Nutshell Review – Audiobook – The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith, Narrated by LIsette Lecat

The Hamdsome Man's De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre: Fiction
Series: #14 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2013
Length: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Purchased

The Book:

From the publisher:

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency often helps people find things they have lost. But they have never had to help a client find herself—until now, in this latest installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling and beloved series.

A kindhearted brother and sister have taken in a woman known only as “Mrs.”—a woman with no memory of her name or of how she came to Botswana. And so it’s up to Precious Ramotswe and her new co-director, Grace Makutsi, to discover the woman’s identity.

Meanwhile, motherhood proves to be no obstacle to Mma Makutsi’s professional success. As she settles into her role as partner at the agency, she also launches a new enterprise of her own: the Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café, a restaurant for Gaborone’s most fashionable diners. But even Miss 97 Per Cent isn’t fully prepared for the temperamental chefs, drunken waiters, and other challenges that come with running one’s own business. Help may come from an unexpected source, if only Mma Makutsi can swallow her pride and ask.

With sympathy and indefatigable good humor, Mma Ramotswe and her friends see one another through these major changes and discover along the way what true friendship really means.

My Thoughts:
Clearly since I just listened to the fifteenth book in this series it’s obvious I enjoy it. These characters have become old friends.

While they are sometimes classified as mysteries this series is much more light general fiction than mystery. Yes they’re detectives but that’s only a small part of these books.

They are about relationships, friendships, and a love story about the country of Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is the kind of woman I’d like to meet for tea and an afternoon of chatting. She loves her husband, she’s fiercely protective of her friends and she’s immensely proud of her home country of Botswana.

This time around the detective work is about identifying a woman who may have amnesia. At the same time Grace Makutsi is branching out from her work at the detective agency and opening a restaurant. Predictably things don’t go smoothly. When one of the apprentices is let go from the garage he is soon exploring new and unexpected career opportunities.

Mostly it continues to be a light and enjoyable series that is perfect for my driving around and commute time listening. Lisette Lecat does a wonderful job with the characters and saves me the trouble of trying to figure out pronunciation of unfamiliar words.


6a117-rating_35stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration

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Nutshell Review: Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Comics, Nutshell Review | 1 comment

Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe with art by Roc Upchurch

Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe

Genre: Fantasy, Comics
Series: #1 in the Rat Queens series
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 128
Source: Library

The Book:

This volume 1 is a compilation of issues 1-5 of the comic series.
From the back cover:

Who are the Rat Queens? A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit. It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

My Thoughts:
Oh this was fun! I heard about this one from Swapna at S. Krishna’s Books and I’m so glad I paid attention. It’s kind of weird and hard to describe but I cannot wait to read more. You can check out a preview of a few pages at the Image Comics site. I’ve already put my name on the waiting list at the library for volume 2 which will be released in February.

The Rat Queens are a group of kick ass female mercenaries. They are assigned a quest as punishment for their latest drunken brawl (as are several other groups involved in this particular brawl). It soon turns out that this is all a trap and someone is out to get all these mercenaries assassinated.

Obviously the Rat Queens can’t let that happen.

This is definitely a comic for mature audiences so if your sensitive to bloody violence, profane language or sexual content don’t bother.

The art by Roc Upchurch is vibrant and action packed. The characters are so varied and interesting because of the fantasy setting. I found a great interview with him at Paste Magazine.

Personally I enjoyed the heck out of it. I liked all the main characters. They’re sarcastic and not pretty idealized female images. They’re also pretty darn badass. I’m going to have to buy this one so I can read it again before volume 2 is released.


6a117-rating_35starsRating 3.5/5

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? #9

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Blogging/Reading, What Are You Reading? | 4 comments


This weekly reading roundup is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

I made a new image from a photo I took at my local library. What do you think of it?

Finished last week:


Queen & Country Vol. 2: Operation Morningstar

Queen & Country Vol. 2: Operation Morningstar by Greg Rucka

Volume 2 was just as good as volume 1

Continuing with:

Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy

Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses by Bess Lovejoy

This one is really fun. Yes fun about famous corpses

Denali's Howl by Andy Hall

Denali’s Howl by Andy Hall

I’ve been fascinated with mountain climbing gone wrong stories ever since I read Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.

Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

Texts From Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg

This is just a fun book to pick up and read a few pages at a time. The Hubster is getting tired of me handing it to him and saying “read this one too”.

Started last week:

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

This is another one off my non-fiction shelf that I’m focusing on in November. It’s my ebook for treadmill reading these days.

Currently listening to:

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith

The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith

I just love listening to Lisette Lecat’s narration of this series.

Posts from last week:

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

What are you reading?

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Weekend Update: The Is Winter Over Yet? Edition

Posted by on Nov 16, 2014 in Fun, Howie, photos, Weekend Update | 4 comments


Last weekend was a lovely fall weekend. We ran a great 5k race last Saturday that started and ended at Eola Hills Winery.

morning at the winery

It was foggy that morning but the sun broke through just before the race started and while it was crisp it wasn’t truly cold. I had a good race. I finished second out of 13 in my age group and more than 2 minutes faster than last year. The Hubster did his usual thing and was first in the Master’s division. It’s kind of discouraging for me to try to run when he’s so fast but I’m proud of him. He won a bottle of wine so that was nice.

Eola Hills No Hills 5k

Eola Hills No Hills 5k

The best part about this race is the post race food. Pizza and wine – Brunch of Champions.

Fall morningIt was such a lovely fall day we took the long way home through the countryside.

driving through fall

Then winter arrived. With no acclimation time at all. Most of the week we had brutal cold strong winds.

On Wednesday I woke up about 4:30 am to the sound of sleet on the window. It was icy enough at my house that I worked from home.

Abby "helping"

Abby “Helped”


icy window

My window looked like a weird version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Things thawed out by mid afternoon but the cold and wind stuck around. I was so happy when the wind finally died down late Thursday.

It’s been clear and sunny since Friday and it’s pretty out but it’s cold. I’m not a fan of cold. My sinuses are not happy with the cold dry air.

I’m pretty sure that staying inside and drinking plenty of hot tea and reading is the proper thing to do.

Howie in his sunbeam

Howie in his sunbeam

Or maybe I’ll just lay in the sunbeam with Howie.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!!

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The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 in 2014, 3 stars, Book Review | 1 comment

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: Originally 1897, this edition 2009
Pages: 141
Source: purchased

The Short Version:
A scientist perfects invisibility and learns that it has as many downsides as it does advantages.

Why I Read It:
I picked up The Nobody by Jeff Lemire which is a retelling of this classic but wanted to read this first.

The Book:
From the back cover of the Signet Classics edition:

H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man is considered to be one of the greatest science fiction stories ever written. It is the story of the scientist Griffin who discovers a serum that will turn his entire body invisible. The initial excitement over the possibilities quickly dissipates when Griffin, who uses the formula on himself, is unable to turn himself visible again. The Invisible Man is a cautionary tale about tampering with the laws of the universe. It is a story of how one scientist’s great discovery leads him into a state of madness.

My Thoughts:
This is one of those classics that has been on my TBR list for ages. When I picked up a copy of Jeff Lemire’s The Nobody at the library I discovered that it’s a retelling of this story. I decided I needed to read the original first.

I really didn’t know anything about the story before I started reading it. I may have watched the old classic movie one Saturday afternoon ages ago but if I did I didn’t remember it,

I’m glad I read it even though it’s not a book I’m going to go around telling everyone that they need to read it. The story was a classic example of be careful what you wish for. Once he perfected invisibility, Griffin soon discovered the disadvantages. Wintertime in England probably hastened that discovery.

My question is whether his transformation into a sociopath would have happened even if he hadn’t made himself invisible. Was he a person who would have been prone to rages and sociopathic behavior anyway? If he had been able to reverse the invisibility would he still have planned to use it against other people? I don’t think the invisibility or the inability to reverse it made him the way he ended up. I think it just made his story more than a simple crime spree.

I’m very interested to read Lemire’s graphic novel and see how he interprets this story.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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