Jar City by Arnaldur Indridason


Genre: Police procedural
Subject: children of rape, medical diagnosis database
Setting: Reykjavik, Iceland
Main Characters: Erlendur, Kolbrún, Audur, Einar, Holberg
Series: yes, Reykjavik mystery #1
Dates Read: July 16 - July 30
Number of pages: 294
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no, public Library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Geography class

Inspector Erlendur Sveinsson of Iceland's CID is called to the sight of a dead body. The atmosphere is oppressive in the basement apartment of the victim, Holberg, and the only possible clue is a old black and white photo of a gravestone.

Deciphering the clue, Erlendur tracks down a history of the victim that finally enables him to find the murderer and the motive. The victjm didn't really get your sympathy so finding the motivation was paramount.

I had a very difficult time at the start of this book because of the unusual names. It was hard to figure out who was who and what their relationships were. However, the setting of Iceland came through well, making me feel that I really was seeing what it was like for someone to be in this country. The mystery was interesting and the characters, once I understood who was who, were very engaging.


The Wife Trap by Tracy Anne Warren

Genre: Romance
Subject: deception, snobbery, independence
Setting: Ireland
Main Characters: Jeannette Brantford, Darragh O'Brien
Series: yes, #2
Dates Read: July 24 - July 28
Number of pages: 392
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, my shelves
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: English Lit

Lady Jeannette Brantford is in disgrace because of the deception that she persuaded her twin sister into participating in. Her sister, Violet, is now the Duchess of Raebern, the position that Jeannette was supposed to have had, but she didn't want to marry the Duke. Now she's been banished to Ireland to live with rustic cousins.

Jeannette, before even reaching her destination, meets Darragh O'Brien, a devilishly handsome man who thinks she's spoiled and self-centered. The interaction between these two characters and their antics is entertaining and thoroughly amusing.


The Girl Below by Bianca Zander

Genre: Fiction
Subject: child of divorce
Setting: New Zealand, England
Main Characters: Suki Piper,
Series: no
Dates Read: July 14 - July 22
Number of pages: 274
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: English Lit Class

I'm not sure I know what I was expecting when I started this book, and I'm not sure I know what I got. This book was apparently supposed to be the tale of a child that has grown, and yet returns to moments in her past to correct an error she made as a child.

That's the best that I can surmise from this book. It was very jumpy, going back and forth in different times, seemed to meander with no direction and often was very predictable. The characters were too 2 dimensional and the main character was constantly whining about how the world seemed to be treating her badly!

I tried, but this book was just not for me.


Travelling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Kidd Taylor

Genre: Memoir
Subject: Mother/Daughter relationships
Setting: Greece, France, SC USA
Main Characters: Sue Monk Kidd, Ann Kidd Taylor
Series: no
Dates Read: July 16 - July 21
Number of pages: 419
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no, public Library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Foreign Languages

Sue Monk Kidd is a writer (Secret Loves of Bees) but she is also a woman and mother. This book, co-authored with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor, is about their lives and their relationship with and to each other.

The story is very spiritual in that Sue sees herself and Anne as a modern Demeter and Persephone. Sue, with health issues, projects her own fears of growing old, while Ann, shows a lack of self-confidence to go forward with her life and relationships. But as they travel and see the ancient world and hear its tales, they see that their fears and uncertainties need not stop them from doing what they want to do.

The progression from Greece and the Demeter/Persephone comparison (pomegranate charms that they wore) move on in another year to Paris where they are engrossed in the Jeanne d'Arc and then a return to Greece after Ann's marriage and their connection with Black Madonnas is filled with introspection and self-analysis.

This isn't the type of book that I normally read, but I found it interesting that a mother and Daughter would be this close. The descriptions of their travels were also enjoyable.


They're growing books along side the grapevines in Ghent, Belgium - how cool is that!

"books too can broaden the mind, just like good wine.” I'll drink to that!


Reading Question

Have you ever chosen a book just because of the title?
If so, what about the title drew you too it?

