16 August, 2012

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

Title: The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Series: The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

From Goodreads: In this latest episode in the beloved, best-selling series, the kindest and best detective in Botswana faces a tricky situation when her personal and professional lives become entangled.
Precious Ramotswe is haunted by a repeated dream: a vision of a tall, strange man who waits for her beneath an acacia tree. Odd as this is, she’s far too busy to worry about it. The best apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors is in trouble with the law and stuck with the worst lawyer in Gaborone. Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are building the house of their dreams, but their builder is not completely on the up and up. And, most shockingly, Mma Potokwane, defender of Botswana’s weak and downtrodden, has been dismissed from her post as matron at the orphan farm. Can the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency help restore the beloved matron to her rightful position?
As wealthy and powerful influences at the orphan farm become allied against their friend, help arrives from an unexpected visitor: the tall stranger from Mma Ramotswe’s dreams, who turns out to be none other than the estimable Clovis Andersen, author of the No. 1 Ladies’ prized manual, The Principles of Private Detection. Together, Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, and their teacher-turned-colleague help right this injustice and in the process discover something new about being a good detective.

What I thought: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is the only series I that has gone for this long that has maintained consistently good standards the whole way through. Sitting down to read about the most recent cases of Mma's Ramotswe and Makutsi and the happenings at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors is like sitting down with friends over a cup of tea. I have never come across anyone who has read this series and not liked it! Hmm, thinking I might do a challenge next year to re-read the whole series. Anyone want to join me??

Challenges: eBook Challenge

15 August, 2012


Title: Eric
Author: Terry Pratchett
Series: Discworld
Genre: Fantasy/ Comedy Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Kindle

From Goodreads: Discworld's only demonology hacker, Eric, is about to make life very difficult for the rest of Ankh-Morpork's denizens. This would-be Faust is very bad--at his work, that is. Eric wants to fulfill three wishes: to live forever, to be master of the universe, and to have a hot babe. Instead of conjuring a demon, Eric brings forth a wizard whose incompetence is matched only by Eric's.
What I thought: Pratchett is my fall back guy. Don't know what to read? Go for a Pratchett! Pretty good fall back position I feel!
So Eric summons a demon...except the demon is not quite what he expected. In fact what he gets is the failed wizard Rincewind. So off they set to see if they can fulfil Eric's wishes - which they do...kind of. More laugh out loud funny.

Challenges: Ebook Challenge,

09 August, 2012

Alex and Me

Title: Alex and Me
Author: Irene M Pepperberg
Genre: Memoir
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Lent by friend

From Goodreads:
From Alex's first words to his sudden death, "Alex & Me" tells the story of a delightful and mischievous parrot who rocked the scientific establishment. Yet his real story can't be found in any science journal--the story of a relationship, with its affection, jealousy, and lifelong rewards.

 What I thought:  A lovely friend gave me this book to read after she came to my house and met my pet cockatiel.
My gorgeous Smokey.
 Now while my bird above is no African Grey, he is pretty smart! He wolf whistles at me every time I come down stairs,  (a great confidence booster, I'm telling you!) can whistle the Imperial March from Star Wars (that's this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bzWSJG93P8), is working on When the Saints go Marching in, says how you doing whenever someone walks in the front door, mimics the microwave so well I've actually got up to check what is in it and says hop on when he wants to come out of his cage. All in all, I think he is pretty special. (even if he does love my husband more than me!)
Alex and Me is the story of an amazing African Grey parrot who changed the way the scientific world thought about the brains of birds and other non mammalian animals. This youtube clip is a short example of what he could do.

I loved this book - the relationship between Irene and Alex and the fact she proved how smart a bird can be. As I said above, I love my bird, something that a lot people don't get. (it's only a bird) and I adore the way this book celebrates the intelligence of parrots.

Precious and the Monkeys

Title: Precious and the Monkeys
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Children
Format: Book - Library

From Goodreads:
Have you ever said to yourself, wouldn’t it be nice to be a detective? This is the story of an African girl who says just that. Her name is Precious. When a piece of cake goes missing from her classroom, Precious sets out to find the thief.

What I thought:  I love Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books. I love Mma Ramotswe - her wisdom, her sense of fairness and her ability to handle sticky situations with tact and decorum. This takes us right back to the beginning. Precious Ramotswe is just a child, but already her love of detecting is obvious! McCall Smith moves into writing this series for children with apparent ease and delight. He maintains that lovely unique, almost quirky sense to his writing without dumbing it down for the kids. I also love his economy with words - this is only 73 pages long (with lovely illustrations by Iain McIntosh), but the story if full and robust. Well worth the read for any Mma Ramotswe fans.

Jitterbug Perfume

Title: Jitterbug Perfume
Author: Tom Robbins
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Personal Copy

From Goodreads:
Jitterbug Perfume is an epic.
Which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight (Paris time).
It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle.
The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god.
If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left

What I thought:  The only way I can think to describe this book is a romp through the ages! It starts with three perfumers in three very different situations and then flashes back to a King who is about to lose his kingdom all because of a gray hair! Robbins leads you on an intriguing, at times erotic, at times funny, frequently confusing journey as the secret to long life is looked for and almost grasped. 
It took me awhile to get into this, and it truth this was most probably my 2nd or 3rd go at it. It is well worth persevering with though and is a book that I can see myself picking up again sometime in the future.

Challenges: What's in a Name

Disrupting Grace

Title: Disrupting Grace
Author: Kristen Richburg
Genre: Memoir
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Personal Copy

From Goodreads:
We have two children. We used to have three. Our third child didn't grow up and leave home, she didn't die. We relinquished her. Aren't adoption stories supposed to have happy endings? While there are many adoption stories that do have happy endings, this is not one of them. And we've come to learn we are not alone. More and more families are finding themselves in situations similar to ours, feeling like there is no way out. This book is my story of adopting a child who was unable to attach. It is a chronicle of investment and sacrifice in our daughter, the pain and loss we experienced, the grief of darkened hopes and loss of a dream. It is also a story of grace and healing, of relinquishment and new beginnings. 

What I thought:  I first discovered this book about two years ago over at Life in the Thumb and knew I wanted to read it.I taught a child who suffered, among other things, attachment disorder and I can tell you they are hard, hard work.
I admire Kristen Richburg and her husband so much because they did two really hard things - they relinquished a child they loved and had wanted so much because it was the best thing for her and the rest of the family and they were brave enough to share their story. It's easy to sit and say "I would never" or "They wouldn't have if she had been biologically theirs." Both statements are lies. I truly believe you cannot say what you would and wouldn't do until you are in the exact same situation and I believe biology makes no difference once you have accepted a child into your heart. In fact I'm sure it wouldn't take much searching to find documented examples of people relinquishing their biological children.
This book was heart wrenching to read. The trauma experienced by all involved is unimaginable. It's not an easy read and I wouldn't suggest it to anyone who upsets easily. It also reminded me a lot of Jessie Mei Mei which was written by two Australian journalists who adopted a child with issues that they did not know about. Either of these books are a good look at the not so happy ending side of adoption.