Sunday, July 25, 2010

Book Week 30 - Crime Fiction

Book Week 30

What is it about crime fiction that captures our attention?  Whodunit, legal thrillers, courtroom drama, detective fiction, spy novels and psychological thrillers.   They entertain and enlighten, amuse and thrill, make us think and makes us blink, say 'hmm!' or 'I didn't see that coming!"   They are bold and cunning, timid and mysterious.  They hide the crime and make us work for it.  Or put it out there for all to see and we watch as the detective tries to put it together.

There is a difference of opinion between the British Crime Writers Association and the Mystery Writers of America on which books rank in the top 100 as of 1995. I think it's time for an updated list.  Who do they agree upon? 

Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon (1930)
Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of Mystery & Imagination (1852)
Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time (1951)
Scott Turow: Presumed Innocent (1987)
John le Carré: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1963)
Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone (1868)
Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep (1939)
Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca (1938)
Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (1939)
Robert Traver: Anatomy of a Murder (1958)2
Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
Raymond Chandler: The Long Goodbye (1953)
James M. Cain: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)
Eric Ambler: A Coffin for Dimitrios (1939)
Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night (1935)
Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal (1971)
Raymond Chandler: Farewell My Lovely (1940)
John Buchan: The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)
Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (1980)
Dorothy L. Sayers: The Nine Tailors (1934)
John Le Carré: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)
Dashiell Hammett: The Thin Man (1934)
Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White (1860)
E. C. Bentley: Trent's Last Case (1913)
Martin Cruz Smith: Gorky Park (1981)
Dorothy L. Sayers: Strong Poison (1930)
Dashiell Hammett: Red Harvest (1929)
Len Deighton: The IPCRESS File (1962)
Graham Greene: The Third Man (1950)
Tony Hillerman: A Thief of Time (1989)
Geoffrey Household: Rogue Male (1939)
Dorothy L. Sayers: Murder Must Advertise (1933)
Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake (1943)
Peter Lovesey: Wobble to Death (1970)
Graham Greene: Brighton Rock (1938)
Patricia Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)
Edmund Crispin: The Moving Toyshop (1946)
Hillary Waugh: Last Seen Wearing ... (1952)
Ian Fleming: From Russia, with Love (1957)
Margaret Millar: Beast in View (1955)
Michael Gilbert: Smallbone Deceased (1950)
Josephine Tey: The Franchise Affair (1948)
Dashiell Hammett: The Glass Key (1931)
Ruth Rendell: Judgement in Stone (1977)
John Dickson Carr: The Three Coffins (1935)
Ellis Peters: A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977)

Check out the links to find out more about the books and you may just find discover a new to you author or two.  

And for tv mystery fans of Castle

I've pre-ordered my copy from amazon!


Link to your reviews:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Book Week 29 - Coffee House Mysteries

Book Week 29

Photo by Kunjan Karon

"the perfect cup of coffee is a mystifying thing. To many of my customers, the entire process seems like some sort of alchemy they dare not try at home."  - On What Grounds

Cozy mysteries come in all shapes and sizes with interesting themes:  books, crafting, ghosts, wine and coffee to name a few.  I discovered Cleo Coyle's cozy Coffee House Mysteries a couple years back and love her style, the characters in the story line, the stories and the interesting recipes using coffee.  And what could be more fitting as I sit down to write this post with the smell of espresso permeating the kitchen as my husband prepares his morning shot. 

On What Grounds, the first book in the series introduces us to Clare Cosi, who manages the Village Blend Coffeehouse in Greenwich Village, New York.  She discovers her assistant manager unconscious in the back of the store one morning, coffee bean strewn everywhere. The police decide she had an accident, but Clare doesn't agree and sets out to investigate what happened.  Throughout the series, she puts her culinary and sleuthing talents together to investigate and help solve crimes.  The stories are wonderfully written and narrated by Clare.  Along the way, you learn about all types of coffee and all the recipes mentioned in the story are listed in the back of the book.   Have you ever tried Coffee Marinated Steak with Hearty Coffee Gravy? How about Cuppa Joe Mocha Drop Cookies or Gardner's No Bake Mocha Rum Balls.  Some recipes may be found at Coffee House Mystery and the rest you'll just have to read the books to find the recipe. Even if you aren't a coffee drinker, the recipes are mouth watering and enticing. 

