Plague and a bit of zen

hiddenHidden by Eve Kenin

In the frozen northern lands of the Waste, Tatiana has escaped from her imprisoned life in a lab and is out for revenge from those who used her cells to make a plague – her nemesis Dr. Ward and a man named Tolliver. When Tatiana is exposed to the illness, the mysterious Tristan takes her to an underground research facility with the intent of keeping her there to contain the infected. Working together, they join forces to put a stop to the plague.

Having only her siblings and a computer for company growing up, Tatiana finds social interaction difficult. It was interesting to follow her because she picks up more interpersonal skills along the way. And, as a Life/Charlie Crews fan I got a kick out of Tristan’s zenish bits that popped up here and there.

The air I exhale is inhaled by my insane companion. [page 110]

The sun that shines on me shines on my enemy. [page 300]

I haven’t read Driven, which precedes this book. If I had, the epilogue here wouldn’t have been a surprise for me, so reading out of order worked out okay.


Love Spell/Shomi, 2008, 978-0505527615


Sea butterfly

girlatseaGirl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Clio Ford, 17, lives with her mother but gets stuck with her father and his crew for the summer, exploring the Mediterranean in search for an artifact. There’s her father’s new professor girlfriend Julia and her teen daughter Elsa, Julia’s research assistant Aidan, and her father’s friend Martin.

In close quarters on a luxury yacht, forced to share a bedroom with Elsa, Clio has been given cook duty. Her father tells her it’s not a party cruise, it’s a working vacation. Clio befriends Elsa, mourns the loss of her planned summer which included her art store-working crush Ollie back home, and grapples with her feelings for Aidan, who Elsa has declared will be her summer fling. There are a few flashbacks that reveal what the artifact is and Clio eventually discovers what exactly they’re searching for, a huge archaeological discovery.

We also find out how Clio’s parents separated and get glimpses at Clio’s earlier childhood, which included a hit board game that she co-created with her father. Overall – a fun read, good for summer. The humour and sarcasm worked for me and it went by quickly.


A dialogue teaser:

Everyone aboard gets assigned a com device and a number.

Clio pulled the tiny orange com from her pocket and looked on the back for Aidan’s number.
“Number Four,” she said. “You’re needed upstairs.”
Silence. Then a crackle and Clio’s father’s voice. “Number Five? Did you need Number Four?”
“Uh, yeah. Copy that,” Clio said, looking at Elsa and shrugging. “We need Number Four. He has something of Number Six’s. We have Three approval. Over?”
Elsa tumbled to her side and laughed into her pile of clothes. Clio held up a hand to quiet her.
“Okay, Five,” her father said. “Four’s on his way.”
“Roger, One. Over and out.” [pp. 83/84 hardcover]

HarperTeen, 2007

Maureen Johnson’s site


Just one of the guys

Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins

Chastity is a tall, athletic journalist who has moved back to her hometown where her parents and brothers and long time crush Trevor live. We open with her getting dumped by her current guy, who says her strength and athleticism just weren’t that attractive for him. This was a rollercoaster read. I laughed out loud. I used exactly one small Kleenex package from my purse when things got gritty towards the end. That’s 15 tissues worth of sniffling and it felt like I’d been through the ringer right along with Chastity – bravo, Kristan.
The first person voice didn’t really distract me. This didn’t feel like a romance novel for me though because Trevor was a mystery until the very end, Chastity is with Dr./Mr. ___ for most of the book, and I got quite absorbed into the outcome of Chastity’s parents (the reason for a lot of my sniffling). But ignoring the romance label, it was definitely a worthwhile read.
While I really enjoyed this, I have to say it didn’t feel very romantic despite being a romance story.
I was sniffling so much that it took me way longer to finish reading because it felt like I was reaching for the tissue every minute. (A third arm would have been helpful because I had to put the book down every time this happened.)

oneoftheguysChastity is a tall, athletic journalist who has moved back to her hometown where her parents, older brothers and long-time crush Trevor live. She gets dumped by her current guy, who says her strength and athleticism just aren’t that attractive for him. Then Chastity meets and dates a handsome doctor, but still pines for Trevor.

This was a rollercoaster read – I laughed out loud but was also a sniffling mess when things got gritty towards the end; it felt like I’d been through the ringer right along with Chastity. I wasn’t too fond of the triangle here though –  Chastity is with the doctor for a good chunk of the book, and Trevor’s motives are a mystery until the end. I have to say, I got quite absorbed in the outcome of Chastity’s parents rather than her own problems.


HQN, 2008, 978-0373772995


Pen pal shenanigans

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

secretassignEpistolary young adult book. Three 10th grade friends from Ashbury high school, Emily, Lydia and Cassie, participate in their interschool pen pal project for class. Set in Australia and quite entertaining, Emily and Lydia have fun with their pen pals but Cassie runs into serious problems with hers.


Also published under the title Finding Cassie Crazy, it’s the second of these connected books: (1) Feeling Sorry for Celia and (3) The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie / Becoming Bindy Mackenzie The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie.

Read an excerpt from Scholastic


Bride and Prejudice

b&pBride and Prejudice

starring Aishwarya Rai as Lalita/Lizzie and Martin Henderson as William Darcy

I’ve seen this before, but it was on tv the other night and I caught the opening number.

Yes, cheesiness but so entertaining. If you are a Pride and Prejudice fan I recommend it for kicks. The Bennets are reimagined as the Bakshi family with one less sister (Kitty is nowhere to be found). It was great to see Naveen Andrews (Balraj/Mr. Bingley) dance and sing like ‘an Indian MC Hammer’ in the opening number when his role as Sayid on Lost is so serious. The cobra dance by Maya, the equivalent of Mary’s piano playing and singing – priceless. Also fun was the ‘No life, without wife’ number (phrase coined by Mr. Kohli/Mr. Collins).


Stone’s Fall

Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears

stoneI’ve enjoyed Iain Pears’ art mystery series, but haven’t read his standalone works. Financier John Stone fell to his death from a window of his London home.

This is presented in three parts, all with different narrators. It has an interesting structure – it’s told in a backwards fashion; starting in London 1909 it then jumps to 1890 Paris and then to 1867 Venice. I did skim quite a bit of the financial parts and was lagging by the time part three came around, despite the Venice setting. But if you can stick with it until the end, you’ll be rewarded with a whaaat? At least, that was my reaction. Cannot say I saw that coming, but everything falls into place.


Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2009, 978-0676979848


Farewell to Life (tv)

I’ll miss you Life, the tv show.

Officially cancelled.


15 pounds of pure bunny — Charlie Crews

Ah, show, first you had the shortened first season because of the writer’s strike (but it still rocked). Then you got rid of Robin Weigert and I wasn’t that keen on Donal Logue’s character joining the cast either. Sarah Shahi’s pregnancy came along midseason and you had to bring on Gabrielle Reece as Charlie’s new partner. Despite the unevenness, you were still a great show. The last episode surprised me a bit, but if Charlie and Dani belong together I’m okay with that. Charlie looking up at the sun, the barely touching hands during the exchange and 1+1 = 1 was such a poignant series ending. Thank you for bringing Damian Lewis and Sarah Shahi together on our screens. I doubt it’ll happen, but could NBC please release both seasons on dvd with all the original broadcast music intact?


On the flip side, I did not really get into Little Dorrit on PBS/Masterpiece. This non(Dickens) reader was confused at the end – I thought Amy and Arthur were half siblings. But then they married so that obviously wasn’t right.