Nov 1, 2020

Sunday Salon: New Library Books

 I found a few books at the library last week that I liked so much I immediately started them.

Finished reading:

Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman,  published January 7, 2020, Ballantine Books

Genre: psychological thriller

Setting: Britain

I learned a new neuropsychiatry term, "dissociative fugue", which refers to a rare type of amnesia, in which the patient loses memory of his identity, over and over again. Mr. Nobody, later called Matthew, is found on a British beach with no idea of who he is. He is seen by a neuropsychiatrist, Emma Lewis, who becomes caught up in trying to help him, not knowing at the beginning what type of amnesia he has. 

For some reason, he knows more about her secret past than many people do, and this frightens her. Matthew is not as innocent as he seems, and certainly not the normal amnesia victim. The story becomes a thriller, with Emma fighting for her life in action packed and thrilling scenes. I was willing to give the book four stars but by the time I reached the ending, my rating became a solid 5. 

Braised Pork by An Yu, published April 14, 2020, Grove Press

Genre: literary fiction, international fiction, with magical elements

In modern Beijing, Jia Jia finds her husband dead one morning in the bathtub, kneeling with his head in the water.  

She begins to dream about a fish-man whom she follows into dark watery depths. The silvery fish-man is elusive and darts away each time she enters this dream world. Jia Jia is determined to find out about the significance to this creature to her husband and her deceased mother, who has left many sculptured pieces of this creature. 

Her search takes her to Tibet, where she finds more of the sculptures and is told about her mother's visit there. The image of this fish-man and its elusiveness is a major theme in the book and it's left to the reader to determine its significance to the people in the book. 

A well-crafted, original literary novel and a five-star read. 


Currently reading:

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones, published June 16, 2020, Minotaur Books
Genre; psychological thriller

Kate and Lauren, sisters, have Sunday lunch at their mother's house every week. Kate and Lauren are not close sisters, but their differences are forgotten when an unexpected visitor to their Sunday meal throws the sisters and their mother into disarray and confusion.

I have just started this domestic thriller and hope I like it enough to finish!


Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan, published June 30, 2020, Doubleday
Genre: romance, international fiction

This is a new book by the author of Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Set on the island of Capri, it seems to be a n international romance with many cultural complexities. I'm looking forward to starting it.


What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Oct 11, 2020

Sunday Salon: Psychological Thrillers

 Psychological thrillers:

It takes an extraordinary plot to make a psychological thriller stand out so much that you remember it even after reading umpteen similar thrillers. 

After a while, to me, the plots and the books run into one another, and while I enjoy them while reading them, I easily forger them once I've put down the books. Anyone else have this happen?

One memorable thriller because of the unusual characters is The Girl in the Mirror, featuring identical twins who, you guessed it, take each other's place, in a convoluted plot involving murder, deception, an inheritance, and more. 

The Girl in the Mirror, by Rose Carlyle, October 20, 2020, William Morrow. NetGalley


 Other psych thrillers that I enjoyed while reading them include the following. 


The Poison Garden by A.J. Banner, October 22, 2019, Lake Union Publishing. 

Sleepwalking, a secret potion made out of a deadly flower, infidelity of a husband, observant neighbors, and plots to use the poison against one and more people. An enjoyable suspense novel. 


The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner, September 1, 2015

A fire, two people killed, nosy neighbors, and a questionable marriage. The main character has her hands full looking after the dead couple's child while trying to figure out her own marriage. Enjoyable read.

Both these thrillers by A.J. Banner include the themes of infidelity, and neighbors, good and evil. I'm looking forward to reading the others by the same author and interested to see if the same themes run through them. 

By the way, I've changed my blog name from Book Dilettante to the original: BookBirdDog 

Hope you will keep visiting.. 


What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Oct 4, 2020

Sunday Salon: Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin

 Currently reading:



Never Look Back by Alison Gaylin, July 2, 2019, William Morrow
Genre: suspense, mystery
Source: library book 

A teenage girl and her boyfriend went on a killing spree 43 years ago before being killed in a fire. The brother of one of those killed wants to make a podcast about the victims and their surviving families. He is then told that the young girl, one of the killers, might still be alive. 

I'm a third of the way through the book and it's holding my interest. 

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Sep 29, 2020

First Chapter: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

 


Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week, share the first paragraph of a book you are now reading or plan to read soon.







After I started reading and was enjoying this novel, I realized that the Polish author not only won the Man Booker International Prize for a previous book, Flights, but is also a Nobel Prize winner for literature. I immediately borrowed the ebook of Flights from our library and so have that to look forward to after this book. 

