Monthly Archives: September 2012

Death Du Jour

This is a review of “Death Du Jour” by Kathy Reichs. It is the 2nd novel in her Temperance Brennan Series. It follows on from “Déjà Dead“.

Tempe is attending the exhumation of a nun who may be made a saint by the church. When the nun is exhumed, all is not as expected. Tempe is then called out to a house fire, suspected arson. Several bodies were found in the house, including those of 2 infants.

Why were these people there? And who would want to kill all of them in such a horrible manner?

While working, Tempe must also balance her personal life, she must find time to spend with her grown daughter and her quirky sister turns up to join a course that will help to mend her wayward habits.

More bodies turn up, and while at first they seem unrelated, it soon becomes clear they are connected.

A forensic mystery with themes of religion.

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The Casual Vacancy

This is a review of “The Casual Vacancy” by J. K. Rowling. It is her first novel for adults.

I (like everyone else on Earth, I suspect) was not sure what to expect with this novel. I loved Harry Potter, which I first read at the age of eleven. I eagerly awaited each new release in the series starting with the third novel, right up to the last novel which was released when I was in University.

I half dreaded the release of this book. While wanting more from this wonderful author, I did not want anything to tarnish the esteem in which I held her.

I am happy to say that I was very impressed with this book and enjoyed it immensely. It was intriguing from the start (even though the blurb reads a tad boring) and I just had to keep reading.

Barry Fairbrother is trying to meet a deadline for an article that is to be printed in the local newspaper. It’s very important to him and even though he has a splitting headache and it’s his and his wife’s anniversary, he pushes himself to finish it. They are on their way to dinner when he suddenly collapses in the carpark. Dead. Of an aneurysm. Leaving behind his wife and four children, his friends, his colleagues, his acquaintances and his champion teenaged Girl’s Rowing Team.

One of the biggest things he’s left behind is a vacancy in the local council seat. Barry was passionate about The Fields, a poor socioeconomic area that was incorporated into the pristine township of Pagford decades ago (to the chagrin of proper Pagfordian snobs), and keeping it a part of Pagford, to aid those that live there in bettering themselves.

This story presents the perspective of a myriad of characters. Adult and teenaged, “for The Fields” and “against”, rich and poor, kind and callous. A battle of sorts ensues following Barry’s death. His seat is fought over, his causes both championed and opposed.

It’s a wonderful, honest and moving commentary on modern society: dysfunctional families, socioeconomic gaps, the failings of the health and welfare systems currently in place, mental illness, abuse, bullying, teenage defiance, unhappy marriages, selfish husbands/men and also hope.

Sad, poignant, compelling, this is a story that sticks with you. I loved it.

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Watermelon

This is a review of “Watermelon” by Marian Keyes. It is the first novel in The Walsh Sisters Series.

Claire has just had a baby. A beautiful baby girl. And her husband James has left her. Yep. Left her. At the hospital. On the day their child was born. For another woman. A less attractive woman! With three kids of her own. Wtf?!

Claire has no choice but to fly back to her family in Dublin. Her mother who doesn’t cook, her father who loves watching telly and her two younger sisters (the other two have moved out) Anna, the airhead and Helen the hellcat. She takes her baby girl and baby items with her.

What is Claire to do now? With a baby on her own? And a body that still resembles a Watermelon? And no self-esteem to speak of?

Her days pass in a never ending blur of saggy high-necked nightgowns, feeding times, nappy changes, tears, anger and loneliness. Will she ever feel ok again?

After some time, and with the help of someone rather special, Claire begins to feel better.

And then James pops back up. Will they sort things out? Or has this ordeal changed Claire irrevocably?

A funny, heart-wrenching, and quite realistic novel.

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The Mystery of Mercy Close

This is a review of “The Mystery of Mercy Close” by Marian Keyes.

Marian Keyes’ newest novel is written from the perspective of Helen Walsh the youngest Walsh sister. It is the 5th novel in the Walsh Sisters Series. (Each of them can also be read individually as stand alone novels).

Helen is a Private Investigator. Financial hardship has hit Ireland and Helen hard, and she is out of work. She’s had most of her belongings repossessed and she’s been forced to move out of her beloved apartment and back into her parents’ house.

She has an older boyfriend. Artie. He’s divorced with 3 children. One of whom really dislikes her. And his ex wife seems to be hanging around an awful lot…

Out of the blue, Helen’s ex turns up. Jay Parker. He needs her help. Helen is extremely reluctant, but a job is a job, isn’t it? Jay is the agent of the aging Irish boy band Laddz. They’re planning a comeback tour. It’s meant to be huge. But with only days to go, one of the boys, Wayne Diffney, “the wacky one”, has disappeared without a trace.

