A good book! The latter part was unexpected and my enjoyment increased at that stage but it wasn't an outstanding piece of literary genius. It wasn'tA good book! The latter part was unexpected and my enjoyment increased at that stage but it wasn't an outstanding piece of literary genius. It wasn't an unforgettable book or one I'll be inclined to read again so only deserving of 3 stars....more
I started out with reasonably high hopes for this book, the premise sounded great, right up my street and it read well albeit it pInitial impressions
I started out with reasonably high hopes for this book, the premise sounded great, right up my street and it read well albeit it perhaps a little slow if anything for the first couple of chapters. Anyway it soon became apparent aside from having very little in the way of actual plot, that it was going to take a weird turn. The book soon turned from a psychological case study regarding an autistic kid to becoming centred around a weird fantasy life of the kids mother when she was a kid. At this stage I gave up. Just wasn't what the book advertised itself to be.
Plot + Characterisation
Plot- The plot "allegedly" surrounded a child called Conor who has already been diagnosed with Autism. When his mother, famous novelist Laura finds she cannot handle him any longer and her relationship with her husband Alan also begins to suffer as a result, she seeks the help of James, a child psychologist. You would assume based on the above, which was pretty much the synopsis given on the book albeit in slightly different wording, that the emphasis of the story therefore would be around Conor, perhaps identifying the issues he has and seeking to find a manageable solution. The blurb however lied. This was more of some strange fantasy than a psychological novel. It revolves around for the most part the mothers early life where she recounts strange tales of worlds she created out of her imagination. To make matters worse, we are then forced to hear about these tales in detail by us being provided by various stories she had written down after the time to try and keep the memory/dream as vivid as possible. Basically the book turned out to be something it didn't advertise itself as and I was very disappointed.
Characters- The characters were fairly weren't too bad. Conor was mildly annoying but that was to be expected having no understanding and perhaps tolerance of autism unfortunately, Alan and Laura were likeable and you sympathised for both of them and James well seemed nice enough. Cliched would also be another way to describe them but I suppose in these novels they would be to a degree. Still, likeable for the most part and fairly well developed when not going into irrelevant detail about Laura's imagination rather than her (and Conor's, life).
So based on the above, bearing in mind, I have been mislead and lied to by the blurb in the book, the book goes on a completely different tangent in regards to genre from psychological to fantasy of which carries no coherence at all, this would have usually attracted a one star and perhaps an utter rubbish label however its one redeeming feature was, that although by no means literary brilliance, it read well. It read slow, the pace was certainly very slow but once again could be expected from what you would get from a psychological book. The writing is what made me continue quite a way into the book before giving up but had to stop when I'd just quite simply had enough of the fact that Laura and her stupid and very boring, not to mention childish, oh and also completely uninteresting imagination became the main plot of the book when the blurb advertised otherwise.
Based on the writing, I would possibly give this author one more go, but beyond that, unless more promising, I won't be bothering because I felt deceived here and thats not a very good selling point....more
Sugar & Spice is set in England and revolves around a series of disturbing multiple child murder cases. Children'**spoiler alert** Plot summary:
Sugar & Spice is set in England and revolves around a series of disturbing multiple child murder cases. Children's bodies are found all over the country in various locations, usually naked, and dead, having been subject to sexual abuse before death, bringing in suspicions of a serial paedophile-killer on the loose.
Rebecca is one of those children found in such circumstances and leaving her mother Claire to cope with the horrific circumstances of her death.
However, not too long after Rebecca's death, Claire is relieved when Bristow a known sex offender is arrested in connection to all of the deaths thus far. However it soon becomes apparent, even to Claire(who visits him in prison), that Bristow isn't responsible for either Rebecca's or the other girls' deaths as more offences are committed whilst Bristow is inside on remand.
Joined with the help of Matt her journalist boyfriend, Claire sets out, with also the help of the police and Danny a teenage hacker to solve the murders and find out who is responsible for committing such atrocities with particular regard to who killed her daughter.
Alongside this is the subplot involving Greg Randall a self confessed paedophile with an admitted sexual interest in prepubsecent girls, concerned because of his own 6 year old twin girls of his emotions, he seeks help at a apparently respectable clinic who try through albeit it strange means to cure sex offenders of their sexual deviances. Randall becomes crucial to the other part of the plot as gradually he becomes scapegoated for the murders in question.
NOT FOR THE FAINTHEARTED OR SQUEAMISH
That said, having given you fair warning, if your not, then continue reading my review or the book. You'll be okay!
This book was absolutely superb, so much better than I expected. Having so far, only read a minute amount of good kindle books with most disappointing me, I expected this to be also another disappointment. Never will I go into a book with such low expectations again. This was fantastic and definitely one of my favourites of the year. Hard to believe it was a debut!
The subject matter is extremely dark and therefore not for those who feel uncomfortable with reading about the subject matter of killings, paedophilia and child abuse in detail because this book does detail it, very much. Especially in regards to the Randall part of the story where we are given a real insight into the mind of a paedophile, it is of course not pleasant and sometimes downright disturbing reading but is of course crucial to the plot and an interesting insight nonetheless.
Sugar & spice is exceptionally well researched as well with the story feeling as real and true to life as can be with all the additional information about real serial killers thrown into the book to make it more like reality.
The characters were all in some way(dare I say it-even Bristow) characters I got attached to or sympathised with for many various reasons, I felt that they were drawn up extremely well and felt very realistic to me. They were the reason I kept reading this book late into the night, caring about finding out how things resolved for each and every one of them.
There is no criticism about the writing or plot I can think of in this book the only criticism at all would be the occasional typos I came across, however I accept that they are common in most Kindle books and for the price and quality that I got Sugar & Spice for, I could hardly complain too much. Apart from the fact, the typos were slight and did not detract me from enjoying this book whatsoever.
