All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Silent In The Sanctuary – Deanna Raybourn

Silent in the Sanctuary, book #2 of the Lady Julia Grey series opens up sometime after the conclusion of the first novel. Lady Julia has fully recovered from the near-catastrophe that occurred and has been spending some time in Italy with two of her brothers, Plum and Lysander. Lysander has just married a Neapolitan and the three siblings have received a summons from their father to scurry back to England for Christmas. It is to be a lavish affair with quite a few guests.

One guest Lady Julia perhaps isn’t prepared to see is Nicholas Brisbane, her partner in the investigation of her husband’s death in Silent in the Grave. She hasn’t heard a word from Brisbane for sometime, and she can see why when he introduces her to his fiancée, a Mrs King. Lady Julia is quite stunned but takes the chance to show Brisbane that she has other options – namely a 25yo Florentine named Alessandro, a friend of Plum and Lysander’s who they insisted accompany them to England and spend Christmas at the March House.

The family celebrations grind to a screaming halt when a guest is found murdered in the chapel, part of the old deconsecrated abbey that is March House. One of Lady Julia’s unfortunately poor cousins who used to spend Easters at  March House confesses to the crime but a blizzard cuts March House off from the town and investigators are unable to arrive right away. Refusing to believe that her cousin could possibly be a killer, Lady Julia teams up with Nicholas Brisbane again to try and find out what really happened and who the real murderer is. There’s also a few other mysteries going on at the same time, such as the theft of the Grey Pearls, left to Lady Julia by her late husband Sir Edward Grey and the intrigue surrounding exactly why Brisbane is engaged if he can’t seem to keep himself away from Lady Julia!

After reading the first novel in this series not so long ago, I requested the second in from my library as soon as I got back from my holidays and I read through it in a day. I think I enjoyed the second novel even more than I did the first because I wasn’t learning about the characters, I was returning to them now and I was so interested in what had gone wrong between Lady Julia and Brisbane. At the conclusion of the first novel, you’re led to believe that they’re heading in one direction and when you begin reading this novel you find out that hasn’t occurred at all and if anything, they seem to have gone in the opposite direction.

Firstly, I really enjoyed Lady Julia’s character development in this novel. In the first, she is still tightly laced into society’s ways, mousy and timid from her disastrous and unhappy marriage to Sir Edward and sort of desperate to escape her eccentric family and have a show of decorum and manners. Slowly throughout that novel, her true self begins to emerge, primarily drawn out by her irate response to Brisbane at times and in this novel, I think she is truly herself. She is no longer conforming to the constraints of the English upper class and seems to find delight in speaking her mind. She baits Brisbane, simply because she knows she can, and because she wants answers from him and she realises that she knows him well enough to deduce when he is lying to her or deceiving her and her irritation and cattiness towards Mrs King was I thought, another very believable action. As much as she tried to be polite, she still let a thin veneer of dislike seep through. I enjoy their attraction between Lady Julia and Brisbane and the pace of it has satisfied me thus far but with the conclusion of this book I’m ready for them to step it up a notch!

Brisbane himself undergoes some decent growth himself and I thought his reason for not contacting Lady Julia was very believable in its simplicity, especially given the type of man we have been shown that he is. He doesn’t like to make mistakes and he believes he made a very grave one during their previous acquaintance. I love their interactions, their verbal sparring and the stolen kisses, Brisbane’s attempt to play the faithful fiance and Lady Julia’s attempt to discredit it. I especially enjoyed the two scenes where it is Lady Julia who is the aggressor – once to prove that Brisbane has deceived her on a matter, and tricked her, and the other simply because it is what she wants to do. Both times Brisbane is sort of powerless to her and all too often we’re given scenes with the heroine weak at the knees while the hero strides off. I like equality, so I like these two.

The mystery itself perhaps wasn’t quite as intriguing as the first one but it was still quite enjoyable and with a couple of extra added twists at the end that I didn’t expect – and the extra bonus of the thief of the pearls is quite easily picked but the conclusion of that was also quite amusing.

