13/13 Update Two - Of Zombies, Politics & Crime

Little White Dove

You may have noticed the button above in my sidebar (or if you're ignorant of all things sidebar like I tend to be then you probably haven't!) about The Little White Dove 13/13 Reading Challenge. It's a reading challenge issued by The Little White Dove (duh!) to read 13 books in 2013. If you know even the smallest thing about me you'll know that I get massive lady wood for all things books and reading, so joining in a reading challenge for 2013 was a no-brainer! You can read my first update here.

What I'd read at last update (05.02.13) - 
1. Bones are Forever - Temeperance Brennan Series - Kathy Reichs
2. 11th Hour - Women's Murder Club Series - James Patterson
3. Deadlocked - Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series - Charlaine Harris

What I've read since last update (05.02.13) -
4. Black Ice - Detective Jill Jackson Mysteries - Leah Giarrantano
5. Vodka Doesn't Freeze - Detective Jill Jackson Mysteries - Leah Giarrantano
6. Voodoo Doll - Detective Jill Jackson Mysteries - Leah Giarrantano
7. Feed - Newsflesh Triliogy - Mira Grant
8. Deadline - Newsflesh Trilogy - Mira Grant

What I'm Currently reading (June 2013) - 
9. Blackout - Newsflesh Trilogy - Mira Grant

So as you can see I've made some good progress. I've read 5 and a half books since February and once I've finished my current read I'll only have 4 more to go to finish the challenge. I go on maternity leave in 2 weeks time and with a couple of Fridays to myself up my sleeve while Punky is at daycare and before PJ#2 arrives, I plan to try and knock over at least 2 more books. That then gives me a solid 4 months to read the last 2 before the end of the year, something I am confident I can knock over, even with a newborn. I can see a lot of reading being done on the iPad during those evening feeds!

I already know my next book will be the last Sookie Stackhouse novel that was released in May, Dead Ever After. I wanted to start reading it when it was released but I already had 4 books purchased and downloaded to my kindle and I wanted to get through them first. I'm really keen to see how Charlaine Harris has wound up the series and if the ending is at all satisfying. I also know there is the 12th book in the Women's Murder Club series out, or about to come out, but as they are quick easy reads I will probably save that one for reading after bub's arrival as you can read small snippets on the go quite easily when it comes to Patterson.

Apart from those two I have a million other books on my TBR list, quite a few unread on my bookshelf and at least three unread on my Kindle that I can choose from so I'm not sure what I'll read after Dead Ever After. One thing I do know is, come October I will most definitely be reading the third Bridget Jones novel being released by Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. I loved the first two Bridget Jones novels, and I really enjoyed the first movie (I wasn't too keen on the second, it was just nowhere near as good as the book) so I am really keen to see how the fabulous Ms. Jones is tackling middle-age and the new century.

I've joined Alison Tait's (Life in a Pink Fibro) The Pink Fibro Club Books & Reading group on facebook and I know I am gonna end up with so many books on my TBR list because of it! Having such a choice of books to read though really is a wonderful thing and the anticipation and decision of choosing your next read is one of the things I love most about reading! There is such a vast universe of worlds and stories, just waiting for me to pick them up and get stuck in to.
Now, on to what I've been reading lately.....

Detective Jill Jackson Mysteries: Black Ice, Vodka Doesn't Freeze & Voodoo Doll, by Leah Giaratanno -
I read these books slightly out of order, reading the third one, Black Ice first, then followed that up with the first & second books in the series. There is no need to read them in order, they work well as stand-alone books in their own right. I read Black Ice first simply because I had a hard copy that I'd picked up in a book sale at the end of last year.

Detective Jill Jackson is a Sydney police officer with a dark past. She was abducted and held for days as a 12 year old and sexually assaulted over that time repeatedly by two paedophiles. This obviously has a huge impact on Jill's life and dictates her actions and responses as a police officer. In Black Ice Jill is working undercover to crack a drug-making and supply chain. In Vodka Doesn't Freeze Jill is on the case of a suspected paedophile ring, the members of whom are being brutally murdered by a vigilante. And in Voodoo Doll Jill finds herself assigned to a new station and taskforce investigating a series of brutal home invasions that have escalated to involve murder.

