Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Book Review: I Shall Not Want

I shall not want I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis: When a Mexican farmhand at Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne’s sisters dairy farm finds a dead Latino man in the woods surrounding the farm, Russ and Clare get dragged into solving the murder. All whilst dealing with the fallout from events in All Mortal Flesh.

My Thoughts: The only reason this book took me three days to read was because I had to work full time. Otherwise I would have read the book in one go. As a matter of fact the largest chunk got read the day I worked the evening shift and I spent the morning laying in the garden reading. I really loved this book!

This book was the perfect balance between mystery, social issues and relationship. This is the best book in a very good series.

This books primary social issue is the treatment of illegal immigrants. Spencer-Fleming manages to take a difficult political and social issue and make it easily understandable, both from the point of view of those who bring in the illegal immigrants and those illegal immigrants themselves. The one view point in the discussion that perhaps gets a bit short changed is that of those who have a problem with illegal immigration, but considering the treatment of social issues in previous books this is perhaps not so strange. She has a definite liberal slant to her writing, something I agree with so not a problem for me, but it might be for others.

Through the migrant labour storyline, Spencer-Fleming is also able to show how we often only see what we want to see and not what is actually going on. Clare, although she had lived in Millers Kill for over two years at the point when the story starts, had not realised that there was such a large population of migrant workers. I love how the characters in the books are able to admit to their faults, that they had not seen the problem. Often, I find, people are supremely unwilling to admit to this.

The book also deals with moving on after a tragedy and how we sometimes hurt the people we love, simply through actions we don’t realise. The relationship between Clare and Russ has definitely taken a turn for the worse when the book starts, and throughout the book they have to deal with the actions they took in the previous book (don’t want to say to much so not to spoil that book). But I think that it was dealt with beautifully and definitely real. Their feelings are raw and (to my mind) accurate. It is one of the definite strengths of the book.

I also really liked how a new character was both introduced and portrayed. Hadley Knox is the newest recruit to MKPD and she is a single mom. She never wanted to be a police officer but circumstances force her to take the job. As I have mentioned in previous reviews in this series I really like how life in a small rural town is portrayed. It isn’t a white picket fence, Our Town life. It is difficult, and sometimes you have to take jobs you might not have dreamed off. And sometimes those jobs are hard and it is frustrating. But often, as is the case in I Shall Not Want, those you work with rally around you and help out, because you have to lean on each other, and sometimes, taking that help is hard.

Despite the many heavy subjects covered in the book it also manages to be laugh out loud funny at some points. There is a paricularly dry line I found hilarious:

Sister Lucia’s eyes lit up. ‘Ah. You have bishop troubles.’

I’m sure the bishop would say he has Clare Fergusson troubles’”  (25).

This is just one of many funny exchanges, especially between Clare and Sister Lucia, who is not an ordinary nun :D.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series which is, according to information I’ve been able to glean due on April 11th, 2011, but which I have heard through the grapevine might be out sooner than that. YAY!

Purchase I Shall Not Want from

Previous books in the Series:

In The Bleak Midwinter

A Fountain Filled With Blood

Out of the Deep I Cry

To Darkness and To Death

All Mortal Flesh



Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Teaser Tuesday: In the Wee Small Hours

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

In the Wee small hours

Telling lies seems to be a pretty vital part of parenting, when you come to think about it. Nice ones obviously, like tortoises going on holiday rather than snuffing it, or how you look like a fairy in your ballet outfit, rather than a piglet with bunches” (pg 132)

From In the Wee Small Hours by Gil McNeil



Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Book Review: All Mortal Flesh

all-mortal-flesh All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Category: Crime Fiction

Synopsis: A woman is found dead in the kitchen of the Chief of police in Millers Kill, New York. She is beaten and stabbed until her body is unrecognizable. Suspicion is directed towards her estranged husband, Chief van Alstyne and towards the woman he loves, Reverend Clare Fergusson.

My Thoughts: The previous books in this series all had a social issue as a backdrop of the crime. In this book the social issue takes a bit of a backside in favour of the relationship issues between Clare and Russ and life in a small town where rumour is king (oh how I know this to be true). It does touch upon the issues of young people in small town wanting more opportunity. One of the young police officers in MKPD wants more responsibility and a chance to progress, this is a problem in a small department. This is something that is very real in small towns. Even if you are lucky enough to have a job the prospect of advancement is often small. The older people in the companies or departments have been there for ages and have no desire to move on therefore the chances to move on are slim to none. This is one of the major causes of young people leaving small towns, something that has been a continuing thread throughout the books.

