Second Life by S.J Watson

aaSecond Life is a psychological thriller written by S.J Watson who is the same writer of the successful novel Before I Go To Sleep which I remember I liked.

The book is about Julia who is living a happy life in London with her husband, Hugh, and a teenage son, Connor, when suddenly her world is shaken up when her sister, Kate, was murdered in Paris. She’s convinced that the police isn’t doing the best they can to catch the culprit, so Julia decides to take matters into her own hands. She finds her sister’s filofax and inside sees something that might be a username and a password for a website that her sister frequented. Aware of the danger, she dives into the world of cybersex, living another life by trying to pretend she’s Kate which to her seems like a good idea in the hope that she may lure her sister’s killer into captive. But soon realizes she’s falling more than what she bargained for.

This is one of those books that you’ll either love or hate. I found the first part really slow moving and repetitive to the point that turning the pages and continue reading has become a real struggle for me. I’m a fan of thriller books because of the suspense, the thrill, the mystery and the feeling of adrenaline pumping through your veins which is undeniably addicting. But I didn’t feel any of that on the first half of this book which was frustrating for me.

I don’t know what’s the aim of the author for the readers to feel about Julia but for me I found her character so hateful. I don’t know if she’s dense or just plainly stupid. Even though she knows what the consequences she may have out of a certain decision but she still do it anyway. She knows that she may put her family’s welfare into danger especially her son’s but she still can’t stop herself from doing it which may have to do in a topic that this book touches on, addiction. It shows how addiction can affect one’s mental state, behavior and decision making skills.

On the second half of the book, the story slowly picked up then the twists and turns struck one after the other. It was the part that has partly satisfied the thriller-enthusiast inside me. The scenes has become gripping and exciting, one of those can’t-put-down-the-book moment until one final bomb thrown and boom! That finally spoiled it for me. The finale left me dumbfounded. I remember being wide eyed with furrowed eyebrows and the words “WHAT?! That’s it? That’s all?” came out of my mouth enough for everyone in my house to hear. It was a huge cliffhanger. I dislike cliffhangers like that because it leaves me unanswered questions. Did she or did she not?

This isn’t the first time that I have read something that has an open-ended finale and I don’t have anything against that as long as it works. It’ll give the readers their own interpretations, their own assumptions and they have to work on their own imaginations as to what might have happened next and that’s a good thing. It’s like the authors leave that part in the minds of the readers. But this time, in this book, I just don’t think it worked on me.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I think it’s not that bad after all actually. Maybe my dissatisfaction at the time of reading rooted from the immense curiosity that I have as to what might happen next, I was so engrossed to know what will Julia do and then I was left hanging.

All in all it’s not too bad of a read, maybe it’s just too slow moving for me, the adrenaline rush, the kind of thrill and suspense that I seek isn’t there. If you don’t mind reading characters like Julia who is not your typical kind of heroine or protagonist then might as well give this a read. I read reviews that some people actually loved this book.

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July Books Round-Up

My relationship with reading has been on and off since the latter half of last year and I can come up of a thousand reasons/excuses as to why, so I wouldn’t even dare and waste time for that. But July has been different, maybe that was because I was just bored to death or I was just drowning in an ocean of stress – both, actually – that I had seek refuge and escape thru the world of reading and as usual it didn’t fail to provide me those. I have contemplated of sharing my thoughts about the books just like I always did but I wasn’t really feeling it at the time, so I didn’t stress about it and just kept on reading.

So here are the books I’ve read for the month of July:

The Enchantress by Michael Scott
– This has been a long time coming. This is the last book in the author’s series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. I love this series so much, it made me a fan of reading. Yep. That happened. If you like adventure, fantasy, magic and mythology with a lot of disgusting and creepy looking creatures – at least, in my imagination- and if you don’t mind reading a six book series, read this.

Find Her by Lisa Gardner
– I was definitely on my element when I read this. Mystery, thriller, suspense … screams me. My favorite genre. I remember this has toyed with my mind. If you’re like me, who just loves thriller, give this a try.

Undercover by Danielle Steel
– I absolutely enjoyed this book. The first part may have been a little slow for me but it definitely made up on the latter half. If you know me, you’ll know romance and action is a pretty famous combo for me.

A Bend in the Road by Nicholas Sparks
– Honestly, I have a torn heart for this. I don’t love it but I don’t hate it either. It has a little bit of romance and a little bit of mystery but the climax I think is what killed it for me. The twist in the end, I found it a bit lacking. I think it’s still a decent and entertaining read.

