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There are TWO posts today...Sorry about that :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A plethora of mini-book reviews: Shadow Divers, Anna Dressed in Blood, Still Life, and The Unit

For summary of the book, click each title and it will take you their respective Goodreads pages.
I really intended to do a proper review for each book, but that's never going to happen at this point, so pertinent points will do.  Lets get to it shall we?

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
My Rating: 95/100
375 pages

Great book about the perils of deep sea ship wreck diving.  True story of two divers who become friends and find a wrecked German submarine from WWII off the coast of New Jersey.  Part of the adventure comes from diving and exploring the wreck.  The other part comes from the two of them trying to determine the submarine's name so the families will know what happened to their loved ones.  They eventually name the submarine and delve into it's history and that was fascinating too.  Submarines were basically a death sentence, and this one left Germany about a year before the end.  They didn't want to, but had they had no choice.

This was a nonfiction page turner.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
My Rating: 95/100
316 pages
Recommended by Ju-Ju 

Like his father before him, Cas kills ghosts for a living. He is  the male equivalent to Buffy.  There I said it, but they do also in the story.  Cas is lonely and conflicted because as much as he wants to carry on his father's work, he craves a normal life.  Being able to live in one place, not change schools, have friends, have normalcy.  Cas moves to yet another town to kill the infamous ghost Anna Dressed in Blood.  However, what he finds instead is the ghost of a young girl who has much in common with him.  A ghost he can talk to, when she's not killing people.  But why does Anna kill people?  She doesn't want to, but she needs Cas to help her stop killing?  Will he?

Page turner YA with a boy as the hero.  Wonderful change of pace from the typical supernatural books out there, and I enjoyed the twist at the end.  Book 1 in a series.  Loved it!

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
My Rating:60/100
268 pages
Recommended by Naida

Takes place in a future where a country has decided that once you reach a certain age, and you are not married, have no children, or have a job that is important fro society, you are sent to the Unit, to wait out your days donating bits and pieces of yourself to those left in society.  Great premise that put me in mind of Never let Me Go, however the main character Dorritt inspired no empathy from me at all.  I did not like her, and felt like she knew her time to go to the Unit was coming, but she did nothing to avert it.  Dorritt didn't become a rebel and fight the system, didn't try and suck it up to get married or find a career.  Dorritt sort of fights the system once at the Unit, but at that point I thought too little, too late.  I did like the other characters in the Unit and felt for them, however they were not the lead of the story.

Great idea, but I had no connection to Dorritt, so I didn't enjoy this story.

Still Life by Louise Penny
My Rating: 95/100
Detective Story
293 pages
Recommended by: who hasn't recommended this series!

First in the series featuring French Canadian Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, Still Life features the crime from both the Inspector's point of view, and the survivors point of view.  The story takes place in an idyllic small town but not all is what it seems.  Most of the town's inhabitants are characters in the story since they knew the deceased, and all have their quirks.  Penny's writing is delightful and it was easy to imagine everything in this story.

As for Inspector Gamache he is awesome  and makes the story.  He has a loving wife, is tough, and works for the victim, even if it may cost him his job or career.  Gamache is a good study of people.  He is quiet and unassuming and sees himself as a mentor.  The story also sheds light on how murders are worked and solved North of the border and that made for interesting reading as well, since those characters also come into play.  The reader is thrown right into the thick of office politics and it's a nice side story that I assume plays out later in the series.

Brilliant page turner.  Add me to the list of Louise Penny and Inspector Gamache fans.  Oh and this how I pictured Gamache.

I know he's Italian (Giancarlo Giannini) but he pooped into my head and stuck.

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