**spoiler alert** Madapple by Christina Meldrum is a novel which focuses on the psychological aspects of things. It explores the slightly darker side...more**spoiler alert** Madapple by Christina Meldrum is a novel which focuses on the psychological aspects of things. It explores the slightly darker side of humans and how fantasy plays with reality. The reader follows the protagonist, Aslaug, as she becomes ensnared in the web of lies her mother and relatives weaved around her. As the story goes on, the truth is revealed bit by bit, both trapping her and freeing her.
This novel is an interesting read, even though the plot is unrealistic. The main story takes place from 2003 to 2007 in America. Aslaug lived with her mother, Maren, far away from society. “She was always alone” (Meldrum 20). The only education she has received is from her mother. Maren always blackens passages out from the books the government provides, leaving Aslaug with very limited knowledge. After Maren dies, Aslaug escaped from her social worker and somehow finds her way to a building she hardly has any recognition of to her relatives, whom she has never met before.
Also, Maren claims Aslaug is of virgin birth. This ‘virgin birth’ idea continues on in Aslaug’s life as she gives birth to a child seemingly of virgin birth. Her relatives encourage that thinking, saying that her daughter is not hers.
It is unrealistic that in that time and place people could live like that and think like that for so long. The police don’t even try to find Aslaug when she escapes. Also, Aslaug carried her baby for nine months and allows her realtive to take her away and feed her lies about her never giving birth.
However, the way Meldrum wrote it makes the book interesting. Every other chapter, starting from chapter one, is Aslaug’s story. The other chapters, conversely, are written in plain dialogue and takes place during Aslaug’s trial. The trial gives away certain aspects layered with assumptions while the story reveals the truth. It keeps the reader in suspense, making continue on reading to know the truth.
Meldrum has done a lot of research and placed it into her book.
Nevertheless, there are just too many information and it is hard to process it all.(less)
It took me quite some time to read The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels & 56 Short Stories mainly due to school and other activities. In fac...moreIt took me quite some time to read The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels & 56 Short Stories mainly due to school and other activities. In fact, at this moment, I still haven't finished every single story in this book yet.
I have read the Sherlock Holmes series in different books before and in a more modern writing style. But, personally, I prefer a more original style of writing, mainly because this was the way the author wrote it and not the way other people interpreted it. That's the main reason why I bought this version of the series instead of another.
It surprised me though. For such a small book, it sure have lots of pages. It's smaller than some of my other books but it has several hundred more pages. And the font is rather small, but then again, if it wasn't as small, probably another thousand pages would be needed.
All in all, I like this version of the Sherlock Holmes series than the other versions, which typically don't include all the stories.(less)
**spoiler alert** In the Skin of a Lion was a class novel that I had to write an English essay on. Needless to say, for that reason alone, I didn't en...more**spoiler alert** In the Skin of a Lion was a class novel that I had to write an English essay on. Needless to say, for that reason alone, I didn't enjoy reading it that much, but we did get a field trip to downtown Toronto to check out the setting of the novel. Micheal Ondaatje had done a lot of research while writing this story. We had even gone to the archive where he had gotten some of his information.
As I was going through the book with my class (we read it together), I noticed a pattern in this book -- darkness and light. These two seneries/backgrounds are found throughout the entire novel -- e.g. dark water, evening, tunnels, flames, moonlight, sunlight. I latched onto that and wrote an essay on how darkness and light reflected the changing mentality of the characters.
Even though I had focused mostly on darkness and light, I had found several other themes and insights, such as bonds and vengence.
This is a good book, albeit somewhat dark and heavy. I just didn't like the sudden flashbacks and the sudden jump to new characters which seemed to have no connections to the story at first.(less)
I have gotten Luther: The Calling from a goodreads first-reads giveaway, and I really like it!
According to the author, Neil Cross, Luther was a TV sho...moreI have gotten Luther: The Calling from a goodreads first-reads giveaway, and I really like it!
According to the author, Neil Cross, Luther was a TV show before it become a book; and truthfully, since I haven't actually watched television for a long time, I have never heard of the show Luther until I starting reading this book.
