BOOK REVIEW: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

40097951._SY475_Title: The Silent Patient

Author: Alex Michaelides

Book Length (Audiobook): 8 hours 43 mins

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Read Start Date: October 18, 2019

Read Finish Date: October 20, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

My Review: I am writing this review about a month after reading the book, so I admit my recollection is already a bit fuzzy. I remember reading this book quickly, because I wanted to find out what was going on — it was a real page turner (or the equivalent of that for audiobooks). The ending was like WTF just happened? I have to say I did not expect that at all! — it was a good twist and I really enjoyed the ending.

Jo’s Book Blog and The Bursting Book Shelf also have reviews of this book, which I think that you will find helpful, as I cannot really give such a detailed review this time.

The audiobook had a nice interview with the author, which I also listened to. The author mentions that the plot was based upon a Greek myth, Euripides play Alcestis. This particular tragedy is about a woman who returns from death, never to speak again. If you are interested in reading an interview with the author, you can find it at this link, here.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

3._SY475_Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling

Book Length (Audiobook): 8 hours 34 mins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult

Read Start Date: October 14, 2019

Read Finish Date: October 18, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

My Review: I have read this book 3 times in all, and everytime I enjoy it as much as the first. I really love the writing style of J.K. Rowling. It is very tongue-in-cheek, light, and just overall super fun! In fact, the entire story is just fun! A young orphan boy forced to grow up with his nightmare relatives, live in a closet beneath the stairs, finds out that he is a wizard…and not just any wizard, but the wizard who, as an infant, lived through an attempted murder on his life by the infamous dark wizard “He Who Shall Not Be Named.”

Suddenly, his life changes from one of misery to one of greatness and prophecy, and he is whisked away by a half-Giant to his first year of wizarding school, where he meets other kids his own age who also have magic powers. Harry makes friends (for this first time in his life) and they get into all sorts of hijinks at the school: from fighting trolls to hiding illegal dragons, wearing invisibility cloaks and going searching for a hurt unicorn in the Forbidden Forest. I was always constantly amazed at the imagination of J.K. Rowling — for example, jelly beans of every flavor — even vomit and beeswax!

Although this book is written for children, adults of all ages will find this book equally great and fun. This book is a definite read (and re-read!). I cannot recommend this book enough.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

34466922Title: Sleeping Beauties

Author: Stephen King and Owen King

Book Length: 718 pages

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Thriller

Read Start Date: February 25, 2019

Read Finish Date: November 17, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

My Review: Stephen King is probably one of my favorite authors out there. However, I’m finding that I’m not so happy with his new stuff. The book starts with a woman murdering a couple of meth cookers in a pretty violent way. It become rather apparent that this woman is totally off her rocker, but at the same time she seems to know stuff, private stuff, about people that she really has no business in knowing.

Soon after her arrival, women who fall asleep start growing cocoons around them like butterflies (or moths) and do not awaken — but it is only the women. The men are unaffected.

I originally started to read this book because I really like virus books in general and The Stand by Stephen King remains to be one of my all time favorites, so it seemed like a winning combination. As you can see above, it took me much longer than usual to get through this book, and I guess that the book wasn’t really keep my attention as much as other Stephen King books do.

It took me NINE MONTHS in all to finish it, I can truly say that the plot just progresses really, really slowly. In the book, only a few days actually goes by. 718 pages to describe events that takes place in less than a week. You do the math. I was really expecting something more from Stephen King.

I also was not so thrilled with the whole men are evil and women are perfect, because let’s face it that’s not true. And to be honest, has anyone ever worked in an office full of women? Was that such a utopian society? If your experience was anything like mine, you will give a resounding HELL NO!

I read a few reviews on this book and I liked the one from Katie Marie the best. I’ve included a link to her blog post.

On a scale of must read to don’t bother, this book falls somewhere in the middle. However, given the length, I would caution against starting it if you don’t have a lot of time to get through it.

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Fallen by David Baldacci

35959808._SX318_ (1)Title: The Fallen

Author: David Baldacci

Book Length (Audiobook): 11 hours 56 mins

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Crime

Read Start Date: October 10, 2019

Read Finish Date: October 14, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes–obscure bible verses, odd symbols–have the police stumped.

Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex’s sister and her family. It’s a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has only been there a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene.

Then the next killing hits sickeningly close to home. And with the lives of people he cares about suddenly hanging in the balance, Decker begins to realize that the recent string of deaths may be only one small piece of a much larger scheme–with consequences that will reach far beyond Baronville.

Decker, with his singular talents, may be the only one who can crack this bizarre case. Only this time–when one mistake could cost him everything–Decker finds that his previously infallible memory may not be so trustworthy after all…

My Past Review(s)The Fallen is the 4th book in the Amos Decker series.

You can read my review of the 1st book in the series, Memory Man, here.

You can read my review of the 2nd book in the series, The Last Mile, here.

You can read my review of the 3rd book in the series, The Fix, here.

My Review: Like the first three books, I am giving the fourth book 3 stars out of 5 because I liked it, but didn’t love it. Each book can be read as a standalone — there are enough hints to the plot of the first books that it does not ruin the book if you haven’t the first ones in the series.

Amos Decker, the main character and former police detective, stumbles upon this case when he is visiting the family of his friend and partner Alex Jamison. Although Amos is supposed to be on vacation (a fact that we hear a lot throughout the book), Amos being Amos, dives right in to solve the case — he of course makes some pretty obvious deductions along the way (e.g. even I know about blow flies, but the county coroner does not(?)).

Anyway, I do not feel that there is anything unique I can really saw about this book, except to echo my other reviews (which you can read by clicking on the links above). The following blog, Books and Strips, also shares my opinion, that basically the story line is fast paced, and that Amos is a know-it-all. This book was written to entertain, which it certainly does.

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

248596Title: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Author: Ray Bradbury

Book Length (Audiobook): 9 hours 8 mins

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Classics, Science Fiction

Read Start Date: September 28, 2019

Read Finish Date: October 10, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes – and the stuff of nightmare.

This is the second book in the Green Town series.

My Past Reviews:

See my review of Dandelion Wine here.

My Review: I had a really hard time getting into this book. I’m not sure whether it was the monotone voice of the audiobook narrator, or the slowness of the book itself, or maybe even the lengthy prose to describe simple things that seems to be a Bradbury special (or maybe even the combination of the three), but I found myself constantly drifting off onto other thoughts. I had to rewind the audiobook at least five times — often times I would find that I had drifted over for more than 15 minutes (sometime even a whole car ride). Maybe it would have been better to read it as a book or ebook.

I had originally wanted to give this book a 3, but once I started writing this review, I realized I had to give it a 2. Although I eventually got into the story (after reading approximately half the book), I was less than ambivalent about it. I think that this had in large part to do with the format of the book I was reading. The story definitely seemed interesting. An evil and sinister carnival rolls into small town America just in time for Halloween? What’s not to like at first blush?

Notwithstanding the intriguing plot, if I was a reader prone to giving up on books, then I would have given up on this one for sure. It is just too dense for audiobook reading, and my library did not have it available in any other format.

I think that the story had potential to be great (if I was just able to pay attention), so I won’t not recommend it — but I do not recommend the audiobook version.

If you’d like to get more of a balanced opinion, I did read some other blog reviews about the book (below) which had a more positive outtake.

The Door Without a Key

Shannon Fox

For the Love of Science.