Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Woman Who Stole My Life - Marian Keyes

'Name: Stella Sweeney.
Height: average.
Recent life events: dramatic.'
One day, sitting in traffic, married Dublin mum Stella Sweeney attempts a good deed. The resulting car crash changes her life.
For she meets a man who wants her telephone number (for the insurance, it turns out). That's okay. She doesn't really like him much anyway (his Range Rover totally banjaxed her car).
But in this meeting is born the seed of something which will take Stella thousands of miles from her old life, turning an ordinary woman into a superstar, and, along the way, wrenching her whole family apart.
Is this all because of one ill-advised act of goodwill? Was meeting Mr Range Rover destiny or karma? Should she be grateful or hopping mad?
For the first time real, honest-to-goodness happiness is just within her reach. But is Stella Sweeney, Dublin housewife, ready to grasp it?
Never having read a Marian Keys book before I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m so glad I chose this book to review – it’s brilliant. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. I was initially intrigued by the title of the book and it’s quoted by Stella’s ex-husband very early on, so I thought that was it. How wrong was I and fell hook line and sinker into the plot, never guessing what was going to happen, other than Gilda seemed like she was up to no good.
It begins with Stella – having an accident, and then from there we learn she is a writer – but what unfolds is told with such depth I got completely lost in the pages.
The book weaves between the past and present, which seems to be a style of most books I read at the moment. However, in this book it enabled me to meet the characters and then when I got the back story form a completely different opinion of them.

My thanks go to Penguin UK and Net Galley for providing me with a copy of the book to review, I’ve really enjoyed it.

Monday, 8 December 2014

The Face Transplant - R Arundel

Product DetailsDr. Matthew MacAulay is a facial transplant surgeon working in a prestigious New York hospital. He is forced at gunpoint to perform a facial transplant in the middle of the night. The surgical team includes Dr. Sarah Larsson the anesthetist and his scrub nurse Marcia Lopez. They work under intense pressure but unfortunately the patient dies. The next day Matthew learns that Dr. Tom Grabowski, leader of the facial transplant program in Palo Alto, also died last night. The death is initially classified as a heart attack. Matthew is suspicious since the facial transplant centers are being funded by the government in secret.
The Secretary of Defense is very concerned by the death of Dr. Tom Grabowski; he was the world leader in transplant research and possessed a great deal of highly valuable intellectual property. Quentin Taylor assigns Jonathan to investigate Tom’s death and ensure no vital secrets have gone missing. Clues seem to just fall into Jonathan’s lap. Within no time Jonathan is convinced Matthew is behind the death of Tom Grabowski. Later nurse Marcia Lopez is found dead. Someone has skillfully framed Matthew for these murders and destroyed his professional reputation. Jonathan believes Matthew is responsible for both murders. Jonathan convinces the Secretary of Defense that Matthew may be selling secrets about the transplant program to a foreign power. Matthew must go underground and evade the relentless pursuit of Jonathan. Matthew continues to investigate the murder of Tom with the help of his friends.
The plot is well designed and sophisticated, it may be impossible to stop. Matthew and Sarah begin a frantic race to prevent a catastrophe of epic scale. The final conclusion makes Matthew re-examine demons hidden in his life, some he never knew existed.

I won’t go into the details of the plot of the book, as the synopsis above is clear on that. I did like the premise of the book – what I didn't like was the author’s habit of every so often putting the dialogue almost like lines in a play, with the character’s name and what they said. I’ve never seen that in a book before, and for a quick reader like myself I found it confusing and had to re-read sections.

I’m no expert on medical procedures, but some of it did seem a little implausible at times. That aside, the actual action in this book was terrifying at times. The part where an avalanche occurs really had my heart racing. Anyone going undercover needs good intelligence, which was supplied in the form of the robot Alice, without her it would have been hard to believe how the action could have occurred.  It did have the makings of a good thriller and towards the end that is more to the front of the writing, but overall I thought it had too much detail around the medical procedures.

I stuck with it as I wanted to know the ending – I wasn’t disappointed.

My thanks go to Netgalley for supplying me with a copy of the book to review.