Series Wrap Up

So, for June I decided to read only books from series I already enjoy.  I will probably not do this again!  You can click here to see the page where I’m keeping track of all that.

I read 3 Lincoln Rhyme novels (by Deaver), 3 Women’s Murder Club books (by Patterson), 2 Baily Weggins novels (by White), and 1 Milan Jacovich mystery (by Roberts).  I also read the first of the FBI series by Coulter. 

So I am caught up on the Bailey Weggins series and am 1 away on 2 more.  This is a good thing. 

My big complaint about this trial was the fact that all of these series are mysteries and I had a little mystery overload.  That’s why I tried the FBI series – was looking for a little romance 🙂

I asked you for suggestions and I appreciate those of you who gave me recommendations.  Here are the ones I received-

Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear

Paige Turner series by Amanda Matetsky

Thomas Lynley series by Elizabeth George

Gaslight mysteries by Victoria Thompson

WWI series by Anne Perry

Mary Russell/ Sherlock Holmes series

Harmony series by Philip Gulley

Pink Carnation series

I’m going to take a look and try one.  Probably not this month, but in August.  Here are the ones I recommend-

Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series – start with Deal Breaker

Jeffrey Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series – start with The Bone Collector

Dinaa Gabaldon’s Outlander series – start with Outlander

Brenda Joyce’s Deadly series – start with Deadly Love

John Sandford’s Prey series – start with Rules of Prey

Thanks So Much!

The Lemonade Stand Award.  Thanks to Gwendolyn at A Sea of Books.

This is a real feel-good award for blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.Here are the rules for accepting the award:

1) Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.

2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.

3) Link to your nominees within your post.

4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5) Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

I am going to nominate 3 great blogs – Margaret @ Books Please, Marie @ Boston Bibliophile, and Gautami @Everything Distils Into Reading


The Heartfelt Award

And thanks to Debbie at Wrighty’s Reads for this cute award.

Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you’re relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family & friends?You know that feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea ~ or a hot toddy?That is what the Heartfelt award is all about feeling warm inside. on your blog/post
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.
3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.
5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

 I have 3 more blogs that I heart – Maggie @ Maggie Reads, Lisa @ Minds Alive on the Shelves, and Hilarie @ Never Not Reading.

I encourage you to check out all six of the blogs in this post. 

7th Heaven, by James Patterson

Cover ImageFinished 6-23-09, rating 3.5/5, mystery, pub. 2008

This is book 7 of the Women’s Murder Club series

“After a few hours, Ricky decided to cut up his body with a knife.  It was the most horrible thing I could ever imagine – and I grew up on a farm!  I was throwing up and crying,” Junie said, looking as though she might do it now.

I pulled out my chair again, put my butt in the seat, determined not to scare the little hooker even as she shocked me to the bone.

“But once we started cutting, there was no way back,” Junie said, pleading to Conklin with her eyes. “I helped Ricky put Michael’s body into about eight garbage bags, and then we piled the bags into Ricky’s truck.  It was was like five in the morning.  And no one was around.”

Chapter 7

I know I complain about this series every time I write about it, so I am taking this book off.  As a matter of fact, this was my favorite book of the series (so far).  I thought there was more mystery and surprise in this one than in the others and the relationships of the women moved along nicely.

A poster child for goodwill vanishes and after six months the police finally have a lead and they bring in an angelic looking prostitute for questioning.  Lindsay and Conklin are able to get a confession and Yuki, is awarded the case for the district attorney.  She thinks it is an open and shut case, but things start to go south in court and at home as she is stalked by a writer covering the story.

There is also a number of arson and murder cases that claim some of San Francisco’s wealthiest as victims.  Things turn personal when Conklin must tell an old flame that her parents have been burned to death. 

Lindsay is still conflicted about  her feelings for Joe and Conklin.  It makes you want to sit down and talk to her about what is going on in her head!  There is also a baby to one of the women in the club and a surprise in the plot at the end that left the book ending on a high note.

Jane Eyre, 2006 movie

Jane Eyre with Wilson Wilson

This is my fourth movie version on Jane Eyre in 8 months!  Mr. Rochester was played by Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson was Jane.  I really don’t want to get into the story again – so I’ll just compare it with the other three versions I’ve watched.

