'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone



Thursday, April 28, 2016

Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart

Isn't this the greatest cover?!
  Lovely Vanessa March did not think it was strange for her husband to take a business trip to Stockholm. What was strange was the silence that followed. Then she caught a glimpse of them in a newsreel shot of a crowd near a mysterious circus fire in Vienna and knew it was more than strange. It was downright sinister.
  Once again Mary Stewart unfolds a masterpiece of intrigue, terror, and suspense in this headlong-paced tale of a young wife's search for a missing husband...

"A Tale of breathless excitement against a background of breathless scenic beauty."    ~Cleveland Plain Dealer

I don't think I've read a Mary Stewart I don't like yet. Another great gothic suspense novel! The book started off a little slow of action but it was concentrating on building the background and relationships. I really enjoyed the relationship that developed between the heroine and the young man she was escorting to his father in Vienna. After finding his father, he and Vanessa went on a wild ride together piecing  together the mystery that was Vanessa's husband and then the mystery surrounding the circus and the Lipizzan stallions.

After solving the mystery of Vanessa's missing husband Tim and she are pulled into the dangerous world of her husband's and the mystery that took him to Vienna in the first place. Desperate chases on dark castle rooftops and up dark misty mountains. Wonderful tension and suspense and atmosphere galore! I really hated to see this one come to an end as I was quite taken in with the characters. These three characters would have made a superb series! If your going to pick one Mary Stewart to read I'd say start with this one!

This book counts for Shadowy Figure for the Vintage Scavenger Hunt - Silver Age   @ Bev's My Reader's Block. That makes 6 for me in the silver age!

Peggy Ann


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Open Wounds by Douglas Skelton

Davie McCall is tired. Tired of violence, tired of the Life. He's always managed to stay detached from the brutal nature of his line of work, but recently he has caught himself enjoying it.

In the final installment in the Davie McCall series old friends clash and long buried secrets are unearthed as McCall investigates a brutal five-year-old crime.

Davie wants out, but the underbelly of Glasgow is all he has ever known. Will what he learns about his old ally Big Rab McClymont be enough to get him out of the Life? And could the mysterious woman who just moved in upstairs be just what he needs?

This is the final installment in the Davie McCall series and sadly I started with it. How did I miss the first three?! There was enough background woven into the story that it was a great read on its own, but I really want to go back and start at the beginning now! Great characters and storylines. I'm really interested to meet Davie in the beginning and follow his development and how he came to the place he finds himself in this story, wanting out of the Life.

The Life is the life of an enforcer for a big time gang boss in the underbelly of Glasgow, Scotland. Davie was born into the life, but lately he fears the dark is taking him over. He wants out before there is nothing worth redeeming left. Might not be as easy as he thinks though!

I was taken with the ability Douglas Skelton has to take a totally hard, violent man and humanize him to the point that you find yourself rooting for, even liking this man. He takes us on a ride through a rough and tumble, violent life style without excessive foul language or blood and guts, yet still absolutely conveying the depths of the Life. Our imaginations are free to fill in the blanks. A little more in my comfort zone!

Solid characters, some you like and some you hate!
Big Rab, Davie's long time friend and boss. He always had limits, scruples of a sort. Has that changed?

Jimsie, the new young recruit. Eager to 'do the job' maybe a bit to eager. Can Davie rein him in and warn him about the darkness?

DI Knight, the crooked cop. Evil.

Jerry O'Neill, a family man who did time for a burglary and rape he says he didn't commit. He wants revenge. What will it cost him?

Donna, the new neighbor upstairs. Davie runs to her rescue, but 'she's not what she seems'. Will Davie be pulled in?

Arrow, Davie's faithful dog. I loved this character!

Sprinkled throughout are light little incidents that give the book some levity from the darkness of the tale. I got a chuckle out of small time crook and druggy Ricky Ramage...

 'The flat was a revelation. They both saw Ramage as an obnoxious wee scroat. McCall kept his place clean, but Ramage's flat positively sparkled. The man himself paced around the room, the gravity-defying fag tucked in the corner of his mouth as he nervously moved things around. He plumped up a cushion on the incredibly comfortable looking settee; he shifted a tasteful little ornament on the mantelpiece; he straightened a magazine that somehow had the audacity to sit slightly askew on the glass-topped coffee table.
  'I wasnae expecting company, neither I was,' he said as he flitted about.

and terrified of Davie McCall and what him paying a call might mean, this following a series of tough questions ..

