Books, Books, Books!
Synopsis (lifted from here):

New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen knows how to expertly dissect a brilliantly suspenseful story, all the while keeping fascinated readers riveted to her side. By turns darkly enthralling and relentlessly surprising, Keeping the Dead showcases an author at the peak of her storytelling powers. For untold years, the perfectly preserved mummy had lain forgotten in the dusty basement of Boston’s Crispin Museum. Now its sudden rediscovery by museum staff is both a major coup and an attention-grabbing mystery. Dubbed ‘Madam X,’ the mummy‘“to all appearances, an ancient Egyptian artifact‘“seems a ghoulish godsend for the financially struggling institution. But medical examiner Maura Isles soon discovers a macabre message hidden within the corpse‘“horrifying proof that this ‘centuries-old’ relic is instead a modern-day murder victim.To Maura and Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, the forensic evidence is unmistakable, its implications terrifying. And when the grisly remains of yet another woman are found in the hidden recesses of the museum, it becomes chillingly clear that a maniac is at large‘“and is now taunting them.
Archaeologist Josephine Pulcillo’s blood runs cold when the killer’s cryptic missives are discovered, and her darkest dread becomes real when the carefully preserved corpse of yet a third victim is left in her car like a gruesome offering‘“or perhaps a ghastly promise of what’s to come.The twisted killer’s familiarity with post-mortem rituals suggests to Maura and Jane that he may have scientific expertise in common with Josephine. Only Josephine knows that her stalker shares a knowledge even more personally terrifying: details of a dark secret she had thought forever buried.Now Maura must summon her own dusty knowledge of ancient death traditions to unravel his twisted endgame. And when Josephine vanishes, Maura and Jane have precious little time to derail the Archaeology Killer before he adds another chilling piece to his monstrous collection.

Good - yes.
Gripping - yes.
Plausible - yes.
Page turner - yes,
Keeper - no
I do like Gerritsen. I just cannot be bothered to re-read her books. And if I don’t want to read a book again, why keep it?

Synopsis (lifted from here):

New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen knows how to expertly dissect a brilliantly suspenseful story, all the while keeping fascinated readers riveted to her side. By turns darkly enthralling and relentlessly surprising, Keeping the Dead showcases an author at the peak of her storytelling powers.

For untold years, the perfectly preserved mummy had lain forgotten in the dusty basement of Boston’s Crispin Museum. Now its sudden rediscovery by museum staff is both a major coup and an attention-grabbing mystery. Dubbed ‘Madam X,’ the mummy‘“to all appearances, an ancient Egyptian artifact‘“seems a ghoulish godsend for the financially struggling institution. But medical examiner Maura Isles soon discovers a macabre message hidden within the corpse‘“horrifying proof that this ‘centuries-old’ relic is instead a modern-day murder victim.

To Maura and Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, the forensic evidence is unmistakable, its implications terrifying. And when the grisly remains of yet another woman are found in the hidden recesses of the museum, it becomes chillingly clear that a maniac is at large‘“and is now taunting them.

Archaeologist Josephine Pulcillo’s blood runs cold when the killer’s cryptic missives are discovered, and her darkest dread becomes real when the carefully preserved corpse of yet a third victim is left in her car like a gruesome offering‘“or perhaps a ghastly promise of what’s to come.

The twisted killer’s familiarity with post-mortem rituals suggests to Maura and Jane that he may have scientific expertise in common with Josephine. Only Josephine knows that her stalker shares a knowledge even more personally terrifying: details of a dark secret she had thought forever buried.

Now Maura must summon her own dusty knowledge of ancient death traditions to unravel his twisted endgame. And when Josephine vanishes, Maura and Jane have precious little time to derail the Archaeology Killer before he adds another chilling piece to his monstrous collection.

  • Good - yes.
  • Gripping - yes.
  • Plausible - yes.
  • Page turner - yes,
  • Keeper - no

I do like Gerritsen. I just cannot be bothered to re-read her books. And if I don’t want to read a book again, why keep it?

