Friday, 31 January 2014

Books I Read in 2013 (Part Two)

Morning lovelies,

I can't believe it's Friday again already. Where did the week go? 

Where has January gone, more to the point? This year is already passing so fast! It's madness.

It's already been a week since my last book review post and I'm back today reviewing some more of the books that I read in 2013. Today I'm looking back on three novels I enjoyed reading last year: Instructions For A Heatwave by Maggie O' Farrell, Joyland by Stephen King, and Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz.

Instructions For a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

Basic Plot: It's July 1976 and London is gripped in a stifling heat wave. One morning, Robert Riordan tells his wife, Gretta, that he is going to the shop for a newspaper, but he doesn't return. His disappearance brings their three estranged, grown-up children- Monica, Michael Francis, and Aoife- home to try to work out where he might have gone. It doesn't occur to the siblings that the answer may lie with their mother.

The book goes back and forth between the voices of Gretta, Monica, Michael Francis and Aoife. Their stories slip from their present day and in to their pasts, as they try to make sense of Robert's disappearance. We learn about the feuds that have distanced the siblings from each other and their over-bearing mother, and the problems each of them are facing in their everyday lives. Monica has relationship problems, Michael Francis' marriage is falling apart, and Aoife is struggling with her secret dyslexia. As the story progresses, the characters journey to face their differences and to find out where and why Robert has gone.

Thoughts:  Maggie O' Farrell has a real talent for story telling, and although Instructions For A Heatwave isn't her best, it's one of those books that has to be devoured in a single sitting. She is so wonderfully descriptive that she really pulled me in to the story, and urged me to keep reading. The siblings, although so different, were each very likable, while their mother, Gretta, was perfectly irritating, as intended. At the same time, it was hard not to pity her as the story unfolded, and the search continued. It was an enjoyable summer read.

Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit. Rating: 3.5 / 5

Joyland by Stephen King

Basic Plot: College student, Devin Jones, takes a summer job at an amusement park called Joyland, trying to forget the girl who broke his heart. He's given the role of Howie the Happy Hound, dressing up in a dog character costume to entertain kids who visit the park. He soon learns about a mysterious murder that happened at the amusement park in the past, and makes it his quest to discover what really happened.

Thoughts: Stephen King is my favourite author, so naturally when his new novel came out last summer, I had to buy it. While I enjoyed Joyland, I kept waiting for the excitement to happen, but I felt it was a bit of an anti climax. The story remained on the same gear throughout, and I wasn't particularly overwhelmed with the story or the ending, which is very unusual as I'm a big Stephen King fan. It promised horror, but didn't deliver. It wasn't a bad novel, but in no way was it his best. If you want to read a great Stephen King, go with The Stand!

Genres: Fiction, horror, thriller.  Rating: 3 / 5

Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz

Basic Plot: Joe Carpenter's wife and daughters died in a tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of all three hundred aboard, and devastated by grief, Joe has given up on life. On the anniversary of the crash, Joe heads to the beach with a few beers, hoping the waves and alcohol will pacify him before a visit to the cemetery. Instead, Joe learns that he is being watched. From that moment on, Joe is thrust in to a world of physical danger as he learns that the official story of Flight 363 is a treacherous lie. They said it was an accident. It was not. They said there were no survivors, but then Joe learns of a woman who walked away unscathed. A sole survivor. She has a secret that will change the world, and with reason to believe his daughter may still be alive, Joe journeys  to find out the truth.

Thoughts: This book was fast paced and full of action, I couldn't put it down! Perhaps I'm biased as I am a fan of Koontz's books, but I thought it was well written. The main character's grief was well portrayed, and it was difficult not to pity him. As the story goes on and he clings to the possibility of his daughter still being alive, it was impossible not to hope along with him. The twists and turns were unexpected and set this book apart from other stories written around a plane crash. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'd recommend checking this one out if you like Stephen King novels, thrillers, and disaster.

Genres: Fiction, thriller, disaster, action. Rating: 5/5

I'll be back with the some more book reviews next week!

Have you read any good books lately? What are you reading at the moment?



  1. Oh, how is it Friday again already?!
    I like the sound of Sole Survivor, will try to remember to look for that one in the library next time I'm there.

    1. I honestly have no idea where the time goes! Sole Survivor is well worth a read. It was a real page turner, so I'd definitely recommend it. x

  2. I remember the 1976 heatwave haha! great choices here - i am reading Lucia Lucia by Adriana Trigiani, a lot of great 50's style references, and a nice story x x x

    1. It was a bit before my time... haha. I didn't realise there was actually a heat wave that year. Ooh, you can't beat 1950s style! xx

  3. I really enjoyed joyland I thought it was fab I'm not getting along with dr sleep as well tho :( xx

    1. I really enjoyed it, too, I just thought it was missing the usual exciting showdown near the end. It's a good little read, though. I'm glad I'm not the only one! I don't think I made it to a 100 pages before putting it aside because I wasn't patient enough to read it. I will go back to it soon; hopefully it'll be second time lucky! xx


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