[REVIEW] The Incurable Romantic and Other Unsettling Revelations by Frank Tallis @LittleBrownUK

It’s no secret that I enjoy reading psychology non-fiction books and that I’m interested in Psychology. Tallis’ book intrigued me because of the subject matter it deals with – love, to be precise: obsessive love. I rarely read and find books on this subject so I was glad I stumbled upon it.

While reading this book I wrote notes on the first half of the book because many chapters were interesting and contained a lot of information I found useful. The Incurable Romantic contains twelve chapters and each of them deal with a different problem and aspect of love. The stories inside this book are based on real life cases the author worked on with the names of people changed in order to protect identities of his patients. I really don’t want to make this review long but I tend to write essays on non-fiction books so I’ll try and be efficient. In the preface of this book Tallis writes about earlier understandings of love and ‘lovesickness’. He uses a philosopher called Lucretius and looks at his definition on both terms. The conclusion he comes to is that both views on love and lovesickness haven’t changed much in nearly two-thousand years – which means that these feelings have been around for a while. The first chapter of this book The Barrister’s Clerk examines love that is very obsessive to the point where our subject can’t get the person she has feelings for out of her mind. We are talking about stalking here – where the person she likes doesn’t share the same feelings, the person is married but still our subject can’t get these facts into her mind. Tallis explains that the subject suffers from de Clerambault’s syndrome which is a form of a delusional disorder where the person believes that another person is infatuated with them. We see how this obsession ruins her life because she can’t accept that the other person doesn’t share the same feelings. In the second chapter called The Haunted Bedroom we meet our subject, an old woman who lost her husband and who feels very depressed and lonely. When Tallis interviews her what she says is very peculiar, he asks her ‘What do you miss most about your husband?’ and she replies ‘The sex.’. She begins to see her husband everywhere, in the house, in the park. Here Tallis explains something called PBHE or Post Bereavement Hallucinatory Experience. Furthermore, Tallis explains that people we loved [who passed away] have a subconscious place in our mind which can cause us to see or feel the persons presence because we were with them for a long period of time. Seeing the people we were close to makes us more comfortable and helps us grieve better. In the third chapter called The Woman Who Wasn’t There we see how the Delusional disorder: Jealous type takes effect on a woman who becomes obsessed with her boyfriend to a very extreme point. She becomes very jealous because her boyfriend doesn’t text her (even though he texts her every chance he gets), doesn’t tell her where he’s going etc. What we see is how a relationship can be ruined because of jealousy that consumes our subject. This chapter is very relatable to me because I find myself to be the same but not to that extreme. I found Anita’s concerns to be something I would be asking myself too but there were certain parts where her actions couldn’t be justified. There are many interesting stories in this book but sadly I can’t share them because this review would be long. Even though this book doesn’t offer solutions to problems each subject has it gives a fresh perspective on things like obsession, delusion, addiction, love.

I would complain about the lack of resolution to this problem because I really wanted to know more about each person I encountered in this book but psychoanalysis and therapy, as Tallis says, often fail when it comes to resolving certain problems but what they do is offer new insight into problem they try to cure.

It is safe to say that The Incurable Romantic is a book that offers an insight into obsessive love as well as historical background on psychological and biological factors that influence love and how people perceive and express it.

To anyone who enjoys reading books about psychology and is interested in human nature and how we perceive love should read The Incurable Romantic.

I would like to thank the publisher Little Brown UK for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Dr. Frank Tallis is a writer and clinical psychologist. He has held lecturing posts in clinical psychology and neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry and King’s College, London. He has written self help manuals (How to Stop Worrying, Understanding Obsessions and Compulsions) non-fiction for the general reader (Changing Minds, Hidden Minds, Love Sick), academic text books and over thirty academic papers in international journals. Frank Tallis’ novels are: KILLING TIME (Penguin), SENSING OTHERS (Penguin), MORTAL MISCHIEF (Arrow), VIENNA BLOOD (Arrow), FATAL LIES (Arrow), and DARKNESS RISING (Arrow). The fifth volume of the Liebermann Papers, DEADLY COMMUNION, will be published in 2010. In 1999 he received a Writers’ Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain and in 2000 he won the New London Writers’ Award (London Arts Board). In 2005 MORTAL MISCHIEF was shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.

(BLOG TOUR)[REVIEW] Kill For Me by Tom Wood @LittleBrownUK

When I was approached by a publicist from Little Brown UK to review this book I was thrilled because I haven’t read a thriller in a while and I was very excited to check Kill For Me and see how I’ll like it.

