Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: The Hot Rock

The Hot Rock 
by Donald E. Westlake

Book 1 in the Dortmunder series

Read: 10–15 October 2010
Pages: 287

John Dortmunder left prison with the warm words of the warden ringing in his ears and not one chance of going straight. Soon Dortmunder was riding in a stolen Cadillac with venetian blinds, reuniting with old friends and scheming to heist a large emerald belonging to a small African nation. As always, his planning is meticulous. As always, the execution is not. Undaunted, Dortmunder is now chasing the gem by plane, train and automobile. Because this hot rock has a way of getting stolen – not just once, but again and again and again...

Humorous Heists

It's no secret that I have a soft spot for charming thieves and con artists. You know, the kind like Robert Redford in The Sting. So when I heard about the Dortmunder series by Donald E. Westlake, I was very excited. John Dortmunder may be a little rough around the edges compared to say, Danny Ocean, but he's just as clever and inventive. And he certainly has to be in this caper, because with this particular jewel, luck is definitely not on his side.

To help him steal the Balabomo Emerald Dortmunder enlists Kelp, who specializes in stealing cars with MD plates (doctors tend to leave their keys in the ignition), Chefwick, a model train enthusiast, Murch, the driver, and Greenwood, "utility outfielder" and popular with the ladies. As this is a fairly short book, there is no real character development, but all the characters are well fleshed-out and have specific personalities. They're mostly good guys stealing because that is the one job they are good at – well, the job they are best at, anyway.

This is a humorous read with its motley crew of characters, spectacular heists and unexpected twists and turns. I could easily see this made into a movie, and I was very happy when I found it had been – with none other than Robert Redford as John Dortmunder. I'm very much looking forward to watching it, as well as reading the next Dortmunder novel.

My rating: 4/6

The Dortmunder series
The Hot Rock (1970)
Bank Shot (1972)
Jimmy the Kid (1974)
Nobody's Perfect (1977)
Why Me? (1983)
Good Behaviour (1987)
Drowned Hopes (1990)
Don't Ask (1993)
What's the Worst That Could Happen? (1996)
Bad News (2001)
The Road to Ruin (2004)
Thieves' Dozen (2004)
Watch Your Back! (2005)
What's So Funny? (2007)
Get Real (2009)

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (15)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

I read very little last week, so I didn't finish anything.

I read a few pages of Summer Lightning by Tamara McKinley, but then my replacement copy of Bad Debts by Peter Temple showed up, so I started that one instead. I've only read about 30 pages so far. I'm sure it's a good read, I'm just not in a reading mood right now. I'd rather watch a movie or do some stitching. Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things soon.

I'll have to start Summer Lightning over again, and after that perhaps a holiday book like A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve. We'll see.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which we share what books we have received in the mail, bought, borrowed or otherwise acquired during the week.

Again this is two weeks' worth of mailbox. I've been good.

From BookCrossing:
Joe Jones by Anne Lamott
Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead

There's a holiday gift exchange going on over at BookCrossing, where everyone posts a wishlist of books and small things they would like to get, and you send whatever you want to whoever you want. It's a great idea and lots of fun. These books were sent to me by two wonderful BookCrossers who found them on my wishlist.

My original copy of Bad Debts by Peter Temple never showed up, so I emailed The Book Depository and they promised to send me a replacement copy, which arrived this week. They even included one of their new bookmarks. Yay for TBD, boo for the Norwegian Postal Service!

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Foreign

 Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading.

This week's question is:

Name a book (or books) from a country other than your own that you love. Or aren’t there any?

Oh dear. I'm Norwegian, and almost all my favourite books are foreign. I don't read many Norwegian authors these days, and when I do, it's mostly crime novels. I read so many books from English-speaking countries that I don't actually think of them as foreign. Here are a few I love that aren't from the English-speaking world:

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Záfon (Spain)
The Inkspell Trilogy by Cornelia Funke (Germany)
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (France)
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (France)
Mio, My Mio and The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren (Sweden)
Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (Iceland)

I tried to find some from other continents than Europe, but I couldn't think of any. Seems I'm firmly rooted in Western culture.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Fictional Crushes

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we make a top ten list from a given topic.

This week's topic is
Top Ten Fictional Crushes

I actually did a list like this a while ago, but I never miss an opportunity to talk about my favourite fictional men. So here are my fictional crushes (in no particular order):

1. Aragorn from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Aragorn is the ultimate hero for me. He's strong, corageous, mysterious, loyal and ruggedly handsome. Big plus for the ability to use a sword.