Although this book was very different from the previous ones in the series I really liked it. For me much of what I love about this series is the relationship between Russ and Clare. Although the relationship is definitely in difficulty in this book they still manage to have the banter and work well together. Clare’s natural curiosity with Russ knowledge of the area work very well together.

I am finding it very hard to write this review without revealing to much of what happens. The plot in the book twists and turns and not everything is what it seams. And to reveal one thing might necessitate revealing several other things. I will say I am happy that Clare and Russ made the decision they made, I’m also glad the book ended the way it did.

This was definitely a good edition to the series. I’m just not able to review it very well right now.

In the Bleak Midwinter

A Fountain Filled With Blood

Out of the Deep I Cry

To Darkness and to Death

Purchase All Mortal Flesh from


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Audiobook Week: When Do You Listen to Audiobooks?

Audio book week

The discussion topic today over at Devourer of Books Audiobook Week is When Do You Listen to Audiobooks.

I covered some of my “where do I listen” in my post earlier this month but I thought I would talk a bit more about the where and how of listening to audiobooks in today’s post.

When I commute. Audiobooks have as I have previously said, helped in a horrendous commute in the car, but this past year I have also used audiobooks to make a public transportation commute bearable. You see I find it hard to read on the bus or train. I don’t know why, but I have a hard time concentrating on a hardcopy book when I am on public transportation. This past fall I had to use the bus quite a bit and, although it wasn’t a long trip in the car for some reason it took over an hour on the bus (please don’t get me started on the ridiculousness of public transportation around here). So take a long trip, then add a bus full of teenagers (aka public transportation that doubles as the school bus) and I not only needed distraction but also something to shut out the noise, enter audiobooks. They were perfect!

When I run. As I also mentioned before I also listen to audiobooks when I run or walk. I find this to be the perfect distraction from being exhausted, also it has the added benefit of often making me want to go a little bit further so I can hear some more of my book.

Runner audiobook week post 24 6 2010 Image Credit

When I cook. If I am going to be messing about in the kitchen for a while I like to put on a audiobook to keep me company. I loath silence. It freaks me out. I often have one of the news channels on in the background when I am home by myself, audiobooks are better. They tend to not make me so angry. We also don’t have a tv in the kitchen so there I have to use the radio (which annoys me when they play crappy music, and don’t get me started on phone-ins), audiobooks gives me something to do and something to keep me from going crazy without driving me crazy ;)

When I eat. I often listen to an audiobook when I eat breakfast. I find it to be an excellent way to start my day. Plus it keeps my hands free. I have issues holding a book and trying to eat. I just can’t make it work.

When I play computer games. I love playing The Sims 2. But it takes time. A lot of time. And I hate giving up that reading time. Sometimes I can read and play at the same time but sometimes what is happening in the game doesn’t allow for it and then audiobooks are perfect. I can play and listen at the same time.

When I can’t sleep. Yes you read that right. When I can’t sleep I listen to audiobooks, usually books I’ve already read or listened to. According to iTunes I’ve listened to the Harper Hall Trilogy 13 times. And I have, at least the beginning of it. The rest I have slept through. Not because they are boring, but rather my sleeplessness comes from a brain that tends to race from one disaster to the next keeping me up. Listening to an audiobook give the brain something to focus on and it can actually shut down and let the rest of me sleep. For that I am eternally grateful.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Book Review: Crime and Punishment

crime and punishment Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Category: Classic

Challenge: Classic Circuit, 2010 Challenge (Older Than You)

Synopsis: Dostoevsky’s novel looks at what happens when a poor former student kills a pawnbroker in order to test his hypothesis regarding the supreme right of some people to kill to change society.

My Thoughts: It is hard for me to comment on this book. I really wanted to like it. I really did. Only I found it very hard to follow at times, mainly because of the many names each character has. I know that this is common in Russia, where people use first and middle name and often have pet-names, but for me this made it very hard to follow who was who.

I think part of my problem was with the translation. It felt incredibly clunky at times. It was choppy and just plain weird at times. I was rather worried when I realised my edition didn’t have a named translator. That is never a good sign I have found.

