It feels like ages since I posted here. My life is still a bit crazy, with still sorting out what to do about the foundation and estimates. I am thrilled to say that I have been on a reading binge since my last post, and I have some quick book reviews for you tonight. Before then, I wanted to give a quick update: I once again passed my blogiversary! This is the third year in a row that I missed it, and I'm perplexed. I spend most of the year waiting for it so I can talk about cake and what blogging means to me and all the wonderful people I have met who love books as much as I do, and then every year something has happened in my life and I am never here on Oct 1!!!
Here is the link to my very first post, five years ago. Yes, my blog is 5 years old now! 5 wonderful, exciting, magical, sad, and challenging years for me. Through it all, my blog has kept company with me. I have read many more books per year since joining the online community, and I have found so many books I wouldn't have read otherwise, because of you, dear Readers. Most of all, is you, all of you. My conversations in my life are peppered with 'my book-twin in Korea', Ana in Portugal, Geranium Cat, Bride, and Cath in England, Debi and Chris and Eva in the US, Carl, Jeanne......Kelly here in Canada with me.....Kay, Wendy, Stefanie.....so many wonderful conversations about books, and about our lives as we share them, and grow along with one another. My life, as tumultuous as it has been these past five years (and I'm really hoping it will settle soon), has also been made more joyous because I've met and come to know all of you through the years. Our sad loss of Dewey, which still haunts all of us who had time to know her before she left this world. Some of you have dropped from blogging alot to just checking in, as your lives have changed. Certainly my blog has reflected my life, as the last two years I was barely able to maintain it, and yet that love of books,and missing talking with you about books, kept bringing me back. So it hasn't been an easy 5 years, though I suspect this will be one of those times in my life when I look back a few years from now and think, "Gosh I learned so much!'
I plan to keep on blogging, as I have tried to write much more often this year, than in the past. It hasn't always been easy, but it is fun, and I always, always love coming to read what you are saying and thinking about books and life. So, here's to my 5 year anniversary! Here is a picture of one of my favourite cakes to make, Nigella Lawson's Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake, with a link to her recipe in case you are tempted.
MMMMM I might have to make it soon......even a diabetic deserves a treat now and then!!! Happy 5 years, and thanks so much for sharing it all with me. I hope you'll come along with me in the coming years, there are more books to read and discover........
All right, to the quick book reviews:
Blood Harvest - S.J. Bolton - fabulous dark mystery thriller. I couldn't put it down. A family moves into a house in a small village, and strange things start happening to the children. A girl's figure is seen in the cemetary that surrounds the house....but is she real or is she a ghost? Several little girls have died in the past several years, is she one of them? And why can the boys in the house hear her, but no one else does? Perfect read for RIP VII. 5/5 ***thanks to Kay at Purple Sage and Scorpions for her review here of S.J. Bolton's other books, which led me to checking to see what my library had.
Driftnet - Lin Anderson - first in a Glasgow mystery series, featuring Rhona MacLeod, a forensic scientist. A young boy is found dead, in a room, a rent boy. Prostitute. He looks surprisingly like Rhona MacLeod, who gave a baby up for adoption at his birth, and so who has a personal interest in discovering what happened to the baby she gave up. Is this where he came to be, on her table, murdered? A very good first mystery novel in a series that has 7 books now in the series. I enjoyed it very much. 4.5/5
The Twilight Time - Karen Campbell. Another first mystery in a growing series. It is set in Glasgow again, and is about as gritty and realistic a portrayal of modern policing as I've come across yet. Anna Cameron is assigned to the Flexi Unit, and the story opens with her first day on the job. She is leading the unit, and already some of the officers resent her before she even starts. This is realistic dialogue, tensions, setting, with the Flexi Unit patrolling the worst drug -and- prostitute-addled street in Glasgow. An elderly man is murdered, and in the investigation Anna is wounded by someone who is stalking prostitutes and slashing them. Along the way Jamie's wife Cath (an ex-police officer herself) gets involved, and all through the novel we have the police work, and the private lives, laid out, so we are living through the investigation with these three characters. Highly recommended. I've already ordered the second book with Anna, Shadowplay. I've just discovered that Jamie has his own book, After The Fire, so I have to see if I can find that here. 5/5
Dark Fire- C.J. Sansom - Second book in the Matthew Shardlake series. I read this in the summer, when it was as hot out for us as it was in London in this book - a record-breaking drought for us, record-breaking drought and heat for that time in England. Shared misery! This was a slow mystery to get into, with Matthew dragged into defending a girl accused of murdering her cousin through the goodness of his heart. He is mostly concerned with Dark Fire, a legend about a fire that wasn't fire, that could burn water. Was it real? The Greeks thought so, and someone in London has told the King that they have the secret, but before it is brought before the king, the person is killed, and the workshop broken into. Thomas Cromwell orders Shardlake to find the Greek Fire, hoping this will restore him to the king's favour. He is slipping, as the Seymours slip in around the king, dangling Jane Seymour in front of him. Shardlake can't refuse. While the search for the Dark Fire was interesting, and the court politics and intrigue fascinating - especially because we know what happened with Jane, and Cromwell - the real heart of this story is whether Elizabeth killed her cousin, and what would cause a girl to do so. A very dark horrific secret lies at the heart of this mystery, and it's not one that you would think of. It still gives me the shivers to think of. This was the highlight of the book, and makes it perfect for RIP VII also. The mystery part is good, though a bit confusing with the two storylines,
and not quite as gripping as the first book in the series, Dissolution. Still, among the best mystery series, and highly recommended. 4.7/5 **Cath at Read-Warbler read this last year, her post is here. (She does an excellent job explaining the plot also) What's fun is that she thinks Dark Fire is better than the first one! What do you think, Gentle reader? Have you read this series? Do you agree with me (Dissolution slightly better), or Cath?
I am getting set to read the next one, Sovereign, which is set in my favourite city of York. I have to add that the historical setting, dialogue, atmosphere, descriptions, are impeccable. This is historical writing at its best.
I would recommend all of these mysteries for RIP VII, in case you are looking for something that's not horror to read for Carl's challenge.