Tag Archives: Bookdepository

Book review by @FTThum – Second Life by @SJ_Watson

I read SJ Watson’s debut novel ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ when it was released in 2011, which was then made into a film in 2014 starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.  I enjoyed the book tremendously so when his second book ‘Second Life’ was released in February this year, how could I possibly resist?

 

second life book coverTitle:               Second Life
Author:          SJ Watson
Publisher:    Doubleday (2015)
ISBN:             9781922079251 (paperback)
ASIN:             9781921961472 (ebook)
Website:       http://www.sjwatson-books.com/
Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/S.J.Watson.Writer
Genre:          
Fiction, Psychological thriller

 

 

What’s it about?

How well do we truly know another?

When Julia Plummer’s sister, Kate, is found dead in Paris in suspicious circumstances, she sets out to uncover the truth. This takes her into the world of internet dating and hook-ups where her sister was known to traverse. All this at the risk of jeopardizing her relationship with her husband and the life of her son.  It is gradually revealed that Julia’s 14-year-old son, Connor is actually Kate’s child, the result of a fling with an unknown man.  Julia, now a professional photographer, appears to be a respectable middle-class woman, a dedicated mother. Then her past returns to haunt her – her alcoholism from her days in Berlin. Julia is trapped in her mind – constantly questioning her own motivations and desires; ignoring her intuition and burdened with baggage.

While Julia is filled with pathos (complete with baggage), there is a lack of depth in comparison for the other characters, particularly that of Lukas, the man Julia met online. The same for her long-suffering husband, Hugh who is 10-years older encountering problems of his own.

Watson’s attempt at eroticism through Julia’s ‘online dating’ seems forced, although his portrayal of the dark side of internet relationships is horrifying. The voice of Julia is less believable than the voice of Christine of Watson’s first book. The ending is for me dissatisfying – abrupt and utterly convenient.

Simply put, this second book of Watson’s did not live up to his first.   Nevertheless, it is entertaining.

Recommendation:

This book is a well paced and easy to read psychological thriller with enough suspense to carry it through, yet containing loop holes easily identifiable if one is to go looking. So don’t. Just read for near-mindless pleasure.

LWI Rating:

Realistic Characterization: 3/5
Made Me Think:                   3/5
Overall enjoyment:             3.5/5
Readability:                            4/5
Recommended:                    3/5

Overall Rating:                    3/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Hardback USD 19.88
  Paperback USD 19.88
  Kindle USD 9.99
Bookdepository Hardback Euro 19.47
  Paperback Euro 14.52
Booktopia Paperback AUD 25.50
  Ebook AUD 42.40

 

Happy reading!
– FlorenceT

 

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

Florence 2

#BookReview @FTThum – Straight Jacket by Adrian Deans

This book was published in 2013, I read it at the end of that year…and re-read it recently.

It deserves a review. Why? Read on.

straight jacket

Title:             Straight Jacket
Author:          Adrian Deans
Publisher:     High Horse Books (7 August 2013)
ISBN-10:        0646906259
ISBN-13:        9780646906256
Website:        http://www.adriandeans.com/
Pages:           Paperback, 278 pages
Facebook:       https://www.facebook.com/StraightJacket242
Genre:            Fiction – Crime

 

What’s it about?

“If God is too indifferent, or too non-existent to take care of His creation, then clearly it’s up to Me.”

This is Morgen Tanjenz, a lawyer with a God complex, or maybe Devil complex… or simply misunderstood? As he intervenes in the lives of those around him, his life intersects with Detective Sergeant Peter ‘Blacksnake’ Fowler who has problems of his own not least the woman he loves is having an affair. With a serial killer on the loose, Fowler is under intense pressure, and the pressure valve is sure to explode when taunted by the likes of Morgen?

This is an edgy crime novel set in Sydney – dark and interspersed with moments of humour. The protagonist and other characters are quirky and believable, a twist from the usual crime novel characterisations.  And what’s with the cicada on the book cover…and the reference throughout to these insects prominent in the Sydney-scape in summer?

Deans once again has enthralled his readers with his dark sense of humour and unusual perspectives. A book for those willing to explore difference and open to the less than beautiful side of life – its sexual overtones and drugs usage. Morgen is not a lovable character, I don’t think, but captivating.  I want to be on his side. Compelling read as I begin to invest in Morgen’s life – curious to know what happens to him, not wanting anything negative to occur to him. Persuasive writing.

Definitely a worthwhile book to read, especially if you enjoy intense dark crime novels with drama and humour.

LWI Rating:
Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 3.5/5
Readability: 3.5/5
Recommended: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Kindle USD 5.27
Bookdepository Paperback Not available at present
Booktopia Paperback AUD 21.25
eBook AUD 4.50

 

Florence 2– FlorenceT

@FTThum

MeaningsAndMusings.WordPress.com

 

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com 2015

#BookReview @FTThum – All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness @DebHarkness

The ‘All Souls Trilogy’ by Deborah Harkness consists of:

 

discovery of witchesTitle:               A Discovery of Witches (Book 1)
ISBN 10:        0670022411
ISBN 13:        9780670022410
Publisher:       Penguin USA
Publication date: 8 February 2011
Pages:             592 pages

shadow of night

 

 

 

Title:               Shadow of Night (Book 2)
ISBN 10:        0670023485
ISBN 13:        9780670023486
Publisher:       Penguin USA
Publication date: 10 July 2012
Pages:             592 pages

book of life

 

Title:               The Book of Life (Book 3)
ISBN 10:        0670025593
ISBN 13:        9780670025596
Publisher:       Vikings Books
Publication date: 15 July 2014
Pages:             561 pages

 

 

 

Genre:            Fiction – Fantasy
Website:        http://deborahharkness.com/all-souls-trilogy/
Twitter:         @DebHarkness
Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahHarkness 

 

What’s it about?