Underneath these issues it was a good story. The exploration of a deranged mind can be quite interesting. In part it reminded me of “That Scottish Play”, with the guilty conscience causing an individual to go completely insane. It was also an interesting look at morality. Can someone actually have a right to kill someone? The answer in this book is unequivocally no. But at the same time it does seem to say that there are other crimes that are worse. Luzhin is shown to be the scoundrel that Raskolnikov believes him to be and Svidrigailov too gets the punishment he deserves, whereas there are mitigating circumstances for Raskolnikov.

Although I didn’t completely love this book, I am willing to give another translation a try. I think I would like it.



Purchase Crime and Punishment from BookDepository


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North.clip_image001This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Audiobook Week Meme

Audio book week Today’s daily discussion post for Audibook Week over at Devourer of Books is an audiobook meme. It is really easy and quick but will tell you a lot about peoples listening habits. Join in!

Audiobook are you currently reading/you read most recently: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J,K. Rowling, read by Stephen Fry

Impressions?: I adore it! Those of you who read my post on how I “found” audiobooks know that the Harry Potter books narrated by Stephen Fry was how I fell in love with audiobooks, so when I got a notice from BookDepository saying that Prisoner of Azkaban was only 20 I knew I needed to buy it. I have all the other books read by Jim Dale curtsey of a very nice library in a town that shall remain nameless but this one I was missing.

Sony_Walkman02 audiobook meme 23 6 2010 How long you’ve been listening to audiobooks: I know we had some books on cassette tape when I was little, you know the kind where it plinged when you were supposed to turn pages, but as an adult I’ve only been listening for about 3 years. Now I’m hooked.

First audiobook you ever listened to: Not counting the children’s ones (where I can’t remember) It was one of the Harry Potter books, but I cannot remember which one. I think it might have been The Order of the Phoenix, narrated by Stephen Fry

Favorite audiobook title: Difficult to answer. But I am going to say the Harry Potter books.

Favorite narrator: Stephen Fry! Hands down. He is amazing. I also really like when the author themselves narrates their work. I really liked 1776 written and narrated by David McCullough.

How do you choose what to listen to versus read? Really it depends on what strikes my fancy when I get my credits every month. Sometimes I pick books I’ve already read in print because of my previous experiences of discovering new things. Sometimes I pick new to me books. Sometimes I might by a book in the sale there as well. It is pretty much a case of what I am in the mood for.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Audiobook Week: How to Write an Audiobook Review

Audio book week This week Devourer of Books is running an audiobook week and each day she asks us to write a discussion post. Today’s topic is “How to Write an Audibook Review”.

When I write audiobook reviews you can usually tell that it is an audiobook from the fact that I try to remember to put it in the title. For example Book Review: The Namesake [Audio]. I also always (again try to) include the name of the narrator like here:

book review example

Here you can see that it was narrated by Sarita Choudhury. I include this information because it is information I would like as a listener. There are some narrators I love, others I would like to avoid, it feels like it is information my readers should have.

When it comes to the actual review of the books I have to admit I am inconsistent. I would like to become more consistent and what I would like to do is more like what I have done in my review of The Kite Runner where I have commented on both the story and how it made me feel and on the narrator itself. Again this is information I think a reader needs to have, I also want to keep it separate like I have in The Kite Runner rather than in the review as I did in The Namesake because I want my readers to be able to look for just that information without having to look to hard.

One of my goals for my blog is to become more consistent in my review format. I need to make sure that I always include the narrator and my thoughts on the audio production as separate entities. For me that is key. I want to be able to go back to a review and find that information easily, and that is what I want to provide my readers with.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Weekly Geeks 2010-22: Wherein I Admit to an Addiction

WG Relaxing_thumb[3] Every week the Weekly Geek asks a bookish question. This week they want us to confess to our addictions, our bookish addictions, and I, I have a confession to make.

Books tend to follow me home. There seems to be little I can do about it. They just do!

Book suitcase weekly geeks 21 6 2010 Image Credit

I go into every single book store I see. The other weekend my family and I were travelling. We stopped in a small town for a fika :D. As we were walking down the street we walked past a bookstore. I ducked in. My parents were left laughing. I didn’t buy any books on that particular trip, although I drooled over Jamie Does, the latest cookbook from Jamie Oliver. I really wanted it but as we were travelling it didn’t seem sensible (I am occasionally sensible when it comes to books).

