Monthly Archives: February 2015

Book Review: Sister by Rosamund Lupton

sister

(From Goodreads) Nothing can break the bond between sisters …When Beatrice gets a frantic call in the middle of Sunday lunch to say that her younger sister, Tess, is missing, she boards the first flight home to London. But as she learns about the circumstances surrounding her sister’s disappearance, she is stunned to discover how little she actually knows of her sister’s life – and unprepared for the terrifying truths she must now face. The police, Beatrice’s fiancé and even their mother accept they have lost Tess but Beatrice refuses to give up on her. So she embarks on a dangerous journey to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

A gripping plot, and compelling well-written story takes place in London, when Beatrice receives phone call that her younger sister has gone missing.
The story touches on many elements of medicine and crime – but the most interesting is the description of the two sister’s bond that is clearly seen throughout the story. It is heart wrenchingly sad at some moments, and Lupton pulls at the emotion and psychological strings of the reader. One of the higlights of the book is, Beatrice is writing a letter to her sister, and the use of second-person personal pronoun, ‘you’, links the reader to the story, as if we take the place of the sister, – making it as if you are part of the story.

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Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

dark places

(From Goodreads)Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars.
Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben’s innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her borther’s? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back?
She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day… especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find.
Who did massacre the Day family?

Just as interesting and dark as the previous stories of Flynn’s her second novel takes matters of a crime in the past and present point of view. It’s a well-paced page-turner, beautifully wrought, that would leave you shocked, disturbed and intrigued at once. Flynn is excellent at creating unpleasant characters and disturbing situations, and Dark Places is full of them. If you plan to read at night, make sure you have the light on.

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Book Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon (Book 2, The Bone Season)

mime order

(From Goodreads) Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…
As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

Shannon jumps into the story with action, interest and questions of how Paige is going to survive that keeps the readers hooked. Paige’s new life is in Scion, as the secrets and darkness that surrounds her are revealed as Shannon’s characters shift, backstab and fall in ways that are as fascinating as the twists and turns of the plot.
The Mime Order is the second book in a new fantasy series.

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Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

sharp objects

(From Goodreads) WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart. Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg. Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory. HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.
With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable

Gillian Flynn has recently became a favourite author of mine, ever since I read her amazing Gone Girl. And so I’ve gone back to her first ever published book, and I am pleased to say it was a brilliant piece of work, dark, twisted and disturbing.
The book is engaging, as we follow Camille, through her move back home to her town, where she is to get the inside scoop on the murders of two preteen girls – both strangled and had their teeth removed. We follow Camille on her quest to obtain as much information as possible about the crimes – and we also learn much more than we bargained for. The town is filled with dark secrets and the least of all is the twisted dynamic of Camille’s own family.
If you like characters that unreliable, flawed and with dark and disturbing qualities then this is a book for you.

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Best and Worst Literary Couples

As today is Valentine’s day I thought I would write of some famous literary couples.
(*If you’ve not read these books then beware of spoilers.)

1. Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet
First known to the world in 1813, and since then the world has fallen in love with these two characters. Actually Jane Austen has personified two attributes of human nature, pride and prejudice in Darcy and Elizabeth. Darcy comes from a very high social hierarchy and Pemberley. He typifies the educated aristocracy while on the other hand; Elizabeth is the second daughter of a gentleman of modest means. The story follows Darcy and Elizabeth who don’t see eye to eye on many circumstances, and Elizabeth find’s him to be infuriating and prideful. Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth and with a disastrous proposal; Elizabeth rightfully rejects him, “Last man on earth I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.” But, do not let this fool you, as though they leave each other, both spoken clearly how they think of the other, Elizabeth slowly begins to see Darcy in another light, when she learns of the story of his sister, and his help in the runaway Lydia situation and realises that she can’t be without him. And so, thankfully they eventually find themselves married.

2. Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester
In Charlotte Bronte’s famous tale, friendless characters find a cure for loneliness in each other’s company. Jane is an abused orphan employed as a governess to the charge of an abrasive, but very rich Edward Rochester. The improbable pair grow close as Rochester reveals a tender heart beneath his gruff exterior. However, on their wedding day, a horrified Jane discovers he is already married – the crazy wife lives in the attic. Heartbroken, Jane runs away, but later returns after a dreadful fire has destroyed Rochester’s mansion, killed his wife, and left him blind. The two reunite and live out their days in shared bliss.

3. Romeo and Juliet
I can’t write about famous literary couples without the mention of Shakespeare’s classic story of these two young teenagers from feuding families, and who fall in love at first sight, marry, become lovers and risk it all for their love. This is probably the most famous lovers ever. This couple has become a synonym for love itself. Their “untimely deaths” ultimately unite their feuding households.

