Book Review: Nothing Lasts Forever by Sidney Sheldon

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This is another one of those books that we all can finish in one-sitting, nonstop reading.

Nothing lasts forever is an easy-to-follow storyline with characters that represent varied and distinct personalities that many might find easy to relate. Unlike a number of medical drama that mostly includes suspense, this presents a fascinating mixture of romance, family story, and office politics all meshed around our main characters’ predicaments.

Common but at the same time complex story conflict

This story is set in a time when female doctors are viewed as inferior professionals compared to their male counterparts. They aren’t revered as much as their male counterparts and are usually the subject of harassment and bullying. Nothing new, really.

But it becomes interesting by looking at the backstory of the main characters:

Dr. Paige Taylor who grew up with her father – a WHO (World Health Organization) doctor who traveled around the world, servicing tribes and communities with no access to hospital facilities. These frequent travels enabled Paige to learn various local dialects while enhancing her cultural knowledge.

Dr. Kat Hunter, a runaway teen who was abused by her stepfather. She found hope on her aunt’s constant encouragement and her love for her little brother, Mike. Never the ‘people person,’ Kat pretty much did well on her own – eventually braving the profession dominated by men.

Dr. Honey  Taft who was considered inferior among her family of over-achievers. The constant pressure to excel on something made her succumb to unconventional methods to get what she needs. Her natural warm and vulnerable bearing became an asset – something which she soon learned to be a double-edged sword.

Amidst their differences, they all somehow managed to stay together, drawing strength from their common prejudice and excelling well on their respective fields.

But even at that, they never really fully knew who was who.

Honey spoke very little. There’s a shyness about her, Paige thought. She’s vulnerable. Some man in Memphis probably broke her heart.

Paige looked at Kat. Self-confident. Great dignity. I like the way she speaks. You can tell she came from a good family.

Meanwhile, Kat was studying Paige. A rich girl who never had to work for anything in her life. She’s gotten by on her looks.

Honey was looking at the two of them. They’re so confident, so sure of themselves. They’re going to have an easy time of it.

They were all mistaken.

Strong individuality

What I think drove the story forward is the strong individuality of the characters more than that of the plot’s twists and turns. The revelations weren’t that surprising, and few were predictable, but thinking of how Paige, Kat, and Honey would react on the situations thrown at them kept me hooked.

They value their profession, but their priority lists don’t necessarily show it’s the only thing that matters.

Paige has her romantic idealism. Kat has her brother. And Honey has her family.  Personal factors that can always throw even the most straight-headed personality out of balance. One just has to place them in peril.

And Sidney Sheldon did just that.

It’s because these characters were very well crafted that makes them real and memorable. You can get the sequence of events jumbled up, but you’ll forever remember how each character acted.

RATING:

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ / 5

MOOD:

😀

Get your copy from Book Depository! 

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Book Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Makes breathless reading from first to the unexpected last.OBSERVER

I love this book.

This is my first Agatha Christie read and it was very much worth it! No regrets.

It has an easy-to-follow narrative with well-written characters that all had motives for the book’s eventual murder case. But most of all, it has that very likable detective which I think just climbed up my top favorites list.

Let’s talk about Hercule Poirot

Who is the real star of the story (and basically in the whole Poirot installment)… He is a nice fellow, who can easily pass as anyone’s casual acquaintance. His presence in the Murder of Roger Ackroyd wasn’t the plan. He was merely taking a vacation, away from work, when the unfortunate murder happened.

But because he is the ‘Hercule Poirot’ whose name already made headlines, he was bound to somehow be involved.

But it wasn’t his wit or profession, though it’s a part of it, that made me love his character – and the story. It was his obvious sensitivity and knowledge of the human psyche.

One can press a man as far as one likes – but with a woman one must not press too far. For a woman has at heart great desire to speak the truth. – Hercule Poirot

He is as real as anyone else could be in the story. He is confident but never arrogant; secretive but not suspicious. He gives that feeling of a strange mix of opposites that never overpowers the readers but instead balances out all of the attributes that make him unique.

He is a welcome mystery to me. A good storyteller, too!

Whereas a lot of main leads from other detective stories give off that air of intimidation and spot on ‘know-it-all’ vibe, Hercule Poirot is breath of fresh air. He is that detective who you will want to sit down and listen to for hours. At least that’s how it is for me!

Stitching the story’s missing links….

Was downright impressive!

Not all mystery writers do that. A lot of times you are presented with the core case – and that is all that matters. Detective A works with the rest of the characters to solve the mystery, backtracking previous events all the while introducing those people whom the victim interacted with, their motives and benefits for the latter’s demise.

Twists and shocking revelations are added on the way to add drama or suspense.

Agatha Christie wrote this in a way that makes me appreciate the beauty of looking beyond the current case and understanding the character’s role in it regardless if it’s directly related to the murder.

She, through Poirot, revealed side stories with their own life. Most didn’t have anything to do with the case but important nonetheless in dismissing the involvement of those people as the murder.

At the end of the day, it’s the knowledge of those minor details that led to the true murderer’s identity.

The shocking last…

I will just leave this here:  You can never prepare for what she has written for you. 


So YES! I am recommending this book for fans and non-fans of mystery novels! It’s something to enjoy in one-sitting that I’m confident will leave an impression. You might even end up rereading it again and again….I’m planning a second round myself.

