Goodreads Reading Challenge 2015

completed challenge

 

Congrats! You have read 200 books of a goal of 200!

Now that wasn’t so hard was it? It is the reviewing 200 books that is the hard work.

 

In The Mail 12th September 2015 Part One

In the mail 12/9/015

A great mix  of genres here – I have already read Sweet Wattle Creek  (review scheduled for next week) and found some amazing  references to some very current issues here, coincidence or not? And last night I couldn’t resist trying one of the recipes from Adam Liaws “Asian Cookery School” (I made Beef Chow Fun) – yum!  Next week I am  especially looking forward to  reading Bitter Fruits. The Marriage of Opposites and Tennison (and whatever else I can fit into what is shaping up to be a busy week) and trying out a few more recipes.

Beef Chow Fun - Adam Liaw's Asian Cookery School

Beef Chow Fun- Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School

Post Script: What Lies Within – James Morris

Cover What Lies Within

What Lies Within

James Morris

Kindle Press

ISBN: 9781512283198

 

Description:

“You’re going to die” A single text message and Shelley Marano’s world is upended. A normal high school senior, Shelley discovers she is adopted. She goes on a journey to uncover her past, only to find she was part of a horrific experiment to test the theory of nature versus nurture. In a culture of violence committed by young people, she may be one of these killers. With the lives of her and her friends in the balance, one thing is certain: she will never be the same.

 

My View:

Jim Morris is a former television writer – with credits including “Smallville” and “Crossing Jordan.” Recently his young adult thriller WHAT LIES WITHIN was part of Amazon’s new crowd-sourcing imprint, Kindle Press. After a 30-day campaign, it was selected to be published and I can understand why. This narrative starts with a fantastic emotional hook; Morris has created the most threatening vision of evil I have come across in a long while, there is something about the image of a lone motorbike rider, full face helmet, no hint of the person underneath visible, following your car, that cranks up the goose bumps and fear factor a notch or two. Morris has created a great villain but he is by no means the vilest in the book, evil can present a face of “normal” and that person is far more dangerous and scarier (no spoilers here) than the menacing bike rider.

After this first incident we are dropped almost casually into the almost mundane world of teenager Shelley Marano – stellar student, helps her dad in his business after school hours, loner and seemingly “ordinary” in most ways. Suddenly Shelley’s world is turned upside down when teenage angst meets identity crisis and a stranger with a bewildering message. I didn’t even notice the pages I was rapidly turning – the action had me engaged and the new themes regarding the development of personality and character, nature versus nurture, had me mesmerised. Morris writes a great visual tale, at times the pace is blistering and before I knew it the last page was read. I was disappointed, just a little, at how quickly the threads of this narrative were drawn together and neatly tied off. Overall a really engaging action packed story that asks many many questions…

James Morris – I would really like to see this story animated. What do you think? I think it would work and the YA /adult audience would love this emerging hero that is Shelley Marano.

 

 

Post Script: Only To Die Again – Patrick Lee

Fantastic premise that is well executed and a narrative packed with action!

Cover Only To Die Again

Only to Die Again

Patrick Lee

Michael Joseph

Penguin Australia

ISBN: 9781405915038

 

Description:

 

A Desperate Plea for Help

 

The middle of the night. Sam Dryden takes a call from an old friend from his days in the military. She needs his help. Urgently. There’s no further explanation.

 

A Race Against Time

 

Two hours later, Dryden and his former teammate smash their way into a remote desert shack. Inside they discover four young girls, caged and threatened with death by their abductor. Dryden acts.

 

An Impossible Secret

 

But how had Dryden’s friend known what was about to unfold? Why is it so important that they flee the scene before the police arrive? The extraordinary truth is hard to comprehend. But the consequences are only too easy to grasp. Dryden now faces a ruthless enemy that is determined to contain and control knowledge of a world-changing discovery. And who will always be one step ahead . . .

 

 

 

My View:

 

 

What an amazing read! Clever, complex, full of great characters, moral dilemmas and action, actION, ACTION!

To put it simply I was blown away by this narrative. This book had a brilliant introductory hook that didn’t let go!

This book left me speechless! What an incredible writer. I think I now need to read the first book in the Dryden series Runner – which is now being made into a feature film (and it does not detract from your reading pleasure if you haven’t already caught up with the first book as Only to Die Again can easily be read as a standalone), then I would like to read Patrick Lee’s other books; The Breach (also currently in production as a feature film), Ghost Country and Deep Sky. I can’t believe I haven’t come across this author before – he makes words leap off the page!

 

 

 

Post Script: Northern Heat – Helene Young

Cover Northern Heat -Helene Young

Northern Heat

Helene Young

Penguin Random House

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780143799740

 

Description:

In steamy northern Queensland, Conor is living under an assumed name and rebuilding his shattered life. Working at Cooktown’s youth centre has given him the chance to make a difference again, and a chance to flirt with Dr Kristy Dark.

After tragedy tore her family apart, Kristy fled to Cooktown with her feisty teenage daughter, Abby. She hoped being part of the small community would help them both heal, but Abby’s sports coach is turning out to be a compelling distraction.

