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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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

Image result for into the water

   [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.

The Circle [A Review]

The Circle by Dave Eggers

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   [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.

 

End of Watch [A Review]

End of Watch, by Stephen King

Image result for end of watch stephen king

   [Image courtesy of Goodreads.com]

 

I love Stephen King’s books, and this one has not disappointed me. 

The pace of the book is so fast, that I would have devoured it in one reading marathon if I could, but of course family and work duties didn’t give me that luxury. In the end, frustrated from having to tear myself away from the book each time I had to put it down, I sacrificed two hours of my sleep and finished the second half in one seating. 

King writes in a way that few can, and draws me into his characters every single time I read him. His mastery of the language helps, because the dialogues he creates give life to his characters, and his no-nonsense way of delivering a scene means it doesn’t come with pretentious descriptions or snotty words that some writers like to produce (and which, more often than not, tend to irritate me so much that I will just dump the book).

Some may say this finale to the trilogy is not as good as the first, and I have to admit, the ending was rather predictable. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. It didn’t stop that chill running down my spine either. King knows his craft well, and in the last decade or so, he has been using that craft to write about horrors that can be very real in today’s world.

Oh, and besides that chill, King has managed to make me cry at the end.

VERDICT: Read it!!! Get the entire Bill Hodges trilogy, if you haven’t read the first two books yet.

Life’s Complicated for a Grownup [A Review]

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

gillian flynn - the grownup

   [Image courtesy of bookdepository.com]

 

This is a novella that I finished in one (very short) seating. 

I’ve never been a big fan of short stories (maybe except for those that Roald Dahl wrote), partly because the story’s usually over before I could grow to like or hate the characters.

Ironically, a third of this story was dedicated to the protagonist’s history and background, and I didn’t like it. I’m not sure why, but I think I was expecting Flynn to get to the story more quickly, given that there were not many pages to the book. What saved the book was probably the fact that Flynn wrote it in a highly readable and engaging style that tended to keep the reader turning the page.

I’m glad I didn’t abandon the book before I reached the mid-way point though, because that was when the story finally got interesting, and I was rewarded with a Gillian Flynn twist that I wasn’t expecting. 

VERDICT: Don’t compare this with Gone Girl, and don’t expect to have a conclusive ending to this story. I can’t tell you more than that without betraying what such a short story can offer.

For those who want to know a little about the story line, here’s an overview from bookdepository.com:

A young woman is making a living faking it as a cut-price psychic (with some illegal soft-core sex work on the side). She makes a decent wage mostly by telling people what they want to hear. But then she meets Susan Burke. Susan moved to the city one year ago with her husband and 15-year-old stepson Miles. They live in a Victorian house called Carterhook Manor. Susan has become convinced that some malevolent spirit is inhabiting their home. The young woman doesn’t believe in exorcism or the supernatural. However when she enters the house for the first time, she begins to feel it too, as if the very house is watching her, waiting, biding its time …The Grownup, which originally appeared as ‘What Do You Do?’ in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.