Tag Archives: Eco-Libris

Green Books Campaign: Tainted by Ross Pennie

10 Nov

I’m happy to once again be a part of Eco-Libris’ Green Books Campaign. Today at 1 pm Est over 200 book bloggers around the world simultaneously posted reviews of books printed on eco-friendly paper. Pretty cool, eh? The books are as diverse as the bloggers, so make sure to take a peek at them. And to make it easy-peasy for you, here’s the link.

Okay, now on to my review!

Publisher: ECW Press
Released: April, 2009
Genre: adult fiction, medical mystery
Review copy from publisher for Eco-Libris Green Books Campaign

In an affluent city perched on Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, residents begin turning up on the pathologist’s autopsy table with what looks like epidemic mad cow disease. Zol Szabo, a public-health doctor and former chef, and Hamish Wakefield, a young infectious-diseases specialist, must trace the epidemic to its source while dodging the deadly prions that appear to have contaminated almost everything in the supermarket. Things spin out of control and more lives are threatened when a government-appointed investigator pulls rank, hijacks the investigation, and allows his inflated ego to supersede common sense.

Incidents of contamination of the food supply are featured almost weekly in the news. In Tainted, the clock is ticking to discover the source of the disease before it can spread, while navigating the political minefield of the hospital and the media.

A suspenseful and vexing medical thriller, Tainted comments on the vagaries of modern medicine, and explores the complexities of relationships between men: fathers and sons, colleagues and subordinates, gay men and their lovers.

Tainted is a medical thriller that illustrates the potential disastrous consequences of misplacing our trust in those who manufacture our food and our pharmaceuticals.

From ECW Press website.


Once upon a time, all I read were medical thrillers and books about outbreaks. I would devour them, sometimes as many as four in a week. Then I kinda ODed on them and stopped reading them all together. In fact, it’s been a good three or four years since I read a real medical thriller.

So I was all kinds of excited to read Ross Pennie’s Tainted, a medical mystery outbreak novel that takes place right here in Canada. And while I enjoyed it and I think it was a solid book, I wasn’t wowed by it.

I really enjoyed the medical mystery aspect of Tainted. The science wasn’t too over my head, but it also wasn’t too dumb down.  At first I thought the reason behind the outbreak was going to be pretty straight-forward, but man, was I wrong. While I didn’t see the ending coming, it wasn’t far-fetched and was totally plausible, which I really liked. Sometimes in medical mysteries the author pulls something out of left field that makes no sense at all. Thankfully that wasn’t the case here, at all.

So, why was I so meh about Tainted? The characters. I just didn’t get a sense of who they were and quite honestly I didn’t care a fig about any of them. For me they weren’t written in a way that I could really feel a connection to them. I was often confused about their motivations and reasonings, even when it was being spelled out for me. I know that medical mysteries aren’t generally character driven books, but if I don’t care at all about ANY of the characters, then I’m not going to be a big fan of the novel.

I also found the writing at times clunky with awkward descriptions. There was also a subplot that I thought was a bit out of place and poorly executed.

I think if I had felt more of a connection to the characters I would have enjoyed Tainted a lot more. As it stands it was a decent medical mystery, but not one I was wild about.


Green Books Campaign: From a Speaking Place

10 Nov


This review is part of the Green Books campaign . Today 100 bloggers are reviewing 100 great books printed in an environmentally friendly way. Our goal is to encourage publishers to get greener and readers to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books. This campaign is organized by Eco-Libris, a  a green company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website .

From A Speaking Place: Writings from the First Fifty Years of Canadian Literature
Published by Ronsdale Press

When I signed up to be a part of Green Books Campaign, I was very excited.  I buy a lot of  books and quite often I feel guilty about the environmental impact my little addiction has. What better way to promote green book making and buying than having 100 bloggers review books published by green publishers?

Ronsdale Press published a great looking book called From A Speaking Place: Writings from the First Fifty Years of Canadian Literature. As a reader and a writer, I was very excited to delve into this book.  Printed using both recycled paper and FSC certified paper, it’s doubly responsible.

Now, since this event is book bloggers reviewing books for the Green Book Campaign, I imagine you are expecting a review, right? Unfortunately I only received the book last night and while I am a fast reader, I’m not that fast. So instead of a review of why I liked the book, here are a few reasons why I am looking forward to reading it.

As a writer, I am always looking for books to help me not only improve my art, but to understand it better. So many people think that writers just get up and write, the words flowing effortlessly.  While this may sometimes be the case, most of us have to practice, using different techniques and exercises to get the words out. Writers also read books on writings and literature, so I knew that this book would be right up my alley.

Canadian Literature is Canada’s “it” magazine when it comes to writing. Offering up articles, book critiques and poetry, most, if not all, Canadian book lovers and readers have heard of it. This volume celebrates the first 50 years of Canadian Literature and at over 400 pages includes what some of the best articles written during that time.

I’m really looking forward to sitting down and reading From A Speaking Place. And I know once I am done it will find a nice, snug spot with all my other writing books.