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Book Review: Ripper

Title: Ripper

Author: Isabel Allende

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Unexplained murders are happening in San Francisco and even the SFPD’s Deputy Chief of Homicide is having a hard time investigating them. But his seventeen years old daughter Amanda is helping him. Amanda was always fascinated by crimes and she’s also a leader in online game Ripper, where she’s solving crimes with her online friends. With her players and help of her grandfather, she soon discovers that crimes in San Francisco are connected to each other and they’re work of a serial killer. And suddenly her mother disappears. Is she a next victim?


This was my first book from author Isabel Allende. I have heard wonderful things about her books but I was even more attracted by this book because of its synopsis. I love a good mystery book so I couldn’t wait to read it. But, I was truly disappointed.

The story reveals the process of searching a serial killer and details about murders. However, unfortunately, this part is often pushed into the background, because the author focuses on other details of the story which are not really relevant. Thus, most of the story consists of descriptions of people, who they are, what were they doing in the past and what they are doing now. Yet, even these descriptions are not well written or entertaining, but they are quite poorly written. Like short summaries, which are repeated too many times. I also noticed that in most cases, events and extensively writing about them have not provided anything to the story, but it was a ballast that made reading awkward and extended book to more than 500 pages.

Because of that, even the story about a crime isn’t as interesting as it could be. Often I completely forgot what book was about. And it’s like the author had the same problems as I had – every few chapters this serial-killer-story is forcibly resurrected back to life. I guess just because readers are expecting it?!?

All the characters stood out too much to be pleasant. Nobody was average, they were all some crazy-bohemian-heroic persons. This for me was also a reason, why reading about their relationships sounded insincere and unnatural. There were too many complications, rather than focusing on the original story that actually attracted me.

The last few chapters of the book were for me the most pleasing, when the story of a killer began to unfold and where the reader finds out about killers motives that brought to crimes. Again, there was a lot of details but it actually made sense. The rest of the book was just *yawn*.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read Ripper? What are your thoughts about this book? Can you recommend me any other book by Allende?

 

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Book Review: Feed

Title: Feed

Author: Mira Grant

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In the near future, people live a different life than we used to. After the outbreak of the virus in the year 2014, which turned a majority of the population into zombies, people have to get used to a new life and always present fear. Because of the fear of infection, people keep to themselves and they’re more active on the Internet.

Georgia and Shaun Mason are sister and brother, who wish to break among the best of the press on Internet. Finally, they’re lucky enough to get a story that will profoundly change their lives.


I had this book on my tbr for years and when I saw it in a library, I couldn’t believe my own luck! Because a good book about zombies is what I always like to read, and the cover promised me just that. What a mistake!

So, if you want an exciting story about zombies and fighting them, this is definitely not a book for you. Because there are no zombies. Well, they are, but not as one would expect when you pick up a book about zombies like that.

The story itself is well written, full of details which are well explained and while reading, you can really see that author put a lot of effort in the story itself. We learn everything about the background of a virus outbreak, what happened during and after the outbreak and how life changed after that. Full details are included on the technical things that people are using for the identification and detection of the virus, the author even included the moral and religious issues raised by the virus. Which is amazing. However, there are no zombies. They are just a backdrop for the story, which is actually taking place. And the main story is just about politic.

Georgia and Shaun become part of the escort team, which covers the presidential elections. They accompany a candidate who might become the President and the story is actually only about this. What dirty intrigues are taking place behind the scenes, how people would do anything for a campaign and how the public opinion is formed through press coverage. All was interesting to read, but for my taste, it was too many details, and of course, I expected something entirely else when I picked up this book.

I also couldn’t connect with main characters, Georgia, and Shaun. There was something strange in their relationship and being completely honest, I expected and incest act until the end of the book (there was none, no worries). Even as individuals they didn’t convince me. Georgia was such a hard-ass and Shaun couldn’t even stand out because he was never alone, always with his sister – like, he couldn’t exist without her. Other characters were nothing special. Nobody stood out.

I wanted to give up reading several times because I was just so bored. It became interesting somewhere around page 350, which is halfway through the book. The second half of the book was better and quite ok, I actually became interested in what will happen. However, this does not outweigh the misery of the first half of it, all the politics and not enough zombies. Not to mention that certain things were too often explained – for example, checking blood contamination. Every time, but really EVERY time the process has been described in details, just like the model of the appliance – and their blood was checked at least 4 times per page. Ugh!

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read this book or maybe also the sequels? What did you think about series? Is it worth it to continue with next book? Please, comment down below!