From the Cover:

Something peculiar is happening. Stockholm is unduring a heatwave, electrical appliances cannot be switched off and everyone has a blinding headache. Then the terrible news breaks - in the city morgue, the dead are waking…
David always knew his wife was far too good for him. But he never knew how lost be’d be without her until tonight when her car hit an elk. Now she’s one and he’s alone. But when he goes to identify her body, she begins to move. It’s terrifying, but it gives David a strange kind of hope.
Across the city, grieving families find themselves able to see their loved ones one last time. But are these creatures really them? How long can this last? And what does it all mean?
Handling the Undead is a thrilling, shocking and moving story about a love that can defy death from the acclaimed author of Let the Right One In.

I like the way Lindqvist writes. But he does not finish his stories in a way I like. Both Right One and Undead have endings that feel, to me, rushed. Tacked on because, damn it, books have to end somewhere.
Up to that point, an excellent read. After that point, a disappointment. I would recommend them anyway - you might like the endings, not feel dissatisfied the way I did. And the writing itself is superb.

From the Cover:

Something peculiar is happening. Stockholm is unduring a heatwave, electrical appliances cannot be switched off and everyone has a blinding headache. Then the terrible news breaks - in the city morgue, the dead are waking…

David always knew his wife was far too good for him. But he never knew how lost be’d be without her until tonight when her car hit an elk. Now she’s one and he’s alone. But when he goes to identify her body, she begins to move. It’s terrifying, but it gives David a strange kind of hope.

Across the city, grieving families find themselves able to see their loved ones one last time. But are these creatures really them? How long can this last? And what does it all mean?

Handling the Undead is a thrilling, shocking and moving story about a love that can defy death from the acclaimed author of Let the Right One In.

I like the way Lindqvist writes. But he does not finish his stories in a way I like. Both Right One and Undead have endings that feel, to me, rushed. Tacked on because, damn it, books have to end somewhere.

Up to that point, an excellent read. After that point, a disappointment. I would recommend them anyway - you might like the endings, not feel dissatisfied the way I did. And the writing itself is superb.

From the Cover:

All Kindan ever wanted was to become a Harper, singing and teaching the ballads of Pern, and he is thrilled when he becomes an Apprentice at the Harper Hall. But then he is offered the chance to attend a Hatching and succeeds in Impressing the magnificent bronze fire-lizard, Valla.
There he meets Koriana, daughter of Lord Holder Bemin of Fort Hold. She also Impresses, in her case a gold fire-lizard, and there is an instant attraction between her and Kindan. Unfortunately an Apprentice Harper is not considered a suitable consort for a Fort Holder’s daughter and they are quickly separated. Things go from bad to worse for Kindan when he is accused of starting a fire which destroys ancient and extremely precious Records. He is banished to Fort Hold in shame and dishonour, but his own worries soon pale into insignificance when a terrible plague starts to spread across Pern, killing nearly everyone infected. As it reaches Fort Hold, Kindan and the rest of Pern’s inhabitants know there very survival is in doubt.
a proper Pern novel… bodes well for future volumes - SFX on Dragonsblood

Marge Piercy wrote a poem, which I cannot remember nor track down, about how a writer only has so much creativity, so should bury poems in the garden, against the lean years.
And Anne McCaffrey was, for me, the embodiement of this poem. The Pern books, which I loved from the very first time I read Weyr Search as a short story that won the Hugo in the year of release, gradually got less and less involving and more and more formulaic.
This collaborative effort with her son, Todd (not the first nor the last!) is a true Pern book whilst also suffering from the fact that I have read so, so many Pern books. This has nothing new to offer, no real developmentof character nor a gripping story. Yet I will be getting more, and reading them. Just without the satisfaction that a really well written book gives.
Another beach / journey / quick pickup read.

