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Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbr… okay, J.K. Rowling

  • Method of Obtaining: I received my copy from the publisher.
  • Published by:  Mulholland Books
  • Release Date:  4.30.2013

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

I also recommend:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Broken Harbor by Tana French
My Review:

To be honest, putting up a review of J.K. Rowling’s famous book, The Cuckoo’s Calling, seems a bit silly.  For months this book sat, unknown, on shelves.  In fact, I have a friend who is a librarian in a small-town library and she has informed me that they had 10 copies in the system (with copies available) and the number of requests the day Rowling’s name was released as the author went up to 3500.  That’s a lot of press and, if it was deliberate, really freaking brilliant on the publisher’s part.  My friend, however, was not very happy about it.

So, I didn’t want to pick up a copy with my own hard-earned cash and decided, last minute, to see if it was available for review through the publisher.  To my surprise, there was a copy available to read and so I downloaded it as soon as possible and dove into the reading.

My first impression was that The Cuckoo’s Calling is nothing like Harry Potter – which was a stupid thought but you know it was going to go through my head.  My second thought was that it was really nothing like Harry Potter because I was immediately captured by the story (it took me a few books to really warm up to HP).  I really enjoyed the rougher style of narration, the hardass detective, the confused temporary worker, and the set-up of the crime scene.

While the information revealed through the research of the mystery was somewhat formulaic, I did find that I spent a lot of time guessing for the first half of the book.  Then, as things started to be revealed and I put two and two together, I began to figure out the culprit but was interested to see how Rowling would pull it all together.  When she did, I was surprised because it would not have been the way I chose to end the book, but it worked and I felt satisfied when I put the book down.

So, basically, is reading The Cuckoo’s Calling worth all of the hype?  Sure.  Don’t pick it up thinking it’s Harry Potter though, because it’s not.  I think I would have preferred the anonymity though because I feel as if this book is going to lose a class of readers that would otherwise have really enjoyed it.  It’s my hope that positive reviews that do not wax on about the brilliance of Rowling will aid in making sure word gets out there and Robert Galbraith continues to live on, even if he exists only on paper.


Check out what these bloggers had to say!

The Rediscovered Self | Beattie’s Book Blog| Between the Lines




Erebos by Ursula Poznanski

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Reason for Reading:
  • Video Games and Reading are two of my addictive hobbies – combine the two? Yup, you got me interested.

I also recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

An intelligent computer game with a disturbing agenda.

When 16-year-old Nick receives a package containing the mysterious computer game Erebos, he wonders if it will explain the behavior of his classmates, who have been secretive lately. Players of the game must obey strict rules: always play alone, never talk about the game, and never tell anyone your nickname.

Curious, Nick joins the game and quickly becomes addicted. But Erebos knows a lot about the players and begins to manipulate their lives. When it sends Nick on a deadly assignment, he refuses and is banished from the game.

Now unable to play, Nick turns to a friend for help in finding out who controls the game. The two set off on a dangerous mission in which the border between reality and the virtual world begins to blur. This utterly convincing and suspenseful thriller originated in Germany, where it has become a runaway bestseller.

My Review:

Erebos is unreal. I mean, Ursula Poznanski must have played some MMORPGS (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games for those of you not in the know – think World of Warcraft) in her time because she has managed to capture, within Erebos, the addiction, the need to play, the drive to do anything to get that chance to play – and then turn that to make a thrilling, hold on-to-your-hats type of story that had me racing to the end.

Nick seems like your all around normal 16-year-old kid with parent issues. His mom and dad are pretty neglectful, as tends to be the case in books which require not a lot of supervision to work. However things start getting a little crazy when he notices strange things happening at school and he hasn’t been let in on the secret – but some other definitely not-cool types are in on it.

The real story begins when Nick is let in on the secret – and let me tell you, it’s a whopper. I could feel my old gaming addiction starting to stir as I read descriptions of what began and was frightened to see the lengths that he would go to in order to continue playing. Why was I frightened? Because I could relate to him more than I wanted to.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in gaming. It’s a “should-read” for parents who have kids dealing with MMO addictions – it’ll give you a little bit of insight into how this addiction works and what it does – that little feeling of accomplishment you get with each level up, that thrill when you get a new piece of armor. It’s not as innocent as it seems at first – trust me, I devoted 10 years of my life to it.