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Book Review: All the Bright Places

Title: All the Bright Places

Author: Jennifer Niven

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Theodore Finch is fascinated by death and he’s constantly thinking about different ways to kill himself. One day, on the ledge of the school bell tower, he meets Violet. Violet’s having trouble dealing with her sister’s death, so she came on a ledge, seeing if she is brave enough to jump. Finch “saves” her and since then, he can’s stop thinking about her. Still, everybody in school thinks she saved him – because after all, he is a “weird one” in school.

Finch is more than happy when they work on a school project together, where they’re discovering natural wonders of their state. But they’re also discovering each other’s world and they become very close friends soon.


I read this book a few month ago but I was too lazy/busy to write a review. So, writing this, I did have some troubles about remembering what happened – ok, I remembered the story but the details were (almost) gone. Which says a lot about the book, no?

Considering, that this book deals with important topics, such as suicide, mental illnesses, bullying, I expected much more. In fact, I was disappointed. It’s well written and also quick to read, but that’s all.

It’s hard to point out, what exactly did bother me about this book. Perhaps poetical writing, in which author wants to disguise the seriousness of the situation. Maybe too mature Finch and Violet, who were exchanging Virginia Woolf’s quotes on daily basis (I highly doubt that any of my schoolmates knew who she was at that age) or their unreal world that they created. Don’t get me wrong, I know that people often create their own worlds when they’re dealing with mental illnesses but it just didn’t felt real here. It’s not like that (And I worked with people with mental illnesses. I know something about it.).

I’m only glad, that this book doesn’t only deal with depression but also bipolar disorder. However, I think that readers who are not familiar with this particular illness can not understand, why Finch behaves like that. It should be more pointed out why one day, he’s in heaven and all funny-happy and the next moment, he’s down and totally depressed.

At the same time, however, it’s all to revolved around the illness. Considering, that they both “recognized” the problems they had and they found a support in each other and that they could rely on each other, I still have troubles with understanding why they refused help.

And about the help and support… ignorance of the adults, as has been described in this book, just stunned me. I was speechless. And I couldn’t believe it. It felt just too phony to me. I know that some people have parents who don’t care. But seriously?!? His own mother didn’t saw what was happening with him? I found this absolutely unbelievable and unacceptable.

At the end, it seemed to me, that author didn’t want to encourage readers to seek help if they need it (or help someone else) but the message of the book is: nobody cares. There’s no help and each one has to deal with their own problems and in their own way. Things will be better after the death. WHICH IS WRONG!!!

Every life counts.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read All the Bright places? What did you think about it? Like it or not? Please, share your opinion in comments below!

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Book Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Author: Sherman Alexie693208

Fourteen years old Arnold Spirit, also known as Junor, is growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junor is an artistic guy who likes drawing and drawing also helps him facing every day’s problems. His life is not wonderful but it gets even more complicated when Junor starts to attend a school outside the reservation. Attendance of High School, where he is the only non-white person is challenging, especially because he doesn’t feel accepted. Not only he’s not accepted by his new friends, but because of his retraining, he also becomes a target in a reservation.


I could say that this book really let me down. I heard amazing things about it, I saw that it also won a few prizes and I was so happy when I saw it in my local library (it was not translated, I read it in English).

Even while reading, I struggled with it. It was a slow read which really surprised me because it’s such a short book, full of illustrations.

I liked the idea of a book – a young Indian boy from the reservation is facing his origin while trying to cross the boundaries of his world. No one from his reservation has attended school outside the reservation before, let alone a school where all people would be white. Junior is aware that he would end up like all the other Indians if he doesn’t step forward and educates somewhere else. Despite the problems that this would bring him.

Arnold seemed a funny and nice guy, slightly lost in this world which is logical, according to his age and the period in his life. I really liked, how the author tried to show off Junior’s artistic side with “his” illustrations. Comics did really variate reading and they were the funniest part of the book. All the other characters were a little bit strange, each in his own way.

The story mainly focuses on Junior’s searching his place in the world – he doesn’t feel well in a reservation, he’s feeling guilty because he turned back to his tribe. But in the same time, he also doesn’t feel good outside the reservation, because he’s aware that he doesn’t belong there either and that people don’t accept him. Even though he’s more than successful by finding new friends.

Presentation of Indians in this book seemed grotesque to me. I admit, I don’t know much about the situations in reservations or about Indians in general. But yet, I had a feeling that it was too much humiliation in this book. Resorting to alcohol and consequently to violence, poverty and complete resignation, yes, it was shown through the humor, but it still left a bittersweet taste. But not the one it should. It all seemed too unreal and as a big joke.