Books in the Series

#1 On What Grounds
#2 Through the Grinder
#3 Latte Trouble
#4 Murder Most Frothy
#5 Decaffeinated Corpse
#6 French Pressed
#7 Espresso Shot
#8 Holiday Grind
#9 Roast Mortem - Due out August 2010

Check out The Guide to Cozy Mysteries at Cozy Mystery List.  Learn about cozy mysteries, discover new releases and cozy mystery authors.  Who is your favorite cozy mystery author?

Link to Reviews:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Book Week 28 - beginnings

Book Week 28


The beginning of a book is rather important, don't you think.  What captures your attention when you first open a book?  The beginning, right.   But let's back up one step.   What made you pick up the book in the first place?  The cover.  A review.    Favorite author.   Perhaps a suggestion by a friend?   What makes you decide to get the book?    When I first pick up a book I'll look at the cover, flip over the book, read the synopsis and see if the story sounds interesting.  If it does, then I'll open up the book and start to read the first sentence, then the whole paragraph and continue on reading the first page.  Does it draw me in right away or make me say meh?   If the first page draws me in, then I'll pick random pages and see if the story and the writing continues to keep me interested.    If it does, I'll get the book.  

I love the "Click to look inside" feature on Amazon.  It gives me the ability to check out the book and see if it will draw me into the story and make me want to buy the book in order to continue reading and find out what happens.  My nook ereader also has a similar feature.  You can request a free sample of a book and read the first couple chapters.  A couple weeks ago we were in Borders and as we headed to the check out counter saw the "The Passage" and picked it up to look at because of all the hype.   For some reason it didn't capture my interest right away and I put it back.  My eyes were tired and the font just didn't sit well with me, plus my kid was ready to go.  Not conducive to picking out a book.  I put it back and several days later downloaded a sample on my e-reader. The sample included the first 3 chapters.  It was enticing enough I decided to buy the book. 

I didn't want to get it in ebook form because it's a long book.  I'd rather read a long book physically than on the e-reader.   Short books are fine, but longer books I have trouble with using an e-reader.  Perhaps its the fact you don't turn your head while reading and thus get a stiff neck and  it seems my comprehension and retention is different when I read something off a screen. But that's a discussion for another day.   A couple days ago, my son expressed interest in going to Borders and getting a Bionicles Graphic Novel.   He rarely asks to go to the book store to buy a book so of course I said yes.   And Yes, I picked up "The Passage." which for some reason they had in the Horror section instead of the Mystery/Thriller section.   If you ask me, that's kind of sneaky, but actually a good marketing ploy on behalf of Borders because it makes you look through the entire M/T section.  Which in turns causes you to find many, many tempting books you want to read. 

Tell me - does this beginning capture your attention:

"Before she became the Girl from Nowhere--The One Who Walked in, the First and Last and Only, who lived in a thousand years--She was just a little girl in Iowa, named Amy, Amy Harper Bellafonte."

The day Amy was born, her mother Jeannette was nineteen years old. Jeannette named her baby Amy for her own mother, who died when Jeannette was little and gave her the middle name Harper for Harper Lee, the woman who written "To Kill a Mockingbird" Jeanette's favorite book -- truth be told, she'd made it all the way through in high school.

Enticing, yes.  Plus the mention of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee which I've been wanting to read for a long time but have never gotten around to it.  Did you know it is the 50th anniversary of the book?  50 years in publication.  Now would probably be the time to read it as well.  

What makes you decide to read a book?  


Link to your reviews. If you have multiple reviews for the week, just link once to your blog with (multi reviews) after your name.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Book week 27 - Celebrating our Independence!

Book Week 27

The Declaration of Independence

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states.

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world.

For imposing taxes on us without our consent.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury.

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses.

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.


Founding Fathers

* For various reasons, didn't sign

Click on each link to find out more about our founding fathers.  There are many, many books out there written by or about our founding fathers.  Much has changed over the years and as time goes by, some things get rewritten or forgotten.  The best books to read are those in the words of our founding fathers themselves.  There are many sources out there including National Center for Constitutional Study, Paula's Archives (major homeschool resource), Great books: History as literature, Goodreads list of Best History Books to name a few.   

Happy Independence Day, America!