2. Dirk Pitt from the Dirk Pitt series by Clive Cussler
He's sexy, he's witty, he's clever and he saves the world on a regular basis. I rest my case.

3. Locke Lamora from the Gentleman Bastard sequence by Scott Lynch
Locke is a very interesting character who gets by on his wits and skills rather than strength. He's a charming con artist who is fiercely loyal to his friends and can talk his way out of any situation. Well, almost any.

4. Joe Morelli from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
Although I can see why Ranger is such a popular guy, it's always been Morelli for me. He's hot, he's got a steady job, he's hot, he's got a house and a dog, he's hot and he cares about his family. Did I mention he's hot?

5. Sam Howard from Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
I'll admit that this might have something to do with me watching the movie first, in which the lovely Jason Durr plays Sam, but Sam is cute, intelligent and a genuinely nice guy.

6. Ned Nickerson from the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
I wanted to be Nancy Drew when I was young, so naturally I had a crush on her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson. He is totally devoted to Nancy, always lets her shine but comes to her rescue whenever she needs it. Yes, he might be just a little bit boring, but he is the best-looking guy in River Heights. (On the other hand, as I get older I find myself more and more attracted to Mr. Carson Drew instead of Ned, but that's for another list...)

7. Dustfinger from the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke
Dustfinger is a wonderfully complex and well-developed character. He possesses the magical ability of talking to fire, and he is constantly torn between looking out for himself and doing the right thing.

8. Robin Hood from the series by John O. Ericsson
I love the legend of Robin Hood, and of all the variations I've come across, Ericsson's depiction of a bold, funny, kind and sometimes childish Robin Hood is my favourite (except, perhaps, for Disney's animated fox, but let's not go there...)

9. Enjolras from Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
I have to admit that my impression of Enjolras is mostly from the musical and not the novel, because it's been years since I read the book but I've seen the musical at least three times in the past few years. I know Marius is supposed to be the young hero, but I've always found him boring to be frank. While Marius is pining over Cosette, Enjolras is the one fighting - and dying - for what he believes in.

And since the topic says "fictional" and not "literary", and I can't really come up with one more from books, I'm including my current television crush:

10. Neal Caffrey from White Collar (USA Network)
A con artist turned FBI informant, Neal is utterly charming and extremely smart with a million-dollar smile. He knows all there is to know about white collar crimes, mostly because he's (allegedly) tried them all. Neal is the classic gentleman thief (including the fedora and vintage suits) who despite working with the FBI still has an agenda of his own.

Can't wait to see your fictional crushes!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (14)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

I managed to finish two (2!) books last week - granted, one of them was very short, but still. I've been reading more than usual the past couple of weeks, which is great. I love seeing my list of TBR books get shorter (but I'm sure it won't be long before it's grown again!).

The Hot Rock by Donald E. Westlake. This was a fun book about a gang of very unlucky professional thieves. I also read a Nancy Drew novel, The Mystery of the 99 Steps by Carolyn Keene. I never noticed this when I read these books as a teenager, but they are certainly full of convenient coincidences! Still, it's always nice to spend time with Nancy and her friends.

I'm going to start Svart arv (Summer Lightning) by Tamara McKinley later today. I was hoping Bad Debts by Peter Temple would show up, but no such luck. Those are the two I have left for the Aussie Author Challenge, and I would like to finish them soon.

No idea. I have heaps of books I want to read, but sometimes nothing really stands out. We'll see how I feel when I've finished my current read.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review: The Spellman Files

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Book 1 in the Isabel Spellman series

Read: 1–9 October 2010
Pages: 360

Isabel Spellman, age 28, has worked for her parents' detective agency since she was a kid. She has a long list of ex-boyfriends (she keeps an actual list) and an even longer juvenile record. She is very good at her job, but when her parents put her under 24-hour surveillance to find out who her new boyfriend is, Izzy has had enough. She agrees to do one last job for the agency, but soon discovers that the case her mother gives her is decades old and practically unsolvable...

The family that puts the fun in dysfunctional

This line can be found on the back cover of my edition, and I think it sums up the book nicely. The Spellmans are a crazy bunch, always spying on each other, blackmailing each other and bribing each other. But despite the family wars and general snarkiness, it is evident that they all love each other, just like a normal family. In fact, the craziness never feels overdone or over the top.

