My review: The light we lost, by Jill Santopolo

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About the book:

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

My review:

As much as I loved the writing and the beginning of this novel, I disliked the main characters and their ‘love’ story. I very much enjoyed the structure of the novel, the story-telling side and the language.

It was one of the fastest reads – in three days and inbetween work, home responsibilities and fitness. To be honest, I don’t know what I expected from this story. The interesting thing is that the selfish behaviour that both Lucy and Gabe had is quite realistic. So many people do exactly what they did – taking people who love them for granted, betray trust, waste other people’s time… These are the things that I absolutely despise in a relationship, in love. To me it’s not love. 

Unfortunately, the author and I have different views on what true love is. And it’s ok. For this same reason I couldn’t sympatise selfish and self-centred Lucy. I didn’t believe in her love for Darren, I didn’t believe in her poor attempts to show it was also love. To me it looked like she was doing him a favour staying in the relationship, just because she was scared she would have stayed alone if she chose Gabe at any point of those 13 years. And everything what she could give to this amazing man Darren who loved her with all his heart, was patient, caring, kind and forever understanding was that ‘half-arsed’ happiness she gave him. I honestly feel sorry for the guy.

At some stage the ending became quite predictable. On the other hand, I would love to know what will happen after all these events. That’s where the real story can actually start. 

Sometimes I think I disliked the story because it is so real and parts of it happened in every woman’s life. The scary thing what this book made me do was to check out on my ex-boyfriend who I had similar obsession with. I recognised this behavior in Lucy’s regular ‘scanning’ of Gabe’s life through social media. I think she was lying to herself saying that she didn’t care or wasn’t interested.

It all makes you think only about emotional side of the relationship, about some memories that at this current moment don’t have any value. Time that makes you forget all bad things and forgive mixes up to this dangerous cocktail. I am not saying people shouldn’t forgive, I am saying people probably shouldn’t forget. What is worth of your love and attention. What you can give and give to a person who really loves you, not out of boredom or some illusions. Sometimes you just need to make the right decision – follow your heart no matter what, but not at the expense of other people’s feelings and time.

My score is 3* out of 5*.

My review: The Night Market, by Jonathan Moore

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About the book:

From an author who consistently gives us “suspense that never stops” (James Patterson), a near-future thriller that makes your most paranoid fantasies seem like child’s play.

It’s late Thursday night, and Inspector Ross Carver is at a crime scene in one of the city’s last luxury homes. The dead man on the floor is covered by an unknown substance that’s eating through his skin. Before Carver can identify it, six FBI agents burst in and remove him from the premises. He’s pushed into a disinfectant trailer, forced to drink a liquid that sends him into seizures, and is shocked unconscious. On Sunday he wakes in his bed to find his neighbor, Mia—who he’s barely ever spoken to—reading aloud to him. He can’t remember the crime scene or how he got home; he has no idea two days have passed. Mia says she saw him being carried into their building by plainclothes police officers, who told her he’d been poisoned. Carver doesn’t really know this woman and has no way of disproving her, but his gut says to keep her close.

A mind-bending, masterfully plotted thriller—written in Moore’s “lush, intoxicating style” (Justin Cronin)—that will captivate fans of Blake Crouch, China Miéville, and Lauren Beukes, The Night Market follows Carver as he works to find out what happened to him, soon realizing he’s entangled in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation. And that Mia may know a lot more than she lets on.

My review:

This book provided so much promise at the start that I felt a bit disappointed in the end. The storyline, its science fiction/dystopian part, is absolutely fascinating. This area had so much potential that I got my hopes up. The mystery part was exciting as well but the ending wasn’t quite there for me.

Ross Carver is a great character and I felt strongly connected to him. He is a great detective, great friend you can always trust. Mia, on a contrary, made me dislike her from the start. Maybe it’s just me but I found everything she was saying or doing absolutely hideous. Not that I didn’t believe her but how she did it (or the author did for her). If Jonathan had an intention of creating a love story, then for me personally it failed.

The other thing I didn’t quite like is a title. I don’t really get why it’s called ‘The Night Market’….If you get, can you please help?

Despite the stated dislikes, I quite enjoyed the story and how it was going. I’m an absolute sucker for dystopias. The more the better. This one also about really interesting society created on consumerism and advertising technologies which are great topics to explore. As I said it can be so much more in that. This was my favourite aspect of ‘The Night Market’.

I was also disappointed to find out in the end that it’s the third book in a series. It can be read as a standalone novel but now I keep guessing how much connection it had to other books.

This book is one of those to enjoy the process but not the ending. I score it 4* out of 5*.

My review: Don’t let go, by Harlan Coben

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About the book:

With unmatched suspense and emotional insight, Harlan Coben explores the big secrets and little lies that can destroy a relationship, a family, and even a town in this powerful new thriller.

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

My review:

Harlan Coben never dissappoints, that’s for sure. ‘Don’t let go’ is a quality thriller with a great storyline, interesting characters and a big secret.