No my real addiction is to I buy far far to many books from them. A few weeks ago (and boy do I wish I had take a picture of this) the mail man left all the books that arrived in a plastic bag on top of the mailbox. It made me laugh. I got 5 books that day. Anymore I rarely have a week when I don’t put in an order or receive a previously made order. It is just so durn handy.

Now a book buying addiction might not be so bad if I could also get rid of books. Unfortunately I seem to be completely incapable of getting rid of books. I was better at it when I was an undergrad. I got rid of several books when I moved. Now instead I store my books around the world. You see all my books don’t currently live with me. I have a couple of totes of mainly books living in my cousins garage in England. I do not live in England or the British Isles any more. I have yet to retrieve my books, partly because I know it will turn out that we now have three copies of Purity in Death. Yeah I have issues.

pile of books weekly geeks 21 06 2010 Image Credit

But, as much as my parents laughed at my the other week, they came into the store with me willingly. You see, my addiction, is hereditary. My parents are just as bad. We have over 10,000 (okay that might have been an exaggeration but over 5000 at least when I started counting…I’m tired today, long day) books in our house. When I was little my dad gave blood, he would get paid a small sum (about $7 ) but it was enough to buy a book (or two) and that is what he used the money for. Sometimes a book for him, sometimes a book for me. We still have all those books. Plus the books my grandmother used to send me across the Atlantic every few months. She belonged to a book club on my behalf and every few months I would get the packages from them. I still have all of those books.

I can probably count the books I have gotten rid of over the years on not using more than my fingers. The books I have gotten rid of have exclusively gone to friends or to charity shops, in the hope that they will find a good home as I could not give them one. They still hurt. Every single one of them. I hated it.

So my confession today is: I am a hoarder of books. I really am.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Sunday Salon: Upcoming Book Blogger Events!

The Sunday

There is so much going on in the book blogging world right now: National Audiobook Month, gearing up for BBAW and a whole host of fun International events, that I thought I would use today to do a bit of a round up of them and encourage you to sign up too!

girl with globe tss 20 6 2010 Image Credit

First up is Leeswamme’s of Leeswamme’s Blog and her Book Bloggers Abroad! This is a series of guest posts from international book bloggers to see how different (and similar) our lives are! I think it sounds like great fun so if you are an international book blogger why why don’t you head on over and sign up! I’m working on my post.

peace heart tss 20 6 2010 Image Credit

Another exciting international event is Carin B at A Little Bookish who is sending a book around the world. Carin will provide a book that the readers then review as they get it and then send it along. Participants will also provide some information about their home country, this way we can learn more about each other. I am all for building bridges between individuals and countries, it is the only way to promote peace.

The next event I want to highlight is Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) which is set to take place September 13-17 2010. Why do I want to highlight it now? Well right now you, my fellow book bloggers need to register yourself by filling out the nomination form. BBAW last year was really when I started book blogging with a purpose. I had already decided to turn my hodgepodge of a blog into a book blog but BBAW gave me the tools, and impetus I really needed to make a go of it, therefore it holds a special place in my heart. I posted my sign-up post earlier this week.

heart ipod audiobook post june 2010 Image Credit

Audio book week  The final event I want to highlight is Devourer of Books Audiobook Week which I am super excited about. I love audiobooks and I think it is a format that is often short changed. Audiobooks can give so much to so many people. I will be putting up several posts during the week to correspond with the Daily Discussion Topics. Because of this you might see more posts from me than usual but it is all good fun!

RussiaTour Also on the blog this week is my post on Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky for the Classic Circuit White Nights on the Neva: Imperial Russian Literature Tour. I am finding the book very interesting. More on that on June 23rd!


