The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Read: August 26 - August 30
Format: Audio 9 CDs equivalent 381 pages
Source: Public library
Subject: New York, Greek Mythology
Category: Niagara Falls - Overflows - #7 I Heard That!
Genre: Fiction
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Audio, SYLL, TIOLI
Stars: 4

Percy Jackson is in for dangerous times as Kronos and the other Titans gather to fight for supremacy and for the possible destruction of Olympus and the gods. Percy makes difficult decisions and takes tremendous risks to support the gods in their battle.

The reader sees old friends and enemies return as well as being introduced to several new characters. The story flows so well between the emotional aspects of growing up and making decisions while battling the evil Titans.
What a fun read!


Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle

Read: August 24 - August 28
Format: paperback 289 Pages
Source: Private library
Subject: bookbinding, book restoration, murder,
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, BOSC, TIOLI
Category: Cuddle up with a Cozy Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Stars: 3½

Brooklyn Wainwright loves books. She treats them with reverence and had made restoring and repairing them her life's work. So when her teacher/mentor is murdered while working on the restoration of a rare book, and Brooklyn takes over, she resolves to find the murderer as well as restore the book.

This was a well-written first in a series cozy with good character development as well as good mix of characters. The mystery was well-plotted with several twists and turns and it held this reader's attention throughout. I'm looking forward to the next one.

Weekend Wonderings

This week I began realizing that I was tremendously far behind on projects that I wanted to finish this year (Mainly because my reading was taking priority.) and wondered if there was some motivation that I could give myself other than guilt to get my projects caught up.

I send myself reminders of the projects, I have them on a checklist on the refrigerator, I walk pass them frequently, but how do I get myself to put down that book and start working on the project? Maybe it's that word "working" that gets me. Is there any solution? I really want to do them, and once I start in on them, they do consume my attention, but it's that starting point that's the kicker.

Do you have a magic process that keeps you on the straight and narrow when you have a number of projects that are going on at the same time?


My Meme in honor of my Nook e-reader. It will show what books I added to my e-book library in the past week. I hope that other users of e-readers will join me. This week I received an electronic coupon from Barnes & Noble for 50% off, so I went out to the website hoping to save some money. Unfortunately, the coupon excluded e-books but I already found a few bargains so here's what I got:

The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero
by Rick Riordan
After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods. Amazon.com Product Description
A real bargain - free!

Bleak House
by Charles Dickens
Bleak House is a satirical look at the Byzantine legal system in London as it consumes the minds and talents of the greedy and nearly destroys the lives of innocents--a contemporary tale indeed. Dickens's tale takes us from the foggy dank streets of London and the maze of the Inns of Court to the peaceful countryside of England. Likewise, the characters run from murderous villains to virtuous girls, from a devoted lover to a "fallen woman," all of whom are affected by a legal suit in which there will, of course, be no winner.
The first-person narrative related by the orphan Esther is particularly sweet. Listeners must pay close attention in order to keep up with the multiple narratives and cast of curious characters, including the memorable Inspector Bucket and Mr. Guppy. Fortunately, the publisher provides a partial list of characters on the inside jacket. Amazon.com Product Description
I've heard a lot about this one but never read it, so when it was one of this weeks FREE classics, I grabbed it! Another bargain!

A Murderous Procession
by Ariana Franklin
Joanna, the youngest of King Henry's daughters, is on her way to marry William II, king of Sicily. The journey will be long and dangerous, so Henry sends the only doctor he trusts -- Adelia Aquilar, who is just as gifted with the living as she is with the dead. Usually, Adelia would be eager to visit her homeland, but Henry insists she leave her daughter in England as insurance she'll return. Adelia takes out her bitterness on Rowley, her former lover and Henry's most loyal man. Rowley is along for protection because a princess travelling with a fortune in jewels and gold is a tempting target, especially when among the treasures is the great sword Excalibur.
Henry has decided to give it to his future son-in-law and greatest ally -- to keep it from his ambitious sons. But the scheming of princes is nothing compared to a madman who seeks revenge because he blames Adelia for his lover's death... From the publisher
This was the book that I was really looking to get a bargain on, and I did because it was on sale $5 off. So three great bargains!
Did you nab any great books this week?