I am very excited about reading more of this author's work. Hopefully soon? Very soon??!
I'll start off by being honest. Before now, when I think of the words "self published" or "independent" in regard to authors, I think talentless peoplI'll start off by being honest. Before now, when I think of the words "self published" or "independent" in regard to authors, I think talentless people who can't get a book deal through the proper and traditional way, namely, a publishing house. Actually that was an extremely prejudiced and very wrong view.
I picked this book up after just getting my kindle, I wanted something reasonable but that also sounded like something I would enjoy. The girl on the swing was that book. So I bought it. What a great book it was. This book has absolutely everything that would keep you reading in a book. Bit of a romantic element,a mystery of some kind/ intrigue and action of course .
The story centers around Julia who believes she has lived before, currently going through a difficult time through marital problems, the death of her son and an ensuing legal case against her, she seeks refuge in these past lives of hers that she sees through visions and then later, through regression. The characters are all fully developed, and I found Julia to be an extremely likeable character who managed to gain my sympathy for the hard hand that she had been dealt at in life.
The writing of the book was not juvenile in any sense which I would expect from most authors writing their debut novel, this was impressive and captured my attention as effectively as though Ms Cooper had been a well seasoned pro at writing books and this definitely didn't show as being a first novel.
All in all I would even go so far as to that I would include this as one of my favourite books, its so different to all the other cliched books and genres that exist out there and the moment and I would strongly recommend it be read.
I have also learnt something valuable. Not to prejudge before experiencing....I shall be now actively supporting independant and self published authors and more willing to buy from them because the reality is, bad authors exist, but this is irrelevant of the fact as to being self published, to the contrary, many authors I don't like are published the traditional way. Anyway I would strongly advise people to pick up this book. Its great! I look forward to reading more of this authors work!...more
Wtf? Love this guy but this was appalling, written really badly, jumping all over the place, couldn't get into it whatsoever. Must have been on of hisWtf? Love this guy but this was appalling, written really badly, jumping all over the place, couldn't get into it whatsoever. Must have been on of his earlier ones. Totally sucked!...more
First off anyone picking this up looking for another Historian will be disappointed, The swan thieves has absolutely zilch in common with the Historia First off anyone picking this up looking for another Historian will be disappointed, The swan thieves has absolutely zilch in common with the Historian, a totally different kind of book....but thats not to say it isn't as good! It is a good book but for me personally, just wasn't as good as her debut....I think perhaps because the subject matter of the historian interested me slightly more...Anyhow...
I picked up this book not knowing a lot about the subject matter but simply because, as I suppose many people did, to read another book by the author who wrote the brilliant historian. So when it came down to revolving around art, I became wary. Art isn't a subject that particularly interests me at all and I did wonder how on earth 500+ pages could be written about the subject. For the first 20 pages therefore I struggled, I found the writing to not flow particularly well and really wanted to just keep putting it down....I didn't find it gripped me straight away in the way that the Historian did. However seeing as Kostova had written it, I did persevere and not long after that point I had nearly given up at, I began to get pulled into the story and started enjoying it....
As so many reviews about this book state, not a lot does actually happen in this book, it is very much a story being told through several voices(Marlow/Mary/Kate) about events either currently or in the past but with no actual action/main event as such taking place in the present. I would even go as far as to say this is a character focused novel of sorts.
The premise is interesting enough, Dr Marlow, a psychologist at a mental home is landed with another patient, this patient being Robert Oliver, a well renowned artist. It becomes apparent that Robert Oliver has an obsession, he spends his time drawing this one single woman in a variety of portraits and doesn't speak at all. Through trying to help Robert, Dr Marlow visits his former wife and former girlfriend who also state the same in regards to his obsession with this woman leading to the end of their relationships...Marlow therefore tries to uncover the mystery, to find out who the woman is and ultimately help treat Robert.
I liked the fact that different voices told the story, I have always been a fan of the different POV kind of set up in Jodi Piccolts novels for example, and felt this was a good way to tell this kind of story...
The characters unlike The Historian are all fleshed out by Kostova very nicely, particularly Robert who is described and mentioned by three different people and so three different perspectives are given of his character in three different contexts. In the historian, the plot was the main selling point because I remember on reading that not being fully convinced by the characters, it was more of a plot driven book unlike this one. However Kostova demonstrates she can do both kinda stories extremely well....
I really liked it but I didn't love it. I found that it was incredibly easy at times to put this book down and read my other one that I had on the go, and although compelled at some stage to pick it up again, it just didnt have the staying power or gave me the immersion that the historian did. That said, I really did enjoy it and will continue to read what this author writes. The historian however is still my favourite!...more
This book totally sucked me in, I really, really, really enjoyed it! I found the dual narratives a bit of a pain and confusing at some points though aThis book totally sucked me in, I really, really, really enjoyed it! I found the dual narratives a bit of a pain and confusing at some points though and for that reason alone I couldn't give it five stars. Really really liked it though. Definitely another fab book of the year!...more
This book started off really well, and for the first few chapters I believed this was going to be a 5* book. Wasn't to be. From the half way point, itThis book started off really well, and for the first few chapters I believed this was going to be a 5* book. Wasn't to be. From the half way point, it started to get boring, the plot that had been pretty thin in the first place had amounted to nothing and the book really started to drag to the point where it felt like a chore to pick it up so it was time to say enough is enough.. Not what I was hoping for at all....more
Very so so detective type novel. Found it to be fairly tedious in places when going into pointless explanation of freudian principles and hamlet. Bit rVery so so detective type novel. Found it to be fairly tedious in places when going into pointless explanation of freudian principles and hamlet. Bit randomly put together I though. Very average. Not poor as the pages did keep turning. Nothing special though. Straight into my charity shop book bag!!...more