Yesterday [A Review]

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

Image result for yesterday felicia yap

   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

What a pity. 

This book had such a promising premise. I mean, questions like “how do you solve a crime if your brain forgets and resets itself at the end of each day?”, “how do you know you can love and trust your spouse if you cannot remember what happened two days ago?” and “is long-term memory really better than short-term memory?” have so much potential.

I want to like it, but I can’t help feeling disappointed. It’s simply a neither-here-nor-there novel, that has an interesting idea but just not executed well enough.

Not quite science fiction, because other than the fact that almost everyone in the story had only one-day or two-day memories, there was little else sci-fi about the book.

Not quite mystery-thriller, because the pace was just not fast enough, and I was able to guess the twists (if you can call them that) somewhere in the middle.

Not quite philosophical, because I thought the attempt to establish the link between love, hatred and memories felt a tad too weak and corny.

Now I don’t know how to categorize my review… Oh I so wish this had been done better!

VERDICT: You might like the different-perspective style Felicia Yap has adopted if you are a Paula Hawkins fan, but don’t expect to be wowed by the story.

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Christine [A Review]

Christine by Stephen King

Image result for christine stephen king

   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

This title is one of the very few Stephen King ones that I’ve not read before. I think it’s because I tried it when I was a young teenager, and I didn’t like the first chapter. Yes I know, the story happened to Arnie and Dennis, who were teenagers themselves. But I think I couldn’t understand some of the slang and references to car parts then. With the recent hype about “IT” on the silver screen, I decided to try this again.

Well, I think this is not one of my favourites. It felt like watching a super old horror movie with limited and weak special effects, and it wasn’t scary at all. 

This book probably also reinforces a phrase that I must have read somewhere before: There’s a time for every book. 

Somehow, both my times with “Christine” were not right.

VERDICT: It feels odd to give a verdict for such an old book. I can only say it reads like a conventional Stephen King work, except that it didn’t scare me as much.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore [A Review]

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Image result for midnight at bright ideas bookstore

   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

Three things struck me as I was reading this book.

One – Bookstores are a safe haven for weirdos. 

Two – Some of the gory parts read almost like something from a  Stephen King book, especially the bits with the “egg-cracking” sounds. Almost.

Three – Marital affairs seem to be the norm here.

Nevertheless, I have to admit I enjoyed the book. Sullivan’s prose flows in a way that makes the book a comfortable read. Other than that, I’m not quite sure what to make of the book, so I’m going to do this review in Q&A format:

Was the pace just right? Yes for a story; no for a mystery/thriller.

Were the characters believable? Yes, mostly, although I thought the descriptions of the emotions that led to the “deeds” were weak and rather lacking.

Was I surprised by who the Hammerman was? Not really.

Did I like the ending? The plot points sort of work, but the ending seemed kind of hastily executed.

VERDICT: I have mixed feelings about this. You might enjoy it more if you go in without any expectations.

Magpie Murders [A Review]

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Image result for magpie murders

   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

This is brilliant! Story within a story, two mysteries in one book.

I used to devour Agatha Christie books, and I’ve always liked a good modern whodunit. This book combines both, though I think Horowitz did a better job with the Agatha-Christie-like mystery in it. The puzzles, anagrams and red herrings were clever, and the pace of the story was just right.

Horowitz also used different font types to differentiate not just the two stories, but also different writings by different characters in the book. I think he (or the publisher/editor) did a great job using the right font types to influence the reader’s perception of good and bad writing, old and modern writing.

I really enjoyed the book, and now I’m on a roll to a crime/mystery binge! Oh, and I’m going to get my hands on his latest book.

VERDICT: If you are an Agatha Christie fan and wish that she were still alive to write a new mystery, read this book!

 

Into the Water [A Review]

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

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   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

It took me a while to decide to give Hawkins a second try, because I didn’t really like her first book The Girl on the Train, despite its popularity when it came out. I simply found it too dark, and at times I felt like the protagonist – miserable. This probably meant that Hawkins has a real talent for bringing out human emotions and instincts, and succeeded in drawing me into the character’s world, but it was just not my cup of tea.

For this book, however, Hawkins seemed to have pulled back slightly on the dark emotions, and the effect was just right. I have to say I enjoyed it, although the ending was not unpredictable. It’s probably not the best of mysteries, but her superior and intimate writing style just drew me in. Reading has always been about broadening perspectives for me, and the way Hawkins has provided so many angles to the story, while maintaining the pace and plot, is something that I appreciate.

VERDICT: If you read this, read it for the interesting way Hawkins brings out each character. Do not expect to be surprised by the ending.

Release [A Review]

Release, by Patrick Ness

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   [Image courtesy of Goodreads]

Patrick Ness is a master of metaphors.

Like A Monster Calls, this book is beautifully written, in a way that’s intimate yet subtle, and fleshes out the characters and plot through powerful dialogues. It’s a short story, but it took me a while to appreciate the emotions and messages that Ness tries to convey through it. And I think it will take me a few re-reads to get it more deeply, because I don’t think I got all of it, especially the link between the Queen, the girl who was murdered and Adam.

I shall not say too much about the book, because I don’t wish to spoil it for anyone who intends to give it a try. And it’s important for one to feel this tale for herself/himself.

VERDICT: This is only for readers who are comfortable with indirect references to the soul of what the writer is trying to express.

The Circle [A Review]

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Image result for the circle book

   [Image courtesy of Penguin Random House]

 

I’m disappointed! 

The premise is an interesting one, and the fact that it got made into a movie, it must at least have something in there right?

But all I got were a predictable plot, two-dimensional characters, staccato narration, and an abrupt ending. Even the use of the scene where the shark devoured the octopus and seahorses as an analogy of what The Circle was doing was weak.

Now I wonder how bad the movie was, although the leads are among my favourites!

VERDICT: This is definitely not for science fiction/tech thriller fans, because it’s hardly that.