Jo's challenge

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Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:18

I've borrowed these ratings from Alex/HH and everyone else. I like the half marks, more choice.


1star: dreadful, you won't be able to finish it
2stars: not worth reading
2+stars: mediocre at best painful at worst
3stars: good (just above average)
3+stars: pretty good (well above average); the reader will probably enjoy it
4stars: really good (outstanding); I recommend it and likely to read it again if no new books are around
4+stars: very good indeed (excellent); I'll be reading this one again whenever I get a chance
5stars: the best I've read in a long time and will read it again several times


I. Renegade by Cheyne Curry. 2+stars

Policewoman Trace Sheridan timetravels 150 years or so into the past, the place she travel to - the 'Wild West' USA. The print copy I read does not explain how this travel happens. This is one of many problems with the book IMO. There is a great story in there which in the right hands could be a real adventure yarn, there is so much potential material with this story line, none of it exploited - if it is touched upon it is done clumsily and oh so terribly obviously. Too much tell rather than show, as you author types would say.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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Re: Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:22

2. OUTSIDERS - THE COLLECTION Lynn Ames, Georgia Beers, JDGlass, Susan X Meagher, Susan Smith 3+stars

I really enjoyed the contributions by Lynn Ames, Georgia Beers and Susan Smith. This was a surprise as I have found Susan Smith difficult to enjoy in the past whereas in this collection her story was the 5 star one for me. I couldn't get through the JD Glass story and found Meagher mediocre. Overall though an interesting collection and well edited ( :;) ). I read this after the Cheyne Curry one and it made me wonder if Renegade was ever subjected to the the editing process - not that I know the first thing about it.

I appreciated the diverse range of subject matter,so rare in a lesfic collection of short stories.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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Re: Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:24

3.The Ties that Bind by Andi Marquette 4stars

This is the third book in the New Mexico series. Now, maybe because, inbetween reading the first two books and this one, I have had the pleasure of going to NM for a whole 3 hours with the author - I think this last one is the best book in the series. Somehow I got the sense of place so much more.

I liked the mystery too, it kept me guessing for some time. I also liked the interplay of K.C. and Kara - that was real sister stuff. I wasn't quite so keen on the constant lovey dovey stuff between K.C and Sage, but I guess that this was a relatively new relationship. Ok, who am I kidding, Sue and I never talked to one another that nicely, even to start with, so I suppose one reads and compares to one's own experiences. Sometimes they were just too nice and tolerant of one another. I am maybe just not capable of being such an understanding partner. All in all, I cared about these characters and I wallowed in the sense of place and the gradual revealing of the mystery.

I now want to know what happens with River and with Kara. I also want to go back to NM soon. Everyone I know who has been there raves about it and the little I saw was stunning.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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Re: Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:25

4. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre.
5stars : yahoo:

Every single one of you should read this book. Yes, I am being prescriptive but sincere. I am already looking out for copies to send to NZ and Portugal :;) .

I quote from the blurb -
Dr Ben Goldacre dispenses fast and powerful relief from:
>scaremongering journalists
>pill pushing nutritionists
>flaky statistics
>evil pharmaceutical corporations
.

This is a readable and humble book. The author is a down to earth guy who obviously is fed up to the back teeth with the twaddle written in the name of science - which is in reality all about sensationlism and selling newspapers or products.

I worked in a pharmacy shop for many years - we were bombarded by companies with promotions and incentives to sell, sell, sell. Thankfully this is largely absent in an NHS hospital - a point that Goldacre, a current NHS consultant, makes in one of the chapters.

Fabulous stuff.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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Re: Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:27

5. No rules of Engagement by Tracey Richardson. 2stars

A nurse (Major) in the US army meets a photographer whose aim it is to 'record the heroic work of medical units in war zones'. One knew from the first chapter the eventual outcome of their meeting, I'm afraid that in the end I couldn't be bothered to read all of the twist and turns in this torturous story. I know several UK (TA)nurses and doctors who have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan - maybe this coloured my reading. I just became irritated by the whole book - it was obvious and full of cliches(feel free to add the accent anyone). I do believe it was written with excellent intentions and maybe there is a cultural divide between the US and the Uk attitude towards armed forces which has tainted me. Whatever, I couldn't get along with this book.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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Re: Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:28

6. The Great Silence 1918-1920 Living in the Shadow of the Great War by Juliet Nicolson. 4+stars

This is social history - I love social history. This is the story of the UK generation which experienced the first 'world' war - and how they were affected by it in the immediate aftermath. How it changed attitudes towards working in service, towards women's suffrage, towards war itself. War had been seen as a glorious campaign by the men in redcoats - this war ripped right though that idealism and one can understand why, in the 1930's, appeasement seemed an honourable option to this generation. It also touches on the involvement of the then British empire forces and the tremedous sacrifices they made. It also talks abour the German experience a little and the horrific conditions in the trenches. The first few chapters of this book were harrowing, so much I had to stop and ring a friend up.The desolation and decimation this generation experienced seem to reach down the ages and somehow I felt it keenly.

