Category: Series


Adults reading kidlit: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins # 1 in the Hunger Games trilogy

Here's what the Booklist review had to say:
/*Starred Review*/ This is a grand-opening salvo in a new series by the author of the Underland Chronicles. Sixteen-year-old Katniss poaches food for her widowed mother and little sister from the forest outside the legal perimeter of District 12, the poorest of the dozen districts constituting Panem, the North American dystopic state that has replaced the U.S. in the not-too-distant future. Her hunting and tracking skills serve her well when she is then cast into the nation's annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death where contestants must battle harsh terrain, artificially concocted weather conditions, and two teenaged contestants from each of Panem's districts. District 12's second "tribute" is Peeta, the baker's son, who has been in love with Katniss since he was five.

Each new plot twist ratchets up the tension, moving the story forward and keeping the reader on edge. Although Katniss may be skilled with a bow and arrow and adept at analyzing her opponents' next moves, she has much to learn about personal sentiments, especially her own. Populated by three-dimensional characters, this is a superb tale of physical adventure, political suspense, and romance.

When you finish The Hunger Games, you'll want to read the final two in the trilogy:
Catching Fire # 2
Mockingjay # 3

* * *
Read the related Globe and Mail article here: It's all kidlit now, and that's just fine

Article author Jeet Heer argues the blurring of lines between books for kids and books for grown-ups may have Henry James turning in his grave, but the future of reading may depend on it.


The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

There are so many great crime novels coming out of Scandinavia, and another has been added, this one a debut by Swedish author Lackberg.
In The Ice Princess, Erica Falck, a writer, has returned to her home town of Fjallbacka to attend the funeral of her parents, killed tragically in an automobile accident. She is there only a few days when she, along with an elderly local man, discovers the body of her childhood friend, Alexandra Wijkner. Alex has apparently commited suicide - her nude body was in a bathtub, and her wrists were slashed.
It has been many years since Erica and Alex were in contact. Something mysterious happened in Alex's life when she was ten year old, causing her to become withdrawn, and driving a wedge between the two friends. Erica decides to write a memoir about their childhoods together, hoping to discover some answers. She begins to interview members of Alex's family, including her husband and parents. It soon becomes evident that there are secrets and lies surrounding the past, and Erica begins to question whether the death was in fact a suicide.
Meanwhile, police detective Patrik Hedstrom is assigned to the case, and it doesn't take him long to find holes in the suicide theory.
What are her parents trying to hide? What is the connection between Alex's death and the disappearance of the heir of a wealthy family in the community. But it isn't until he teams up with Erica that the disturbing web of deceit is exposed.
Lackberg builds suspense slowly, drawing us in to a complex plot with plenty of twists and turns. The characters, though sometimes stereotyped, are believable. And some interesting subplots provide added interest, especially the growing romantic relationship between Erica and Patrik.
This novel won the 2008 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (France) Best International Crime Novel Of The Year. Readers will look forward to meeting Erica and Patrick again in The Preacher , coming out later this spring.


New Series Title for Ruth Downie

Persona Non Grata: A Novel Of The Roman Empire

Downie's wonderful series featuring Roman medicus Gaius Petreius Ruso continues with this latest volume. This time, Ruso is called back to his family home in Gaul, near present-day Nimes. His brother is running the farm, but the operation is almost completely bankrupt, and there is real fear that Ruso's brother, his wife and children and other family members will be thrown off the property if money cannot be found to repay the debt. But when Ruso arrives with his companion Tilla, it is not clear who sent the letter calling him home from Britannia. Soon after his arrival, his chief creditor Severus dies in his house during an unpleaseant meeting, of decidedly unnatural causes. There are many possible motives and murderers, but most evidence points to Ruso. Meanwhile, his step-mother is pushing him towards the widow next door in the hopes that a profitable marriage will solve the family's problems.
Downie is skilled in evoking the time and place, and establishes the strained but affectionate relationships between Ruso and his family,including his sisters and step-mother, with sensitivity, insight and humour.


