6 books to read before they become TV series

Do you love TV series? Are you a bookworm? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then 2018 will be a good year for you. Bookish TV series are on the rise, and there will be plenty coming out this year for us to pick from. We must proceed with caution though, as many great books fell victim to screen adaptation over the past years. I still refuse to talk about the horror of watching the movie version of The Dark Tower. Just… Nope…

TV series are usually a safer way to bring life to our beloved stories. I loved the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and the series that came out last year with the same title was absolutely amazing, painting an even more terrifying picture than the book by expanding the plots of the secondary characters.

If you are anything like me, you will most likely want to read the book before watching the first episode of the show. You know, just so you can have enough ammunition to rage about later, that the book was better.

So let’s see what is waiting for those of us who love thrillers, sci-fi and a bit of weirdness.

Good Omens
Based on the 1990 novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman the TV series will follow the story of a demon and a fussy angel (both living amongst mortals) who are trying to prevent the coming of the antichrist and the ensuing battle between Heaven and Earth.
Guess who’s playing Crowley, the demon. David Tennant, that’s who. Love it! There’s no official release date, but according to IMDB we can expect it in 2019.

Altered CarbonThis juicy sci-fi, set in the 25th century, tells the story of Takeshi Kovacs, a soldier from an elite group of warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order. Even though Kovacs was also killed, his consciousness and skills are downloaded (a.k.a. re-sleeved) into the body of a thug. This action and violence packed series, starring Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs, will come out in February, 2018.
The series is based on Richard K. Morgan’s book with the same title, published in 2006.
A must for fans of the cyberpunk genre!

Sharp ObjectsGillian Flynn’s book, Sharp Objects is a delicious treat for anyone craving something dark and disturbing.
Camille Preaker, a journalist, returns to her hometown in Missouri, to investigate the murder of two young girls. If this wouldn’t be upsetting enough, staying in her parents’ house brings back unpleasant memories from her own childhood, and she’s forced to confront her own demons that led her down the path of self harm for years.
The show, starring Amy Adams and Chris Messina, is coming this summer.

The City & The CityBased on the multi award-winning novel by China Miéville, the series follows Inspector Tyador Borlú on his investigation of a murdered student whose body was found in the decaying city of Besźel. As evidence starts piling up, suggesting deadly conspiracies, the Inspector has to travel to Ul Quoma, the only metropolis on Earth.
China Miéville describes his own work as “weird fiction”, so if weird is your thing, don’t miss out on this one.

Instinct
This new police procedural series, starring Alan Cumming as Professor Dylan Reinhart, is based on Murder Games by James Patterson. Professor Reinhart is a criminal behavior professor who ends up helping Detective Elizabeth Needham, the NYPD detective in charge of investigating a serial killer case. The only clue linking the victims is a playing card left behind on the scene, hinting at the next target.
It’s coming in March, so you should still have time to finish the book before the show hits the screen.

You
You by Caroline Kepnes is yet another gem for those of us who enjoy exploring the depths of a twisted mind.
The show follows Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager, who becomes obsessed with Guinevere Beck whom he met in his bookstore. The stalker turned boyfriend orchestrates the perfect plan to remove all obstacles that stand in their way.
The release date has not been announced yet.

Have you read all these books yet? TV adaptations yey or nay?

Where the Memories Lie by Sibel Hodge

Where the Memories Lie by Sibel Hodge
Genres: Mystery
Published: 22nd September, 2015
Goodreads
Series: N/A
Rating: 3

Chilling family secrets, obsession and decades-old lies. How well do we really know the ones we love? A gripping psychological thriller from the #1 bestselling author of Look Behind You.
Twenty-five years ago Katie ran away from home and never came back. But now she’s suddenly reappeared in her best friend Olivia’s life—in the form of a chilling confession. Olivia’s father-in-law, wracked with guilt, says he murdered her all those years ago. Tom suffers from Alzheimer’s and his story is riddled with error and confusion. Except for one terrifying certainty: he knows where the body is buried.
As Olivia and the police piece together the evidence, they are left with one critical question. They have a crime, they have a confession, and now they have a body—but can any of it be trusted?


So, a family secret, you say? Blurted out by a frail Alzheimer’s patient? Would you really take everything at face value from someone who only last week was under the impression that he’s Gregory Peck? The story had potential, but imagine you stumble upon this secret in the man’s diary. The one he’d written when he was still at full mental capacity… Now that, I could get into.

This book is not really a suspenseful thriller, more a story about a tight knit family and the lengths they would go to protect those they love the most. How far would you go to keep a secret that could destroy your family? Would you ignore all your values and beliefs if they were not suitable anymore? Maybe you are one of those people who is a firm believer of giving out the highest possible sentence to criminals. But if it’s your child on trial? Would that make a difference?