Rating:

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ /  5

Mood: 

😮 😮 😮 😮

Thoughts on The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer

Heart-pounding…the novel’s overall theme of family resonates, and the relentless pace and twists of the narrative sizzle on the page.Library Journal

I have a fair deal of reading favorites when it comes to the mystery/suspense genre. And while I’m far from being an expert, I can easily add or dismiss a book based on how it appeals to me on the first 3 chapters.

The Book of Lies had me in the first chapter.

It’s curious, fast, and dramatic, and when combined in the opening act, how can you resist?

One element that is worth mentioning and something which sets it apart from many  suspense stories is the ‘family angle.’ Whereas a lot of work belonging to the same genre introduces villains and protagonists as having some direct connections with huge conspiracies, The Book of Lies builds up in a story of a boy’s personal family loss and how it affected his actions which eventually led him on the quest to find one of the world’s greatest mysteries while at the same time struggling to keep himself (and his loved ones) alive.

The ‘family theme’ has remained intact throughout the narrative. It never got lost.

The Book of Lies quote

We also see a very unique mystery twist between pop culture and the Bible. With Superman’s history being brought at the center stage and how it relates to the world’s very first murder – that of the Bible’s Cain and Abel. Who would’ve thought, right?

Only Meltzer.

But it’s quite anticlimactic at the end and a part of me (the adrenaline-induced me) wished to find something a bit more shocking. I mean, all these times people died and killed for that single mystery behind ‘The Book of Lies!’  It must be worth those lives!

But perhaps it is. After all, most of the answers to complex riddles are found in plain sight. We just don’t see it. This story is one of those. Beautifully delivered.

It’s an intriguing treat, with a unique ingredient to fans of Bible mystery fiction. Plus, the family drama is worth the read!

Rating:

                    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ / 5                   

Mood:

😎       

Book Review: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

You want a real page-turner, but you don’t want to tarnish your reputation for literary taste. THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL is your kind of…book.Janice Numura, Newsday

Historical facts can easily get lost in a pool of fictional narrative, but what’s the harm?

First off, the book is very clear on one thing – A WORK OF FICTION. A fabrication, inspired by the existence of real-life individuals of the past. Surely, one can’t expect a blow-by-blow recount of who did what.

I’ve read several reviews from dissatisfied readers who are straightforward in their dislike for this book – on how it supposedly distorted history and exaggerated the characters’ experiences to favor drama.

But isn’t that a crucial point for all fictitious works?

The challenge is to learn how to mindfully recognize facts from fiction and still enjoy the mixture of both – not exactly easy.

First, Ms. Gregory crafted the characters in a way that made them alive and highly human for the readers to relate. She writes beautifully in a way that makes it easy to believe that the lines were actually spoken by Mary or the late Queen Anne Boleyn. Characterization was consistent, and she takes care of everyone, making sure that they do their part as they did in history, but of course with an added spice.

A look into Mary Boleyn’s thoughts:

But Queen Katherine was more to her husband than an ally in wartime. However much I might please Henry, he was still her boy – her lovely indulged spoilt golden boy. He might summon me or any other girl to his room, without disturbing the constant steady affection between them which had sprung from her ability, long ago, to love this man who was more foolish, more selfish, and less of a prince than she was a princess. 

Second, the sequence and presentation of events were pretty much how it really was.

Third has something to do with the details used to fill in the gaps that remained a mystery throughout history. I always find it welcome to read something out of one’s imagination to fill that void. The intrigue and conspiracy are dominant in this work. 

I would still say, though that this isn’t for everyone – as with other books. But for fans of England’s rich monarchial history and those who remain fascinated by Queen Anne (just like me), then this is an easy, fast-paced read worth a try.

Rating:

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ / 5

Mood:

🙂

Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – A Review

Gloriously eccentric and wonderfully intelligent. – The Boston Globe

How far will you go to solve a neighborhood murder?

Perhaps not that far. Most likely not at all.

Murder is dangerous. And dangerous things are bound to get you in trouble. Or your family. Or friends. Even the innocent lives of those who become aware of your quest to solving the mystery.

But 15-year old Christopher John Francis Boone believed in the importance of solving this particular murder – the bloody demise of their neighbor’s dog, Wellington.

A Personal Take

This is an interesting read that combines humor and wit in an easy-to-follow storyline. It’s that type of book that you can finish in one sitting and that which can be hard to put down once you get yourself at ease with Christopher.

I find his character interesting, weird at so many points, but definitely a likable kid. Five simple facts about him include:

He is a Math prodigy. And he knows it. 

And that is why I am good at chess and maths and logic, because most people are almost blind and they don’t see most things and there is lots of spare capacity in their heads and it is filled with things which aren’t connected and are silly, like, “I’m worried that I might have left the gas cooker on.”

He finds people confusing. For two reasons according to him:

  • Because ‘people do a lot of talking without using any words’
  • ‘ people often talk using metaphors.

He hates the color yellow.

It’s unlikely for him to lie. He doesn’t lie.

This is another reason why I don’t like proper novels, because they are lies about things which didn’t happen and they make me feel shake and scared.

He doesn’t like to be touched. Nor shouted at.

What started as an innocent quest for a kid to solve a dog’s murder is really a story of family, acceptance, and reconciliation. It’s a nice read that leaves me a feeling of gratitude.

We can learn a thing or two from Christopher. Few of which, are those we often take for granted.