Mar 28, 2021

Sunday Salon: New Reads

 Recently finished:

Central Park by Guillaume Musso, March 16, 2021 by Bay Back Books.

Genre: thriller, mystery

Source: Netgalley

The book is not what it seems. A Parisian detective wakes us handcuffed to a musician from Dublin, in Central Park, NY. How they got there, seemingly overnight, and why, are questions they set about finding the answer to. There is no question of going to the local police as the Parisian finds herself covered in blood though she herself is uninjured. Also, she is carrying an unknown gun. They decide to find answers on their own.

There follows a set of adventures of discovery and mystery, with a complete twist at the end that is totally unexpected. 

I gave this tantalizing thriller four stars, for the plot alone.


New books from Netgalley, to be read:

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, September 29, 2020, Viking.

Genre: fantasy

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality.

Thief of Souls by Brian Klingborg, May 4, 2021, Minotaur

Genre: police procedural set in Northern China

Only Inspector Lu Fei, living in exile in the small town, seems  interested in justice for a murder victim.

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

Mar 26, 2021

To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan: Book Beginning and Review


To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan, September 22, 2020, William Morrow
Genre: mystery, psychological thriller
Setting: Bristol, England

I liked the unusual plot, the persuasive characterization, and the realistic conclusion to the mystery. Lucy Harper is a successful mystery writer whose husband Dan, a failed writer, takes the time to manage her accounts, her home, and her success. But Lucy is haunted by the disappearance years ago of her three-year-old brother, when she was only nine. She blames herself even now, and confides the story only to Dan. 

She is also haunted by the "real" and continued presence of Eliza, the police detective heroine of her mystery books, a character that was her childhood imaginary friend who she makes into the very popular heroine of her novels. 

Dan becomes a mystery himself when he makes decisions for them without consulting Lucy. A new house near the area where she grew up, an area which Dan knows carries upsetting memories for Lucy. In unraveling Dan's actions, his motives, and his own disappearance, Lucy finds out more about what is going that impacts her life. 

I thought this deserved a five star rating, as I literally "couldn't put it down." 

Book beginning:

I typed "The End," clicked the save button, and clicked it again just to make sure. I felt a huge relief that I had finished my novel, and on top of that a heady mixture of  elation and exhaustion. But there were also terrible nerves, much worse than usual, because typing those words meant the consequences of a secret decision that I'd made months ago would have to be faced now. 

 Page 56:  

They've rejected the book, I told Dan, and the concerned expression fell from his face and shattered on the floor like a piece of dropped porcelain. 

Would you read on?

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 15, 2021

It's Monday: Magpie Murders and The Eighth Girl

 Currently reading: 

The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-Fung Chung, March 17, 2020, William Morrow

Genre: psychological thriller

Setting: England

Imagine a girl with eight separate personalities, each vying with each other for dominance and each appearing at will in the mind of their host, the original personality.

Alexa Wu is a damaged young woman who nevertheless aims for a normal life as a photojournalist, while she manages the eight personalities, any of which can appear at any time and take over, even for short periods of time. Her mental disorder is the fascinating  "Dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder."

I've just begun the book and am eager to see how, or if Alexa makes it, with the help of her new psychotherapist, Daniel, himself a recovering alcoholic. 

And who or which personality is the Eighth Girl, I wonder. And how does she fit into the plot?  I haven't gotten to that part of the book as yet.

Author Maxine Mei-Fung Chung is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and training psychotherapist. Originally trained in the arts, she previously worked as a creative director for ten years at Condé Nast, The Sunday Times, and The Times (London). This is her first novel. 

For book club:

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, June 6, 2017, Harper

Genre: mystery set in England

I read the first part of the book a year ago today, and am rereading the entire book for book club meeting in April. Here is what I said about the mystery on goodreads:

Three mystery story plots in one book. A story by a fictional author and then another story about that author himself. Both stories woven together, though it makes for a long book. Very clever plotting and characterizations.

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

Mar 12, 2021

Book Beginning: How Much of these Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang


How Much of these Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang, April 7, 2020, Riverhead Books
Genre: re-imagined history, adventure, fantasy
Setting: ending of the American Gold Rush

Two young siblings, orphaned and alone after the death of their Chinese parents in the California of the Gold Rush, set out to give their father a burial that they feel is appropriate. They embark on various adventures, discover a strange landscape, and glimpse "a different kind of future." 

