The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

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The first in the Tommy and Tuppence Mysteries. This is probably my least favorite book by Agatha Christie. I really struggled to get into this book. The characters did not appeal to me at all. The language was off, and I don’t mean in the sense that this novel was written over ninety years ago. The main character, Tuppence was silly and childish. The dialogue between Tuppence and Tommy was convoluted and strange, not at all what I am used to reading in her novels. I missed Agatha Christie’s classical whodunnit style of story as this book felt more like a spy story than a mystery.  Not to mention that I figured out the plot half-way through the book and the second half just dragged on and on. The Secret Adversary was the second book published by Agatha Christie after her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles, a book I absolutely loved. I’m not sure what Christie was trying to do with this book, but it did not work for me, and I’m not really looking forward to the other books in the series.


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The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

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I feel like I need a little disclaimer. I want to start this review by saying that I am aware that there were a lot of controversies with this book concerning its accuracy and historical faithfulness. I decided to approach this book with the intention of reading it as historical fiction. The following review is strictly based on the story, prose, and flow of the book.

This book is the story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who is taken to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Lale is multilingual and therefore given the job of Tätowierer (tattooist in German) tattooing numbers on the new prisoners. This book is also the story of Gita, a scared young woman who Lale tattoos and falls in love.

I love reading books about the Holocaust, watching movies about the Holocaust, and the Holocaust museum in Los Angeles. Love in the sense that I feel this is a part of history that should never be forgotten. I have loved people in my life who were either, themselves, survivors of the Holocaust, or descents of survivors. Suffice to say; I loved when I came across a copy of this book displayed at my local library.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is much more than just a love story set against the background of one of the worst crimes in human history. It is a story of survival, endurance and ultimately love–not just the romantic type but love for humanity.

So, you might be wondering by now why I gave it such a relatively low score. The writing to me was too choppy. I never enjoyed reading screenplays, and this book reads like a screenplay. When I first saw the cover, I thought to myself, “oh, boy! This one will be a tearjerker.” Unfortunately, for as much as I wanted to love this book, I just couldn’t. The prose didn’t flow for me, probably because of the excessive amount of dialogue, or the lack of cohesiveness between the paragraphs.

Is it a book worth reading? Absolutely! It is a great story, regardless of the way it was delivered. The style of writing did not work for me, but it can certainly work for you.


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The Sunday Post

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The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. A post to recap the past week, and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog…

Happy Sunday everyone! I felt like this week went so fast that I can’t believe I’m actually writing a Sunday post. In case you missed it, I wrote two reviews of great books I had a chance to read this past week. Two completely different styles, and yet two excellent examples of a great work of fiction.

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I started the week reading Stephen King. I absolute love Stephen king. I remember reading my first book from him when I was 14. It was IT and scared the living light out of me. Not only it was a huge novel, it just exacerbated my fear of clowns. The Outsider is another great novel by Stephen King that I guarantee will keep you scared and entertained for its nearly 500 plus pages.

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Review of The Outsider by Stephen King

 

From the horrors of Stephen King, I switched gears to read an ARC about Mexican/Mayan mythology. This was my first book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I was pleasantly surprised.

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Review of Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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I’m excited about some of the upcoming reviews this week. I’m starting off by reviewing a love story against the backdrop of the Nazi Holocaust in The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I also got one of Agatha Christie’s books I never got around reading in the past–The Secret Adversary and one ARC this week called The Lost Letter from Morocco.

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How about you? What do you plan on reading this week?

The Outsider by Stephen King

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When a hideous crime happens to 11-year-old Frank Peterson in the fictitious town of Flint City, police immediately suspects the town’s little league coach Terry Maitland. Maitland is an upstanding citizen of Flint City, and his public arrest causes a significant amount of commotion. On the surface, it seems like a straight forward case and detective Ralph Anderson is confident of his arrest and Maitland’s guilt. But when Maitland comes up with an irrefutable alibi, detective Anderson will have to expand his investigation and face horrifying answers.

I initially struggled with starting The Outsider. I don’t particularly gravitate toward books with themes of sexual violence and rape, especially regarding children. But I couldn’t pass on the opportunity of reading one of Stephen King’s latest books. I love Stephen King’s seemingly easy way he tells his stories, his dark creativity, his wild imagination, and vivid scenes. The Outsider at times reads like an episode of Law and Order, but being Stephen King, you know that is not going to last very long, and pretty soon an element of the supernatural will rear its ugly head.

Although The Outsider is a hefty 560 pages novel, the amount of suspense and horror keeps you well engaged for a good ¾ of the book. The topic of the book, although dark, does not dwell too much on sexual abuse as it does in the investigation process. I didn’t feel the end was necessarily rushed; quite the opposite–he could have shaved off a few pages as it felt like it dragged a bit.

Overall The Outsider does not disappoint one bit, and if anything it solidifies my admiration for an author I’ve been reading for nearly 25 years, and which continues to be in my humble opinion the master of horror. I highly recommend this book to both fans of this genre as well as fans of well-written fiction.


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Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In 1920s Mexico, Caseopea lived a very unhappy life cleaning floors of her wealthy grandfather and dreaming of a better life away from her chores. One day she comes across a mysterious wooden box and accidently frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death who takes her on a journey in hopes of regaining back his throne from his treacherous brother.

Part Jane Eyre and part Cinderella story, Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow is a beautiful fantasy tale based on Mayan mythology. In a time with so much negative emphasis on Mexico, it’s easy to forget that Mexico is a country with a very rich heritage, mythology and folklore. Moreno-Garcia successfully retells this myth with a beautiful prose and description of a Mexico of the 1920s.

I highly recommend this novel which is scheduled to be published in August 2019.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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