Friday, 26 February 2010

BOOK NEWS: Angelina Jolie is to play Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta

Angelina Jolie to take on Patricia Cornwell's famous protagonist

Angelina Jolie. Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie is to take on the role of Patricia Cornwell's cult character Kay Scarpetta, as featured in novels such as Book of the Dead.

While the casting decision has been met with widespread dissatisfaction among die-hard fans, the author herself is happy with the decision, according to the Daily Mail.

Despite having initially wanted Jodie Foster to have played the part, Cornwell insists that Jolie is committed to the role. When the two met, the writer was reassured by the actress's attitude.

She told the news provider: "When Angelina came out of the left field last year, I was floored. She had pithy things to say about what she wanted to do [and] is direct and goal-oriented."

The dissatisfied fans' main gripe is that Scarpetta is a middle-aged, unglamorous woman with short blonde hair – not descriptions immediately associated with Ms Jolie.

The film, called The Tourist, will also feature Johnny Depp.

Taken from

My Thoughts:

To be fair, I have only read one Patricia Cornwell book but I really couldn't picture Kay Scarpetta as looking anything like Angelina Jolie and I was somewhat surprised at the casting.
I suppose she is a big name and will 'up' the profile of the books, and maybe even introduce a whole new lot of readers to the series who perhaps weren't aware of them before.
But I just can't see her as Kay Scarpetta.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Publisher: Bloomsbury (Aug 2009)

Pages: 294 (Hardback)

My Rating: 8.5/10


The story starts in France in 1208 when one of the main characters, Bertran, a troubadour, witnesses the murder of Pierre of Castelnau, one of the Pope's representatives, who has been visiting the Count of Toulouse. He knows that this could mean trouble. not just for himself. but for all the Pope's enemies and he tries to warn other heretics (like himself) who could be in danger from the Pope's revenge by travelling to the various towns and cities of Southern France.

The other main character, Elinor, a 13 year old noblewoman who is in love with Bertran, is also travelling through France with a troupe of minstrels in the disguise of a young minstrel boy. She runs away from her family rather than marrying an older man in an arranged marriage.

Mary Hoffman has woven an enchanting tale of love, poetry and music set against the backdrop of the invading army from the north.

I really liked the character of Elinor, the headstrong young woman, who was always at war with her mother when living at home and who had to grow up quite a lot during her journeys.

I especially enjoyed learning about the troupes of joglars; these were minstrels who wandered around to different towns entertaining the Lords and Ladies by composing poems and singing especially for them in their castles, or just singing in the marketplaces.

The easy flowing writing was a joy to read and, overall, I was absorbed in the story.

Special Thanks to Liz at My Favourite Books as I was lucky enough to win it in their recent book giveaway!

Liz's wonderful review is here

Thursday, 18 February 2010

From the Library Today!

I've been to the local library today and brought these two books home with me.


Blurb from the back:

Autumn, 1916. America is preparing to enter WWI, but at Tamarack State Hospital, the danger is barely felt. Here in the crisp, mountain air where wealthy tuberculosis patients recover in private cottages and charity patients, mostly European émigrés, fill the sanatorium, time stands still. Prisoners of routine and yearning for absent families, the inmates take solace in gossip, rumour and secret attachments.

One enterprising patient initiates a weekly discussion group, but his well-meaning efforts lead instead to tragedy and betrayal. The war comes home, bringing with it a surge of anti-immigrant prejudice and vigilante sentiment. Andrea Barrett pits power and privilege against unrest and thwarted desire in a spellbinding tale of individual lives in a nation on the verge of extraordinary change.


Blurb from Amazon

Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St Hauda's Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around icy bogland; albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods; jellyfish glow in the ocean's depths...And Ida MacLaird is slowly turning into glass.

A mysterious and frightening alchemical metamorphosis has befallen Ida Maclaird - she is slowly turning into glass, from the feet up. She returns to St Hauda's Land, where she believes the glass first took hold, in search of a cure. Midas Crook is a young loner, who has lived on the islands his entire life. When he meets Ida, something about her sad, defiant spirit pierces his emotional defenses. As Midas helps Ida come to terms with her affliction, she gradually unpicks the knots of his heart, and they begin to fall in love...What they need most is time - and time is slipping away fast. Will they find a way to stave off the spread of the glass? "The Girl with Glass Feet" is a dazzlingly imaginative and gripping first novel, a love story to treasure.

I loved the covers on both of these books, and that's one of the reasons why I picked them both up.

Have you read any of these books? If you have, let me know and I'll put a mention and a link here. Either leave me a comment or send me an email.

Andreea over at passionatebooklover has read The Girl with Glass Feet - have a look here to read her thoughts!

Jackie at Fast Lane Books Blog has also read The Girl with Glass Feet - her review is here

Sunday, 14 February 2010


The True Story of America's Most Successful Gentlemen's Club Entrepreneur

If you're male and reading this, I have a question for you - what would be your ideal fantasy life? How does having a string of 'Gentlemens Clubs' and being surrounded every night by beautiful near-naked dancing ladies, earning millions of pounds/dollars, driving fancy cars, owning your own private jet and racing car sound? If that life sounds too perfect and nobody could be that lucky, then think again and welcome to Alan Markovitz's world! His true story charts how he rose to become America's most successful Gentlemen's Club entrepreneur.

But, believe it or not there are drawbacks, like being shot at not once, but twice, and still having the bullet lodged in your neck between your carotid artery and your jugular vein as the surgeons considered it too risky to remove. Or maybe having your then business partner hiring two hitmen to murder you for your share of the nightclub. Or even having to testify against the Mob!