First Chapter/First Paragraph:

I am already at an age and additionally at a stage where I must always wash my feet thoroughly before bed, in the event of having to be removed by an ambulance in the Night.

Had I examined the Ephemerides that evening to see what was happening in the sky, I wouldn't have gone to bed at all. Meanwhile, I had fallen very fast asleep; I had helped myself with an infusion of hops, and I also took two valerian pills. So when I was woken in the middle of the Night by hammering on the door - violent, immoderate and thus ill-omened - I was unable to come round. 

 

Would you read on?  

Sep 27, 2020

Sunday Salon: One By One by Ruth Ware

 Cooler weather is on the way at this end of summer. I am not sure if I welcome it or not. As long as I can get my morning walks in, I'll be pretty happy. 

Just finished reading:


One By One by Ruth Ware,
September 8, 2020, Scout Press

Setting: French Alps ski chalet

Genre: suspense, thriller

Source: NetGalley

About: Ten people are locked together in a chalet in a remote part of the Alps, hemmed in by snow after a massive avalanche. There is a chalet worker and a cook and lots of food and wine, plus ample amount of logs for the fireplace. The drawback is that there is a murderer among them. Five or six remain who are not dead or missing. The ones remaining decide to hike to another chalet for help and to ski down to the main town, despite the destruction of ski paths after the avalanche. 

The ending is suspenseful as characters face off in a fight for survival. 

Comments: Well plotted and written - the details of the avalanche and its destruction, the slow reveal of the characters and their motives - the novel was hard to put down. I gave it an enthusiastic five stars.


Next on the reading list:

  • a bunch of library books
  • a suspense novel 


What Lies Beneath by Bill Kitson, October 1, 2019, Joffe Books

Setting: Yorkshire, England

Genre: detective fiction, DI Mike Nash #1 series

Source: Kindle Unlimited

About: I've only just started this series and hopefully will like it enough to keep going. It's a crime thriller involving a British detective inspector, an international criminal network, Eastern Europe law enforcement, and a Russian detective.


What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Sep 22, 2020

First Chapter: The Passengers by John Marrs

 


Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week, share the first paragraph of a book you are now reading or plan to read soon.




The Passengers August 27, 2019, Berkley
Genre: suspense

First paragraph:

UK NEWS

House of Lords votes unanimously in favour of driverless vehicles on British roads within five years. Ban on non-autonomous vehicles expected within a decade.  

NOTES

        • 1. Programme car for Ben's office.
        • 2. Use Uber app for car under "guest" account. don't use real name.
        • 3. Get picked up from Ben's car park, go to work.
        • 4. Start testing Ben midmorning. 
        • 5. Call his boss around midday.

 

CLAIRE ARDEN

By the time the front door closed, the car was parked outside Claire Arden's home, waiting for her. 

She lingered outside the porch, re-reading the notes she had made on her phone until she heard the faint beep-beep of the alarm as the house secured itself. 


Would you read on or pass on this novel? 

 

Sep 20, 2020

Sunday Salon: The Woman in the Moonlight by Patricia Morrisroe

Fall is here and temps went down to the high 30s last night. It'll be warmer the rest of the week but not by very much, 40s at nights. I don't mind the pleasant weather and hope it stays this way till December!

I'm still listening to All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penney, and am in the middle of the ebook version of  

The Woman in the Moonlight by Patricia Morrisroe, published September 1, 2020,  Little A; Kindle Unlimited
Genre: historical fiction featuring the composing life of Beethoven and the Moonlight Sonata
Setting: Vienna, Naples, early 1800s

This is a novel about Beethoven and one of his first loves, Countess Julie Guicciardi, to whom he dedicated his Midnight Sonata. The two did not marry, but she continued to watch his progress as a famed composer over the years while she was married with several children of her own. 

Beethoven was a driven, compulsive, but gifted artist, rough looking. Maybe because of his temperament, he never married. He had many lovers and women fell in love with him. Though the character of the composer may be based on fact and research, The Woman in the Moonlight is described as a "fantasia" by the author, a fleshed out story, her imagination filling in the bare facts known regarding the composer and the woman for whom he wrote the Midnight Sonata. 

In any case, I am a bit scandalized by the goings on of  men and women in the early 19th century in Europe, in particular the nobility and the artists and musicians they sponsored and supported.  Mistresses were commonplace, and in the novel, Countess Julie is even propositioned by the wife of a count to have Julie bear her husband a child. There is more, but I won't go into it. 


What are you reading this week?


Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon




Sep 13, 2020

Sunday Salon: International Thrillers

 I've been finding some good thrillers on NetGalley and on Kindle Unlimited, so am bursting with ebooks to read. 