The third novel in this series is currently checked out of my local library and I am extremely tempted to go out today and see if I can buy it and the fourth novel together. I tried seeing if they were available for my Kindle (nope) so now I’m going to try a couple of places around town and see if I can get lucky! If not, it’s going to be an annoying wait for book #3!

8/10

Book #98 of my 100 Book Challenge

I’m counting this novel as part of my 2010 Global Challenge. Originally I didn’t intend to, as my first European novel was set in Scotland and I was going to read a novel set on mainland Europe for my second choice but I’m kind of running out of time, there’s only a month left to go in the challenge and I still have 3 other books to read to complete it! This one just happened to be conveniently be set in a place I could include!

The Medium Challenge
Read two novels from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
Africa: #1: A Change In Altitude, by Anita Shreve. Set in Kenya. #2 Tea Time For The Traditionally Built,by Alexander McCall Smith. Set in Botswana.
Asia: #1: The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani. Set in Persia/Iran. #2 February Flowers, by Fan Wu. Set in China.
Australasia: #1: Vodka Doesn’t Freeze, by Leah Giarratano. Set in Sydney, Australia. #2 The Denniston Rose, by Jenny Pattrick. Set in Denniston, New Zealand.
Europe: #1: Cold Granite, by Stuart MacBride. Set in Aberdeen, Scotland. #2 Silent in the Sanctuary, by Deanna Raybourn
North America (incl Central America): #1 Cat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood. Set in Toronto, Canada.
South America
Try to find novels from twelve different countries or states.

This completes my European leg.

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Tea Time For The Traditionally Built – Alexander McCall-Smith

This is the 10th novel in the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels set in Botswana. My fiance got me into these novels some years ago now, probably three or four and I’ve always really enjoyed them. There’s a real simplicity to them and although I know next to nothing about Botswana I always feel like I’m getting a genuine insight into the thoughts and lives of average everyday Botswanians.

For the uninitiated, the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels are the stories of Mma Precious Ramotswe, a traditionally built lady (read: very large) from Botswana who started up a Detective Agency and wants nothing more than to help people. Assisting Mma Ramotswe is Mma Makutsi, a lady of bad skin who wears glasses (and is very self-conscious and prickly about these two things) who scored an unprecedented 97% on her exams at the Botswana Secretarial College, a fact that she likes to remind people of frequently. Mma Makutsi is more outspoken than Mrs Ramotswe and voices her opinions perhaps without thinking. Mma Ramotswe is often like the voice of reason. There are a host of colourful background characters, such as Mr JLB Matakoni, a mechanic with a rather fond eye for Mma Ramotswe in earlier novels. In later novels they are married, although they hilariously still refer to each other as “Mma Ramotswe” and “Mr JLB Matakoni” when speaking about each other and also to each other. This could be a peculiarity of the culture as they seem a faultlessly  polite people.

In this novel Mma Ramotswe is facing the inevitable. Her little white van, so much a part of these novels that really it’s a character itself, is finally on it’s last legs. Mr JLB Matakoni has fixed it and fixed it every time something has gone wrong with it but it seems this time that even such a fine mechanic cannot help it. Something about the “distribution of load” muttered very quietly so that Mma Ramotswe won’t take this as a remark about her traditional build. Mma Ramotswe is very reluctant to part from her little white van, it has served her well for many years now and she is very attached to it, even with all its little quirks and habits. Soon though, she may have very little choice so it’s lucky she has some mysteries to keep herself occupied lest she mourn too much!

The client of this novel is a Rra Molofololo, the manager/owner of the Kalahari Swoopers, the local football team. He is concerned because after a very promising start and despite possessing some talented players, the Kalahari Swoopers are on a downward slide and are losing a lot of matches. He is certain that someone in the team is throwing matches and he wants Mma Ramotswe to find out who. Mma Ramotswe does not know anything about soccer so she goes along to her first game and then must question all the players afterward and try and get to the bottom of what is happening to the team.

