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Moving To A New Home

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Hi all - just letting you know I'm moving my blog to a new home:


A Dixon Life Blog

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Simon Beckett - The Chemistry of Death

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Finding refuge in a quiet rural backwater, Dr David Hunter hoped he might at last have put the past behind him. But then they found what was left of Sally Palmer…
It isn’t just that she was a friend that disturbs him. Once he’d been a high-profile forensic anthropologist and all too familiar with the many faces of death, before tragedy made him abandon this previous life. Now the police want his help. But to become involved will stir up memories he’s long tried to forget. Then a second woman disappears, plunging the close-knit community into a maelstrom of fear and paranoia. And no one, not even Hunter, is exempt from suspicion.

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This book took me a while to get in to. I think it was the style of writing, more so than the characters because I'm finding the same problem with his second book ~ Written in Bone. But once I got used to it, it became an easier read. 

As you might have seen from previous posts, I do love a good thriller. 

The way I tend to judge if it's good or not is like this: if I can guess "who did it" within the first half of the book - then it's not good. I want to spend as much of the book guessing, and second-guessing my choice of baddy. I want to try and piece all of the clues together without it being too obvious. I want to keep up the pretense of being a world-renowned Detective, at the top of my game Smiley

This book gave me all of that! This man can write a really good thriller. I had no idea until nearly the end - and even then I wasn't really sure - who was responsible for the demise of some of the women in Manham.

I also love that it is very obvious that a heap of research has gone into this book. The detail given to certain deteriorations (if you've read this you will know EXACTLY what I'm talking about) is very involved and seems to be very factual. Of course I really only have Gil Grisham to go by on this though.

I would recommend it - and can't wait to finish the next one.

Keep up the great work Mr Beckett.
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Kathryn Fox - Malicious Intent

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Dr Anya Crichton, a pathologist and forensic physician, finds work is sparse for the only female freelancer in the field. Between paying child support, a mortgage and struggling to get her business off the ground, Anya can't yet afford to fight her ex-husband for custody of their three-year-old son, Ben.


After her expert evidence helps win a high-profile court case, Anya is asked by lawyer Dan Brody to look into the drug overdose of a young Lebanese girl. While investigating, Anya notices startling coincidences in a number of unrelated suicides she's been asked to examine by friend and colleague, Detective Sergeant Kate Farrer. All the victims disappeared for a period of time, before committing suicide in bizarre circumstances. As Anya delves deeper, the pathological findings point to the frightening possibility that the deaths are not only linked, but part of a sinister plot. One in which Anya is unwillingly immersed... 

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I loved this book. 

Are you surprised? 

I seem to be chosing a heap of books at the moment that I'm loving which is great. It also means I'm getting through them at a huge rate - which is even better because the Bookalanche next to my bed is teetering.

It is so nice to read a thriller by an Australian author - and I've given myself a challenge, to find more of them. It's great to be able to support some local talent.

The main character, Dr Anya Crichton is a great character. I immediately connected with her being a mother of small children myself. I also felt empathy with this character, which makes me think that this is the sign of an excellent story. If you can relate on this sort of level with either a character in a book or a movie - then it's always going to be a great book/film.

I'm about to start her second book ~ Without Consent, so I'm hoping she starts touching on her relationships (or lack of) with her parents and her ex-husband. Also there some tensions (or there appeared to be) developing between her and her close friend Detective Sergeant Kate Farrer which I can't wait to delve into deeper.

Great book and can't wait to read the rest.

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The Book Blogger Hop

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I am currently spending a little too much time at the blog, crazy-for-books.

Jennifer, the author, has done a wonderful job in getting other bookies together. It's so much easier to browse through her subscribers then to try and manually search for other book blogs. 

I don't know how these people manage it - but almost all of the blogs I've searched through look so professional, and a lot of fun, it kind of puts me to shame. It's also great to see how others are going about the same thing I am trying to do. Which of them are successful - and why they are are just 2 questions that find me spending my 2 work days browsing and adding to my wishlist.

Every Friday at Crazy For Books there is a Book Blogger Hop. 

Basically we add our blog details to the list with a very short description: Name, what our fav genre is, and whether we are new or not.

What I love, love, love about this idea is that I can look through the list of bloggers and decide by their genres if their blog is of interest to me.

Unfortunately, I am still at the stage where I want to see every blog I can. I am not fussy about genres. Couldn't care less about blog names. I just want to have a sticky-beak, and perhaps borrow some fantastic ideas.

