Sunday, July 12, 2009

TSS - Reviews - Sunday shorts

My thoughts on a selection of books that, for one reason or another, didn't inspire me to write full reviews.

Exodus by Julie Bertagna
published 2002
343 pages


Less than a hundred years from now, the world as we know it no longer exists. Cities have disappeared beneath the sea, technology no longer functions, and human civilization has reverted to a much more primitive state.

On Wing, an isolated northern island, the people are trying to hold onto their way of life—even as the sea continues to claim precious acres and threatens to claim their very lives.

Only fifteen-year-old Mara has the vision and the will to lead her people in search of a new beginning in this harsh, unfamiliar world.

This compelling first book in a powerful new trilogy set in the near future will hit home with teens, especially those who are ever more aware of the increasingly troubling climate crisis we face in our world today.

My thoughts:

I found the story to be quite entertaining, and I liked Mara, the heroine. My problem with the book was that I felt like I was getting whacked over the head with the "message". The author would have a paragraph about the ice caps melting, and the reasons for it, and I would think, "Oh, I get it - it's all due to something the earth's occupants did 100 years ago." And then she would have Mara say, "Our ancestors killed our future", or something like that - whack. Another time, she had Mara walking through an old university, noticing that all the people featured were men, and I thought, "Huh. Interesting that there aren't any women." And then Mara would say, "Why aren't there any women? Surely there were some smart women!" - whack. I guess I just felt like I was getting the point without the extra commentary. However, it was entertaining enough that I will probably read the second book in the trilogy.

Finished: 7/5/09
Source: Franklin Avenue library
Rating: 7/10

Trap by Un-Tied Artists
published 2008
347 pages


Why is Paris burning? For money, a lot of it, more than you can possibly imagine. A serial arsonist killer is loose and American Interpol agent Nicki Foster fights to stop him. Hideous arsons are murdering fire crews and Nicki finds there's a dark logic behind the crimes. To stay alive, Nicki and Fire Captain Paul Denis race to solve a puzzle leading to an immense fortune. Lose the race and a flashover fire will burn them alive, leaving only an x-ray of them behind.

My thoughts:

This was an entertaining suspense thriller, neither the best nor the worst I've read in the genre. There were a few sections where I thought the narrative became a little clunky - but I think that was more the fault of editing than the story itself. There was nothing terrible surprising or innovative, but it was a fun read, and kept my attention throughout.

The reason I specifically wanted to highlight this novel is because its publisher, Un-Tied Artists, donates a portion of each book sold to Doctors Without Borders - every book purchased equals a month's worth of anti-malaria medication. Now, that's seriously cool. It's not this blog's purpose to tell you how to spend your money, but I can't help but suggest that you give a book from this publisher a try. They have a fairly wide variety, though somewhat small inventory, and even have books available for download on the Kindle.

Here's a quote to give you an idea of what to expect:

“The sun rose as I drove, brightening rooftops but turning streets into dark canyons where long shadows played over the sidewalks, sliding across streets and up storefronts. I fell in line with early commuters rolling down Montmartre’s hills. Paris unfolded below me in a carpet of twinkling buildings and streaking headlights. I took a moment to fall in love with the city all over again. Paris is a mood that touches everyone who stops at a sidewalk cafe and experiences how intimate each little nook of a huge, anonymous city can feel. Every block is its own world, with shops and restaurants that are tiny by American standards, barely larger than a bedroom. There’s always a bistro anchoring the end of the block. Seven generations bought their tobacco here because their parents did. They lean their elbows on the same zinc bar to drink a beer at day’s end, before climbing flights of stairs to a small flat they call home. The city is a paradox of tradition and energy where you always feel something unexpected is going to happen. For me, the unexpected was about to happen, and I wouldn’t like it. What came next wasn’t a dream but a nightmare. A slide into hell was starting and soon I’d be scrambling for a way out, fighting for my life.”

Finished: 7/9/09
Source: Un-Tied Artists
Rating: 7/10

Food by Kate Jacobs
published 2008
373 pa ges


Shortly before turning 50, TV cooking show personality Augusta “Gus” Simpson discovers that the network wants to boost her ratings by teaming her with a beautiful, young new co-host. But Gus isn’t going without a fight—whether it’s off-set with her two demanding daughters, on-camera with the ambitious new diva herself, or after-hours with Oliver, the new culinary producer who’s raising Gus’s temperature beyond the comfort zone. Now, in pursuit of higher rating s and culinary delights, Gus might be able to rejuvenate more than just her career.

My thoughts:

This novel was a lot of fun! It was a review book for, so I can't publish my "official" review here, but I really did enjoy it. The characters sparkled, and the story itself was a great read. If you are looking for a tasty summer read, this will fit the bill. I will definitely look for more by this author!

Finished: 7/10/09
Rating: 8/10


bermudaonion said...

I really want to read Comfort Food. I'll probably gain 20 pounds if I ever get the book, because I always want a cupcake when I see the cover.

violetcrush said...

The first book sounds really interesting. I would mind the extra commentary too but I would be okay if the story is very strong.

Zibilee said...

I am sure that Exodus would annoy me with all the preaching as well. I tend to avoid fiction with a blatant message. If I am looking for a message I will read non-fiction. Also, I really enjoy this feature.