I also found this book overambitious. The author included too many serious topics that were not developed further. Bullying, alcoholism, bulimia, first love, rejection, poverty are just one of them. Those were all the topics that have somehow lingered in the air.

A person can achieve everything he wants as only he has a desire and will to change things – I understood that this was the main topic in this book. However, I got a feeling that book gives a false hope for younger readers. Junior comes to a new school and things are going great for him. Everything is (almost) perfect suddenly. Yes, he may still have some problems but still he’s suddenly successful in everything (finding friends, popular girlfriend, success in school). It just seemed too perfect.

And, what I most blame the author for is that because everything was going so well for Junior, he just entangled a few totally unnecessary events (deaths) in the story. Why? Just to break a monotony? And that story continued like nothing happened? Nonsense.

I really felt this book a cliche story and too American. You know…. If you dream and you dare, you will also succeed.

Rating: 2/5 stars

What did you think about this book? I would love to hear your opinions in comments!

 

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Book Review: The Magicians

Title: The Magicians

Autor: Lev Grossman6101718

Quentin lives completely normal teenage life until the day of his interview for the University of Princeton, where he founds his examiner dead. He also finds a strange envelope with his name on it, which leads him into completely new and strange world.

He’s accepted to the secret magical university where he begins to realize that magic truly exists and he learns how to use it.


It took me a while to get into this book. But I never truly enjoyed while reading. For me, it was a slow read, without a clear point and mostly, I didn’t know what’s going on. Not that I wouldn’t understand but I didn’t get it, how things are connected. And if you read a book and don’t know why are you reading some things, I would say, it’s pretty bad. Everything just seemed like it doesn’t have any connection with the story.

The book is divided into several “books”, each of them addresses a specific period of Quentin’s life. Things become more interesting when Quentin starts to attempt Brakebills University. But if things could be super excited and interesting, they’re not. Because rarely anything happens. It’s just description how Quentin and his classmates hang out and drink. And there is a lot of alcohol.

I usually enjoy if authors incorporate alcohol, cursing, drugs and sex into the story because I think this is a part of every teenager and later mature person life. I think we shouldn’t avoid these topics because if they are part of our lives, they also should be part of book plots. But it bothered me in this book because these things were used without a sense. They didn’t improve a story and they were not related to a story. I had feeling that author just used them, to make his characters more grown up.

After the graduation, Quentin, and his friends find themselves in completely new, adult life. But don’t worry, no spoilers here!

If I though that story will get better or at least will be more reasonable, I was wrong. True, more is going on but again, it’s all confusing. Everything is just one big mess and then the book ends.

I was not impressed with Quentin or his friends. I liked that they were older and more mature. Considering my age, lately, I have trouble reading about shy first kisses and first sex and so on. And I liked this book because here people behave differently as in other YA books. Too bad, that author didn’t take advantage of this because he could create a good magical world for older readers also.

The problem was, that all characters are rather dull, self-important and depressed. Quentin is a completely bored boy who longs for adventures and action, but when things start to happen, he loses interest. Somewhere in the book, it’s mentioned, that he feels pity for all people living boring and dull life. But the reader soon discovers, that he’s the one, who is bored and living aimlessly.

All the other characters are just like Quentin. Annoying and weird in their own way.

The entire book for me was a huge disappointment. I was actually thinking about giving it one star but I finally decided, however, it was not such a disaster. But I really expected more from this book, especially being more interesting.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read The Magicians? What do you think about this book? I know that this book is part of the series, did you read next books? Are they better and more interesting?

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Book Review: Stone Bruises

Title: Stone Bruises

Author: Simon Beckett18189475

Sean is a young Englishman who is on the run. He finds himself on a remote farm in the French countryside, where he accidentally steps in the trap, set for animals. Because of the bleeding, he passes out and after a while, he wakes up in an attic. He’s confused at first but finds out that a woman from a farm took care of him and his wound. However, her father, old Arnaud, who is also a farm owner, doesn’t want him on his estate. Nevertheless, Sean stays on the farm, because the injury is really bad.

His past is chasing him but at the same time, he’s attracted to the mysteries of the farm and its residents.


I read Beckett’s mysteries when I want to read a good crime novel but at the same time I know, I won’t have to think much while reading. His books relax and entertain me. They are always good enough and until I read this book, I was never disappointed.

Book Stone Bruises actually combines two stories – first is about Sean on the run and how he ends in the farm, while the second story are snapshots from Sean’s past from London and the events that lead to his run.