All three novels are quite dark and deal with themes that are fairly common to crime fiction. I found Vodka Doesn't Freeze the hardest to read, because of the paedophile storyline, not that it has graphic descriptions or anything like that, but reading about the damage these monsters do to children, it is kind of hard to take. The books are well written and there are some interesting characters, however I do find them hard to really engage with for some reason. As the books go on you learn a bit more about Jill and come to understand her a lot more but I don't feel a lot of warmth from any of the characters. None of them are people I would particularly want to talk to in real life. The author, Leah Giaratanno is a former clinical psychologist and this shows in her writing, its quite matter of fact, something which I actually don't mind, it doesn't get bogged down with a lot of flowery, descriptive language.

What I liked most about these novels was simply the fact that they were set in Sydney. I've not read a lot of fiction where the main characters and action is centred around places that I know and am familiar with so that was quite nice. I could picture with accuracy the places she was describing having actually been to many of them myself. If you're a fan of crime fiction and looking for some decent, no nonsense reads then you may enjoy the Detective Jill Jackson mysteries.

The Newsflesh Trilogy: Feed, Deadline & Blackout, by Mira Grant
These books are not what I expected them to be. Despite the fact that they are set in a semi-post-apocalyptic world that is full of zombies, I wouldn't call them horror novels. In fact the actual zombies are almost secondary in this story, its much more of a political/medical thriller than horror. I'm currently about a third of the way through the third book, Blackout, and I would have to say, so far, the second book, Deadline, is the best of the three.
From Goodreads.com -

The zombie apocalypse happened more than twenty years ago. Contrary to popular belief, we didn't all die out, largely because we'd had years of horror movies to tell us how to behave when the dead start walking. We fought back, and we won...sort of. The dead still walk; loved ones still try to eat you if you're not careful; the virus that caused the problem in the first place is still incurable. But at least we lived, right?
The Newsflesh Trilogy is a story about blogging, politics, medical science, espionage, betrayal, the ties that bind, the ties that don't, how George Romero accidentally saved the world, and, of course, zombies.

The story is told from the point of view of one blogger Georgia, a Newsie (factual news reporter) who along with her adoptive brother Shaun, an Irwin (one who goes out looking for zombies and 'things to poke and record') run a blog called After the End Times and in the first book have just been asked to accompany Senator Ryman around the country and report on his presidential campaign. The campaign is sabotaged from the start and it becomes clear that there is a political agenda behind the search for a cure to the KA virus.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Controls) are a major political and medical player in the post-Rising world and may not have the best interests of the global population in mind. Georgia and Shaun unearth information that could potentially be world-changing, but that is also life-threatening for them, and they set out to bring the truth behind the KA virus to light. It's an interesting story and I can see the ideas behind the novels quite clearly. It's ambitious, but I do think that the author, while she tries her best, has just missed the mark. The brief scenes that include actual zombies and outbreaks aren't really that scary and the writing is a touch juvenile in places, I wonder if they were originaly intended for a young adult market? The relationship between Georgia and Shaun is a little bit creepy to say the least, and despite the fact that they are not biological brother and sister the term 'incestuous' has sprung to my mind a few times.

Like I said, the first book, Feed, is a little slow and I definitely think that the second book, Deadline, is much better, it did a lot more to develop the story and has better written encounters with the zombies and outbreaks that  had that element of suspense that I found missing from Feed. I do find though that there is a lot of dialogue between characters where they discuss what is happening without actually saying what it is. Obviously this is intended to indicate that the characters are realising more of the conspiracy they are wrapped up in, and is designed to make the reader look forward to having this knowledge revealed to them eventually, but I found it a little frustrating and was often left wondering "Did I miss something" and going back a few pages to re-read stuff just to make sure I wasn't. The third book, Blackout, has taken an interesting turn, one which I don't find entirely plausible, even in this fictional world, it seems too convenient, but I won't pass judgement on that till I reach the end.

