Review

Review: Virals (Virals #1) by Kathy Reichs

10763644.jpg

4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I was never particularly drawn to Kathy Reichs’ books until last year, when I saw her whilst working at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. After reading the blurb of her latest release, I decided that it sounded just like my kind of crime fiction. And whilst the Virals series is not part of the Temperance Brennan story, it follows a similar vein – and is about Tempe’s niece, Tory. It is Bones for the younger generation.

Simply written, fast paced and exciting, I really enjoyed the story. There were a couple of plot twists I managed to guess in advance, but one or two that caught me off guard! I wasn’t one hundred percent sure about the narrative voice though. Whilst Tory is a good character – not your ‘typical’ teenage girl – that is also one of her downfalls. Several times she tells the reader how she is not one of those girls, caring only for clothes and makeup – which is fine, apart from when she claims that all other girls do this. However, she is intelligent and quick-witted, and whilst a lot of her friends and acquaintances felt like stereotypes, they worked well together. And it is nice to have some YA fiction where the heroine claims to be intelligent, and then actually proves it.

The setting of the book sounds gorgeous – isolated in what is first a peaceful, idyllic way, but later becomes a little menacing. I wanted to learn more about the islands, and the research that Kit was doing.

This is definitely very much a Young Adult book though, purely from the style of writing and the way that Tory’s internal monologue plays out. I still enjoy YA fiction in general, and definitely enjoyed this one. I actually had no idea when I started reading it that it was more than just a crime novel – there’s a hint of the supernatural in there too.

I am aware, from reading other reviews, that this book is very different to Reichs’ usual style – so I look forward to reading the first of Temperance Brennan’s adventures, and discovering whether I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed this.

Advertisements
Challenges

Challenge: 2013 TBR Pile Challenge


I am continuing this challenge throughout 2014, as I hope to have read all 30 books by the end of the year.

I have decided to join the 2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, which runs from 1st January – 31st December 2013. You can read the rules and join the challenge here. There is also a handy Goodreads group for the challenge, which will track your challenge books for you, as long as you shelf them correctly.

I have almost 300 books on my TBR list, and some have been sitting there for years. One of the rules of this challenge is no books published after 2013, and no ARCs – which rules out a lot of my review books. This means I can read the books I want to, and have been meaning to read for some time – which means they’ll most likely be ones that I already own. I have set a goal of 15 books (considering that I also have to read review copies), any from this list:

1. The Odyssey by Homer
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (read 2014)
3. Endymion by Dan Simmons
4. The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons (read 2014)
5. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
6. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
7. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
8. Redhead by Ian Cook
9. Tristan and Iseult by Rosemary Sutcliff
10. The Oxford Murders by Guillermo Martinez
11. The Ice Storm by Rick Moody
12. The Twelve by Justin Cronin
13. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
14. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
15. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
16. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
17. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
18. The Sun in my Eyes: Two-Wheeling East by Josie Dew
19. The Weeping Empress by Sadie S. Forsyth
20. A Walk in the Wood: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trial by Bill Bryson
21. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
22. Dear Fatty by Dawn French
23. Gone by Michael Grant
24. Virals by Kathy Reichs
25. Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds
26. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (read 2014)
27. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (read 2014)
28. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
29. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
30. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Keep track of my progress or take a look at my tbr-pile-challenge shelf!

 Just under half of my list…
Past Features

Weekly Roundup #8

weeklyru_16

I’m sorry that this is a day late, I was working until late yesterday so just didn’t get round to posting! 
 
My ‘Weekly Roundup’ is where I share the books I have received in the past week, whether bought, gifted, borrowed etc. 
 
 

Bought

  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin – After reading some reviews of Ursula K. Le Guin’s sci-fi work, I decided to give some a try, and found this one for 50p in a charity shop. It’s a pretty well loved copy!
  • The Blade Itself, Before They Are Hanged and Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie –  this series has been on my ‘to read’ list for a while, and I found the entire trilogy for 50p each. The only thing that bugs me is that the second book is a different edition, and size, to the other two. But when I paid £1.50 for the set I can’t really complain!
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King – Since reading Kelly’s review of Salem’s Lot, and realising that the only Stephen King books that I’ve read are The Shining and Carrie, I thought maybe I should try some more of his stuff. I spotted this one in the charity shop – I didn’t realise he’d written any fantasy.
  • Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs – My interest in this series peaked during the Cheltenham Literature Festival, which I worked at for the first two weeks of October. I was drawn to Kathy Reichs’ books, and also got to see her do a signing. I was looking out for the series and managed to find the first book in the first charity shop I checked, for £1!
  • Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson – a sci-fi classic, winner of a Nebula award, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. And only 50p.
And this is why I love charity shops. I spent a grand total of £4 on seven books!
 

