Showing posts from February, 2009


"The March wind roars
Like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver
As he passes by.

When winds are soft,
And the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb,
Then spring is here."
- Author Unknown

'The Raphael Affair.'

The Raphael Affair by Iain Peters.
An art history thriller. Set amid the beauty of Italy this novel follows the quest of both Flavia di Stefano, an art theft officer and Jonathan Argyll, an art dealer as they attempt to uncover the whereabouts of a lost painting.
Argyll persues the concept that the painting is being concealed beneath another which is hanging in a church.On visiting the church the picture has vanished and is traced to a London art dealer who claims his find is a newly discovered Raphael.
In their attempt to solve the mystery Jonathan and Flavia are flung into the underground world of Fraud and politics.

'He bought a Correggio for a considerable amount of money, and hung it in the gallery. Then the whispers started.'
'A sizeable chunk of art history consists of unravelling other people's errors and substituting your own.'

They are taken on a journey from Italy and London , between which various picturesque parts of Italy are savoured. The scenery and arch…

The first to arrive...

Here are our first new born lambs. They made their appearance early this morning. The first of many I hope. Click on the photo to enlarge.
Hope you all have a good weekend.

Friday Funny.

Photo courtesy of
this site.

Booking through Thursday

This week we are discussing collectibles. ---

Hardcover? Or paperback?
Illustrations? Or just text?
First editions? Or you don’t care?
Signed by the author? Or not?

My answer is here --
Hardback v Paperback, well I have a mixture of both. If there is a book publshed that I have been eagerly waiting for my lack of patience surfaces and I'm there buying the hardback edition. Paperbacks usually take a few months to surface after the hardbacks and that's usually 'a few months' too long for me.
In novels I usually prefer text only but in non-fictions such as sewing, gardening or cooking I really need the visual aids and still wonder why my effort doesn't look 'quite' like the picture!!!
I don't possess any first editions or signed copies of books I probably would be tempted however the opportunities have never arisen.
More answers can be found

'Innocent Traitor'.

'Innocent Traitor' by Alison Weir.

This novel,based on a true story, follows the dangerous path that Lady Jane Grey trod in the 1550's. Her life progressed through the reigns of both Henry V111 and Edward V1. A turbulant time in history where protestants and catholics jostled for power.
She was the oldest daughter of Henry Grey, the Duke of Suffolk and his wife Frances Brandon. Her parents' were bitterly disappointed at her birth, a son and heir was their wish. At the time of Jane's birth Henry V111 was the monarch and his third wife Jane Seymour had given birth to a son , the future Edward V1.
Jane Grey's parents were very ambitious. Her mother was the daughter of Henry V111's sister Mary and this helped to fuel her need for power within the royal circles. Jane's mother ridiculed and abused her oldest daughter mercilessly. Whippings and smackings were commonplace.

'How dare you!' spits my lady. raining blows on my head and shoulders.'I tell you…

Teaser Tuesday.

Teaser Tuesday ----- let your current read fall open and choose two sentences from lines 7 -12 and copy them.
My quote is from 'Innocent Traitor' by Alison Weir. page 230. not lines 7-12 I'm afraid .

'Mrs. Ellen helps me with the clasp, and then stands back to see the effect. But as I gaze at my reflection in the candle-lit mirror, I am startled by the stark image that confronts me, for in the flickering light the red stones look disconcertingly like gouts of blood around my neck.'

More teasers can be found

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the library…

How often do you visit the library? Do you have a scheduled library day/time, or do you go whenever? Do you go alone, or take people with you?

Here are my answers,
I usually go to the library once a week.There is no special day or time as it is sited near the main shops in the town so whenever I shop I pop in. They have expanded the hours now to close at 7pm. on some nights, so during the Summer if I fancy a drive in the car I'll head for the library.
My library jaunts are usually on my own, years ago when my girls were small we checked out the books one night after leaving school and usually came away with an armful!!!
Above is my latest library stash,(sorry the photo isn't too clear)none have been read yet . I keep renewing them so thay can sometimes be in my possesson for quite a while.
More Musings can be found

The Sunday Salon

This past week has been a good reading week. After reading
'The Brutal Art' which I didn't like very much, I finished off
'Daisy Miller.' The latter is a novella ,with just over 80 pages , so I polished it off in a day and a half.
The weather has improved tremendously in the past few days, with brilliant sunshine beaming down on the snowdrops in the garden. I hope , really hope, that Spring is on it's way! On the farm the next big task is lambing, this is due to start during the first week of March. With that in mind I am reading furiously as once there are lambs to look after my reading will have to take a back seat.
With this thought I am charging through, 'Innocent Traitor' by Alison Weir.This is the story of Lady Jane Grey. At the moment I am half way through her childhood. This girl really had a miserable life, due to her ambitous and uncaring parents.
Bookshops and bookfairs have always attracted me , attracted me enough to part with some cash usually!…

Daisy Miller.


