Here is the promised Reading Roundup post, even if it is a day late. I am not sure why I read ebooks far more quickly than the print ones, but I do. Or perhaps I have read five this week because I have so rarely been able to get out of bed and have given myself an extra day? Anyway, here they are…
I read the first book in Jo Clayton’s The Diadem series, Diadem from the Stars, a few weeks ago and I finished the second, Lamarchos, this week. Here is the blurb:
The diadem that crowned the head of Aleytys was in contact with her central nervous system – and invisible to outsiders. But even that star-born fugitive herself did not know what the diadem’s powers were or what it could do to or for her.
What she did know was that it made her the target of the diadem’s unrelenting and non-human owners who had tracked it across space and were still on her trail. She herself had started in search of her own people – but before she could make progress she would have to conquer both the unyielding mind-slave band she wore and the menace it held for all in contact with her.
This is my three star Goodreads review:
Again, this second book in the series is a weird mixture of fantasy and science fiction, leaning more towards the fantasy side. The plot is set on a different planet and we have the space thing at the beginning and the end, but the main part of the story is pure fantasy. I liked this more than the first as there was more action, particularly in the second half. There are small irritations around naming and also the unreal behaviour of Aleytys’ baby! He certainly never seems to cause any issues for his mother, or the plot!. So, an OK book. I may read #03 if I run out of other books as it is available as an ebook from the local library service.
By this point, I was eager to get to the Library to borrow more books, but was far too ill to go. Thanks to the local library service’s ebook offer, I was able to download some unusual (for me) and interesting reads. Reservoir 13, by Jon McGregor, was definitely a departure for me and here is the blurb:
Midwinter in an English village. A teenage girl has gone missing. Everyone is called upon to join the search. The villagers fan out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on what is usually a place of peace. Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed. As the seasons unfold and the search for the missing girl goes on, there are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together and those who break apart. There are births and deaths; secrets kept and exposed; livelihoods made and lost; small kindnesses and unanticipated betrayals. An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace, RESERVOIR 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a tragedy refuse to subside.
This book has won and been nominated for prizes and I can see why. Here is my review:
This was a total departure from any of my usual genres. I never, ever read books like this. Except that I did when I chose Reservoir 13. I love stories where something(s) happens, usually something with a lot of action and perhaps emotion. This book is so very different. There are 13 chapters and each one contains the story of a year in a village, starting in the year that a girl goes missing. The chapters document the tiny details of the lives of the villagers with the natural events of the plants and animals around them. It is fascinating to read those small events and build up a snapshot of thirteen years. The main issue I had was that I found it hard to keep track of all of the names. There was another issue too, but that would be a spoiler and I don’t do those!
Was I a bit mean to only give it four stars? Perhaps…
My third book was a return to a more familiar genre: a thriller called Dead on Arrival by Matt Richtel. I gave this one three stars and here is the blurb,
An airplane lands at a desolate airport in a remote Colorado ski town. On board, Dr. Lyle Martin, a world-class infectious disease specialist, is brusquely awakened to shocking news: everyone not on the plane appears to be dead. A lethal new kind of virus may have surfaced, threatening our survival, and now Martin—one of the most sought after virologists on the planet until his career took a precipitous slide—is at the center of the investigation.
The symptoms are the most confounding the experienced doctor has ever seen. Is it the work of terrorists? A biological attack? A natural occurrence? As word of the deadly sickness spreads, panic leads to violence and chaos. Armed and terrified partisans and patriots, stoked by technology and social media, have dug in, unknowingly creating fertile ground for the deadly syndrome Dr. Martin has begun to identify.
As the globe begins to unravel and paranoia and hatred take hold, Martin is forced to face a question as terrifying as this syndrome itself: is the world better left unsaved?
This is my short review:
A thriller with tech and sci-fi mixed in. The early sections of the book were good with really creepy and disturbing parts, but then the plot began to drag a bit. I think some of it could have been edited out. Certainly and interesting and largely entertaining plot, but the writing could have been better.
My next read only deserved two stars! This is the blurb for Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House:
Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.
There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.
The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.
Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.
Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.
I was was going to give the book more stars and write a more favourable review, but I slept on it and changed my mind. So this is what I wrote:
Started quite well and the blurb was intriguing, but the main characters were all so unlikeable and behaved in such unlikely ways. So then the book became simply irritating. It was an example of how many plot twists, plot holes and ridiculous about-turns an author could pack into one book.
If you don’t like any of the characters, is it possible to like the book? I think that I have to root for at least one of them, I have to care what happens to keep me reading. Mind you, I did finish this book, so perhaps that isn’t quite true. Or maybe I was having a weak moment and just hung in there!
My final read of the week was much more successful, so much so that I immediately bought more of the series as ebooks as I realised that the snow would prevent a Library visit for quite a while. I stumbled across in Nichole Christoff’s Jamie Sinclair series quite some time ago, read #04 The Kill Sign, and decided to buy some of the other books as they are not available through the local library service. So, this time I read #01 The Kill List And here is the blurb:
As a top private eye turned security specialist, Jamie Sinclair has worked hard to put her broken marriage behind her. But when her lying, cheating ex-husband, army colonel Tim Thorp, calls with the news that his three-year-old daughter has been kidnapped, he begs Jamie to come find her. For the sake of the child, Jamie knows she can’t refuse. Now, despite the past, she’ll do everything in her power to bring little Brooke Thorp home alive.
Soon Jamie is back at Fort Leeds—the army base in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens where she grew up, the only child of a two-star general—chasing down leads and forging an uneasy alliance with the stern military police commander and the exacting FBI agent working Brooke’s case. But because Jamie’s father is now a U.S. senator, her recent run-in with a disturbed stalker is all over the news, and when she starts receiving gruesome threats echoing the stalker’s last words, she can’t shake the feeling that her investigation may be about more than a missing girl—and that someone very powerful is hiding something very significant . . . and very sinister.
And here is what I wrote in my four star review:
Good, engrossing thriller with a touch of romance. An enjoyable read with plenty of suspense and unexpected turns. I have read another in the series, but will have to buy more as the Library doesn’t stock them, sadly.
Well, I obviously mean that the book deserved four stars, not the review! I was feeling very ill yesterday when I finished the book and it helped to take my mind away from my woes, but I was unable to express myself very well as a reviewer. Anyway, I am now reading the second book in the series, so that is telling…
I will let you know what I think of Christoff’s The Kill Shot next week.
Happy Reading to you all.