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!


Sunday, April 20, 2008


In an effort to create a more reasonable reading experience, I’ve decided to break the results of this project down into a few different posts. Thoughts on thirteen "First Chapters" are just too much to digest all at one time. I’ll give you the first four today, and the rest over the next couple of days.

I had a blast doing this, and if you enjoy the outcome, please let me know! I’m considering making this a regular feature.

THE DEVIL’S BONES by Jefferson Bass

This will most likely be the next book I read since I’ve already read and enjoyed the first two in this series. Plus it’s due back to the library in two weeks rather than the usual three because it’s a brand-spankin’ new book with a waiting list. Judging from the first chapter, it will be just like the others – a quick but educational forensic mystery romp with a pretty good story and a lot of forced humor. More on that when I do the full review.

(Side note: In the previous book, Flesh and Bone: A Body Farm Novel (Body Farm), a really great secondary character was killed off. I was very sad, and I’m very curious where the author will take that part of the ongoing storyline in this installment. No mention of it was made in Chapter One.)

THE GOD OF SPRING by Arabella Edge

Great cover art! Which is what drew me to picking up this book at all. And the inspiration for that very painting, Raft of the Medusa by Theodore Gericault, is what the book is about. We learn in the first chapter that the artist, Gericault, is madly in love and conducting a ruinous affair with his patron-uncle’s young wife, Alexandrine, and it is causing an artist’s version of writer’s block during a time in which he is desperate to create a follow-up to his gold medal winning painting, Charging Chasseur. We learn his background, how his father wanted him to work in the family business while his mother encouraged his artistic abilities. There are lovely descriptions of Paris in 1818. I find myself wanting to know how he will dig himself out of his apathy toward his art and his obsession with his step-aunt to finally produce that beautiful and disturbing painting on the cover.

THE CRUSADER by Michael Alexander Eisner

Oh, my! It was all I could do to put this one down after the first chapter! I want to keep going!!! The year is 1275, the place is Santes Creus monastery, Spain. What happened to this man, Francisco de Montcada, who returned from the Crusades possessed by demons, who is now chained to a wall in the monastery, declared a "lost case" by the monks who have attempted exorcism? The story is told in first person by another monk who had been Francisco’s friend years before and who has come to help him overcome his madness. I need to hurry up with this project and get back to this one!!


Seriously, is it possible to get enough Tudor fiction? I don’t know what it is that continually attracts me. It’s not like I’m dying to see how the story ends. Don’t we all already know? :-) But something keeps me coming back for more. . . .

The Last Wife of Henry VIII is the story of Catherine Parr, Henry’s sixth wife and perhaps the one whose story is least familiar to me. (Hence, the other book about Catherine that is part of this project. More on that one in the future.) The story is told in first person which, as many have figured out by now, I just love! It begins with Catherine as a child, her mother as one of Catherine of Aragon’s ladies in waiting, all of them at the Field of Cloth of Gold where little Catherine sees the young Anne Boleyn for the first time, before the King had set his sights on her. It appears we will be watching Henry’s parade of wives and mistresses through the eyes of the woman who will become his final spouse.

This has a lot of potential! I enjoyed Erickson’s The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette: A Novel, so I’m thinking this one should be pretty good, too.

Stay tuned for more "First Chapters"!


BooksPlease said...

Gosh, you have been busy. I think I'd have got so involved with one that I wouldn't have got to the others. The Last Wife of Henry VIII interests me as I have just read Revelation,set during the year before Catherine Parr married Henry and am about to start reading The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn. As you say we all know how it ends, but I suppose it's the getting there that's so intriguing.

Lezlie said...

Books Please ~ I must admit I bit off a little more than I could chew! :-) I spent my whole weekend working on this and didn't get any of my regular reading done. "The Sixth Wife" is the other Catherine Parr book for this project. I thought they both looked very interesting, and I'd like to read them back-to-back when the time comes.

You're right. It is the getting there that's interesting. I like to see the different ways the various authors portray the same people. Some can make them very dull, others wildly fascinating!

Pabast said...

You gotta love the Tudors. Each time I read a different book about Henry VIII wives, I learn something new.

I have Jefferson Bass on my TBR list. Forensics science has always interested me.

I just want to say you are such a tease with this first chapter preview. :)

Lezlie said...

Pabast ~ It's been a super fun thing to do, but it has made my life difficult. As if I wasn't *already* having a problem deciding what to read next!! And then I feel the need to get everyone on the band wagon. . . :-)


Anonymous said...

Isn't it a bit disconnecting to read so many first chapters at once? Sounds fun, but my head gets too far into the books too easily to be able to switch rapidly like that.

Lezlie said...

Redhead ~ Can I shorten it to that? :-) It did get to be too much. I managed eight all together and my brain fried. Next time I do this, the pile will be quite a bit smaller. Like three or four books total.