This novella was written in 1879.It draws comparisons between European and American societies of the time. It is set in Europe, beginning in Switzerland and proceeds to Rome. Daisy Miller is a young American girl who is travelling with her Mother and younger brother. Her father has remained in America and so her Mother is to act a chaperone. Whilst out walking with her brother Daisy meets the young Mr. Winterbourne. Her mother was ill and had remained indoors. Daisy was not perturbed and used the situation to the best of her ability. Being a very confident, even brash young girl she addressed Winterbourne as though he was a long, lost friend.

'Poor Winterbourne was amused, perplexed, and decidely charmed.'

He enjoyed her company and wished to continue the friendship albeit a little nervous of her candid conversation.However, many people in their circle of friends frowned on her behaviour. When the Millers travel to Rome , Winterbourne follows only to …

Friday Funny

Photo courtesy of
this site.

Booking through Thursday.

This week's discussion is about storage. ---------
This week’s question is suggested by Kat:
I recently got new bookshelves for my room, and I’m just loving them. Spent the afternoon putting up my books and sharing it on my blog . One of my friends asked a question and I thought it would be a great BTT question. So from Tina & myself, we’d like to know “How do you arrange your books on your shelves? Is it by author, by genre, or you just put it where it falls on?”As you can see by the photos I have a few bookcases strewn around the house. The top left and one on the right are in a spare bedroom and the bottom left is in the lounge. A couple of weeks ago I re-arranged some of the books , by storing some on the dresser in the lounge as shown. This was an attempt to tidy the spare bedroom and give my oldest daughter a bookcase for her room.There is no particular order, by genre or author. It is a little his n' hers as my husband's large history books are mostly on one case …

The Brutal Art.

'The Brutal Art' by Jesse Kellerman.

A thriller, set in New York. Art dealer Ethan Muller, was struggling in his career, when one day he discovered what seemed like a find of a lifetime. With no artist to claim the work Ethan displays the many pictures in his gallery. These pieces prove popular and he is shocked when the police appear to question him on his discovery. Apparently the artist of these intriguing pieces has disappeared.
So Ethan begins his journey to try and find this elusive man. The journey takes him across the United States and as he travels his own life is assessed.

'Electrified, unnerved, I stared for six or seven minutes, a long time to look at a sheet of 8and a half by 11 paper; and before I could censor myself, I decide that whoever had drawn this was sick'.

'My hands shook as I took the picture from Samantha. I felt a lot of things- sadness, relief, excitement- but most of all I felt betrayed.'

There are two stories running parallel in this boo…

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

Here is my teaser,
' I'd say a couple of times a month or so.'

'He looked at me like I was insane.'

p.230 'The Brutal Art' by Jesse Kellerman.
More teasers here.

Musing Mondays.

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book reviews…
Do you read any non-blogging book reviews? If so, where (newspaper, library etc)? Do you have any favourites sources you'd like to share?

Since I started blogging the first place I search for reviews are the many blogs out there . If you check my blog list in the righthand column you'll find many book related sites. In addition to reviews that are written there I also search for reading challenges in genre that I enjoy.
Every week we buy the Daily Telegraph, in the Saturday issue there is a section devoted to Arts and Books, everything from the latest CDs to the reviews of the best sellers and new books.
The Sunday Times prints a similar section, but I find the books reviewed are nearly always the ones seen in the Telegraph.
When it comes to online shops I find Amazon to be very helpful with reviews from their buyers.
Closer to home my main book shop is Waterstones. From this store I receive emails of latest books, events in my area…

The Sunday Salon

This week has seen me finish The One Thing More by Anne Perry. I thoroughly enjoyed this murder/mystery set in the time of the French Revolution.
As I mentioned in an earlier post I am trying to get to grips with earphones ,so that audio books may be considered. Having borrowed 'And None Shall Sleep' by Priscilla Masters from the local library I'm determined to persevere with earphones , I may need to buy a new pair, though as these are not comfortable. So this audio book is ongoing.
However, paper has triumphed over disc in my latest read, 'Borrower of the Night' by Elizabeth Peters. This is a Vicky Bliss Murder Mystery. Vicky , an Art historian is an expert in museum treasures. In this book she sets out to find the missing masterwork of a carver who died in 16th century Germany.This is my first book in the
Art History Reading Challenge. and I enjoyed it. You can read my review here.
On the home front , we are starting to get ready for lambing. This will begin sometim…

Art History Reading Challenge.