It’s Helen’s job to find him.

But not everything is peachy with Helen…

I loved this book. I like all of Marian Keyes, but the Walsh sisters are very entertaining. And I have been waiting eagerly for Helen’s story to be released.

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Mort

This is a review of “Mort” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 4th novel in The Discworld Series and the first novel in the Death Story Arc.

Mort is an odd young man. He is gangly and awkward and thinks too much. His father takes him to the local job fair, where boys are taken on by masters of many different trades to become apprentices.

Mort waits with the other boys in the marketplace. One by one they all leave, until Mort is the only one left. He refuses to lose hope, and insists on waiting until midnight before leaving. Miraculously, a tall and mysterious stranger turns up looking for a likely apprentice.

It is Death.

Yes. Death. Skeletal fellow with cowl and scythe; harvester of mankind. Mort becomes Death’s apprentice. He leaves the marketplace to go and dwell in Death’s own Kingdom, where time does not exist, but two other humans do. Albert and Ysabell.

Albert is Death’s manservant, an old man who loves cooking greasy food and hates people prying into his past. Ysabell is Death’s daughter. Adopted of course.

Mort listens to his master and does his duties. He goes out on business with Death. This he finds hard. Some people don’t really deserve to die in his opinion (which doesn’t come into it at all). And he impulsively “saves “a rather attractive princess whose life was meant to end.

But Mort has disturbed reality and caused ripples that will take a very long time to heal. And history wants to proceed as planned.

What is Mort to do?

Meanwhile, Death finds that it’s rather nice to have an apprentice. It means he can take a day or two off here and there…

A humorous and entertaining novel.

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I Shall Wear Midnight

This is a review of “I Shall Wear Midnight” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 38th novel in The Discworld Series and the fourth novel in the Tiffany Aching Story Arc. (YA)

It follows “Wintersmith“.

Tiffany Aching is the witch on The Chalk. Witching is a tiring and often thankless task. Tiffany has to work long hours and do some tough jobs. She barely has time to care for herself, she hardly sleeps and almost never eats.

The old Baron is very ill, and is slowly dying. Tiffany is taking his pain away, but even so, his time is nigh. The Baron’s son Roland, Tiffany’s old friend, doesn’t speak to her anymore. And to make matters worse, something truly awful has just occurred within the community. Something so awful, that the rough music has started playing, and a mob is forming.

Tiffany does her best to prevent events from worsening, but it seems like everyone is turning against her, and witches in general. What could be happening?

Tiffany travels to Ankh Morpork to locate Roland to tell him some news, and here she meets two witches who help her to figure out what’s going on. Tiffany learns that she’s up against an old, old evil. And it’s worse than the queen of the fairies, the wintersmith and the hiver…

A story about growing up, having pride in yourself and your actions and about love.

(I just adore the last page!)

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Wintersmith

This is a review of “Wintersmith” by Terry Pratchett. It is the 35th novel in The Discworld Series and the third novel in the Tiffany Aching Story Arc. (YA)

It follows “A Hat Full of Sky“.

Tiffany Aching is well on her way to becoming a fully fledged witch. She is up in The Ramptops living with Miss Treason and learning more about witchcraft. She is one of the first girls to stay on full-term with Miss Treason. The other girls found her somewhat … frightening in her appearance and manner.

Tiffany attends the Dark Morris with Miss Treason, the Dance that welcomes winter. It is a very solemn affair, silent, serious and it’s meant to be danced by the morris dancers only, and not anyone else. But Tiffany feels her feet tapping along in time with the dance and before she knows it, she has joined in.

She doesn’t really know what she’s done. But she gathers that there will be a price to pay from Miss Treason’s reaction.

She is correct in this assumption.

For now the Wintersmith is in love with her. An elemental, the God of Winter-in love with a mortal girl. The Wintersmith is taken with Tiffany and believes her to be the Summer Lady, the goddess of Summer.

He woos her with snowflakes shaped in her form, ice roses and frost graffiti written on her windowpane. And while it’s admittedly…cool to be the object of such admiration, Tiffany knows she must put things to rights.

Because if she can’t get rid of the Wintersmith, it will stay wintertime forever…

A great novel about growing up and taking responsibility for your actions.

And of course: the Nac mac Feegle and Granny Weatherwax. There’s some Nanny Ogg too.

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