Six Years

six yearsAuthor: Harlen Coben

Yes, I have started reading again and back to reviewing books. Have no been reading much – and since I discovered this new e-book website which offers quite a good deal, I started using my Sony reader.

One of the books I started on was this – Six Years by Harlen Coben.

Coben is good, and I found the plot to this thoroughly engaging! I think I finished the book in less than a week, but this is also due to the fact that I brought it along on my business trip. It sure kept me occupied during those long plane rides!

Six Years tells of Professor Jake Fisher’s pining for his one and only love – the one whom he met during a short retreat in an elusive place. A seemingly carefree artist, she was just the perfect person for him and they clicked well.

However, things went a bit confusing for him. She got married all of a sudden to her ex, and made him promise not to contact them at all.

And he kept his promise. He got on with his life and stopped all contact. For six years.

Until an obituary for the husband came up – and when Jake went to pay his last respects, everything seemed to be a lie. Being a stubborn person he is, Jake was determined to sought out the truth, even to the extend of killing a human being and risk being killed.

The whole book centred on just a few days (at most a week or so) of Jake’s search for truth, and there were of course points where it got a bit too descriptive and draggy. I skipped some paragraphs of these descriptives (at least it wasn’t pages!) and started again on those bits where the story picks up again.

I had wished they were a tiny lil bit more during the last few pages where the truth was revealed – yes, the whole story did kind of led us readers believe something else was happening when in fact there is the twist to the story.

But hey, I think this is how better writers do their stuff – not in your face kind of revelation, but a more subtle, aha, kind.

Yes, a page turner. A mystery. a who-dun-it, twist at the end kind of books which I usually will go for.

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Remember Me

Author: Christopher Pike

It was so long ago that I read this I couldn’t really remember where I got the book from. And it was only recently when I start doing some spring cleaning that I found this yellowed, tattered book again and thought I should do a review. Google results for images and the author told me that this was a young adult fiction and yes, it is very well written.

The protagonist was Shari Cooper, who, after attending a friend’s party and waking up at home, found that her family is treating her like she didn’t exist. A call and visit to the hospital gave her the answer – her body lay cold in the morgue and she was standing there with her family as a ghost.

What happens after that was Shari’s adventures in finding out what really happened – when everyone thought she killed herself, she knew she was murdered by one of her friends at the party. Shari got to know another ghost, Peter, a friend who committed suicide two years ago.

Their search for truth in Shari’s death led to a family secret which Shari could not believe herself. In between were, of course, the suspicions they had on each of their friends, every one with a secret of their own.

A page turner, I would say, because you will be kept wanting to know what had happened and who was the murderer.

The Face of Death

Author: Cody McFadyen

If I have only one word to describe this book, it would be – brilliant! This is certainly one of the most interesting book I have read this year and I can’t believe this was on a clearance sale in Carrefour. What a worthy RM5 spent!

Anyway, I later discovered that this book is the second in line for a fiction series by McFadyen. The main star in these series is FBI Agent Smoky Barrett – don’t ask me why her name’s Smoky.

In this book, Smoky was getting on with her life after a vicious attack that left her husband and child dead and her, disfigured for life. She was also taking care of her best friend’s daughter, also killed on duty.

The similarities both Smoky and the child has is their experience in losing their loved ones. Smoky’s husband and child were murdered in front of her eyes while her best friend was murdered and then tied to her surviving daughter. It was a full three days before they were discovered.

The story started with a gruesome murder of a family – the type where you’d find blood all over the place and victims disembowelled. The only person who survived is a teenage girl and with a gun pressed to her temple, she insisted on speaking to no one but Agent Smoky Barrett.

What follows is an enthralling, finger-biting, late-night reading marathon. It seems that Agent Barrett is now tasked to find an almost non-existence ruthless murderer who seem to enjoy torturing the teenage girl, killing every one who loved and loved by her. Murder scenes usually point to suicides but there’s just something that tells Smoky that a murderer is indeed at large.

Eclipse

Author: Stephenie Meyer

After a long break from the second book, New Moon, I finally got the time to start reading Eclipse, Meyer’s third book.

Well, my opinion on Meyer’s story-telling skills is still the same – annoyingly repetitive and descriptive! The whole story line could have been shorter and the book, thinner. If we were to delete all the unnecessary and boring bits, the number of pages could have been cut into half!

The extend of the ‘love’ between Bella, Edward and Jacob was so overwhelming, I found myself to be skipping pages like nobody’s business. Come on, who wanna read pages and pages of conversation between two individuals? Shouldn’t one page be the max? I know the book is written for the typical teen but then again… ah, never mind.

