Snapshot Reviews: My reading start to 2015

I hope everyone has had a good start to 2015. January is a really busy month for me so far; lots of pre-wedding planning and work stuff going on in the background has meant that I’ve not read  anywhere near as much as usual. That being said, I’ve found my reading inclinations at the start of the year leaning towards far more non-fiction than I’d normally pick up. I’m not quite sure why- maybe because I got gifted a lot of those books for Christmas, perhaps? Anyway, below is a brief snap-shot of a bit of what I’ve read recently:

The Lowland- Jhumpa Lahiri; a really well-written piece of historical fiction set between India and the United States.  The story combines politics, family and love and was a thoroughly atmospheric read- and a strong choice to start the year’s reading with. Calcutta was brought very vividly to life for me as a reader and I really enjoyed getting to know the dynamics  of the somewhat dysfunctional Mitra family. 4 stars out of 5.

Deadly Innocence- Scott Burnside & Alan Cairns;  An investigative journalist duo explores the real-life murders carried out in Canada in the 1990’s by ‘Barbie and Ken’ killer couple Scott and Karla Homolka.  From the outset the young newlyweds appeared to have it all, but behind closed doors they were hiding a truly sinister pastime…

I remember watching a crime documentary about Scott and Karla a few years back and being both horrified and yet fascinated by what could make them carry out their unimaginable, unspeakable acts. Would Karla have ever committed any crimes if she hadn’t met him? This book does a great job in not only examining the crimes, but offering psychological insight into both perpetrators.  Graphic in content, it was nonetheless a riveting, balanced read, albeit a bit dry in places. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

3,096 Days- Natascha Kampusch;  There can’t be many people who haven’t heard of Natascha Kampusch: the ten-year-old Austrian girl who was kidnapped from the street on her way to school and held captive in a basement for almost another decade. Following her triumphant escape, she was thrust back into the limelight once more and subjected to an onslaught from the world’s media, desperate to know her story. Finally told in Natascha’s own words, this book lays to bear situations that are absolutely unimaginable- how strong do you have to be to be able to survive that scenario? And when you are a child nonetheless? Though I found the book to be compelling, I did sense that Natascha was holding some of herself back in places, and understandably so. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Murder Past Due- Miranda James;  I’ve been wanting to pick up a good cosy mystery for ages after I was really in the mood for one towards the end of last year. This is the first in a series featuring library archivist Charlie and his maine coon cat, Diesel, who find themselves trying to solve the murder of a famous author. It was an entertaining, escapist read though perhaps imbued with a bit too much ‘filler’ material for my liking.  Nevertheless, I’ll be giving the rest of the series a try. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Truth- Peter James;
I really love Peter James’ Roy Grace detective series and have liked the few horror/fantasy novels of his I’ve tried so far. This one was a bit of a struggle for me though- I found it particularly slow to start and I didn’t really connect with any of its characters either. A far-fetched tale of devil-worshipping and the occult, I only stuck with it to the end because I truly love Peter James and he can usually do no wrong in my eyes- but he can do sooo much better than this. 3 stars out of 5.

At the moment I’ve got Salem’s Lot by Stephen King on the go, along with an Ellery Queen classic crime mystery and an Alison Weir autobiography about Henry VIII and his wives.  I’m enjoying all three books and it’s nice just browsing what’s on offer on my shelves for a change.

What are you reading at the moment and is it something you would recommend?


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