The Blood Countess | Tara Moss

The first e-book I’ve read on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 was Tara MossThe Blood Countess. To sum it up briefly, it was a joyful mind-numbing 4 hour read!

“Pandora English is no ordinary small town orphan. When she’s invited to live with her mysterious Great-Aunt Celia in New York City, she seizes the opportunity to escape her stifling hometown, break from her tragic past and make it as a writer.

Things, however, are not what she is expecting. For starters, her great-aunt’s gothic mansion is in a mist-wreathed Manhattan suburb that doesn’t appear on maps. And then there’s Celia herself – a former designer to the stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age – who is elegant, unnaturally young and always wearing a veil.

Pandora lands a job at a fashion magazine and her first assignment is covering the A-list launch of the latest miracle cream, BloodofYouth. But something is not right about the product, nor Athanasia, the drop-dead beautiful face of the brand. It seems there may be a secret ingredient in BloodofYouth, a secret worth killing for…

In The Blood Countess – the first novel in the new Pandora English series – bestselling author Tara Moss brings her trademark macabre and lifelong love of the paranormal to the fashion world with a twist.”

extremely loud and incredibly close


Isn’t that how you feel when you find out that one of your favourite books is going to be a feature film?
Well, that’s how I feel. 

For the moment, it doesn’t matter if the film lives up to the book (it usually never does) but that anticipation when your imagination envisages how it will play out is just the most wonderful thing. It’s like Christmas Eve or the day before your birthday!

I just discovered that Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is coming out in cinemas on Christmas Day this month! Starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis, Max von Sydow (who I always confuse for Christopher Plummer) and Thomas Horn. Stephen Daldry directs.

The Paris Wife

At Dinner Club last night I received a pretty package tied with ribbon from the Jacksons!

pretty package
my birthday book stack

The first book that I am reading from my stack is

I think it’s fascinating when a writer melds fiction and fact.

Of course, there is always truth to the essence of something that is written, but I’m talking about when a biography of someone’s life is added to and expanded upon.

“Although Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway and other people who actually lived appear in this book as fictional characters, it was important for me to render the particulars of their lives as accurately as possible, and to follow the very well documented historical record.”

That is an excerpt from ‘A Note on Sources’ at the conclusion of the book
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. I’m only one chapter in and I can tell its going to be wonderful. Her writing is rich and alive and it very much reminds me of Hemingway himself. She writes as the voice of Hadley Hemingway, Ernest’s first and in a sense “starter” wife, and their five years of marriage spent in living in Paris.

While A Moveable Feast is Hemingway’s own account of his first marriage, McLain uses many sources, including a multitude of biographies on Hemingway and letters of correspondence between the couple and friends of the couple, to include the factual accounts of their marriage but from a fictional voice of Hadley.

How wonderful! How exciting!

I’ll review once finished.

aa gill is away

I’m going to break up my blogging week of Melbourne lovin’ to write a review on the latest book I just finished;

AA Gill is Away (funnily enough by AA Gill). 

Adrian Anthony Gill is a food and travel writer who I first read as a regular feature article in Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine. He’s a handsome, 50-something journalist who literally fell into the profession after an unsuccessful stint as an artist.

The first thing I love about AA Gill is that he’s funny. Literally laugh out loud funny. After you accept his decidedly British humour then you can focus on his in-depth knowledge and sublime prose. When his first editor at GQ magazine asked him what he wanted to achieve as a journalist he said “I’d like to interview places. To treat a place as if it were a person, to go and listen to it, ask it questions.” And that he does. He’s not your usual travel writer. He is brutally honest with no regard for political correctness, which I find extremely refreshing, but whether or not he falls in love with a destination (whether it be village, city, country or restaurant) he takes the time to explore and gets to know it intimately.

Away is written in essay format and sectioned into four parts; north, south, east and west. The North focuses on Europe, South mainly on Africa, East on Asia and West on the Americas.

I love the story on The Kalahari entitled ‘Out of their Element’ so much that I read it twice. I had tears rolling down my eyes as I read the description of his bowel movements in the middle of a gargantuan dessert storm.

And similarly, the story of how he came to be a porn producer in Hollywood was both fascinating and surprising. Read ‘When DD met AA’ for a titillating account of a journalistic man’s wet dream! (and many other men, I’m sure)

For those who know his magazine and newspaper columns (he writes for UK Sunday Times, Vanity Fair and Australian Gourmet Traveller) the noticeable difference in his book is that he swears. A lot. Most people say that people who swear have a limited vocabulary but this is simply not the case with Gill. I have to look up words on more than one occasion. The swearing doesn’t bother me but I’m sure some people would take offence to all the F-bombs. But then again, those same people would probably take offence to half of the essays in this book considering his satirical, non-censored account of the people and places he visits (refer to East essay ‘Mad in Japan’).