This wasn't a dry history, it wasn't a list of battle stats and tactics - it was the story of our great grandparents and how they coped with death and despair. How they coped with the return of damaged men and how they coped with a changed society. It ends with the unveiling of the Cenotaph in Whitehall and the burial of the Unknown Warrior on 11th Novemebr 1920. Very poignant. Lest We Forget, Lest We Forget.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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Re: Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:30

7. Battle Scars by Meghan O'Brien. 3stars for the story but 3+stars for the dog stuff.

Ray McKenna is a returning veteran who has been imprisioned and injured in Iraq. She has PTSD and a great Dane. She goes to a vet and falls in love. This is no way as irritaing as the Richardson book - I enjoyed it, it was the ideal fluff at the end of a hard day. I loved the whole doggie thing and this author knows her dogs - as a dog owner I appreciated this so much.

A comfortable and undemanding read. Nothing spectacular but not awful either.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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Re: Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:31

8. Command of Silence by Paulette Callen. 5stars :yahoo:

I cannot begin to tell you how this book affected me. This is a spinsters ink publication and all I can say is, good on them. This is not usual lesfic fare - no sex and no romance at all.

Shiloh and Company detective agency is composed of one person with multiple personalities, these personalities originated from Isadora's (the 'offficial name) method of coping with horrific child abuse. When two children go missing Isadora is asked to help the police by her lesbian therapist (this is the only out lesbian in the book). Isadora has a totally accurate bullshit metre - she knows when people are lying.

This all sounds strange but it makes perfect sense when you read it. This is a powerful book. It talks about childhood trauma, violence against women, coping strategies and is a jolly good mystery to boot. I love the multiple personalities - did you have a favourite imaginary friend when you were little - was she real to you? Well, imagine that magnified 100 times and that friend becoming part of you, several imaginary friends in fact so different personalities could cope with the different abuses dealt out to you. A testament to survival and strength. This is also very funny as at times the different personalities pop up when they are least wanted.

I will read this again, I thought about it for a long time after finishing it. Disturbing but powerful. Completely unlike the general lesfic book.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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Re: Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:34

9.Edith Pretty From Socialite to Sutton Hoo by Mary Skelcher &Chris Durrant. Difficult to rate but for it's type I guess 3+stars. I've read worse and I've read better in this type of genre.

Edith Pretty owned Sutton Hoo park and and house. Sutton Hoo is whereAnglo-Saxon ship burial treasures were discovered - changing perceptions of the Saxon era. Sutton Hoo also happens to be 10 minutes up the road from us. This is not a book about the fabulous treasures, it's a book about Edith Pretty.

My goodness did this woman like travelling. She was fortunate to be part of a wealthy family and from 1920, when she left Roedean school, to 1926 when she married Frank Pretty, Edith had visited countless countries. I love the accounts of cockroaches on ship and the on-board cats - to catch the mice and rats. This was first class travel no less. She worked for the Red Cross in the first war - in France and would have been in close contact with the horrific injuries sustained by the men on the frontline.

This is short book, only 100 pages, but it is full of intimate details of everyday life for an upper middle class woman - a very determined,adventurous and fascinating woman - in the early part of this century.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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Re: Jo's challenge

Postby Nurse Jo » 25 Mar 2010, 10:35

I love to see what other people read too - I'm really enjoying this whole 50 book thing.

10. The Art Of Detection by Laurie R King. 4stars

This is the fifth, I believe, in King's Kate Martinelli series. This time our Inspector Kate - who has obviously spent time between this mystery and the previous one successfully resolving her troubled domestic love life - and Lt. Al Hawkins are asked to solve another homicide. This one involves a group of Sherlock Holme devotees, an old manuscript that may or may not be worth millions and an old gun battery emplacement up on the Marin headlands in San Franciso.

There are many twists and turns to this plot and the this is interspersed with scenes from Kate's happy homelife. This is rather nice, as I am the sappy sort and it's good to know that all the agony the characters went through in previous books has been redeemed, so to speak.

I am a fan of King, she is witty and I enjoy her asides, she throws in current socio-political commentary every now and again, making a point without detracting from the story. The climax to the book makes me think that this is probably the last Martinelli mystery as it would be difficult to top the ending. It surprised me anyway - actually it didn't because I read the ending about 3/4 of the way through - however, it is the ultimate HEA ending.

Definitely didn't disappoint although I would have given her other books 4.5 stars rather than 4, this one made me feel warm inside. It tied up loose ends. It should be read once you've read the otehrs in the series. I believe several are reviewed on the forum.
There is nothing the British like better than a bloke who comes from nowhere, makes it, and then gets clobbered. Melvyn Bragg
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