From the Cover:

All Kindan ever wanted was to become a Harper, singing and teaching the ballads of Pern, and he is thrilled when he becomes an Apprentice at the Harper Hall. But then he is offered the chance to attend a Hatching and succeeds in Impressing the magnificent bronze fire-lizard, Valla.

There he meets Koriana, daughter of Lord Holder Bemin of Fort Hold. She also Impresses, in her case a gold fire-lizard, and there is an instant attraction between her and Kindan. Unfortunately an Apprentice Harper is not considered a suitable consort for a Fort Holder’s daughter and they are quickly separated. Things go from bad to worse for Kindan when he is accused of starting a fire which destroys ancient and extremely precious Records. He is banished to Fort Hold in shame and dishonour, but his own worries soon pale into insignificance when a terrible plague starts to spread across Pern, killing nearly everyone infected. As it reaches Fort Hold, Kindan and the rest of Pern’s inhabitants know there very survival is in doubt.

a proper Pern novel… bodes well for future volumes - SFX on Dragonsblood

Marge Piercy wrote a poem, which I cannot remember nor track down, about how a writer only has so much creativity, so should bury poems in the garden, against the lean years.

And Anne McCaffrey was, for me, the embodiement of this poem. The Pern books, which I loved from the very first time I read Weyr Search as a short story that won the Hugo in the year of release, gradually got less and less involving and more and more formulaic.

This collaborative effort with her son, Todd (not the first nor the last!) is a true Pern book whilst also suffering from the fact that I have read so, so many Pern books. This has nothing new to offer, no real developmentof character nor a gripping story. Yet I will be getting more, and reading them. Just without the satisfaction that a really well written book gives.

Another beach / journey / quick pickup read.

From the Cover

What’s more frightening than your next-door neighbours being murdered?
Finding out the killers went to the wrong house…
For the Cutter family the idea that they may have been the intended target seems crazy - but each of them has a secret they’d rather keep buried. What was on that old computer teenage Derek and his friend Adam Langley had salvaged? And where is it now? What hold does a local professor and bestselling author have on Eileen Cutter? And what does Jim Cutter know about Mrs Langley that even her husband didn’t?
To find out who killed the Langleys and why, everybody’s secrets are going to have to come out. But the final secret - the secret that could save them or destroy them - is in the one place nobody would ever think of looking…

Linwood has done it again. Another page turner, another surprise ending. Though I did not find this as interesting, nor as well written as No Time for Goodbye, it is still a good book that will keep you entertained on your journey, or at the beach, or during your lunch hour.
Recommended.

From the Cover

What’s more frightening than your next-door neighbours being murdered?

Finding out the killers went to the wrong house…

For the Cutter family the idea that they may have been the intended target seems crazy - but each of them has a secret they’d rather keep buried. What was on that old computer teenage Derek and his friend Adam Langley had salvaged? And where is it now? What hold does a local professor and bestselling author have on Eileen Cutter? And what does Jim Cutter know about Mrs Langley that even her husband didn’t?

To find out who killed the Langleys and why, everybody’s secrets are going to have to come out. But the final secret - the secret that could save them or destroy them - is in the one place nobody would ever think of looking…

Linwood has done it again. Another page turner, another surprise ending. Though I did not find this as interesting, nor as well written as No Time for Goodbye, it is still a good book that will keep you entertained on your journey, or at the beach, or during your lunch hour.

Recommended.

Half the world is malnourished, the other half obese - both symptoms of the corporate food monopoly. To show how a few powerful distributors control the health of the entire world, Raj Patel conducts a global investigation, traveling from the “green deserts”of Brazil and protester-packed streets of South Korea to bankrupt Ugandan coffee farms and barren fields of India. What he uncovers is shocking - the real reasons for famine in Asia and Africa, an epidemic of farmer suicides, and the false choices and conveniences in supermarkets. Yet he also finds hope — in international resistance movements working to create a more democratic, sustainable, and joyful food system.

From seed to store to plate, Stuffed and Starved explains the steps to regain control of the global food economy, stop the exploitation of farmers and consumers, and rebalance global sustenance.

