Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Books of 2012 Catch Up Post, Books 94 - 96

Happy New Year everyone!

Let's hope that 2013 is as good as/better than 2012 (delete as appropriate).

I'm trying to get all caught up on my book reviews for 2012, seeing as I got a little bit behind. I had good intentions to get all caught up, but then failed slightly because I was too busy having fun during the Christmas break.

Book 94 of 2012: A Little Book for Christmas - Cyrus Townsend Brady
I could have sworn that I've already written a review for this, but apparently not!

This was a short collection of just a few stories which was written by a priest. In between the stories were also little poems as well as short essays, all with a general Christmas theme. It was a free download for the Kindle and I was looking for Christmassy stories I decided to give it a go, it was only 116 pages long so I was able to read it within a day.

It was a nice, quick little read, which was good. In the run up to Christmas I was trying to get through as many Christmassy books as quickly as possible and this fit the bill quite nicely. Due to its author, there was a strong religious theme to the stories. It didn't really bother me because it wasn't particularly preachy.

My favourite of the stories was about a Boy Scout who found himself on a stranded train carriage on Christmas Eve. In his attempt to get help he comes across so children who are in danger of freezing to death so he puts his Boy Scout skills to use to help save all of them. It was a bit cheesy, but you can get away with that at Christmas time. I think I might dig it out again in the future.

Book 95 of 2012: Spider Bones - Kathy Reichs
This is the thirteenth of the Temperance Brennan books and takes place all over the place, beginning with a dead body found in a lake in Canada, which links to someone who is believed to be already buried in America, which then takes Tempe out to Hawaii to investigate a military link.

I really enjoyed this one, which was a bit of a surprise, because when I realised that it wasn't taking place in North Carolina or Montreal I thought I would be disappointed. I just tend to prefer these books when they're not heading off to unfamiliar places and I suppose I'm still feeling stung by the one set in Israel. But despite my misgivings, I really got into this. Hawaii was a brilliant setting and I felt like I got a good feel for the place.

The books often throw in little references to TV programmes, in the last few ER, Cold Case and the assorted CSIs have all got a mention. This one threw me slightly with a throwaway reference to Bones. I mean, Bones is based on these books, it pulled me out of the story slightly because Bones is based on the book series and in Bones Temperance is writing a book series about Kathy Reichs, so how does the real life book series fit into this. I'm sure some people probably enjoyed the little nod to the TV series, but it really took me out of the moment while I tried to puzzle my way through a paradox.

The case/cases were quite complicated but I enjoyed them. They weren't so complicated that I couldn't follow them. I like to try and figure out what's happened and the how and why of the cases which I was able to do with this one. It's always satisfying when everything comes together and you realise that you were either right or at least on the right track.

This story also featured Ryan and his daughter Lily, as well as Tempe's daughter Katy (who we've not really seen that much of before). I enjoyed the interaction between the other characters and hope that we get to see more of them together in the future. My copy of this book had the first chapter of the next one, which seems to pick up pretty much where this one leaves off (within about a week of these events), and luckily I managed to find a copy in a charity shop a while back, so I'm looking forward to reading that.

Book 96 of 2012: The Little City of Hope, A Christmas Story - Francis Marion Crawford
Yet another of my selection of Christmas Kindle books. Rather than a series of short stories, this was a story about an inventor and his son. The inventor is trying to create a type of engine which he is ploughing all of his money into. It's the run up to Christmas and they've got very little money left to celebrate with, together they build a little model of the city where they used to live, while the inventor continues to work on his invention in the hope that he can get enough money for a Christmas celebration.

It was a nice quick little read, running to 214 pages. If you wanted to, you could probably read it in just one sitting. I liked the way that the story was told, though I'll admit that at the beginning I wasn't too sure whether or not it would be my sort of story. That led to me putting it down when, if I'd read another chapter or so I would've gotten into it.

The story was originally published in 1907 so it's over a hundred years old, but it doesn't really feel that dated. The author cleverly doesn't give away too many details about what the invention is that is being made, so it's all left fairly ambiguous. It obviously takes place in the past, but you could almost imagine it was taking place at any time in the last hundred years.

At times I felt like I knew what the ending was going to be, but there were moments when I wasn't so sure. There were two ways it could have gone and so there was an element of suspense in the end which was good, because I always feel a little disappointed when endings are really obvious.

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