NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


by Chuck Palahniuk

From Snuff:

Six hundred dudes. One porn queen. A world record for the ages. A must-have movie for every discerning collector of things erotic.

Didn't one of us on purpose set out to make a snuff movie.

What does one say about a book like Snuff? For starters, it's not for readers who like their books, um, clean. It's full of filth and vulgarity and descriptions of sex acts that will make your eyes bug out and your skin crawl. But then suddenly there are moments of improbable humanity that put a whole different spin on the story, that stand you in the shoes of these people and make you care deeply what happens to them.

In the large room where six hundred men wait, snacking at the buffet table, watching early Cassie Wright skin flicks on the televisions, anticipating their turn to enter the stage set door into porn history, four lives will intersect for the first time. Each will tell the tale of how he or she came to be there. And what starts out for the reader as a giddy, voyeuristic peek into a murky underworld, between giggles and condescending smirks and shocked gasps, becomes a series of humbling lessons in compassion and understanding. They come at you quickly and silently and then they're gone. But the mark is there. Snuff is everything you expect it to be, and so much that you don't. Go on. I dare you . . . :-)

Monday, July 28, 2008


by C.W. Gortner

To history, she is known as "Juana la loca", Juana the Mad. But was this daughter of the incomparable Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon and sister to the first wife of Henry VIII truly driven to madness by grief? Or were there other more malevolent factors at work?

What a great book! I read Juana's story stunned at the cold betrayal of family and "friends". I wanted to rail at her husband, her mother, her father. I was so emotionally pulled in by The Last Queen that I occasionally had to quit reading because I was so angry I was having trouble concentrating on anything other than retaliating against Juana's tormentors. C.W. Gortner's ability to make me experience her triumphs and tears as if they were my own was something special. I can only imagine what he's got in store for us in the future with Catherine de Medici!!

Visit C.W. Gortner at his official website Historical Boys. And while you're at it, check out this video trailer for The Last Queen. Very cool!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Trial Results: Good Boys!!

Wow. It was a long and intense weekend at the trial, but the boys were wonderful! Here is the short version:

Out of 20 total runs:

12 Qualifying runs
3 Titles
8 1st Places
5 2nd Places
5 3rd Places
1 4th Place

For those keeping up with my Snooker woes, no, there was no Snooker Q this weekend for Max and me, but there was a noticable improvement in our skills. Max ran both rounds like a champ, but I wasn't quick enough to stop a couple of errors that cost us the Qs. Skye did get one, and that completely finished all his Level 2 titles. Yay, Skye! He also finished his Level 3 Fun Games title with a stellar Jumpers run and had an incredible round of Level 4 Jackpot that included a successful send out to a jump that a lot of elite dogs missed. We were very proud of him! Max finished up his Level 3 Handler Games title with his Wildcard Q this morning, got his first Level 5 Fullhouse Q, which is his first official Q toward his Championship Title (Yup, I'm smiling *hugely* over that one! Level 5 is the level at which you start accumulating Qs toward the biggie -- the C-ATCH Title, which stands for CPE Agility Trial Champion.), and, after a freakishly bad Standard run, he finished up the weekend with a blazing Jumpers run that brought him only 1 Q away from starting his Level 5 Qs for that class. Way to go, Max-o!

We now have a couple months away from competition, so we'll be practicing, practicing. Maybe during that time I'll explain some of the games involved in our competitions. Are any of you interested in that? Or do you really just want to know how they did? I don't want to bore people with details unless you want to know.

Meanwhile, Tony and I are playing a bunch of DIVA shows in August, so I'll be spending some of my free time teetering around on my platform boots singing cool disco songs for drunk people. :-) Some of us never grow up. . .

And in the wings waiting for their reviews to be posted:

The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner - Short version: Read this book! It's great!
Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk - I just started it, but it won't take long to finish. Very, very interesting. . . :-)

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


by Robert Graves

All the splendor and corruption of ancient Rome come to life in Robert Graves' masterpiece, I, Claudius : From the Autobiography of Tiberius Claudius. From the pomp and paranoia of the Emperor Augustus to the excesses and depravity of Caligula, secrets are spilled from behind the walls of palaces and prisons alike as Claudius writes his history of the Roman Empire as he lived it. And what a life it was!

What I loved most about this book was the way the narrative came off as almost chatty, like Claudius was your pal filling you in on all the scandalous gossip. I, Claudius completely lacks the pretentious air about it that often surrounds books of this sort. Though the reviews I'm reading say it doesn't measure up to it's predecessor, I'm off to order Claudius the God right now. I don't think I'm quite ready to say goodbye to him.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I've been nominated! And I have dog news!