4. Peeta and Katniss
Peeta and Katniss from Suzanne’s Collins’ The Hunger Games – I loved them in the first book, and even more in the second. Throughout the third book I was with my fingers crossed that they would get together, and thankfully they did. Drawn together by a dystopian gladiator-style tournament, we want them to succeed. But there are moments of humour, especially on Peeta’s part, that I think take them from good to great.

5. Heathcliff and Catherine
They are one of the best-loved literary couples, and one of the worst. Catherine and Heathcliff’s relationship can only be described as mutually destructive and abusive. They spend most of their time trying to hurt the other in the most malevolent means possible. It’s the kind of obsessive love that prioritises control over a person and loses sight of the individual’s happiness.

6. Marianne and Willoughby
In Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility we watch as the second Dashwood daughter, flirts and begins a dazzling and romantic relationship with the young dashing Willoughby who woos and charms all the ladies in the family. If only they knew what he was like? Willoughby is a man who would marry only for money and we see just how much he means of that when he leaves poor Marianne broken hearted, for a woman who has a wealthy dowry. We later learn that Willoughby had a love affair with another poor young woman, leaving her with child. So he doesn’t seem all that great now. Marianne herself is so heartbroken that she goes on a walk to his home while a thunder storm is overhead – no consciousness to her health. Her heartbroken and wistfulness of Willoughby causes her to nearly die due to her becoming ill. But, thankfully Austen full believe of happy endings, gives Marianne the love she deserves in the man of Colonel Brandon.

7. Amy and Nick Dunne
If you’ve read Gone Girl, you can definitely see what I mean by the worst couple in literature. They’ve both lied about who they really are, as a way to make them seem more perfect in the eye of the other, but as the marriage has progressed, this lie has become difficult to preserve, and so they slowly reveal what they really are. Five years in on the marriage, where the story takes place, Amy and Nick are toxic to each other – but in a way also good for each other. Nick is cheating on Amy, and Amy takes this not very well, and fakes her death to blame it on Nick. However when Nick realises this is all of Amy’s doing, the investigation, the questions, Nick plays the game, as he during a broadcast interview pretends to be the apologetic husband who has cheated and who still loves his wife very much – adding in the watch that he hates, but Amy gave it to him, to give the overall picture of a dotting husband. Amy returns to him, wanting that real picture perfect of husband and wife that they had. In the end they are stuck together.

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Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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(From Goodreads) Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

I loved the idea that the whole story is based on the surrounding circumstances of a train ride, where Rachel happens to see something that she shouldn’t have. This whole idea is terrifyingly good; because everyone has in one time of their life caught a train and looked outside the window. As Rachel catches the train every day from Ashbury to London and returns in the afternoon, we learn that she has a disconcerting obsession with a couple “Jason and Jess”, whose house she passes on her train commute. And as she gazes out of the window she witnesses something that she shouldn’t have. These blend of every normal activity, catching the train and then with the mysterious element is one thing that I like about the book. It’s a good premise for a thriller. Who hasn’t gazed from a train window and imagined the lives of others?

Your sympathies and suspicions shift as the story develops. Rachel’s alcoholism is a plot device and not an illness, as it keeps the story going forward and thickening with drama, because you know she knows something but she can’t recall it because she has no memory of that night when she had been drinking. You are pulled into the story, as Rachel tries to put her fractured pieces of her mind back together and the conclusion is a twist that should leave you waiting for Hawkins next novel, because it was such a great ending.
The book explores power, betrayal, relationships, while ratcheting tension.
Overall it was a great book.

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Book Review: Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson

before i go to sleep

(From Goodreads) As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child, thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me…Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.
Welcome to Christine’s life.

THE MERMORY LOSS: It is quite a scary thing to imagine about waking up every morning and not remembering who you are. It is disturbing at some level, which just makes you so engrossed in the story of Christine’s life, a life that as a reader, you find difficult to actually consider how terrifying it would be to lose everything that makes you who you are, your memories that have been made, created your path for your life are all now lost. And in this book this is just all thrown up in wind, with Christine suffering through day in day out with realising that she is someone else, but is that someone real or just a lie.
HUSBAND AND WIFE RELATIONSHIP: At the core of the story is the relationship between Christine and her husband, Ben and how they both deal with her amnesia. This dramatic background in a normal suburban town is a view of this struggling family with secrets, deceit and half-truths as Christine writes in her dairy telling her thoughts and feelings about Ben. Can she trust him? Does she love him? You feel connected to Christine as you read her dairy that she keeps and struggle with her to learn what memories are true and if Ben is telling her the whole truth.
THE ENDING: The book wraps the story quickly in the end, a bit fast, but you are given the reveal of the main plot twist that you might’ve seen coming or not.

Overall, it was an interesting read and favourably enjoyable.

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