Isabel Spellman is a great character; strong, smart and sarcastic with a history of juvenile delinquency. She left her criminal days (and her drinking problem) behind when she realised she had become a rolemodel to her 14 year younger sister Rae, and as of late has also come to realise that what her family does isn't always what is considered normal. Rae is a real hoot; a sugar addict, always at war with live-in uncle Ray (whom she's named after) and considers 'recreational surveillance' her favourite past-time. David, their older brother, is a lawyer and quite the snob, and parents Albert and Olivia are just a little bit whacko.

The book is very funny, but not just for the sake of being funny. Nor is it chick-lit cute, even though the cover might suggest otherwise. The main mystery, Isabel's last case, is very interesting when we finally hear about it, with a solution I never predicted. The first half of the book is dedicated to setting up the backstory of the characters, and we get a really good understanding of how Isabel has come to be the person she is today.

The narrative shifts back and forth between the past and the present, between different themes, and there are lists and transcripts scattered throughout the book. This might sound confusing, but it didn't bother me at all. I had no trouble following the story, and the different lists (like the list of Isabel and Petra's unpunished crimes: summer 1993) and transcripts from surveillance tapes (like the transcript of staged dental appointment #1) are absolutely hilarious. The latter is also a clever way of incorporating conversations that the first-person narrator didn't hear.

Bottom line: The Spellman Files is a witty mystery with quirky characters and a unique writing style. I'd definitely recommend it.

My rating: A very solid 5 out of 6

The Spellman Files
The Spellman Files (2007)
Curse of the Spellmans (2008)
Revenge of the Spellmans (2009)
The Spellmans Strike Again (2010)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

On My Wishlist (9)

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where we list all the books we want to read but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.

The Witches' Kitchen by Allen Williams
Recommended by Imagination in Focus

I like fairy tales, and this one sounds like fun.

Deep in the walls of a witches' cottage lays an ancient magical kitchen. Dangling over that kitchen's cauldron, pinched between the fingers of two witches, is a toad. And the Toad has no idea how she got there, and no memory of even her name. All she knows is she doesn't think she was always a Toad, or that she's ever been here before. Determined to recover her memories she sets out on a journey to the oracle, and along the way picks up a rag-tag team of friends: an iron-handed imp, a carnivorous fairy, and a few friendly locals.

But the Kitchen won't make it easy. It is pitch black, infinite, and impossible to navigate, a living maze. Hiding in dark corners are beastly, starving things. Worse yet are the Witches themselves, who have sent a procession of horrific, deadly monsters on her trail. With some courage and wisdom, the Toad just might find herself yet-and with that knowledge, the power to defeat the mighty Witches. (Amazon)

Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
Book 2 of the Izzy Spellman series.

The Spellman Files is one of the best books I've read this year, so I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the second book in the series.

When Izzy Spellman, PI, is arrested for the fourth time in three months, she writes it off as a job hazard. She's been (obsessively) keeping surveillance on a suspicious next door neighbor (suspect's name: John Brown), convinced he's up to no good -- even if her parents (the management at Spellman Investigations) are not.

When the (displeased) management refuses to bail Izzy out, it is Morty, Izzy's octogenarian lawyer, who comes to her rescue. But before he can build a defense, he has to know the facts. Over weak coffee and diner sandwiches, Izzy unveils the whole truth and nothing but the truth -- as only she, a thirty-year-old licensed professional, can.

When not compiling Suspicious Behavior Reports on all her family members, staking out her neighbor, or trying to keep her sister, Rae, from stalking her "best friend," Inspector Henry Stone, Izzy has been busy attempting to apprehend the copycat vandal whose attacks on Mrs. Chandler's holiday lawn tableaux perfectly and eerily match a series of crimes from 1991­-92, when Izzy and her best friend, Petra, happened to be at their most rebellious and delinquent. As Curse of the Spellmans unfolds, it's clear that Morty may be on retainer, but Izzy is still very much on the, cases -- her own and that of every other Spellman family member.

(Re)meet the Spellmans, a family in which eavesdropping is a mandatory skill, locks are meant to be picked, past missteps are never forgotten, and blackmail is the preferred form of negotiation -- all in the name of unconditional love. (Goodreads)

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler
Recommended by The Drowning Machine

I love Christmas, I love mysteries and I love bookshops - this book is definitely on my Christmas wishlist.