First, I'd like to thank Dar at Peeking Between the Pages for nominating me for this cool blog award! I'll get to all the details on that in a moment. . .

Peter and I are gearing up for an agility trial this weekend, the first one since our little debacle last month. The boys have been awesome in class these last few weeks, and I fully expect this trial to go swimmingly, so to speak. ;-) I'm just asking everyone to cross their fingers and toes for that Snooker Q. We have two shots at it with each of the boys. I'm hoping to get at least one for each. With that, Skye would finish all his Level 2 titles. He also has a shot at finishing his Level 3 Fun Games Title if he gets one of his Jumpers Qs. Max has a shot at his Level 3 Handler Games Title. All together, each dog will be competing in 10 runs. It will be a fun trial, and, as always, I will be sure to update their loyal fans on how they do. :-)

Now for that award. . .

Isn't it pretty? I will display it proudly! And here are the rules for the recipients:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you. (She is on my blogroll...She's that good!)
3. Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blog.

My nominees are (in alphabetical order):

1. Books I Done Read because she makes me laugh constantly.

2. Books Please because she was one of the first people I "met" in my new blog world, and she always has insightful comments on such interesting books.

3. Dog Ear Diary for letting us know about all those great animal books, even though I probably won't read most of them because I'll cry.

4. Lost in a Good Story is not only another early friend in my blog world, but is a fellow singer/performer and shares my enthusiasm for the 1001 Books list.

5. Mog's Blog for all the cool photos and poems and needlework and tea stuff and cats. Oh, and books, too!

6. Reading Adventures for sharing my love of historicals.

7. So Many Precious Book, So Little Time because she is another one that shares many of my reading tastes *and* she's a vegan! Very cool!

8. Tripping Towards Lucidity a/k/a Estella's Revenge because she keeps it real. And because Daisy is just soooooo cute! :-)

Thanks again to Dar for the award! And everyone go check out my nominees. As Tony The Tiger would say: They're grrrrrreat!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


by Dean Koontz

Odd Thomas thwarts a plot to smuggle nuclear weapons into the United States in this fourth installment of Dean Koontz's "Odd Thomas" series.

It's not the stories that I like in the Odd Thomas books. It's Odd Thomas himself. I think, after the first book, the plots are mostly ludicrous. But Odd is a great character. I like the way he talks. I love his descriptions and clever quips. I like his humor in the face of his own terror and his kind heart. Odd Hours is not a riveting page-turner, but a pleasant way to spend a few stress-easing hours in your favorite chair while Odd entertains you with his ironic observations of humanity, his dry, self-deprecating wit and his totally unrealistic adventures.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Coming this fall:

The title says it all. My Lady of Cleves: A Novel of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves is a captivating view of the life of Henry's often overlooked fourth wife from their betrothal to Henry's death. The usual image of the dowdy, overweight, ill-smelling foreigner is replaced with a picture of a charming but plain, domestic-minded girl who couldn't measure up to the bewitching memory of Anne Boleyn or compete with the fresh and exciting Katherine Howard.

I loved that Henry's setting aside of Anne takes place halfway through the story, and we get to see how Anne adjusts to her new situation as his adopted sister. The only other book I've read that gave any kind of detailed account of Anne after her divorce was Philippa Gregory's The Boleyn Inheritance. In that book, Anne was depicted as living her life cautiously, acutely aware that Henry's favor could be revoked at any moment, at any provocation, real or imagined. In My Lady of Cleves, Anne is very confidently going about her life, and Henry begins to see her as a lost opportunity for happiness as his marriage to Katherine Howard deteriorates.

One of the reasons I love to read various fictional accounts of the same historical personage is to witness the diverse interpretations of the person's personality and thoughts behind his or her actions. Barnes' vision of Anne is so different from others I have encountered, it was like reading her story for the first time. This is the Anne of Cleves I choose to live in my memory.

Friday, July 18, 2008


by Jeffery Deaver

When his long-estranged cousin, Arthur, is arrested for a murder he did not commit, quadriplegic forensic genius Lincoln Rhyme and his partner Amelia Sachs are plunged into the Big Brother world of information collection and data mining to prove not only Arthur's innocence, but that of a number of other wrongly-convicted citizens. And while they work, an identity-thieving serial killer continues his "transactions".