Today, sees me signing up for another reading challenge. The Art History Reading Challenge, runs all year. To take part you need to read 6 books relating to Art during that time. There are more details,

My first book for the challenge is,
'Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters. This is a Vicky Bliss Murder Mystery. Vicky , an Art historian is an expert in museum treasures. In this book she sets out to find the missing masterwork of a carver who died in 16th century Germany. Her travels are not alone as she takes with her Tony a teaching colleague from her college. These two spar off each other , although deep down I sensed romance may blossom one day.
As the story unfolds the setting is a German castle now trading as a hotel. Use of the castle's dungeons, hidden panels, paintings and suits of armour all help creating the adventure,
'Almost half the area of the Hall was hidden from my sight by the gallery.If Tony went back under the stairs I might lose him.
One of the …

Friday Funny

Photo courtesy of
this site.

Booking through Thursday

This week's discussion is the following ------'Do you read any author’s blogs? If so, are you looking for information on their next project? On the author personally? Something else?'

Two authors that I do follow are Alys Clare.
and Philippa Gregory.

These are two of my favourite authors who have comprehensive websites, they are not exactly blogs but they do contain lots of info. I like to check them regularly for news of future books.

The Alys Clare site, as well as biography notes, contains notes about her books. Which are historical novels , set in Medieval York.

Phillipa Gregory's site is very interesting, the member's forums are full of messages by 'historical fiction' fans. Philippa' s own books are discussed alongside many other historical novels and films. Membership is free and the enrollment process is very fast. Philippa , herself often joins in the discussions.

More notes can be found

Audio or Paper.

I have always enjoyed reading, but sometimes I would like to try and sew whilst I'm reading. So--------- as my daughter had a personal CD player I thought I'd give audio books a try. This is my first attempt at these books. Rather than buying and then finding I preferred the written word I decided to borrow from my library,
' And None Shall Sleep' by Priscilla Masters.
Yesterday on a shopping trip in the car, I tried it,without much success. I found the earpieces would not stay in my ears. Now other than using bluetac or sellotape(only joking!)these contraptions will not stay in my ears without a hand holding them. My daughter has decided that I have very small ears, lol!!!
Playing the discs on a non-personal player the story is very good . I will persevere a little longer, as 24 hours is not long. Perhaps the earpieces come in different sizes, will check out stores on line. Have any readers had this problem.

Citizen v Citizen.

This is my latest read,
'The One More Thing' by Anne Perry.

Set in January 1793 in Paris. A turbulent time, the revolution is in full swing and the 'citizens' are waiting with baited breath for the death of the King, Louis XVI. The majority of the population believe that once the King is executed their country will improve. However there are some citizens that do not agree.
Celie, a laundress,and her employer believe that France needs the King and so a plan is created to save the King from 'Madame Guillotine'. With only days to the execution date there is no room for idleness.

' They were part of a harebrained conspiracy to rescue the King and prevent chaos from consuming all of France, everything that was left of hope and humanity and the dream of a new age of freedom.'

However when an ordinary citizen in Celie's home is murdered the plan to save the King is placed in jeopardy.

'The vessel of the revolution can arrive in port only on a sea reddened w…

Teaser Tuesday.

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Well I haven't actually started reading this book, but later tonight I intend to begin, so here are my teasers from
'Borrower of the Night', A Vicky Bliss Murder Mystery by Elizabeth Peters.

'If any other stone has been moved within the past five hundred years I'll - well, I don't think it has.'
'But before his cigarette was half finished, Tony stood up.'

More teasers can be found

Musing Monday

What do you use to mark your place while reading? Do you have a definite preference? Do you use bookmarks, paper, or (gasp) turn down the pages? If you use bookmarks, do you have a favourite one?

The photo above shows my favourite bookmarks, I usually use one of these. Page turning is a 'pet' hate of mine and I try to discourage any of my family in this habit.
Over the years I have been given many bookmarks, some from bookshops and some from family and friends as part of birthday/ Christmas presents. Working from left to right, the first one is courtesy of 'Family Publications' bookshop. This is a great site , I have ordered many Catholic books from them and they guve a very efficient service.

