First books of the year! I thought I would lay these posts out a little differently, and try to do more of a review monthly. I will still of course do a full big review for books that I especially loved (or hated!). As of now, I am one book ahead in my Goodreads 2014 goal!
# The Execution of Noa P. Singleton – Elizabeth L. Silver
This book was given to me by my boyfriend’s dad, and he told me it was ‘different’ and wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it but it was a good read. That immediately had me intrigued… The story basically follows a woman on death row, having been found guilty of first-degree murder. With months to go until her imminent death, two visitors appear. Oliver Stansted, a young lawyer, and Marlene Dixon, the mother of the murdered girl. Marlene just wanted answers, and Oliver actually wanted to save Noa’s life.
I don’t think the story gave us a clear enough ‘answer’ for Marlene’s reasonings behind the visits. There was just something strange about her. The narration was something that I liked about the book though, I liked Noa’s ‘voice’. She’s sarcastic and funny – you couldn’t help but be drawn to her and want to know about her. Despite being well written it did feel a little incomplete, however I did still enjoy it and I’m glad I did read it.
# His Last Bow – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Well I finally finished this story collection, which is why I’m including it. I had started it sometime in August, and kept going back to read bits in between reading other books. Last year I began to steadily make my way through all of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock books. I can’t really choose a favourite – there’s just so many stories! His Last Bow did take me a while to get through though, I found this collection of stories slightly harder to get through than the rest of them! I think everyone needs to try a bit of Sherlock though, it’s just so iconic! I have one more collection to read now!
# And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini
Having read The Kite Runner and really enjoying it, I had high hopes for this one! I was not disappointed! And The Mountains Echoed follows a family all over the globe. It shows the relationships between siblings, parents, cousins and caretakers. Each person brought something into the family.
One thing that I liked in this book (which I usually dislike!) is that each character gets their own section in the book. Within these chapters you learn about the character narrating and you start to see the relationships and connections between each person. I will admit that I didn’t really love the stories of a couple of the characters – for me, the first bit with Pari and Abdullah is what really drew me in. That said, everything connected together and everything just felt complete at the end.
Many people state that And The Mountains Echoed doesn’t quite stand up against The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I haven’t read the latter book (It’s on my list!) but I do rate The Kite Runner more. This book is definitely one to read though!
# What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty
I first discovered this book having read a review on a blog… I had heard of The Husbands Secret (which of course I went on to read as you can see below!) but didn’t know that Liane Moriarty had other ‘really good’ books out there. What Alice Forgot focuses on a woman named Alice (obviously!) who slips and bangs her head, losing her memory. She believe she’s 29 and everything is blissfully perfect. It’s quite a shock when she realises that she’s 39 and everything is actually falling apart…
Now this book is mostly written in Alice’s voice, but there are the occasional random sections written in journal form by her sister and letter form by her adopted Grandmother. These confused me a little at first, but it seems I’m just a little dim when it comes to things like this! I really enjoyed this book because it showed someone looking back on their life and seeing it from a whole new perspective. It would great to be on the outside and to really have a look at what was happening in your life. I think the whole story is quite believable and makes you wonder about what it would be like to go through amnesia of this sort! I loved the ending.
# The Husbands Secret – Liane Moriarty
So after reading What Alice Forgot, I had to read The Husbands Secret. I remember it being quite ‘big’ last year, and I kept telling myself that I would read it…
The Husbands Secret follows three different woman. Cecelia’s husband has a huge secret, Tess’s husband falls in love with another woman, and Rachel is still mourning the murder of her daughter. These three women barely know each other, but soon enough their lives intersect and that huge secret has a massive impact. Now is it really just me that gets confused when the narration changes so much? I quickly get into the flow of it, but at first I am always having to really think about what is happening to whom!
Anyway, I wasn’t immediately hooked into this story. It took a few chapters to get going for me. I can’t say that I really loved any character (though I did have a soft spot for Connor!) but I really loved the story as a whole. There are so many complex layers which did all fit together in the end, that I just couldn’t wait to see how it all panned out. The epilogue was weird though, and I’m not sure I really liked how it finished.