Trilogy from acclaimed Somali novelist

The Blood In The Sun trilogy, by Nuruddin Farah

Regarded as one of the finest African novelists, Nuruddin Farah has lived in exile from his native Somalia for over twenty-five years. He is considered a feminist writer, and his early work, including the novel From a crooked rib, was critical of Islamic law as it related to women, and censored by the government of the military dictator Siad Barre when it came to power in 1969. Farah was educated in India and England, and has lived and worked in the United States, Germany and several African nations.
The trilogy Blood In The Sun consists of the novels Maps, Gifts and Secrets. Maps follows the life of Askar, whose mother died giving birth to him, and who is taken in by the kindly Misra. Eventually he goes off to Mogadishu to study, and becomes caught up in the war between Somalia and Ethiopia. In Gifts, single mother Duniya is raising her twins and working in a local hospital. Her fragile existence is shattered when her daughter brings home a foundling infant, and the hospital is assailed by people desperate from years of war, disease and drought.
In the final volume of the trilogy Secrets, Kalaman, a computer operator in Mogadishu, begins to search out his family origins as ethnic conflicts continue to shatter the country's social and political systems. Common themes in all three novels are identity, loss of innocence, and the place of history, cultural heritage and myth in modern life.
Farah has received many international awards for his writing, including the 1998 Neustadt International Prize for Literature (University of Oklahoma), considered the second most prestigious literary prize after the Nobel Prize.


New Series Title For Bodie and Brock Thoene

Eleventh Guest
"The lepers in the valley of Mak’ob hear the rumors—that a miracle worker is walking the earth. Ten lepers are chosen to leave the valley to search for this healer, knowing that outside the valley lies certain death. Will they find him in time? Could this healer be the Messiah they long for? Readers will be touched by the stories of these ten, broken, weary travelers searching for redemption." (Tyndale House)
The authors have won eight Gold Medal Awards (Christian book award given by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association)for other titles in this series. The first ten titles are:
First Light, Second Touch, Third Watch, Fourth Dawn, Fifth Seal, Sixth Covenant, Seventh Day, Eighth Shepherd, Ninth Witness, Tenth Stone


New title in mystery series

Hypothermia by Arnaldur Indridason
The latest book in this mystery series, set in Reykjavic and featuring police detective Erlendur, concerns the apparent suicide of a woman who was grieving the loss her mother. The woman was found hanging from the ceiling of her summer cottage by a friend, and the case is closed. There was no sign of struggle, yet Erlandur is troubled by the case. Why was the woman obsessed by thoughts of the afterlife, and was there a connection between her death, her father’s drowning when she was a child, and her husband’s debts? Erlendur’s suspicions build slowly as he delves into her marriage, her childhood and her visits to mediums who she believes can help her make contact with the dead. Meanwhile, he reopens the cases of two young people, reported missing more than two decades ago, in the hopes of bringing some comfort to a dying parent.
There is a heaviness to Indridason’s writing which is completely in keeping with the dispassionate and detached narrative style. It is informed by the harsh climate and rugged landscape of Iceland. Erlendur is a loner, still struggling with the loss of his own brother when they were both children. Yet we recognize his inherent decency and humanity as he attempts to establish relationships with his two adult children.
I’ve come to enjoy the work of Scandinavian novelists, and you may wish to try a couple of authors mentioned in previous blogs: Norwegian Per Petterson, author of Out stealing horses and To Siberia; and Sweden’s Stieg Larsson, author of The girl who played with fire and The girl with the dragon tattoo.


Categories: Staff Picks, Series

Another Winner From McCall Smith

The lost art of gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith, 2009.
This is the 7th in McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series. Isabel, Jamie and their son Charlie have settled into a comfortable domestic routine. They reluctantly accept an invitation from an acquaintance, Minty Auchterlonie, to attend her son’s birthday party. Isabel is drawn into Minty’s secretive dealings with a young man with whom she had an affair, and who is the father of her son. Meanwhile, Isabel is embroiled in a controversy over plagiarism in the journal she edits, the Review of Applied Ethics, and is shocked to discover that her regular backyard visitor, Brother Fox, has sustained an injury. And of course there’s her niece Cat, who has acquired a new boyfriend with an unusual occupation. As always, McCall Smith sees to the root of his characters’ motivations and misdemeanors, yet treats them with the utmost fairness, finding wisdom in the small gestures that make up our daily lives.