If The Broken Window, the eighth Lincoln Rhyme novel, doesn't make you want to pay cash for every single thing you ever buy and never lay hands on a computer keyboard again, I don't know what will. The feeling is just like when I read Thomas Harris' Red Dragon and swore I would never again bring pictures in to be developed, because the killer worked at a photo lab and picked his victims from customers' photos. Thankfully, digital cameras have eliminated that particular paranoia. Now we have all new ones to worry about!

For me, Deaver's "Lincoln Rhyme" books run neck and neck with Kathy Reichs' "Temperance Brennan" series for my favorite forensic mysteries. Though "Rhyme" may have a slight advantage, because due to the movie of the first book, The Bone Collector, Amelia Sachs will forever be Angelina Jolie, and I loved her in that role. Denzel Washington as Lincoln Rhyme isn't a bad visual while you're reading either. :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


by George Carlin

I was sad when I heard about the passing of George Carlin on June 22, 2008. He was one of the first comedians I remember listening to. My dad had a few of his albums when I was a kid (Yes. Albums. Not CDs.), and I would sneak and listen to Class Clown repeatedly, gleefully trying to memorize the "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television". I'm happy to say I can still recite all seven of them on demand. I'm not sure what that says about me. :-)

Anyway, I saw George Carlin live at a dinner theater probably close to 20 years ago, and already the comedy was changing. He was always offensive, but hysterically funny. At least to my twisted point of view he was. But when I saw him then, he was still funny, but the "offensive" was starting to be mixed with a whole lot of anger. When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? was published in 2004 and is loaded with anger and offense. That's not to say it's not funny. But the truly funny moments are fewer than the ones that make you look around to see if anyone knows what you're reading. And that's not to say that I don't agree with some of what he was angry about. He has some good reasons. You can't live in this world today and not have a few things to be angry about. But I miss the hysterically funny. And I'll miss George Carlin. RIP.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

News from Catherine Delors!

For those of you who are fans of Mistress of the Revolution (and those who will be), Ms. Delors was kind enough to stop by Books 'N Border Collies and leave a message with a little teaser:

Thank you so much, Lezlie, for this great review! And what better time than Bastille Day.

Now, you will be happy to hear that my second book, tentatively titled _For the King_ is completed, and that I am working on my third one.

The publication date for Book 2 is 2009, nothing more specific yet. For more info, see this post on my blog:

The link she left has information about not only her next book that will leave you even more excited to get your hands on it next year, but if you read through the Comments, there are tidbits about her third book. I'm not sure I can wait until 2010!!! Go on! Go check it out!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Need To Organize

Wow! Pile-up on TBR Expressway!

First, a couple weeks ago the library had a bunch come in for me all at the same time:


Homo Politicus by Dana Milbank
The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman
Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors


Phantom Prey by John Sandford
When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? by George Carlin
The Broken Window: A Lincoln Rhyme Novel by Jeffery Deaver

None could be renewed due to requests, so I whipped through the books and I'm finishing up the audiobooks today and tomorrow. In the meantime, my ARCs are patiently waiting while I attend to my library books. Once my library commitments are all finished, I start on My Lady of Cleves by Margaret Campbell Barnes, due out in October, thinking I'll move on to The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erickson, also due out in October, right after that. But wait! I just got The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner in the mail!! Yippee!! That will be next! Hang on there, Bucko. That's not all. The library just called. On hold there:

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz (audiobook)

All can only be checked out for two weeks. Yup. Long request list. Everything in this post needs to be done by July 30 at the very latest.

This is going to take some creative time management. . . I love when this happens!! :-)

Happy Reading, Everyone!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Catherine Delors

As Gabrielle de Montserrat, a French aristocrat, pens her memoir, the reader gets not only the anticipated up-close-and-personal view of the French Revolution, but also grim reminders of the lack of control women had over their lives, even in, or possibly especially in, the upper echelons of society.

First, I'd like to thank Eva of A Striped Armchair for recommending Mistress of the Revolution. It turned out to be everything it was promised to be. I initially thought the first half was moving too slowly. I was anxious to get to the revolt. (I apparently get blood thirsty on occasion.) In reality, I was frustrated by the treatment of Gabrielle by her family, her men, her life. Gabrielle is a highly intelligent and emotionally tough woman. Her inability to direct her own future is not due to any defect on her behalf. It drove me crazy to watch her be forced to submit to the whims of those in power. However, it was her perseverance through her early life that made credible her survival during a time when her peers were being slaughtered by the thousands under the blade of La Guillotine.