We see the plot unfold from Olivia’s point of view. She’s Tom’s daughter in law, and potentially one of the most annoying characters I came across in recent months. As a nurse, I expected her to be the voice of reason, but as the outsider so to say, of course she had to be the one who triggers all the digging into the past. It just didn’t seem that plausible to me, purely because of the way she found out about the secret.

As we go along, the uneasiness grows, accusations fly around and everyone seems suspicious. Olivia is off the rocker, and the most painful of it all is that she doesn’t use her brain. You want to accuse someone? Fine, but at least don’t show all your “evidence”.

The end twist was nicely done, and I’m actually happy with the resolution. Is it a bit far fetched? Maybe. But I’ve learnt watching all those true crime documentaries is that people are capable of anything.

Get Where the Memories Lie on Amazon UK.

Boy, do I love stats – 2017

The end is nigh, my fellow readers, and it’s time to take tally of this year’s accomplishments. No, the apocalypse is not coming, but 2018 is just around the corner.

Without further ado, let’s see my year in books.

Until this day I don’t know how, but I managed to finish 65 books this year. Before anyone suggest I should get a life, I must say, I do most of my reading during holidays, and at work, in my lunchbreak. Having developed some kind of weird insomnia could also be blamed – I rarely sleep past 5.30 a.m., so I have plenty of time in the mornings too before I have to make the ten minute trip to the office.

The best book I’ve read this year was definitely The Collapsing Empire (John Scalzi), and you have to appreciate how hard it is for me to say this, because I did read a book from Stephen King as well, and he’s my one true love.

Worst book of the year goes to Say You’re Sorry (Melinda Leigh). What a fucking mess that was…

The longest read was The Wise Man’s Fear (Patrick Rothfuss) with a whopping 994 pages, and it was also the highest rated on Goodreads.

 

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Published: 18th July, 2017
Goodreads
Series: N/A
Rating: 3.5

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…


This was quite an addictive page turner from B. A. Paris. There was no dawdling around in this fast paced story, and I appreciate that.

The mental breakdown of Cassie started out with what seemed to be just some everyday forgetfulness due to stress. But her mental state quickly started going downhill after the woman she saw stranded on a stormy night turned up dead and other weird shit started happening to her soon after. Cassie’s mother was diagnosed with early onset dementia, and she obviously started to fear the worst. With mental illness looming in the background the tension quickly builds to seriously suffocating levels.

The answer to the question “Who’s fucking with Cassie?” was somewhat predictable, but to me it just added an interesting layer to the story. Seeing the why and the how unfold was quite entertaining on its own, even if some stuff was somewhat far fetched.

Although Cassie reached a seriously paranoid state towards the end, once everything was revealed, she was surprisingly chill. How? I mean, seriously?

Quick read, and certainly right up my alley.

Blue Monday by Nicci French

Blue Monday by Nicci French
Genres: Thriller, Crime, Mystery
Published: 23rd June, 2011
Goodreads
Series: Frieda Klein #1
Rating: 2

The stunning first book in a new series of psychological thrillers introducing an unforgettable London psychotherapist Frieda Klein is a solitary, incisive psychotherapist who spends her sleepless nights walking along the ancient rivers that have been forced underground in modern London. She believes that the world is a messy, uncontrollable place, but what we can control is what is inside our heads. This attitude is reflected in her own life, which is an austere one of refuge, personal integrity, and order.

The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when his face is splashed over the newspapers, Frieda cannot ignore the coincidence: one of her patients has been having dreams in which he has a hunger for a child. A red-haired child he can describe in perfect detail, a child the spitting image of Matthew. She finds herself in the center of the investigation, serving as the reluctant sidekick of the chief inspector.

Drawing readers into a haunting world in which the terrors of the mind have spilled over into real life, “Blue Monday” introduces a compelling protagonist and a chilling mystery that will appeal to readers of dark crime fiction and fans of “In Treatment” and “The Killing.”


I just don’t get this book… There was a lot going on, but hardly anything actually happening in the first half. It was meant to be a story about a child kidnapping and the surrounding investigation, involving a psychotherapist. Sounds great, no? Well, that poor child was barely mentioned, he was more like an afterthought people every now and then remembered to mention in the background.

A strange mood enveloped the room where they sat, dreamy and sad.

And that strange and sad mood spilled our all over the whole story. The atmosphere was great. London at its most depressing. But there were just too many moments of staring out windows, sitting around tables and walks at 3 a.m.