Mailbox Monday

I am falling down on the job of posting the great books that I have received in my mailbox the last two weeks so I want to catch up and let you all know how lucky I am.

Another Mailbox Monday!!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This is a feature where we all share with each other the exciting books that showed up at our doors this week. WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and ever-growing wishlists!!

First, 2½ weeks ago, I received notice that I had won the ER book Bury Your Dead - the newest Louise Penny/Armand Gamache mystery. I was excited and figured I would get it sometime late August. Lo and Behold as the saying goes two days later it showed up in my mailbox. I was ready to read it and posted my review a few days ago.

Then came my surprise this past week. I received an ARC of Laura Childs' newest Scrapbooking mystery Fiber and Brimstone. I hadn't requested, in fact I didn't even know there was a chance of me getting it, but apparently, because I have reviewed her books before in ARC form, I got this one immediately. I was thrilled and am looking for to it immensely.

A Murderous Yarn by Monica Ferris

Read: August 10 - August 15
Format: Paperback 243 pages
Source: Private library
Subject: antique cars, car shows, infidelity
Category: Crafts, Cooking, and Hobbies
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, BOSC,
Stars: 2½

This is the 5th installment of the Needlecraft mysteries. Betsy Devonshire, the owner of Crewel World, sponsors her friend Lars' antique car in the Antique car show. Along the way, one of the other participants turns up dead.

Despite the title of this book, the main focus was on the antique cars and the special "runs" that were made to show them off in the Minnesota countryside. Very little of the action took place in Betsy's Shop Crewel World and the only tie in was that the suspects to the murder met at the needlework shop.

The book was entertaining to a degree but was not one of the best cozies I've read. A dip in status for this series. Let's hope the next is better.


Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

Read: August 15 - August 19
Format: Tradepaperback 371 Pages
Source: LT ER program for review
Subject: Champlain, Old Quebec City, mental anquish
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Thriller, BOSC
Category: Niagara Falls -- Overflow/Books found - Internet
Genre: Mystery
Stars: 5

It's hard to believe that the Three Pines series could keep getting better and better but in Bury Your Dead Louise Penny has excelled beyond the previous books in this series. Rarely, do I stay awake into the wee hours of the night because I simply can't go to sleep without finding out the ending of a book. This one kept me up.

For those that follow the series, this book is set several months after the ending of The Brutal Telling and we are informed that Olivier has been convicted of manslaughter and is in prison, and that Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as well as several of his team are recuperating from a deadly attack for which we have no specifics at the beginning.

This is a multi-level story intricately woven together so that the reader is drawn deeper and farther along without realizing the tug to reach the end will completely engulf them. First we have Armand Gamache staying with his old mentor in Quebec City incognito. When he is recognized at the scene of a suspicious death, the officer in charge asks for his assistance and reluctantly, Gamache agrees. Next, we have Gamache questioning himself and the conviction of Olivier in Three Pines so he sends Inspector Beauvoir to the tiny village to re-investigate off the record. Lastly, we have the mysterious attack which injured and killed members of the Sûreté du Québec. Who was killed, who was hurt, how badly- are the questions that are constantly running through the reader's thoughts as the story evolves.

To answer any or all of these questions in a review would only detract from the thrill of reading this book for yourself. The majestic writing of the anguish and fear of the Chief Inspector and his desire to continue on after his ordeal only add to the reader's respect and admiration for the character and his gentle spirit.

I have been blessed with the sheer pleasure of reading every book where Armand Gamache appears as the central character and hopefully, I will continue to be blessed in the future with more books by Louise Penny. They are all sensational! I couldn't give it less than 5 Stars!


Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray

Read: August 10 - August 15
Format: Audio 6 CDs equivalent 258 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: unemployment, rehabilitation, comfort zones
Category: A Full Course Meal - Dessert
Genre: Fiction
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI, AUDIO,SYLL
Stars: 3

Ruth's comfort zone is cake. Whenever something isn't right she thinks of cake. When things are wrong she bakes cakes. She tries to hide that she bakes as much as she does, but isn't successful when it comes to her family. She has a somewhat rebellious teenager daughter, a divorcée mother who is afraid to live alone, and a husband who has just been laid off from his job of 22 years and going through a mid-life crisis. At this moment she is confronted with a phone call that her father (with whom her mother can't bear to be in the same room) needs to come and live with them temporarily because of two broken wrists.

The stories and antics that follow are at times hilarious and others tearful. But always in the background is Ruth's need for cake in some form or other. How it all works out is a bit predictable but still enjoyable.


The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard

Read: August 11 - August 14
Format: Trade paperback 276 pages
Source: LT ER program for review
Subject: Farming, Art, dysfynctional families
Category: Niagara Falls - Overflow
Genre: Fiction
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, 50 State, TIOLI
Stars: 3

This book is the story of two women born on the same day (birthday sisters) in the same rural hospital and how their lives intertwined and eventually came together in the same place again.

Ruth and Dana are very different and yet very similar. Ruth is a farmer's daughter who loves art. She grows up on the farm helping her father (she has 4 other sisters) but longing for girly things like a Barbie doll. Dana is an artist's daughter and is very scientific and down-to-earth, eventually getting a college degree in horticulture.

The story is told in alternating chapters with the two women as the narrators. The entries are almost as if the reader has been handed their diaries which have been shuffled together, showing moments that they shared as well as their individual lives.

The idea of this story is not new and the outcome was pretty evident early on. Each of the issues that appear in the book are easily predicted by the reader. It was well-written but not great reading because of the lack of originality.


Wishlist Wednesday

This is a new meme started by Tina at TutusTwoCents showing the books that we are looking to acquire/borrow/read in the future, where we heard about them and why they caught our attention.Just so I don't get too carried away with additions to my wishlist, I've decided to hold mine to one book here a week.
A few weeks ago I made it known right here that the new book Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny was a definite for my wishlist. Can you believe it, it arrived today courtesy of LibraryThing's ER program. How great is that! That's one I can cross off the Wishlist and add to the TBRs.


Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Read: July 13 - August 10
Format: Audio 36 CDs, Hardback 754 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet
Category: Civil War and its Leaders
Genre: History
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, USPC, Chunkster, Audio
Stars: 5

I think I know Abraham Lincoln. This book has so many details and delves so deeply into the personality of Abraham Lincoln as well as his cabinet members that I feel as if I've actually met this man and what a great man he was.

This book reveals the private details of the lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln as well as William Seward, Edward Bates, Salmon Chase, Edwin Stanton, and Montgomery Blair during the time of the Civil War. The images of these great men depicted in this volume place the reader within the Lincoln's circle of confidantes so thoroughly that you feel that you are part of the decision making Team of Rivals.

Beyond that and because of that, you see every facet which made Lincoln the great man that he was. "His speeches possessed unmatched power, conviction, clarity and moral strength." Lincoln was always known for his humor as well as his drive, but the reader also sees his spirit of generosity, his gentleness, his ability to bring out the best in anyone. Lincoln was not a vain man and knew that there were abilities that he did not possess and so he turned to the men that he knew had those abilities and drew them to his support. He seem to know exactly how to convince his former rivals to become his friends and his allies. Each of these men wanted to be President and Lincoln "stole" the nomination in 1860. These men could have turned against him, but Lincoln used his abilities of persuasion and placed them in the position that aided in the preservation of the nation.

It is remarkable that a basically self-educated man was able to accomplish what he did at such a volatile time in our history. Men who served before and after him in the Presidency had more education, but perhaps, it is the spirit of the man, that in the end, succeeded where others would have failed. How sad that he was cut down before he was able to complete the task of reuniting our nation. History definitely would have been quite different.

