Book lovers never go to bed alone

March 17, 2010

February Books 2010

Filed under: february books — Chantal @ 5:15 pm

Sari rouge (Le)12. Sari rouge by V.V. Ganeshananthan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The story of a family of the Tamoul diaspora through the eyes of a daughter trying to make sense of her life, her parents and her origins. This is a classic for a first novel, the quest for where we came from and trying to figure out where we are and where we are going. I didn’t know much about Sri Lanka history, the Tamoul, the social upheavals, etc.

It’s also about someone not fitting into the country where she is born and not really connected to the place people assume she is from. The best part is the disconnection and the sorrow of the narrator who is very much aware of her not fitting in. Not American but raised the American way and removed from her family traditions, even beliefs.

It’s interesting, compelling, it has a voice, a flow for the reader to grab on to and be let through the lives of people, in my case, that I wanted to learn more about. As far as first novels go, it’s a good one. It has problems : the structure of the narration doesn’t always work, I got annoyed at the flashback but not really flashback trick really fast. But overall I enjoyed it.

Night Soldiers13. Night Soldiers by Alan Furst

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Interesting view of the “spy business” circa 1930. How Russia then the USSR recruited young men and a few women from the Eastern European countries to built up their Secret Service.

The plot is a bit all over the place, the characters are a bit also all over the place. The main character Khristo is strong, smart and a bit heroic in an Atlantis John Sheppard way (no men left behind, etc). The historical background is amazing in the descriptions, the set-up, the reader is inside the secret services (British, OSS, NKVD and a few others splinter branches.

I liked it. It took me more time to read than I would have liked because the plot was not as “thrilling” and this one is not a page turner type of narrative but worth reading at a slower pace.

Ready (Mercenary/Goddard Project, #3) (Mercenary Trilogy, #1)14. Ready by Lucy Monroe

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
More like 2 1/2 stars. Average action/romance, light on the action novel. Both lead characters are a bit under developed for my taste. Nothing extraordinary or even special.

Storm Watch (Harlequin Blaze)15. Storm Watch by Jill Shalvis

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Barely 2 stars. Wooden characters, paper thin character development, too many secondary characters (even if it’s only two). One redeeming thing, Jason is likable.

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (Cat Who..., #1)16. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Quick reread. I vaguely remembered this opening book of Lilian Jackson Braun. There is a break in this series. The first three were written in the mid 1960’s, Braun stopped and twenty years after publishing The Cat Who Could Read Backwards she wrote The Cat Who Saw Red and it relaunched the series.

This is KoKo’s bow, where Siamese Cat and newspaper reporter Jim Qwilleran meet. Qwilleran returns to journalism after years battling drinking abuse. The Art beat is strange but Qwilleran soon finds himself in the middle of a trio of murders where KoKo seems to know all about.

Short and so much better than maybe the last 10 titles published in the series.

Turkish Gambit17. Turkish Gambit by Boris Akunin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Second title in Akunin’s Erast Fandorin series. We find Fandorin again after the tragic ending of his first real case. He’s become more detached, older despite his very young age. Less vain, less social. Which is the perfect backdrop for this tail of life, intrigue and heroism in the War between Russian and Turkey in the 1887. Fandorin is not much there, except for the high points of the mystery. We see life with the army, on the edge of the battlefield through the eyes of Varya. A young Russian woman who followed her fiancé to the army camp and the Press. This is something Akunin does really really well, using the press of the time, the journalists and making them the every day man or woman to whom the reader can identify.

The historical background is interesting. I had almost no knowledge of that war at the edge of Bulgaria, Roumania and Turkey. The spy/mystery plot is more obvious and I guessed who was the villain early on but it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the story.

Le Lièvre de Vatanen18. Le Lièvre de Vatanen by Arto Paasilinna

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Short, amusing, quirky tale of a man who finds an hare, hurt on the side of the road and leaves his life behind and become somewhat of a marginal. We follow Vatanen and his hare in his quest for life throughout Finland. It’s sometimes funny, sometimes absurd, sometimes deep and sometimes completely off the wall. You can even imagine that all of his adventures are a fiction of his mind while he wanders in the forest pursuing the hurt hare on that faithful afternoon of June.
I liked it a lot.

The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern (Cat Who..., #2)19. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern by Lilian Jackson Braun

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Reread. This is where Yum Yum is introduced and where KoKo really becomes a sleuthing cat. This is fluff mystery. Not brain surgery but entertaining fluff.

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