The Greek Island Killer (DI Jack Dawes #1)Man Down (Rogue, #2) (Skrapnel)Eyeshot

Eyeshot by Taylor Adams I gave a 4 out of 5 stars.  A young couple in the Mojave Desert fights a deadly sniper when they follow a false detour into an isolated area. 

Man Down by Irma Ventner, a thriller set in Mumbai and South Africa, was written in Africaans and translated to English. Ranna Abramson travels home to South Africa to help find an ex-lover and journalist who has disappeared.

The Greek Island Killer by Frances Lloyd is set on a tiny isolated island in Greece, where a group of tourists are trapped with a killer, who might be one of them. 

Audiobooks are a new interest, as I've not before wanted to listen rather than to read. 

All the Devils Are Here (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #16)

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penney was borrowed from NetGalley audiobooks. I am enjoying  all the different voices of the characters in the book though it's read by the same person. 

This book is set in Paris, where Inspector Gamache and wife Renee are visiting their two married children and their families. Unfortunately, the reunion is scarred by the hit and run accident of one of their dearest friends, Gamache's godfather. There is a mystery here about the accident which might have been a murder attempt and the Gamaches are bent of finding out what happened.

What are you reading this week?


Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Aug 23, 2020

Sunday Salon: Armchair Travel

Finished a few books in the past ten days, more than I've been reading lately. Here are my brief reviews and comments.

White Out (Badlands Thriller, #1)
White Out by Danielle Girard, August 1, 2020, Thomas Mercer
Genre: thriller, suspense
Setting: North Dakota
Source: Kindle Unlimited

Lily Baker wakes up in a car overhanging an overpass, the injured driver unconscious behind the wheel after the accident. She slowly extricates herself while trying to save the driver, whom she doesn't recognize. Lily is suffering from amnesia from the accident, and discovers, step by step, her painful past experiences and who she can and cannot trust. 
An entertaining thriller, very good at the beginning but burdensome and heavy at the ending. Still worth reading.

The Other Side of the Door
The Other Side of the Door by Nicci French, William Morrow Paperback,
2021
Genre: suspense, psychological thriller
Setting: London
Source: NetGalley


My Goodreads review:


Love, obsession, murder, friendship. These are themes in Nicci French's psychological novel. Bonnie has promised her friend to perform at her wedding and has gotten together a motley group of friends to form a small band just for the event. The interaction among these people lead to unforeseen consequences that tests love and friendship.

A compelling read with suspense and an unexpected ending.


The Nesting
The Nesting by C.J. Cooke, September 29, 2020, Kindle edition
Genre: Scandinavian thriller, suspense, modern Gothic
Setting: Norway
Source: NetGalley

Set in Norway, the novel uses Norwegian legends, beliefs, and folk tales as an integral part of the plot.

 Lexi Ellis, down on her luck and needing a job, pretends to be someone else to get a dream job of nanny to two small girls in the forests of Norway. She becomes involved in the local beliefs of spirits and ghosts and the mystery of the death of her employer's former wife. Good armchair travel and an entertaining plot. 



Tahoe Hit (An Owen McKenna Mystery Thriller Book 18)

Tahoe Hit by Todd Borg, Kindle edition
Genre: thriller
Setting: Lake Tahoe, Nevada, California
Source: Kindle Unlimited



The son of a rich financier with a home in Lake Tahoe hires Tahoe private investigator Owen McKenna to investigate and find his son. Time is of the essence, as McKenna and his sidekick, a Great Dane named Spot, try to unravel a Shakespearean plot that involves a family drama resembling the  tragic story of Hamlet. 


 Clever use of setting and literature to craft a mystery thriller well worth reading.


Currently reading:


Hard Rain (Rogue, #1)

Hard Rain by Irma Ventner, romantic mystery set in Tanzania, with a journalist and a photographer with a mysterious past. 


What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Aug 1, 2020

Sunday Salon: Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay

Paris Is Always a Good Idea

I have never appreciated books so much as this year, a difficult year on so many counts. I've finished re-reading 

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles


for our book club next week, and I got so much more from reading the novel the second time around. I'm looking forward to our discussion as there are so many topics to cover from this one book.

Themes include dealing with forced isolation or self-isolation. "Mastering your circumstances" instead of having them master you. I thought that's appropriate for these days, though the book was written several years ago.

===================

A less serious novel caught my attention. Paris is always a good idea, I'd agree! This is one of my current reads. 

 Paris Is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay
Published July 21, 2020, Berkley
Genre; romance, contemporary fiction

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Jul 26, 2020

Sunday Salon: A Theory of Everything Else: Essays by Laura Pedersen

Re-reading


A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

March 26, 2019, Penguin

This, for a book club meeting early August. A reader on FB admitted to reading the novel four times!  I might go for three, but I doubt four times!


