Into the Water – Paula Hawkins

Title: Into the Water61oleghqzvl-_sx329_bo1204203200_
Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 386
Category: 14. Read a book published this year
Format: Paper

Date Started: August 2nd 2017
Date Finished: August 4th 2017

I’ve been pretty excited to read this for a while after loving the Girl on the Train so much but I was just the tiniest bit disappointed in this compared to the Girl on the Train.

That being said. I really loved it despite not having quite such an unexpected twist at the end. I loved the character development in this one though, in part because I love books that are set in a small town where everyone knows each other so this town was perfect for me. Not just did everyone know each other but many of them had known each other as children as well. So there’s this feel of the past meeting the present and history repeating itself in a way.

I won’t give too much away, but the story follows a woman who’s estranged sister has died leaving her to look after a teenage niece she barely knows in the house they spent their summers in. At first the death seems to be a suicide in a popular suicide spot but it’s not that simple and of course there was some kind of foul play involved.

One of my biggest frustrations with the book though, is that the main character is painted as this ‘ugly duckling’ who lost some weight and grew up to be pretty. I’d love to see tv shows and movies that bothered to tell their story with a little more effort than this. I understand why it was done because it made her an easy target as a child for bullying and what not but there’s no reason it needed to be touted as some great transformation story.

But anyway, check out both these books because they really are great.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

You – Caroline Kepnes

Title: Youyou
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 422
Category: 33. Read a book in the thriller or suspense genre
Format: Paper

Date Started: May 16th 2017
Date Finished: May 29th 2017

This book is like some weird combination of Gone Girl and 500 Days of Summer. As soon as you read the blurb it’s clear that the book is not going to have a happy ending for one or all of the characters.

The book is written by the male narrator who meets the object of his affection Beck while he’s at work. She starts flirting with him and she likes books like he does and it all snowballs from there. It’s part romance part stalker fiction. It’s clear early on that Joe tends to take things just a little bit far reading Beck’s email and checking out her house but it only gets weirder from there.

It’s masterful in it’s combination of genres and I’m torn between wanting to read the next book or to enjoy this as a standalone.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Veronica Mars (2014)

Title: Veronica Mars220px-veronica_mars_film_poster
Year: 2014
Director: Rob Thomas
Genre: Drama/Mystery
Date Watched: February 11, 2017
Category: #26 A film set in a country you’ve never been to

My fiancee has been trying to convince me to watch Veronica Mars with her almost as long as we’ve known each other and finally I gave in a few weeks ago… cue three seasons binge watched in the space of a few weeks and we were finally ready to take on the movie.

For those of you who have never seen or heard of Veronica Mars, it’s a TV show that ran for three seasons following the life of, you guessed it… Veronica Mars. Veronica was a teenage girl living in Neptune, California, where most of the kids were rich. Her dad used to be the sheriff but opened a Private Detective Agency after being kicked out of the sheriff’s office. Veronica spends her free time helping her dad out with cases and also helping out the kids at school who seem to get themselves into all sorts of trouble. Plus she dates, mostly the same few boys repeatedly, but that’s another story. Oh and her best friend was murdered and she doesn’t think the man behind bars is the real killer.

The movie picks up several years later, with Veronica having finished up with college and looking for her first ‘adult’ job. She’s long since left Neptune and most of it’s people behind her. Until she sees a news story about the death of an old classmate and gets a call from her ex-boyfriend who just happened to be dating the dead girl. Naturally she can’t say no to her ex-boyfriend and ends up back in Neptune, just in time for her high-school reunion.

As a standalone movie this one is probably pretty average and might not make very much sense but as a movie for fans of the show it hits most of the nostalgic moments that a viewer wants. Most of the major characters from the TV series make it back, Veronica, Wallace, Mac, Weevil, the school principal, Logan, Dick, the school mean girls including Madeline, Gia and naturally Veronica’s dad Keith Mars. There’s plenty of references to the early show as well as references to the proposed season 4 which appeared as a bonus on the DVDs, where Veronica joined the FBI and starts her first day on the job. The only thing we don’t quite get closure on is her first boyfriend Duncan. Whatever happened to Duncan after he fled from the country in Season 2?

In many ways the movie follows the same patterns as the TV show and while some characters have grown in the intervening years others appear to be just the same as they were in high school. In a sense the movie is like coming home for a fan, just the way you remembered the show but with a slightly more reluctant Veronica but still getting caught up in a boy’s drama and forgetting her own goals just the same. As much as I enjoyed the ending which was far more satisfying than the end of the series was, I had very much hoped that it would be Veronica staying in Neptune and campaigning for sheriff, finally giving the town of Neptune a competent law enforcer and following in her father’s footsteps. Alas…

Rating: 4/5 stars


A Dream of Ice – Gillian Anderson

a-dream-of-ice-9781471137747_hrTitle: A Dream of Ice (Earthend Saga #2)
Author: Gillian Anderson
Genre: Mystery/Paranormal
Pages: 279
Category: 12. Read a book with a contemporary setting
Format: Paper

Date Started: January 22nd 2017
Date Finished: January 27th 2017

Having enjoyed the first book in this series so much I was somewhat disappointed by the second one. I still enjoyed it but not with he ‘couldn’t put it down’ excitement that I experienced with A Vision of Fire.