The ‘cheonghei’ness aside, I found the storyline to be still captivating. Here, Bella’s graduation is approaching and if you don’t know the significance of this – this is supposed to be ‘the day’ Edward changes her.

The core of this book is not really the ‘changing’ process, but rather, the love triangle between Edward, Bella and Jacob. The vampires and werewolves (or shape-shifters) were brought together by Bella and became friends. Victoria returned for revenge and chaos ensued when she created an army of ‘newborns’, ie, new vampires who are strong and hungry for fresh blood.

Her target was, of course, Bella and it was to protect her that both Edward and Jacob had to work together to fight off Victoria and all the new vamps. And, in the process, we get to learn more about Rosalie and Jasper’s human lives.

Well, not too bad compared to New Moon. But do be prepared to fast forward some sections.

Obsession

Author: Karen Robards

I picked this book up at only RM5 during Carrefour’s clearance. Buying it was a risk, yes, solely because I didn’t really know whether it would be a a worthwhile read or not. The fact that it is dumped on a huge pile of books in a clearance sale says lot about it, right?

Anyway, the book wasn’t too much of a disappointment. As a matter of fact, it did keep me holding on to it with its suspenses. Karen Robards had successfully weaved a mystery which seemed to be nonsensical at first, but the surprise at the end explained it all.

Katharine Lawrence, our main lead in the story, just survived a horrifying attack which left her best friend dead. However, as she woke in the hospital after being rescued, something doesn’t seem to be right. Although she knew her name was Katharine and that she has a rich boyfriend, she couldn’t recognise the person staring back at her in the mirror. She found herself in a stranger’s body living an even stranger life.

As she tried to gather the pieces of memory that she held on to during the attack, conflicting images replayed in her mind throughout, confusing her even more. Katharine thought that she was going mad and didn’t know whether she could trust anyone at all any longer.

As usual, the story did end with a happily ever after but it is really the creative twist at the end that is worth the read. If you are one who likes suspense and mystery, come and I shall lend this to you.

The Poison Tree

Author: Tony Strong

The Poison Tree is a detective who-dun-it novel with a heroine who is doing her PhD in detective novels. Ironic. Anyway, it tells of Terry Williams who, after a divorce, got into a lesbian relationship and to escape it all, went back to study at the University of Oxford.

Jeez.

In the meantime, she bought a house which used to belong to the university’s student housing but has to be sold because a student was brutally murdered with a iron rod stuck up his ass.

Really.

Terry then became the detective herself, trying to solve the murder of the previous occupant of her house while surprise, surprise, uncovering dark secrets about every one around her. She even found some pornographic letters hidden behind the wallpaper she has by chance torn down. Thing was, the man she had suspected as a murderer had the perfect alibi but she was not convinced. And, as how all detective novels would end, the murderer was indeed someone everyone least expected to be, one hidden from the storyline all this while.

It was not a let down, actually. At least it kept me company during my AirAsia ride to and fro Hong Kong. As with all who-dun-its, you tend to want to finish the novel, since you obviously want to know who the murderer is. Despite reviews (I know they are not often right) of it being grisly, violent and thought-provoking, I didn’t have the same conclusion. Well, perhaps it was somehow a bit erotic here and there, but that was not what I had expected when I picked up the book.

I am not sure if Tony Strong has written other books after this ‘debut’ but I sure hope the others are better than this.

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New Moon

Heh. Most say that this book is quite boring and does not really live up to the first. Well, I must admit that I did skip some of the pages, but I think it’s not so bad. Perhaps this was because I have been warned and pre-warned about the impending bore that I have lowered my expectations so considerable that the bore didn’t really bother me.

Anyway, this book lacked Edward. Yes, to those who are so in love with Edward, this book will bore you. He reappeared only towards the end, with exceptions of his voice that kept appearing in Bella’s head. Those, however, who loved Jacob, will find this interesting.

The only thing I don’t like about Meyer’s writing is she is too descriptive and repetitive. I really don’t see a reason for her to keep describing how Jacob has grown so huge and dashing and how Bella pined for Edward. Come on, get into some substance already! Like what I have told some of my friends, it isn’t her writing that captures the readers, it was just a plain storyline.

Back to the book – here, the focus is on Jacob and Bella – how she discovered he is a werewolf and how she realises that her new BFF is her lover’s eternal enemy. And, if she were to become a vampire as well, her BFF will become her enemy. As she struggled to come into terms with this fact, she still dreamt of Edward, wishing that he’d just reappear and also trying to put herself in danger, hoping that he would magically turn up and save her from danger.

Of course Jacob isn’t too happy with this since he is in love with her, too. The turning point for Bella came when both werewolf and vampire came face-to-face. Meyer, as usual, played the meeting down with more descriptions which made the chapter longer than necessary.

Hopefully, the next book will be better.