I was going to start with the things I liked, but the things that come to mind first are the things that bothered me.  So, let me start by saying that I did not like Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester, although he did have a nice head of hair!  He was playful and flirtatious and way too accessible.  Mr. Rochester is a commanding man and I didn’t get that from Stephens.  Now, I’ve made my husband sit through one of the movies, parts of another, AND take me to see it on Broadway years ago.  So, just to make sure I wasn’t being too judgemental I made him watch 15 minutes of this version and he said after 5 that Rochester was not serious enough.  I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.

I thought Ruth Wilson was fine as Jane Eyre.  But this whole movie felt like a slick, sexy, modern 4 hour version of the book.  The production was outstanding and as a movie I really liked it, but as an interpretation of the book, not so much. 

I know many people love this movie, so comment away 🙂 

Here’s my ranking of the four that I’ve seen so far…

1. 1983 version with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke.  I reviewed it here

2. 1944 version with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine.  I reviewed  it here

3. This 2006 version. 

4. 1996 version with William hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg.  I reviewed it here

See you on Tuesday!

See full size imageI’m off to the DC area to visit friends in a few hours, some of which I haven’t seen in over five years!  As many of you know from my bio, I don’t have kids.   On my trek I will be staying with four different girlfriends WHO ALL HAVE THREE YEAR OLDS 🙂  Weird, huh?  Two of these friends also have a second, younger child.  I am very much looking forward to my trip to see some wonderful friends and family and to see these gals in their role as mother.  Be back Tuesday night, with lots of fun baby stories I’m sure.

Please sign up for my giveaway of The Triumph of Deborah here.  I will have a few things posting while I’m gone.

9 in ’09 with Eva Etzioni-Halevy & Book Giveaway!

 Cover ImageAuthor, Eva Etzioni-Halevy has graciously offered one FREE copy of her latest book, The Triumph of Deborah, to one lucky commenter.  Click here for book description.  Leave a comment to be entered.  I will draw a winner on JULY 10th.

Eva Etzioni-Halevy is the author of three books of biblical fiction.  She has led a fascinating life and has turned to writing fiction after a long academic career.  Visit her website  for additional info and her detailed biography.  And without further ado, 9 questions for Eva…

1. Your latest book is about Deborah.  Can you tell us what sets her apart from the other women of the Bible?

Deborah is the most eminent woman in the Hebrew Bible (The Old Testament).  She was a national leader: sort of a president, chief justice and chief rabbi, all wrapped in one, and deeply adored by the people.

What is special about her is not only her prominence, but the intriguing tale the Scripture tells about her:  Deborah orders Barak to launch a strike against the Canaanites, who threaten their people with destruction.  His response is rather unusual: he demands that she accompany him to the battlefield.  Over three thousand years ago – a woman in the battlefield?

I found this to be very strange and suggestive.  I asked myself: why did he really want her there?  Moreover, he lived in a different part of the country and she ended up going with him to his hometown as well.  Yet she was a married woman and a mother, and there is nothing to indicate that her husband accompanied her.

I began asking myself: what did her husband have to say to that excursion?  What would anyhusband say if his wife suddenly went off to distant parts with another man, leaving him to do the babysitting?  It makes good sense that this created marital problems between them.  Would they be able to overcome those problems?  And what transpired between Deborah and Barak when they were together with no husband in sight?

These were the aspects of Deborah and her story that to my mind set her apart from other biblical women.  I found them most compelling, and they prompted me to write the novel.

2. What led you to writing about the women of the Bible and how do you choose which to base a book on?

Recently I began to read the Bible, and I discovered what an amazing set of books it is.  I found it to be full of the most dramatic and the most traumatic stories about people who lived thousands of years ago, and yet are so strikingly similar to us in their anxieties, hopes and desires.

I began to identify in particular with the women whose lives I could visualize as if they were my own.  I decided to hand them a “loudspeaker,” so that their voices could be heard loud and clear across the generations.  I have done so in three novels, of which The Triumph of Deborah is the most recent.

I usually choose to write about the biblical women who are closest to my heart, and the ones who ignite my imagination, as was the case with Deborah.

3. You are a professor emeritus at Bar-Ilan University.  Do you still have any responsibilities at the university that take up your time and how much time is spent writing?

To my mind, Professor emeritus is the best type of professor to be.  It means that, being retired, you still hold the title but you no longer have to do anything to earn it.

Having written heavy academic books for years, I felt an urge to burst out into a completely different direction and write light books that people would not have to read for their coursework but would want to read for fun and reading pleasure.  So as soon as became emeritus, I “reincarnated” myself as a biblical novelist.  I began writing what had been sitting inside me for years, and at this point of my life I no longer do anything else.

