Mar 30, 2018

Sunday Salon: Mystery in Cuba and Montana

Death Comes in Through the Kitchen
Death Comes In Through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage
March 20, 2018; Soho Press
Genre: mystery set in Havana, Cuba
Objective rating: 4/5

Matt travels to Havana to meet up with his Cuban fiancee, to get married, and hopefully persuade her to return with him to New Mexico, where he is a reporter for a small local newspaper. But nothing is as simple as it appears, and complications arise that floor Matt when he has to deal with the police and Cuban security all while he interacts with the various local people, learns about life and culture and religion in Havana, and tastes a variety of their food.

This murder mystery is seen first through the eyes of Matt, then a detective turned private investigator, and then finally through the eyes of detective Martinez. We travel with Matt and learn about current Cuban culture and about the trends in relations with foreigners, including Americans.

Eye opening, a cultural tour that I enjoyed taking.

Book courtesy of  Soho Press


A Sharp Solitude: A Novel of Suspense
A Sharp Solitude by Christine Carbo
Publication May 29, 2018 by Atria Books
Genre: mystery set in northwest Montana
Source: NetGalley ebook

I was attracted to this book by the title and cover and the setting in the wilds of northwest Montana, not far from Glacier National Park. FBI investigator Ali Paige becomes involved in a murder case, interesting to her because the suspect is her former boyfriend Reeve, who is also the father of her five-year-old daughter. With all these complications, Ali has to tread lightly while she investigates on her own, thinking all the while of her daughter, who is close to her father.

I had thought that the plot was predictable, since the themes of gun control and journalism came up early in the book. But flipping through and reaching the end, I saw that the mystery is not what I had expected and there was a twist to the plot!

Objective rating: 3.5/5

Next, I'll be reading Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris, an historical novel based on true incidents.
Publication: August 28, 2018, Sourcebooks Landmark

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., 

Mar 25, 2018

Sunday Salon: A Kitchen in Havana and a Coffeehouse in NYC

Still waiting for spring. There is no new greenery to speak of in the yard, but the sun has come out the past few days!Hope for spring!

Two new books for review:
Death Comes in Through the Kitchen
Death Comes In Through the Kitchen by Teresa Dovalpage
March 20, 2018; Soho Press
Genre: mystery set in Havana, Cuba
Set in Havana during the Black Spring of 2003, a charming but poison-laced culinary mystery reveals the darker side of the modern Revolution, complete with authentic Cuban recipes (publisher)

Shot in the Dark (Coffeehouse Mystery #17)
Shot in the Dark by Cleo Coyle
April 17, 2018; Berkley
Genre: Coffeehouse Mystery #17
A new smartphone dating game turns the Village Blend into a hookup hot spot, until one dark night, when a gunshot leaves a dead body behind and the landmark coffeehouse becomes the center of a whole new scene--a crime scene. (publisher)

Finished reading:
Blue Light, Yokohama, Inspector Iwata #1
Author: 
Setting: Tokyo
Genre: mystery, police procedural
Source: library book
My comments:
A new mystery series with a very sympathetic main character, Inspector Iwata of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. A complex plot involving cults, murder, and corruption. I'm looking forward to the second in the series!


Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
June 10, 2014; Harper
Genre: mystery, thriller

My comments:
A surprising main character, Maud is in her late seventies or early eighties, is increasingly forgetful, and seems to get more disoriented as the book progresses. However, she remembers her childhood clearly, and her missing sister, Sukey, who left home and never returned. Maud is obsessed with finding her elderly friend, Elizabeth, who doesn't answer her phone and is not at her home.

Between periods of forgetfulness, Maud clings to a few memories - her missing friend Elizabeth, and her memories of childhood and Sukey. She pieces bits of items and clues together and her persistence pays off, even after the police have written her off as just a forgetful, demented lady who has to be humored when she insists on finding Elizabeth.

With her patient daughter Helen and her young granddaughter Katy, Maud eventually points the way to solving a murder. Engrossing and unusual. the book is being made into a TV movie by the BBC.

