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Book Reviews

The Obsession – Nora Roberts Book Review

But where had her father gone?

He had secrets—she figured all adults did. Secrets they kept from everybody, secrets that made their eyes go hard if you asked the wrong question. Maybe he was an explorer, one who went through a magic door to another world.

9780349407784.jpgPublisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9780349407784
Number of pages: 544
Weight: 362 g
Dimensions: 197 x 128 x 34 mm

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.


He looked around, and for one terrible moment she feared he looked right at her. This man, she knew into her bones, would hurt her, would use hands and fists on her like the father who worked to provide security for his family never had. With a helpless whimper in her throat, she thought: Please, Daddy. Please.

As I was reading this book I could not shake off the feeling of dread creeping into me. Storms, odd sightings, skull-like figures, cold, cold bones and rusty hinges. This book was designed to creep people out while reading it.

I Loved That!

But where she imagined a puppy whimpering in his crate was a woman.

Her eyes were wide and shined like glass as tears streamed from them. She made terrible noises against the tape over her mouth. Scrapes and bruises left raw marks on her face and her throat. She wasn’t wearing any clothes, nothing at all, but didn’t try to cover herself.

Couldn’t, couldn’t cover herself. Her hands were tied with rope—bloodied from the raw wounds on her wrists—and the rope was tied to a metal post behind the old mattress she lay on. Her legs were tied, too, at the ankles and spread wide.

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I’ve read some crappy books last year from Nora Roberts and I have no idea what I was hoping for with this one but let me just say that it was awesome. Truly terrifying and absolutely shocking, I read the whole lot over a weekend and when I was done, I could not help but think that maybe, just maybe, Nora Roberts can still write.

“Ashley said she thought she’d been down there for a day or two. There was more rope down there, and pictures. There were pictures on the wall of other women, tied up like she was. Worse than she was. I think some of them were dead. I think they were dead. I’m going to be sick.”

The Story

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defences failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.


The Good Parts:

  • First half of the book (when Naomi was 12) was really well written (5/5 stars)

The Bad Parts:

  • Naomi’s adult career seems to take a lot of space in the second half of the book, really going into detail about interior design and shopping. Not a fan of that section (that’s more than half)
  • Rooms, plans and furniture descriptions. Renovations ideas. Construction work. Furniture descriptions of the friend’s house. New ideas. Colors. Patterns. More furniture ideas.
  • The love interest is a bit of an A-hole and verbally abusive. Not sure if she picked him due to her past trauma and her needing someone to tell her what to do in the same way her mother needed her dad to tell her what to do.
  • The most anticlimactic kiss ever. He just puts his lips on the heroine out of the blue. No chemistry. No anticipation. No passion. The dialogue continues as if the kiss didn’t happen.
  • The mother is a bit of a depressive mess who keeps going back to the killer husband in jail until he serves her the divorce papers. I mean what woman does that? Presented with irrefutable evidence that your hubby is a serial killer – wilfully keeping your eyes closed and listening to abuse.
  • The killer in the second half of the book was – SPOILER – a friend from highschool that felt slighted she didn’t tell him that she was the daughter of a serial killer and then would not share her side of the story with him to be published in the school newspaper. He did pick a bad time to ask too – at her mother’s funeral. Ummm… ok?

“He was in the house. He was going to shoot the dog. I couldn’t let him shoot the dog. He . . . the gun. He has a gun.”

“Not anymore. Don’t worry about him. Broke his nose for you,” Xander murmured, laying his brow to hers.

“High school nerd.” “What?” “Chaffins. Anson Chaffins. Tell Mason,” she said, and slid away.

That was really, really, really bad villaining here. I mean weak as hell.

Just a smart, nerdy kid who’d gone to a school dance with her, who’d put a couple clumsy moves on her, easily brushed off. And a monster, all along.

I would say read the first 30 pages and the last 10 pages and you’ll have a lovely night in. I would also thank Mrs. Roberts for another book that will burn so brightly in my bonfire night due to the 370 pages of interior design crap that pad this mess (my copy had 418 pages).

Categories
Book Reviews

Jo Nesbo – Macbeth

Scandinavia’s king of crime turns the tragedy into a deliciously oppressive page-turner

120866955Set in a run-down, rainy, industrial town, Macbeth centers around a police force struggling to shed an incessant drug problem.

Duncan, chief of police, is idealistic and visionary, a dream to the townspeople but a nightmare for criminals. The drug trade is ruled by two drug lords, one of whom a master of manipulation named Hecate – has connections with the highest in power and plans to use them to get his way.

Hecate’s plot hinges on steadily, insidiously manipulating Inspector Macbeth the head of SWAT and a man already susceptible to violent and paranoid tendencies.

What follows is a pause resisting story of love and guilt, political ambition, and greed for more, exploring the darkest corners of human nature and the aspirations of the criminal mind.

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Book Reviews

A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay Book Review

Other jackasses have tried to argue that it’s John Barrett, not Marjorie Barrett, who becomes The Possession ’s true tragic figure, and that the show is really about his descent into madness, his being possessed by the ugliness of hatred and zealotry. His daughter’s illness, his family’s dysfunction, his unemployed status, and his beloved Catholic church abandoning him post-exorcism, are the aforementioned catalysts to his own psychotic break (see the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice and their breakdown of the four types of men who kill their families), and blah, blah, blah. Fuck that bullshit.

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Book Reviews

Alice – Christina Henry Book Review

“Careful, this white rabbit will lead you on a psychotic journey through the bowels of magic and madness. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the ride.”

