Something strange is going on in a London neighborhood, and it is up to John May and Arthur Bryant of the Peculiar Crimes Unit to figure out what exactly it is. An elderly woman was found in the basement of her home, sitting in her dry basement. Cause of death - drowning.
As the case unfolds, the story follows some bizarre twists and turns. The home's new owner is being stalked by a homeless man, neighbors are turning up dead in the most bizarre manners, and for some reason, people are obsessed with the system of rivers that run underneath the city.
I have to admit that I was drawn in instantly by the story synopsis, and the story wasn't bad. My problem was just that it was rather dry. The characters are unique and well-written, but the story just lags and drags. It's got exciting situations, but it misses the excitement that makes you want to keep turning the pages. I liked it, just not enough, which is why I can only give it two out of five oddities.
#27: No Reservations: Around the world on an empty stomach - Anthony Bourdain (2007, 288 pages)
Enjoy watching Anthony Bourdain's adventures on the TV show No Reservations? Well, then this is the book for you.
No Reservations is a photographic compendium of the places, faces and foods that Bourdain experienced while filming his show. The book does not retell the show. Instead, it reaches beyond to give you more about the trip and things that went on behind the scenes.
The photographs included in the book were taken by the show's producers, and they are absolutely brilliant. At times, your mouth will water. At others, you'll cringe at what you're seeing. And at others, you will find yourself absolutely amazed by the breathtaking beauty of it all. I loved every minute of this book. It made me want to share Bourdain's experiences and make a few memories of my own in the process, which is why I give this a strong four and a half out of five thalis.
#28: Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella (2009, 435 pages)
Lara Lington seems to be on a downward spiral. Her boyfriend has left her with no explanation. The business she opened with her friend seems dooms after her friend fails to return from vacation. And now she's stuck with the ghost of her fiesty great-aunt Sadie.
Lara agrees to help Sadie find a diamond necklace so the ghost can rest in peace. In the process, she finds her life turned upside down as Sadie starts leaving her influence on Lara's life.
I've read all of Kinsella's book, and I can easily say that this is her absolute best. The Shopaholic books are fun, Can You Keep a Secret? and Undomestic Goddess are unique and entertaining, but none of Kinsella's other books left me with such a positive feeling afterward. This book is beautiful, sweet and even inspiring. I can't see how anyone could read this and not be inspired to do new things and live as Lara learned to. I love this book so much it gets a super-strong five out of five familial specters.
#29: Let the Right One In - John Ajvide Lindqvist (2004, 472 pages)
Oskar is a 12-year-old loser. He's bullied and obsessed with death, to the point that you can easily see him becoming a murderer if things keep up. And then Eli comes along.
Eli inspires something new within Oskar. Not only does he have a friend who likes him for who he is, but he also has someone who makes him feel special. She offers him advice to stand up to his bullies, which he takes, making him feel powerful. But Eli has her own secrets, which Oskar comes to learn. And after her caretaker disappears, she needs Oskar's help to survive.
I loved the film, and it was only natural that I take up this book. It is such a great read. The film closely follows the book, with only a few changes. It's well-paced, and gives you new look at the vampire genre. It's refreshing in that respect. Lindqvist has written a very original story that pulls the reader along in a wonderful mix of suspense and curiosity, which is why I give this book a great five out of five blood-sucking fiends.
#30: The Walking Dead (Book One) - Robert Kirkman with art by Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn (2008, 304 pages)
Zombies have overtaken the world, and very few humans appear to remain. A group of survivors, who were sent to Atlanta in the hopes of finding a safe place, are now traveling across the country seeking food, shelter and safety from the undead hordes.
The group consists of characters including Rick, a former policeman who was left in a coma during the zombie outbreak; his wife Lori and son Carl; Shane, Rick's former partner; Allen and Donna and their twin sons; sisters Andrea and Amy; retired traveler Dale; Carol and her daughter Sophia; and Glenn. Their journey for survival is harrowing at times, and not all characters make it through the relentless attacks by the undead.
The interesting twist about The Walking Dead is that the zombies are only secondary characters. The "meat" of the story is in the humanity that follows the downfall of civilization. I really enjoyed that, and I breezed through this book of graphic novel issues in two hours. It's a great and suspenseful read that I highly recommend, which is why I give it a zombtastic five out of five undead ghouls.
Total Books Read: 30 / 50 (60 percent)
Total Pages Read: 10,979 / 15,000 (73 percent)