Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ghosts of India (Doctor Who) - Mark Morris

Synopsis from says "India in 1947 is a country in the grip of chaos, torn apart by internal strife. When the Doctor and Donna arrive in Calcutta, they are instantly swept up in violent events. Barely escaping with their lives, they discover that the city is rife with tales of 'half-made men', who roam the streets at night and steal people away. With help from India's great spiritual leader, Mohandas 'Mahatma' Gandhi, the Doctor and Donna set out to investigate these rumors. What is the real truth behind the 'half-made men'? Why is Gandhi's role in history under threat? And has an ancient, all-powerful god destruction really come back to wreak his vengeance upon the Earth?"

I really enjoy reading the Doctor Who series. I always feel like I am watching an episode and I can hear the characters voices in my head. I picked this one up when I was in England last summer and am now wishing I had bought a few more. I love the Doctor Who books that are set on Earth and involve important characters. They are fun to read. Gandhi is a main character in this one and I love how he ties everything up in the end and basically saves the world ( I am not giving anything away as the world is always saved at the end of Doctor Who!). They write tons of these books so there are always more to read.

Its a really great series if you are up on Doctor Who - you kinda need to know what is going on and who a lot of the characters are to understand.

Rating - 3

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Brutal Telling - Louise Penny

The synopsis from is "When the body of an unknown old man turns up in a bistro in the Quebec village of Three Pines, Chief Insp. Armand Gamache investigates. At a cabin in the woods apparently belonging to the dead man, Gamache and his team are shocked to discover the remote building is full of priceless antiquities, from first edition books to European treasures thought to have disappeared during WWII. When suspicion falls on one of Three Pines' most prominent citizens, it's up to Gamache to sift through the lies and uncover the truth."

This is the second book of the Chief Insp. Gamache series that I have read. I haven't read them in order as this is the fifth one. But you don't even really have to read them in order to find the enjoyable. I loved this book. I think I loved everything about it. I feel as it has been awhile since I was swept up in a book and didn't want to let it go. The novel is set in a small village in Quebec and the way the author describes the setting is beautiful. I wanted to move to this little town myself and spend my days reading books by a fire and eating gourmet food at the local cafe. There was something lovely about Louise Penny's writing that made me smile and made me wish the book wouldn't end. I loved that it was Canadian.

The characters of this book are also all unique and memorable. Ruth, the meanest woman in town who is also one of Canada's most celebrated poets, is shown in a different light in this novel for only one paragraph - but it is a paragraph I will remember when I read future books that involve her. The characters in The Brutal Telling were ones that I cannot wait to meet again and hope that I get to spend more time with in the future.

I highly recommend this mystery novel. It had a captivating story and was very well written. Definitely a book I stayed up late reading!!!

Rating - 4

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett

A synopsis from says "Queen Elizabeth II walks into a mobile library van in pursuit of her runaway corgis and into the reflective, observant life of an avid reader. Guided by Norman, a former kitchen boy and enthusiast of gay authors, the queen gradually loses interest in her endless succession of official duties and learns the pleasure of such a common activity. With the dawn of her sensibility... mistaken for the onset of senility, plots are hatched by the prime minister and the queen's staff to dispatch Norman and discourage the queen's preoccupation with books. Ultimately, it is her own growing self-awareness that leads her away from reading and toward writing, with astonishing results."

This was an excellent read. It has been quite a few months since I have just sat down and read a whole book. I know this is a novella (so it had a little over 100 pages) but it was still nice to sit down and read a whole book with no interruptions. I feel like this might get me back on track for reading as I have been doing a pretty terrible job so far in 2010. What I loved about this book was that it was well written and the characters were very funny. I loved the plot of the Prime Minister against the Queen's reading - seeing it as common and disruptive for the whole nation.

At one point in the book someone remarks to the Queen that reading is a very selfish pastime - I can see that a bit. I know that when I read I go somewhere else where I don't want to be disturbed and that no one else can really go. It is all about me. And I don't think there is anything wrong with that. The Queen had been selfless for many years and now that she was in her late seventies she needed sometime for her. I loved the way the book ended. I had to rad the last page 2 times to really get the ending, I loved that it ended abruptly and left you thinking. I was hoping that the Queen would start her own national book club that would become just as popular as Oprah!

All in all this was a fun, fast and easy read.

Rating - 4

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Book Of Air And Shadows - Michael Gruber states "Tap-tapping the keys and out come the words on this little screen, and who will read them I hardly know. I could be dead by the time anyone actually gets to read them, as dead as, say, Tolstoy. Or Shakespeare. Does it matter, when you read, if the person who wrote still lives? These are the words of Jake Mishkin, whose seemingly innocent job as an intellectual property lawyer has put him at the centre of a deadly conspiracy and hunt to find a priceless treasure connected to William Shakespeare. As he awaits a killer-or killers-unknown, Jake writes an account of the events that led to this deadly endgame, a frantic chase that began when a fire in an antiquarian bookstore revealed the hiding place of letters containing a shocking secret, concealed for four hundred years. In a frantic race from New York to England and Switzerland, Jake finds himself matching wits with a shadowy figure who seems to anticipate his every move. What at first seems like a thrilling puzzle waiting to be deciphered soon turns into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, where no one -- not family, not friends, not lovers -- is to be trusted."

This had the potential to be a great book. The story was there, the characters were really interesting and the writing was pretty good. I guess the problem was that the book was too long for the amount of story that was there. It was 450+ pages and could have been finished in 300. It dragged on. It really sucks because I really loved the characters in the beginning, Jake Mishkin is such an awesome character. I loved how I was always surprised by his character and how he didn't fit into any box that I created for him in my mind. This was a really character driven book - everyone had quirks and there was a lot of humour in them.

After every chapter there is a chapter written by Bracegirdle, a man from the 1600's. This is written in old English and I found it pretty hard to get into. To be honest I totally skimmed some of these chapters. I kept wanting to get to the chapters with the action - cause there was plenty of that, I am not sure even now how I really feel about the book. I wanted to like it a lot more then I actually did. Maybe my hopes are to high for stories involving mysteries and books - I have read so many excellent ones that I expect them all to be that way.

Rating - 3