Early Life

Alan's father was a Holocaust survivor who was liberated from Auschwitz at 16 years and as he says "Maybe that's where I get it from - pluck, perseverance, determinations, balls, a little excess now and then. How else are you going to make it in this business?" His parents wanted him to be a doctor or a lawyer, the typical young-Jewish-guy-does-well-for-himself success story but Alan had other ideas, he saw how his neighbour, Sol Milan, owned a bigger car than his parents and he owned a strip club, and from an early age Alan knew that that was what he wanted.

So, Alan went to Bartender School and, luckily for him, when Sol's regular bartender wanted weekends off he asked Alan to step in, obviously he jumped at the chance and so began his first foray into the world of the 'gentlemens clubs'. When he was just 20 something he bought a run-down strip joint and with Sol as his partner he opened his first club - The Booby Trap - it was a dream come true and he never looked back.

The Shootings

The first person to shoot him was one of his own dancers, a junkie by the name of Susie who he had just fired. She didn't take too kindly to this and came back later the same night and shot her .38 revolver at him, hitting him twice, once in his liver and the other collapsed his lung. She only received two and a half years for attempted murder!

Amazingly, the next bullets were from an off-duty policeman who was apparently not happy at being asked to leave one of Alan's Clubs one January evening in 1997, having consumed too much alcohol and starting an argument with one of the dancers. After leaving he came back and started shooting his .40 caliber Glock and, unfortunately, Alan was in the way of one of his stray bullets. His jaw was shattered in six places, losing several teeth in the process, he had to have six separate surgeries, plastic reconstruction and cost him almost a quarter of a million dollars!

The Hitmen

The FBI was already investigating two thugs for other crimes when they listened in to their phone calls and uncovered a plot to assassinate Alan. Unbeknown to Alan, his business partner, Freddy Giordano, had hired the two hitmen to kill him, and Alan only found out about this while watching the evening news one night when they were arrested. Luckily for Alan they were arrested before they could carry out the hit!

My Thoughts

The book takes us behind the scenes of how the business works, the girls who, Alan continually tells us, are not stupid but are doing something they enjoy and which can pay extremely well, his battles with officialdom, the vast sums of money that can be made, all the while saying that anyone with guts and determination can do anything if they want it badly enough.

Alan comes across as a likeable, decent guy, who has made mistakes in his life and admits them honestly, which is one of the things I liked about him. He wasn't flashy or pretentious, just an ordinary person living an extraordinary life. Even though I'm probably not the sort of person the book is aimed at ...... I'm a middle-aged female ....... I would guess the book is mainly aimed at males interested in 'gentlemens clubs' ........ but I really did enjoy it. I know I'll probably never find myself in one of these clubs, but that doesn't matter, I still found it a fascinating look at a different world.

The writing flowed quickly and easily and all the chapters were nicely divided into sections, eg. Tycoons are made not born and The Girls which is self-explanatory.

My Rating: 8/10

Published by Am Productions (Oct 2009)

Special Thanks to Tracee at pump Up Your Book Promotions and Alan Markovitz.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


Genre: Memoirs

Publisher: (April 2008)

Pages: 424 (Paperback)

My Rating: 9/10


The author writes in the Preface:-

I wrote this book to honour my parents and their innumerable sacrifices and to share with the world how unconditional love and faith in God carried them through their darkest crisis.

In August 1938 Lizzi (26) and Fredl (27) Steiner were happily living in Vienna, Austria when papers arrived for Fredl from the Republic of Germany demanding that he report in a few days to an aviation factory in Munich to work on delicate timing devices for bombs. Fredl, a Master Jeweller, and a Catholic, had no intention of working for a madman and they decided that their only choice was to flee Austria ...... this novel is the story of their 7 year odyssey to freedom.

They first went to Paris to say with Fredl's niece but after just 3 weeks, they had to flee south as the Germans were getting nearer. This was just the beginning of their nightmare, of being moved from town to town while the Nazis were getting closer and closer.

They then lived in Rouen for 14 months before Fredl was told to report to a military camp for the French Army which turned out to be a makeshift internment camp at Lisieux. Meanwhile, Lizzi was sent to an internment camp in Orleans before being moved to Nevers. This was the first of many separations they had to endure as Fredl was moved around France to different internment camps and Lizzi was left alone to find a new job and a place to live, all the while they were both worrying about each other and trying to remain hopeful of being together again.

Each chapter alternated between Lizzi and Fredl so we knew what was happening to them both at the same time, which added another dimension to the story.

In March 1940 there was a mass exodus from Nevers to the south and Lizzi was lucky enough to travel in a truck with some deserting French soldiers to the town of Bergerac which was high in the mountains, and where she felt safe for a little while making friends and finding work. She realised that there were many people in the same difficult position as her, displaced from their native lands, displaced from their families and friends, displaced from normal life in general. They had such unknown futures.

They did keep in touch by letter throughout this time and Lizzi even managed to obtain a travel pass and visited Fredl in some of the camps.

As Lizzi uses her courage and strength to survive we follow Fredl from one internment camp to another as the years went on, and
"fear and distrust were emotions that needed to be heeded closely. Survival was of paramount importance, and misguided trust could prove to be fatal."

Even when Fredl was at his lowest ebb, desperately ill with heart failure and pneumonia, while in a labour camp at Saint-Sauveur, near Bellac, cutting trees in the freezing winter, the thought of Lizzi and the end of the war kept him alive and having something to aim for - they often talked of emmigrating to America and starting a new life - this was their dream.

We talk of being stressed today in our lives but what they had to endure must have been worse than anything I can imagine - they had to leave their family and friends behind, they lost their home and possessions, they never knew from one day to the next whether the Nazis would come and take them away, never trusting anyone - it was their strength and belief that carried them through such a terrible time.

This is an incredible and very moving story and throughout it all it is Lizzi and Fredl's love for one another that helps sustain them, and one that I found difficult to put down.


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