Mailbox/Whereabouts

Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia.

I received two books in my mailbox this past week:

Venom by Joan Brady

Recently released from prison, David Marion doesn't expect to find a hitman at his door. Their meeting is lethal - for the hitman. Warned that a powerful secret organisation is after him, David disappears until the moment comes for him to strike back. Physicist Helen Freyl owns a colony of bees with unique venom. When her lover dies, she accepts a job offer from a giant pharmaceutical company who are close to finding a cure for radiation poisoning. But when the mysteriously sudden death of a colleague is followed by another, Helen begins to doubt her employers' motives and realises that her own life is in danger, too. Venom brings David and Helen together as they fight for their lives against a backdrop of industrial espionage, corporate greed and human tragedy.

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

The body of a young woman is discovered in a snow-covered field, and it bears a grisly mutilation: numbers have been carved into the stomach of the dead girl. She is the first in a line of victims, and the long maintained peace in the town is soon a distant memory.


I finished:

Sins of the Flesh by Caridad Pinero

I plan to read:

Anything that holds my interest

I posted reviews of:

Creole Angel by Peggy Hanchar
For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone
Tintin & The Crab with the Golden Claws by Herge
Tintin and The Shooting Star by Herge
After Innocence by Brenda Joyce
Tintin & The Secret of the Unicorn by Herge
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Where do you keep any books borrowed from friends or the library? Do they live with your own collection, or do you keep them separate? Do you monitor them in anyway.

I keep the borrowed books separately. I read those faster too so as to return as soon as I can. However, it has been a long time I have borrowed anything!


TSS: The Emerald Swan by Jane Feather

Title: The Emerald Swan
Author: Jane Feather
Publisher: Bantam/1998
Pages: 448

I picked it up after reading the back cover. It is about twin girls who got separated and grew up differently. Maud grows to womanhood as the frail, somewhat manipulative ward of young earl of Harcourt. The other, Miranda, grows up as an endearing, street-smart urchin who earns her living as a travelling player on the streets of England and France. One day Harcourt runs into Miranda by chance while she is perforoming on the streets. He is amazed to see the resemblance between the two. And a plan forms in his mind. Maud is not ready to marry the King of France who is besotted to her! She would rather commit to a convent.

Harcourt thinks that Miranda can be used to please the King until Maud agrees to marry him! With the right clothes and right training, the plan seems to succeed but no one has envisaged that Harcourt himself might fall for Miranda! From there onwards, things get complicated. And when King arrives, the events turn interesting..

Maud seems like a lifeless character but with the entry of Miranda in her life, she changes. She gets animated and can now think beyondherself. The instant bonding between the twins is unmistakable. And both the sisters too plot to get better of Harcourt, the King of France and many others. Use of the emerald bracelet as a metaphor works well. Slowly the deep dark secrets of the nobilty too is esposed.

With strong characters and intelligent dialogues, this book is much more than a romance novel. At the end, we come to like Maud too, who initially seemed too insipd and cold.

The Sunday Salon: Books read in 2010

It is really a shame that I have not read much in 2010. Even more so, that I have only reviewed one out of the 6 that I have read so far. Only today I managed to clear the backlog of my 2009 reviews. A utter shame, I repeat. I need to get back into the groove of reading and reviewing.

Looking at the books, I think I have to leave romances and do serious reading!

This post is also a way of keeping track of my books read/reviewed in 2010. I have been keeping one such post from 2006.

December (96)

96) Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris
95) If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell
94) Sometimes Mine by Martha Moody
93) The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart
92) The Heir by Grace Burrowes
91) From the Dead by John Herrick
90) Miss Hildreth Wore Brown by Olivia deBelle Byrd
89)Remedies by Kate Ledger

November (3)......88

88) Tintin and The Seven Crystal Balls by Herge
87)Tintin and Red Rackam's Treasure by Hergé
86) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson (CF)

October (2)......85

85) Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy (CF)
84) The Weight Of Shadows by Alison Strobel

September (3)----83
81) Bones of Contention by Jeanne Matthews (CF)

August (8).......80

73) Deadly Fear by Cynthia Eden (CF)

