Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Black Ice

The Black Ice by Michael Connelly

A great mystery with a delightful twist. It starts off with a murdered cop and continues with a series of related murders stretching from LA to south of the border. Harry Bosch defies his superiors to investigate and find out about the drugs and people behind the murders. Harry comes out squeaky clean as usual and it is a pleasure to watch
Favourite Character: Harry Bosch. A doggily persistent investigator who is determined to find out what was going on
Least Favourite Character: Corvo. A DEA agent who is prejudiced and bigoted
Best Part of the Book: The drug raid. You could feel the excitement.
Worst Part of the Book: What happens to the bad guy. I felt that there should have been a different outcome.
What was missing: nothing



Friday, December 29, 2006

Generation X by Douglas Coupland

Generation X by Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland is one of my favourite Canadian authors, but I wasn't impressed with this book (the very first one he wrote). I'm glad I didn't read this book first because I may have not tried another of his books.
This one was was about three generation x'ers who are trying to make sense of their lives. One is a romantic, one is a chronic vandalizer, and one is a little depressed. They like to tell each other stories, which makes up the majority of the book. However there really isn't any plot! Yes some of it was funny, and some of the stories were interesting, but the rest just seemed like filler to seperate the stories. Maybe I just didn't get it because I'm not a Generation Xer.
Pick up Microserfs before you pick up this one.



Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Gardens of Kyoto

The Gardens of Kyoto by Kate Walbert

From the Publisher

I had a cousin, Randall, killed on Iwo Jima. Have I told you?

So begins Kate Walbert''s beautiful and heartbreaking novel about a young woman, Ellen, coming of age in the long shadow of World War II. Forty years later she relates the events of this period, beginning with the death of her favorite cousin, Randall, with whom she shared Easter Sundays, childhood secrets, and, perhaps, the first taste of love. When he dies on Iwo Jima, she turns to the legacy he left her: his diary and a book called The Gardens of Kyoto. Each one subtly influences her perception of her place in the world, the nature of her memories.

Moving back and forth through time and place, Kate Walbert recreates a world touched by the shadows of war and a society in which women fit their desires into prescribed roles. Unfolding in lyrical, seductive prose, The Gardens of Kyoto becomes a mesmerizing exploration of the interplay of love and loss.

My review:
This book is a very lyrical look at a young girl coming of age in the era of the 1940's and 50s. It starts out with the death of her cousin and his bequeath to her. The story changes time a fair bit and this detracts from the story as the most curious of us want to know the story now and not interspersed between time periods. Although well written the story is not fully told ever
My favourite Character: I didn't really have one
My Least Favourite Character: Daphne. Because she became exactly what she didn't want to be
Best Part of the Story: When Ellen goes to meet Sterling for the last time and goes to see the old house
Worst Part of the Story: The type of men Ellen picks
What was missing: Coherency. I felt that the time shifts made the story telling too prolonged and hard to keep track of. It felt like the book was dragging



Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson

Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw by Will Ferguson
Non Fiction

I have previously heard good things about Ferguson, and specifically this book. That's why I bought it from a used book store. But I wasn't too impressed with the book. It was quite a roller coster in terms of keeping my interest. Some parts would be quite interesting, other parts very dull. There are little tidbits of Canadian history (or even trivia) that I didn't know so it was interesting reading about them. Some of his antics were funny as well. But it got to the point where I just found it long winded and even somewhat repetative.
The most interesting part of the book was probably the polar bear extravaganza. It would be interesting to take one of those trips on the buses to see the polar bears in their natural habitat.



Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Books

I got a whole load of fantastic books

The Flanders Panel - Perez-Reverie Lauren always manages to find a new author for me which is fantastic. This is a historical thriller which is my favourite genre
Ordinary Heroes - Turow A book offered a few months ago on First Look which looked interesting
The Potato factory - Courtenay My favourite author
Blueberry Muffin Murder - Fluke Unfortunately I have this one soooo I will get Peach Cobbler Murder instead
A Breath of Snow and Ashes - Galbadan I have been waiting a long time for this one
Julie & Julia - Powell This was offered in a recent swap and it sounded so good. I love to cook and this is right up my alley
The Concrete Blonde - Connelly The next book in the Rosch series
Silent Prey - Sandford Another series almost complete
Face the Fire - Roberts My oldest wish. I also gave Lauren her oldest wish. Great minds think alike
Unfit to Practice - O'Shauhnessy A wishlist book
Shutter Island - Lehane I read his Drink Before the War for a friend and fell in love with his writing
Remind Me Again Why I Married You - Ciresi Sounds like some much needed fluff
Bones of the Moon - Carroll Another wishlist book
The Ninth Life of Louis Drax - Jensen I have wanted to read this book for a long while
For One More Day - Albom A recently released book from an interesting philosophical author

Books I got for Christmas

I was very lucky this Christmas and received 8 books! And here they are:

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - this is a classic on the BBC list as #44 (I think)
In Golden Blood by Stephen Woodworth - this is the third book in the violet series.
Rory & Ita by Roddy Doyle - my very oldest wish and my favourite Irish author!
Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich - the next book I needed in that series (even though I'm only at #3!)
Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich - the last book in the series as of right now!
Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson - I believe this was a book that was on the 1001 books you should read before you die list
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket - I have already read this one but it was borrowed from a friend and I wanted it for my PC
The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket - This is #10 in the Series of Unfortunate Event series and the one I'm up to (minus 6, which I'm still missing)

