Book Review

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Long Lost by Harlan Coben – Book Review

Published February 5, 2012 by Maryam S

Reviewing a bestselling author is no easy feat, yet it is effortless to describe the brilliance behind the author, that is Harlan Coben. Long Lost takes us on an action-packed ride quite literally all over the world with a narrative occurring at a rapid pace that is so unanticipated it has you speed-reading just to uncover the events.

Two days before I learned the secret she’d kept buried for a decade—the seemingly personal secret that would not only devastate the two of us but change the world forever.

Myron Bolitar, a gifted but failed athlete turned sports agent and his aristocratic, influential friend, Win become embroiled in a chase unlike any other. A past life resurfaces in the form of a beautiful TV Reporter, Terese Collins, who calls out for a desperate plea for help.

Come to Paris

Welcoming Myron to Paris is a murder investigation which involves Terese’s ex-husband. Myron discovers Terese’s long lost daughter’s blood was placed at the scene of the murder, thus Myron begins his own form of enquiries and what unfolds around him can only be described as insane. We observe Myron confront terrorism in its extremist form, conspiracy, murders, and paradoxes seemingly impossible they could be probable.

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how impossible, must be the truth”.

I am a new Coben fan, having read recent novels such as Caught, Shelter and Miracle Cure (not so recent) and now my first Bolitar novel I will admit I found Long Lost somewhat farfetched in comparison. Bourne Identity and Dan Brown came to mind and yet I was expecting the same authenticity found in recent Coben novels. That being said, Long Lost is a novel filled with intrigue, wit, imaginative narrative that only Coben can accomplish and I look forward to reading the Myron Bolitar Series.



With 50 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben’s last four consecutive novels, LIVE WIRE, CAUGHT, LONG LOST and HOLD TIGHT all debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and lists around the world. His first Young Adult novel SHELTER was just released this fall. His books are published in 41 languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in over a dozen countries.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

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Français : Harlan Coben lors d'une séance de d...
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Questions for the reader:

What did you think of this plot?

Do you believe the Ali and Myron’s relationship was somewhat of an anti-climax?

What did you think of Win’s character?

Would you like to see Long Lost part 2?

Coming SoonStay Close

When the past refuses to stay buried, three people will discover that the American dream can be a nightmare . . .

Megan is a suburban soccer mom who once upon a time walked on the wild side. Now she’s got two kids, a perfect husband, a house with a picket fence, and a growing sense of dissatisfaction. Ray used to be a talented documentary photographer, but at the age of forty he finds himself in a dead-end job posing as a paparazzo pandering to celebrity-obsessed rich kids. Broome is a detective who can’t let go of a cold case – the disappearance of a local husband and father seventeen years ago.

As the terrible consequences of long-ago events collide in the present, three people living lives they never wanted, hiding secrets that not even those closest to them would ever suspect, will come to realise that the past never truly fades away. And as each confronts the dark side of the American dream – the boredom of suburban life, the thrill of temptation, the desperation that can lurk behind even the prettiest facades – they will discover the hard truth that the line between one kind of life and another can be as whisper thin as a heartbeat.


Book Review – HIKIKOMORI by Lawrence Pearce

Published January 26, 2012 by Maryam S
Hikikomori shirt

Image by persocomholic via Flickr

When I close my eyes, she becomes real.

Jared, a profoundly disturbed individual still coming to terms with the death of his beloved Sarah, assumes the persona of a Hikikomori, a willing recluse who has taken solace within the confines of his apartment. His insanity presents herself in the form of a female necessity.

I lean forward.

I almost choke, as my face in the mirror is replaced by something else.

Jared is faced with conflicting emotions, the intense love he feels for Sarah, the desperate guilt over her death and the fear of insanity gnawing away.

I whisper, ‘Now that your body is a million miles from mine, and your heart several worlds removed, I can say it; I loved you.’

His choice of comfort is a sexy little lady who assumes many different styles, everything, except black hair. Sarah had black hair. This imaginary lady helps Jared forget about everything, forget about his past, his life with Sarah and keeps him fixated but something inside won’t let it drop. This Hikikomori is faced with spirits that will not fade until he confronts his demons.

‘I’m sorry. I still love you.’ I whisper into her ear.

Melissa, a tormented, recovering Insomniac with Dissociative Identity Disorder lives in a fancy apartment, alone. A self-confessed recluse, Melissa conjures up illusory friends who are the complete opposite of her and finds time to picture such bizarre scenes with intricate detail.

His body crunches the roof of a car. He spits out a gallon of blood that splatters down over his broken body, the wreck beneath him and traumatised passers-by.

Having moved into this new apartment, Melissa, feels the presence of a man, a beautiful man whom she is drawn to and who seems to possess sufferings of his own. The two initiate a deep, perverse journey filled with a painful yearning to accept their pasts.

‘I’m sorry, I still love you.’ He whispers into my ear.

The level of detail is staggeringly overwhelming to say the least. It is clear the author emanates passion and artistry that is evident throughout his writing.

Lawrence Pearce has the ability to rouse feelings of despair you didn’t know existed within you. A sinister novel that will take the reader into an unfamiliar zone and have you question your own mentality.


Questions for the reader:

Reader: What are your thoughts on the structure of Hikikomori and how do you think the different narratives add to the overall conclusion of the story?

