31 Mar 2015

book reviews: landline, forensics & the statistical probability of love at first sight

Earlier this month, I condensed book reviews into one post and I think it worked quite well. Therefore, I thought I'd try and do the same again :)

Landline - Rainbow Rowell

I first started reading Landline just after Christmas but it didn't draw me in after five chapters so I put it down. However, I returned to it in February and when I finally finished it, it left me a bit disappointed. Maybe I'm still too hungover on how amazing Fangirl was but to me, Landline just didn't appeal to me as much as I had expected it to. That said, I still gave it 8/10 because the second half of the book was so much better than the first half.

Landline follows the story of Georgie and Neal; a couple with two daughters who met at university. It's Christmas but Georgie needs to stay behind for work purposes while Neal takes their two daughters to his mother's for the festive period. During this time, Georgie finds that her yellow, retro phone at her mother's house can call back into the past.

Image Credit: Goodreads

To me, the book was a slow starter and I wasn't quite sure where the story was going. However, I'm glad I persevered because of the cute ending! One thing that Rainbow Rowell does well is make her characters relatable and she definitely did that here. Georgie's sister, Heather, was definitely my favourite character due to her witty comments and cheeky manner but I found Neal very annoying (he's indecisive, never sticks with anything and seems like someone who could be called a 'walkover').

The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith

Because The Geography of You and Me was the first book I picked up by Jennifer E. Smith, I was a bit disappointed that The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight was kind of the same; both in plot and characters.

Image Credit: Goodreads

The blurb reads as follows (from Amazon.co.uk):

"Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything? 

Imagine if she hadn't fogotten the book. Or if there hadn't been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn't fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she'd run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else - the weather over the atlantic or a fault with the plane? 

 Hadley isn't sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it's the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver... 

Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it."

When I read the blurb, I was super excited to start reading this book but I found it very underwhelming. There wasn't much of a plot, I found a lot of it quite unrealistic in a bad way - contrast this to the Hunger Games trilogy that are also unrealistic books, but in a good way because it's meant to be a dystopian novel set in a fantasy world. TSPOLAFS (the title is also ridiculously long) is unrealistic in that the series of events are non-sensical and the characters are a bit too perfect.

It is just a feel-good book that is predictable. If you want an easy read, then this book is for you :) I gave it a 6.5/10 because it mentions Paddington in London - a place I got to know very well in the first year of my undergrad degree (pathetic reason, I know).

Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermid

I have a morbid fascination with forensics - it is quite similar to medicine in that you have a problem that needs solving but to do so, you need to go through a process of history-taking (talking to witnesses, potential suspects, etc) and investigations (for example, lab work). I think that's why this book appealed to me and I'm definitely planning a trip to the exhibit in a few weeks'.

Here is the blurb (from Amazon.co.uk):

"The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died - and who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help justice to be done using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene or the faintest of human traces. 

Forensics uncovers the secrets of forensic medicine, drawing on interviews with top-level professionals, ground-breaking research and Val McDermid's own experience to lay bare the secrets of this fascinating science. And, along the way, she wonders at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death, how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist uncovered the victims of a genocide. 

In her crime novels, Val McDermid has been solving complex crimes and confronting unimaginable evil for years. Now, she's looking at the people who do it for real, and real crime scenes. It's a journey that will take her to war zones, fire scenes and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day. 

Published in partnership with the Wellcome Collection, a free visitor destination that explores the connections between medicine, life and art."

Image Credit: Wellcome

The book is well laid out and each chapter has a clear focus. Case studies are used to explain how new and different techniques have helped catch a killer who may have otherwise got away. 

I really enjoyed reading this book and although I don't think the topic is for everyone, it is a fascinating one that will undoubtedly intrigue some and inspire others to go into this field of work. As a science-geek, I give this book 8/10.


  1. Replies
    1. I finished it really quickly but I have a morbid fascination with forensics and if I wasn't so squeamish about insects, I may have opted to go into that field instead of medicine hehe x