I personally have been drawn to a book simply because of the title.

I am an arctophile - that's someone who loves teddy bears. My husband calls me Princess. so when I saw the title "The Princess and the Bear" I had to read it. It was a juvenile/Young Adult novel. It was well-written, sort of a fairy tale for the older kids with good lessons to learn. So chosing a book by its title is not a bad thing.

How about you? What books have you chosen by the title and were you surprised by what you got?


The Colfax Massacre by LeeAnna Keith

Genre: History
Subject: racial issues during Reconstruction
Setting: Louisiana, USA
Main Characters: William Smith Calhoun
Series: no
Dates Read: July 14 - July 15
Number of pages: 171
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no, Public Library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: History class

This book told of the account of the racal incident in Colfax, LA where 13 white men and 150 negros were killed. It was extremely difficult reading not just because of the topic but the writing as well. Hard to follow and at times a bit too detailed.

Mailbox Monday

My mailbox seems to be getting regular activity lately and this week is no exception. I won this one in a contest on Bookin' With BINGO. Thanks Kaye. She's always got giveaways going on over there. Be sure to check them out. In this one....

I get to read a Mall Cop Mystery

Looks like fun!


Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy
Subject: Dragons, deportation to Australia
Setting: Australia
Main Characters: Captain Laurence, Temeraire
Series: yes, #6
Dates Read: July 13 - July 15
Number of pages: 274
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Speech Class

In previous installments, Laurence has been convicted of treason and only to save the services of Termeraire the celestial dragon, his sentence is commuted to transportation to Australia where it is hoped Temeraire can help the new colony with dragons on New South Wales.

Upon their arrival they are caught in a power struggle between the Colonial Governor, Captain Bligh (of Bounty fame) and local rebels. Try as they can to complete their designated missions, they encounter defeat after defeat in the Outback.

This story seemed to lack substance and just seemed to be a vehicle to move the characters from one locale to another. It was entertaining but not what has been the normal thrill of a Temeraire tale. Hope the next one is back on track.


Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins

Genre: Mystery
Subject: serial killings
Setting: Amaryllis, MS
Main Characters: Tully Phillips, Deena Ruckland, Cherrie Mae Devine, Trent Williams
Series: no
Dates Read: July 4 - July 13
Number of pages: 321
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, publisher for review
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Homework

If you thought that someone you loved was involved in a crime, would you have the courage to come forward and present evidence against them, or would you try to hide what you knew?

The small town of Amaryllis, MS for the past three years has been the scene of 5 murders by a serial killer who places his victims in the closet. No one has been killed in over a year when Erika Hollinger is found dead to be the Closet Killer's newest victim and the residents begin to start pointing fingers again.

Cherrie Mae Devine is a housecleaner and finds some incriminating evidence in the home of one of her clients. Tully Phillips finds blood on some of her husband's clothes, and Deena Ruckland sees blood on her brother's work uniform. Each of the ladies keeps quiet because they find it hard to believe that the person involved could be the killer. It is not until they band together do they find the real killer.

This book was extremely entertaining between the story and the characters. It was as if I could hear their voices the way that the dialogue was written and the mystery was well planned.


Alexander Graham Bell: Inventor and Visionary by Kendall Haven

Genre: History
Subject: Biography
Setting: Scotland, USA
Main Characters: Alexander Graham Bell
Series: no
Dates Read: July 12
Number of pages: 114
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no, Public Library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: History class

Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell was a talented pianist? His talent was so great that he could have been a concert pianist but his father believe that it was too frivolous and insisted that he give it up. His father wanted him to do something valuable in the area of sound (his own specialty was development of Visual Sound language). But Alexander (AGB) was not academically inclined. He was a visionary.

At the age of 8,with his brother Melville, AGB invented a wheat separator for a neighboring farmer. Later at his father's suggestion, they created a talking machine that could be "programmed" to mimic the human voice.

