Sunday, October 23, 2011

Prophecy by S J Parris - Book 92

The sequel to Heresy, Prophecy reintroduces Giordano Bruno, the Italian heretic turned detective spy. As ever, he's trying to unravel a conspiracy against Elizabeth I while working as a mole in the French ambassador's court. There are multiple twists and turns as well as the sights and sounds of the Tudor court and the book is quite readable. However, S J Parris is no C J Sansom, who does a far better job of bringing that world to light in a more thrilling way. Recommended.

Nightfall by Stephen Leather - Book 91

I've seen Stephen Leather's name all over the shelves - both physical and virtual - so I was intrigued to see what Nightfall would be all about. It wasn't what I expected at all as it turned out to be a thriller which dabbles in the occult - or at least all the main characters do. Retired hostage negotiator Jack Nightingale is now a private detective. One day he gets a call from a lawyer and discovers that he has inherited a mansion full of occult books from the biological father he never knew he had (who, incidentally had sold Jack's soul to minor devil Prosperpine at birth - and she's planning to collect in a couple of weeks on Jack's 33rd birthday). I found it difficult to get into this world and therefore didn't really enjoy the book. Not recommended.

Breath of Scandal - Sandra Brown - Book 90

Sandra Brown isn't my favorite author, but this was a great book, where I was gripped from start to finish. The story of Jade's efforts to survive a shattering incident makes for an enthralling read. Here's Amazon's description:

Jade Sperry's entire professonal life is dedicated to one purpose: revenge. As a pretty and intelligent high school senior she is raped by three classmates, an attack instigated by Neal Patchett, the son of the most powerful man in Palmetto, S.C. No one, not even her own mother, believes Jade's tale, and her boyfriend, led to think she cheated on him, commits suicide. Jade vows to destroy all three boys, especially Neal.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Reluctant Father's Club - Nick Duerden - Book 89

The story of a dad who takes some time to get used to the idea of fatherhood, this memoir is amusing and touching. Moms, if you have ever wondered what's going on inside the heads of dads who seem less than thrilled with their new status, find out about their state of shock from one who's been there - and come out the other side. As well as the honesty of the feelings revealed, what lends this book its charm is that it's a love story - the story of how a new dad falls in love with his baby daughter. Who could resist that? Recommended.

The Host - Stephenie Meyer - Book 88

Stephenie Meyer's The Host was a pick from one of my book club members. I didn't know what to expect, not being a fan of vampire thrillers. But I loved it - I engaged with the plot and the main characters and enjoyed the story thoroughly, so much so that I went straight to the author's site to check for news of a sequel (alas, not yet). This book has depths - as well as the main story, there are references (for those who care to look) to the morality of the colonial project as well as a long, hard look at what humans have done to the planet. An excellent read, which is highly recommended.

Amazon's description:
A species of altruistic parasites has peacefully assumed control of the minds and bodies of most humans, but feisty Melanie Stryder won't surrender her mind to the alien soul called Wanderer. Overwhelmed by Melanie's memories of fellow resistor Jared, Wanderer yields to her body's longing and sets off into the desert to find him. Likely the first love triangle involving just two bodies, it's unabashedly romantic, and the characters (human and alien) genuinely endearing. Readers intrigued by this familiar-yet-alien world will gleefully note that the story's end leaves the door open for a sequel--or another series. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sue Grafton - Kinsey Millhone Series

I love a good mystery and the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton doesn't disappoint. Kinsey is a private investigator who often ends up enmeshed in crimes. I'd read the first in the series, A is for Alibi, some years ago, so I picked it up again with the next four books (Books 83-87 in my readathon, if you're keeping track). When you read books in a series back to back, it can be hard to separate the details. Each stands on its own, with just enough backstory so you know what's happening, without so much that it's boring for regular readers. These are good books to read on holiday as you don't have to work too hard to follow them, but they still have enough mystery to keep you interested. Descriptions of all the books to date are on Sue Grafton's site or you can find them all on her Amazon author page.

Here are the books I've read so far:

"B" is for Burglar
"C" is for Corpse
"D" is for Deadbeat
"E" is for Evidence
"F" is for Fugitive

And these are still to be read:

"G" is for Gumshoe
"H" is for Homicide
"I" is for Innocent
"J" is for Judgment
"K" is for Killer
"L" is for Lawless
"M" is for Malice
"N" is for Noose
"O" is for Outlaw
"P" is for Peril
"Q" is for Quarry
"R" is for Ricochet
"T" is for Trespass
"U" is for Undertow
"V" is for Vengeance

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton - Book 82

The first time I tried Pirate Latitudes, I didn't get into it, but a few months later I picked it up again. Perhaps it was more interesting because I was on my way to the town in which much of it was set, Port Royal in Jamaica, but whatever the reason, I found it a good airplane read. Set in the Caribbean in 1665, it tells the tale of Captain Charles Hunter who sets out to take some gold from the Spanish, finds himself captured, lost, almost shipwrecked, recovered, betrayed and facing death. Luckily, he's a resourceful fellow, so whenever it looks like the end, he somehow manages to escape. Peopled by a cast of rogues, prostitutes and corrupt politicians - as well as a few people too sanctimonious for anyone's good, the novel rolls along merrily. A good holiday read.