Friday, 16 May 2014

Zugzwang by Ronan Bennett / 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman / Precious Thing by Colette McBeth

Zugzwang by Ronan Bennett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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I registered a book at BookCrossing

Not totally sure about this book. It is illustrated sporadically with chess boards in various stages of play - I don't play the game myself so part of the plot may have passed me by. The plot is interesting without being especially gripping, but basically I found this to be a pleasant enough way to pass a couple of sunny afternoons. A not-quite-thrilling-enough thriller.


59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Interesting self-help book that claims to offer life-changing advice, primarily through debunking the life changing advice that the self-help industry has been peddling for decades. I was intrigued by the promise when the book was published and so was delighted to get a copy via BookCrossing from this year's World Book Night stash.

I like how Wiseman explains the many scientific experiments he quotes and I was fascinated by the frequently bizarre studies that have been conducted into human behaviours. Each chapter addresses different aspects of life such as happiness, motivation, relationships and parenting. There is detailed information followed by a brief recap with quick exercises to try at home. These are all simple and practical, and it's fun to try them out. I was happy to see that several things I already do - such as spending money on experiences for treats rather than on stuff - were suggested.

I'd highly recommend this book whether you want to improve your lot or if you're just interested in a not-too-intense look at current psychology thinking.


Precious Thing by Colette McBeth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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I didn't have any preconceived expectations of Precious Thing because, having been lucky enough to receive a (signed!) copy through a Twitter giveaway, I hardly knew anything about it.

The novel examines the aftermath when the tight childhood friendship between Rachel and Clara implodes. It is told in the first person by Rachel, but from the angle of her writing to Clara which makes for a fascinating read, especially once, as readers, we begin to wonder whether Rachel's truth is actually THE truth or not.

The action mostly takes place in London and Brighton. I lived in Brighton for a while around the time the novel is set so it was fun for me to spot street names and locales. The Zap Club!
There are several twists and turns along the way, some of which I saw coming, others which took me completely by surprise, and Precious Thing is certainly gripping. Other reviewers have favourably compared it to Gone Girl and it has the same kind of sharp pace. I started reading at 9pm and, to be honest, that is a silly time to start this book. You're not going to want to put it down until you've finished so start early - around breakfast time maybe!


View all my reviews on Stephanie Jane or on Goodreads

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