Another FBI Thriller

Knockout by Catherine Coulter (FBI Series #13)

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Coulter's riveting 13th FBI thriller (after TailSpin) opens with a bang as psychic FBI agent Dillon Savich thwarts a gang of gun-totting robbers attempting to hold up the First Union Bank of Washington, D.C. Three days later, seven-year-old Autumn Backman, who sees Dillon on TV, sends him a telepathic message that she's in danger. Though eager to help Autumn, Dillon is busy tracking a bank robber who escaped, a teenage girl now leaving a trail of bodies in her wake. Meanwhile, in Titusville, Va., Autumn's mother reports her daughter missing to sheriff Ethan Merriweather. After finding Autumn, Ethan discovers her sinister uncle, Blessed, has evil designs on his psychic niece. Before Dillon and his fellow FBI agent and wife, Lacey Sherlock, can get to Titusville, Autumn and her mother flee. Well-developed characters and an expertly paced plot that builds to a breathtaking conclusion make this one of the best in this paranormal suspense series. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I love a good thriller especially a good FBI one with a little of the paranormal thrown in (yes I faithfully watched the X-Files), so this book was right up my ally. This is the first one of her books I’ve read and a mark of a good series, as far as I’m concerned, it the ability to pick up any of the books and be able to read it and not get lost. I don’t think I liked it as much as the Kay Hopper FBI books but still it was fast paced with enough twist and turns to keep it interesting. I expect that I will read some of the early books in the series and will likely continue on with the new ones. Definitely a good summer read…if we ever get summer!

-The Library Dragon


From the Book to the Big Screen

Confessions of a Shopaholic
By Sophie Kinsella

Recent graduate and financial writer, Rebecca Bloomwood, is up to her head in debt. When her imaginative excuses run out, and she can no longer ignore the grim letters regarding the state of her account, Becky decides she must take action in order to secure her financial future.

A damsel in a commercialized distress, a wealthy, good-looking prince charming, and a happily ever after: this book is a fairy tale for adults. Confessions of a Shopaholic sums up all of the lame excuses we use to justify the purchases we really don’t need. If you’re looking for something shallow, humorous, and really light, this would be the book to wile away the hours.

Confessions of a Shopaholic the movie will be coming to theaters on February 13, 2009 starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.

See ya at the theaters!!

Posted by the Rogue Reader


Black Magic?

Devil Bones (Temperance Brennan Series #11) by Kathy Reichs

Dr. Temperance Brennan's quest to identify two corpses pits her against citizen vigilantes intent on a witch-hunt in bestseller Reichs's exciting 11th thriller to feature the forensic anthropologist (after 2007's Bones to Ashes). While working in Charlotte, N.C., Brennan investigates remains unearthed during a housing renovation and discovers disturbing clues possibly pointing to voodoo or Santeria. She must determine if the bones, including the skull of a teenage girl, are linked to an unidentified headless torso found in a nearby lake. Intent on using the deaths as the cornerstone of his crusade against immorality, fundamentalist preacher turned politician Boyce Lingo claims that the bodies bear the mark of devil worshippers. With the help of Det. Erskine "Skinny" Slidell, Brennan unearths a tangled web of dirty politics, religious persecution and male prostitution. Reichs, whose work inspired the hit TV series Bones, once again expertly blends science and complex character development. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This is the first book by Kathy Reichs that I have read and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I had in my mind the characters from the TV show, Bones, which is based on these books. I discovered that the TV series is very, very, very loosely based in them. I think that was a good thing because the books are much more serious and complex. Most of the TV characters aren’t’ even found in this book.
It didn’t seem to mater that I had started with the 11th book in the series either. I enjoy this book, it was a good forensic thriller and if you like books by Tess Gerritsen or Patricia Cornwell, you’ll enjoy this one as well.

-The Library Dragon

This review was also posted on the Murder by the Book mystery blog under the category Thrillers.

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