 'Ramage paused then, one trembling hand rising to pluck the cigarette from his mouth. A tiny blizzard of silver ash flaked off and snowed on the carpet. He looked down at it mournfully and Donovan got the impression he was contemplating fetching the vacuum cleaner. ' 

I got a kick out of that exchange and it lightens the mood. Excellent book, read it! But start with the first one if you can!

Check out Douglas' website

This book is only available on Kindle in the US right now but the paperback will be released in September. It has already been released in the UK.

Peggy Ann

Friday, April 22, 2016

Crime Fiction with a Scottish Accent

For many years, decades even, you’d’ve been hard-pressed to find mainstream crime fiction written by Scots and actually set in Scotland. Or God’s Country, as we like to call it. Yes, I know other parts of the world, especially the good ol’ US of A, lay claim to that but I’m sorry, you’re wrong.
Anyway, although there were a few notable entries in what would eventually be dubbed Tartan Noir (Plaid, if you’re an American cousin), the whole thing began in earnest with the Late William McIvanney and a cop called Laidlaw.
They led to Peter Turnbull, Ian Rankin, Alex Gray, Lin Anderson, Caro Ramsay, James Oswald, Christopher Brookmyre, Craig Robertson, Stuart McBride, Val McDermid, Peter May and so many more authors who rolls their ‘r’s and eat flat sausage (well, some of them).
In fact, you cannot throw a stone in Glasgow’s Argyle Street without hitting at least one crime writer and another two on the rebound. Stone throwing is not advisable, however - Police Scotland are very touchy about that sort of thing.
I write crime thrillers set in Glasgow. They have a Scottish flavour – yes, people eat flat sausage – but that doesn’t mean they wear tartan and play the bagpipes. 
I’ve always contended that the storylines themselves could be set anywhere. The characters, their accents apart, are universal. That’s why I keep the phonetic dialogue to a minimum, just enough to give a feel for the rhythms and cadence of the Glasgow burr.
They’re not cosy. Glasgow’s underworld is a brutal backdrop and that is reflected in the plots and language. 
My anti-hero, Davie McCall, does not swear, though. He may be a criminal and what we call a hard man but he has a code. 
He doesn’t hurt women or children and can be vicious with those who do.
He avoids involving ‘civilians’.
He doesn’t hurt animals – and again deals sharply with anyone who does.
He doesn’t use firearms or knives, although in a clinch he will use anything else that’s handy. Because when he’s in a fight you can be sure he’ll be the last man standing.
The fourth and final book in the series has just been published. It began with Blood City, continued with Crow Bait and Devil’s Knock and now Open Wounds.
Life hasn’t been easy for Davie. He lost his mother to a brutal father. He’s lost others close to him over the years.
He has, in short, had a hell of a time.
Is there a happy ending waiting for him in this final book?
Why you looking at me? I’m not saying…


Thank you Douglas for stopping by! 

I just finished reading Open Wounds, watch for my book report on it! All I can say now is WOW!

The Davie McCall series by Douglas Skelton – Blood City, Crow Bait, Devil’s Knock and Open Wounds – are available now and published by Luath Press.

Check out Douglas' website too!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Come and Git It!

This recipe was so very simple and so delicious! It's really spicy, although you can cut back on the Harissa Paste and tone it down to your taste. I'd start with a little and taste and add until you have it to your liking.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Harissa Chickpeas

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 lb.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 15-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed
¼ cup harissa paste
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving


Preparation
ACTIVE: 20 MIN    TOTAL: 45 MIN

Preheat oven to 425°. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate.
Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. drippings from pan. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about 1 minute. Add chickpeas, harissa, and broth; bring to a simmer.
Nestle chicken, skin side up, in chickpeas; transfer skillet to oven. Roast until chicken is cooked through, 20–25 minutes. Top with parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.
dig in!

