Hello! To go along with the 50 Book Challenge, I’m going to do sort of a mini review on the latest books that I added to explain the ratings and give a sense of what I thought of the books. So let’s start!
Next by Michael Crichton: Crichton is one of my favourite authors and I really enjoyed this book on all types and aspects of genetic engineering. He has a way of creating riveting fictional books steeped in heavily researched facts and scientific opinions, while at the same time giving his own thoughts on the matter. The style was written like a lot of his other books, with multiple story lines seemingly separated but joining when the time is right. I read this book just after I finished watching the television show Regenesis, a show based on genetics as well. It was interesting to compare the scenarios and factual content between the book and the show and see how each dealt with the problems that arise when we alter our world too much. I highly recommend this book, although the ending was not my favourite.
The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa: This book is a translation from the original french and is beautifully written. It takes place in Northern China, during the time of the Japanese occupation. One of two main story-lines revolves around a teenage Chinese girl and her times dealing with her sister, friends, family and love, for both people and country. Alternately, the story of a Japanese solider who struggles in the foreign land of China and with the hardships of war, is weaved in seamlessly. These two lives eventually cross in a public square where the ancient game of go is played. It is there that fate intervenes and their lives come together. The story is skillfully written and you become involved with each character; their emotions become your own. I lost the book for two weeks while I was in the midst of reading it. For those two weeks I kept wondering, where is that little pink book? for I need to know what becomes of these two burdened souls. It is truly engaging, until the very end.
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne: I really, really liked this book. Written in the 1800’s, it follows the voyage of a British man and his servant as they try to cross the world in 80 days, using all means of modern transportation in multiple countries. Their trip takes them from London, to Egypt, then India, China, Japan and the U.S and other places in between. One concern I had when before I started reading it was that it would be hard to read, because grammatical structure was different at that time. But thankfully it was not and was very interesting. The thoughts and perceptions of the characters, mainly the servant, were quite amusing, partly because of the British and French perspectives they were given from. If you are looking for a good read (that’s less than 200 pages), filled with adventure and impossible feats, this is definitely the book for you.
Elixir by Hilary Duff: I was a bit wary of reading Elixir. I have been a Hilary Duff fan ever since Lizzie McGuire, but she is not a writer. Though I will admit, she surprised me. It is a supernatural type book, and thankfully it does not involve vampires or werewolves. This genre is not usually something I read but the book was fairly interesting. The story revolves around a 17 year old girl whose father disappeared the year before. She is a photographer and recently she notices a figure who is showing up in many of her photos. As she searches for answers, she learns the truth about her father’s past while discovering her own. She meets this mysterious figure and a series of strange and unexpected events take place. For a first novel by a first time writer it is pretty good. It is the first in a series. The book was co-written by Elise Allen.
Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: This is my first time reading any Sherlock Holmes books, although I have seen many movie and miniseries adaptations (BBC’s Sherlock and the Robert Downie Jr.’s movie are the best). He is every bit as clever and deductive as the visual versions lead him to be, although I find him more likeable than many of his on-screen counterparts depict him as. This particular story and case focused on the murder of a man found in an abandoned house. It also introduced how Watson, Holmes’ assistant and roommate, and the detective himself came to meet. The story flowed wonderfully and was not hard to follow. What impressed me the most was the writing. One section of the book was a flashback type scenario that presented a story-line to explain the murderer’s motive. It was one of the most compelling pieces of story I have read recently. It was set in America in a different society and in my opinion demonstrated the versatility of Sir Doyle as a writer. I look forward to reading a great many more Sherlock Holmes Mysteries.