Pick this one up for a thrilling, informative, interesting ride.


Don’t just take my word for it! Check out what these bloggers say!

Between the Covers | Tahleen’s Mixed-Up Files | Bookwanderer

Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt

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Reason for Reading:
  • I’m into quirky, British-y books lately and this one looked interesting.

I also recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

July 1964. Chartwell House, Kent: Winston Churchill wakes at dawn. There’s a dark, mute “presence” in the room that focuses on him with rapt concentration.

It’s Mr. Chartwell.

Soon after, in London, Esther Hammerhans, a librarian at the House of Commons, goes to answer the door to her new lodger. Through the glass she sees a vast silhouette the size of a mattress.

It’s Mr. Chartwell.

Charismatic, dangerously seductive, Mr. Chartwell unites the eminent statesman at the end of his career and the vulnerable young woman. But can they withstand Mr. Chartwell’s strange, powerful charms and his stranglehold on their lives? Can they even explain who or what he is and why he has come to visit?

In this utterly original, moving, funny, and exuberant novel, Rebecca Hunt explores how two unlikely lives collide as Mr. Chartwell’s motives are revealed to be far darker and deeper than they at first seem.

My Review:

While I do not feel the summary shows this novel in the light it should have been shown, Mr. Chartwell definitely takes it’s place among some of the most unique, interesting books I’ve read.  I approached the story believing there’d be more interaction between the famous Mr. Churchill and Esther but instead, found more of a coincidental connection and just one small scene with both involved.  This disappointed me a bit, but something else made up for that disappointment.

Having dealt with depression in my own life, I can attest to how it is like what Ms. Hunt portrays Mr. Chartwell to be.  A mangy, annoying, loud dog skulking about, refusing to leave, worming his way into your every thought.  At first I was a bit annoyed by the appearance of a creature I thought belonged in a fantasy book, but as the novel progressed I began to see Mr. Chartwell for who he was and what he represented, and then things began to get interesting.

Even if depression is not something you’ve ever dealt with, this book gives each reader a solid look at what it is like to be in those black depths, to feel the despair and annoyance and be completely unable to claw your way back to the light.  It gives a picture of what it is like to overcome and to succumb and I think it’s a read that was definitely worthy of my time.

Check out these review(s):

Lady Scribble’s Book Lounge

Blackout by Connie Willis

Over the next few weeks I’ll be reading the nominees for the 2010 Nebula Awards. While I won’t get to every book, I do plan on reading those novels listed and those listed for the Andre Norton award as well.
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Reason(s) for Reading:
  • This title is one of the awards for best novel in the 2010 Nebula Awards

Summary from GoodReads:

Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place. Scores of time-traveling historians are being sent into the past, to destinations including the American Civil War and the attack on the World Trade Center. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser, Mr. Dunworthy, into letting her go to VE Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz. And seventeen-year-old Colin Templer, who has a major crush on Polly, is determined to go to the Crusades so that he can “catch up” to her in age.

But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments for no apparent reason and switching around everyone’s schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, unexploded bombs, dive-bombing Stukas, rationing, shrapnel, V-1s, and two of the most incorrigible children in all of history—to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.

My Review:

I am so incredibly grateful to the Nebula awards for bringing titles to light that I would have overlooked.  Blackout by Connie Willis is one of those titles.

I’m a big fantasy lover – but I haven’t really delved that much into the world of science fiction and alternative history, so this book was a bit of a stretch for me.  I loved it though, I loved how different events were looked at from all points of view, how beliefs were so firmly stated that I had no problem believing them – and then sharing in the disbelief and doubt that began to emerge in the main characters.

And the history.. it was such an intimate picture of unsung heroes at times I felt as if I was standing outside a building, peeking in through the windows to watch these characters, supporting characters and more go about their daily business.  It brought home to me a personal, relate-able view of what London during the blackouts was like and just how frightening it had to have been.

Fantastic fun and I cannot wait to check out more of Connie Willis’ books.  I just love being introduced to a new author!

Check out these review(s):

The Book Smugglers

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