Tag Archives: review

Book Review: The Geography of You and Me (Jennifer E. Smith)

Theirs was a relationship built on neutral ground and impartial geography: park benches and stone fountains and picnic blankets.  (Ch. 3)

A light-hearted read with an easy-to-follow narrative. Not much tension really. It’s about two teens falling in love during the most casual, but unconventional first encounter – *spoiler alert*a city-wide blackout.

But the story’s far more than just romance. It’s a story of family, life, and quest of finding oneself. It’s also a gentle reminder of how people come and go; Of how fleeting relationships can be and how simply they vanish when not nurtured.

Finding relationships don’t always come with options. But nurturing one is a personal choice.

They were like a couple of asteroids that had collided, she and Owen, briefly sparking before ricocheting off again, a little chipped, maybe even a little scarred, but with miles and miles still to go. (Ch. 10)

This is a linear read with a quite predictable outcome. Simple but not boring. But definitely not for those who want passionate romance. This isn’t it.

Book Review: Nothing Lasts Forever by Sidney Sheldon

Nothing Lasts Forever - banner

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! 

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:

😎       

Dear ABC Network, DECEPTION Needs a 2nd Season

I’ve long been a fan of crime & mystery drama series so it’s fair to say that I have my own bias when picking shows in a pool of good ones this season.

Deception, an American Series created by ABC network, was my pick 2 weeks ago and I’d say it’s one of the shows on top of my list of recommendations at least for this season.

There isn’t so much terror and bloodshed on it like my other favorites, The Blacklist and 24,  but it sure has one unique allure that sets it apart from the rest – magic.

Image: The Ringer

And while others might contest how the series potentially destroyed the mystique of magic by showing how one trick is done and all that, I’d say it’s fairly logical and entertaining.

I could say a couple of things that I like best about it but here are the key points:

  1. Family Intrigue – with members from past generations apparently growing up as magicians and most likely something more.
  2. Cameron and Jonathan – I just find the contrast so appealing in so many aspects.
Image: @bestofdeception
  1. Storytelling / Delivery / Execution – Can’t say anything bad about it. The narrative was consistent, easy-to-follow, but not boring – engaging.
  2. Mystery – With the FBI involved, we can expect crimes committed after crimes, yet we also see a significant buildup of mystery the more we learn about the characters involved. And damn if it’s not intriguing.
Image: Antredeluciole.fr

All these things considered, and I highly expected ABC to give us more!

But then again, they say don’t expect so you won’t get hurt.

Deception, apparently, will not have a second season and I just cannot wrap my head around it yet.

I mean, it’s probably not the first show that suffered the same demise in the industry. But still why?! After giving us that ending, just why?!

It holds more promises than how it started. Revelations led to us, having more questions – understandably- and that twist at the end is a vivid cue to what’s coming next.

But then what, there’s no more?

I’m not an expert and this could just me ranting my disappointment for a good show thrown away.

It has potential.

Casting may not be stellar, and yes, Cameron and Kay may not have that romantic chemistry a lot may have hoped for but guys….even without the romance, the show can hold its fort just well.

Anyway, there are several forces at work in producing the show.

So while I’m convinced how the show needs more, it’s up to the hands of the makers.

Still…

Dear ABC Network, Deception needs a 2nd season.

Image: The Ringer