Coincidentally, I am posting this review on Bastille Day, a French national holiday. According to Wikipedia, "It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern French nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution."

I learn something new every day!

For more information on Cataherine Delors and her work see her Official Web Site.

Other reviews of this book:

Eva at A Striped Armchair

Sunday, July 13, 2008

And The Winners Are. . .

I'd like to thank everyone who participated in my very first book giveaway! And a huge thank you Sourcebooks who provided all the great books for it!! Peter kindly offered his services to do the actual drawing out of his Tommy Bahama Panama Hat, so you know it was done with style. :-)

And here they are! The winners of the Georgette Heyer Book Giveaway:

Lisa from Books. Lists. Life. (Lady of Quality)

Veronica from The First Draft of Anything Is Sh*t (The Royal Escape)--Peter loved your blog name, by the way! :-)

Monica from Monniblog (Any of them)

Danielle (Faro's Daughter)--I'm not sure of your blog name, but if you'll let me know, I'll get it linked up!

Ta dah! Congratulations to all the winners!! Please privately email me your addresses and we'll get your winnings off to you ASAP. Also, if you'd like to change the book you'd like to request, just let me know. (My email address can be found in my profile information.)

Have a great day!

Friday, July 11, 2008


by John Sandford

In Phantom Prey, the 18th book in Sandford's "Prey" series, Lucas Davenport encounters the Minneapolis goth culture when the disappearance of a wealthy widow's daughter leads him to a series of gruesome murders of her daughter's goth friends.

As with any series of this length, there are good installments and bad installments. This one lies somewhere in the middle, leaning toward one of the good ones. I listened to it on audio, though, and I have to say this is the first time the reader annoyed me to the point of distraction. His voices for the female characters were like nails down a chalkboard. The story itself, however, was enjoyable.

I saw that Kara at The World According To Books recently posted her review of Rules of Prey, the first "Prey" book, and Joy (from Thoughts of Joy) commented that she enjoyed Rules of Prey but remembered wanting to slap Lucas Davenport. I assured her, and now all of you, that I have read or listened to all eighteen "Prey" novels, and that feeling never goes away. :-) Good thing Lucas gets involved in such interesting cases, or I'd have to dump him and his "women as pretty objects" chauvinism.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

ARC Giveaway! The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner

Historical fans, here's a giveaway you'll want to know about!

I just learned this morning that Ballantine Books is running a promotion at offering 10 free ARCs to give away to readers who want to read the book and comment about it. Click here for more information.

The deadline to fill out the form to enter the giveaway is July 11. Hurry, hurry, hurry!! :-) And good luck to everyone who enters! The book looks wonderful! Also, visit the author, C.W. Gortner, at his blog Historical Boys. He's got some great stuff out there: Interviews, reviews, and info about his own books.

And don't forget to enter my Georgette Heyer Book Giveaway. I'll be drawing the winners on Sunday, July 13.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


by Katie Hickman

The Aviary Gate is the story of love, politics, intrigue and murder in an Ottoman Sultan's harem. DPhil candidate Elizabeth Staveley is researching the life of an English woman believed lost in a shipwreck. But a chance find seems to support Elizabeth's belief that the woman, Celia Lamprey, did not die, but lived in captivity in the palace of the Sultan.

The historical/modern parallel stories of The Aviary Gate reminded me of a Turkish version of The Rossetti Letter. This book ends quite a bit more ambiguously than Rossetti, but there is something appealing about leaving the precise fates of some of the characters to the imagination of the reader. The ending in my head was poetically tragic: Annetta weeping silently in her bed, waiting for the distant sound of gunfire across the water. . .

Who is Annetta? Why would there be gunfire? There's only one way to find out! :-)

Have you read The Aviary Gate? How did you envision the ending?

Other books with parallel stories in different time periods:

The Rossetti Letter
Stealing Athena

Monday, July 7, 2008

Georgette Heyer Book Giveaway!!!!

My first book giveaway, and what a fun one!

From the official press release:

Sourcebooks, Inc. is proud to be the premiere publisher of Georgette Heyer. By the summer of 2009, 21 of Heyer’s beloved romance and historical novels will be released in trade paperback. With her 12 mysteries to follow after that, Georgette Heyer will again be the author everyone turns to for exciting, heartfelt, well-written stories of the regency.