Ebook borrowed from the library. 

An Event in Autumn (Kurt Wallander, #9.5)
An Event In Autumn by Henning Mankell
August 12, 2014, Vintage
Genre: police procedural, crime fiction
Source: library book
My comments: 
Enjoyable police procedural with a Swedish policeman whose personal characteristics make him endearing. I have read two in the Wallander series and looking forward to the others.
What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday.

Mar 23, 2018

The Girl in Times Square by Paullina Simons: Book Review

The Girl in Times Square
The Girl in Times Square, a novel by Paullina Simons,
December 19, 2017, William Morrow.
"(A) riveting novel about a young woman whose search for her missing friend turns into a life-shattering odyssey." Part mystery, part romance, part family drama . . . in other words, the perfect book.—Daily Mail 

Book beginning:
What happened to love? Lily whispered to herself. Has someone else taken all that was given out for the universe, or have I just not been trying hard enough? What happened to overwhelming, crushing love the kind of love that moves earth and heaven, the kind of love my Grandma felt for her Tomas half a century ago in another world in another life, the kind of love my father says he felt for my mother when they first met swimming in that warm Caribbean sea? Doesn't anyone have that kind of love anymore? Isn't anyone without armor, without walls, without pain? Isn't anyone willing to die for love? 
Obviously not tonight. 
Page 56:
"Your hand is still spontaneously bleeding, I see," he said.She looked around groggily. His partner was not with him. "Did you come here to tell me that?" She felt disgusting. 
My comments: 
I don't remember crying so much while reading a book! The protagonist Lily grabs at your heart and doesn't let go. The author writes in dramatic superlatives, be warned - great love, great tragedy, great illness, great addiction, and an intriguing mystery of a missing girl, Lily's roommate. Enjoyed the excellent storytelling and characterizations in this book and looking forward to other novels by the author.

Galley provided by William Morrow. 

What new books are you reading this weekend? 
Memes: The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader

Mar 20, 2018

Book Review: Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

Let Me Lie
Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
Publication March 13, 2018, Berkley
Genre: thriller
Anna is struggling to come to terms with her parents’ deaths, unable to comprehend why they chose to end their lives. Now with a young baby herself, she feels her mother’s presence keenly and is determined to find out what really happened to her parents. (publisher)

My comments: 
Anna can't understand why her father would throw himself off a cliff, not why her mother would do the same seven months later, leaving her alone, devastated, and wondering. A retired cop decides to investigate the cold cases on his own, especially after Anna begins receiving anonymous notes suggesting her parents were not suicides, but murders. 
Plot twists and intrigue enliven this thriller, as we follow the clues to the very surprising end. Anna is believable and the old cop Billy is likeable, characters that engage the reader as the book moves forward.
I gave this thriller 4-5 stars. 

First chapter:
Death does not suit me. I wear it like a borrowed coat; it slips off my shoulder and trails in the dirt. It is ill fitting. Uncomfortable. 

Thanks to Berkley for a galley copy for review.

MEME: Every Tuesday Vicki @ I'd Rather Be at the Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon

Mar 18, 2018

Sunday Salon: Mystery Novels Around the Globe

Recently borrowed:
I amazed myself with the type of books, the variety, though all mystery novels, that I came out with after a visit to the library yesterday.  I gravitate towards books set in other places. These are set in Tokyo, Moscow and Laos, and Australia. Armchair travel at its best!

Blue Light, Yokohama, Inspector Iwata #1
Author: 
Setting: Tokyo
Genre: mystery, police procedural
Tokyo Police Inspector Iwata, recently reinstated to a new post, is assigned to investigate a disturbing multiple murder.
Am so glad I get to read the first in a new mystery series set in Tokyo! This way, I hope to get more of the flavor of the great city, even if only from a novel. By a writer who fell in love with Japan.

And another thriller set in Tokyo:
Soul Cage (Reiko Himekawa, #2)
Soul Cage by Tetsuya Honda
Published July 18, 2017, Minotaur Books
Setting: Tokyo
Genre: police procedural
This is the second in the series featuring the detective in Tokyo. A severed hand, a missing body, and a victim who was living under a false identity all add up to the most complex and challenging case yet for Homicide Detective Reiko Himekawa.