Mma Makutsi has her own problems. The glamorous Violet Sephotho, who only scored at most, a 50% on her exams at the Botswana Secretarial College has begun work for Mma Makutsi’s fiance, Rra Phuti Radiphuti at his furniture store, selling beds. Violet has proven to be an exceptional sales person, selling four beds on her very first day and Rra Radiputi is very impressed with her. Already having been put down by Violet in the past, Mma Makutsi fears losing her fiance to this more attractive and worldly girl for Rra Radiphuti is a fine, good man, totally unsuspecting of clever and deceitful women. Mma Makutsi must do something to expose Violet for what she is, but how can she do this when Rra Radiphuti has such a fine opinion of her? It will require a careful expose!

To be honest, this one was not my favourite book in the series. I’m not sure if it’s because after ten novels, the format is getting a little dull for me or if this one was just a fraction below the usual standard. I did not find the soccer mystery all that interesting and usually the clients Mma Ramotswe takes on tend to have more interesting problems than a losing soccer teams. And while I’ve always found the escapades involving the little white van amusing, I am ready to let the little white van go. It’s been a light-hearted plot device for quite a while now but there are times when things need to be let go and I think this time has been reached for the little white van. At times Mma Ramotswe’s grief for the little white van bordered on irritating, especially with the gift that her husband presented to her.

However I did like (and always like) the characters in this novel. Even the minor characters are so wonderful and I always enjoy reading the conversations and interactions. It was very rewarding after ten novels to learn more of one of Mr JLB Matakoni’s apprentices who are always laughing and joking in the background about girls but are rarely given more depth than that. In this novel that changes with one of them and I thought Mma Ramotswe’s interaction with his family was excellent.

Mma Makutsi’s little storyline was a good amusing secondary plot, bringing out her insecurities again about having landed a wealthy man such as Rra Radiphuti. She is always in fear of losing him, despite the fact that much is made of just how fine a man her fiance is. They’ve been engaged for some time now in these novels and I’d really like to see them married. This would bring about a whole new set of issues for them which I think could be used just as effectively as the obstacles McCall-Smith has been putting in their path.

These novels are always pleasing. They’re always novels you can curl up with on the couch and get lost in, chuckling along at the adventures and the day-to-day idiosyncrasies of all the characters. Whilst not my favourite, this novel was still infinitely enjoyable and I always enjoy revisiting Mma Ramotswe and her friends. They’re like a blanket you’ve kept from your childhood that you can’t bear to part with – warm and comforting but worn around the edges from so much use.

7/10

Book #86 of my 100 Book Challenge

I’m counting this novel as part of my 2010 Global Challenge.

The Medium Challenge
Read two novels from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
Africa: #1: A Change In Altitude, by Anita Shreve. Set in Kenya. #2 Tea Time For The Traditionally Built, by Alexander McCall Smith. Set in Botswana.
Asia: #1: The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani. Set in Persia/Iran. #2 February Flowers, by Fan Wu. Set in China.
Australasia: #1: Vodka Doesn’t Freeze, by Leah Giarratano. Set in Sydney, Australia. #2 The Denniston Rose, by Jenny Pattrick. Set in Denniston, New Zealand.
Europe: #1: Cold Granite, by Stuart MacBride. Set in Aberdeen, Scotland.
North America (incl Central America): #1 Cat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood. Set in Toronto, Canada.
South America
Try to find novels from twelve different countries or states.

This completes the African leg of my journey!

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February Flowers – Fan Wu

Ming, barely 17 is a first year student at University in the rich and prosperous city of Guangzhou. She is studious, with an avid interest in literature. Her parents were scholars, teachers but were exiled to a farm to work as peasants. They lived an unfulfilled life, particularly in the case of her father, and it seems that they are hopeful for Ming to have many opprtunities to learn and study. She is intelligent, having skipped several grades in school, which is how she comes to be so young at University.