After You by Jojo Moyes
– I have to say that I was a little hesitant to read this after the heart-wrenching, soul-breaking mess I had experienced when I read Me Before You. I even hadn’t watch the movie yet, I guess I just don’t want to go through it again. But of course with so much curiosity eating me up, I gave in and I didn’t regret. I don’t want to spoil anything if you hadn’t read it. Just read it.

Zero Excuses: Hot to live a Beautiful Life and be Cool as F*ck by Gabriel Machuret
– This has been the greatest book I’ve read so far this year. One of the books that I’d very much want to have the physical copy  of. It’s a light read, it’s practical, it’s funny, it’s true. This book made me feel so guilty about a lot of things. From start to finish, if not all then a big chunk of it strongly resonated to me. So relatable.

Six books for a month is already plenty right? But I thought I have read more than that. I hope I can read more this coming month.

Breakneck by Erica Spindler

The thing about me and book series is that I just couldn’t wait, so when I finished reading Copycat I immediately started reading Breakneck which is the second installment of the Kitt Lundren series.

Detective Kitt Lundgren and Detective Mary Catherine (M.C) Riggio partnered up again to a crime that involves young adults who are seemingly involved in illegal activities. After called up to Matt Martin’s apartment who was found dead as if he was sleeping on his bed but with his neck broken, partners Kitt and M.C were at a lost as they couldn’t find a motive because the young man’s criminal record was clean. Until at the night of M.C’s engagement party, her fiance Dan Gallo was shot on the head and not long after that M.C found her cousin, Tommy Mariano, dead on his bath tub with a shot also on the head. Then more bodies of young adults found. The case has become too close and too much for M.C that it eventually affected her and her relationship with Kitt. M.C must know who to trust and to decide whether to uphold the law or take it on her own hands.

Breakneck is the second book in the series but it can be read on its own. Breakneck was more focused on M.C and I think her character have shine in here and was explored more brought by the so much emotions that have put on her way. She showed how tough she can be, trying to hang in there despite all the things that she was going through and she also showed how fragile and vulnerable she was, always tempted to breakdown but of course being the woman that she was, she just wouldn’t let it happen. This book also showed another side of Kitt Lundgren’s character. I like how she always has M.C’s back, supporting her and always reminding her to not let the case consume her ‘cause Kitt had been there and knew that it was no good place to be. It also seemed to me that Kitt was more relax in here yet have the same fire to catch the suspect.

In this book, trust was a sensitive issue. You just don’t know who to trust. The story threw the characters in a series of doubt. I also like the idea that the matter involved in the story which was cyberthief, hacking and cracking, can be applied on this modern day which gave the readers lessons to learn and I  applaud that.

Breakneck is another fast-paced and thrilling read penned by Erica Spindler and another book that didn’t disappoint. It had me guessing as to who the culprit was, and when you thought you had him, turn to the next page and you’ll find out your wrong. I actually liked the twist in the end which is a big clap clap. It was an enjoyable read from the beginning up to the end. Would I recommend it? Of course I will because why not? It’s a great read.

Copycat by Erica Spindler

Surprise, surprise! Here I am again with my crime-thriller addiction and when you say crime-thriller, Erica Spindler’s name will always pop in my head because if you do not know already she’s my favorite.

I hadn’t read a book in over two months because I was not feeling it but lately I longed for the feeling of excitement, mystery and thrill that reading gives you and crave for the satisfaction when you finished a book. Since I was in a rut with reading, choosing a book to read was no easy feat so I asked myself what kind of book does hold my interest best, what kind of book makes my blood rush with excitement and yes, you guessed it, thrillers will always be at the top of my list.

So, I brought out Copycat and it surely didn’t disappoint. Copycat is the first book for the Kitt Lundgren series. It is about Detective Kitt Lundgren who has led the investigation about the serial killer she named as the Sleeping Angel Killer, who killed three ten-year old, blonde-haired and blue-eyed girls. No evidence, no witnesses and the killer calls them his ‘perfect crimes’ which have put Kitt’s career in jeopardy when she have let the killer slipped out of her hands. Then five years later, the Sleeping Angel Killer was back. Kitt noticed slight variations from the past killings and then the unthinkable happened when the killer himself called Kitt and offered to help her catch his copycat.

“A good investigator always let the scene and its evidence tell the story.”

One of the reasons why I love Erica Spindler’s books is that she has the ability to catch the reader’s interest and curiosity in just the first paragraph of the book. That’s proven at least in my case because that happens to me if not every time then most of the times that I have read her books. I’ve felt pity and amazement with Kitt’s character.  I’ve felt bad for her whenever she was having a meltdown, made me feel like I want to give her a hug but I was amazed with her as well because of how strong she was for handling and dealing with the situations she was in. I have had a love-and-hate relationship with Detective M.C Riggio’s character, Kitt’s partner, during the first half of the book maybe because she was too ambitious, slightly inconsiderate and always by the book kind of gal but I’ve grown to like her for the latter half of the book.