July (7).......72

72) The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby
71) The Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley
70) The Wild Irish Sea by Loucinda McGary
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross (CF)
68) The Gendarme by Mark T Mustian
67) Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Last Last Chance by Fiona Maazel
46) The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin

April (15 )...45

45) In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon (CF)
44) What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy
43) The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon
42) Tomorrow River by Lesley Kagen
41) The Journey Home by Michael Baron
40) Taste of Cherry by Kara Candito poetry
39) The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
38) Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons
37) The Cold Room by J T Ellison (CF)
36) Greater Love by Robert Whitlow
35) Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (CF)
34) The Cutting by James Hayman (CF)
33) The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson (CF)
32) In the Wake of Boatman by Jonathon Scott Fuqua
31) Open Country by Kaki Warner

March (16)...... 30

30) Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner
29) Fireworks in Toccoa by
Jeffrey Stepakoff
28) The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
27) Sinai Tapestry by Edward Whittemore
26) The Widow's Season by Laura Brodie
25) The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson (CF)
24) A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein
Dead Floating Lovers by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli (CF)
22) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie--Graphic Novel (CF)
21) the clouds roll away Sibella Giorella (CF)
20) Venom by Joan Brady (CF)
19) Lethal Experiment by John Locke (CF)
18) Lethal People by John Locke (CF)
17) Zan-Gah A prehistoric Adventure by A. R. Shickman

16) Devil's Food Cake by Josi S. Kilpack (CF)
15) The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris (CF)
14) When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

February (7)...13

13) Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
12) Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo (CF)
11) Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman
10) Buried Alive by Roy Hallums
9) Plain Pursuit by Beth Wiseman
8) Saving Rachel by John Locke (CF)
7) Try Darkness by James Scott Bell (CF)

January (6)

6) Sins of the Flesh by Caridad Pinero (CF)
5) Life Support by Tess Gerritsen (CF)
4) The Switch by Sandra Brown
3) The Courtship by Catherine Coulter

2) The Marshall and the Heiress by Patricia Potter

1) The Last Bachelor by Betina Krahn

Creole Angel by Peggy Hanchar

Title: Creole Angel
Author: Peggy Hanchar
ISBN: 9787116200396
Publisher: Onyx Book/1987
Pages: 445

Rayne Elliott has been hand-picked to be the first client for Gabrielle Reynaud to initiate her in the house of ill-repute in New Orleans. Gaby falls in love with him and leaves New Orleans to be with him, looking forward to a future. But there are too many people, who have desired her and can't let her go just like that. Then there are those who are bent on reminding her of her past life in that house of ill-repute.

Rayne too comes to doubt her and their life fall apart. But with courage and strength, Gaby can hold on her own and tries to win back the love that truly belongs to both.

With an unusual start, this romance novel makes a good afternoon read in the cold winter!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone

Title: For the Love of St. Nick
Author: Garasamo Maccagnone
ISBN: 9781439227602
Pages: 61

It is a story abpout two boys, whose mother has died and father is trying to cope with the loss and also has to bring them up. When he, a Navy Commander, is transferred to a base in northern Michigan, they are uprooted from their familier surroundings. Mrs. Pennington is hired as their nanny and loves them both as her own. The younger child, Johnny is always sick due to a difficult birth. The doctor has told them that he will never recover fully.

The older boy is the narrator of the story and his love for Johnny shows through. He, at a young age does know what to do when Johnny gets sick. Then their father has to leave on a secret mission few weeks before Christmas, promising to return soon. Meanwhile, Johnny gets sick, with heavy snow all over, no one to turn to, the older brother can only pray and wait. It is a matter of life and death and he can't do a thing.

An unexpected encounter with a stranger changes everything....This book produces positive vibes, reinforces our faith that miracles do happen. For a thin book, it sure makes an impact on us.