What has become clear throughout the books is the very unusual and complex spirituality that Anderson builds on, based at least somewhat on her own personal beliefs. In the first book the main character Dr. Caitlin O’Hara goes through a learning process that involving a vodou priestess and an Iranian priest. She comes to realise that there is something after death, and that the dead are in fact communicating with the living. This is the theme that continues throughout the second book.

A Dream of Ice focuses less on Dr. O’Hara and more on the Explorer’s Club introduced in book 1. The narrative spans from The Explorer’s Club where Flora Davies conducts her work to a remote ice shelf in Antarctica where Mikel discovers the remains of the ancient Galderkhaan civilisation.

Gillian Anderson is certainly not the first to suggest that there may have once been a civilization in Antarctica. In Stargate it was an outpost originally believed to be Atlantis, and within recent weeks it has been the discovery of a dome like shape on the continent that has renewed discussions. Perhaps Galderkhaan is less fiction than it appears to be at first.

If you happen to have picked up the initial book and enjoyed it then I would certainly recommend picking this one up too, with the caveat that many of the themes explored are similar to that of the first book.

Rating: 3/5 stars

A Vision of Fire – Gillian Anderson

Title: A Vision of Fire41gwghh5gll-_sy344_bo1204203200_
Author: Gillian Anderson
Genre: Drama/Thriller/Mystery
Pages: 304
Category: 29. Read a book about Politics and/or Religion
Format: Paper

Date Started: January 5th 2017
Date Finished: January 7th 2017

Ever since I found out that Gillian Anderson had written a book I knew I needed to read it. I’ve loved X-Files since I was 6 and trying to sneak peeks at what my parents were watching in a hotel in Tasmania. They told me I was too young, I was at uni before I got to watch the whole series from start to finish. Nevertheless, I bought and gifted the book to my mother who was also an X-Files fan, she seemed less enthused than I was.  Eventually I proceeded to borrow it back from her to read myself. That was probably six months ago and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf ever since.

I think I was a little scared it would turn out to be awful, that I’d make it a chapter in and decide it wasn’t for me. I almost did. But for once I stuck it out and bit longer and I was drawn in. I wanted to know what would happen. It’s possible you might see the other books in the series on the blog before the end of 2017.

Every time I’ve tried to describe this book to someone the first thing I’ve said is ‘it’s weird’. It’s true, there’s a lot about this book that was weird for me. First, it was halfway through the book before I could shake the feeling that something was wrong, reading a  book written by Dana Scully (okay, not by her but the actress who played her) a skeptic by all accounts, but here’s Dr. O’Hara who cautiously embraces these slightly supernatural occurrences. Secondly, the main character shares my first name, something I’ve never encountered before. Third, there’s a lot going on and for most of the book I was right there with my namesake thinking maybe I knew what was happening but it was too strange to be true. Fourth, it’s a hard plot to explain without giving too much away, my favourite parts about it are the ones I won’t share here for fear of spoiling those of you who haven’t read the book.

What I will tell you is that the book centers around a psychiatrist named Dr. Caitlin O’Hara who is drawn into the mystery of the Indian ambassador’s daughter’s illness. The daughter is Maanik who begins acting strange after an assassination attempt on her father, Caitlin is called by the Ambassador’s translator who happens to be her close friend. Unfortunately for Maanik the Ambassador is amidst difficult negotiations with Pakistan and India over a place called Kashmir and does not want to jeopardise them by sending Maanik to a hospital.

In Haiti another woman experiences a similar episode, and a young man in Iran. Caitlin is sure that the three fit together somehow. And what about the viral video of the rats swarming the monument, maybe that’s connected too. And what about that strange artifact that was mentioned in the prologue and the man who was trying to steal it, surely that’s important somehow?

You might be wondering why politics and religion when this book could clearly fit in one of many categories. While not the major character in the book the Ambassador’s negotiations are a major theme within the book, as are the spiritual threads that Caitlin begins to uncover Hindu and Buddhist mostly but there are also links to Vodou.

This isn’t the type of book I would normally read in the sense that I rarely get pulled in by either politics or religion but what I do love is a good mystery. Would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes mystery or paranormal or even history. And I’m definitely looking forward to the next books.

Rating: 4/5


The Bone Collection – Kathy Reichs

Title: The Bone Collection9781785150968
Author: Kathy Reichs
Genre: Crime/Mystery
Pages: 352
Category: 34. Read a Mystery Book
Format: Paper

Date Started: January 4th 2017
Date Finished: January 5th 2017

I first read a Kathy Reichs book shortly after discovering the TV show Bones. Until then I had generally disliked most of the crime novels I had attempted to read. Something about Déjà Dead was different though and I was completely drawn in. Don’t get me wrong, book version of Temperance Brennan is nothing like TV Temperance Brennan but I loved them both equally. I devoured every book after that until I finished her eleventh book and found out there weren’t anymore. Yet.

Continue reading The Bone Collection – Kathy Reichs