October 6, 2014

Recent Reads

136. Through the Woods
'It came from the woods. Most strange things do.' 

Isn't that a great way to start a story? This graphic novel is targeted at a teen audience and is a collection of five stories. The kind that you tell as a kid, in the dark, around a campfire. The cover art is what captured my attention in the first place, and the art in this book is wonderfully atmospheric and moody. The stories though were disappointing, and I am puzzled by the rave reviews this book has gotten. Rating: 2 stars.

137. Blood Safari (Lemmer #1)
Book blurb: Lemmer is a professional bodyguard. Silent, invisible, he never gets involved. Emma le Roux is convinced she's seen her brother on the news as a suspect in the recent killing of four poachers. But her brother is supposed to have died twenty years ago. When le Roux hires Lemmer to watch her back while she goes looking for answers, it becomes clear someone wants to keep them in the dark. And when that someone tries to murder them both, for once in his life Lemmer steps out of the shadows.

I listened to the audiobook, which is wonderfully narrated by Simon Vance. This mystery/crime novel is set in South Africa, and introduces us to Lemmer in this first book of a two book series. This is not really a thriller of a read, but more of a meditation on the many issues faced by the people and animals of South Africa. Don't get me wrong, there is some action, but I did not find the mystery itself really compelling. I did however enjoy the setting and the well developed characters. I also liked how the author weaved in political, environmental, conservation and poaching issues into the story. This is the first time I have read anything by the author, and I enjoyed it enough that I will try his other books. Rating: 3 stars.

138. Fourth of July Creek
I've decided to leave my Catholic school girl guilt aside and stop reading books that do not grab me. At page 99, I have decided to do just that with this debut novel that gets rave reviews, and one I was looking forward to getting lost in. There are some wonderfully captured scenes, but overall the writing kept jarring me out of the story - something about the way it is written. A social worker whose life is as nuts as those he tries to help is an interesting premise, but I simply do not care about Pete, and am not invested enough to see how this ends. Rating: 1 star.

139. Freehand: Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art
This little book might be good for the absolute beginner, or in an art classroom, but in my opinion it is mis-titled. I expected to see art drawn "freehand", but much of the art was digitally manipulated in some manner. And while the art is fun to look at, the written blurbs that accompanies each piece of art is rather rudimentary and not really informative.

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