Each year, for the past seventeen years, Otto Penzler, owner of the legendary Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, has commissioned an original story by a leading mystery writer. The requirements were that it be a mystery/ crime/suspense story, that it be set during the Christmas season, and that at least some of the action must take place in The Mysterious Bookshop. These stories were then produced as pamphlets, 1,000 copies, and given to customers of the bookstore as a Christmas present.Now, all of these stories have been collected in one volume—Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop. Some of the tales are humorous, others suspenseful, and still others mystifying. This charming one-of-a-kind collection is a perfect Christmas gift, appropriate for all ages and tastes.Contributors include: Charles Ardai, Lisa Atkinson, George Baxt, Lawrence Block, Mary Higgins Clark, Thomas H. Cook, Ron Goulart, Jeremiah Healy, Edward D. Hoch, Rupert Holmes, Andrew Klavan, Michael Malone, Ed McBain, Anne Perry, S. J. Rozan, Jonathan Santlofer, Donald E. Westlake. (Goodreads)

Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

This is the sequel to Mrs. Miracle, a cute Christmas story which I read a couple of years ago and really liked.

This Christmas, Emily Merkle (call her Mrs. Miracle!) is working in the toy department at Finley's, the last family-owned department store in New York City. And her boss is none other than…Jake Finley, the owner's son.
For Jake, holiday memories of brightly wrapped gifts, decorated trees and family were destroyed in a Christmas Eve tragedy years before. Now Christmas means just one thing to him—and to his father. Profit. Because they need a Christmas miracle to keep the business afloat.

Holly Larson needs a miracle, too. She wants to give her eight-year-old nephew, Gabe, the holiday he deserves. Holly's widowed brother is in the army and won't be home for Christmas, but at least she can get Gabe that toy robot from Finley's, the one gift he desperately wants. If she can figure out how to afford it…
Fortunately, it's Mrs. Miracle to the rescue. Next to making children happy, she likes nothing better than helping others—and that includes doing a bit of matchmaking!

This Christmas will be different. For all of them. (Amazon)

What are you wishing for this week?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I'll Never Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we make a top ten list from a given topic.

This week's topic is

Top Ten Books I'll Never Read

I may be wrong about these. Then again, I may be right. I'll take my chances.

(I'm cheating in several instances and including "anything..." books, otherwise this list would never end.)

1) The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – I know the entire blogosphere have been raving about this, but I also know they're not for me. (Sorry.)

2) The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson – Yes, lots of people raving about this one too, but I'm not a huge fan of Scandinavian crime fiction (yes, I'm Norwegian. What's your point?). I won't be watching the movies or tv series either. (Sorry.)

3) Any Harlequin romance (or anything similar) – Yawn. (Not sorry.)

4) The updated Nancy Drew books – Nancy Drew with a mobile phone and laptop? Never. 

5) Any horror books (Stephen King, I'm looking at you) – I don't see the point in voluntarily scaring the heck out of myself. (No, I don't watch horror movies either.)

6) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – Let's face it. Life just isn't long enough.

7) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson –  I started it once, but never got past page five before my head stopped working

8) On the Road by Jack Kerouac – Just too depressing.

9) Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler – I don't really want to know how this man's mind worked.

And while we're on the subject of struggles, here's one that thought Hitler's title was a good way to attract attention:

10) Min kamp vol. 1-6 by Karl Ove Knausgaard – This is a Norwegian author who's written a semi-fictional biography in 6 volumes which has become very popular here. Is it because he's a famous person? Nope, no one I know had even heard of him before the books were published. Is it because he has led a very interesting and inspiring life? Well, he's written two books prior to these, but other than that, not really. Is it because the descriptions of his family made them threaten to sue him and because he writes about having sex with 13-year-old girls while he was a teacher up north? You betcha.

Your Favourite Christmas-Themed Books?

Christmas is nearing, and I think it's time to start reading books with a holiday theme. I have a couple of favourites which I re-read if not every year, then at least every other year, like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. The latter is a kind of advent calendar with 24 chapters, one for each day of December until Christmas. The one I've read the most times is Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. It's a wonderful story which gives me that warm and fuzzy Christmas feeling. I'm also reading the Christmas Hope series by Donna VanLiere, and I also like cosy holiday mysteries by Mary Higgins Clark and the likes.

But as I'm always looking for good Christmas stories, I'm turning to you in the hopes that you can make my list even longer this year. Tell me, what are your favourite Christmas-themed books?

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (13)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

I had a good reading week – I read almost one and a half books and to me, that's a lot.

I finished The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. I really liked this one, it was suspenseful, fresh and very funny. Will definitely be reading the rest of the series soon.