Weekly Geeks: Book based on Haiti

Title: Breath, Eyes, Memory
Author: Edwidge Danticat
ISBN: 9781569471425
Publisher : Soho Press
Pages: 236 pages

From Publishers Weekly

A distinctive new voice with a sensitive insight into Haitian culture distinguishes this graceful debut novel about a young girl's coming of age under difficult circumstances. "I come from a place where breath, eyes and memory are one, a place where you carry your past like the hair on your head," says narrator Sophie Caco, ruminating on the chains of duty and love that bind the courageous women in her family. The burden of being a woman in Haiti, where purity and chastity are a matter of family honor, and where "nightmares are passed on through generations like heirlooms," is Danticat's theme. Born after her mother Martine was raped, Sophie is raised by her Tante Atie in a small town in Haiti. At 12 she joins Martine in New York, while Atie returns to her native village to care for indomitable Grandmother Ife. Neither Sophie nor Martine can escape the weight of the past, resulting in a pattern of insomnia, bulimia, sexual trauma and mental anguish that afflicts both of them and leads inexorably to tragedy. Though her tale is permeated with a haunting sadness, Danticat also imbues it with color and magic, beautifully evoking the pace and character of Creole life, the feel of both village and farm communities, where the omnipresent Tontons Macoute mean daily terror, where voudon rituals and superstitions still dominate even as illiterate inhabitants utilize such 20th-century conveniences as cassettes to correspond with emigres in America. In simple, lyrical prose enriched by an elegiac tone and piquant observations, she makes Sophie's confusion and guilt, her difficult assimilation into American culture and her eventual emotional liberation palpably clear.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Find: Skin by Mo Hayder

Skin by Mo Hyder

Book Blurb

When the decomposed body of a young woman is found by near railway tracks just outside Bristol one hot May morning, all indications are that she’s committed suicide. That’s how the police want it too; all neatly squared and tidied away.

But DI Jack Caffery is not so sure. He is on the trail of someone predatory, someone who hides in the shadows and can slip into houses unseen.

And for the first time in a very long time, he feels scared.

Police Diver Flea Marley is working alongside Caffery.Having come to terms with the loss of her parents, and with the traumas of her past safely behind her, she’s beginning to wonder whether their relationship could go beyond the professional.

And then she finds something that changes everything. Not only is it far too close to home for comfort – but it’s so horrifying that she knows that nothing will ever be the same again.

And that this time, no one – not even Caffery – can help her …

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Booking Through Unknown Favourite

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Who’s your favorite author that other people are NOT reading?

I can only think of one, who despite being a prolific writer and producing real good work, has simply disappeared from the reading world.

Warwick Deeping (1877-1950): A medical doctor, native of England, he left his practice to write novels. His most creative period was 1903-1950 and his most famous work was Sorrell and Son, 1925. He wrote some 60 odd novels and was very widely known in England and America. He wrote many historical novels and excelled in the Edwardian period. I have read around 10 of his novels, mostly pertaining to the time period he lived. The simplicity of the prose and complexity of the story make some of his novels outstanding. I would have read more but his books are unavailable. Right now I am trying to get hold of ebooks which are available for free. I do think that he needs to be read. Despite being a best-selling author in the 1920s and 1930s, for some reason, he is not at all known now. I hope some publisher thinks of resuscitating his books. It would be worth anything. Do check him out at wikipedia.


Tintin & The Crab with the Golden Claws by Herge

Title: The Crab with the Golden Claws
Author: Herge
ISBN: 9780316358330
Publisher: Little, Brown Books/1974
Pages: 62

The Crab with the Golden Claws introduces us to one of our all time favorite characters: Captain Haddock. A bumbling drunken wretch, he enderas himself to us right from the beginning and stays through all the Tintin Albums.

The plot is great too what with drug smuggling rings in north Africa. These really present Tintin with so many challenges, and TIntin gets out of all those with his usual aplomb!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tintin and The Shooting Star by Herge

Title: Tintin and The Shooting Star
Author: Herge
Publisher: Litle, Brown Books/1984
Pages: 62

The Shooting Star tells the story of Tintin's voyage to the Arctic Ocean to recover a meteor that is composed of Phostlite, an unknown metal.