Does anyone know if there is a limit to the number of blogs subscribed to in Google Reader? 

Back to the sticky-beaking

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13th Century Bible For Sale

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I found this small picture in the newspaper this morning.

The idea that this sort of book is still around - and will be able to be seen in public (well, for a short time anyway) is just fantastic.

Here's a bit of background about it.:

"A manuscript Bible produced in Italy in the middle of the 13th century with extensive and exquisite painted illustration. It appears to have been made for the use of a convent of Dominican friars - but the borders include diverting genre scenes and fantastical creations far from the routine religious illustrations that might be expected. The death of Theodoric Borgognoni (c.1296) is recorded in the Calendar and he may have commissioned the work: not only a Dominican friar and Bishop of Cervia he was one of the most significant and innovative surgeons of the medieval period." As per artknowledgenews.com

The people in the know have estimated the sale price to be somewhere between £2,500,000 to £3,500,000 ( approx. aus$4,000,000 to aus$6,000,000).

The thing that amazed me the most about this gorgeous, nearly 900 year old book - is that the person that is holding it up in the photo isn't wearing any gloves to offer the book some protection. That just seems ludicrous for such an old and very expensive piece of history.

My understanding of the processes involved with making books from that era is that they were usually written on parchment, which was made from goat or calf skin. But the more "important" books (bibles would fall under this category) would be made from vellum which seems to be a much higher quality parchment. Intersting enough - vellum is still used today, but in paper form. Apparently now, as was then, the animal kind is very expensive to come by.

That's really all I have to say. I would have assumed that the person holding the very expensive book would have worn some sort of protection - or at least not put their hands on the pages. 

But maybe that's ok to do?ipt Bible produced in Italy in the middle of the 13th century with extensive and exquisite painted illustration. It appears to have been made for the use of a convent of Dominican friars - but the borders include diverting genre scenes and fantastical creations far from the routine religious illustrations that might be expected. The death of Theodoric Borgognoni (c.1296) is recorded in the Calendar and he may have commissioned the work: not only a Dominican friar and Bishop of Cervia he was one of the most significant and innovative surgeons of the medieval period.



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Under New Management!

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I've just recently purchased a website. 

I did a heap of research and asked a heap of questions. Unfortunately the most important question I asked as over the phone and now I have no records to back me up. The lovely saleswoman assured me that I would be able to use this website to add over 5000 books to it.

Easy Peesy she said. We can do that for you. This is the perfect website for you and your new business.

So we looked over all the information, asked a heap more questions that were probably just as important but since they were in writing I didn't have to worry so much about them.

The following weeks were spent adding content to the website - and trying to fix up the little things I didn't like. Then I received an email saying I had reached 80% capacity.

What capacity? 

I only had 130 books listed. Surely they can't be telling me I can't add anymore.

One quick phone call sorted that out. Yes I had reached my limit - but if I wanted to pay and extra $20 per month (I was already paying twice the amount everyone else was offering for hosting) I could double my capacity.

WOW - now I could have 260 books listed. That's EXACTLY what I was looking for.

NOT!!!
Another phone call with me telling the person on the other end that I had been assured by the saleswoman that this website would easily meet my needs:
"Oh, they wouldn't have told you that" was the response. Do these people think I would really want to spend a HEAP of money on a site that wasn't even going to list the books I have sitting next to my bed, let alone the 2 rooms full of books I need to sell? GRRRRR

Anyway, if you want to check out my site - please feel free. It's going to be "Under New Management" in the next week or so.

We will start again. With a lesson well learnt :)

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Dawn French - Dear Fatty

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Dawn French is one of the greatest comedy actresses of our time, wtih a career that has spanned nearly three decades, encompassing a vast and brilliant array of characters. Loved for her irreverant humour, Dawn has achieved massive mainstream success while continuing to push boundaries and challenge stereotypes. Here she describes the journey that would eventually establish her as a perhaps unlikely, but nevertheless genuine, national treasure.
Dawn began her career as part of the groundbreaking alternative comedy group, the Comic Strip, marking a radical departure from the more traditional comedy acts of the time. Later came the all-female Girls On Top, which teamed Dawn with Jennifer Saunders, Ruby Wax and Tracy Ullman and firmly established women in British comedy.
As part of the wildly successful and much loved duo French and Saunders, Dawn helped create a repetoire of brilliantly observed characters, parodying popular culture and impersonating everything from Madonna and Harry Potter to The Exorcist. Dawn's more recent role in the Vicar of Dibley showcased not only her talent but also her ability to take a controversial and topical issue and make it mainstream - and very funny.
From her early years as an RAF child and her flat-sharing antics with Jennifer Saunders, to her outspoken views on sizism and her marriage to Lenny Henry, Dear Fatty will chronicle the extraordinary, hilarious rise of a complex, dynamic and unstoppable woman.

