Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays




Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
London: A Life in MapsShare the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"The London Docks in Wapping, opened in 1805, boasted vast underground wine vaults."

I just thought that was awesome.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory

Wakening the CrowWith the looming shadow of Edgar Allan Poe falling over one family, Gregory takes the reader into a world of uncertainty and fear.

Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it's a tooth from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe's Tooth Books.

Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe's accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver's relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It's a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe's Tooth Books. 




This was one strange book. It has a very Gothic feel to it, which is always a positive for me, but it somehow felt hollow. Like there wasn’t much of a story there. 

I think the main issue that I had with the novel was that all the characters were so unlikable. I don’t mind unlikeable characters if they’re interesting ones, but I didn’t feel connected to these in the least. I wanted the protagonist to turn into an anti-hero of some sort, but it just never got there. 

The writing was good, at least. The author has some beautiful turn of phrases that really catch the reader’s attention. There were some hard moments for me to read because they describe in graphic detail an animal being hurt and that’s something I had to skip. But kudos to the author, I suppose, for making the images so visceral that I couldn’t read them. 

If you like Gothic fiction and don’t mind a novel full of unlikeable characters, then you might like this one.
 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays




Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 From Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

Far Far Away“He says that all that happens when you go far, far away is that you discover you've brought yourself along.”

Monday, September 8, 2014

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I just finished reading Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas. It was a very interesting read, though it did get a bit repetitive towards the end. You can read my review here

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M.E. Thomas



Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight The first memoir of its kind, Confessions of a Sociopath is an engrossing, highly captivating narrative of the author's life as a diagnosed sociopath.

She is a charismatic charmer, an ambitious self-promoter, and a cunning and calculating liar. She can induce you to invest in her financial schemes, vote for her causes, and even join her in bed. Like a real-life Lisbeth Salander, she has her own system of ethics, and like Dexter, she thrives on bending and occasionally breaking the rules. She is a diagnosed, high-functioning, noncriminal sociopath, and this is her world from her point of view.

Drawn from the author's own experiences; her popular blog, Sociopathworld.com; and scientific literature, Confessions of a Sociopath is part confessional memoir, part primer for the curious. Written from the point of view of a diagnosed sociopath, it unveils for the very first time these people who are hiding in plain sight. The book confirms suspicions and debunks myths about sociopathy, providing a road map for dealing with the sociopath in your life.

I’ve always been fascinated by the sociopathic mind, so this book was right up my alley. 

It started off strong, presenting the author’s inner voice in a clear way that left no doubt that she is a sociopath. Right off the bat, she tells us she is a megalomaniac, meaning she is prone to aggrandizing her own self worth. This made for amusing reading, since the reader never knows if what she was saying was actually the truth. Ms. Thomas makes for a great unreliable narrator. 

The book starts to get a bit repetitive about half way through. We do get more real-life examples which are interesting, but there are only so many times that you can read about someone’s lack of empathy without your mind wandering. Granted, this is a large part of the sociopathic personality, but it still felt like it was repeated ad nauseam. 

If you are like me and are interested in learning about sociopaths, then this can be a great read, albeit a somewhat repetitive one.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays




Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight 




 “Everybody slips up because we're not perfect; that's what mercy is for.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

Summer House with Swimming PoolWhen a medical mistake goes horribly wrong and Ralph Meier, a famous actor, winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser is forced to conceal the error from his patients and family. After all, reputation is everything in this business. But the weight of carrying such a secret lies heavily on his mind, and he can't keep hiding from the truth…or the Board of Medical Examiners.

The problem is that the real truth is a bit worse than a simple slipup. Marc played a role in Ralph's death, and he's not exactly upset that the man is gone. Still haunted by his eldest daughter's rape during their stay at Ralph's extravagant Mediterranean summerhouse-one they shared with Ralph and his enticing wife, Judith, film director Stanley Forbes and his far younger girlfriend, Emmanuelle, and Judith's mother-Marc has had it on his mind that the perpetrator of the rape could be either Ralph or Stanley. Stanley's guilt seems obvious, bearing in mind his uncomfortable fixation on the prospect of Marc's daughter's fashion career, but Marc's reasons for wanting Ralph dead become increasingly compelling as events unravel. There is damning evidence against Marc, but he isn't alone in his loathing of the star-studded director.




This was an incredible, thrilling read that was impossible to put down. It had everything I ask for in a book: an unreliable narrator, a psychological mystery, and gorgeous writing. 

The narrator’s voice is what makes this novel as good as it is. Marc, the protagonist and narrator, is a general practitioner who doesn’t really care about his patients. He is borderline sociopathic, I felt, and that makes for seriously exciting reading. He is not necessarily likeable as a character, and he is no hero, but the reader does grow to sympathize with him. 

This is a literary novel, so don’t expect car chases, but the plot is ripe with moment brimming over with tension. The author does an incredible job of setting the mood for us and building the tension bit by bit until we are just waiting for the disaster to happen. Although I won’t reveal the ending, I enjoyed its ambiguity. Since Marc really can’t be trusted to tell us what the truth is, the way the novel ends is perfect. 

If you love psychological thrillers, then I highly recommend this one