Next along is a bookmark from the Holy Land , a friend from church brought this for me after returning from a pilgrimage.

Third from the left is a handmade bookmark from
Gracious Hospitality.
This was part of a prize I won from this lady last May. It really is a lovely piece of work an…

The Sunday Salon.

This week has found me buying books. Unfortunately my camera isn't working so I'm relying on Amazon to show you my stash.
The 'Anne Perry' books were bought in a charity shop for £1 each, I certainly managed a bargain there. I am halfway through 'The One Thing More' , a murder set in the time of the French Revolution. I know what you are thinking, ' well weren't there many murders then?'. This particular one takes place away from Madame Guillotine and amidst a plot to allow the King to escape the axe. It is very good, so far.
The other 'Anne Perry' is set in Victorian England. It is a 'William Monk' story.A new character for me.

'The Rose Labyrinth' is by Titania Hardie . The story takes place in 2003 but traces back to the Elizabethan spy and astrologer John Dee. By the description on the cover it seems like an adventure novel travelling across Europe seeking answers to riddles that are set by John Dee. All the riddles appear…

Friday Funny.

Photo courtesy of
this site.

Booking through Thursday

This week the discussion is the following ------
Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse - a biography has made you love an author more? Courtesy of Simon Thomas

I don't normally read biographies , but I always read the paragraph or two which is inside the back sleeve of a book. I can't say that these lines influence me greatly. However, if I find an author that lives close by, such as Anne Fine or Patricia Fawcett(she has moved now) I like to sample their prose. The story is more important than the author to me.

More discussion can be found

Book review

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry.

This novel,set in Ireland, chronicles the life of Roseanne McNulty as she nears her 100 th birthday. She is a patient in a mental hospital where she has lived for many years. Running parallel to this is the life of her psychiatrist, Dr. Grene. He is hoping to assess Roseanne. In the eventual closure of the hospital a suitable home, either in another institution or in the community must be found for her. A secretive lady ,she hides her life story, written on scraps of paper under the floorboards as the doctor approaches. Her life has been hard, living in Ireland during the harsh fighting of the Irish Republican Army and the 'Black and Tans.
Dr. Grene has his own troubles as he tries to get over the death of his wife.
As a Catholic woman I found the negative stance on religion uncomfortable.

By Popular Request.

I have had request from 'Cambridge Clare' and Barbara for snow scenes. So here they are. These were taken yesterday and although ther has been no further snowfall overnight the depth of snow hasn't reduced. According to the forecast more snow is due at the end of the week , so not a thaw in sight!!! Oh well, it can't be helped. If you check out Barbara's blog you'll see some FUN snow scenes, much more intersting!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday asks that you randomly pick a couple of lines from the book you are reading and share them.

So here are mine,
'We are all ardent supporters of the revolution in this house! Monsieur Lacoste said vehementely, and there was far more anger in his voice that fear.'

These lines are taken from page 89 , 'The One Thing More' by Anne Perry.
This will be the next book I read.
It is a murder mystery set in the backdrop of the French Revolution.

A Snowy Monday

Oh how I hate this weather! I have not taken any photos to show you as I find it too depressing. It's silly really, feeling this way ,as I should be accustomed to it by now. This is my 30th Winter here on the farm, and although some years we have had little snow , some have been rough. It is a total white out now and I will not feel relieved till my husband and daughter are back in the house.

I came across the following lines and I thought they were appropriate for today,

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home." - Edith Sitwell.

I do hope you are all safe and warm today.

Weekly Geeks.

This week's Weekly Geek is inspired by Dewey's Knit-a-Long, a mini challenge of Dewey's Reading Challenge. Dewey had other passions besides reading and blogging. Knitting was one of them. This made me think, what are the Weekly Geek's other passions?

#1. What are you passionate about besides reading and blogging? For example, are you crafty (knitting, woodworking, scrapbooking, model building)? Do you cook? Into gaming (computer or board)? Sports (player or spectator)? Photography? Maybe you like geocaching, rock climbing? Or love attending events like renaissance fairs, concerts? Music? Dancing? You get the idea.

Tell us why you're passionate about it. Post photos of what you've made or of yourself doing whatever it is you love doing.

#2. Get us involved. Link to tutorials, recipes, Youtube videos, websites, fan sites, etc, anything that will help us learn more about your interest or how to do your hobby. Maybe you'd like to link to another hobbyist whose wor…