I've just managed 14 books this month and I'm putting the blame for that mostly on the Olympics. I also blame the Olympics for the lateness of this post as I've been so glued to the TV that I completely forgot about blogging, reading and pretty much anything else. I'm just squeezing this in before the first events of the day start.
I did manage to read quite a wide range of books before the games started, and inbetween the migraines that have plagued me this month. Most of the books have been good ones, and some were very good indeed.
Smokin' Seventeen – Janet Evanovich
It's been a while since I read the last one of these and I'd almost forgotten how much I liked them. This one was probably not the funniest one of the series but it did make me laugh out loud at times. The Vordo was always going to be good for a giggle. I think I just have one left to read and then I'm caught up. I may order the next one from the library straight away though as I have a need to know what Stephanie is going to do with the contents of that envelope.
Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami
This was lovely. A little bit sad and a little bit surreal. I really like Murakami.
In the forest – Edna O'Brien
This was not like the other O'Brien books that I've read. The other two felt as if they were from a completely different author. This one was based on a true story and was about a young man who terrorised a village after being released from prison. While her other books were sad in their way, they were softer. This one was harsh and quite shocking in parts. While I felt sympathy for the way the young man was treated for him to become the way he was, the acts he committed were inexcusable. You had to wonder if it would have ended in a less tragic way had the village reacted differently too. I really enjoyed this one.
The Night Strangers – Chris Bohjalian
I had an email with book recommendations, probably from the publisher, and this one caught my eye. I ordered it from the library and have just read it. The only negative thing I can think of to say about it is that the print was a little small. I've had to take it in small doses because of that. What I really wanted to do was read it in one obsessive chunk as it was a bit of a page-turner. There were some spine-tingly, goose-bumpy lines in it, such as when one of the herbalists comments that they like their ingredients to be perfect. That was a real Holy Cow moment. As if it wasn't getting tense enough already at that point. This really was a corker of a book. It starts off with a bang and then leads into a slightly spooky storyline. I'll be looking out more of this author's work.
Silenced by the yams – Karen Cantwell
I felt the need for something funny and remembered I'd got this sitting on my Kindle. While I don't think it was quite as good as the first two, it was suitably madcap and kept me well entertained for a couple of hours. And with the shock ending, I will of course need the next book in the series.
Invisible – Paul Auster
This was brilliant! I really like Paul Auster's books. He's definitely in my top five of contempory authors, with Ian Banks sitting firmly in the #1 position. I can't really say what it is that attracts me so much to his books but once I start reading I'm just drawn straight in and find it difficult to put the book down. This one started off in the first person with Adam telling of the events that happen while he is studying at Columbia. The next part is told via a manuscript written when Adam is much older and tells of what happened to him next but is told in a different way. Then it changes again for the third part. It gets more and more compelling and then has an ending that is quite unexpected. I do love books, especially when they're this good!
The Watchers – Jon Steele
Wow! This was absolutely superb. I doubt that I'd have noticed this but it was on the Transworld blog in a competition. I was lucky enough to win the comp. and a few days later, the book was in my hands. It did look really interesting so less than a couple of weeks later it had wormed its way to the top of the TBR pile. I just needed to finish the pile of library books first. At just over 600 pages, it's taken me a few days to get through, despite the fact that I've been suffering from a bad case of Just-one-more-chapter-itis with it. It's a marvellous story and is brilliantly written. I was also quite intrigued by the author, who was an award-winning camera man.
The book starts off by telling you about three very different people. They are the main characters in the book and as you learn about them and their lives, and also come to know them well, their paths occasionally cross and eventually many things start to become clear. You have the young man who spends most of his time in the bell tower of the cathedral. He was my favourite and I loved reading about him. I think I could have read a whole book just about him. There's the high-priced call girl with the fairy tale life. She was interesting but what I loved was how she developed through the book. And then there's the man of mystery. He was fascinating. I just didn't know what to think about him. First I thought he was one thing, and then another. The truth, when it was finally revealed was perfect.
I really loved this book. It was fiction that was woven around facts – the best kind. It was well paced and kept my attention the whole way through, which is no mean feat for a book this thick. I loved the ending, which was thrilling and full of emotion. If you like Urban Fantasy, then give this a go.
(country hopping challenge – Switzerland)
My gun is quick – Mickey Spillane
I needed something completely different after The Watchers as my head was still in Lausanne and I was going to have problems concentrating on anything heavy. I'd popped this volume of three Mickey Spillane novels into my bedside table as this one fit the Plum-Crazy theme for this month – The Olympics, so I thought it'd do the job. I'd actually forgotten just how much I enjoy this particular genre. I want to call it Film Noir, only it's not film, so whatever the book equivalent is – this is it. Private eyes, tough broads, two-bit crooks – these books have them all. They're tough and pull no punches and I love the language used. Mike Hammer, the PI in this series is just perfect. You very quickly get a mental image of him. Big, ugly, tough-talking, but on the side of the good guys. Brilliant!
Second glance – Jodi Picoult
I've been reading this in fits and starts between migraines so I maybe haven't enjoyed it as much as I would have if I'd read it in a couple or three days. I did still like it though. I haven't read one of Picoult's books that I haven't, and some of the details of this were fascinating. And shocking, I suppose. It's scary what people are capable of.
Deep down – Lee Child
This was a short story released in digital format. I had it pre-ordered so that it downloaded to my Kindle as soon as it was available. It was a bit shorter than I was expecting as the last quarter was a preview of the next book but I really enjoyed it. It was a glimpse into Reacher's life in the army, early in his career.
In session: Dr. Morgan Snow – M. J. Rose
This was a collection of three short stories which I'd grabbed for my Kindle when I spotted that one of the stories featured Jack Reacher. The author had taken three characters by other authors and put them with his character, who is a sex therapist. All three stories were good and I may just look for books featuring one of the other characters used.
To hell and back – Lilith Saintcrow
I finally got around to reading the last book in this series. As I'd left it so long between this book and the previous one, it was all a bit confusing until I remembered who was who again. Luckily the author did a good job of reminding me what had gone on before without making it too obvious so I soon got back into the plot. I quite enjoyed it once I'd settled back into it although I did have the nagging feeling that the series had maybe dragged on a little bit too long. Maybe if I'd read this one a bit sooner I'd have felt differently, or maybe I left it on the shelf so long because I'd had enough of the series. I'm not sure, to be honest. This book did wrap everything up neatly, with a proper ending so it's not all bad. I may try one of the author's other series one of these days.
What's a girl gotta do? – Sparkle Hayter
A friend at work gave me four of this author's books. Until he'd told me about her I hadn't heard of the author at all but I'd liked the sound of the books. I really enjoyed this. The best way I can think to describe it is if you imagine Stephanie Plum, but if she was more outspoken and was a TV journalist. There were some really great characters in it that I'm looking forward to reading more about and I really loved Robin Hudson, the brilliantly funny heroine. I don't think it'll be long before I read the other three.
A walk in the park – Jill Mansell
I don't read much chick-lit but there are a couple of authors that I particularly like and Jill Mansell is one of them. I only bought this a few weeks ago but it was calling to me quite loudly so I picked it up this morning and had a lovely time reading it. There are several romances going on within the storyline, plenty of interesting characters to get involved with and the obligatory misunderstanding thrown in there as well. I loved this.