Victor is an assasin who gets hired by a variety of people to do the dirty work for them but what they don’t know is that Victor isn’t a regular assasin – he’s a highly intelligent and dangerous one. A war is taking place in Guatemala between two sisters who are drug lords. Both want to dominate the drug ‘scene’.  One of the sisters, Heloise, calls Victor and hires him to kill the other, Maria,  in order for her to rule the kingpin. From this point on we are taken on a whirlwind of events – from plotting a murder to Victor having another killer on his back. All of this takes place in Guatemala where every move has to be carefully calculated.

Kill For Me is the eighth book in the Victor the Assasin series by Tom Wood. I haven’t read the previous books in the series but can say with certainty that this book can be read as a standalone – you needn’t worry that you’ll miss something. Although at times there are a few events that reference past books a vast majority of it is very much new and it’s not confusing. Victor is such a interesting character and what makes him interesting is his profession – a killer you can hire to murder someone for you. It was very fun getting into the mind of this character and see how he operates as well as perceives the world and people around him. Victor is a very, very intelligent character and I assume that his past experiences gave him more insight into people and how they operate. He is manipulative, calculative, cunning and very dangerous. I seriously wouldn’t want to be his enemy!! What I found interesting in this book was the detail in it, the story was very complex and it gave the book life. At times there were other POVs which were great and gave more information to the reader. I rarely read these kinds of books but after this one I definitely need to read more of them! One thing I must say is that people might find Victor to be annoying, full of himself but that’s just who he is even though he did sound very pretentious at times.

I would recommend Kill For Me to every thriller/action genre reader because they won’t regret picking this book up. Tom Wood will take you on a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride into Guatemala and the dangers that lurk there.

I would like to thank the publisher Little Brown UK (Sphere) as well as Millie Seaward for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and are not influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Tom Wood is a full-time writer born in Burton-on-Trent, and who now lives in London. After a stint as freelance editor and film-maker, his first novel, The Hunter, was an instant bestseller and introduced readers to a genuine antihero, Victor, an assassin with a purely logical view on life and whose morals are deeply questionable. Tom is passionate about physical sport, being both a huge boxing fan and practising Krav Maga, which has seen him sustain a number of injuries. He has not, however, ever killed anyone.

Find him on: Website, Twitter and GoodReads.

[REVIEW] Tangerine by Christine Mangan @LittleBrownUK

What first attracted me to this book is the absolutely stunning cover. I love everything black and white especially these kinds of photos so this was an immediate add to my to-be-read list. I didn’t base my decision of reading this book on it being optioned for a movie because that doesn’t attract me as much as the book itself does. I have to admit that I can see this book as a movie but I would be very careful who to cast for these roles.

Tangerine is set in Tangier, Morocco and it follows two women, Alice and Lucy. Their friendship is a strange one because of the horrific past that follows both of them. The book begins with the reappareance of Lucy  and a rather peculiar reaction from Alice. Is Lucy supposed to be there? It goes back and forth from the past and slowly reveals the happenings that took place when they were in college to the present where they are re-connecting their friendship. From the beginning we can see the strangeness that surrounds Lucy but also the spell she has cast on Alice. I don’t want to describe the story any futher because I  feel like the synopsis of Tangerine reveals a bit much about the plot. This is all you should know before going in.

Tangerine has a symbolic name because it’s doesn’t represent the fruit but something else you’ll have to find out when you pick it up. The characters were well crafted and the setting made the story ten times more interesting because I don’t usually see these kinds of stories set in the 1950’s. Mangan has a great way with words and can really paint a picture with her sentences which I particularly enjoyed. As I mentioned when it comes to the synopsis of the book I feel like it could ruin someone’s experience and I wish it was more mysterious because I didn’t feel shock when it came to certain scenes. From the synopsis you can tell that Lucy is someone who plays a major role in the book and I have to say that she was a great character. The ending was interesting because I didn’t expect it to end like that and I had a different scenario in mind which sort of fell short for me. Even though I had some issues with it I feel like the book will attract many readers who’ll fall under its spell like I did.

This book cover is one of my favourite ones this year.

Christine Mangan’s Tangerine is a great debut novel set in the 1950’s Morocco which is centered around two women whose friendship is  a very dangerous one but also a very intriguing one at the same time.

I would like to thank the publisher Little Brown UK for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. Opinions written in this review are my own and have not been affected by anything.

My rating: 

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Christine Mangan has her PhD in English from University College Dublin, where her thesis focused on 18th-century Gothic literature, and an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Maine. Tangerine is her first novel.

Find her on: Instagram and GoodReads.