4. These books must require extensive research.  How much research do you do compared with the amount of time spent writing?

I have been doing extensive research that spanned over several years and included:

-Scouring the Bible itself for all hints it yields about social structure, family structure, the position of women, foods, cosmetics, diseases, medicinal herbs, and more.

-Traveling to the locations in which the plots of the novels took place.  I visited some locations of The Triumph of Deborah twice, and it was awesome to see the castle in which part of the story takes place, still in existence, though in ruins!

-Reviewing a variety of excavations that showed the layout of houses and temples, cooking utensils and the like, in the period described.

-Visits to museums, which displayed relieves of what people looked like, what they wore and what utensils they used, and a lot more.

This research has been completed by now, and I can devote most of my time to writing and promoting my books.

5.Your life has been full of experiences I only get to read about in history books (escaping from Vienna, war years in Italy – both in concentration camps and in hiding, life in Palestine after the war, and life in Tel Aviv).  Is there any chance that you may write a memoir?  I’d love to read it!

I am a child Holocaust survivor and sometimes people say to me: you ought to write about your experiences during this horrific era, because soon there will be no one left to tell the tale to generations to come.

But, disappointingly, I don’t have a book on this topic sitting inside me, waiting to come out.

I am “locked” into writing biblical fiction and intend to continue with that.

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite?

My favorite is from the biblical book of Psalms, emphasizing that even when life is dismal there is hope, that even when one is downtrodden, there is a path that leads from despair to success.

He raises the destitute from the dust…

The stone the builders have disdained

has become the chief corner-stone…

It was from the Lord;

it was a marvel in our eyes.

7. What are you currently reading?

I have just finished reading an Advance Review Copy of J: The Women Who Wrote the Bible, a Biblical Novel by Mary Burns.  I found it fascinating.

8. If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character who would you choose?

I don’t have one particular favorite character.  I am trapped in the lives of all my biblical heroines, and I feel a compulsion to write about them as I believe they deserve to be written about: stories of love, betrayal, and redemption, with sensuous scenes, and twisting, suspenseful plots.  Stories that are faithful to the Scripture, but are not only for those interested in it.  They are written first and foremost for reading pleasure, for anyone who likes a light, enjoyable read.

9. And finally, what are you working on now?

I am working on a novel about another biblical woman: Tamar, the daughter of King David, who was the victim of incestuous rape by her brother.  My book describes the trauma she experienced and how she succeeded in rebuilding her life afterward.  I am still struggling with it and it is not ready for publication yet.

Thanks, Eva!

Books by Eva- The Song of Hannah, The Garden of Ruth, and The Triumph of Deborah

The Cove, by Catherine Coulter

Cover ImageFinished 6-21-09, rating 3.5/5, romantic suspense, pub. 1996

This is book 1 in the FBI Suspense Thriller series

Someone was watching her.  She tugged on the black wig, flattening it against her ears, and quickly put on another coat of deep-red lipstick, holding the mirror up so she scould see behind her.

The young Marine saw her face in the mirror and grinned at her.

Chapter 1

Sally flees the east coast to The Cove, the picture perfect town on the Oregon coast, to find her Aunt Amabel, who she hopes will hide her.  Sally is on the run after her father is murdered and the government wants answers from her that she is unable to give.  Aunt Amabel accepts her and Sally is given respite for only a short time before she a murdered woman washed ashore.  And James Quinlan, and undercover agent, finds Sally and befriends her without mentioning he was sent there to question her.  Then she starts receiving phone calls and seeing her father although he is dead. 

As Sally is unwillingly dragged back home, Quinlan must pull out all the stops to find her, especially since she now means more to him than a case to be solved.  The horrors uncovered when Sally goes back home are brutal.  And when she is led back to the Cove lives are at stake.

Okay, this is the first of a series and I own several that follow it already, so I imagine I will read more.  The book was fast paced and had a few mysteries that kept me guessing.  Sally was a sympathetic character, but I did find it difficult to believe what was done to her by her father, husband and doctor.  I thought there might be more romance, this is Catherine Coulter after all, but I did find it lacking in that department.

The book is a fast, pleasant read, but nothing extra-special.

