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review 2017-01-30 22:32
Several books in one and all compelling and gripping.
The Devil's Prayer - Luke Gracias

Thanks to Net Galley and to Australian eBook Publisher (the author?) for offering me an ARC copy of this novel that I voluntarily choose to review.

As I do sometimes I checked some of the reviews of this book and I found that most people were really positive, and, interestingly, people who didn’t like it gave as reasons some of the same ones that made others like it. We all know nothing rules over personal taste.

The story, that it’s not straightforward to categorise (it has elements of thriller, of historical novel, of horror story with paranormal elements, even with religious undertones), is told in an interesting way. The story we start reading, after a brief prologue that hints at things to come, of Siobhan, a young woman who is given her mother’s Bible and a strange message after finding out she hanged herself in Spain, frames the main story, the confession by Siobhan’s mother, Denise. Siobhan follows her mother’s instructions and soon realises that many people seem invested in keeping hidden the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. For much of the book, Siobhan is just a stand-in for the reader, who gets hooked on the book her mother has left her as an explanation of what happened, and as we later learn, as a way of recruiting her into her mission. Siobhan experiences similar emotions to the readers, at times thinking the story is not possible, that her mother must have been unwell while at the same time finding it impossible to stop reading, in her case even when she’s in serious danger.

Denise’s confession is fascinating. What starts as the story of a single mother quickly turns into a thriller, where Denise is the victim of a conspiracy and with some paranormal help (yes, the devil of the title comes to the rescue, of course at a price) manages to get even. This part of the story, of greed, jealousy and friendship gone sour would make an interesting novel in its own right, although there are details that require some suspension of disbelief. The story eventually takes a moral turn and things get more bizarre (yes, even with the devil already on the scene). The nature of Denise’s family life comes into question and she has no option but to leave her loved ones without a word of explanation. She is recruited for a mission and as part of that we are introduced to a number of religious texts and historical facts of the XIII century that show a good research used in a very compelling way (although some readers did not enjoy it so much, but I’m sure others who love books such as The Da Vinci Code would appreciate it).

The writing is fluid and compelling, with some descriptive passages and some that offer moral lessons (especially about the role humanity has in destroying our environment, and about the cost of our wishes and desires, exemplifying the fact that actions have consequences) and a deep understanding of the texts and the religious questions discussed, without becoming preachy. At some points, especially when describing the texts, there is more telling than showing, but that can’t be avoided (and considering that according to the blurb, the author turned one of his scripts into a novel, it’s very well resolved). I’ve read some people who found the repeated used of long names (of monasteries and convents in particular) tiresome, although in my case, as a few of them were Spanish like me, I didn’t have much of an issue with it.

The story of Denise is completed within the book, but it ends up at the point when Siobhan goes back home and has to decide what she will do from now on. So there is some sort of resolution, but we are left at the beginning of another story.

Denise is an understandable and totally human character, who makes mistakes, who sometimes is confused about her emotions, who wants to believe the best of people but is sorely betrayed. She is faced with terrible decisions and if one tries to put oneself in her shoes, is not easy to know what one would do. Does one really always have to choose between two loves? Perhaps. We don’t have much chance to get to know Siobhan, other than as an ersatz reader and a girl who, like her mother, will pursue the truth even at the cost of her own safety. I hope we’ll be given a chance to get to know her better soon.

I enjoyed the book, both the intriguing and gripping story, and also the background of history and the fascinating documents described. I didn’t find it scary but it is a book that makes one think about one’s decisions, about the world and about what we would be prepared to sacrifice for those we love. And it’s impossible to put down.