Setting: Laos and Moscow, Olympic Village
The Rat Catchers' Olympics (Dr. Siri Paiboun #12)
The Rat Catchers' Olympics by Colin Cotterill
Published August 15, 2017; Soho Press
Genre: mystery, Dr. Siri Paiboun series #12

1980: The Democratic People's Republic of Laos is proud to be competing in its first-ever Olympics.  Ex-national coroner of Laos Dr. Siri Paiboun begins to suspect that one of the athletes is not who he says he is. Fearing a conspiracy, Siri and his friends investigate, liaising in secret with Inspector Phosy back home in Laos to see if the man might be an assassin.

Setting: isolated bushland in Australia

Force of Nature (Aaron Falk, #2)

Force of Nature: Aaron Falk #2 by Jane Harper
Published February 6, 2018; Flatiron Books
Genre: mystery, thriller
When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

I finished reading
Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison, Septemer 5, 2017, Mira Books
Genre: psychological suspense
My review: 
A married couple, both writers, have an ideal married life with success and fame until they begin to drift apart due to professional jealousy, betrayal, domestic fighting, and the sudden death of a child to SIDS. But what seems obvious on the outside is anything but, and as readers we plumb the depths of several twists and turns that land you in unexpected places in the story.

Somewhat suspenseful and surprising, this was an enjoyable though not always believable read. A domestic thriller that is entertaining and easy to read. 

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday.

Mar 16, 2018

Book Beginning: Dipped to Death by Kelly Lane


Dipped to Death (Olive Grove Mystery #3)

Dipped to Death: An Olive Grove Mystery by Kelly Lane
Published March 6, 2018; Berkley
Setting: South Georgia

... authorities determine that Eva Knox's ex was poisoned by one of Eva's family's olive oils. She'll have to find the real killer before her family is caught for murder.

Book beginning:
Given the bizarreness of the night before, all in all, it'd been a pretty ho-hum September day in Abundance, Georgia. Right up to the moment Dolly and I spied that odd mop of brown stuff bobbing in the pond.

Of course, the last thing I expected to find was another dead body. 

But, there he was. 

Page 56:
"Did I say I was interested in Buck Tanner?"
"You didn't have to," sniggered Pep. 

What new books are you reading this weekend? 
Memes: The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader

Mar 12, 2018

It's Monday: Three Very Different Mystery Novels

Why Kill the Innocent (Sebastian St. Cyr, #13)


A dramatic cover and title:
Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris, Sebastian St.Cyr #13
Genre: historical mystery
London, 1814, a brutal murder draws Sebastian St. Cyr into the web of the royal court, where intrigue abounds and betrayal awaits.

Queen Anne's Lace (China Bayles #26)
Queen Anne's Lace by Susan Wittig Albert, #26 in the China Bayles series
Genre: mystery
Setting: Pecan Springs, Texas
A present day ghost leads China Bayles to a secret from Pecan Springs's past in this haunting mystery involving early 20th century and 19th century lacemakers.

I finished reading a new to me Scandinavian mystery writer,  Henning Mankell of Sweden.
After the Fire

After the Fire by Henning Mankell,  October 1, 2017, Vintage
Genre: mystery
... an aging man's quiet, solitary life on an isolated island off the coast of Sweden is turned upside down when his house catches fire. 
My comments: 
A very likeable elderly man, a retired surgeon, lives on a small island in Sweden, battling the elements and fitting easily into the island lifestyle he probably grew up in. The book covers a mystery solved, and new relationships to ease him into old age.
What have you been reading this March?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday.

