Book Review (December 2016)

Book Review (December 2016)

I know, I know: 2017 is already well under way, but I have one last post for you to wrap up 2016. I hadn’t gotten round to reviewing the book I read in the last month of the year just yet. I read a total of 6 books. One of them being the worst reads of the year and one quite possibly having been the best. So it was a month with ups and downs. It was the month in which I finished my Goodreads reading challenge and I managed to tag on 2 other books at the end, making a grant total of 52 books read in 2016. For 2017 I hope to do the same, so feel free to join me over on Goodreads.

Book Review (December 2016)

Nick Hornby – About a Boy
Janet Hannah – The Wish to Kill
John Niven – The Second Coming
Anthony Doerr – All the Light We Cannot See
V.E. Schwab – Vicious
Sam & Nic Chapman – Face

V.E. Schwab – Vicious

Best friends in college, Victor and Eli, are not only smart and weird, they also have an incredible theory: that people with extraordinary powers are real. For his final thesis Eli has decided to find out how these people come to be and finds out that one has to die in order to get a super power. For better or worse the two friends decide that theorizing isn’t enough and start trying it out for real. Needless to say they succeed, but become each other’s worst enemies in the process. While Eli goes of playing superhero, Victor ends up in jail and isn’t all too happy when he finally breaks out. But who is the real villain in the end?

What a book, what a book! This is one of the best books I read all year. Thrilling, engaging and incredibly well-written this book never gets too much while with a topic such as superheroes you might expect. It is not overdone, it is well-balanced and the multi-person perspective actually helps to create that well-balanced plot rather than working against it. Victor and Eli both have their flaws and yet remain likeable and relatable up to an extent. It is exactly their strained relationship that moves the plot along and which creates a story arc that just works. There supposedly is a sequel coming and I can’t wait!

John Niven – The Second Coming

God goes on vacation during the Renaissance, because those humans over on earth are doing pretty well on their own. One Celestial week later, or 400 years on earth, He returns to find everything has gone down the drain. So He decides to do something that worked last time round: send down the Kid. And so Jesus, known as JC by his friends, finds himself in New York: a rundown musician stealing food for his group of friends which consists, among others, of a Vietnam Vet whose dumpster was set on fire and a single mom ex-junkie. In need of money, his friends convince him to do what seems a logical step to revamp his music career: entering TV talent show American Pop Star. There he meets Stephen Stelfox: a British record company executive who is only in the game for making as much money as he can.

After having read Kill Your Friends by John Niven, I kind of knew what I could expect from this book. If you cannot stand profanities, references to sex, sodomy, drugs, booze and more sex, then this is not your cup of tea. If, like me, you like a crazy ride of a book that just pulls anyone’s leg who takes religious a little too seriously then this will be a great read. Featuring the main character from the other book I read, Stephen Stelfox is still as much of a bastard as he was in the first book, while JC is nothing but the pleasant guy who wishes everyone to Be Nice. Needless to say, if you know your bible, you will pretty much know how this will end.

Sam & Nic Chapman – Face

The Pixiwoo sisters made a book! The Youtube make up artists have gone the route that many have stepped before them and have created Face: a guide to all things make up, skincare and beauty. Everything for your Face really. The book has a stunning lay out with beautifully shot pictures and lots of little anecdotes and that dry, British sarcastic undertone that both Sam and Nic Chapman also use in their videos.

Truth be told I had expected a little bit more from Face. While informative, I find it barely skimmed the surface. The book rarely went into depth into some of the concepts touched upon such as color theory or using the right brushes for the right type of application. I had expected more tutorials on different looks, but I guess they didn’t include those because else people wouldn’t have an incentive to be watching their videos anymore. In short, this book is great if you are new to make up and with to know more, but if you have a routine that you love, or are trying to get into make up artistry yourself, then this is a good one to get you started.

Janet Hannah – The Wish to Kill

Alex is a Hungarian biochemist living a not so fulfilling life in Jerusalem. The woman he married ended up not being the right one for him and goes off living her own life while leaving Alex to take care of their son. When one day, one of his coworkers dies during a laboratory experiment, Alex cannot help but wonder what might have happened. As right at the moment of his colleagues death, he had wished him dead. When a lab assistant admits to having wished the same, he becomes convince that simply wishing someone dead can kill them. As time continues, the plot only thickens and in the end Alex realizes that none other than a cold-hearted killer is behind it all.

This book was such a drag to read. At only 200 pages, it felt like double that. This was just a very badly written book. It was far too descriptive and the descriptions given didn’t even make sense in the flow of the story. Rather, it took the flow right out of the story and none of the different storylines seemed to join together. The detective part of the novel took up maybe 5 pages at most and was presented in such a way that it seemed implausible and illogical for the main character to take the decisions he made. I only rated this book 1 star and may very well be the worst book I read all year.

Nick Hornby – About A Boy

Will is a bachelor and notoriously single. A ladies man and a child at heart. Knows what’s cool. Marcus’ mom is depressed. Being just 12 years old isn’t easy when you are a lot older than you seem. Their paths cross when Will decides to join a single parents’ club to meet new women. For better or worse the two forge a friendship and teach each other how to act their age.

This is one of those books I had had on my shelves for years but hadn’t gotten round to yet. This book is both hilarious, endearing and a little bit annoying all at the same time. I’ve never seen the movie, so I was able to enjoy this book as is. I enjoyed it as it is fast paced and gripping. The characters are well fleshed out, but since all of them are flawed in some way you sometimes just want to bash their heads in. All in all this was an enjoyable read but a little too predictable.

Anthony Doerr – All the Light We Cannot See

Marie-Laure goes blind at the age of six. Her father is the keeper of the keys at the Parisian museum of Natural History and builds her a model of their neighbourhood so she can find her way around. Every day she accompanies her father to the museum and together they establish a nice little routine. A routine that is rudely disrupted by the invasion of France in the Second World War. They flee Paris, to Saint-Malo. The house of a shell-shocked great uncle their last resolve and safest place to hide. Not only themselves but all the package her father intends to keep safe from falling into the wrong hands.

This book was such a thrill! A slow burner at first, but so well-written and beautifully crafted that you will not be able to put it down. Told in short installments that leap through time, the story slowly unfolds as two seemingly completely separate lives meet and secrets are hidden. A story of survival, a story of war, a story of fate. This book had me so enthralled I couldn’t just breeze onto the next one. It stayed with me and now, more than 2 weeks later I still find myself thinking back to the story. If that doesn’t mark a great book, I don’t know what else does.

What books have you read lately?

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11 thoughts on “Book Review (December 2016)

  1. “About the boy”…. this is one of those books where the movie was better. So if you liked the book, you’d probably enjoy the movie too. The main actor is Hugh Grant and he’s just hilarious in the movie 👌

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