When a severe cyclone menaces the coast, threatening to destroy everything in its path, tensions come to a head – and the weather is not the only danger in Cooktown. Cut off from the world and with her life on the line, Kristy will have to summon her courage and place her trust in Conor, or they’ll both lose someone they love.

 

My View:

This was a dramatic page turning read which had all the elements I desire in a great contemporary novel – well developed characters- some you will like, some you won’t. A complex plot that has several story arcs; this novel has threads that discuss such issues as domestic violence, bulimia and life in rural Australia/life on the farm. The settings are amazing – although we have only travelled a small area of Queensland I was able to recognise this setting in so many coastal towns we visited. There is plenty of action, drama and intrigue – the pages almost turn over by themselves urging you to read on and did I mention the writing? Excellent.

 

This is a well-crafted and executed narrative. My only difficulty with this novel was trying to decide how to describe the style of this book – I don’t think the term rural fiction does it justice – the book is located in rural Australia but is not defined by its location. Romance/romantic thriller? The books does have characters and so of course there will be a range of relationships in the book – there is a blossoming romantic thread but romance is not the sole purpose of the novel, there are discussions re family dynamic/relationships, friendship and camaraderies – all aspects of community are to be found here. A cosy crime this is not. Action packed, tense, full of suspense – tick. I think best description for this read is contemporary Australian fiction. How would you describe this book?

Post Script: The Defence – Steve Cavanagh

Cover The Defence Steve Cavanagh

The Defence

Steve Cavanagh

Hachette Australia

Orion Books

ISBN: 9781409152309

 

Description:

The truth has no place in a courtroom. The truth doesn’t matter in a trial.

The only thing that matters is what the prosecution can prove.

Eddie Flynn used to be a con artist. Then he became a lawyer. Turned out the two weren’t that different.

It’s been over a year since Eddie vowed never to set foot in a courtroom again. But now he doesn’t have a choice. Olek Volchek, the infamous head of the Russian mafia in New York, has strapped a bomb to Eddie’s back and kidnapped his ten-year-old daughter Amy.

Eddie only has 48 hours to defend Volchek in an impossible murder trial – and win – if wants to save his daughter.

Under the scrutiny of the media and the FBI, Eddie must use his razor-sharp wit and every con-artist trick in the book to defend his ‘client’ and ensure Amy’s safety. With the timer on his back ticking away, can Eddie convince the jury of the impossible?

Lose this case and he loses everything.

 

My View:

Hang up your disbelief on the rack by the door, show me your membership to the thriller enthusiasts club and then take a few calming deep breaths; commence reading. But before you start I have a duty of care to warn you, take heed of my advice, it is not given lightly; this book will thrill, captivate and enthral you. Clear your diary because once you start reading this you will not be able to put this down until the last page is turned and whilst you have your diary out please make an urgent booking for the physio or chiropractor or naturopath of your choice because after you have finished reading this your neck muscles will be so tense you will need a therapeutic massage to ease the pain! Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Post Script: Phantom Instinct – Meg Gardiner

For lovers of the fast paced story with breakneck action where you hang your disbelief on the hook at the door before you purchase your ticket for this rollercoaster ride.

Phantom Instinct

A Novel

Meg Gardiner

Penguin Books Australia

Penguin

ISBN: 9781405918817

 

Description:

When shots ring out in a crowded L.A. club, bartender Harper Flynn watches helplessly as her boyfriend, Drew, is gunned down in the cross fire. Then somebody throws a Molotov cocktail, and the club is quickly engulfed in flames. L.A. Sheriff Deputy Aiden Garrison sees a gunman in a hoodie and gas mask taking aim at Harper, but before he can help her a wall collapses, bringing the building down and badly injuring him.

 

A year later, Harper is trying to rebuild her life. She has quit her job and gone back to college. Meanwhile, the investigation into the shoot-out has been closed. The two gunmen were killed when the building collapsed.

 

Certain that a third gunman escaped and is targeting the survivors, Harper enlists the help of Aiden Garrison, the only person willing to listen. But the traumatic brain injury he suffered has cut his career short and left him with Fregoli syndrome, a rare type of face blindness that causes the delusion that random people are actually a single person changing disguises.

 

As Harper and Aiden delve into the case, Harper realizes that her presence during the attack was no coincidence—and that her only ally is unstable, mistrustful of her, and seeing the same enemy everywhere he looks.

My View:

This is a novel that grips from the first page to the last. I don’t think I have ever come across so much action, corruption, deceit, manipulation and tension in one novel before; the pages are coated in the sticky membranes of fear and anticipation; nowhere is safe.

And so begins this narrative, the pace relentless, there is no stopping for breath.

 

I think the strength of the novel is in the empathetic lead characters, the riotous pace and the potential for elements of this thriller to actually occur – we are all concerned about electronic media and privacy issues, identity theft, manipulation of electronic records, being tracked and traced by our ordinary everyday actions that leave an electronic footprint…and the good old basic understanding and loathing of bullies and being bullied; there are elements in this novel that we can all relate to and that is what work so well in this narrative – we can all appreciate some of the elements in it and if we suspend our disbelief that one person can attract so many negative incidents and just read without analysing you are in for a treat; a story that explodes on the page with a hint of romance and redemption for past actions.