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I loved this book. 

I love Dawn French so was really hoping that it would be a good read and I wasn't disappointed. She had me in hysterics in places, laughing out loud so hard OH wondered what was going on :)

She also had me in tears, telling about learning of her fathers death. Of looking back on his life, trying to understand the signs of depression that had been there. I loved that she spoke of him in present tense -  and had many conversations with him throughout the book. I do the same thing with my mum who has been gone for over 20 years now.

I felt anger about the treatment that was awarded her husband (and he probably still gets it in this day & age as well) because of the colour of his skin. It's just something I won't ever understand!

Buy this book. It absolutely ROCKS!!!

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Jennifer Armintrout - The Turning Book #1

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I'm no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. Carrie Ames just eight months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck.
So now I'm a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The tie works like an invisible leash and I'm bound to him no matter what I do. And of course he's one of the most evil vampires on earth. With my sire hell-bent on turning me into a soulless killer and his sworn enemy set to exterminate me, things couldn't get much worse -- except I'm attracted to them both.
Drinking blood, living as an immortal demon and being a pawn between two warring vampire factions isn't exactly how I'd imagined my future. But as my father used to say, the only way to conquer fear is to face it. So that's what I'll do. Fangs bared.

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Wow!

I was introduced to this series when one of the mum's from school asked me to buy the rest of the series for her. I asked to borrow this first book from her as it is out of print and can't find it anywhere (hurry up publishers)!

She warned me it was a little, well, not for the faint-hearted so I went in with really high expectations (not being too sure which category of unfaint-heartedness I should belong to). Was it going to be graphic Vampire stuff or was it full of sex, or just really bad language?
I have to say, with only "not for the faint-hearted" to go on, I was a little underwhelmed by the first half of the book. I don't particularly like the main character, Carrie Ames who is doing working as an ED doctor at a hospital when she crosses the path of a vampire. I didn't particulary warm to her - although I'm not sure if that's the point?

She ends up, after Googling "what to do if attacked by a vampire", with a vampire who belongs to The Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement - which seems to be a self- policing vampire society that offs vampires.

The "not for the faint-hearted" stuff occurs about 3/4 of the way through the book (I'll leave you to get to that bit yourself :)), so it does happen - eventually. Really  - I'm not too sure if I really want to read the rest of the series. I will, because I hate to read just one part of  a series, but I don't think I'll be putting it up as a must-read.

Shame really because I do love a vampire book.

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Marina Lewycka - A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian.

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For years, Nadezhda and Vera, two Ukrainian sisters, raised in England by their refugee parents, have had as little as possible to do with each other - and they have their reasons. But now they find they'd better learn how to get along, because since their mother's death their aging father has been sliding into his second childhood, and an alarming new woman has just entered his life. Valentina, a bosomy young synthetic blonde from the Ukraine, seems to think their father is much richer than he is, and she is keen that he leave this world with as little money to his name as possible. If Nadazhda and Vera don't stop her, no one will. But separating their addled and annoyingly lecherous dad from his new love will prove to be no easy feat - Valentina is a ruthless pro and the two sisters swiftly realize that they are mere amateurs when it comes to ruthlessness. As Hurricane Valentina turns the family house upside down, old secrets come falling out, including the most deeply buried one of them all, from the War, the one that explains much about why Nadazhda and Vera are so different. In the meantime, oblivious to it all, their father carries on with the great work of his dotage, a grand history of the tractor.

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Surprisingly, I loved this book.

It's not my usual type of book. And I wouldn't go as far to say "Mad & Hilarious" as the Daily Telegraph has proclaimed.

But it was fun. And also a little close to home.

The sisters relationship seemed to almost mirror mine & my sisters - although ours is not as fragmented as theirs :). The story of their father and his new relationship is also similar to that of our father's and his relationship with his partner. Although, in all fairness to my father's partner - she isn't very similar to Valentina!