Walking home one night, Tintin sees a large star in the sky, a star that hadn't been there before. The astronomers have spotted it too, and predict that it will collide with the Earth and that would be the end of it.. The meteor causes an earthquake on impact but nothing else. The astronomers believe the meteorite is made of a mysterious new metal, and decide to make a trip by boat, led by Captain Haddock, to the Arctic Ocean to investigate. An oil company from Sao Rico has also decided to visit the meteor, to take the new metal for themselves. It becomes a race filled with sabotage and seasickness. Tintin and the astronomers have to beat them, no matter what.

It has got a few elements of sci-fi to it and a dream sequence. And It is always a pleasure to read about Captain Haddock. Another good Tintin album.

After Innocence by Brenda Joyce

Title: After Innocence
Author: Brenda Joyce
ISBN: 9780061235269
Publisher: Avon Books/1994
Pages: 422


From the back cover

Estranged from society, wealthy and beautiful artist Sofie O'Neil finds her private world. She longs just once to taste a forbidden love—to follow the dangerous diamond smuggler Edward Delanza to paradise. but Edward wants far more from the innocent young heiress than a brief and passing encounter. For he is determined to heal her and possess her- now...and for all time.


My views:

Although a usual romance with a predictable happy ending, it does offer something different. Especially
Suzanne, Sophie's mother. It is she who keeps the reader totally hooked. Her attitude towards Sophie takes us over the edge. It's not Sophie and Edward that hold interest but Suzanne and Jake do that. It touches that destructive kind of love that can make a person insane and thats how Suanne appears to us. I kept wanting to know the relationship betwen Jake and Suzanne and also that of Jake and Sophie. For all those romance readers, this book certainly offers something different. But then, Brenda Joyce does that with most of her novels.

A-Z Wednesday: The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton

The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton

Product Description from fictiondb

The co-owner of a Toronto antiquities store, Lara McClintoch is obsessed with finding rare and beautiful artifacts. Her travels take her to the ends of the earth, where history jealously guards its treasures--and where the mysteries of the past meet the dangers of the present...

After receiving a cryptic phone call from Dr. Hernan Castillo, an expert in Mayan history, Lara travels to Merida, Mexico, to help him with a mysterious project that he has undertaken. But on arriving in Merida, Lara sees no sign of the good doctor--until his lifeless body turns up in his office at the museum. Retracing the doctor's recent footsteps, she is drawn into the jungles surrounding Merida. For in this lush paradise are the temples of Mayan gods--and the camps of modern-day rebels fighting to save their Mayan heritage. As the body count escalates, Lara must uncover the secrets of the Mayan underworld known as Xibalba--and journey into the very heart of darkness...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Tintin & The Secret of the Unicorn by Herge

TItle: Tintin & The Secret of the Unicorn
Author: Herge
ISBN: 978-0316358323
Publisher: Little, Brown Books/1974

Pages: 62

Tintin buys a boat model of an old ship for Captain Haddock, but soon after, two man try to buy it off him. The first is a Mr. Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, and the second is, Barnaby. Sakharine calls on Tintin at his flat, seeking to convince him to sell his ship, and leaves his card. Sometime later,the mainmast of the model ship gets broken, thanks to Snowy, and Tintin repairs it.

When the Captain visits Tintin, he sees the ship and reacts with astonishment. Haddock takes Tintin back to his apartment and shows him a portrait of one of his ancestors, Sir Francis Haddock, the captain of a 17th century naval vessel. In its background is the very same ship, called "the Unicorn". When Tintin and the Captain return to Tintin's flat, they find that the model boat has been stolen. Tintin visits Sakharine, accusing him of having stolen it and discovers an identical ship in Sakharine's collection, but it is a different one, as the mast has not been broken. This ship too carries the letters "Unicorn" on the back. When Tintin returns home, he finds that his flat has been ransacked, and while cleaning up he finds a mysterious parchment. He realizes that it must have been hidden within the mainmast broken by Snowy, and subsequently rolled out onto the floor. He guesses that the parchement holds the clue to finding treasure and rushes back to the Captain's flat.

The boat model which was stolen is just one of three constructed by Sir Francis for his three sons. Each one holds a parchment which, when placed together, will give the treasure's location. Tintin and Haddock then visit Mr. Sakharine, hoping to examine the parchment in his model, but find him unconscious in his apartment and the parchment taken from the model. Sakharine's description of his attacker matches Barnaby.

