Saturday, July 14, 2007

What I have read this week

Ok I know the long silence is not acceptable to bloggers, but I've been busy - reading. Let me see - 5 books this week. Most of them light stuff, but one challenge book as well. The challenge book will be reviewed in another post

By Matthew Reilly
Self Published 1995
Pan McMillan (Australia) 2000
Website Matthew Reilly

The Contest by Matthew Reilly - 7 contestants are placed inside the New York Public Library in order to participate in an Intergalactic Challenge called the Presidian. The rules of the Challenge are simple: seven contestants will enter, but only one will leave. The Library has been electrified. Noone may enter or leave during the challenge.

Steve Swain and his 8 year old daughter Holly are unwittingly chosen to represent Earth, and they must not only survive and defeat the other competitiors, they must also defeat the final battle - the huge and very nasty Karanadon.

Think of this as a version of the Jurassic Park 3 movie but inside an enclosed building rather than an island. This was Matthew Reilly's first book. As a mixture of Sci-fi and Action/Adventure, it is exciting, but there are a few unrealistic leaps one must make make, to accept the storyline.

Next up were Two Books by Mary Jane Clark.
These I found at the library. Dancing in the Dark and Nowhere to Run. Remember I mentioned the new book of Clark's I read & reviewed recently - When Day Breaks? I said I enjoyed it because of the characters.

Well Dancing in the Dark had no familiar characters, and the reporter that was central to the story started off as a weak woman - she allowed her boss to threaten her with losing her job if she did not go to New Jersey and do this story, when she was supposed to be going on vacation to the Grand Canyon).

If I was her, I would have said get stuffed and walked out. She caved and gave up the vacation. Her kids were really looking forward to the vacation.

On page 59, I read the following. "Aw Mom, give it up will you. Going to the beach is ok, but we've gone to Amagansett lots of other summers. Been there, done that. I told my friends I was going to the Grand Canyon and now I'll seem like such a dork. If you ask me, the Jersey shore doesn't come close to the Grand Canyon."

Diane's patience was wearing thin. "You know what Anthony? I'm sorry we aren't going on the trip we were planning on. I really am, honey. But if I want to keep my job at KEY news, I have to take this assignment. That's all there is to it. You'll just have to understand. And to tell you the truth Anthony, you sound like a spoiled brat."

That's when I stopped reading. If any author allows a character to be treated like that, and the character then complains about her decision and trys to blame her son, well, this is one story I really do not want to read. The assignment was about teenage girls who claim to abducted and held for several days before being released. It sounds like a case of girls (and author) crying WOLF to me.

The other novel Nowhere to Run was much much better. It was centred around Annabelle Murphy, a producer at KEY News, one of the characters from When Day Breaks, and she too had a husband that was in a bad position. Her husband Mike, was severely depressed after 9/11. He had been a fireman at the towers and lost a number of friends when the towers went down.
When a KEY News producer allows an on-air guest to bring a file of anthrax onto the morning show and show it to the cameras, claiming just how easy it is to get access to the deadly poison, the public starts panicking. Every employee is swabbed and tested. In the space of a week 3 people die of anthrax - one of them being a KEY News employee. Another KEY employee is stabbed to death, and when more anthrax is found in Annabelle's office, the entire KEY News building is locked down until the source of the anthrax is found.

This book I could not put down, and I had to read it all. Who was trying to frame Anna? Who was killing the employees and why? And was it really anthrax in the container that was shown to the cameras?

And lastly another Anna Pigeon Mystery by Nevada Barr. This book was called Blood Lure. Anna is seconded to the Glacier National Park (in Northern Montana snuggled up at the Canadian border), where she is helping to track Grizzly Bears for a DNA project. These are some photos of Glacier National Park

A woman is killed in the park and the hunt begins for her killer. This woman was a photographer. Her camera was still at the crime scene, but the film was missing. Anna thinks she may have taken pictures of something she was not supposed to see.

"What is soft enough to hit without breaking, yet can be swung with enough force to sever a spinal cord?"

I enjoyed this book, especially learning about Grizzly Bears, how the scientists track them, how bears live, what they eat and how they behave.

Nevada Barr

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