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