Books to be finished

I have too many of these. I must be having attention deficit when it comes to reading, as I'm tempted by new Netgalley and Kindle Unlimited books very quickly. And I'm not always in the mood for a specific genre. How about you?

In the mail 



She Writes Press (September 1, 2020)

In A Theory of Everything Else, Pedersen vividly demonstrates how life can appear to grind us down while it’s actually polishing us up―and why everyone wants to live a long time but no one wants to grow old. (publisher)

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Jul 19, 2020

Sunday Salon: Amor Towles and Dee Ernst

A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

March 26, 2019, Penguin
I'm re-reading this for a book club discussion next month. I am getting all the details I missed or forgot, which makes the novel even more interesting. On facebook, a reader confessed to reading A Gentleman in Moscow four times! She said the writing was exquisite. I agree.
Think about practicalities, and master any difficulties so they don't master you. Great advice from a man confined to one location because of politics, and relevant to us in the days of coronavirus. 


Maggie Finds Her Muse

Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst, April 20, 2021, St. Martin's Griffin  Genre: romance, contemporary fiction Source: Netgalley 


I loved this book, the surprise of where Maggie takes us when she needs to find her muse in order to finish writing the final book in her romantic trilogy. Her ex, Alan, is interested in getting back together, and their daughter Nicole is all for it. But Maggie finds her muse in an unexpected and different way.


I won't tell where all this takes place, but it involves lots of wine, cheese, bread, pastries, and fresh fruit. The setting makes the book even more romantic. 

Rules of Civility
Rules of Civility

Next on my reading list will be Amor Towles' first novel, Rules of Civility.  If the writing is like his second book, A Gentleman in Moscow, it will be worth reading. 

What are you reading this week?


Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Jul 12, 2020

Sunday Salon: Weeks of Very Hot Weather Produce Flowers

Getting ready for more hot weather: It's been high 80s into the 90s the past 10 days or so and seems this will continue another week, with temps going up to 100 degrees midweek. Thank heavens for our central air, which we put in last year. 

The garden is going great, however, due to the rain in spring.  

A galley from Netgalley:
Moonflower Murders

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Nov. 10, 2020 publication by HarperCollins

Description: a brilliantly complex literary thriller, the follow-up to Magpie Murders.
Susan Ryeland is asked to return to England from her home in Crete to solve the murder of a man whose death was solved in a book she edited and published some years ago. 


Book club selection for August:



A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

March 26, 2019, Penguin
Description: In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. 


What are you reading this week?


Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon


Jul 6, 2020

It's Monday: Contemporary Fiction

I have gone back to a monthly subscription for ebooks, Kindle Unlimited, a wide selection of books that suit my reading tastes just fine. I've found books I would not normally have chosen to read, ones outside of my usual genres.

Just finished a contemporary fiction/romance, Sorry I Missed You by Suzy Krause,  recently published. Enjoyed it. 

Sorry I Missed You

Sorry I Missed You 


Next, I'll be reading Krause's first book, Valencia and Valentinepublished June 2019.
Valencia and Valentine
Valencia and Valentine
This one is about a 35-year-old Valencia who's afraid of flying, and Mrs. Valentine, a lonely, elderly woman desperate for company.  I'm interested to see how their stories intersect. 

For more serious subject matter, I'm reading historical fiction, 
The Library of Legends by Janie Chang, set in China 1937
The Night Tiger by Yangtze Choo, set in 1930s Malaysia

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon


Jun 28, 2020

Sunday Salon: Lantern Men and Three Souls

Weather

The humidity at 4 a.m. this morning was 94 degrees outside. My bad knee complained and woke me up! I haven't been back to sleep, trying this and that to calm my agitated knee and have just applied a rub that heats up the muscles.

Books

I am now reading Elly Griffith's latest in the Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, series set in Norfolk and Cambridge, U.K. It's excellent reading for mystery lovers.
The Lantern Men (Ruth Galloway #12)

The Lantern Men, June 16, 2020

I'm also reading Three Souls, a novel set in the Shanghai of 1935 during the war with Japan, as told by a woman who has just died and remains a ghost with a mission to be completed before she can enter the afterlife.  

 Three Souls by Janie Chang , August 2013


All my current reads are e-books, since the libraries have not yet fully reopened. I am also now into audiobooks! 


What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Book Club Pick: The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica

The Other Mrs.  by Mary Kubica, February 18, 2020, Park Row Genre: psychological thriller This novel is for next month's library book cl...