Tintin is later kidnapped by the perpetrators of the shooting, by two unscrupulous antique dealers who believe that he possesses the parchments. They are behind the theft of Tintin's model, having discovered the third parchment and have figured out that they needed all three to decode the clue to the treasure's location.

Tintin later escapes. Captain Haddock and Thompson and Thomson arrive to help their friend and they capture one of the kidnappers. As their prisoner confesses, which ultimately enables them to capture the fugitive at the national border. This was one of the favourite albums of Herge too. Very adventurous, hilarious and rollicking fun! Go for it!

Clover, Bee and Reverie: A Poetry Challenge

For all those who read poetry, this is a good challenge to read poetry. There are four levels and you can join any. Check out, Clover, Bee and Reverie: A Poetry Challenge, for more info and do join in.

The challenge will go through 12/31/2010.

Here are the four levels of participation:

Couplet: Read 2 books of poetry

Limerick: Read 5 books of poetry, and finish at least one badge

Octave: Read 8 books of poetry, and finish at least two badges

Sonnet: Read 14 books of poetry, and finish two badges, and one expert badge


I will go for the Octave level. My tentative list of poetry books are:

1) Selected Poems by Robert Lowell (1917-1977)
2) Renascence and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892–1950)
3) Thirst: poems By Mary Oliver
4) Becoming The Villainess by Jeannine Hall Gaily
5) At the Threshold of Alchemy by John Amen
6 Poetic Musings of an Old, Fat Man by Harry E. Gilleland, Jr.
7) Slamming Open The Door by Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno
8) The Essential Keats: Selected by Philip Levine

Monday, January 18, 2010

Crime Fiction Alphabet: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Title: The Name of the Rose
Author: Umberto Eco
ISBN: 0749397055
Publisher: Vintage/1998
Pages: 502

The Name of the Rose is the first novel by Umberto Eco. It is narrated in first person by a character named Adso of Melk, who has been taken from history. But this is a work of fiction which makes use of historical facts to a large extent.

It is based in an abbey run by Benedictines consisting of gardeners, cellarists, herbalists and young novices. A learned Franciscan, Brother William along with his disciple, Adso of Melk, is sent to investigate a unnatural death in the Abbey. While he is there trying to solve the mystery, we see more murders being commited and William is wholly embroiled in it all. He has great acumen and solves the mystery of the deaths. He has to decipher meanings from words, symbols, ideas, codes, signs etc.

This novel is based in and around a library which is more of labyrinth than anything else. It contains rare books and is jealously guarded by the librarian and the Abbot. Certain rooms are closed to the monks too. One can't enter those parts. Permission is not forthcoming either. It is not given to brother William who has come to imvestigate the murder. However, that does not stop him and Adso to find ways and means to enter it. Most intersting was how they finally find the ways to do it.

Now the question why are all those murders being committed? Which book/s is/are being so jealously guarded and by whom? Why is it so important to keep it away from prying eyes? What is the Abbot scared of? How does one define sin? Why shouldn't the secret vices of the monks be revealed? What is definition of lust? And many more question...

Solving the mystery is only part of it. Learning about history, philosophy and sciences along with arts of those times is but a bonus. It is also a political statement of those times. Very intriguing and filled with wisdom. A great book for all those who do serious reading.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Monday: Musing/Whereabouts/Mailbox

When is it inappropriate to read in front of others? Is it ever appropriate?

When one invites people over and then reads, I think that is extremely rude. Otherwise I read pretty much everywhere unless I am baby-sitting or entertaining someone.

I read while travelling or waiting. Keeps me busy and also helps in closing the world out.


I finished:

The Marshall and the Heiress by Patricia Potter (344)
The Courship by Catherine Coulter (331)
The Switch by Sandra Brown (Pages 550)
Life Support by Tess Gerritsen (Pages 369)

I plan to read:

Anything that holds my interest

I posted reviews of:

Six Seconds by Rick Mofina
Tintin and King Ottokar's Sceptre
White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner
The Last Bachelor by Betina Krahn
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas


Monday Mailbox is hosted by Marcia

I didn't receive a single book this past week.