The Hot Rock by Donald E. Westlake. This is a fast and light read about a career thief with bad luck.

Probably Summer Lightning by Tamara McKinley for the Aussie Author Challenge. My copy is in Norwegian, and seeing as I haven't read a book in Norwegian since Easter, I'm actually looking forward to reading my own language again.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which we share what books we have received in the mail, bought, borrowed or otherwise acquired during the week.

I didn't do an IMM post last week, so this is two weeks' worth of books. I've been good, only three books entered my home during this time.

Treasure of Khan by Clive Cussler - From BookMooch. I love Dirk Pitt novels, and even though I'm a bit sceptical towards the newer ones, I have to give them a chance. This one is a brick.

Pulse by Jeremy Robinson - Bought from The Book Depository. This is the first installment in the Chess Team Adventures, a new thriller series (book 2 is Instinct). Robinson describes himself as a combo of James Rollins and Matthew Reilly, so I had to try this.

My friend the librarian informed me the other day that my local library is giving away books (!), so of course I had to go check it out. There was a lot of poetry and not that much interesting stuff, so I only took home one book.

Still no sign of the last book from my Book Dep order though. It's been three weeks now, so I'm going to email them tomorrow and see if they can help. I want my book!

What goodies did you guys get this week?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle

Read: 27 - 30 September 2010
Pages: 167

From the back: This is the story of the last unicorn on earth, a creature whit the 'oldest, wildest grace that horses never had'. She had lived contentedly alone for hundreds of years, and would have continued to do so, believing that somewhere in the world there were others like her, had she not overheard a huntsman say that she was the last of her kind. Thereafter she could have no peace of mind until she had left the safety of her enchanted wood and gone to see for herself. And once exposed to the covetous eyes of men, there was peril for her at every turn...

A Magical Tale

I don't really know where to start this review, so let me start with the beginning:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless colour of sea foam, but rather the colour of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

This is the most beautiful and compelling opening lines I've ever read. The language is so fluid and calm, reading it feels like listening to the sea itself. I was captivated by the writing from the first line (I can't imagine a better place than a lilac wood with a unicorn in it), and I stayed that way throughout the novel. Several times I had to stop and read a passage over again, just because it sounded so wonderful. Beagle makes everything sound old and familiar, yet new and fresh at the same time.

This is a haunting story; sad, scary, bittersweet, light-hearted and downright funny, all in one. It is heartbreaking to watch the unicorn, once so carefree and happy, start questioning herself and her whole existence. So she sets out from the lilac forest in search of her fellow unicorns, and along the way she is joined by Schmendrick the Magician, a failure at magic but with a powerful secret, and Molly Grue, a woodswoman with a kind heart and a keen mind. Together they head for King Haggard's castle to find the Red Bull, who drove the unicorns ahead of him down all the roads.

As sad and scary as this story is, what I liked best about it was the subtle humour that always made me smile amid the darkness. This is how Schmendrick's mentor described him:

My son, your ineptitude is so vast, your incompetence so profound, that I am certain you are inhabited by greater power that I have ever known.

Near the beginning of the book there is a short paragraph about a blue jay that sees the unicorn as she's passing by, and hurries back to his wife to tell her what he saw. The poor thing is so excited but trying to play it cool, but all his wife does is reprimand him for not bringing home supper and accuses him of seeing someone else. This little exchange is so funny, so cute and such a witty portrayal of a human marriage, it might just be my favourite thing in the whole book.

The Last Unicorn is like a mixture of Gaiman, Pratchett and Tolkien, with a little bit of Rowling thrown in for good measure, yet it's completely unique and extraordinary. It's a magical tale that I will never forget. Buy it, borrow it, steal it – do whatever you have to, but read this book. You won't regret it.

My rating: 6/6

FictFact – Track Your Series

I recently came across a new website called FictFact, and was so excited by it that I wanted to share it with you guys. If you're like me, you'll have started or planned to start reading several series, but find it difficult to remember exactly which books you've read and in which order they were written. FictFact is a very neat tool to help you with this: It lists all series in order and lets you know when a new book in one of your series is being released, and it allows you to mark the books you've read and plan to read. I've found the site a great help in keeping track of all the series I follow.

Explore FictFact for yourself or take a look at my profile (feel free to add me as a contact!).

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (10)

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!