Washington Post Review:
If you think the biggest food problems you are ever likely to face are safety issues like outbreaks of salmonella (spinach in 2006, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers this summer) and the high cost of organic produce, you’re woefully naive.

Because, as Paul Roberts and Raj Patel will tell you, the food we eat is part of a global system, one made possible by international trade and transportation… Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

From the cover:


In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing — her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.
Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth — that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?
Holly Black spins a seductive tale at once achingly real and chillingly enchanted, set in a dangerous world where pleasure mingles with pain and nothing is exactly as it appears.



From Booklist
Finding your place in the world is no picnic at the best of times, but pixie changeling Kaye finds it tougher than most. And no wonder: her boyfriend has been crowned king of the Unseelie Court and her best friend suffers from a faery’s curse.
In this follow-up to Black’s previous two books about the urban fey, Kaye and her gay friend Corny (from Tithe, 2003) meet brothers Luis and Dave (from Valiant, 2005), and the teens are caught in the middle of a clash between the rival faery courts.
As characters struggle to shape their identities, quintessential coming-of-age themes are as skillfully interwoven as in the earlier adventures, as are seductive contradictions: faeries who cannot lie nonetheless find ways to connive and betray, loyalty and love are wielded as weapons, and ethereal beauty often masks cruelty of the ugliest sort.
The chilling game of wits culminates in a satisfying conclusion to this dark, edgy fantasy, a must-purchase for Black’s many devoted fans. Rutan, Lynn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved - This text refers to the      Hardcover edition.
From Me:I bought and read the three books in this series, Tithe, Valiant & Ironside, in the wrong order but without caring. I was hooked. In fact, I read Tithe when it was first published and was struck by its power then. But I forgot about it in the intervening years (it may have been only three, but to a compulsive reader like me that is a very long time!)
I actually read this before I read Ironside, but that wasn’t too much of a problem.
Found the teenage love angst a bit much to bear (maybe because I am 55 now, so those days are long gone!); otherwise an excellent read.
Highly recommend all three books.
Gonna have to go investigate Spiderwick now…
Holly Black’s site
Publisher’s site, with a link to read Chapter One and Chapter 2

From the cover:

In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing — her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth — that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?

Holly Black spins a seductive tale at once achingly real and chillingly enchanted, set in a dangerous world where pleasure mingles with pain and nothing is exactly as it appears.

From Booklist

Finding your place in the world is no picnic at the best of times, but pixie changeling Kaye finds it tougher than most. And no wonder: her boyfriend has been crowned king of the Unseelie Court and her best friend suffers from a faery’s curse.
In this follow-up to Black’s previous two books about the urban fey, Kaye and her gay friend Corny (from Tithe, 2003) meet brothers Luis and Dave (from Valiant, 2005), and the teens are caught in the middle of a clash between the rival faery courts.
As characters struggle to shape their identities, quintessential coming-of-age themes are as skillfully interwoven as in the earlier adventures, as are seductive contradictions: faeries who cannot lie nonetheless find ways to connive and betray, loyalty and love are wielded as weapons, and ethereal beauty often masks cruelty of the ugliest sort.
The chilling game of wits culminates in a satisfying conclusion to this dark, edgy fantasy, a must-purchase for Black’s many devoted fans. Rutan, Lynn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved - This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Me:
I bought and read the three books in this series, Tithe, Valiant & Ironside, in the wrong order but without caring. I was hooked. In fact, I read Tithe when it was first published and was struck by its power then. But I forgot about it in the intervening years (it may have been only three, but to a compulsive reader like me that is a very long time!)

I actually read this before I read Ironside, but that wasn’t too much of a problem.

Found the teenage love angst a bit much to bear (maybe because I am 55 now, so those days are long gone!); otherwise an excellent read.

Highly recommend all three books.