By contrast, Yan is 24. She came to university late, at about 21, through a program that allows rural and ‘minority’ students to come to cities like Guangzhou and get their degrees. However they must return to their hometowns unless they secure a permanent job, or get someone with residency in the city to marry them.

Ming sees Yan several times, but the two meet quite by chance on the roof of their dormitory building. It is clear Ming has had a conservative, sheltered upbringing whereas Yan is much more worldly, even progressive for the time and place. Ming sees herself as a girl – but Yan is a ‘woman’. She dresses differently, she has many and varied man friends, she knows things. She knows what it is to be a woman and Ming desperately wants to know.

The two form a very close and unlikely friendship. Their differences are glaringly obvious in every conversation they have. Ming hungers for the experiences Yan can give her, and her knowledge. Even though at times, Yan treats her carelessly, even nastily, she cannot walk away. Yan on the other hand, can and does, several times, although she always comes back. They disagree, they make up, they love each other, they grow closer.

I have to admit, I spent a great deal of the book disliking Yan. I found her frustrating, disliked her treatment of the much more naïve Ming. She seemed to be using her, for ego and for academic gain but she redeemed herself for me in the end. I found I understood her much more by the end of the book and with that understanding, I could like her, accept her for who she was.

I have never studied China in any capacity at all – not in school, not even through my political and social university courses. I know very little about it and this book was quite the eye opener. I found it hard to remember at times that it was set from 1992 onwards, when seventeen year old girls don’t know what sex is, or how a woman gets pregnant. It was like reading something from a time far more in the past. One shining example of this is a conversation that Ming and her room mates have about sexuality after seeing two girls kissing and caressing in a pornographic magazine that one of the room mates obtained on the ‘black market’. Another room mate states that she has ‘heard of homosexuals and that it is a mental disease – they {the girls} must be American”. When another room mate points out the women are Asian, the first responds that they must be Japanese as homsexuals only exist in capitalist countries. It’s hard, as a girl who grew up in a Western country where children as young as five are aware, in great detail, where babies come from, and where gay teenagers regularly come out in high school (the first I knew of was a friend of mine in my year 10 geography class in 1997) to imagine a world where University students are so innocent. Where everything they know and learn is controlled by the government and that propaganda like that exists.

For me personally, I found the pacing of this novel a bit lacking. The novel starts in the present, some 10 years after Ming last saw Yan, and then travels back to when they met and the time they spent together. After Ming and Yan part, it returns to the present. The huge bulk of the book is spent back in the past, and that section for me, meanders very slowly. It wasn’t unenjoyable, I did keep reading, and finished the book quite quickly, so it was very easy to read. But in comparison, the time spent with adult Ming was very short and clipped. We learn nothing really of the ‘woman’ she has become, and considering her wanting to become a woman was a big part of the novel, I found that a bit disappointing. I wanted more of how Yan’s departure affected her and how she grew as a person after that. More on her university life and then her graduation. All we get are a few sentences that don’t really tell us all that much – other than ‘I did this, then I did this, and this happened’. All telling, no showing. I didn’t get a feel for adult Ming at all, and after the length of time and greatness of detail dedicated to adolescent Ming, I would’ve liked that chance.

6/10

Looking for another opinion? Check out Shannon’s review over at Giraffe Days.

(Book #62 of my 75 Book Challenge)

This book counts towards my 2010 Global Challenge

The Medium Challenge
Read two novels from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
Africa: #1: A Change In Altitude, by Anita Shreve. Set in Kenya
Asia: #1: The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani. Set in Persia/Iran. #2 February Flowers, by Fan Wu. Set in China.
Australasia: #1: Vodka Doesn’t Freeze, by Leah Giarratano. Set in Sydney, Australia.
Europe: #1: Cold Granite, by Stuart MacBride. Set in Aberdeen, Scotland.
North America (incl Central America): #1 Cat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood. Set in Toronto, Canada.
South America
Try to find novels from twelve different countries or states.

This completes the Asian leg of my challenge!

