Friday, October 12, 2007


I was lucky enough to win a prize in a drawing held by The Book Depository and Tess Gerritsen's The Mephisto Club came my way. You should check out Mark's blog there, he has said he might do more giveaways in the future. Though I've mentioned it before, I'll say again that The Book Depository is a wonderful place to purchase books - particularly for us Americans who are enamoured with books and authors only available in the UK.

The Mephisto Club is certainly not the sort of book I generally read but I took this as an opportunity to try something different. This book falls neatly into the murder/mystery category and of course there were murders and detectives and medical examiners and police on the scene and trying to solve the case. Plenty of gruesomeness and brutality if that's your thing. It became apparent quite early on that this book is part of a series, that the characters had history with one another and that that history was never going to be made perfectly clear to me. Since I tend to be a reader more interested in the relationships between the characters and less interested in the crimes, this was a bit disappointing - certainly the story could still be followed but those loose ends are not tied up - you must read the rest in the series. The story was told from three different perspectives - the first being that of the current murders being committed, the second having to do with the youth of the killer, and the third - and the one that I found quite compelling - that of a woman being pursued through Europe. Overall, I found this book an entertaining read, it is very fast paced and the author creates a sense of urgency. I really wanted to get to the end after reading 2/3 of the book. I would recommend it if you enjoy these sorts of books.

The second book I have the pleasure to review really deserves its own post. I read Water for Elephants earlier this week and my bookclub will be discussing it in 2 weeks. Water for Elephants is a story with a unique setting, that of a traveling circus during the depression. The story is told in retrospect, from the perspective of an elderly gentleman who joined the circus in his youth. This book has it all: drama, humor, humanity, romance, animals, and circus freaks. I just adored this book. I've read quite a lot of books this year that I've 'liked' but this one grabbed me as few have and I just loved the experience. If every book was this good, I'd never get a thing done because I literally couldn't put it down. I have a hard time putting my finger on just why I liked this book so much - was it the writing? the story? the characters? I don't know - it's just a smashing good tale. I can't say it will change my life or my views but it simply entertained me in a most wonderful way. I thought the ending was sublime - completely irrational and unlikely but it fit this book perfectly.

I have to work all weekend so I have my first pot of soup of the season on the stove right now. Roasted pumpkin, coconut milk, red curry paste, chicken broth, onion and salt....I think it will be perfect for this chilly weekend.


Anonymous said...

Tara, yes, Tess Gerritsen has written several books in a sort-of series and The Mephisto Club is part of that. There are a lot of backstory references I know. I like her books and have enjoyed the whole Jane/Maura storyline.

I have Water for Elephants and have been meaning to read it. It might be one of my library book group selection for next year. I'm looking forward to diving into it.

Cornflower said...

I've read about Water for Elephants, but your review moves it further up my list, Tara!

Carrie K said...

They both sound like good books but that soup just sounds YUMMY!

Tara said...

Kay, thanks for confirming the Jane/Maura storyline. I was most interested in the situation between the medical examiner and the priest! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Water for Elephants.

Karen, Oh good - I hope you enjoy it!

Carrie, thanks, the soup did turn out well - it's one of my standard winter soups.

Jeane said...

Water for Elephants sounds really good. I'm putting that one on my list!

Danielle said...

I've looked at Water for Elephants so many times in the store, but I never buy it. Now I may have to after your review. I love books like that where you can completely lose yourself in the story!

heather (errantdreams) said...

Both books sounds like a lot of fun.

But that soup sounds even better!!!

Lotus Reads said...

Tara,you lucky,lucky girl, congratulations on winning! I think I first read about the Book Depository giveaway on your blog, but unfortunately I was too late to put my name in the hat. I love Mark's blog and I agree with you, BD is an excellent place to buy UK published books, I love that shipping is free, waahoo!

Thank you for the reviews...I love the sound of "Water for Elephants", I hope to be able to read it soon.

Tara said...

Hi Jeane, I hope you enjoy it!

Danielle, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. It's just good fun as far as I'm concerned.

Heather, thanks - the soup was good!

Lotus, I was very surprised that I won! I hope you enjoy Water for Elephants.