Saturday, December 9, 2017

Review: Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans

5 stars for Promise Me by Richard Paul Evans.

December is often a good month to read festive novels to get in the Christmas mood. This year, I decide to kickstart the holiday spirit with a book by one of my favourite authors.

Frankly speaking, I did not like this story at first but if history teaches us anything, it is that anything is possible and the unlikely is likely. And that is exactly what happens for all of a sudden, I find myself liking the story more and more and even loving the absurd idea of it all.

With the exception to the broken promise that makes me detest this story initially, there are just so many things to adore on reading author Evans' books.

The most significant of all is that it improves my knowledge and widens my perspective. The last was about Tics (Tourette's syndrome) when I read The Gift and this time, it is about Celiac Sprue, also known as Celiac disease, and people who suffer from this hard to disgnose disease are actually allergic to gluten.

Taken verbatim from the book,

“When someone with celiac eats something containing gluten, the gluten causes a reaction that damages the intestine and makes the body unable to absorb nutrients, which, of course, can lead to a whole host of nasty problems—weight loss, anemia, malnutrition, seizures, even cancer.”

Symptoms of celiac sprue include gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating. Other related symptoms include irritability, anemia, upset stomach, joint pain, skin rash, etc. Celiac can cause malabsorption, with such symptoms as weight loss, stunted growth, cramps, fatigue, and weakness.”

There are moments of our lives that come and go and barely leave an imprint, but, for me, reading Promise Me isn't one of them. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill Christmas story. It is a beautiful life-changing story of loss, of trust, of hope, of love, and of Christmas miracles.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

5 stars for The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon.

This is a story about..

.. the gifts of sight, of magic, of walking between the worlds, of supernatural and conspiracy theories;

.. a place called the Devil's Hand, or rather, different versions of it but with one common trait - it is an evil place and bad luck follows people who go there;

.. Sara Harrison Shea who is famous for how she died and her secret journals titled Visitors from the Other Side that her niece publishes which read like real-life murder mystery

Beneath it all, it is a story that asks this very question: if you have lost someone you love, will you not give almost anything to have the chance to see them and have them back again?

All in all, The Winter People has all the makings of a blockbuster movie - suspense, mystery, thriller and horror. I am certainly creeped out by the developments of the story - the secrets, the choices, the past, the present and how everything is linked up - even as I feel the suffering and heartbreak for those close to the victims. I will definitely give the theatre a go if this book is ever made into a movie.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: The Blind by A. F. Brady

Did Not Finish The Blind by A. F. Brady.

This is the third book within a month that I have given up reading on. Oh dear.. what is happening?

By right, I should enjoy reading this debut novel as the storyline is a refreshing change from what my usual reads; the protagonist is a psychologist and works in a mental institution. But then, it turns out to be so not my cup of tea.

I try to like the story. I really do but the more I read on, the more depressing it gets as the protagonist instead of helping the patients, plunges into a downward spiral on her own.

At 35% of the book, the narratives get so ridiculously sad and painful and miserable that I have to stop reading or seek help on my state of mind.

Let's hope the next book will be better.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Did Not Finish Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.

Too much hype can hurt a story, especially when readers realize that their expectations have not been met.

Well.. Practical Magic certainly fails to live up to my expectations. Either the magic in the story is way too practical for my taste or the practical setting of the story is too far removed from my idea of magic. In any case, the story is not magical nor exciting enough to sustain my interest.

There are a total of four parts to the story, namely Superstition, Premonitions, Clairvoyance and Levitation. I manage to finish Part I only to find myself struggling to move beyond 36% at Part II.

Sometimes we have to decide whether it is worth turning the page or whether it is time to close the book. In this case, I choose the latter by closing the book with a flourish.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: Vacant (Mindspace Investigations #4) by Alex Hughes

4 stars for Vacant (Mindspace Investigations book 4) by Alex Hughes.

What is Mindspace exactly? It is the space in which minds interact with the world, through a medium which no one truly understands.

Here, in Vacant, there are lessons taught on how to be more in charge of your own space, your own head, your own mind; lessons on how to seal up the mental walls, put in siding, add on big doors and windows that are strong enough to let the world in when you want to and then shut it out when you choose to.

Yes, Mindspace is not the safest place in the world; telepaths run the risk of losing their way, or worst still, losing themselves. But as life has a way of unfolding as it is meant to, our Boy Wonder does not get to choose; he has a kid to keep safe and a vision to stop.

Together as one, I have a wonderful time losing myself in Mindspace with Boy Wonder on top of witnesses, politics and everything else.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Review: Marked (Mindspace Investigations #3) by Alex Hughes

5 stars for Marked (Mindspace Investigations book 3) by Alex Hughes.

It has been three years. Three long years since I see the world through the eyes of a Level Eight telepath. I have almost forgotten how it feels, the pains and the gains, to be able to get into and out of the deepest part of people's minds quickly and without them knowing. However, I do remember with vivid clarity the wonders of Mindspace; it feels as if I have returned home.

Truth is, I have been afraid of reaching the inevitable, the end of Mindspace Investigations series. And so, I procrastinate reading the books, year after year after year, in the hope of seeing more instalments forthcoming. Well, it seems like I am in for a disappointment. But a girl can always hope, right?

In this book 3, our protagonist is caught in a power struggle of epic Guild proportions, for a dangerous cause that he has nothing to do with. To make matters worse, trouble is brewing and no one understands what that madness is or how it transmits: waterborne or airborne or via deep-mind contact. To each his own, all telepaths including our Boy Wonder will have to do whatever it takes to survive.

Well.. since this series is told from Boy Wonder's first person point of view, I know with absolute certainty that he will never die in any of the stories. My only concern is that the series itself die out; if or when it happens, I shall be absolutely devastated. Right now, I am keeping my fingers crossed. Let's hope that the author has plans to continue with more books.

Coming up next in the queue.. Bingo! Book 4 Vacant; the latest book since 2014 that I have known to be published and available.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Review: Killing Sarai (In the Company of Killers #1) by J. A. Redmerski

Did Not Finish Killing Sarai (In the Company of Killers book 1) by J. A. Redmerski.

I have tried. I really did, but..

Killing Sarai starts out fine, not absorbingly amazing but not too bad either.

Unfortunately, I am neither expecting nor looking forward to first person narratives from both the male and female protagonists. So you can imagine how flabbergasted I am when I come to a chapter where the point of view swaps from Sarai to Victor. Gosh! That is uncalled for and totally kills off whatever remains of my interest in the story.

I try to read the book as it is. I really do. But.. at 30% of the story, enough is enough. I may pick the book up to continue where I leave off some day. One day. Perhaps..

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review: The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

1 star for The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics.

It is never my intention to rate books poorly in a row. But as fate would have it, bad things come in twos, and so this book ends up with a 1-star rating.

The Women in the Walls. The title alone gives me the creeps and sends chills down my spine. After reading the first chapter, I decide to continue with it as the initial horror has captured my full attention. Time ticks away and before I know it, I have covered three-quarters of the book in a single day.

Unfortunately, three-quarters of the book is also where the stars start to wave goodbye one by one and fly away of its own volition. This story will have impressed me all the way from beginning to the end if I am still in my teens and ready for a good scare. As it is, I am not, and the more I read on, the more far-fetched the story becomes. The plot degenerates to such a fluff at one point that I wonder why I am still reading it.

Some people awake to escape their nightmares. I awake into one; the horrors of reading a horror story gone awry. I have never been more glad to reach the end of such a tale. To this end, I shall happily put it all behind me now.