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Thriller and Suspense Challenge: Wrap-Up Post

This is what I wrote for the introduction:
I am going to read primarily J.D. Robb, but I also want to try Julia Spencer-Fleming’s In the Bleak Midwinter which was recommended to me by a non-book blogger  blogger friend. I will probably be reading the J.D. Robb books in order starting with Naked in Death, plus there is a new book out in the series in January (or possibly February depending on which site you look at) called Fantasy in Death that I am very excited about.
So what books did I end up reading, and what did I think about them? I’ve included the synopsis from my review as well as part of my review. Hope it captures the attention of someone who hasn’t seen the individual posts!
flickan som lekte med elden 
Synopsis: In the second instalment of Stieg Larssons Millennium Trilogy Lisbeth Salander has returned from a longer stay abroad when a series of events conspire to put her well concealed past into the forefront not just of her life but for all the world to see. Only a handful of people believe in Lisbeth’s version of events and they must now figure out the puzzle that is Lisbeth before it is to late. At the front of this effort is journalist Mikael Blomkvist. There is a problem however, for some reason Lisbeth has severed all contact with Mikael and he doesn’t know why. What follows is a dramatic search for a truth that has been protected by the highest powers in the country.
My Thoughts:I liked this book better than I did The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but I am still not convinced that it is as amazing as people keep saying.

I enjoyed the development of Lisbeth…

 luftslottet som sprängdes
Synopsis:The third and final instalment of the Millennium series continues the story where The Girl Who Played With Fire left off. Lisbeth Salander did survive being buried alive but her problems are far from over. Zalachenko was previously an assassin with the Soviet Secret Intelligence. He is also Salander’s father and he is the one who has been trying to kill her. Strong forces are trying to shut her up for good. (Own translation from
My Thoughts: I liked this one. Not loved but liked. The issues I’ve had with previous books didn’t seem quite as prevalent in this one. Yes it could still have done with a good edit but I think I have gotten more used to the writing style…
Immortal in Death
Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb
Synopsis: Lieutenant Eve Dallas best friend gets accused of murder and it is up to Eve to find the real killer. While planning a wedding.
My Thoughts: I love the In Death series but part of me had forgotten how laugh out loud funny some of the earlier books are. This one had me giggling several times. The funnies lines are often the kind of throw away lines between characters and this contributes to the feeling of the characters are real. The realism of the characters is something I really appreciate…
 Rapture in Death
Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb
Synopsis: A series of suicides where the victims have nothing in common except a smudge on their brains puzzle New York cop Eve Dallas.
My Thoughts: This book disturbs me a bit. The thought of people being able to manipulate our brainwaves in order to get us to do something is incredibly frightening. Yes music can heighten an experience. Lyrics can give us ideas. But they can in no way be altered to fit individual brain patterns. That is just scary…
Ceremony in Death by J.D. Robb
Synopsis:A sturdy well respected cop dies and his granddaughter contacts Eve in fear for her life. What follows is a journey into the occult with black candles and blood. Will Eve be able to figure out who is murdering people and why?
My Thoughts: This book is actually quite creepy. I’m not normally a superstitious person but I would have to agree with Peabody, I would want some form of protection against all this witchcraft.

I do like the fact that Robb, through her characters, do not condemn all witchcraft…

 vengeance in death
Vengeance in Death by J.D. Robb
Synopsis: This instalment sees Robb explore one of the supporting cast, Summerset. A man is murdered in a rather gruesome  way and all things point towards Roarke’s majordomo Summerset, especially when the murdered man has connections to Roarke and to Summerset’s dead daughter.
My Thoughts: Vengeance in Death sees the introduction of one of my favourite characters, McNabb, so it has a special place in my heart. I like McNabb’s youthful enthusiasm and his love of all things technology. I am no computer geek myself but both my dad and my brother are so I always find the techgeeks in the In Death series to be particularly endearing…
Fantasy in Death
Fantasy in Death  by J.D. Robb
Synopsis: Bart, Cill, Benny and Var are best friends and are living their dream, they design and sell video games. However one day Bart is killed in a locked holoroom while testing the latest game. Eve Dallas and her partner Delia Peabody are put on the case.
My Thoughts: Oh my! How I loved this book. Robb is back in fine form! The last few books in this series have felt a bit lacklustre. I still liked them but they didn’t bring me the same joy that the earlier books did. This one. This one totally did.

Part of the reason I loved this one so much was because it was set in a subculture that I can somewhat relate to…

Murder at the Vicarage  by Agatha Christie
Synopsis: Colonel Protheroe is not a well liked man, as a matter of fact he is disliked by most, so when he is found dead in the Vicars study no one is really sorry. They are however curious as to who dun it!
My Thoughts: I had some problems with this. I often felt like I was supposed to already have a relationship with these characters. Know things about them that I couldn’t possibly know. Take the narrators nephew who is described as “young”. How young is young? As the story unfolds one finds out how young he is but this bugged me at the time. In addition to this we never really do find out what he is doing there. Why is he living with his uncle and not his own parents?

