Book lovers never go to bed alone

January 3, 2010

December books

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chantal @ 8:12 pm

Sharpe's Gold (Sharpe, #9)118. Sharpe’s Gold by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I did indeed found the way to read the Sharpe series. In order in which they were published. This is the second novel I had no problem getting into after Sharpe’s Eagle. The story picks up a few months after the celebrated catching of the Eagle. Sharpe is invested by Wellington of a mission that can only turn bad. Sharpe faces ethical dilemma, who lives, who dies, shall he stick to his duty and mission despite the high cost of human lives. Cornwell writes action really well, the French patrol attacking, the German mercenary saving the day and he takes you, the reader, part of it, part of the historical battles (in this case Almeida) like you are there standing next to Sharpe and Harper. Sharpe meets a beautiful dark haired beauty again but he wouldn’t be Sharpe if he didn’t.

The Shadow of the Wind119. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed the mysterious almost gothic adventures of Daniel in post WWII Barcelona. The power of the written word is infinite and history somehow repeats itself but with multiple endings.

Easy to fall in love with the universe Zafon created and I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes to be able to visit the Cemetery of the lost books.

Le Roman Des Jardin120. Le Roman Des Jardin by Alexandre Jardin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the second novel where Alexandre Jardin tries to deal with his somewhat unorthodox, zany, free loving, polygamist, insane, unstable and prone to suicide family. Are the fictional memoirs real or legend? A bit of both. A lie that speaks the truth.

Jardin’s family and all the people that gravitated around them were artists, poets, politicians. Jardin’s father, grand-father, uncles were known womanizers with multiple mistresses. Both their wives had multiples stay in lovers. This novel, this lie that speaks the truth is Alexandre’s way to make peace with this very marginal upbringing, to make sense of his own life.

The tone is up beat, light but it’s a lie because beneath the laughter and the outrageous you can hear the anguish about being different, the pain of losing his father very young, the hurt of not having something stable ever, the despair of a young man to live up to the family legend. Even at 40, when he wrote this fictional memoirs Alexandre still struggled with the weight of being a Jardin.

Kafka on the Shore121. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I suspect you either love this book or you don’t. If the reader falls for the slightly off centre world Murakami offers and goes along for the ride, he finds a poetic yet precise world where a strong, tough fifteen years old tries to make sense of his life, tries to survive and maybe, maybe finds solace and hope through a strange lucid dream like world. All the characters have a precise, jewel like quality to them. I especially liked the old man, Nakata who talks to cats, his partner in his quest, the young truck driver Hoshino who finds there is more in this world than driving a truck and Oshima, the library clerk who lives his life to the sound of his own drum.

I liked this book, some parts are just wonderful, others you don’t really know where Murakami is going and I suspect he doesn’t really know himself.

But you can easily not be enchanted by this book at all. It’s slow, it’s open ended, it’s non linear, it has things that in the end are not explained at all.

Me I don’t mind, I’d rather Murakami not explain.

The SEAL's Surprise Baby122. The SEAL’s Surprise Baby by Amy J. Fetzer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Barely 2 stars. Very average. One redeeming thing: the male lead is interesting (reason for the second star). The female lead is paper thin and so under developed it hurts.

My first and last Amy J. Fetzer.

La jeune fille à la perle123. La jeune fille à la perle by Tracy Chevalier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Just too smooth, too seamless. Just like the clothing Griet washes and irons. The idea of the story behind one of the most famous painting Vermeer ever painted is interesting the execution less so.

Everything is superficial, two dimensional bathed in this uniform light of dullness. So unlike the painting itself. There are parts that are interesting : the creating part of the novel, Vermeer painting, to a point Griet mixing the colours but it barely off set the one note tone of the narration for me.

The Silver Needle Murder (A Tea Shop Mystery, #9)124. The Silver Needle Murder by Laura Childs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The plot was more decorative than mystery in this one. The gang is all there : Theodosia, Drayton, Hayley, Delaine. Set within a film festival the novel is more a series of tea party full of fun facts about tea, food and wine. The mystery part is an accessory in this one. A nice bauble but not really deep or interesting and the villain is a rabbit out of the hat at the end.

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