Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Secrets of Life and Death by Rebecca Alexander

The Secrets of Life and DeathIn modern day England, Professor Felix Guichard is called in to identify occult symbols found on the corpse of a young girl. His investigation brings him in contact with a mysterious woman, Jackdaw Hammond, who guards a monumental secret--She's Dead. Or she would be, were it not for magic which has artificially extended her life. But someone else knows her secret. Someone very old and very powerful, who won't rest until they've taken the magic that keeps her alive....
In Krakow in 1585, Dr John Dee, the Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. But they soon realize that the only thing worse than the Countess' malady, is the magic that might be able to save her...
As Jackdaw and Felix race to uncover the truth about the person hunting her, it becomes clear that the answers they seek can only be found in the ancient diary of John Dee's assistant, Edward Kelley. Together they must solve a mystery centuries in the making, or die trying.
This book started off with promise but soon warped. The best parts about it were the historical chapters, while the modern ones dragged the story down.

The historical chapters create a mood that the modern ones do not. There is an air of mystery that is completely lost in Jack’s storyline. One of the most infuriating issues I had with the novel was how quickly Felix accepted everything that was happening with Jack and Sadie. He is a professor, why would he believe in the supernatural so quickly? Even with evidence, it should have takes a bit longer for him to have warmed to the ideas Jack presented. 

The characters could have all been developed more fully, including Kelley and Dee. When you write about historical figures, they better pop with life, and these did not. Bathory was better, but the menace wasn’t strong enough to be exciting. 

I was disappointed in this novel because its synopsis was so enticing. Its pacing is both too abrupt and too slow, if that makes any sense. This is not one I’d recommend.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Musing Mondays

• 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!
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 
I've been rereading The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson because I read it when I was about ten years old and it just needed a reread. I'm head over heels in love with it and I wish it were longer!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver

Never Coming Back (David Raker, #4) Emily Kane arrives at her sister Carrie’s house to find the front door unlocked, dinner on the table, and the family nowhere to be found—Carrie, her husband, and two daughters have disappeared. When the police turn up no leads, Emily turns to her former boyfriend David Raker, a missing persons investigator, to track the family down. As Raker pursues the case, he discovers evidence of a sinister cover-up, decades in the making and with a long trail of bodies behind it.
For a thriller, this novel is short on thrills, I must say. Its pacing is too slow for the genre, leaving the reader bored through exposition passages that do little to enhance the story.

The main character is a generic investigator. It would have been easy to swap him with any other detective from any other mystery novel, which is not something that should happen. He didn’t seem particularly interesting in any way and neither did the characters surrounding him, except perhaps Cornell, the antagonist. He brings a bit of life to the pages, but it’s not enough to keep readers interested.

The story would have benefitted from a better editor. It is too long, with a lot of exposition that we really don’t need. The twist-ending drags on for too many pages, giving us enough time to either figure it out first or grow too bored to care. 

All in all, this is not one I would recommend for lovers of thrillers and mysteries.

Tuesday, December 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!
 Never Coming Back (David Raker, #4)
 From Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver

"I saw devils and executioners, men who felt nothing for the people they took, and even less for the families left behind. And the thing that frightened me the most was that I didn’t even have to try hard to remember them. I just had to close my eyes.”