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A Change In Altitude – Anita Shreve

Margaret and Patrick are newlyweds who are spending a year abroad in Kenya. Patrick is a doctor who is undertaking a study in equatorial medicine. In return for using the hospital as a base for his research, he must do free clinics for the locals where they are in Kenya. Margaret is a photojournalist who came to Kenya simply because Patrick did. They consider themselves ‘lucky’ to be able to rent a small cottage on the grounds of a large house occupied Diana, of Brit origin and raised in Kenya, and her husband Arthur, who works for Colgate and Palmolive in Kenya. When the toilet in their cottage breaks down, they move into the ‘Big House’ with Arthur and Diana and it’s there that Patrick has the idea to climb Mt Kenya.

Mt Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the highest in Africa after Mt Kilimanjaro. Patrick is extremely enthusiastic about climbing the mountain whereas Margaret has more reservations. She is talked into it though and preparations are made. Joining Patrick, Margaret, Arthur and Diana are a European couple, friends of Arthur and Diana’s but I’m not even entirely sure why they’re there as they don’t lend much to the story at all.

The group undertake a preparatory climb of a nearby, smaller peak and that should’ve been an indication to Margaret that the whole climbing of Mt Kenya wasn’t such a good idea for her. She struggles to keep up with the group and she gets attacked by fire ants. However she doesn’t let this deter her and the 3 couples, plus some porters and a guide, begin the climb. Margaret is in trouble from the beginning, she cannot keep up with the rest of the group and her presence constantly slows them down, irritating Diana. Her husband leaves her behind (a low act, in my opinion) and leaves her vulnerable to Arthur, who is showing signs of an attraction to Margaret. When it’s Arthur that comforts her in one of the huts along the climb overnight after she feels rats running over her, Diana and Patrick are furious when they awake to find Arthur and Margaret holding hands.

To be honest, it was kind of a thin stretch that such an innocent act would rile up two spouses. They’re up a mountain, there were rats running everywhere, her own husband wasn’t sleeping near her, and Margaret was frightened and completely exhausted. She took comfort where she could get it and on the scale of marital betrayals, holding hands with another person doesn’t really rate that high! Diana takes off in high dudgeon though and Patrick is icy towards her, despite the fact that he’s been leaving her behind since the beginning of the climb. When a life is lost due to carelessness, jealousy and anger, Margaret and Patrick’s marriage spirals downwards at a rate of knots.

They are forced to move and find alternative accommodation and Margaret struggles to deal with what happened on the climb. She decides to get a job, to give her something to do and hopefully, help her move on. She takes a job as a freelance photojournalist for a local newspaper. Patrick doesn’t seem to approve of her decision, or of her job and he shows her almost no support at all. He doesn’t help her deal with the aftermath of what occurred on the mountain (even going so far as to tell her once that he blamed her) and he doesn’t make much effort to heal their marriage either. His idea of moving on seems to be forgetting it ever happened or pretending it never happened. He’s buried in his work and makes little time for Margaret, which makes even more puzzling his displeasure in her taking the job.

Margaret is paired with a journalist named Rafiq Hameed, who was chased out of Uganda during the purges in the early 70s. His father is Pakistani, his mother Welsh and he was educated in London. He wants to write challenging articles, meaty kinds that question human rights and the problem of poverty in Kenya. Margaret is impressed and the two develop a deep understanding and friendship. He is someone she can really talk to and she seems to find more comfort in him than she ever did in her husband. They fall in love, of sorts, but it doesn’t go the way you might think. Normally I loathe extra-marital relationships (a personal moral), I never really think there’s a justified excuse for them but in this book, I found it different, maybe because they didn’t actually take that extra step into an an affair. I enjoyed their relationship immensely and more importantly, I could see it. Rafiq as a character was far more interesting, far more believable and far more attractive than Patrick. Rafiq had a realness to him that Shreve didn’t seek to give to Patrick. Most of the time I found Patrick sanctimonious, patronizing and irritating and I couldn’t understand what had made Margaret marry him and then run off to Kenya with him.

