Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Baby Thief - L J Sellers - Book 117

The Baby Thief is another bok by L J Sellers, who's been dominating my reading list in the past week. This week the plot seems simple: kidnap a woman to harvest her eggs so that the infertile fertility doctor can have a baby of her own. However, things are never that simple and a journalist boyfriend turned detective and hitherto unknown relationship between the kidnapped woman and the woman who orchestrated the grab, as well as a religious cult where all is not as it seems complicate the plot. The story is a good read and I found myself rooting for the main character Jenna to unravel the mystery and escape from her kidnappers. Recommended.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Suicide Effect - L J Sellers - Book 116

One day Sula, a PR worker, hears the boss of a pharma firm and one of his scientists in discussion over a new anti-depressant that might be about to make them all rich. The only trouble - it's made some people suicidal. This book follows Sula's attempts to reveal the truth in parallel with Karl Rudker's attempts to hide it. I found Sula an appealing character, though the story did not appeal as much as Sellers' previously reviewed book, The Arranger. Recommended.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Son of Man - Charles W Johnson - Book 115

What if Jesus could be cloned? And what would happen if a big asteroid were due to obliterate the Earth? These two questions form the basis of The Son of Man. The story follows the people who clone Christ's DNA from the Shroud of Turin, the woman (Maria) who is chosen to be the host of the implanted baby, her husband Todd and many others. As you would imagine, everyone is working towards a goal, though not all the goals are in harmony. The start of the book has a nice pace, but this drops off towards the middle as it becomes evident that this is only book one of a series. I'd have liked to see both questions achieve some resolution instead of just one - which, I'll leave you to find out. It's a decent enough read, though not great.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Arranger - L J Sellers - Book 114

I couldn't put down The Arranger, by L J Sellers. Here's Amazon's description:

The year is 2023 and ex-detective Lara Evans is working as a freelance paramedic in a bleak new world. She responds to an emergency call and is nearly killed when a shooter flees the home. Inside she finds the federal employment commissioner wounded, but she’s able to save his life. The next day Lara leaves for the Gauntlet—a national competition of intense physical and mental challenges with high stakes for her home state. She spots the assailant lurking at the arena and soon after, she lands in deep trouble. Who is the mysterious killer and what is motivating him? Can Lara stop him, stay alive, and win the Gauntlet?

The book proceeds at a cracking pace, alternating between Lara's perspective and that of a government employee who will go to any lengths to win the favor of the woman he adores. Set in a future which seems eerily familiar, where health care is even more unaffordable and unemployment even higher, it's easy to imagine this sort of world. The main character, Lara, has her own demons to face, making this a gripping read all round. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Steve Jobs Biography - Book 113

Steve Jobs' biography was a fascinating read. I've always followed part of his story, intrigued by the inventions that shaped part of my working life. I used an early Mac, switched to a PowerMac when that became the norm in business desktop publishing environments and then watched the iMac, iPod, iTunes and iPad phenomena. This book gave the background to those well known successes and a few equally well publicized failures. It reveals a man whose management style left something to be desired while at the same time eliciting brilliance from his team and creating the world's top company while he did it. Although I got the feeling that the editor could have made another pass (there was some unnecessary repetition, in my opinion), I expect the book was rushed to publication when Jobs passed away and it didn't detract from an otherwise enthralling read. Recommended.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Abigail Affair - Book 112

Here's Amazon's description of the Abigail Affair:
Toby Robinson, twenty-two and broke, lands a job as deckhand on a Russian billionaire's yacht. On his first night aboard he is framed for the murder of a guest. And that's just the start of his problems. His attractive crewmate Julia seems to be the only one on his side - but can he trust her? 
I enjoyed this book, though I found many of the characters unbelievable. Still, the plot was interesting. It was a free download for the Kindle. If I'd paid full price for it, I might have been disappointed. As it was, I thought it was a good enough read.

The Girl Who Couldn't Say No by Tracy Engelbrecht - Book 111

Something about this book reminded me of Juno - perhaps it was the matter of face attitude of the heroine and her refusal to be bowed down by events some might view as cataclysmic. She is forthright and unashamed to admit mistakes, while keeping a firm handle on what she did right.  Here's Amazon's description:

A sharp, occasionally shocking, memoir that will change how you look at teenage mothers, The Girl Who Couldn’t Say No is told with frank South African humour and refreshingly mature insight. Tracy Engelbrecht tells the story of how she came to find herself pregnant at 15, and how she coped with pregnancy, birth and homework.

This was an easy, fun read and very compelling, leaving you wanting to know more about the character. Recommended.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Only Time Will Tell - Jeffrey Archer - Book 110

I've always liked Jeffrey Archer's books. In the UK, there are a bunch of people who have it in for him (and it's true that he's done some questionable things). What is not in question, though, is that he tells a rattling good yarn. If you loved Kane and Abel and some of his early work, you will love Only Time Will Tell. Told from the perspectives of the people in the main character's life, it's the story of Harry Clifton, a boy whose parentage is mysterious, who has a beautiful soprano voice and who rises from humble beginnings to get a good education. Just when it looks like everything is going right, the secret of his birth is partly revealed, with devastating consequences. The book ends on a cliffhanger, paving the way for book two in the planned trilogy, due March 2012. I can't' wait! Highly recommended!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Percy Jackson Series - Books 104-108

I'm currently reading the Percy Jackson series (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters,The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympians). Intended for young readers, the series is set between the world of the Olympians (and I don't mean athletes) and the human world. If you can believe that the Greek gods are real and so are their children with humans (demi-gods) then you will probably enjoy the series, which charts the face-off between the Olympians and their banished predecessors the Titans who are once again vying for power. The battle (complete with magic, action, adventure and swordplay) centers around Percy Jackson, about whom there's a chilling prophecy. These are easy to read and you'll learn a lot about Greek mythology too (I thought I knew quite a bit till I read these, but there are characters in here I've never heard of before.) Recommended.