The story starts with the father (Nikolai) telling his youngest daughter Nadia about the woman he wants to marry (his wife had died a few years previously). His fiance is from his homeland  - the Ukraine - and needs to get married so she can stay in the country. But first she must get a divorce from her Ukrainian husband.
The story is interspersed with the family history. How the father & mother came to meet (he was Ukrainian & she was Polish). How they managed to escape the concentration camps and came to live in England. And also, while all these backgrounds are being told, and Nikolai is trying desperately to marry, and then divorce, the very voluptious Valentina - he is writing a book titled A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian.

Some of the characters are not likeable at all. Some of them I ended up feeling so sad for. And the book finished a little too early for my liking. I wanted to find out more, but you'll have to read it to understand what I'm talking about. There were a few story lines that could have been followed up, but were left just hanging - although there was really so much going on in the book it would've been quite difficult to add a few more threads into it.

I liked it and will make someone else from bookclub read it next :)

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Karin Slaughter - Genesis

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Sarah Linton has fled to Atlanta seeking refuge from the patient in her ER, she'll find herself deeply ensnared in a case which rips the lid off secrets as dark and complex as they are disturbing. When Special Agents Will Trent and Faith Mitchell join forces to probe into the life of the victim, they embark on an investigation which will change all of them forever.

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Wow this was good! I don't know if it's because it's been a while since I have read this genre (I've been scratching a Paranormal Romance itch for the last 6 months or so) of if it's just a brilliant book but I loved it. This is all-time favourite genre though so it was a very comfortable read.

But when I say comfortable, I don't mean the content. This woman can write a good story can't she?

The characters were really well formed. And this is really good because it appears to be the first book in a new series, and I  sometimes find it can take the characters a few books to get to know (when written in a series) and I really want to know them in the first book. I didn't feel that I was missing too much of the main characters personalities and histories when I read this. She has done a great job with the backgrounds and I can't wait to read more.

I love the idea of Agent Will Trent having a secret that only his partner and his boss know. It makes him seem so real and more than a little appealing. I felt a connection to this character straight away, I guess I was glad to be one of only a few to know his secret (well, me and the other 500,000 people that have read the book).

I understand (or maybe I just made this bit up, but it sounds good) that Dr Linton will be a part of the series which is great. She's good for the story. I'd like to see her relationship develop (or not) with Will, and to see how she &  Agent Mitchell work together and as partners with Will.
I also really enjoyed the mindgames of this book. It's been a while since I've read this type of book and I realised I've missed it. I've been reading these types of books since I discovered Dean Koontz when I was around 13 and have devoured them ever since. I know it's a great book when I have to finish it the night I start it because I HAVE to know what happens. Mo Hayder did exactly the same thing for me with Birdman.

Scared me so much I couldn't put it down until it was finished.

And to me, this is the sign of an excellent writer.

Interesting enough, someone I know has recently said that they haven't read another Karin Slaughter after they became so upset with the ending of the book they had just finished. This person was most incensed about this and felt completely duped (I don't know which book she was referring though). I also think this is a sign of a good writer (although you don't want to alienate them completely Smiley) because she has got this reader so completely involved with the story and she has evoked such a huge emotion in this particular reader that the reader has actually taken action because of this book. Surely that is a writers goal in writing a book? They want their readers to feel as passionate about their books as they, the author does.

Anyway, I for one can't wait to read more. And I promise if I don't like the ending to keep reading more Smiley

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Lack of Motivation

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I think I need a holiday.


Or I need the listing fairy to come and pay a visit to my office.

I just can't seem to get up the motivation to do ANYTHING with the huge pile of books that seem to be breeding in my house.

I am currently using every trick I can think of to NOT have to sit here and put these books on eBay

I'm using the excuse of my website not being up and running yet. Well, that's not quite right. It WAS running but I found I had been sold a product that was nothing like I had asked for and wasn't able to hold anywhere near the capacity I had told them I needed, so I pulled the plug and am just waiting (don't ask me what for though) to redesign it, and get it hosted with someone else.
But I'm not really sure how long I can use this excuse for. I have a perfectly good vehicle for selling books via my eBay store and that works well enough - so I should just hop to it.

But I really feel like chucking a sickie - which is such an Aussie thing to do. The problem with this is I know the boss really well and I'm pretty sure she'd know that I was lying ;)

Oh well, off to the third kids party for today. I think that's a pretty good reason to not start listing books right now. Maybe I'll do them when I get home?

Or I might have to clean the bathrooms, wash the dog, get the washing off the line, make dinner and listen to the kids reading.

I wonder if there's a fairy for all of that too?

Or do we just call them our husbands?