Mar 9, 2018

Review: My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent


My Absolute Darling

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Published August 29, 2017; Riverhead
Genre: thriller, literary fiction
Setting: woods of Northern California coast
My comments: This novel has beautifully written descriptions of the wild woods near the coast of northern California. It is the setting for a story of a young girl, Julia aka Turtle, who is raised in isolation by a mentally and physically abusive father for whom she has conflicting feelings, who teaches her to grow up able to protect herself, and survive in all situations, except for the threats coming from him. Possessive and cruel, Martin forces Turtle to defend herself in the end as she slowly starts to grow up, mix with others her age, and realize the unusualness of her family situation. A startling coming of age story like no other. 

Terrifying and brutal in parts, the novel is mesmerizing, the reader can't help rooting all the way for the freedom and redemption of this unusual young girl.

Rating: 5/5

Book beginning:
The old house hunkers on its hill, all peeling white paint, bay windows, and spindled wooden railings overgrown with climbing roses and poison oak. Rose runners have prized off clapboards that now hang snarled in the canes.The gravel drive is littered with spent casings caked in verdigris. Martin Alveston gets out of the truck and does not look back at Turtle sitting in the cab, but walks up the porch, his jungle boots sounds hollowly on the boards, a big man in flannels and Levi's opening the sliding glass doors. Turtle waits, listening to the engine ticking, and then she follows him. 

56% of ebook:
"You're lucky you didn't die."
"I know it."
"I'm serious, Turtle."

Source: Library ebook. 

What new books are you reading this weekend? 
Memes: The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader

Mar 4, 2018

Sunday Salon: Historical Novel and Two Mysteries

Sold on a Monday
Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
Publication: August 28, 2018, Sourcebooks Landmark

From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.

2 CHILDREN FOR SALE

The scrawled sign, peddling young siblings on a farmhouse porch, captures the desperation sweeping the country in 1931. It’s an era of breadlines, bank runs, and impossible choices. 

Two people who discover this story today set out to right a wrongdoing and mend a fractured family, at the risk of everything they value. 
 (publisher)

Thanks to Netgalley and the author, I have a copy to review and am eager to read this amazing novel!

Other reading: 
Just One Evil Act (Inspector Lynley, #18)
Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George
Published October 15, 2013: Dutton
Genre: mystery, police procedural
I have discovered the Inspector Lynley series and am really enjoying it, especially since this one, the #18th, is set in Tuscany as well as London. It involves the kidnapping of a child by her mother, who takes her to Italy, where she again goes missing. Lynley is sent to Tuscany to facilitate the case for both parents. 



Also on my ereader:

The Perfect Nanny
The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
Publication: January 9, 2018; Penguin
As the couple and the new nanny become more dependent on each other, jealousy, resentment, and frustrations mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. (publisher)
I would love to get my hands on the French original, which won the Prix Goncourt in 2016 and was nominated for two other French awards. 

What books are you reading this week?
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,  It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date., and Mailbox Monday.

Mar 2, 2018

Book Beginning: DISPLACED by Stephan Abarbanell

Displaced


Displaced by Stephan Abarbanell
Published November 7, 2017; Harper
Genre: historical thriller
British-occupied Palestine, 1946: Elderly writer Elias Lind isn’t convinced by reports that his scientist brother, Raphael, died in a concentration camp. Too frail to search for Raphael himself, Elias persuades a contact in the Jewish resistance to send someone in his place.

Book beginning:
Dusk was already beginning to fall when the bus came to a standstill in a dip between Deir Ayub and Bab el-Wad. The driver struck the steering wheel with the flat of his hand, jumped up from his seat and grabbed a canister of water. He threw open the bonnet of the Dodge and tried to unscrew the hissing radiator with a handkerchief wrapped around his hand. None of the passengers on board said a word The fanning of newspapers and the chirping of crickets were the only sounds that broke the silence. Flies had found their way in through the open door, along with the heat that peeled away from the ground on June days. 

Page 56:
'....A postcard came from Berlin for my birthday, unsigned. But I knew his handwriting. A few weeks later, it was leaked that his last article was published under my name.'

What new books are you reading this weekend? 
Memes: The Friday 56. Grab a book, turn to page 56 or 56% of your eReader. Find any sentence that grabs you. Post it, and add your URL post in Linky at Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginning at Rose City Reader