I also found the ending to be very rushed…

 in the bleak midwinter
In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Synopsis: Reverend Clare Fergusson has only just started her new job as the priest of St. Albans Episcopal Church in Miller’s Kill, upstate New York. One cold winters evening when she is heading out for a run she finds a new born baby abandoned in a box on the church step. This is the start of a mystery that will bring new people into her life and also grave danger.
My Thoughts: The first thing that struck me about the book was the similarities between Miller’s Kill (where the book is set) and my own home town. Many of the same social and economic issues are present. Although here it is not necessary to have money for college (we do not pay tuition) it is still the issue of there being very little future for those who do want to stay here. The inclusion of the social problems that the lack of a future cause really show the real problems faced by many people in the western world.

These social problems also become the backdrop for the crime Reverend Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alsyne are tasked with solving…

 a fountain filled with blood
A Fountain Filled With Blood by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Synopsis: When two gay men are badly beaten followed by the death of an out of town developer the inhabitants of the little town of Millers Kill, New York don’t know what to think. Are the attacks linked to the victims sexual orientation or does it have something to do with the new spa the developer was building. Reverend Clare Fergusson and Chief of police Russ Van Alstyne are once again thrown together to solve a crime where they disagree on the causes.
My Thoughts: This book had less of the info dump. It didn’t have to establish as many characters as the first book did. Those characters that were introduced were done much more organically. I loved loved loved Margy Van Alstyne, Russ’s mother. One of the funniest incident in the book revolves around Russ having to arrest his mother for breaching the peace and her then refusing bail because she wants her day in court. It was a hilarious scene. I was sitting here laughing my head off.

This is a fairly simple murder mystery in and of itself, I like it because it tackles the issue of intolerance against the gay community…

 Out of the deep I cry
Out of the Deep I Cry by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Synopsis: This is a murder mystery that is really a Cold Case. Although it takes a long time before anyone actually finds out that there is a murder victim at all. It is also the story of a missing person and a parents right to choose. In the middle we find Reverend Clare Fergusson and Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this instalment of the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series by Spencer-Fleming. There were two aspects of the book that really contributed to my enjoyment of it. The first is the social issue this book deals with (each book covers some social issue) and the second on is the structure of the book…
 To Darkness and to Death
To Darkness and To Death by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Synopsis: 24 hours in Millers Kill, NY. A missing young woman. A big business deal that could mean the start of one career and then end of several others. A relationship moving forward. And in the middle we find Reverend Clare Fergusson and Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne.
My Thoughts: Each of these smaller sections follows a part of the story. I really enjoyed this way of forwarding the storylines. It means that even though the book only covers a short space of actual time it also manages to cover a great deal of story.

By switching between the different characters Spencer-Fleming manages to create a very rich story…

Looking at the list I realise that ALL of my selections have strong female characters as at least part of the sleuth team. In most of them the main character is the sleuth herself.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the books I read for this challenge but my favourites were probably Fantasy in Death; Out of the Deep I Cry; and To Darkness and To Death. I liked Fantasy in Death because it was a sympathetic view on a world where I am on the periphery. I recognized and understood the world the characters were in. Also it is a book in a series I absolutely adore for its humour and warmth (yes warmth in a murder mystery :D)

Thank you very much to Carolyn of Book Chick City for hosting this great challenge! I hope it continues next year!!

And thank you so much for the prizes I won in January’s draw. I am really looking forward to reading them!



Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Weekly Geeks: Reassess Your Blog 2010-21

WG Relaxing_thumb[3]

BBAW is approaching fast and this year there are some changes to the nominating and voting format. One of the major changes is that bloggers have to nominate themselves to the different categories. Because of this Weekly Geeks this week ask us to pick our 5 best posts.

I am nominating myself in the eclectic category as I so far this year (since January 2010, when I’ve been keeping track) have reviewed 39 books and out of them 9 are non-fiction, 11 crime fiction, 9 modern, 1 fantasy, and 6 children’s/YA (I don’t really know how to categorize the Anne books). So as you can see I have a bit of an eclectic taste.