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quote 2016-06-29 16:18
Today is today. But there are many tomorrows
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text 2015-10-01 13:50
September Wrap-Up

So uhm.. September wasn't what I was exptected it to be. I didn't read much at ALL. School drove me nuts and I went to college for the first time in my life so everything was quite overwhelming (also with traveling and stuff) so I was tired for most of the time. But anyways, here are the books I've read:

 - The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown 4/5 ★ review

- Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews 3.5/5 ★ review

- Aphorisms on Love and Hate by Friedrich Nietzsche 4/5 ★ review

- Burmese Days by George Orwell 5/5 ★ review

- The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 2/5 ★ review

 

I did only read the last 152 of The Da Vinci Code because I read the rest in August. I also reread 270 pages of the last Harry Potter book. My favorite read this month was definitely Burmese Days!

 

Because I was tired for most of the time I did watch a lot of tv shows:

- Gilmore Girls S03E08 - S03E022 (I rewatched that)

- Great Expectation BBC mini series S01E02 - S01E03

- Orphan Black S02E01-S02E10 (so the entire season 2 and OMG!)

- New Girl s01e01 - S01E20

 

And I've also watched the episodes of these shows when they were airing (so they came onces a week):

- America's Next Top Model s22e05 - S22E08

- Expeditie Robinson (it's a Dutch tv show!) S16E01 - S16E04

- Nashville S04E01

- The Big Bang Theory S09E01

 

It's still not that much compared to August, but still haha.

 

What is your favorite read of September?

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review 2015-09-05 15:44
Review: The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon #2) by Dan Brown
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

Goodreads summary:

Harvard professor Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call while on business in Paris: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Alongside the body, police have found a series of baffling codes.

As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, begin to sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to find a trail that leads to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci – and suggests the answer to a mystery that stretches deep into the vault of history.

Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine code and quickly assemble the pieces of the puzzle, a stunning historical truth will be lost forever…

 

My opinion:

This was an interesting book. I learnt quit a lot and it was really captivating, but I had some problems with it. The first one is that I absolutely hated Fache. He doesn't like women and everything I read one of his chapted I felt the hate coming. The second thing was that some parts were really boring and it took me way too long to get through this book (it took me 12 days in total to read The Da Vinci Code!). I lost my interest at the end of the book and I could not wait to start an other one.

 

Overal I think it's an important book to read and I still highly recommend it. I also liked the main character and the explanation about certain topics.

 

I've seen the movie last year (so before I read the book, yes shame on me!) but my plan is to re-watch it this month. The Da Vinci Code is the second book in this book series, but it's the first in the movie series. So they switched Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code (I think because The Da Vinci Code was already famous and Angels and Demons was less famous). Here's the trailer in case you haven't seen the movie yet (but I'm prettyy sure everybody has seen that one already!)

 

 

Am I the only one who has read this book so late or is it still in your tbr?

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text 2015-08-31 20:46
August wrap-up + Currently reading

August didn't go as well as I hoped to when it comes to reading, but I'm still okay with my wrap-up. I read the 1/3 of Great Expectations in July though, but for the rest I started and finished 5 books and I started two other novels.

  •  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 3/5 ★ review
  • Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen 3/5 ★ review
  • The Martian by Andy Weir 3/5 ★ review
  • Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys 5/5 ★ review

  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 3.5/5 ★ review
  • City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare 3/5 ★

 

I read the first 436 pages out of 589 of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown so I'm still currently reading that one and I started re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (I'm currently on page 75 out of 831 pages).

 

As you can see I didn't loved most of the books and that got me a little bit in a reading slumb last month. However, I did watch many episodes of tv series (ha):

 

  • Gilmore Girls S01E20 - S03E07
  • Pretty Little Liars S06E05 - S06E10
  • Orphan Black S01E01 - S01E10
  • America's Next Top Model S22E01 - S22E04
  • American Horror Story S04E03 + S04E04
  • Great Expectations 2011 BBC mini-series S01E01 (there are only 3 episodes in total)

 

I've watched 53 episodes in total (wauw!). I've rewatched Gilmore Girls though and Orphan Black is my new favorite! I absolutely love that series.

 

Which was your favorite read of July?

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