Gonna have to go investigate Spiderwick now…

Holly Black’s site

Publisher’s site, with a link to read Chapter One and Chapter 2

Ryan Perry, at 34, is a young man – hardly of an age to be on a waiting list, nervously hoping for a heart transplant. Luck appears to be with him: he is the recipient of a new heart, and (fortunately) the transplant takes, triumphantly.
But a year passes, and Ryan begins to receive gifts in the shape of hearts, sent anonymously. A feeling of paranoia sets in – and this feeling is exacerbated when a large amount of money vanishes from his bank account – it has been donated to a local hospital’s cardiology department.
Needless to say, all of this is a prelude to something truly horrific: everything he owns – including his new heart – is to be torn from him, and he is informed he will die a grisly death. Who is Ryan’s tormentor?
What I Thought: Dean Koontz needs to take a holiday. I could count the number of well-written, tension-enhancing pages on my fingers. The angst suffered by Ryan in the first half of the book and the denoument seem to come from different stories entirely and, though the denoument is gripping, and even makes sense, I really would not recommend this to anyone but a die-hard fan. And even they will be disappointed.

Ryan Perry, at 34, is a young man – hardly of an age to be on a waiting list, nervously hoping for a heart transplant. Luck appears to be with him: he is the recipient of a new heart, and (fortunately) the transplant takes, triumphantly.

But a year passes, and Ryan begins to receive gifts in the shape of hearts, sent anonymously. A feeling of paranoia sets in – and this feeling is exacerbated when a large amount of money vanishes from his bank account – it has been donated to a local hospital’s cardiology department.

Needless to say, all of this is a prelude to something truly horrific: everything he owns – including his new heart – is to be torn from him, and he is informed he will die a grisly death. Who is Ryan’s tormentor?

What I Thought: Dean Koontz needs to take a holiday. I could count the number of well-written, tension-enhancing pages on my fingers. The angst suffered by Ryan in the first half of the book and the denoument seem to come from different stories entirely and, though the denoument is gripping, and even makes sense, I really would not recommend this to anyone but a die-hard fan. And even they will be disappointed.

Short listed for the Wales Book of the Year 2006 and The Crime Writer’s Association New Blood Award 2006. Air so cold it will steal your life in minutes… A land so remote that its people make their own rules… A heart so hard she’s ready to exploit her own children… Dafydd Woodruff’s life is about to be blown apart by the arrival of unexpected news. It puts his marriage in jeopardy and threatens his medical career. In an effort to make sense of the impossible he takes a flight back to the sub-Arctic Canadian wilderness to confront the demons he thought he’d left behind years ago..an involving narrative, a sharply observed cast and an atmospherically evoked and unusual setting. - The Guardian
"Ice Trap" is a gripping thriller set in a fascinating and exotic locale. You won’t want to put this one down as you follow the compelling characters across an icy Arctic landscape towards a powerful and extraordinarily moving conclusion. - Peter Robinson, author of Friend of the Devil
One of the most atmospheric and affecting novels of the year… A classy piece of contemporary fiction - Big Issue
What I Thought - This started slow, but by the time I reached the last chapters, it made me late for work by demanding I finish it. Sheila Hailey is a compellingly written nasty piece of work: you would think her enemies would unite against her, but her strength lies in how she intimidates them individually so they do not realise just how in her coils they are. Or who else is trapped with them. Worth a read, I would rate this as 7.5 out of 10

Short listed for the Wales Book of the Year 2006 and The Crime Writer’s Association New Blood Award 2006.