***Spoilers***

The differences in Patrick and Rafiq are made glaringly obvious when Margaret suffers a miscarriage. She was unaware that she was pregnant but was still deeply upset. Patrick is vague, unsympathetic, distant and acts like he really couldn’t care less. He says that it was probably a good thing that she lost the baby, as they wouldn’t want to have a baby here and he’s not ready to leave Kenya yet. Rafiq, who by this time, has distanced himself from Margaret because they are aware they’ve crossed into the more-than-professional realm. He visits her in hospital and his visit is so perfect, he provides her with the ear and shoulder that she needs for her grief and confusion. Nothing happens between them, other than him comforting her and staying until she falls asleep but it’s the act of a man who loves her. Which casts her husband into a glaring and very unflattering light.

After the miscarriage and with the loss of Rafiq’s friendship (he has to leave Kenya) Margaret is even more depressed than before. The year of their climb of Mt Kenya is approaching and Patrick suddenly comes up with a wonderful idea. The only way to exercise the demons and move forward is to successfully climb the mountain. Margaret is (once again) apprehensive but she allows herself to be talked into it and they invite another couple, who are also ex-pats, to join them.

This book was a wonderful insight to a country I’m never likely to visit. I think the author portrayed very well how easy it would be to be a fish out of water as an American in such a country. Margaret was totally lost, with nothing to do except wander around and have her car stolen by locals. Once she got the job, she had some focus, she had some direction and she came to care for the country she was living in. She saw the poverty, she heard the stories of violence and suffering like it was for the first time.

Where this book is a let down, was characters. Patrick, Margaret’s husband is such a bland and boring character that it was so hard to even know anything about him and mostly, I couldn’t understand why Margaret bothered to stay with him. Diana and Arthur were cardboard cut-outs of what rich Brits living in Kenya would supposedly be like and the Dutch couple who undertake the climb with them were a total waste of time. Why were they even there? At most all they did was establish a semi-friendship between Diana and Saartje that was not there between Diana and Margaret. Even that friendship lacked any real credibility and warmth.

While I ultimately enjoyed this novel, I think it promised a lot more than it delivered. I expected the tragedy to be played out, not glossed over in a matter of a page. Although Margaret has problems dealing with the aftermath, it seems that Patrick just moves on like nothing happened, even though he was the only who wanted Margaret to undertake the climb. He happily blames her which I felt was an incredibly unfair thing to do. The highlight for me, was the relationship between Margaret and Rafiq. I’d have happily read a whole book on that.

5/10

(Book #52 of my 75 Book Challenge)

This book counts towards my 2010 Global Challenge

The Medium Challenge
Read two novels from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
Africa: #1: A Change In Altitude, by Anita Shreve. Set in Kenya
Asia: #1: The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani. Set in Persia/Iran
Australasia: #1: Vodka Doesn’t Freeze, by Leah Giarratano. Set in Sydney, Australia.
Europe: #1: Cold Granite, by Stuart MacBride. Set in Aberdeen, Scotland.
North America (incl Central America)
South America
Try to find novels from twelve different countries or states.


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Vodka Doesn’t Freeze – Leah Giarratano

I’d been wanting to read this book for a while, as previously mentioned, because I’d seen a very large spread on the author in the newspaper. The author sounded extremely interesting and the books even more so. Despite the fact that there are 4 books in this series, the article focused a lot on this first one, Vodka Doesn’t Freeze and the research that went into it. The author interviewed pedophiles and child sex offenders and is a clinical psychologist, an expert in psychological trauma.

The book opens with the murder of a man on a high point overlooking a pool where plenty of children play. The digital camera nearby and the fact that his fly is open give a pretty good clue that he’s not there to catch some rays. He’s the first of a series of similar murders. All are unhealthily interested in small children. All are violently bludgeoned or stabbed to death. And all are linked to a psychologist in outer western Sydney who was treating victims of all of them. Something isn’t quite right with the psychologist either – could she be the killer? Turned crusader after years of hearing trauma after trauma and having perps walk on lack of evidence? Is it a victim of an attack? A relative of a victim? There are questions and Jackson needs to find answers.