I'm reading The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz right now, and enjoying it very much. Isabel Spellman is a great narrator and MC with a deadpan sense of humour (and she likes making lists). This week's teaser is an excerpt from her List of Ex-Boyfriends:
Ex-boyfriend #7:
Name: Greenberg, Zack
Age: 29
Occupation: Owner of web design firm
Hobby: Soccer
Duration: 1.5 months
Last Words: "You ran a credit check on my brother?"
I'm having so much fun with this book!

Top Ten Tuesday - Favourite Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we make a top ten list from a given topic.

This week's topic is

Top Ten Favourite Authors

I started this post thinking this would be an easy list to make, but it turned out to be quite difficult after all. Do I include authors whose books I've only read one of, but loved? Authors whose books I've read several of and like, but not enough to include on my fav books list? Norwegian authors who are only known in Norway? I finally ended up including all of the above, so here are my top ten favourite authors (in no particular order):

1. Neil Gaiman
2. Rosamunde Pilcher
3. Jostein Gaarder
4. Tamara McKinley
5. Clive Cussler
6. Cornelia Funke
7. Tormod Haugen
8. J.R.R. Tolkien
9. Scott Lynch
10. Ingrid Bjørnov (okay, so she's not primarily an author, but I love her writing)

Who are your favourite authors?

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (12)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

Last week I discovered a new favourite, The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle. Wonderful, wonderful book.

I'm in the middle of The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, and I'm loving it! Very funny, slightly crazy but much more credible than say, Stephanie Plum.

Either The Hot Rock by Donald E. Westlake or Burglars Can't be Choosers by Lawrence Block, both have a charming thief as the main character. I was also planning to start Bad Debts by Peter Temple for the Aussie Author Challenge, but it looks as if it got lost somewhere between The Book Depository and me. All the other books I ordered arrived within three days of each other, but this one has been missing for a week. I blame the Norwegian Postal Service. For a lot of things.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

September Summary

Whoa, is it really October already? Time passes way too quickly now, I'm running out of time to finish my Christmas cross-stitch projects!

September wasn't the best of months for me book-wise. I felt a bit under the weather for the first part of the month, and then I received a huge project at work which took all my time for almost two weeks. So I only finshed three books:

The Secret River by Kate Grenville
The Heretic's Treasure by Scott Marian
The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle

I fell head over heels in love with The Last Unicorn. Expect a gushing review sometime soon.

I posted these reviews:

Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich
The Secret River by Kate Grenville

I also finished the BookCrossing "Kick in the Butt" Challenge by reading 10 of my TRB books between 1 April - 30 September.

Other posts of interest:

Top Ten Tuesday - Favourite Words
Top Ten Tuesday - Books I'm Dying To Read
Top Ten Tuesday - Book Quotes
Booking Through Thursday - Series

Like I said, I need to get stitching this month (I have three Christmas presents I'm hoping to finish before Christmas Eve for a change), so I might not get much more reading done this month. Maybe this is the time to check out audio books?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

On My Wishlist (8)

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where we list all the books we want to read but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.

Mogworld by Jim "Yahtzee" Croshaw

I came across this in an Any New Books? newsletter, and although I'm not a gamer, the description had me loughing out loud. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Goodreads says: In a world full to bursting with would-be heroes, Jim couldn't be less interested in saving the day. His fireballs fizzle. He's awfully grumpy. Plus, he's been dead for about sixty years. When a renegade necromancer wrenches him from eternal slumber and into a world gone terribly, bizarrely wrong, all Jim wants is to find a way to die properly, once and for all.

On his side, he's got a few shambling corpses, an inept thief, and a powerful death wish. But he's up against tough odds: angry mobs of adventurers, a body falling apart at the seams and a team of programmers racing a deadline to hammer out the last few bugs in their AI.

Mogworld is the debut novel from video-game icon Yahtzee Croshaw (Zero Punctuation). Mogworld is a comic fantasy novel in the tradition of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett, with a video-game twist: the main character is a minor character in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson
Blood of Kings Book 1

This sounds interesting, and I love the colourful cover.

Goodreads says: Given the chance to train as a squire, kitchen servant Achan Cham hopes to pull himself out of his pitiful life and become a Kingsguard Knight. When Achan's owner learns of his training, he forces Achan to spar with the Crown Prince--more of a death sentence than an honor. Meanwhile, strange voices in Achan's head cause him to fear he's going mad. While escorting the prince to a council presentation, their convoy is attacked. Achan is wounded and arrested, but escapes from prison--only to discover a secret about himself he never believed possible.

What's on your wishlist?
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