The All Souls Trilogy centres on two protagonists, Diana Bishop, a witch yet to come to her full power, and Matthew Clairmont, a vampire determined to find the origin of species. It is set in our world with one distinction – daemons, vampires and witches dwell here too, hiding their essential nature, and unbeknownst to humans, have been co-existing with us since forever. If you are associating this with the ‘Twilight’ series, don’t. It is not. To suggest it is a thinking person’s ‘Twilight’ would do the Trilogy a great disservice. It is so much more.

Deborah Harkness is a professor of history and teaches European history and the history of science at the University of Southern California. Her vast scholarly knowledge is evident within the pages of these 3 books. The science is so intricately woven and the history exact. Of course there is literary or artistic license but then the reader will know where they lie.

Harkness’ depiction of the creatures and each character in this compelling tale is flawless. It is so believable that I can almost see demons, vampires, and witches living in this world of ours.

All Souls Trilogy is a story of acceptance and denial, of collaboration and division, of love and loss, of trust and betrayal, of family and enemies, and ultimately it is a story of acknowledging and being true to oneself.

Now, to each book in the Trilogy:

Discovery of Witches (Book 1)

I picked this book up in the local library. I was bored and thought to try something new – I am not usually a Fantasy book reader. I was hooked from Page 1 and finished the book in no time.

This first book touches the heart. It begins with Diana, an American and Yale historian over in Oxford researching at the Bodleian Library whereupon she attracts from the archives an alchemical manuscript of Elias Ashmole with missing pages of great significance. Diana is also a woman in denial of her genetic heritage, for she is a witch of potential great powers.

Then there is Matthew, an Oxford biochemist, whom Diana encounters in the Bodleian Library. A vampire fully aware of his power and on the search for that elusive manuscript. A man of apparent strength and intelligence is so attractive (okay, I was drooling :-)).

Bound by a common purpose, Diana and Matthew begin their journey of discovery of their history and their future.

Harkness has created multi-dimensional characters – of Diana and Matthew, and their family and friends – which makes me so curious to meet them, to want to know their depth, and Harkness did not disappoint as I delve. Each of Diana and Matthew’s strength and vulnerability are endearing. Their relationship of love resplendent with complex emotions yet so honest. This book is a page-turner and a surprise at every turn.

Rating: 4.5/5

Shadow of Night (Book 2)

This book begins with Diana and Matthew arriving in 16th century London, using Diana’s time-walking ability. Elizabethan England is a place which Matthew is familiar. So it continues, Diana and Matthew’s search for the manuscript with stunning revelations about the manuscript, and of Matthew’s and Diana’s history.

Of the three books, this book is especially captivating for lovers of history and science. Based primarily in Tudor London, we meet the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Kit Marlowe (a daemon playwright in Harkness’ world), Thomas Harriot (a daemon astronomer) and Sir Walter Raleigh (a human confidante to the Queen).

The progress of Diana and Matthew’s relationship creates new intrigue, as they cross the great divide prohibited by the Covenant, an agreement between the 3 species, daemon, vampire and witch, which have governed the way of being for centuries. The book canvasses the notion of what intimacy can be and how it can be demonstrated through these two different-natured creatures.

It just gets better and better, as Harkness explores the meaning of loyalty and trust, and tests the limits of love. Diana accepts the possibility of her immense power and takes steps to own it. Matthew’s vulnerability is exposed, his strength a mask behind which he has hidden for centuries from all that he has been and done.

Rating: 4/5

The Book of Life (Book 3)

The Book of Life was published some 2 years after Shadow of Night. It was too long a wait for me :-).

Diana and Matthew return to 21st century France, the location of Matthew’s ancestral home. Their fiery relationship continues to be challenged as Matthew wrestles with his past and attempts to build his future, with great implications. Matthew’s journey has tested his resolve, his sense of self.  Will he learn the ultimate lesson – to trust himself and others who love him? That love is not destructive but constructive, and all powerful?

Diane fully in control of her magic and confronting the Congregation is an imagery to behold. As she takes charge, it is clear she has travelled a long way from her mind to her heart, both in her relationship with Matthew and her past.

Harkness continues to weave a story of enchantment, heartbreak, and resilience into her amazing alternative world. Reading the third book of this Trilogy, it is clear the magic of Harkness’ writing is how she manages to insinuate the supernatural creatures and substantiates normalcy in the daemon-vampire-witch-human world.

So the array of creatures is now bound by a common purpose to retrieve the manuscript and the secret to survival of the species. This final book of the All Soul’s Trilogy captures the imagination, speeding to a climatic end which comes full circle…”It began with a discovery of witches…”

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Recommendation:

Need I say more than, this Trilogy is a must-read?

If you don’t enjoy historical or fantasy fiction, step off and read something different…

And for Fantasy enthusiast, this Trilogy delivers on so many levels.

 

LWI Rating:
Realistic Characterization: 4.5/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Readability: 4.5/5
Recommended: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Buy it at:

Amazon Hardback  
  Paperback  
  Kindle  
Bookdepository Hardback
  Paperback
Booktopia Hardback
  Paperback

 

Florence 2

 

 

 

 

– FlorenceT

@FTThum

MeaningsAndMusings.WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

© Copyright-All rights reserved by litworldinterviews.wordpress.com 2015