After Sean’s arriving on the mysterious farm, I was constantly in tension, what secrets would be revealed and I was expecting horrific crimes that residents on the farm are hiding. Things were unveiled but I had to wait almost to the end of the book. And it was far from shocking and far from horrific things that I expected to be revealed. Until the end, this book was just describing Sean’s daily routine on the farm, his work and tense relations between Arnaud and his two daughters.

I didn’t like none of the characters and I can only assume, that this was an intention of the author if he wanted to show intolerable relations on the farm and its eccentric inhabitants. I even didn’t have a good opinion about Sean. Despite the fact, he was on the run, he still insisted in intolerable conditions and allowed to be humiliated by old man. He involved himself into something that was not necessary. He could leave anytime. But no, he stayed on the farm and got himself into a strange and unenviable situation.

I was also disappointed with Sean’s story about his past/crime he committed. Through the book, the story is progressively revealed but I expected so much more from it also.

As I already mentioned, all the secrets are revealed. But in the last few pages, which is really a pity. It was just too much of everything and not shocking at all. Too bad.

This book was not bad, but in my opinion, there are many other better crime novels to read, so I would probably not recommend it. Just grab some other book, if you want to enjoy a good mystery.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read this book? What are your thoughts about it? Did you read any other Beckett’s books and what did you think about them?

 

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Book Review: The Dinner

Title: The Dinner

Author: Herman Koch15797938

Two couples meet in a fancy restaurant. Serge, a candidate for a prime minister and his wife Babette, and his younger brother Paul with his wife Claire. However, they didn’t come to chat and enjoy good food. They came to talk about their children – Serge and Babette’s son Rick and Paul and Clair’s son Michel. Both children are 15 years old and committed a crime and their parents are discussing consequences.

As dinner develops from appetizer through the starter, main curse and dessert, it also intensifies the tension of conversation and the tension between their relations.


It took me more time to read this book, as I thought it will. Due to the fact that I heard nothing but good about this book and how intense and dark it is and that it should be a really quick read, I was surprised that it didn’t do such an impression on me.

I liked, how a structure of the dinner somehow makes a structure of a story. It starts with an aperitif where everybody is just chatting about movies and unimportant stuff but through every next course things complicates and tenses. The story focuses not only on a parent’s problem but also involves scenes from a restaurant which is really entertaining.

I didn’t like any of characters in this book. No one – neither both couples nor their sons, not the waiter or the girls working in a restaurant. All the characters are dislikable and I couldn’t identify or connect with them.

The main narrator in the story is Paul, who is the least likable of them all. Right from the start he seemed like an uptight man, full of himself, although he attempts to give a different impression. His contempt of his brother was at first funny but later I was tired of it. Generally, Paul seemed very “self-righteous” and that type of a guy who has everything worked out and thinks that only his principles are correct, all his actions are justified and that no one can judge him because he has everything figured out. It also seemed to me, that he’s jealous of everyone around him (including his wife in some cases) but especially of his brother. Paul doesn’t have anything nice to say about Serge, so during his narration through the story, I received negative opinion about Serge, although, in the end, he turned out to be the most normal of all (don’t be mistaken, he’s not a sympathetic man). They’re both bragging, though each in their own way. Serge, who is successful politician, is using his name for benefits and pretends to be something he’s not in public. Paul is trying to pretend that he doesn’t care for this things and that he’s pitying his brother because of this behavior. However, he does the same, just not so publicly.

Paul and Claire are constantly creating the image of a happy family but after Michel’s crime that image begin to fall into pieces. But still they don’t want to give up and their goal is to save a happy family farce. And this is also a basis of a story – how far will they go to protect this image? How far can parents go to protect their children? What is right and what’s wrong? Are there actions who can be forgiven because they were done by certain people (for example here, when the crime was committed by children)? Through the story, a reader is confronted with moral questions to which he must answer by himself. There are no clear answers because we all have different perspectives on various situations.

Despite the fact, I love books who are examining reader’s conscience, this book left me cold. Maybe because of dislikable characters and the fact I couldn’t identify with their story and I was actually judging them more and more with every page. Maybe this was a reason, why in this case, things seemed really clear to me and all their actions morally contentious. They all shown their hypocrisy, except Serge, who surprised me with his action (don’t worry, I will not spoil anything) but I’m also not sure if his action was made with so good intentions as I think.

And, I’m curious, would I look on a story differently, if I would have my own children?

Rating: 2/5 stars

Did you read The Dinner? I would love to hear your thoughts about this book! Did you liked it or not? Do we share the same opinions or not? If you read it, we can also discuss the moral questions from the book in comments below!