Friday, November 29, 2013

Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell

Title: Unnatural Exposure

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Published: Sphere, 2010 (first published 1997)

Pages: 384

Series: Book 8, Kay Scarpetta

Summary: Virginia Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has a bloody puzzle on her hands: five headless, limbless cadavers in Ireland, plus four similar victims in a landfill back home. Is a serial butcher loose in Virginia? That's what the panicked public thinks, thanks to a local TV reporter who got the leaked news from her boyfriend, Scarpetta's vile rival, Investigator Percy Ring. But the butchered bodies are so many red herrings intended to throw idiots like Ring off the track. Instead of a run-of-the-mill serial killer, we're dealing with a shadowy figure who has plans involving mutant smallpox, mass murder, and messing with Scarpetta's mind by e-mailing her gory photos of the murder scenes, along with cryptic AOL chat-room messages. The coolest innovation: Scarpetta's gorgeous genius niece, Lucy, equips her with a DataGlove and a VPL Eyephone, and she takes a creepy virtual tour of the e-mailed crime scene.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have some strong feelings about Unnatural Exposure.  Some of these are positive and then some of them are negative.

This book has to be more engrossing than all of the books in the series so far.  Mostly because this virus was so interesting and I just had to know more about it and the outbreak that could potentially occur.  The descriptive detail was quite graphic and I found myself cringing as I was reading the gruesome description.

Kay’s behaviour in this book was so irritating.  Allow me this paragraph to get rant.  First of all, she starts being horrible about Benton and avoiding him and I seriously don’t see how Lucy and Marino could put up with that I mean seriously!  Then she acted like such a brat in other situations and I just really felt as though throughout the novel she was so selfish and it just drove me insane.

I’m curious as to how the next book will go as there was a mystery that was still left open so it might possibly reappear in the next book.  It would be a little strange if it didn’t in all honesty.

I quite enjoyed Unnatural Exposure, the mystery element was really awesome as I love reading about epidemics and how they find the source, where it came from and all of that sort of information.  Hence, I really enjoyed that aspect.  I just found Kay’s behaviour to be irritating.  I’m still enjoying the series as a whole and can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Source: Purchased

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

Title: The Caves of Steel

Author: Isaac Asimov

Published: Granada Publishing, 1980 (first published 1954)

Pages: 208

Series:  Book 1, Robot

Summary: A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov's "Robot" novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the " R" stood for robot--and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I haven’t read a book by Isaac Asimov for such a long time but I knew that I loved the last one I read so I was pretty excited to start reading The Caves of Steel.

The mystery was really interesting but I also felt that it was almost a side aspect.  I did find the reveal to be really interesting and so well done though, I thought it was so brilliant.  I didn’t even guess at who the bad guy was so that was a bonus.

The main part of the story was more about the relationship between robots and humans and why humans thought the way they did.  R. Daneel Olivaw acted as a voice for how humans acted and what human nature was like.

I almost felt like there was a philosophical debate between R. Daneel Olivaw and Lije which was really interesting because they both put forth their arguments and you could see where each one was coming from and it was just really enjoyable.

Overall, I really liked The Caves of Steel and am excited to read the next book in the series as Isaac Asimov is a fantastic writer whose books I adore.

Source: Library

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cause of Death by Patricia Cornwell

Title: Cause of Death

Author: Patricia Cornwell

Published: Sphere, 2010 (first published 1996)

Series: Book 7, Kay Scarpetta

Pages: 372

Summary: An investigative reporter is found dead in Virginia's icy waters...

New Year's Eve and the final murder scene of Virginia's bloodiest year takes Scarpetta thirty feet below the Elizabeth River's icy surface. A diver, Ted Eddings, is dead, an investigative reporter who was a favourite at the medical examiner's office. Was Eddings probing the frigid depths of the Inactive Shipyard for a story, or simply diving for sunken trinkets? And why did Scarpetta receive a phone call from someone reporting the death before the police were notified?
The case envelops Scarpetta, her niece Lucy, and police captain Pete Marino in a world where both cutting-edge technology and old-fashioned detective work are critical offensive weapons. Together they follow the trail of death to a well of violence as dark and forbidding as the water that swirled over Ted Eddings.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I would have thought that reaching the seventh book in the series I would be starting to get a little bored with the Kay Scarpetta series but I have to say that I am still happily reading through the series.  I quite enjoyed Cause of Death.

One thing that surprised me was that this book started off like the others in the series; there’s a mysterious death in which Kay Scarpetta begins to investigate, some strange things start happening and then all of a sudden there are terrorists and it just really took a turn that I was not expecting.

I’m not sure if I missed a couple of things or not but I felt as though the ending was really abrupt and it left a couple of loose ends which weren’t explained, I felt as though there were a few important connections missing that kind of annoyed me.