Detective Jill Jackson is a flawed protagonist who at times, seems to barely keep it together. The victim herself of a chilling and traumatic kidnapping as a child, she fights the demons that haunt her everyday by keeping to extremely strict routines (OCD), working out until she drops and barely eating enough to exist. This case touches her personally, more than it would most. From a raped transvestite that she befriends, she gets information on a group of pedophiles in Sydney who meet up to swap videos, photos and occasionally, participate in sessions with victims.

It’s a subject that raises a lot of hackles and thankfully, Giarratano keeps the descriptions of meetings and encounters with children to a bare minimum, working on the less is more type theory. She saves her best writing for the delving into Jackson’s psyche and the construction of her character. She is beautifully multi-layered and you get glimpses of her many facets: the businesslike detective. The sibling that’s full of regret. The drive to protect herself, physically, from any threat – real or perceived. The interest she has for her partner, that she cannot bring herself to ever act upon. She’s a wonderful character and I’d read the remaining books in this series for that alone, even if the writing wasn’t as tight and well done as it is.

There is one thing that I have come to view with a bit of frustration though, and that is protagonists doing stupid things. They usually involve not waiting for back up and going into situations unarmed, without back up and without much of an idea. It happens quite often in the Kathy Reichs novels, made worse by the fact that Temperance isn’t even a cop. Even though Jackson is, I did find it a tad ludicrous that she would go into that mansion alone where there were a whole heap of ‘persons of interest’, in the dark, unarmed, when her parter and a whole team was probably no more than 20-30 minutes away. It happens so often these days on TV also. I’m a veteran of Crossing Jordan, CSI, CSI:NY, Cold Case and countless others where people think nothing or running headlong into danger without a second thought and mostly in real life, it’d get you a bullet in your head for your trouble.

But that moment aside, I enjoyed this book immensely, despite the absolutely stomach-churning themes. It was amazingly well put together, pacy and interesting. I read it in one sitting before dinner, page-turning anxiously so that I wouldn’t have to put it down to eat. I’ll definitely be picking up the other books in this series. Giarratano, with her experience, sure knows how to put together nasty bad-guys and well thought out good guys.

8/10

(Book #38 of my 50 Book Challenge)

This book counts towards my 2010 Global Challenge!

The Medium Challenge
Read two novels from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
Africa
Asia
Australasia: #1: Vodka Doesn’t Freeze, by Leah Giarratano. Set in Sydney, Australia.
Europe: #1: Cold Granite, by Stuart MacBride. Set in Aberdeen, Scotland.
North America (incl Central America)
South America
Try to find novels from twelve different countries or states.

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2010 Global Reading Challenge!

I love all these challenges I’m discovering, even if I’m so very late to signing up to them because I didn’t even start this book blog until last month. I came across the 2010 Global Challenge and I thought that sounded like a really interesting one to do, because I bet there are a lot of places out there that I don’t know anything about! Countries I never read any books set in, or by authors from. Hopefully this challenge will encourage me to seek out some new books that will broaden my horizons a bit. The goal is to:

The Easy Challenge
Read one novel from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
Africa
Asia
Australasia
Europe
North America (incl Central America)
South America
From your own continent: try to find a country, state or author that is new to you.

The Medium Challenge
Read two novels from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
Africa
Asia
Australasia
Europe
North America (incl Central America)
South America
Try to find novels from twelve different countries or states.

The Expert Challenge
Read two novels from each of these continents in the course of 2010:
Africa
Asia
Australasia
Europe
North America (incl Central America)
South America
Add two novels which are set in Antarctica.
Select novels from fourteen different countries or states.

The Extremist Level
Read three novels from each of these continents in 2010:
Africa
Asia
Australasia
Europe
North America (incl Central America)
South America
Add two novels which are set in Antarctica + a ´wildcard´ novel (a novel from a place or period that is NEW to you).

I’m aiming to complete this challenge at the Medium level!

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