Suzanne Toren on the Audio version (I had both hardback and audio) was tremendous making this 750+ page come alive. I rarely give a book 5 stars, this one I couldn't give less - it should have more.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Read: August 6 - August 10
Format: E-Book 509 pages
Source: E-book - Nook
Subject: social prejudices, marriage
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, TIOLI, CHUNKSTER,
Category: Miss Austen and Her Relations (P & P lives on!)
Stars: 4½

There really isn't much more that can be said about this book that hasn't already been said. I love the characters that Miss Austen has created in this narrative - some are multi-dimensional, some are caricatures, some are there just because they are needed to push the story forward. But put them altogether and you have a love story that stands the test of time.

I hadn't planned to re-read this book but a few nights ago I didn't have anything to read and since it was on my Nook I started it again and again it grabbed me and held me until the end. Definitely a CLASSIC!


The Inheritance by Simon Tolkien

Read: August 1 - August 7
Format: Hardback abandoned after 122 pages
Source: LT ER program
Subject: murder, WWII, search for codex, familial dysfunction
Challenges: ABANDONED
Genre: Mystery
Stars: ½

I'm giving up. I waited 5 months for this ER book to arrive and as soon as I finished the books I had been reading at its arrival, I started this book, but I can't go on!

What's wrong with it you say? First the writing is not great - it is extremely disjointed, vague, repetitive. There was a small mystery introduced at the beginning and then no further clues. The characters are one-dimensional, and not one is someone that I would care to ever meet and I definitely cannot develop any empathy for. This is supposed to be a mystery/thriller, well I haven't seen anything thrilling in the 120+ pages that I've read, so I quit!

IMO, this book needs a complete re-write. I actually thought I'd skip to the last few chapters to see what the mystery was all about, even those couldn't grab my interest. The concept may have been good, the execution fell flat. This book is ABANDONED.


Weekend Wonderings

For those that stop by regularly, aren't you surprised by the picture for my wonderings?
Earlier this week, I was going through the blogs that I follow and realized that many of them pass along yummy sounding recipes and it got me to wondering....
When you see a recipe that sounds absolutely scrumptious on the Internet, have you ever tried it out? If you have, was it as good as you thought it would be? What's your experience been in this area? Have you tried recipes from any of the books you've read?
I've tried several recipes that I've seen at different blogs and websites. Some were better than I thought they would, some were just so difficult that even though they were good, I wouldn't make them again, and some were not great.


Latte Trouble by Cleo Coyle

Read: August 3 - August 4
Format: E-Book 256 pages
Source: B&N Nook
Subject: Fashion, coffee, partnerships
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book,

Category: Crafts, Cooking, and Hobbies
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Stars: 3½

Clare Cosi, who manages the coffee shop the Village Blend, is hosting a party for Fall Fashion week when one of the partygoers dies from a poisoned latte. Her barista, Tucker, is arrested on the suspicion of murder, so Clare sets to work to prove that he is innocent.

The plot in this third in the coffeehouse mysteries, was tight and suspenseful. The characters were fun to get to know. I was on the edge of my seat because I though I figured it out toward the end, I was still in for some surprises at the end. It was great. I'm going to have to get the next one soon. This is fast becoming one of my favorite series!


Mailbox Monday

Another Mailbox Monday!!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This is a feature where we all share with each other the exciting books that showed up at our doors this week. WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and ever-growing wishlists!!

This week I snagged two books in the mailbox - and they both were surprises and I love surprises!

Red Hook Road
by Ayelet Waldman

I had entered the contest on Tutu's blog but didn't win it but being the great big sister that she is, she sent me her copy, of course, she already read it!

French Pressed
by Cleo Coyle

A few weeks ago, I finished On What Grounds, which was the second book in the Coffeehouse series and the author happened to read my review right here and kindly sent me book #6. I've got #3 and#4 and think I can get #5 on my Nook, (alright I'm compulsive in that I like to read them in order...) but I promise I'm going to get to it soon! This series even makes me think about drinking coffee. I wonder what a Latte tastes like?

Well, did you get any great books or surprises in your mailbox this week?