Oct 30, 2018

Freefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie, book tour

Freefall: A Divine Comedy

Freefall:A Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie, January 1, 2019, Pen-L Publishing

The novel introduces Tillie Bloom, a wacky installation artist, who reconnects with three former friends—women she had hung out with in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s—in a four-day reunion at Whistler, B.C. The new intimacy they experience prompts them to celebrate their approaching sixtieth birthdays together, as well as the millennium, in Venice, Italy, (publisher)

This is a sentimental reunion of four friends in B.C., Canada and then on to Venice, prompting the title of the book, A Divine Comedy. We learn about the Toronto art underground, the semi-bohemian life, and their friendships since the 1950s. They revisit their youth in this reunion, and call themselves the Muskrateers in Venice, with only Tillie's mom's illness and looming death adding a damper to the atmosphere.

A book about friendship despite hardships in their lives along the way. The novel reads like a story close to the author, as if many of these events are based on her own experiences. Well worth reading. 

About the author, Lily Iona MacKenzieFreefall: Divine Comedy by Lily Iona MacKenzie

A Canadian by birth, Lily Iona MacKenzie has published reviews, interviews, short fiction, poetry, travel pieces, essays, and memoir in over 155 venues. Her poetry collection All This was published in 2011. Fling!, her debut novel, was published in July 2015. Curva Peligrosa, another novel, was released in September 2017.
Currently, she teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco’s Fromm Institute of Lifelong Learning. She also blogs about writing and reading.

Thanks to Premier Virtual Author Book Tours  and the author for a review copy of this book.
For other reviews, visit the Freefall Book Tour now underway. 

Submitted to the 12th Annual Canadian Book Challenge. 

Oct 25, 2018

Reviews: Three Tana French Novels

The Witch Elm
The Witch Elm
The Witch Elm by Tana French, October 9, 2018, Viking
Genre: psychological thriller
Source: library book

A little different from her Dublin mysteries, The Witch Elm features the upper or upper middle classes, those with privileges in looks and heritage. What happens when looks are taken away, however, and the advantages of birth and privilege no longer seem to count? This seems to be the theme of the new book by Tana French, in addition to a suspenseful mystery plot. A novel that is compelling yet disturbing, all at once.
I also finished:

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6)
The Trespasser
The Trespasser by Tana French, October 2016, Hodder and Stoughton
Genre: police procedural, thriller
Source: library book

This is the sixth in the Dublin Murder Squad Series, a book I gave five stars. The main characters Antoinette and Stephen are detectives on the Dublin murder squad and are portrayed as many-faceted and complex characters, which gives the crime novel an added advantage. Antoinette is fairly new on the squad and has had to put up with taunts and pranks from her fellow detectives that were meant to deride and harass her as not only a newbie but as female. Her instincts propel her forward in spite of everything and in the end, change her mind about leaving the force.

Faithful Place (Dublin Murder Squad, #3)
Faithful Place
Faithful Place by Tana French, July 2010, Penguin Viking AdultGenre: police procedural, thriller
Source: library book

Comments: Frank Mackey, a detective, returns to his home, Faithful Place, to try to solve the mystery of the disappearance of his girlfriend Rosie Daly twenty-five years before. Had Rosy changed her mind about running away to London with him or had she been prevented from meeting him that fateful night when they were supposed to leave together but never showed up? The last time anyone ever saw her? Suspenseful plot, disarming detective, and plot twists that kept me reading.

I have read Broken Harbor and The Secret Place, both equally good books in the Dublin series, and have two others to read - The Listeners and Into the Woods. 

I must say I'm a fan!

Visit the Saturday Review of Books

Oct 22, 2018

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw, and Other Books

New books on the shelves.
The Sunday Post  hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer,
It's Monday, What Are You Reading? by Book Date.
Mailbox Monday

Forever and a Day
Forever and a Day
Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz, November 6, 2018, Harper
JAMES BOND: The story of the birth of a legend, in the brutal underworld of the French Riviera.
Kill For Me (Victor the Assassin, #8)
Kill for Me
Kill for Me by Tom Wood, November 6, 2018, Berkley Books
A patron of Guatemala's largest cartel is ready and willing to pay Victor to eliminate the competition--her sister. 

Finished reading a library book:
The Birdwatcher
The Birdwatcher

Review of The Birdwatcher by William Shaw, June 2017, Mulholland Books

Justice and delayed justice are the themes of this unusual crime novel set near Kent, England. A policeman on the force is asked to help with a murder investigation as he knew the victim, a fellow bird watcher. The policeman digs deeper than the murder task force wants to go, to find the true killer, and runs the risk of their discovering his own past crime.  Interesting twists in the  plot. 

What books will you be reading this week?

Oct 19, 2018

Review: Occupational Hazard by Alex S. Avitabile

Occupational Hazard by Alex S. Avitabile
Published: July 27, 2018
Genre: mystery

Occupational Hazard: An Al and Mick Forte Story (Volume 1)
My take on the book: Al, an attorney in Brooklyn, and his ex-mafioso cousin Mick, cross swords with deputy mayor Gordon Gilbert when they represent Mary Woodley, who is suing Gilbert for child support. This is a fairly light-hearted mystery which pits two relatively unknowns against a powerful lawyer, now deputy mayor, in a domestic issue lawsuit. 

How Al and Mick outwit Gilbert is the story in this easy-to-read and delightful mystery.

Book beginning:
"You're out!" Gordon Gilbert bellows as I sit down. 
I'm out? What is this asshole talking about? Could he be referring to that play at the firm's picnic when he pretended that he hadn't dropped the ball while trying to tag me. One of the other partners had to mediate the call, and I was declared safe at third, having legged out a nifty triple. 
But he couldn't, he wouldn't, be referring to that play.

Page 56:
"You need to know what you're up against by going after Gilbert."
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

Thanks to the Cadence Group for a review copy of this book. 

Oct 7, 2018

Sunday Salon: Must Reads from the TBR Pile

These are a few of the books I have on my desk that are waiting patiently to be read.

Don't Eat Me (Dr. Siri Paiboun #13)
Don't Eat Me 
Don't Eat Me by Colin Cotterill is the most unusual mystery series set in Laos and featuring the fictional Dr. Siri Paiboon, former national coroner of Laos, The books reflect the country's people, their beliefs, superstitions, and interesting cultural slants and is written tongue in cheek, with a great deal of irony and humor.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits
The Labyrinth of the Spirits
The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, September 18, 2018.  The final book in the cycle of novels that began with The Shadow of the Wind.

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, September 11, 2018, Harper
One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.

My newest read, from Harper:

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver, publication October 16, 2018, Harper
Genre: literary fiction

Bum Deal (Jake Lassiter #12)
Bum Deal
Bum Deal by Paul Levine, Jake Lassiter #12, published June 12, 2018 by Thomas and Mercer
Genre: legal thriller, featuring "Second-string linebacker turned disillusioned defense attorney Jake Lassiter ." 

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

Empresses of Seventh Avenue by Nancy MacDonell: Historical Novel

 Fashion in Paris and New York City during WWII   Empresses of Seventh Avenue World War II, New York City, and the Birth of American Fashion...