Book beginning: 

Ba dies in the night, prompting them to seek two silver dollars. 
Sam's tapping an angry beat come morning, but Lucy, before they go, feels the need to speak. Silence weighs harder on her, pushes till she gives way. 
"Sorry," she says to Ba in his bed. The sheet that tucks him in is the only clean stretch in this dim and dusty shack, every surface black with coal. Ba didn't heed the mess while living and in death his mean squint goes right past it. Past Lucy. Straight to Sam. Sam, the favorite, round bundle of impatience circling the doorway in too-big boots.... 

Page 56: 

"Then of course you know what's in these mountains," the man says, a smile playing on his face. 

Would you read on?

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 7, 2021

Sunday Salon: Edge Case by YZ Chin

 Edge Case by YZ Chin, August 10, 2021, Ecco

Genre: immigration fiction, contemporary fiction

After another taxing day as the sole female employee at her New York City tech startup, Edwina comes home to find that her husband, Marlin, has packed up a suitcase and left. The only question now is why. (publisher)

Edwina and Marlin are both from Malaysia, living and working in NYC and hoping to get that elusive and much desired green card that will mean a  bona fide status as resident immigrants. But when Edwina finds Marlin gone, she must decide how to proceed alone. The book is described as a novel of "immigration, identity, and marriage."

I've been able to read this ebook before publication date, thanks to an advance copy available from Netgalley.  

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

Mar 5, 2021

Six Degrees of Separation: Nature, Relationships, Food


Books Are My Favourite and Best hosts Six Degrees of Separation, and this month starts with Phosphorescence.  Add six books that link together in some way, and see where you end up.

 Julia Baird’s part-memoir-part-essay-collection, Phosphorescence, focuses partly on the awe of nature, of water and the ocean, and of long-term relationships.  

This book led me to The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa. It celebrates long term relationships and love of nature, the ocean, and of all creatures, in particular, cats.

The next link is 

In Cygnet by Season Butler, June 25, 2018, Harper, a book set on a beautiful island off the coast of New Hampshire, nature and the ocean are prominent, and relationships are paramount to survival.

The next link is to 

We Two Alone by Jack Wang, September 1, 2020, stories where a relationship thrives or falters in the midst of harsher realities. 

This links to a memoir on family relationships and their importance

Savage Feast, February 26th 2019, Harper

Thinking of food leads me to a book of short stories, 

Bread and Salt: Stories by Valerie Miner, September 5, 2020

Short stories lead to another collection, this one dealing with nature:

Sandlands by Rosie Thornton, October 28, 2016. Book description:
This beautifully written short story collection is inspired by coastal England.

What books are you linking to this month's Six Degrees of Separation prompt? 

Book Beginning: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

 I went to one of our newest libraries with the most viewing shelves, and borrowed enough books to last two or three months, if I decide to read them all. Here's the one I started:

The Travelling Cat Chronicles 
by Hiro Arikawa

Published October 2018, Berkley Books

Travels with a cat, through Japan, in changing seasons and with changing scenery. Nana the cat is found as a stray and taken in by Satoru. Both take a long trip together in a silver van, supposedly to visit Satoru's friends. 

The novel reminds me of other travels with animals books, Travels with a Donkey by Robert Louis Stevenson and Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, both of which I loved and have reread at least once. They are, however, nonfiction.

Book beginning:

I am a cat. As yet, I have no name. There's a famous cat in our country who once made this very statement. 

I have no clue how great that cat was, but at least when it comes to having a name I got there first. Whether I like my name is another matter, since it glaringly doesn't fit my gender, me being male and all. I was given it about five years ago - around the time I came of age. 

Page 56:

"I'm so sorry," Kosuke said, still crying, his head on his chest. "My dad said I can't have him." 


Would you read on?

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 2, 2021

First Chapter: Cygnet by Season Butler


 First Chapter/First paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Yvonne@ Socrates Book ReviewsPost the first paragraph (or 2) of a book you are reading or plan to read soon.


Cygnet by Season Butler, June 25, 2018, Harper

A 17-year-old young woman comes of age in a community of the elderly, rejecting the promise of youth, on an isolated island off New Hampshire

First paragraph:
I open my eyes to the churning of the waves outside. It doesn't rest, so I don't sleep well either. I really should be used to it by now. At least it's sunny. I try to use the thought to power my move out of bed and into my clothes and off to Mrs. Tyburn's house for work. To be honest, I preferred it last week when it rained every day. Rain in big wet slaps, the kind of rain you only get on islands, out to sea. On dark mornings there's a reason why it's hard to get up, an actual weight in the air to to fight, something real to run from, to hide your face from.... 

 Would you read on?

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...