Thursday, December 31, 2009

Life as we Knew it by Susan Pfeffer

Life as we Knew it
Susan Pfeffer
2006, 2007, Marion Lloyd, London

An asteroid hits the moon, pushing it out of orbit and closer to Earth. The following devastation is chronicled by a teenager in her diary.

Totally absorbing read - I often woke up, and in that still half-asleep phase, thought that the events in this book were real and wondering what I should be doing that day from a survival aspect. I was sad that the book ended, but I have the sequel to read now. It did take a while to get into the book - to get used to the voice of the teen (which is extremely well done) - but once it got going, I was hooked.

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Big Trouble by Dave Barry

Big Trouble
Dave Barry
1999, 2000, Judy Piatkus, London

Plot: ok, um ... set in Miami ... there's Russians and weapons, an advertising executive, small time crooks, professional hit-men and a toad. It's just fun going along for the ride so I won't give too much away.

My favourite character was Roger the dog - this was a very funny book. I got part way through it before realising I hadn't actually seen the movie which I was sure I had. Now I want to, of course. I liked all the little insights into Miami culture (especially being a fan of the Dexter books). If I had to use one word to describe it, that word would be 'zany'. It's just zany ... but in a good way.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White

Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083
Andrea White
2005, HarperCollins, New York

A group of five teenagers are chosen to compete in a television show which retraces the failed Antarctic journey of Scott and his men in 1912.

This was a good teen book - a compelling read. There were a few loose ends and things that didn't quite make sense, but overall I thought it sound. The premise was interesting and I liked how it tied in with Scott's 1912 voyage.

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Doctor Who: The Eyeless by Lance Parkin

Doctor Who: The Eyeless
Lance Parkin
2008, BBC Books, UK

The Doctor travels to a planet whose population was destroyed by a terrible weapon from another war. He wants to dismantle the weapon, but when he gets there he finds that there are survivors and other beings who want the weapon for themselves.

Not sure I like The Doctor being alone - he be moody. This is a fairly dark book, but a ripper story. The author obviously has a mathematics obsession!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein

Double Star
Robert A. Heinlein
1956, 1986, Ballantine, New York

Out-of-work actor Lorenzo meets a space pilot in a bar and is offered a mysterious job which sees him packed off to Mars in the role of a lifetime.

I enjoyed this but it doesn't really feel like I read the book. I know that sounds odd, maybe it's just because it's such a light book with a sort of skimming writing style. It's mainly about politics, I would have liked a little more science fiction in it.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Red Sky in Mourning by Tami Oldham Ashcraft with Susea McGearhart

Red Sky in Mourning
Tami Oldham Ashcraft with Susea McGearhart
2002, 2003, Simon & Schuster, London

True story of a woman who survived being hit by a hurricane at sea while her partner was thrown overboard. She spent forty-one days at sea alone.

An amazing story of survival and very well told. Tami was a brave lady - she did what she needed to do to survive despite feeling like giving up many times.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Tale of Beatrix Potter by Margaret Lane

The Tale of Beatrix Potter
Margaret Lane
1946, 1978, William Clowes & Sons, London
no isbn

This is the biography of Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter.

Beatrix Potter lead an amazingly ordinary life. I really enjoyed reading about it, even though it was dull. Sometimes the dullest lives are the most interesting, especially when they are of a genius. I also enjoyed reading a little of British domestic history which was a part of this story.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Aliens by Alan Dean Foster

Aliens in The Complete Alien Omnibus
Alan Dean Foster
1986, Warner Books, London

Book based on the sequel to the science fiction classic Alien, Aliens. Ellen Ripley returns to Earth after spending over fifty years in hypersleep and then must journey back to the planet where she encountered the alien to again face her nightmare.

Like the first book, this one had more detail than the movie (which I watched not long ago). I think maybe some of the stuff that was on the original screenplay but ended up on the cutting room floor is in the book. It's no great work of literature, just a bit of action-fun-dumbness.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live by Jay Mohr

Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live
Jay Mohr
2004, Hyperion, New York

Jay Mohr is a comedian who wrote and performed for Saturday Night Live for two years in the 1990s. This is the story of his time at the show.

This was a very easy book to read, the writing just flowed and shone with honesty. It was fascinating to read about how dysfunctional that work environment is and how Jay coped despite it all. I have never seen Saturday Night Live of course, but I enjoyed the read very much - it made me laugh out loud.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Murder on Marble Row by Victoria Thompson

Murder on Marble Row
Victoria Thompson
2004, 2005, Berkley Prime Crime, New York

A period mystery set in 18th century New York City. A wealthy businessman is murdered by a bomb and Detective Inspector Malloy suspects anarchists are involved.

Clunky writing style and very predictable until the final twist. I also couldn't stand the character of Malloy - he's not very nice at all. However, it was interesting to read about New York City in that era.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Booked to Die by John Dunning

Booked to Die
John Dunning
1992, 2001, Pocket Books, New York

Cliff Janeway, homicide detective and booklover, is investigating the death of a bookscout called Bobby. He becomes entangled in the world of rare and collectible book stores trying to find the killer.

Literary crime. Fantastic. I loved reading about the world of the rare and collectable book seller. Janeway is a cool detective, and the constant references to other books was super.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things
Arundhati Roy
1997, Flamingo, London

The story of an Indian family set in the 1960s.

It's very hard to describe the plot of this book without losing something, so I won't bother. The writing is beautiful. And the story is intricately woven. I loved how we're never given the entirety of anything, we have to be patient and read on - the plot doubles back on itself and jumps forwards and backwards with such ease.

Link to journal at bookcrossing