The early years of his life he spent helping the deaf learn to speak but he yearned to put his other ideas into action. Receiving funding from his future father-in-law to create a harmonizing telegraph, AGB "accidently" developed and created the telephone. And there is where most people leave AGB - the Telephone effected everyone and still does but at the age of 29 AGB wasn't finished.

Other inventions in his life were:
audiometer to measure hearing loss
creation of the decibel rating system
fiber optic photophone was ahead of its time (80 yrs.) so it flopped
a metal detector to try to find bullet in Garfield (would have worked except for the metal springs in the bed)
vacuum jacket - forerunner of the iron lung
graphophone (dictaphone) voice recordings
automatic butter churner, water delivery system, cooling fans,
aeronautical designs from aircraft to jet engines
hydrofoil boats
flat records for phonographs

He also financially supported other inventors - Samuel Langley - steam aerodrome and Albert Michelson, Nobel prize winner for measurement of the speed of light for a few. And he wanted to spread the word of scientific progress so he helped to create the National Geographic Society and publication as well as supplying money to start the Smithsonian publication.

AGB also warned of the "greenhouse effect" and of energy shortages he foresaw in the future.

So Alexander Graham Bell was not just the telephone, he was a visionary for his time and the future.


Rutherford B Hayes: Warrior and President by Ari Hoogenboom

Genre: Biography
Subject: Rutherford B. Hayes
Setting: USA
Main Characters: RB Hayes,Lucy Hayes
Series: no
Dates Read: July 3 - July 11
Number of pages: 535
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no , Interlibrary Loan
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: History Class

Rutherford B. Hayes, for me, was just the name of the President who followed Grant. I really knew nothing about him. I read another biography which told me about his early life and military adventures during the Civil War but absolutely nothing about his Presidency so I ordered this book from another library and set to work to find out about his Presidency. I will admit to skimming through to his Presidency since I'd already been there and done that.

The Hayes Administration did not start out well. Because of the disputed election results from South Carolina, Louisiana and FLORIDA, the victor was not declared until March 2nd - two days before he was to take office. A special act of Congress and commission were needed to determine which election returns from these three states would be counted. There were questions of fraud, ballot box stuffing, and intimidation of voters - not the cheering that is expected at the end of an election.

Hayes had at the beginning stated that he would only serve one term. During that term he was confronted with numerous diplomatic issues - Chinese immigration and the beginning talks and negotiations regarding the Panama Canal. Domestic problems that he faced centered on the final reconciliation of the South by the removal of federal forces and reinstatement of local government control, redemption of greenbacks and return to specie payments, and his prime goal of civil service reform.

Hayes battled continually with the Democratic Congress because of his desire to reform the civil service and frequently had to veto appropriation bills because of riders that they inserted that would have weakened election laws in the South. Other items he should be remembered for are his stressing of education for all (which he worked on after he left office) and the final funding for the completion of the Washington Monument.

Rutherford B Hayes stated at his inauguration " he serves his party best who serves his country best." It was words he lived by, always believing that if he did what was best for the country, he would never hurt the Republican Party.

Benjamin Harrison said of Hayes on his death "His public service extended over many years and over a wide range of official duty. He was a patriotic citizen, a lover of the flag and of our free institutions, an industrious and conscientious civil officer, a soldier of dauntless courage, a loyal comrade and friend, a sympathetic and helpful neighbor, and the honored head of a happy Christian home. He has steadily grown in the public esteem, and the impartial historian will not fail to recognize the conscientiousness, the manliness, and the courage that so strongly characterized his whole public career."

The book is well-written, easy to read and follow, and apparently well-researched.

"Rutherford Hayes will forever be linked with the Disputed Election of 1876, an unfortunate legacy since he should be counted among the most honest presidents."

If only half of what is told in this biography is true, this man has earned my respect. This is a president I am glad that I found out about. Too bad not more people know of his life.