If you're looking for a classic zombie story then these are not the books for you. If you're a fan of post-apocalyptic worlds however, and are prepared to overlook some of the downfalls then you may just enjoy these. Take them for what they are and appreciate them for what the author was trying to do. While she doesn't quite hit the mark they are still an interesting read none-the-less.

So there you have it, that's what I've been reading lately. What have you been reading? Are you in to crime fiction or post-apocalyptic fiction? Do you have a favourite genre?

IBOT'ing today as I do every Tuesday with Essentially Jess.


Kylie Purtell said…
Interesting list. I love true blood so have to get the sookie books once I get through some of my TBR books of which there are so many I am keen to read !

If you like post apocalyptic / futuristic books I read a great series (I usually don't read these bit tried be and loved it so much I read them all back to back on our big trip in 2010 as I could not put them / my iPad down). They are a serial called "yesterday's gone" and I loved them in spite of violence etc
Kylie Purtell said…
Got to say, my fav genre is comics - just reread Maus (first comic to win the Pulizer). About to start John Fowles The Collector (my pick for book club - I read the Magus a few years back and loved it, so keen to work thru his works...)
Kylie Purtell said…
Great list Kylie! I must look into the Mira Grant ones - love a good zombie apocalypse read! Am a big Charlaine Harris, Kathy Reichs & James Patterson fan - feel like I've grown up with all of them! Haven't had a chance to read the last Sookie story yet either - am keen to see how it all ends - have been trying to avoid all the spoilers out everywhere!
Kylie Purtell said…
Yay for the new Bridget Jones book - can't wait!

I am a huge reader - average 1 or 2 books per week. I think I must be a speed reader :-)
Kylie Purtell said…
PS forgot to say, visiting from #teamIBOT xxx
Kylie Purtell said…
I must try the Leah G books. Have you read any of Peter Corris' Cliff Hardy books? They are set in Sydney and describe the city brilliantly. I love them and there are about 30 of them so heaps to love!
Kylie Purtell said…
I'm reading a crime fiction I quickly downloaded to the iPad when I realised my flight to Hamilton island was going to be 3 hrs ( I was thinking it was about 1 hour). It is called bones and brothers or something like that. It is pretty good. I'm also in the middle of 3-4 Christian living style books.
Kylie Purtell said…
Wow, you are doing so much reading! That is awesome! I'm going to get The Rosie Project this week, want to read some of Kylie Ladd's work and I have the Great Gatsby on my bedside table....I could read all day...how nice would that be :)
Kylie Purtell said…
I ADORE post-apocalyptic ANY THING, but don't hate me because I usually get my fix from movies since I've had had, eg I Am Legend, 28 Days etc . I love escapism also, to think of different realities - Fringe was my favourite TV series. Em
Kylie Purtell said…
Oh I will have to check those books out, we seem to have similar tastes in books. I am reading Tiny Beautiful Things at the moment and I am surprisingly really enjoying it.
Kylie Purtell said…
Oooh reminds me of the MS Read-a-thon. I adored that when I was younger - reading/discovering book after book year after year. This could be a great substitute. Well done on blogging about all the titles! I started a book club this year and I'm afraid I only blogged about the book I loved and didn't feel compelled to write about the others. You've made me realize that's the whole point of blogging about books - the good the bad and the ugly (p.s. I'm too much of a scaredy cat now to read crime fiction - even though I used to be a big fan of James Patterson) kindred spirits - love your work!
Kylie Purtell said…
I've read five books since January .... Every book, in order, from the ' A Song of Ice and Fire " series by George R.R Martin. More commonly known as ' Game of Thrones '. I plan on starting the next one next week and after that? I have to wait god knows how long for him to publish a new one! I'm devastated! What will I do without the series that has kept me company for almost 5 months!?
Kylie Purtell said…
I love a good political thriller, especially with a juicy conspiracy theory thrown in. You're really flying through those books Kylez, good on you! x
Kylie Purtell said…
I must admit I didn't like the Sookie books at first, until I got to around Book 4 and Eric lost his memory. I really got in to them after that.