I must say I found a character of Nap quite likable and relatable. I liked his natural toughness and ‘don’t give a shit’ attitude alongside with high morals and common sense. His character ‘doesn’t let go’ until he knows the truth. He is not scared of authorities or danger. At the same time he is not that ‘sickly perfect’ character and still has some flaws and can be wrong in some situations which I like very much. Nothing worse than ‘too perfect’ characters that make you cringe on every page, because they are too unreal.

I absolutely enjoyed all TV series and movies based on Coben’s novels, so would like to see if ‘Don’t let go’ to come on a TV screen. I won’t say more not to spoil the plot for you.

The story is quite tragic. It often comes to the decisions you make when you are young. At the time they seem silly and harmless, but the results can be devastating. This book is also about families and relationships. How well we know our siblings, our parents, our friends. Do we notice something is wrong at the right time? At the time when it’s not too late?

I think this book is also about the choice. The choice we make to question things. The choice to want to know and try to find out. The choice to get involved and stop some things. The choice to never let go.

My score is 5* out of 5*.

My review: Based on a true story, by Delphine de Vigan

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About the book:

What would you do if your closest friend tried to steal your life? A chilling new novel from the prize-winning author of No & Me – a Richard & Judy Bookclub selection.

Today I know that L. is the sole reason for my powerlessness. And that the two years that we were friends almost made me stop writing for ever. Overwhelmed by the huge success of her latest novel, exhausted and unable to begin writing her next book, Delphine meets L. L. is the kind of impeccable, sophisticated woman who fascinates Delphine; a woman with smooth hair and perfectly filed nails, and a gift for saying the right thing. Delphine finds herself irresistibly drawn to her, their friendship growing as their meetings, notes and texts increase. But as L. begins to dress like Delphine, and, in the face of Delphine’s crippling inability to write, L. even offers to answer her emails, and their relationship rapidly intensifies. L. becomes more and more involved in Delphine’s life until she patiently takes control and turns it upside down: slowly, surely, insidiously. Based on a True Story is a chilling novel of suspense that will leave you questioning the truth and its significance long after you have turned the final page.

My review:

This is the second book of Delphine de Vigan that I have read. And I must say Delphine doesn’t disappoint.

In my opinion, ‘Based on a true story’ is a unique book, a symbiosis of fiction and reality. The book is about that as well, but also about so much more. This book is about female friendship which is known to be a complex subject. It is about writing and life of a successful author, about writing process and search for a ‘perfect’ book. And also this book is about real life and fiction and where they meet and how they interact which becomes a particular topic for writing – how much truth is in every author’s book, does the amount of truth make the book more successful or it all doesn’t matter when an author has an ability to create a world in their books so authentic and genuine that any reader would believe in it as true.

To me most books are about relationships between people, a man and a woman, between friends or family, this books is particularly dedicated to friendship between two women. How it forms, what drives it. I don’t like spoilers, so just say that this kind of friendship is possible with only one type of people. Sometimes this type appears partly in many of us. Can you guess what I am talking about?

This book gave an opportunity to look closely and quite intimately into the life of a successful author, the way of life, everyday routines and interactions with editors, publishers, other authors. It is quite fascinating, and at the same time I saw the difficulty of being a writer. Writing a good book is not easy, writing a great book is not enough. Once an author has done it, it doesn’t mean the peak of his or her career, the questions will follow about what’s next, what’s after, when, when, when… I can’t imagine writing something, sharing your story, especially if it is based on your real life, ‘squeezing’ your feelings and vulnerabilities out to produce a great book that relates to and touches many, and then seeing all that expectation and crave for more. It must be exhausting and energy-consuming.

The question of truth and fiction is quite significant in this book. I think any reader often considers how much truth in what they read. For many, including me, the filter of ‘this can be true’ is applied even to fiction books. If a book is written with so much fantasy that it’s hard to imagine it could’ve happened in real life (unless it’s a fantasy or science fiction book), then it is harder to relate to the characters and events in this book. At the same time, real life can be so much stronger and sometimes more shocking than any fictional plot and any fantasy. This books makes you think about all this. How much truth is important? What do you want to see as a reader? Where is a boundary between reality and fiction?

‘Based on a true story’ starts and goes in an average pace but the Delphine’s style is so engaging that you don’t feel bored or awaiting for an action. It is like a smooth story told by a friend that you listen to very carefully, trying not to miss any detail. You might start guessing the main secret but it hasn’t been a secret from the start. You just want to know more and how the truth and realisation will come out. This little story to a friend about a friend turns into a captivating thriller full of obsession and manipulation. 

220px-Based_on_a_True_Story_posterI really enjoyed this book.

Looking for a picture of the book cover, I found out there was a french movie based on this book which was presented at 2017 Cannes Film Festival.Dircted by Roman Polanski.

Emmanuelle Seigner and Eva Green are starring in this movie. I think the casting was just spot-on. Looking forward to DVD release to put my imagination into the imagery.

 

My score of the book is 5* out of 5*.