An Irish Country Doctor by

Author: Patrick Taylor
Genre: Fiction
Subject: Small Irish village and new doctor
Setting: Ballybucklebo
Main Characters: Barry Laverty, Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly, Kinky Kincaid
Series: no
Dates Read: July 2 - July 9
Number of pages: 448
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: yes, audio stockpile
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Geography Class
Dr. Barry Laverty has finished medical school and searching for a location to hang out his shingle, answers an advertisement and heads to a small village in Ulster called Ballybucklebo. There Dr. Laverty is confronted with the town doctor who is looking for an assistant. Dr. O'Reilly is a larger than life character who proceeds to teach the younger man the nuances of treating the village residents.
The amusing tales highlight the gentleness of the area - reverberating with the simple setting and the lack of the urban rush of most of our everyday lives. The characters and situations make you smile and often laugh - just a wonderful summer read. Highly recommended.


True Justice by Robert Tenanbaum

Genre: Legal Thriller
Subject: infanticide, legal definitions
Setting: Delaware, NYC
Main Characters: Bucth Karp, Lucy Karp, Marlene Ciampi, Sarah Goldfarb
Series: yes, #12
Dates Read: June 20 - July 3
Number of pages: 464
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?: no, Public Library
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: Geography class

Today's controversial headlines easily could be the driving force behind this legal thriller. After a wave of suspicious baby deaths, the NY public, spurred on by sensational headlines and newspaper stories, wants someone convicted and Butch Karp, the Chief ADA in NYC, is put in the position of having to prosecute a 15 year old Hispanic girl who is alleged to have thrown her baby out of a bathroom window after delivery so that she could return to a party. In the meantime, his wife, Marlene, who specializes in security for battered women, decides she's been shot at enough and is going back to practice law.

Marlene's first case is the defense of a young woman in Delaware who also is accused of infanticide. Leaving her two young sons and teenage daughter, Lucy, to the care of her husband and the Nanny, Marlene travels down the interstate to entangle herself in the search for justice for the dead child as well as the young woman accused of an horrific crime.

Lucy has troubles of her own when she inadvertently discovers the bodies of the parents of her best friend, dead in their home. The alleged murderer is someone that Lucy had befriended and so she tries to discover where her instincts were wrong in trusting this person.

The three different subplots of the book are so well intertwined that once the reader is embroiled in the story, there is little rest to be had. The stories grab your emotions and swing the reader from side to side until the inevitable conclusion.

The characters are interesting, though at some points a bit stereotypical, but all in all a story to relish. Unfortunately, it is part of a series (stands alone quite well) but only drives me to want to see these characters again. Ah, well, what's another series. Highly recommended.


Mailbox Monday

My Mailbox has been exploding!

Lately, I've been so busy and I haven't gotten around to letting everyone know what's been coming in my mail. So now I'm going to try to catch up on the books that coming through snail mail and electronically as well, at least for June.

First, I want to identify the e-books that I have gotten FREE! There is a program on Facebook that identifies the free books that are out there from Barnes & Noble and Amazon for Nook and Kindle. - Book Bub. I have 2 Nooks - regular and Touch Glow and use Kindle for PC.

So here are the e-books that I got in June so far...
These were free from Barnes & Noble:
  1. Through a Glass Darkly 6/1/12
  2. Still Life With Murder 6/6/12
  3. The Duchess of Love 6/6/12
  4. The Wary Widow 6/7/12
  5. Dead Tease 6/17/12
  6. Peaches 6/21/12
  7. Birdman 6/22/12
  8. Dawn of War 6/25/12
  9. Hide in Plain Sight 6/25/12
I also picked up these free from Amazon
  1. Just Deceits 6/17/12
  2. The Deal 6/22/12
  3. Solomon vs. Lord 6/25/12
I also got a few free real books (ARDs)
  1. The Queen's Vow - 6/8/12 - an Early Reviewer book I won from LibraryThing
  2. Hearse and Buggy - 6/18/12 - an ARC awarded by Penguin Group through Shelf Awareness
  3. The Aluminum Christmas Tree 6/23/12 gift from Whisper1 This one is very special to me because it came from my friend at LT.
So 12 books so far this month. I'm losing ground against the mountain TBR.
But I'll enjoy suffering!