January 8th, 2013

Dead Dog Cat


Whew! If I'm going to hit that mark of 50 books read this year, I'm really going to have to pick up the pace a little bit. Still, I did finish the first book in the first week of the new year, so what am I complaining about?

That first book was Coyote Frontier by Allen Steele, the third book of this particular series about Mankind's first extrasolar colony. The European Alliance has invented a hyperspace jump gate, and they bring the technology to Coyote, the colony world. Hijinks ensue.

This is a very good continuation of the saga, and the ending leaves things open for more in the series; there's actually more books yet, and I will continue reading them.

One thing I did notice; like Heinlein before him, Steele suggests in this book that wealthy men of vision may be very necessary to promote the goals of human expansion off Earth. His rich man isn't as altruistic as Heinlein's in The Man Who Sold the Moon, but I have to wonder if their writings have helped promote the actions of people like, say, the owner of Virgin Galactic?

Any book that gets me to wonder deserves a solid high mark on my list.

Book #1 of 2013!

What a good way to start the year! I started this book in 2012, but I got less than halfway through it before the year changed, so I'm counting it for 2013.

Goliath (book 3 of Leviathan trilogy), by Scott Westerfeld.

Man, I loved this trilogy. LOVED it.

In the first two books we were introduced to this steampunk world, where the "Clankers" (those who believe in engineering/machines) were at war with the "Darwinists" (those who used fabricated animals for everything -- airships made from the genes of whales crossed with jellyfish and other things, a whole ecosystem living on and in them, etc). World War 1 in our time. The two main characters were a girl who was pretending to be a boy so she could join the Brittan's "air force" and a boy prince who had to flee from his home country.

Through the first two books the two characters had many adventures in the prince's quest to end WW1, and the girl fell in love with the boy. So I was a tad worried about the third book, I thought it would be all ~True Love~ and romance and all that. I don't want to give anything away, but I shouldn't have been worried at all. It was great!

I'm not one who usually seeks out action-adventure books, but this one was nonstop action and I loved it. Sometimes I even got tired at all the running around and nonstop action the characters were going through! Silly, but I felt drained, like I had done all those things as well.

I loved the characters, from the main ones to tiny minor ones. I LOVED the world/setting so very much. The writing was great. I don't think there was one thing I disliked about the trilogy as a whole... except that it ended. I actually said "Noooo!" out loud as I finished the last page. Highly recommended!
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2013: Books 3-4

3. The Buzzard Table by Margaret Maron

This is pretty typical Margaret Maron, which is a good thing. I love the extended family of Deborah's, and the development between her and Cal was sweet. Last book I wasn't as thrilled with the inclusion of Sigrid Harald, but I warmed up to her this book. I think it was the setting -- I really like Cotton Grove.

4. Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding

This wasn't typical Joy Fielding, at least not what I'm used to, and I didn't like it that much. To me, Joy Fielding is an author that always has a twist up her sleeve. There are so many novels of hers that end with the protagonist as the actual villain or some other dark twist. This tale was pretty straightforward, and more reminiscent of her early days, except not as suspenseful. The only reason I hurried to the end was to see if the long-awaited twist I was waiting for was present -- and it wasn't. This wasn't a bad novel, but I was still a bit disappointed.
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Book 2 for 2013

Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones. 174 pages.

David lives with a bunch of dreadful relatives who treat him like an unbearable burden and expect him to be grateful to them. So when they've been particularly unpleasant one day he furiously tries to curse them. His angry nonsense words don't have quite the effect he intends and set him off on an adventure with the unpredictable Luke.

Not one of Diana Wynne Jones' best books, I think, but I'll take DWJ on a bad day over many many other authors at their best. A short but fun read.

Books 5-7: The Last to Die, Freaks and John Doe by Tess Gerritsen

As part of the January Bout of Books Read-a-thon I read the latest Rizzoli and Isles novel along with two short stories featuring the duo.

Book 5: Last to Die (Rizzoli and Isles #10).
Author: Tess Gerritsen, 2012
Genre: Forensic Thriller. Police Procedural.
Other Details: Hardback. 328 pages.

"Come with me. If you want to live." - mysterious woman in black, Last to Die.

I cannot imagine that Gerritsen used this iconic catch phrase without it being a conscious reference to 'The Terminator' and it does fit well into this story of a group of adolescents who appear to be being targeted by a relentless unknown killer (or killers). The story opens with Jane Rizzoli being summoned to a crime scene where a family including three children have been murdered. The only survivor is 14-year-old Teddy Clock, their foster child. What makes this case even more shocking is that two years previously Teddy had been the only survivor when his parents and sisters had been murdered on their sail boat. Jane arranges for Teddy to be admitted to the exclusive Evensong boarding school, where Maura Isles is currently visiting Julian Perkins from The Killing Place, who is now a student there. Jane and Maura discover that two other students at Evensong share very similar stories to Teddy and seek to discover what is going on.

As always this was a page-turner which I read in a single sitting and the perfect start for the Bout of Books Read-a-thon 6.0. I was glad to see Anthony Sansone and the Mephisto Society making a return appearance. Not sure if Julian and the other students from Evensong are also setting groundwork for a possible YA spin-off similar to what Kathy Reichs has done with Virals. I'd certainly be interested to read such a series.

Book 6: Freaks: (Rizzoli and Isles #8.5).
Author: Tess Gerritsen, 2011.
Genre: Forensic Thriller. Police Procedural.
Other Details: ebook. 46 pages.

This was a free short-story and featured a case in which the body of an emaciated young woman named Kimberley is discovered in an abandoned church.Bruises around her neck suggest foul play. Fleeing the scene is the girl's boyfriend, who is equally pale and skeletal in appearance. He claims that he and Kimberley were soul mates and vampires, living only on air and blood. However, with Kim's father bent on vengeance it is up to Rizzoli and Isles to uncover the truth.

Well this turned out to be a very short story, with half of the ebook freebie being a preview of The Silent Girl. Still it proved a quick pre-lunchtime read and if I hadn't already read The Silent Girl provide a enticing taster of the novel.

Book 7: John Doe (Rizzoli and Isles #9.5).
Author: Tess Gerritsen, 2012.
Genre: Forensic Thriller. Police Procedural.
Other Details: ebook 44 pages.

At a charity event Maura is approached by a handsome and charming man. She flirts with him while drinking champagne and agrees to accompany him to a local café for coffee and dessert. Then nothing - she wakes in her home the next morning groggy and still dressed in her evening gown. She fears the worse and calls Jane for assistance. However, then they are both called to a crime scene. Guess who? To make matters more difficult he has Maura's address on the back of a business card in his pocket.

This was certainly a more substantial story than 'Freaks', with a compelling story about Maura Isles encounter with a seemingly charming bloke and becoming a murder suspect.