As you can see, a successful Christmas for me!
(I rhyme!)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Pig Island by Mo Hayder

Pig Island by Mo Hayder
Sick Shit

This story is a split narration (or maybe 70/30) between Oaksey, a journalist trying to get to the bottom of what's going on at Pig Island, and his wife Lexie, an attention starved woman. Oaksey has an ulterior motive though. He wants to find out what has happened to his enemy of many years ago who used to run the cult on the island, Malachi. This is the man who promised that he would destroy Oaksey before he died. What results is a worldwind of craziness. Animal beheadings, mass murders, this is what you get yourself into when you read this book.
Pig Island has you on the edge of your seat from the very first word. As you go through the book, you start turning the pages quicker and your heart starts beating faster. You can't wait to figure out how it's going to end and you get thrown for such a complete loop at the end you don't even realize what's hit you until it's over.
Although other Hayder works are fantastic reads, Pig Island is her best. But it's not for the feint of heart. There are satanic rituals, mass murders, and a lot of gore. Any sick shit fan will love this book.



Thursday, December 21, 2006

McNally's Luck

McNally's Luck by Lawrence Sanders

This sequel was ever bit as funny and readable as the first book. I really enjoy Archy McNally. His irreverence and eccentricity just makes each page turnable. Archy is a son of a prominent Palm Beach lawyer. His job is to handle discrete investigations. He is to find a pampered cat. Then the bodies start piling up. A cozy mystery well worth the read
Favourite Character: Archy McNally. I love this rich playboy turned detective
Least Favourite Character: all the rich B****'s . The females seem to be flawed. Every single one of them
Best Part of the Book: When Archy and the police figure out how the bad guys will pay
Least Favourite Part of the book: What Archy buys for Consuela because he has been inattentive. Kick him to the curb, baby
What was missing: nothing



Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Children's Literature

I started and finished this cute book yesterday. Dahl writes with so much imagination. This book is a fantastic piece of children's literature, you can't help but smile as you read it. I really enjoyed the songs that the Oompa Loompas sung after each of the 'bad' children had gone. Specifically, the one that tells you to replace your television set with a bookcase!
Dahl always seems to write into his books traits that he finds really undesirable and sets to tell the reader why they are bad. In this case, the traits were greed, gluttony, rudeness, and no imagination (from watching too much television). Be wary little kiddies! You don't want to become like these kids!
I remember from the movie (the original one) that Charlie and his grandfather go off to a room with bubbles where they are carried to the top of the room and need to start burping to get back to the ground. This room was described in the book but Charlie and his grandfather never venture into it. I guess it was just the director's choice to make the movie longer or to show that Charlie and his grandfather weren't perfect.

Anyways, this was a fabulous book. One of my best reads of the year. I'm surprised it wasn't listed higher on the BBC list (it was #35).



Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Jennifer Government

Jennifer Government by Max Barry
Sci-Fi Mystery

This book is part sci-fi,part mystery and all satire. Max Barry has created a world that is really out there. An Nike marketing exec decides to kill 14 teenagers to promote his product. What results is a world gone mad. A fun read!!
Favourite Character: Jennifer Government. Persistence is her middle name
Least Liked Character: John Nike. What an amoral disgusting man. Unfortunately if this world existed a man like this would probably exist also
Favourite Part of the Book: I really enjoyed Buy Mitsui and his involvement with Kate
Least Favourite Part of the Book: I don't feel Violet got what she deserved
What was Missing: Not much. Max Barry created a future I want no part of



A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This is a great book to read at this time of year. Everyone knows the story. It's a surprisingly small book - each chapter is reserved for the three different ghosts. It's also part of the BBC Top 100 (number 47). As for the actual book itself, I'm glad that I knew the story previously because at times it was hard to follow. Dickens sometimes went too far into his explanations - and lost me in the middle of it.
But still, the story itself is fantastic. The last chapter - where Scrooge finally comes to his senses - is definitely the best. It really does display the Christmas spirit quite well, and is a great bit of enthusiasm to read at this time of year!



Monday, December 18, 2006

Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates

Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates

This book was a nice story of the loss of a family member and how those "left behind" cope with the changes. However, there were parts of the book I found really annoying. Obviously, Clare was annoying (she was ment to be so), but really, there were a couple of times when Nikki should have put her in her place. There is only so much she should have allowed herself to be pushed around.
I also had some issues with Oates' writing styles. Some of it was very repetitive. She used "Damned if I..." so many times through the book that it completely lost any sense of meaning for me. There were a couple other cliches she used that after a while were annoying to read about.
I have another of Oates' books. I'm interested in reading if she uses similar phrases in her other books, and if some of her descriptions are the same.



Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ask Again Later

Ask Again Later by Jill A. Davis

Ask Again Later is a light-hearted funny book. The book centres on Emily and how drastically her life changes when her neurotic mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. Emily re-connects with her father, leaves her perfect boyfriend, and completely changes her career path. Although the problems are kept very tension-free in the book, Davis manages to convey Emily's neuroses very well. This book is perfect for a quiet Sunday afternoon read
Favourite Character: Emily. She really does try to help herself and everyone around her.
Least Favourite Character: Marjorie. Emily's sister,who really does not care for either her mother or father. Selfish bitch is the term for her
Best Part of the book: The end of course. Isn't it always
Least Favourite Part of the Book: Marjorie's pregnancy and birth. Although parts of that were funny when Emily went over to visit
What was missing: Any depth. Emily helps her mother get through her cancer treatments by playing games and watching TV