What have you received this week? Have you read any of these?

Recap

Last few days of the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2012

Well, the festival is finally over, and I really wish it wasn’t! It was such a fantastic two weeks that seemed to fly by, and there was never a dull moment. I last told you about the events of Tuesday 9th October, so this post will cover from Wednesday until the very end.

Wednesday got off to an exciting start: we met Dan Snow, who has presented many history TV programs, and got a team photo:

I also caught a glimpse of Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn, who work on the TV show Wartime Farm (and are archaeologists, yeahhh!). As I was working the early shift, I missed the evening events which included Adam Hart-Davis, Pam Ayres, Andrew Marr, Hilary Devey, AA Gill, Nigella Lawson and Mark Haddon.

Thursday was my day off, but notable guests included Lucy Worsley, John McCarthy, Tom and Henry Herbert (the Fabulous Baker Brothers), Ben Fogle, Caitlin Moran, Gunnar Staalesen, Stephen Mangan and Victoria Pendleton.

Welly boots signed by Caitlin Moran (apparently all guests were signing wellies – I don’t know why!)
 
Friday’s guests included Sinclair McKay, Michael Smith and Julian Baggini, all of whom I managed to see; as well as Robert MacFarlane, Rose Tremain, Erica Wagner, Sandi Toksvig, Kirstie Allsopp, Alan Garner, Dom Joly, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Paul O’Grady.
On Saturday, I saw Kathy Reichs (creator of TV show Bones) and Val McDermid (creator of Wire in the Blood), and then met Larry Lamb in the afternoon!

Larry Lamb – more like Mick Shipman than Archie Mitchell 😉
 
I also had to stand next to Ian Rankin whilst he was signing books, to stop any over eager fans from invading his personal space. One man there was obviously a massive fan – he brought practically the entire back catalogue with him, and couldn’t stop shaking whilst talking to Ian! Whilst we were waiting for Ian Rankin to turn up, I heard a customer saying he couldn’t find any T.S. Eliot – so I showed him where the books were, and he spent a good ten minutes explaining why everyone should read Four Quarters, and that your life is not complete unless you have. It was so nice to see someone so passionate about it. Later on both Jeremy Vine and Ben Miller were just wandering around the tents, browsing – I got to speak to Jeremy Vine.

Sunday, the last day of the festival proper, was just as eventful. A.C. Grayling was signing in the morning, and I took some stock over for him to sign and had a chat with him – he was lovely, and took a real interest in my degree. He was so polite and came over and personally thanked me when he left. I also saw Ian McEwan when he was doing his signing, but the biggest event of the day (at least when I was there)? David Walliams.

He signed so much – 240 stock copies before the event even started, then whatever customers took him! The queue was massive, and there were crowds of people taking photos and hanging around the signing area. He was lovely, making people laugh and chatting with them, posing for photos and just being an all round friendly guy. Finally, the last guest I saw was David Mitchell. I apologise for the awful photo…

His publicist was very stern though… me and a colleague were just about to get a photo with him when she whisked him away. I did manage to grab one of a friend with him though, so that’s something! I got the impression he was happy to be there, signing what people wanted, but his publicist wanted him to sign only his autobiography.

Autographs from Larry Lamb, Polly Findlay and Christopher Eccleston.

Yesterday was packing up day. Boxing up books, taking down shelves, tidying up the mess… and it was so fun. It was just all of us temps together, and at one point we had run out of boxes to pack books in, so had nothing to do. Instead, we sat around on the beanbags in the kid’s tent chatting for a bit, which was really great.

Meerkats surveying the clearing up…
 
This was all such a fantastic experience and I will definitely be applying to work again next year! I actually find it quite hard to write about the festival properly. I can tell you all about the famous people I met, post some photos, but honestly the bit that was the most fun was meeting new people: colleagues and customers. Meeting people who share the same passion as me: books. And it would be really hard to write those experiences down, and make them interesting to others, so I’m just going to keep them all to myself =)