  1. Book Review: The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B du Bois. This is my favourite review ever. I am so incredibly proud of the way this one turned out. Normally I am not really one to toot my own horn and I can usually find faults with my reviews, but this one, this one, I am incredibly proud of. I just feel that I got a great balance between the personal and the substance.
  2. Book Review: Mias systrar (Mia’s Sisters) by Mia Eriksson and Kerstin Weigl. I’ve chosen this review because of the subject matter it covers. I read it for the Women Unbound a challenge that I find very important. What is even more important is the subject matter the book covers. Highlighting violence against women and the poor protection for victims of domestic violence is something I find very important and worthwhile. I want this blog to not only highlight books in general but to also highlight books that show issues that are important to me. In addition to this I want to show off books that have not been translated to heighten awareness amongst English speaking publishers to books not in English that might be worthy of translation.
  3. Book Review: The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett. I chose this review because I so completely love this book. I also chose it because it is an illustrated book, which is out with my comfort zone. Although I read eclectically I also don’t read many books that are heavily illustrated. Not even the books I chose for the Childhood Favourites Challenge were illustrated. So for me this is a departure, of sorts. I say “of sorts” because it is a book by one of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett. I adore his writing style. The dry wit and snarkasam. It is just wonderful. I also like it because of it’s commentary on our society. Well worth a read.
  4. Book Review: Freedom in Exile by The Dalai Lama. This was a book that I loved for very many reasons. One, I loved learning more about one of the big leaders of our time. To hear about his life and philosophy was great. Two, I liked his philosophy. Yes it is easy to like someone who basically agrees with you, however, it was more than that. He managed to put words to ideas I have not been able to. I also chose to highlight this review because this is primarily a review blog right now and I want my selections to show that.
  5. National Audiobook Month: How I Fell in Love with Audiobooks I haven’t written many feature posts outside my weekly(-ish) Sunday Salon posts but I want to start doing more of them. Part of the reason why I haven’t written many is that I am never sure if people want to hear my thoughts (yeah I have issues, I’m working on them :D). Part of it is that I am still trying to find my voice. I like the Sunday Salon because it has given me a way to think about books, but now I want to start posting Book Talk posts during the week just for me, because, in all honesty, I blog for ME so it shouldn’t really matter if anyone else reads these posts. I chose this one because I am happy with how it turned out and because it is very topical right now.

blogiesta In addition to our 5 nomination posts Weekly Geeks also highlights the fact that this past weekend was Bloggiesta Weekend and therefore they also ask us to look at our blogging goals. I was unable to take part in Bloggiesta this time round :( because I was away celebrating a high school graduate (YAY!) and working (BOO! but kind of YAY! got to make money for books) but working on this post has made me think about what I want to do in the future so…

I blog for me. To do something creative. To keep a record of what I read. To move out of my comfort zone. To help me organise my thoughts.

In addition to this I want to spread the word about books I love. Books I want other people to love. This is one of the reasons why I am passionate about the Spotlight Series and the Classic Circuit and why I love Aarti at BOOKLUST’s feature With Reverent Hands (and it is her series NOT a meme, if you want to participate contact her). They all work hard to promote books that don’t normally get to go on tours. Books that might not have a large marketing budget but are still very worth a read.

Most of my non-review posts for the last year are meme’s and Sunday Salons. There is nothing wrong with that, but I think I want more of my posts to reflect me and what is important to me. I have already stopped taking part in many of the meme’s I started with* and I want to continue keeping them to a minimum. I do want to continue with Teaser Tuesday for a very specific me centred reason: it reminds me to finish a book. I try to use Teaser Tuesday as a preview of a book I will be reviewing in the next week. It doesn’t always work that way, but I want to get better at it.

*I don’t want anyone to think that I think that meme’s are bad. It is just that it isn’t the way I want this blog to go, simply because I start to feel like I HAVE to do the meme and this blog will never become an obligation. It always has to be fun!

So my goals are:

  • To share books I love
  • To showcase books that might not get so much attention
  • To write non-review posts that reflect me and my interests
  • To use Teaser Tuesday as a showcase for the next book to be reviewed.

Okay so that got a bit rambly, but actually that is another one of my goals, write longer reviews.

  • Write longer reviews

Most of all I want to blog because it is FUN! I like writing about what I like. I like reading other books. I like making connections (although that is something I need to get better at too…this list is getting long now). And now I think I might have rambled enough for this week.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North.clip_image001This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.