It does show that Cross has more experience in writing screenplay though. Unlike a vast majority of novels, all the paragraphs are very short, and most of them consists of only one sentence. Also, there are less elaborate descriptions of setting, scenes and people than most detective novels (or at least, the detective novels I've read).
The story is rather fast-paced, and it jumps from scene to scene. I could imagine an entire episode just based on this one novel.
But this book is definitely not for kids or young teens, simply due to the sexual content. There aren't a lot of actual sex scenes, but genitals have been mentioned here and there throughout the entire story. And, there is a character(view spoiler)[, Henry Madsen, (hide spoiler)] who watches people have sex; he even video types them.
There are also violent scenes(view spoiler)[, such as animal torture, murder, and human torture, (hide spoiler)]. However, as I've mentioned before, the scenes aren't described in detail.
The characters are interesting too.
(view spoiler)[Luther is not the typical heroic policeman most people are using to reading about or watching on crime dramas. His tendency to become obsessed with capturing the criminal and his hot-temper makes him a wild card in the police force.
He has his own morals, but he isn't afraid of roughhousing the suspects in order to get information. He even blackmails people in order to get the desired result. At the end of the novel, Luther is in a way directly responsible for Henry's fall. (view spoiler)[Not only did Luther not pull Henry up from where he was dangling, Luther actually stepped on Henry's fingers, causing him to let go and fall. (hide spoiler)]
Like many people, Luther also has martial problems in the background(view spoiler)[ - a secret love affair he knows nothing about, miscommunication, drifting apart due to work, etc (hide spoiler)].
Henry Madsen, on the other hand, also has obsession problems, except he's more interested in bloodlines and pedigree. In that aspect, he's kind of like Hilter. He stalk couples whose traits he's interested in, and then take their child. Henry isn't above killing to get the child either. Torturing people and animals is in his resume as well.
In a way, it was a battle to see whose obsession causes them to make the bigger mistake - (view spoiler)[Luther is on the verge of losing his job and may have killed someone, and Henry has left a trail for Luther to sniff out (hide spoiler)].
Other shaddy characters consists of people who are into molesting children, having others breast feed on her, having sex with corpses, human trafficking, etc (hide spoiler)].
I can't say that Luther: The Calling was one of my favourites, but it was really good.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Goth is quite interesting. (view spoiler)[Two students "befriending" each other out of the common interest in death and murder. One is the damsel in d...moreGoth is quite interesting. (view spoiler)[Two students "befriending" each other out of the common interest in death and murder. One is the damsel in distress haunted by her past. And the other is the hero who is not afraid of getting his hands bloody, who could care less about letting other murderers go scott-free, and who is interested in the heroine's death. (hide spoiler)]
It is clearly more character-driven than plot-driven. I found the shortness of the series and the ending quite appropriate for Goth, though I kind of wished it didn't end so soon.["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I've gotten an advanced and uncorrected copy of Freak form a goodreads giveaway, so there are several typos and other mistakes in here.
Although this i...moreI've gotten an advanced and uncorrected copy of Freak form a goodreads giveaway, so there are several typos and other mistakes in here.
Although this is a sequel to Creep, you don't need to read Creep to understand Freak. There are enough explanations here and there to understand the main points from the first book.
I found this story rather well-written. There are hints throughout the book regarding the true culprit behind the bloody and year-long mission of freeing Abby Maddox, the girlfriend of a deceased psychopath who was convicted for the suspected murder of a women and the assault of a policeman. However, despite the hints, it is rather difficult to guess who the true culprit is until he/she is revealed, because of all the other people involved in his/her manipulations.
The ending is also rather interesting. (view spoiler)[Not many crime novels have the criminals escaping, leaving behind devestating loses for the police. (hide spoiler)]
However, I found the developmwnt of the relationship between Abby and the culprit rather quick. Of course, this novel isn't focused on their relationship, but still. They first met in prison - one as a criminal, the other as a worker. Then after a short period of time, they fall deeply enough for the culprit to plan for Abby's escape using whatever means neccessary, even though it meant the deaths of several young women.