Now, I am not one to put down coincidences but I have to say that after book 7 in the series I find it a little hard to swallow that once again Kay Scarpetta falls into solving part of the mystery thanks to an amazing coincidence.  I was also a little disappointed that there wasn’t as much lab work as in the previous books.

I did enjoy the mystery in this book; I got sucked into the beginning of the book because I was really curious as to how things would tie in together.  The beginning was so mysterious and it had this creepy element to it that I really loved.

While I don’t feel this is the strongest book in the series I am hoping that the series will get better as I have read the premise for the next book and it sounds amazing.

Source: Purchased

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Title: Call of the Wild

Author: Jack London

Published: Scholastic, 2001 (first published 1900)

Pages: 172

Summary: Buck is a dog born to luxury, but his life changes dramatically when he is sold to be a sled dog in the Yukon Terrority. (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: The Call of the Wild isn’t the sort of book that I would normally read; for starters, I don’t tend to enjoy reading books which feature animals as a protagonist.  That being said, I did quite enjoy The Call of the Wild.

The Call of the Wild is extremely well written and the language is clear and picturesque.  I found it quite easy to read through the pages and enjoy every sentence put down on the page.

The story is an adventure story and I usually love high fantasy adventure stories but I really enjoyed this one.  I think the fact that it was from a dogs point of view added something unique so I found it to be a really enjoyable element.

Overall, I quite enjoyed The Call of the Wild.  It was something different from what I normally read and it made a nice change of pace.

Source: AudiobookSync

Friday, November 15, 2013

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Title: Once Burned

Author: Jeaniene Frost

Published: Avon, 2012

Series: Book 1, Night Prince

Pages: She's a mortal with dark powers...

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...

He's the Prince of Night...
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: As someone who loved Vlad in the Night Huntress books I was so happy that he had been given his own little series and so I have been really excited to read this one since it first came out.  I actually had this one on pre-order but it sat on my shelf for a long time before I actually managed to pick it up.

That being said, now having read the book I am happy that I did but I also feel a little disappointed.  I just feel a little like Vlad was kind of boring in this book.  I wanted to get to know him a little more but really I didn’t feel like I discovered anything new and if anything, I found Vlad to be a little uninteresting.

Leila was an interesting character, but I didn’t find her to be someone that I really liked.  I thought it was great how she liked to fight her own battles.  The one thing that I found to be really awesome about her were her powers and I couldn’t but wonder what they would be like if she ever became a vampire.

I really enjoyed the story in this one.  At first I thought that this mysterious enemy was someone that was briefly mentioned in one of the previous books in the Night Huntress series but then I found out it was someone different.  It was still interesting but this person who was mentioned once or twice in the Night Huntress series would have been a far better and more interesting person.

I did however, find Once Burned enjoyable and I am interested in reading the next book in the series, which I just happen to already have.

Source: Purchased

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Title: Thinking, Fast and Slow

Author: Daniel Kahneman

Published: Farrar, Strous, and Giroux, 2011

Pages: 499

Summary: Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I started this book for my university work but I wanted to talk about it because it is such a good book that I feel like I should share it with anyone who will pay attention.  I really want to walk around with this book, shoving it into people’s hands and telling them to read it as it will really blow their minds.  Unless of course, you have a degree in psychology, then you probably won’t be surprised.

I feel like this book has practically everything, it talks statistics, psychology, philosophy, economics, almost everything you could think of.

Daniel Kahneman provides a narrative that sucks you in from the first page and from there it keeps flowing in such a way that pages just fly by.  It’s a non-fiction book that almost feels like a fictional novel.

I found Thinking, Fast and Slow to be quite intriguing as it discusses how people think in two systems, a fast, automatic response and a slower more logical response.  The book has examples for people to try out and it’s surprising just how many of the things I think I don’t do but that my responses to the examples showed I thought the same way for a lot of things.

This is definitely something different to what I would normally read but I would definitely encourage everyone to read it because it is highly insightful and is written in such a way that keeps you engaged right up until the very end.

Source: Purchased

Friday, November 1, 2013

And I'm back

I'm really excited to be back too.  I've finally finished university, not only for the year, but for the foreseeable future.  This year has been extremely busy and I had to let book blogging fall by the wayside for a while.  That being said, I'm back and 15 books behind on my challenge so that is what I am going to be doing in November.  Reading as many books as I can so I can get on top of my reading challenge and participating in NaNoWriMo so I can work on my novel too which I really love to do.

So yeah, I don't actually have a lot else to say right this minute, other than keep an eye out for my return.  I'll be doing the usual schedule of reviews every Monday and Friday and other content on Wednesday's.  I imagine once I get into the swing of reading for fun and actually having time to read whatever I want I will be more likely to post more content.

I really have missed book blogging and so I am really excited to pick up right from where I left off.  It seems surprisingly easy so far to be honest.