I am envious of his exceptional talent and the number of stamps on his passport. But you know that he works for it; in one essay he references that he took 30 minutes to write the previous sentence and it’s common knowledge that he has a serious case of dyslexia (his articles are written by dictation); and you admire him for that.

I really enjoyed this book and I’ve got the order in for two more.

four eyes over five books

I haven’t bought new books in a while, so I’m extra excited about the fantastic five I ordered on Book Depository:

“The Zombie Survival Guide, written by American author Max Brooks and published in 2003, is a survival manual dealing with the potentiality of a fictional zombie attack. It contains detailed plans for the average citizen to survive zombie uprisings of varying intensity and reach, and describes “cases” of zombie outbreaks in history, including an interpretation of Roanoke Colony. The Zombie Survival Guide was also featured on The New York Times Best Seller’s list.” Wikipedia

Faithless: The victim was buried alive in the Georgia woods — then killed in a horrifying fashion. When Sara Linton and Jeffrey Tolliver stumble upon the body, both become consumed with finding out who killed the pretty, impeccably dressed young woman. And for Sara and Jeffrey, a harrowing journey begins, one that will test their own turbulent relationship and draw dozens of lives into the case.”

Indelible: When medical examiner Sara Linton and police chief Jeffrey Tolliver take a trip away from the small town of Heartsdale — an escape from all the pressures which complicate their relationship — it should be a straightforward weekend at the beach. But they decide to take a detour via Jeffrey’s hometown and things go violently wrong when Jeffrey’s best friend Robert shoots dead an intruder who breaks into his house.”

AA Gill is Away:”Vitriol, humor and lashings of insight as British columnist Gill visits a smorgasbord of far-flung places.” – Kirkus Reviews

Dead Reckoning: “With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows…” –

four books

day 7 of the 10 day reveal

these aren’t my favourite books; just those that are currently on my mind…

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Great finale to the epic series by J.K.Rowling. I bought my copy at Orly airport in France and patiently held onto it while I was on holidays waiting for the plane trip home! I ended up spending 2 days reading it by the pool in Singapore. I could barely tear myself away. It was awesome. Now I am reading it again in readiness for the film’s 2nd part ending coming out next month! 
  2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Oprah recommended this book via Oprah’s Book Club and its really good. I’m currently about a quarter of the way through. Set in a 1960’s Mississippi small town it tells of three women’s unlikely bond and how their friendship tests the town’s unspoken rules and behavior.  I just discovered it’s going to be released as a movie in August (starring Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer & Bryce Dallas Howard)! 
  3. The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg. I recently finished this book and enjoyed it immensely. I’ve only really gotten into crime fiction in the past 6 months and Läckberg is a Swedish author with a similar writing style as Stieg Larsson (or it may come across that way in English as Läckberg shares the same literary translator and geographically they refer to alot of the same towns). I can’t wait to read the next one in the series, called The Preacher
  4. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Mandy lent me this book about a month ago and it’s burning a hole in my bookcase waiting to be read! I purposely avoided the TV mini series of the same name which was on recently (that has a kickarse cast!) as Mandy strongly suggested I read it first (she also has the DVD so I can borrow that next)! I love English historical fiction. This looks epic!

i’m currently…

Listening to:

Lady Antebellum. I am infatuated with this Grammy Award winning 3 person country band. Their latest album Need You Now appeals to a wide audience (like country fringe dwellers like me) , but it’s still essentially country.From a instrumental standpoint they have some beautiful piano-driven love songs but it’s mostly about the guitar, and they are both beautifully played by Dave Haywood. The lead vocals come courtesy of Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott and they are strong, honey-dewed melodies and rich harmony. Check out my fave song on the album here:


Knowing that I didn’t read many crime novels (other than the Millennium series), and being a big fan herself, my beautiful friend Mandy gave me the first of Karen Slaughter‘s Grant County series, Blindsighted, for Christmas and I was hooked from the first page. I’ve read the second book Kisscut and now I’m onto the third in the series called A Faint Cold Fear. It’s quick paced and a subtle mix of complex entangled relationships between the protagonists and the crime they investigate in rural Georgia.

Lusting after:

This beautiful dining setting from Dare Gallery.

Wishing I was wearing:

the shia wedge boot from Sportsgirl

Planning to do today:

I love Sundays! I’m going to have a nice big mug of coffee followed by poached eggs with spinach & bacon at our fave cafe in Glebe; walk Harley; unpack some more; do some serious piano practice (la fille aux cheveux de lin by Debussy is practically calling my name!) and make Donna Hay’s chicken with haloumi and honey for dinner!

impatiently waiting | Dead Reckoning; Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris’ official website puts the publication date of her new Sookie Stackhouse novel (#11), to this week on the 3rd May 2011.

It isn’t available for pre-order on Book Depository as yet, so I’ll have to brave the astronomical shipping fees of Amazon to get it ASAP…

There is a sneak-peek of the first chapter that you can read here.

Can’t wait!!!