Abby using the culprit to help her gain her freedom is one thing. (After all, she had manipulated several people to do her bidding while in prison.) But, having Abby fall in love with the culprit so fast, despite having a close relationship with another person for 8 years, is another.
I just don't get why or how Abby could fall in love with the culprit so much and so fast that she had even put off her revenge the culprit threatened to break up with Abby if Abby tries to go back for her revenge.
Anyhow, all in all, I'd have to say that this is a good mystery novel, though it was rather difficult to have a sense of the time passing between chapters. I wouldn't mind reading Creep if I could get a hold of it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I've gotten an advanced copy of The Absent One from a Goodreads giveaway.
(view spoiler)[A murder case, which was supposed to have been resolved twenty...moreI've gotten an advanced copy of The Absent One from a Goodreads giveaway.
(view spoiler)[A murder case, which was supposed to have been resolved twenty years ago, was once again opened due to the case's file mysteriously appearing on Detective Carl's desk, followed by other things related to the case.
The clues eventaully lead Carl and Assad, his assistant, to several very wealthy men who takes pleasure in physical violence and a homeless women who hear voices in her head. All four of them used to be part of a school gang, and had participating in things like smoking weed and beating up other kids. (hide spoiler)]
There are quite a lot of violent scenes involving sex, physical violence, blood and/or death, so this is definitely not something kids should read. Also, since this is written in several characters' perspective, though not all at the same time, it allows the readers to get into the characters' head and understand them more.
Overall, I find this novel rather interesting and well-written.
The only actual "problem" with it are the foreign names. For some reason, they just don't stick in my head as easily as English names, so I sometimes loose track of who did what and who was who. It made the story longer than it actually was for me as I tried to recall which name applied to which character.
That was the main reason why I've rated it a 3/5 rather than a 4/5.
I have won The Almond Tree from a goodreads giveaway.
5/5 for effort and research 4/5 for Ichmad's charcterization 2/5 for description of relationships,...moreI have won The Almond Tree from a goodreads giveaway.
5/5 for effort and research 4/5 for Ichmad's charcterization 2/5 for description of relationships, and characterization of other characters 3/5 for pace 3.5/5 overall
The chapters are short, but each contains an incident Ichmad learn from, and hence, and grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. However, because of the short length, this book also tends to be fast-paced, often without a clear timeskip between each chapter. The fast pace is understandable as the novel covers about 54 years over a span of 348 pages (or 58 chapters).
However, because of the fast pace, there isn't as much characterization for most of the characters. The only 3D characters are Ichmad, and the few characters he interacts with most often. Everyone else is only given a personality trait or two, and are barely touched upon, even though they are important figures in Ichmad's life.
Take Nora, for instance. She first meets Ichmad as his student whom he is tutoring; and then, they fall in love in about 7 pages, get engaged in another 7 pages, and goes through their wedding night in 4. However, there is actually quite a bit of time skip in between, even though it's not really clear.
Nora is often described as a kind, generous, accepting, peace-loving young woman who always stands up for her ideals. There isn’t really that much more to her.
To me, she's just a 2D character.
The pace is too fast to really get a hold of their growing relationship and how they affected each other. In fact, I find that Ichmad's relationships with a majority of the characters to be rather flat. When reading about them, I could only take Ichmad's word for his feelings towards certain people. But, I just can’t sympathize with them.
I know that Ichmad falls in love with Nora’s beauty and her passion for peace. I know that Ichmad slowly comes to like Yasmine (as in, there is a large time skip in between). I know that Justice and Ichmad are friends. I know how many of his relationships are. But it is hard to really feel it since the pace was too fast. It somewhat seems like the author was just forcing relationships through, using Ichmad's thoughts to tell the readers what he thought of others.
However, because the novel is written in first-person and focuses on Ichmad, it's easy to see how he had grown up from an anger-driven kid to a peace-seeking adult. I really enjoyed reading about the many trials he had to go through and how he raised above all his disadvantages.
And it’s also easy to see all the research Corasanti had done for her novel. Really well done for that.
I personally think it would’ve been better if The Almond Tree was lengthened, with more elaboration on his relationships with other people.