The thing that I love the most about this book was how it toyed with my mind; it had me guessing as to who the killer was and that’s a big thing for me ‘cause did I say that I love that? This book has a lot of suspicious characters; it had me thinking/guessing and was even paranoid for every character’s move. I love and hate it at the same time when my assumed killer turned up dead because I need me to have another guess as to who the culprit was which always add up to the thrill and excitement. I just love the mystery that this book has offered.

The story line for me was great, it was fast-paced but I have to say though, the twist in the end I found not really that satisfying or should I say I didn’t saw that one coming at all. It was beyond my guesses and surely I was not a fan of that. In my head it kind of had no sense and just kind of popped up out of nowhere. I was actually shocked when I read about it or maybe I thought I just didn’t paid enough attention with the clues, I don’t know. I wasn’t really that convinced, maybe it was just me but that’s another important thing for me in crime-thriller stories. The killers/suspects reasons as to what compelled them to do such things has to be convincing for me, that’s one way I found closure with the story.

But aside from that one thing, I enjoyed everything else about it. Would I recommend it? Of course, I will. I’m actually curious as to what other readers think about it, especially about the twist in the end. Those feelings I’ve craved for when I was still in a rut with reading, everything was met with this book and I couldn’t be happier that I am back to reading and that this book didn’t disappoint me. Give this a read, and if you did, let me know what you think.

Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse by Alida Nugent

First of all, can we all take a moment and appreciate the cover please because if you can ever have a peek at what my brain would look like, I think that’ll probably be it, an abstract of a mess. So just for the cover itself, it has already won me over, add in the words for the title, oh I feel like I want to do a hundred cartwheels for that – well not really, maybe just ten – because I’m all about that. It just screams the very thing that I’m struggling with right now, okay fine, it sums up my life at the moment. Yep, that’s right. That’s why I know I can totally relate to this book.

Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse is the story of the author, Alida Nugent, about her journey and experiences in transitioning to adulthood. Basically, it’s her story after getting out of college with a degree in hand facing a door into the real world.

“ADULTHOOD was officially here, and I needed to get off my ass and embrace it.”

This book has got me hooked right from the intro. I loved her humor; she definitely made me laugh a lot of times. As I’ve said before, it is very relatable. The first half of the book was nostalgic, at least for me because it brought me back to my college years and a few years after that. It made me picture what I was before, the things I did, imagined and dreamed of. This book has a lot of advices to offer, did I learn something new? Honestly, no. There’s nothing on it that I haven’t read or heard before but it kind of comforted me in a way that what I am going through now is nothing out of the ordinary, that it happens to a lot of people, not just me. I find it fun, inspiring and motivating to know what other people have been through, how they handle and deal with it and also to learn the lessons that they’ve learned.

My favorite part would have to be the advice that she gave in the latter part of the book in the form of a graduation speech. Again, it was nothing out of the ordinary and yet it kind of gave me a breather and realized that my life is perfectly normal even though it is not going the way I’d like it to be.

“Until you start to get your legs moving, you will always feel like you are lost.”

Obviously, I love this book. I love how humorous it is. I love the style, it’s fresh. And I love how relatable and realistic it is. Will I recommend this? Of course, I will. It’s a good read. So, if you are a twenty-something and you would want to read something that can inspire and motivate you in some way or a reminder that you are normal and human, just like what Alida said:

“Life is not a movie. No happy ending is guaranteed. No wound is closed by magic.”

then give this book a go. Read it.

The Reading Habits Book Tag

I was randomly reading new posts from my reader last night until I came across this dear friend’s post and much to my surprise, I was tagged! Yay! I totally enjoyed reading it and seem like a lot fun to answer and since I was tagged might as well just do it. It’s supposed to be a book review post day but I don’t have any as of now since I’m still half-way done with my current read, it’s a long one really.