SERVINGS: 4 

Recipe by Dawn Perry
Bon Appetit

  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This, That and the Other

I haven't been around too much lately. It's just been a crazy week or so. We hired plumbers to re-plumb our house. It had old galvanized pipes from 1961 and needed venting on the kitchen sink. The shower in the bathtub sprays everywhere but down and the faucets leak. Finding parts to fit has turned into quite a challenge. The floor around the toilet was staying damp and we weren't sure where that was coming from. Bossman put a new wax ring around the toilet, two actually, as the flange was tipped crooked. Still the floor was staying wet. Maybe it was leaking through the wall of the tub from the drippy tub faucet? Big job tearing into that! No access door! So we decided to just pay a plumber and be done with it rather Bossman doing it himself.

Then the job of trying to find a plumber! Who knew how hard it would be to pay someone to do a job!! Finally found Tommie's Plumbing. Fantastic bunch of guys, knew their stuff, cleaned up after themselves and were so pleasant to have around the house!

two different floors and the wafer board
that was crumbling under it
Because the flooring around the toilet was crumbling and cracking we had to re-do the flooring first before they could do the flange. So Bossman ripped out the floor, two floors really as they put a new floor on top of the old floor. To put in the new one he had to take the old, old vanity and sink out. Now it looks like he is going to have to tear out the old white wall tile and re-do that too to accommodate the new vanity. So a simple plumbing job turned into a major remodel we didn't expect to tackle until maybe next year! But we found the leak. The supply line coming into the toilet was leaking just below the surface of the top layer of floor. In fact the pipe was almost corroded in two! Had we not done this now we could have had a real problem sooner than later!
here's the new floor >

We went without a potty for four days! That was quite challenging. Thank goodness for those huge buckets! But we made it and it's amazing how fast something becomes a new habit. I still catch myself starting to basement to pee even though the toilet is up and running again! If nothing else I'm a trooper, I even let Bossman go to Myrtle Beach on a golf trip before the toilet was back in! I'll post before and after photos after its all done!

Apart from that I've been volunteering with the big library book sale coming up the end of this month. Its being held in a big warehouse and they have over 100,000 books! They've been setting up since the first of March. Books are still coming in. I go up around 3 times a week and work for 3 hrs. It's been a great way to meet people and become a part of the community. We each have a box and can put books we want in them to purchase the first day of the sale. I've also signed up to work the sale. Here's a sneak peek at the sale...


The new kitchen is scheduled to be put in the first half of May. Very excited about that! Our first visitor to our new home will be coming down May 7th and will likely find herself in the middle of the mess but she doesn't mind, she'll be my morale support! I've picked natural hickory cabinets and I'm getting stainless steel appliances. It's been fun picking everything out. I found a light fixture for over the table that looks like mason jars hanging! Can't wait to show before and after pics to you when its done. This kitchen is so outdated and dark now!

I made this really easy dish for dinner one night and it was so good!

I'm reading Open Wounds the new Douglas Skelton book. I'm loving it, but my reading has been slow this last week. Douglas will be stopping by The Post soon too, so watch for that! Jumping into Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart tonight. A gal on Goodreads and I are doing a read-a-long. If you have the book or can get it at the library jump in too! 

Found the funniest page on Facebook. A Bangor Maine police officer writes the most hilarious updates. He reminds me of Mike Rowe if you know who he is. If your on Facebook check out the Bangor Maine Police Department page! The 'Got Warrants' posts are the greatest!

I found a new church! I'm new and its hard to go into an established group all by yourself. But I came across an ad in the paper for a Morristown TN church (Arrowhead Church) starting a campus here in Greeneville. I checked out their website and it looks like an excellent fit for me so I jumped on the chance to go to the very first service. We were all new! Check out the home webpage, you can see part of me sitting next to the girl that is laughing with the man next to her! I have on a black and tan striped sweater. 

And the best news saved for last...
I'M GOING TO SCOTLAND AGAIN! August, for three weeks! Can't wait!!

Thanks for stopping by and sittin' awhile with me!
Peggy Ann





Saturday, April 16, 2016

Red Velvet Mountains

The sun sets behind our house and we can't always see it really good, but it reflects on the mountain in front of us and some nights it is spectacular. They looked like red velvet the other night and when I looked behind me the sky was ablaze over our house!


as it sank lower it got redder

The picture just doesn't do it justice!


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