And now Nancy Pearl, “rock star librarian” and book commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition, has added Sourcebooks’ re-issue of one of Heyer’s most clebrated historical novels, An Infamous Army: A Novel of Wellington, Waterloo, Love and War, to her highly anticipated summer reading list! (The full list can be found here.) Nancy’s official announcement will air the week of July 7, 2008.

Exciting for devoted fans and a wonderful new discovery for Heyer beginners, each newly designed release is selling better than the last. Hailed as the favorite of countless readers and the inspiring influence of modern authors, Georgette Heyer’s timeless legacy continues.

Georgette Heyer is often credited as the creator of the regency fiction genre, and Sourcebooks is proud to be a part of continuing Heyer’s uncanny ability to delight readers!

In celebration of An Infamous Army being chosen, Sourcebooks is providing 4 books to give away to lucky readers! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me which book from the list below you would like to win. (And if you've read Georgette Heyer before, let us all know other titles you would recommend!) I'll draw for the four winners on Sunday, July 13.

(Due to financial constraints, this contest is only open to readers in the U.S. and Canada.)

Books Available for this Giveaway:

An Infamous Army (The book chosen by Pearl!)
False Colours
Black Sheep
Friday's Child
The Royal Escape
Lady of Quality
Faro's Daughter

Good luck, everyone!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


by Dana Milbank

Homo Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes that Run Our Government is a quick, humorous, but unsettling look at the behaviors of the people that lately have been the movers, shakers and "deciders" of the United States. Everyone from elected officials of all levels and parties to journalists, lobbyists and lowly staffers are open game. Written loosely in the form of an anthropological study, the book would be outright hilarious if it didn't make you want to cry at the pathetic, selfish, greedy and often criminal activities that are rampant in Washington D.C. There I go again using my outdoor voice. . . :-) I'll go back to my historicals now before I start getting all soap-boxy on you.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

5 Things

I've been tagged! Zetor over at Mog's Blog has requested that I answer a few questions. I think I can do that! :-)

1. What were you doing 5 years ago?

At this time 5 years ago, I was moving out of my little apartment that I had lived in all by myself for 10 years and into the new house Peter and I had bought. Then I had to get used to living with someone. :-)

2. What 5 things are on your to-do list today?

Write this meme :-)
Grocery shop
Go for a walk with Peter, Skye and Max
Read "The Aviary Gate"
Plan my post for a Georgette Heyer book giveaway!!! (Details coming this weekend)

3. What 5 snacks do you enjoy?

Cheese and crackers
Doritos and fat-free sour cream
Potato chips and onion dip
Babaganoush and pita bread
Pretty much anything with cream cheese. Or just cheese in general.
Hmmmm. . . I'm not seeing anything very healthy here.

4. What 5 thinks would you do if you were a billionaire?

Quit my job so I wouldn't have that horrid commute.
Pay off all my family members' loans so they can start fresh.
Pay to build an indoor agility building and new floor matting at our dog school.
Donate a whole load of money to charities.
Build or buy a home with a much bigger yard, a screen house or porch so Peter has a place to smoke his pipes and cigars, and room for a nice library.

5. What 5 jobs have you done?

Bass player
Belly dancer
Proof reader

I know a whole bunch of folks have already done this one. The answers have been so much fun to read! Consider yourself tagged if you haven't done this meme and want to. Make sure you leave a comment if you do, so I can see what you wrote!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July Already!

Wow. This year is moving fast.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon! I did not join in the fun, but I had a great time reading all the posts from it. I may not be able to resist next time. It seemed like a fantastic challenge!

My summer reading has been going well. The running list is at the bottom of my blog. I may not finish all my challenges this year, but I should clear the 100+ mark quite handily. Yippee!

Max and Skye are being good boys, loving summer and getting ready for their next trial at the end of the month. We've been working on our Snooker skills, and if it ever is not raining during our lessons, Max and I will be working on his little problem with the swimming pool. :-) Our next competition is July 26 and 27.

On my one and only professional sports front, the NBA Draft has come and gone, and I'm very happy with the Timberwolves' acquisition of Kevin Love and Mike Miller. (I don't know anything about the other two we got in the big trade.) I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the roster changes, and I think it's going to be a fun year while they continue to rebuild! Peter and I went to the Official Draft Party at the Target Center, and the most exciting part for me was when we just happened to meet one of our players, Sebastian Telfair, while we were in a restaurant where he was picking up some food. He was super nice and chatted with us while he was waiting for his order. Peter's favorite part was getting his picture taken with a half dozen members of the Dance Team. :-)

That's about it for me. Let me know what fun things you have coming up this summer!