I am a big fan of the post-apocalyptic story and these books sound excellent. I have added to my wish list and downloaded a sample to my phone. Now I really want to hurry up and finishing the other books on my TBR list!
Kylie Purtell said…
I've never really read comics but I can certainly see their appeal. I have been thinking about reading the the Graphic novels that The Walking Dead is based on because I love the show so much and that might be a good place to start maybe.
Kylie Purtell said…
I know what you mean about feeling like you've grown up with them, I read my first James Patterson in high school, it feels so long ago now!

I too have been avoiding all mention of the final sookie book, I don't want it ruined. I just hope I like what she does!
Kylie Purtell said…
I am definitely a speed reader. When I find a book that I absolutely can't put down I tend to speed read it so I can find out what happens and then I go back and read it a second time!
Kylie Purtell said…
The Leah G books are quite good. Black Ice was on my wish list for ages and then I finally found it on sale and was lad I did.

I haven't read Peter Corris, no. I will have to add them to my list!
Kylie Purtell said…
They are quite good, I have to say.

The baker books sound excellent! There is nothing wrong with a big of light-hearted murder mystery fun!
Kylie Purtell said…
Bones and Brothers, I'll have to check it out, I love me a bit of crime fiction.
Kylie Purtell said…
I've been trying to get in as much as I can before PJ#2 arrives!

I hadn't heard of the Rosie Project but I have added it to my wish list, it sounds great!

Reading all day is my dream!
Kylie Purtell said…
I never watched Fringe but I have been told by several people now that it i a series that I would love. I'm thinking I am gonna have to find the DVDs and get them before bubs arrives so that I have something to watch during those interminable hours of breastfeeding!
Kylie Purtell said…
I hadn't heard of Tiny Beautiful things before now but it sounds interesting. Off to look it up on Amazon!
Kylie Purtell said…
The comics are so much better than the show - the whole point is what happens if you take away all the rules of society - yet the show is so moral and sanitized. All the good bits have been taken out (all the bits that make you think). Dale is the best in the comic, and a total nothing in the show...Unfortunately, the comic is getting all soap opera-y too, which is why he had to do the TERRIBLE thing last issue. (you can see I didn't really get over it.)
Kylie Purtell said…
Thanks Pip! I loved the MS Read-a-thon too, but it was always hard to get people to sponsor me because I read so many damn books! I cost my parents a fortune!

I used to do weekly book reviews back before kids when I had a lot more time and I made a decision to review everything I read, whether I liked it or not, purely because I figure I like to know if someone didn't like a book so I don't waste too much time on it, especially now that my reading time is limited.
Kylie Purtell said…
These books are on my wish list but I'm not sure if they are gonna make it on to my kindle this year, but definitely next year. Hmm, maybe that should be my challenge for next year, read all the books and watch all the episodes!
Kylie Purtell said…
Thanks Zenlisa! I have been really getting in to my reading this year, I think because I know my reading time will be severely limited soon enough!
Kylie Purtell said…
I love that you make time to read. I am about to make time to read a new release by an up and coming newly published author. It will be the first book I have read in I don't know how long!
Kylie Purtell said…
Wowow, you've been a busy lady! I've just read a Maeve Binchy book. I tend to speed read them because there are so many characters and it's just one thing after another, bam bam. I just started the Kite Runner for my bookclub meeting next week, but then Diary of a SAHM arrived, so I'm kind of reading both at the moment - actually, I can't read two books at once. The more accurate thing to say is that I put down Kite Runner and will pick it up again AFTER I've finished Diary of a SAHM!
Kylie Purtell said…
Wow you've been busy! I'm reading the third Game of Thrones book at the moment, and have just borrowed Wolf Hall from the library yesterday for my book club. Finished The Bloggess' book Let's Pretend This Never Happened a few weeks ago. When baby Bee falls asleep in the car on the way home, I sit in the car and read until she wakes up. (Luckily my husband is home to take JJ inside to play, otherwise I would have to wake Bee up...)

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