A mind-bending new novel inspired by the twisted and wondrous works of Lewis Carroll…

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Book Reviews

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I was always interested in reading the 1968 novel by Philip K. Dick. I’ve tried many, many times. And when I finally got the audiobook version, I was really excited, thinking that having someone narrate this to me one the way to and from work will actually get me long enough in the novel to get me interested.

Boy, was I wrong. The narrator was the same guy who did Atlas Shrugged and I couldn’t get over the voice for the longest of times.
Then, the subject at hand, did not interest me in the least.
I love sci-fi BUT. Not this.

The Story

The Rosen Association manufactures the androids on the colony of Mars, but certain androids violently rebel and escape to the underpopulated Earth where they hope to remain undetected. Despite their realistic appearance and advanced intellect, androids are not treated as equals to humans. They are prohibited from doing many things, including emigrating from the colonies to Earth. Therefore, American and Soviet police departments remain vigilant, keeping officers on duty to track and “retire” fugitive androids. Similar to the androids, humans with mental disabilities, psychological disorders, or genetic defects, called “specials”, are also treated as sub-human; they are forced to remain on Earth and are prohibited from traveling to the colonies.

Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department, is assigned to “retire” (kill) six androids of the new and highly intelligent Nexus-6 model which have recently escaped from Mars and traveled to Earth.

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Deckard buys his wife Iran an authentic Nubian goat with the bounty money.

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His supervisor then insists that he visit an abandoned apartment building, where the three remaining android fugitives are assumed to be hiding. Experiencing a vision of the prophet-like Mercer confusingly telling him to proceed, despite the immorality of the mission, Deckard calls on Rachael Rosen again, since her knowledge of android psychology may aid his investigation.

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“I like her; I could watch her the rest of my life. She has breasts that smile.”

Rachael wants him to abandon the case. She reveals that one of the fugitive androids is the same exact model as herself, meaning that he will have to shoot down an android that looks just like her. Rachael coaxes Deckard into sex, after which they confess their love for one another. However, she reveals she has slept with many bounty hunters, having been programmed to do so in order to dissuade them from their missions. He threatens to kill her, but holds back at the last moment. He leaves for the abandoned apartment building.

Meanwhile, the three remaining Nexus-6 android fugitives plan how they can outwit Deckard. The building’s only other inhabitant, John R. Isidore, a radioactively damaged and intellectually below-average human, attempts to befriend them, but is shocked when they callously torture and mutilate a rare spider he’s found.

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They all watch a television program which presents definitive evidence that the entire theology of Mercerism is a hoax. Deckard enters the building, experiencing strange, supernatural premonitions of Mercer notifying him of an ambush. Since they attack him first, Deckard is legally justified as he shoots down all three androids without testing them beforehand.

Isidore is devastated, and Deckard is soon rewarded for a record number of Nexus-6 kills in a single day. When Deckard returns home, he finds Iran grieving because Rachael Rosen arrived while he was gone and killed their goat.

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Deckard goes to an uninhabited, obliterated region of Oregon to reflect. He climbs a hill and is hit by falling rocks, and realizes this is an experience eerily similar to Mercer’s martyrdom.

He stumbles abruptly upon what he thinks is a real toad (an animal thought to be extinct) but, when he returns home with it, his wife discovers it is just a robot.

Phew. That was a mess.

I just didn’t like this book. The narrator was just so whiny. I don’t feel like the metaphysical questions that the book posed were brought to the forefront enough, and I never personally felt challenged to review my personal definition of humanity, which is what I think Dick wanted. I felt like there was a good idea for a story in here but it was buried in pseudo-religions that were not fully realized within the context of the story.

This was a huge meandering cluster of a story. The preoccupation with animals baffles me–and for how little it had to do with the story overall. And except for maybe Isidore, all the characters in general were extremely flat, with close to no personality traits. I couldn’t tell you anything about Deckard, except that he really wanted a goat.

1/5

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Book Reviews

Anitita Augustopoulos-Jucan – Al doilea adevar (The second truth)

Published in 1978, this pocket sized book was in my parent’s collection. Looking to clean up their bookcases, I had a read to decide if it’s a keeper or a burn-pile candidate. Set in the lovely Romanian county of Bucuresti in the height of its post-bellic boom, the story follows the investigative trail that the militia had to go through in order to solve a most interesting murder.

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Book Reviews

Dexter’s Final Cut (#7) by Jeff Lindsay Book Review

“Life teaches us that human thought almost never walks hand in hand with logic, and it is usually counterproductive to raise the point.”

Hollywood gets more than it bargained for when television’s hottest star arrives at the Miami Police Department and develops an intense, professional interest in a camera-shy blood spatter analyst named Dexter Morgan.

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Book Reviews

Lee Child – Worth Dying For – Book Review

There’s deadly trouble in the corn county of Nebraska . . . and Jack Reacher walks right into it. First he falls foul of the Duncans, a local clan that has terrified an entire county into submission. But it’s the unsolved, decades-old case of a missing child that Reacher can’t let go.

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Book Reviews

Margaret Atwood – Testament Book Review (The Handmaid’s Tale Part 2)

I really like Margaret Atwood’s stories. She’s an absolute crafts-woman with words and can convey an idea in a word, a short sentence or in this specific instance, in a whole book. The much awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s tale goes deeper into this new world and offers a view from the inside as well as a birds-eye outlook from the outside.

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Book Reviews

Orson Scott Card – Magic Street

Did you ever think that a white author like Orson Scott Card could nail writing a compelling black character in a story set in the 2000’s in America – a tale about a magical child and race and belonging in the suburbs. Black cops, white victims, black kids not quite rich, not quite poor.

It was interesting to say the least. Not like The Hate U Give but still very interesting.