Reader: How did the central theme of Hikikomori resonate with you?

Reader: How true did the characters feel to you?

Reader: How did you feel about the intertwined relationships

Reader: How else do you feel Hikikomori could have ended?

Questions for the author:

@Lawrence Pearce: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

@Lawrence Pearce: Where did your inspiration for Hikikomori come from?

@Lawrence Pearce: In Jared, the narrative was natural, realistic and about an individual faced with demons of the past, yet in Melissa, her imagination is far more irrational, for example, the description of the angel dying. Was this an intentional tactic?

@Lawrence Pearce: Where do you characters come from and how do they evolve?

@Lawrence Pearce: How much research did you do on social withdrawal?

@Lawrence Pearce: Hikikomori deals with some disturbing and poignant issues. How did you handle these subjects?

@Lawrence Pearce: Are you a tea lover?

@Lawrence Pearce: What are you writing next?

Thank you for reading my review.

Download Hikikomori right here

Follow Lawrence Pearce on Twitter

Book Review BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by SJ Watson

Published January 25, 2012 by Maryam S
English: Students need sleep in order to study.

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Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep

Christine Lucas, a 47-year-old amnesiac who loses her memory every time she goes to sleep. An enthralling novel by SJ Watson who achieves only what few authors can, to keep the reader spellbound with such a convincing storyline.

Chrissie, a woman, who wakes up believing she had a one night stand with an older man, is stunned to hear she is married to him, is 47 years old, and is an amnesiac due to a horrific car accident when she was 29.

Set in North London we walk alongside Christine in the hope of unravelling pieces of her existence and progressively uncovering veracity.

Married to Ben, her beloved husband, who, expects the same reaction every morning thus explicates the same tale every morning, Chrissie is consequently led to believe this is so, that she had to give up her work, that although she has a PhD, she cannot apply it any longer.

Is that really my life? I think. Is that all I am?

A knight, if you will, appears, in the form of a young Dr Nash, who calls Chrissie every morning, explaining who he is and what he wants. It is Dr Nash who encourages Chrissie to record a journal throughout the day. It is Dr Nash who explains this journal will help Chrissie reveal certainties in her existence and it is Dr Nash who ultimately helps Chrissie discover the truth.

Something has been added. Something unexpected, terrifying. More terrifying than anything else I have seen today. There, beneath my name, in blue ink and capital letters are three words. DON’T TRUST BEN.

Chrissie learns of her life every morning with the help of her journal and slowly starts to shape her story, or her history. Between her memories, her husband and her Doctor Chrissie discovers some traumatic events and yet an aura of perplexity is deep-seated within her.

A disturbing and yet hypnotizing read, SJ Watson manages to depict an amnesiac with such accuracy in a run-of-the-mill life. This is a must read book over and over and over again. Don’t forget it! 10/10

‘I love you,’ I whisper, and I close my eyes, and I sleep.

Some questions to the readers and to the author:

For the reader:

Reader: If you were Christine, and on waking that very first morning, what would you do?

Reader: Waking up believing you are in your twenties, yet realising you are actually late forties, would you react the same way Chrissie does?

Reader: If you were Claire, would you have done more to reach out to Christine? After all, it was some 18 years ago they were last in touch?

Reader: The story throws up some superb twists. What did you think of the ending and how else would you have liked it to end?

Reader: How did the theme of the book resonate with you?

Reader: If you found out your loved one, your partner and soul mate was having an affair what would you do?

For the author:

@SJ Watson: Have you always wanted to be a writer?

@SJ Watson : How does it feel to be at number 1?

@SJ Watson: Alot of research must have gone into writing Before I Go To Sleep? How did you go about your research?

@SJ Watson: At the start of the book Ben states they are going away for the weekend, are you referring to Brighton?

@SJ Watson: There was a bit of an anti-climax with Dr Nash. It turned out he was in fact just a young Doctor trying to help. Was the build-up to his character a deliberate ploy to keep the reader intrigued? Is there more to Dr Nash coming up?

@SJ Watson: The man known as Ben was such a deceitful, twisted man and yet he never once looked in Chrissie’s floral diary. Did he assume after all these years he has absolutely nothing to worry about?

@SJ Watson: The real Ben moved on yet still loves Christine even though she had an affair. What would you do if you were in a similar situation?

@SJ Watson: Covering an amnesiac in a novel offers a predictable narrative and yet you manage to take us into the realm of unpredictable. How easy was it to conjure up these characters?

@SJ Watson: Did Before I Go To Sleep throw up any surprises for you?

@SJ Watson: What are your top 3 favourite novels?

@SJ Watson: The rights to ‘Before I go to sleep’ have been acquired by Ridley Scott. How do you feel about transferring this onto the big screen? Will you have a say in the screen writers version?

@SJ Watson: Have you given up your day job now?

Thank you for reading my review.

Retrograde amnesia, the loss of pre-existing memories to conscious recollection, beyond an ordinary degree of forgetfulness. This type of amnesia first targets the patient’s most recent memories, the amount of memories lost depends on the severity of the case. The person may be able to memorize new things that occur after the onset of amnesia (unlike in anterograde amnesia), but is unable to recall some or all of their life or identity prior to the onset.

Must See Trailer – Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson

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