So let’s get into this:

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?
Our apartment is relatively small for eight persons and two dogs, so the house tends to get really noisy and loud and rowdy most of the time so I really have no choice but to read in our room or sometimes in my parent’s room if they’re not there. I rarely read in the living room because it rarely gets absent of people but when it happens I do read there too, plus the lighting is really good and bright. Less strain for the eyeballs. 😀

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?
I don’t really own a bookmark. A random piece of paper? I’ve done that before, the last thing I’ve used as a bookmark was a cut-out that I used as a stencil for my brother’s project way back last year. My favorite way of bookmarking which I always do when I read physical books, is to fold the top corner of the page where I left off. Yep, that’s how I do it.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?
No, I cannot just stop reading; I hate it when I have to stop midway of the chapter. I literally have to finish the chapter before I can leave it.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?
I can eat while reading. I can drink while reading. I can also do both while reading. But most of the time you’ll find me drinking tea or coffee while reading and I will not have a care in the world ’cause I’m already comfy like that.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
The reason why I do my reading mostly at night when everybody is already dozing off is because noise easily distracts me. The very introvert in me prefers mellow environment. I can still read with the telly and/or music on but don’t expect me to just comfortably read because I need to stop at every few paragraphs to dispel a little of the distractions, clear the mind and continue reading. It’s like swimming; you need to swim up to catch some oxygen before you can swim again.

6. One book at a time or several at once?
Definitely and without a doubt, one book at a time please. That’s the way I can thoroughly enjoy the book I’m reading. That’s a better way for me to understand and absorb what the book is about.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?
I am of course the most comfortable reading at home, where I can just lie on bed if my back hurts from sitting for long and freely walking to and fro our kitchen to get refills of my drinks and/or snacks. I tried reading on a moving bus when my friends and I were on our way to our vacation last year but it was too wobbly and the light was too dim for me so I just gave up. I think I can read anywhere as long as it’s quiet, not to hot and enough light if I am to read a physical book.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?
I like reading out loud, not too loud as if I’m doing a speech though, just loud enough for me to hear, mostly just more than a whisper really then I silently read to myself when I get tired. It’s a habit I made of. It’s my way of improving my pronunciation and speaking skills. Speaking is definitely a goal that I want to get better at.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
A hundred percent no. No matter how bad or great the book is, I do not read ahead nor skip pages. Just no. Even though I know for sure what will happen in the end, I believe that it’s still important to know the stories in between because you never know what might be in there. Maybe the most satisfying twists and turns you’re craving are in there … and you just missed it. How wasteful that is. I cannot forgive myself if that ever happens to me.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
I hate hate hate breaking the spine of a book even though most of my books came from second-hand book shops especially when I bought it really brand new. I don’t really mind folding the top corners as my bookmark but breaking the spine is a no no for me. I like keeping my things like new as much as possible.

11. Do you write in your books?
I hardly ever do so unless it’s really important or impactful for me. But nowadays that I mostly read in my iPad, I like highlighting some parts that I like then whenever I feel like it, I go back to it and read it again and be reminded why I liked that part in the first place.

12. Who do you tag?
I cannot think of anyone to tag but you. Whoever you are reading this, if you feel like doing this please do so and let me know ’cause I enjoy reading this as much as answering it.

A Thin Dark Line by Tami Hoag

tami hoagThis was one of the last books that I’ve picked up in my favorite second hand bookstore some time last year mainly because the cover gave me a slight creepy feeling and it was a pretty thick book which what I was going for at the time.

A Thin Dark Line is about finding the truth and giving justice. People of Bayou Breaux has been terrorized with fear when the mutilated body of the murder victim, Pam Bichon has been discovered in which the prime suspect was set free because of technicality. Nick Fourcade, the detective assigned with the case was suspected of planting the evidence and a number of people was convinced because of his tarnished past. But Nick was so determined to find out the truth and to give Pam justice and so is Annie Broussard, the deputy who found Pam’s body.

I liked how the story started, I thought the epilogue was written in a unique way that has really captured my curiosity. I remember feeling so frustrated as I was reading, the book also showed an ugly side of the law and the people who should be upholding it. But the frustration was more for Annie and how she was treated or should I say bullied by her colleagues for her conviction of a crime she witnessed. The way her coworkers played her, chewed her, looked down on her, those made me want to slap those officers in their faces left and right and give them a fiery flying kick. Those people really had gotten on my nerves. The book also had me guessing as to who the culprit was which I like of course, I had a few changes in mind which added to my frustration and enjoyment. The author’s misdirection was on point. The twist in the end was something I did not see coming which was a plus but I found it not that impactful for me. I also thought that the story was a bit dragged on maybe that’s why the thrill and anticipation wasn’t held on that much.

A Thin Dark Line didn’t disappoint me. All in all, it was a great and enjoyable read. The characters were believable and the differences in their personalities made it more interesting. All the loose ends were nicely wrapped – a huge CLAP CLAP for that – and with that I felt so contented and satisfied. Not supplementing my curiosity and/or not answering all of my questions in a story is the thing that I hate the most. Will I recommend it? Of course, I will. It’s a good book to read. Tami Hoag is definitely an addition to the list of crime-thriller authors that I like.

Rate: 👍👍👍👍