Air so cold it will steal your life in minutes…
A land so remote that its people make their own rules…
A heart so hard she’s ready to exploit her own children…

Dafydd Woodruff’s life is about to be blown apart by the arrival of unexpected news. It puts his marriage in jeopardy and threatens his medical career. In an effort to make sense of the impossible he takes a flight back to the sub-Arctic Canadian wilderness to confront the demons he thought he’d left behind years ago

..an involving narrative, a sharply observed cast and an atmospherically evoked and unusual setting. - The Guardian

"Ice Trap" is a gripping thriller set in a fascinating and exotic locale. You won’t want to put this one down as you follow the compelling characters across an icy Arctic landscape towards a powerful and extraordinarily moving conclusion. - Peter Robinson, author of Friend of the Devil

One of the most atmospheric and affecting novels of the year… A classy piece of contemporary fiction - Big Issue

What I Thought - This started slow, but by the time I reached the last chapters, it made me late for work by demanding I finish it. Sheila Hailey is a compellingly written nasty piece of work: you would think her enemies would unite against her, but her strength lies in how she intimidates them individually so they do not realise just how in her coils they are. Or who else is trapped with them. Worth a read, I would rate this as 7.5 out of 10

Another book going on to my Must Read list.

On June 8, 2001, De Beers officially disappeared from the radar.  All publicly owned shares of the company and its subsidiaries were purchased by a consortium of buyers collectively called DB Investments.  The buyers were the Oppenheimer family, which has controlled the company since the 1920s; Anglo-American Corporation of South Africa, De Beers’s sister corporation that focuses on gold exploration; and Debswana, the diamond exploration company owned jointly by De Beers and the government of Botswana.
The absorption of the company from the South African and London stock exchanges into private hands means that De Beers no longer has to make detailed public financial reports to securities organizations or shareholders.  According to the script drafted by Cecil Rhodes more than 100 years ago, De Beers is officially accountable to no one
Stones stolen from Sierra Leone at the tip of a machete and the barrel of an AK-47 could literally be anywhere, from safehouses in Monrovia to safe deposit boxes in Belgium to the display cases of jewelry stores in the neighborhood mall.  Until international export controls such as those suggested by the Clean Diamond Act and the Kimberley Process are implemented and enforced to screen legitimate diamonds from those tainted by warfare and brutality-and until peace comes and takes hold in impoverished, desperate countries where diamonds are found there will be no way to tell whether or not a cherished diamond ring was once washed in the blood of innocent Africans.
If nothing else, the story of Sierra Leone’s diamond war has proven unequivocally that the world ignores Africa and her problems at its peril.  Just like global commerce and the widening reach of terrorism, events far from home often have very tangible impacts.  Sierra Leone has shown the world that there is no longer any such thing as an “isolated, regional conflict.”
Perhaps there never was.”

Via Changa on Vox.  Link to original

Another book going on to my Must Read list.

On June 8, 2001, De Beers officially disappeared from the radar.  All publicly owned shares of the company and its subsidiaries were purchased by a consortium of buyers collectively called DB Investments.  The buyers were the Oppenheimer family, which has controlled the company since the 1920s; Anglo-American Corporation of South Africa, De Beers’s sister corporation that focuses on gold exploration; and Debswana, the diamond exploration company owned jointly by De Beers and the government of Botswana.

The absorption of the company from the South African and London stock exchanges into private hands means that De Beers no longer has to make detailed public financial reports to securities organizations or shareholders.  According to the script drafted by Cecil Rhodes more than 100 years ago, De Beers is officially accountable to no one

Stones stolen from Sierra Leone at the tip of a machete and the barrel of an AK-47 could literally be anywhere, from safehouses in Monrovia to safe deposit boxes in Belgium to the display cases of jewelry stores in the neighborhood mall.  Until international export controls such as those suggested by the Clean Diamond Act and the Kimberley Process are implemented and enforced to screen legitimate diamonds from those tainted by warfare and brutality-and until peace comes and takes hold in impoverished, desperate countries where diamonds are found there will be no way to tell whether or not a cherished diamond ring was once washed in the blood of innocent Africans.

If nothing else, the story of Sierra Leone’s diamond war has proven unequivocally that the world ignores Africa and her problems at its peril.  Just like global commerce and the widening reach of terrorism, events far from home often have very tangible impacts.  Sierra Leone has shown the world that there is no longer any such thing as an “isolated, regional conflict.”

Perhaps there never was.”

Via Changa on Vox.  Link to original