A Body To Die For, by Kate White

Cover ImageFinished 6-19-09, rating 3.5/5, mystery, pub. 2003

Book 2 in the Bailey Weggins mystery series

Was I out of my mind? was all I could think as I fired up the engine.  The guy was a too intense, apparently humorless, small-city cop.  I couldn’t believe he was making my heart pound so hard.  This is what happens, I thought, when you go for months without physical contact.  You look at men who are total strangers and feel the urge to tear their boxer shorts off with your teeth.  You become attracted to a guy who probably bowls every Tuesday night and has a best friend named Choppy.

Chapter 6

Magazine crime writer Bailey Weggins is back and ready for some R & R after solving her first case.  She accepts an invitation to The Cedar Inn and Spa in rural Massachusetts.  It is owned by an old family friend, Danny, who would like some help in promoting the spa.  On her first night of relaxation Bailey discovers a murdered spa therapist and the R & R is over.  Danny asks for help so the Inn and Spa don’t suffer and Bailey is thrown into an investigation that will lead to more dead bodies before the mystery is solved.

Bailey has been flying solo since her break up with Jack, but now he is back, hat in hand, and she must decide if his excuses are enough.  There is also the cool, sexy Massachusetts detective that has taken a few opportunities to kiss her. 

There is less New York, but it’s still full of the sometimes sarcastic writing that is filled with pop culture references.  Bailey is still a New York gal, only stuck in a small town mystery.  I really liked this one.  It was full of surprises that I didn’t see coming.  I also learned a little more than I needed to know about a massage ‘with benefits’.

Teaser Tuesday – Booknotes

teasertuesdays31Teaser Tuesdaysis 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!

 Cover Image

And many of us chose, in the early 70’s, to use pseudonyms to write because we were trying to get away from the focus on the personality and the ego.  And because I was involved with Eastern religion and Buddhism and other things, I was also trying to get away from that ego attachment that we have to a name.  So the use of small letters was a way to sort of say, first, it’s not really me because I’m not just the book that I’ve written.  I’m a holisitc self.  And it also really does work to make people think about a name.  What makes a name important?  Those small letters that are kind of equal.  They don’t have that kind of hierarchical look.  That has an effect on people.

from the interview with bell hooks

Sorry I went so over, but once I started typing I couldn’t stop.  I love this book based on interviews on C-SPAN’s Booknotes. 

What are you reading this week?


Great Father Quiz

Check out the answers to last week’s New York, New York Quiz here!

Father’s Day provides the perfect time to think about some of literature’s best dads.  See if you recognize these fathers and the book they lived in.  Here’s how to play…Identify these fathers by telling me their name(if they have one) and the book.  Leave a comment with the #  and I’ll cross it off the list.  No Googling, that’s cheating and no fun!  

1. This 70’s classic follows a father and son on a 17 day journey across the country.  As the author explained, “it should in no way be associated with Zen Buddhist practice. It’s not very factual on motorcycles, either”. (the father is never named, title only Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Eva

2. Shakespeare’s  last play, and best father, this is a story of betrayal and love on a remote island.  This father is focused completely on his daughter’s happiness.  Prospero form The Tempest Phyl

3. Considered the best father in literature by many.  The photo above is from the Award winning film based on the book.  Atticus Finch form To Kill a Mockingbird Eva

4. One of my favorites was immortalized by Michael Landon in a tv series based on a children’s series. Pa or Charles Ingalls from Little House on the PrairieBumbles & Kathy

5. Not a true father, but when he took in a girl after her mother had died, his whole life changed.  The town that had shunned him for stealing, accepted him for his wonderful daughter.  Silas Marner from Silas Marner Eva

6. This post-apocalyptic novel follows a father and son through the wilderness after most of life has been wiped out.  This unnamed father will protect his son at any cost.   The Road Eva

7. He’s a bit eccentric, but it can’t be easy with a wife that’s a handful and five daughters.  He supported his daughter when she wanted to marry for love.  Who can ask for more than that?  Mr. Bennett from Pride & Prejudice Eva

8. Not only was he a father who supported his own family by being a good man, he also accepted a young wizard into the fold, never mind the potential danger.  Arthur Weasley from the  Harry Potter series Eva

9. The father from this favorite childhood series was a widower, a lawyer, and a father who accepts help from his daughter on his cases and in turn helps her with hers.  A very supportive dad. Carson Drew from the Nancy Drew seriesEva

10. A Father in name only, this monk struggles to build a great gothic cathedral in 12th century England.  Philip from The Pillars of the EarthKathy