Frieda Klein is a psychotherapist, or, according to her sister in law some kind of a doctor with a bunch of stuff after her name. But she’s also turned out to be a technophobe, Christmas-hater, miserable moron who is scared to be happy.

In fact, it had only been in the last year that she had finally bought an answering machine and she steadfastly refused to have a mobile, to the incredulity of all those around her, who didn’t believe that people could actually function without one. But Frieda wanted to be able to escape from incessant communications and demands.

Because having a mobile means having to be glued to it, doesn’t it? You can’t, like… heaven forbid, put it away or turn it off, can you?

Great start for someone who is supposed to be there for people to help putting their lives back together, right? But her constant negativity would put a damper on any happy person.

‘What am I doing this summer, you mean? I should warn you that I hate flying. And sunbathing on beaches.’

Yes, Frieda, we get it, everything’s shit. But we have no clue why, so it’s just annoying, sorry. I sometimes wondered if she even likes anything, apart from munching on toast in front of the fireplace.

There were quite a few pointless characters. Starting with Sandy, the boyfriend. What for? Poor dude appeared a few times, just so we get it that Frieda is afraid of commitment. I almost started feeling sorry for her that she’s taking so long to trust someone and not staying overnight or letting them come to her place, when the dude dropped a bombshell (new job, moving overseas) and turned out they know each other for some weeks only. WTF?

 

 

View spoiler

Yet, he also thought it was a great idea to suggest she moves with him, and then when didn’t work, to suggest they get married. But sure, he’s the great, reliable dude, isn’t he.

 

 

Jack, Frieda’s student-protege-trainee whatever was another one of these people who just hung around to basically explain the obvious. Josef, the Ukranian dude who drove Frieda around, cooked meals for her and was perpetually confused because he didn’t bloody understand half the time what anyone was talking about and basic words had to be explained to him. Duh. Have they become friends? Fuck knows…

I did like Chief Inspector Karlsson though. A cool dude, who is trying his best. He at least resembled something we’d call a reasonable person.

Since this series is mainly about Frieda, I doubt I will read the next book.

In the Woods by Tana French

In the Woods by Tana French
Genres: Crime, Mystery
Published: 17th May, 2007
Goodreads
Series: Dublin Murder Squad #1
Rating: 4

A gorgeously written novel that marks the debut of an astonishing new voice in psychological suspense.

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox (his partner and closest friend) find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.


This one took me almost a bloody week to finish! Not because it’s bad, quite the opposite. It’s a beautifully written, melancholic story, disguised as a murder mystery. There’s a murder, there are detectives and investigation, but there’s also an unsolved mystery from the past, involving Rob, one of the main characters.

After having quite a few bad experiences with books where I couldn’t care less about any of the characters, this was so refreshing! Both detectives, Cassie and Rob were like real people I would actually want to get to know. Mostly Cassie, but still…

Cassie Madoxx is the only woman in the current murder squad, and if that’s not enough, she’s younger than most of the guys. So obviously she’s the target of all sorts of speculations, how she got there, and who did she sleep with. I loved how straight to point she was, and her determination is admirable. Throughout the story she was the voice of reason in the deepening confusion Rob was going through.

Contrary to appearances, Cassie is not a particularly social person, any more than I am; she is vivacious and quick with banter and can talk to anyone, but given the choice she preferred my company to that of a big group.

Rob Ryan is the somewhat unrealistic narrator. His your typical good looking guy (and he knows it), with a proper accent and great style.

I have a perfect BBC accent, picked up at boarding-school as protective camouflage, and all that colonisation takes a while to wear off: even though the Irish will cheer for absolutely any team playing against England, and I know a number of pubs where I couldn’t order a drink without risking a glass to the back of the head, they still assume that anyone with a stiff upper lip is more intelligent, better educated and generally more likely to be right.

As the story goes on, he becomes more and more insufferable and kind of an asshole. You know the guys who are super cool, but then when you get real close they just up and disappear and it’s your fault? Yeah, those guys… Every now and then I just wanted to reach into the book and shake him, while being utterly conflicted for feeling sorry him as well.

There is a side of me that is most intensely attracted to women who annoy me.

Investigating a child murder is obviously not a walk in the park, but the detective duo come out worse than I could have imagined. Besides the investigation, this book tells the story of the sort of friendship between Rob and Cassie that most people would envy.

Even though the wrap up left me hanging (the original mystery never got solved, WTF??, *gasp*), it made me crave more of Tana French’s books. Took a sneak peak at the second one and can’t wait to see what Cassie is up to next.

Also, where the fuck was I in the last 10 years? I mean… I’ve clearly been living under some rock…