Apr 30, 2022

Sunday Salon: Romantic Comedies, a Memoir, and a Funny Thriller

 Currently reading

I'm into rom coms these days, in between reading psych thrillers for a break. See my review of The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa, author of other romances such as The Worst Best Man and Son of a Beach. 

My next read will be another rom com, Without a Hitch by Mary Holly Huddleston  and Asher Fogle Paul, Women in their 20s with a popular romantic theme - weddings. A wedding planner may eventually plan her own. 

Another library book is set in the Florida Keys, the 25th in the hilarious crime series by Tim Dorsey - Mermaid Confidential. Serge and his sidekick Coleman decide to try condo living but come across smugglers and gangs in this mystery/thriller. 

Finished reading: 

The Puma Years: A Memoir by Laura Coleman, June 1, 2021 publication
Source: World Book Day 2022 ebook

My goodreads review:
Laura Coleman and the puma Wayra are the main characters in this memoir of a friendship developed in a Bolivian wildlife sanctuary near the Amazon. Laura is one of many international volunteers at the sanctuary and her assignment is to handle and care for the puma. This involves sometimes terrifying regular walks in the jungle with the wild cat tethered on a long rope handled by Laura. The development of trust between the two over the years and Laura's subsequent dedication to wildlife conservation and writing is the heart of the memoir.

Life in the jungle sanctuary, though harsh, full of deprivation and lack of basic comforts, is embraced by many of the volunteers whose relationships with individual animals in their care keep them going on, some of them returning again and again to volunteer at the sanctuary. The interactions and affection that develop between the wild animals and humans is astounding.

I loved learning about these sanctuaries that care for wild animals rescued from abuse as tourist attractions. There are also environmental problems for the wildlife from the destruction of habitat by new roads, buildings, business developments, logging, and more. 

This informative book is written in a poetic style at times, while describing the jungle, the animals, and Laura's reaction to them. I thought the book could have been shorter as it was repetitive toward the end, with the same animal-human interactions described in detail. The poetry did not always ring true to me. 

The unusual relationship that the volunteers developed with the cats - puma, jaguar - remain with me as a wonderful and amazing part of this book.

Also read and reviewed: 

Genre: women's fiction, contemporary fiction, multicultural interest 

Medical students unsure about their careers would get a lot from reading this book.

The grueling schedules of interns and residents are what stood out the most for me in this book, about Norah, a first year intern dealing with many sleepless hours and nights on call in the hospital. She also had to be constantly aware of hospital protocol and the code of medical ethics, and dealing with uppity residents, nurses, and attending physicians.

The challenges that Nora faces from her coworkers and from patients are daunting, yet she persists, wanting to honor her deceased father, a well known physician himself.

Medical mistakes, scandals, lawsuits, are all part what Norah sees as she struggles to decide if being a doctor is really what she wants to handle for the rest of her life.

An excellent story about a woman on the way to finding her way to a fulfilling and well-rounded life, well told, and seemingly very authentic

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

Apr 29, 2022

The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu: Book Review/Book Beginning


The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu, November 9, 2021, Avon, library book 

Genres:  romantic comedy, YA, contemporary fiction, immigrant fiction, multicultural interest 

Book beginning: 

All of my customers have told me at one point or another that Sunshine Donuts is their happy place. Who can blame them? There are colorful sprinkled donuts.... To live and breathe it every day, that's a different story. 

Page 56: 

His lightly tanned skin was so perfectly even and smooth, with tiny freckles under his left eye. 

Book review: 

As the title suggests, Jasmine finds herself trapped in her parents' donut shop after recently graduating from college. Her feelings of obligation to her immigrant Chinese-Cambodian parents keep her at home, knowing they need help, even though they encourage her to find a job. 

In love, dating, marriage, family obligations, career, Jas weighs what she wants for herself and what her parents expect from her. When her current crush, Alex, and his mother come to dinner at her parents' house, the evening ends in a minor disaster,  Alex is no longer welcome, and Jas is in conflict.

 But Jas is determined to live her own life and to also help her parents update their store's donut offerings to keep up with the competition, hire additional help, and leave her free to find her own path.

A contemporary novel of young adults - Jas and her brother Pat-  finding their own way while appreciating and loving their families, I gave this five stars for being spot on re this topic. 

The Friday 56. Find any sentence that grabs you on page 56 of your book. Post it, and add your URL to Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader.

Apr 24, 2022

Sunday Salon: ARCs Reviewed


The Lost: A Mace Reid K-9 Mystery by Jeffrey B. Burton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
NetGalley ARC

I like K-9 mysteries and novels with dog partners for PIs. This series is new to me and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the dog trainer Mace and his motley crew of dogs, including his main cadaver dog, Vira.

The dogs were personalized, individualized by their owner Mace, and dog lovers will enjoy them. The plot was spectacular in its twists and surprises and its cast of characters, a motley group of the good, the bad, and the ugly, interacting in amazing ways.

The Lost is an excellent K-9 mystery/thriller that I enjoyed tremendously.

View all my reviews

The Wild Girls by Phoebe Morgan, April 26, 2022, William Morrow
Genre: thriller, suspense, adventure set in Botswana
NetGalley ARC
Rating: five stars

The four "wild girls" were very close as adolescents, always sharing each other's secrets while they partied and had a good time. Two years later, leading separate lives without ever contacting each other after a feud, they are invited by one of the girls, Felicia, to her birthday party to be held in far off Botswana, all expenses paid. Who could resist?

Three of the girls fly in together and are dropped off by limousine at a remote and lonely safari resort in the plains, by the Limpopo River. But Felicia, their supposed host, doesn't appear. And the luxury resort seems deserted. The next suspenseful few days has surprises waiting for the girls at every turn, and ends with one of the three women fleeing for her life along the banks of the river, not knowing how to find other people or even a nearby town.

Plot, character delineation, setting and atmosphere, and excellent writing combine to make this a suspenseful thriller, with several surprises and twists at the end.

What's Coming To Me by Francesca Padilla
Seventeen-year-old Minerva is strangled by her mom's diagnosis of a failing heart that could take her at any time. She longs to get out of her small town and even perhaps finish school. The idea of taking revenge on her predatory boss at the ice cream stand where she works, has her thinking of ways to "take the cash and run". When she hears rumors of money  hidden in or near the ice cream stand, she and her friend CeCe try to find it.

A coming-of-age novel of a teen who has to live hand-to-mouth in straitened economic circumstances, cutting her schooling short to get a job and take care of herself and her mom, who is now in a home.

How she gets through this problem is the crux of this YA novel, but one for older adults as well, the story is moving and has its suspenseful moments, as Minerva and CeCe carry out their plan to find the hidden treasure. A very worthwhile novel of the struggles of young immigrant women to survive and thrive while on the low end of the economic and social scale.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

Apr 20, 2022

World Book Day: Free Kindle Books to April 27



Get yours on Amazon. I like that the books are all genres, by international, multicultural authors. Chosen by World Book day. 

Apr 16, 2022

Sunday Salon: In the Mail

 New books:

What's Coming to Me by Francesca Padilla, August 2, 2022, Soho Teen
Genre: contemporary YA with some romance 

Seventeen-year-old Minerva GutiƩrrez plans revenge on her predatory boss by trying to find the spoils taken by armed robbers of the ice cream stand where she works.

Kalmann: An Icelandic Mystery by Joachim B. Schmidt, May 19, 2022, Bitter Lemon Press

Kalmann Odinsson is the self-appointed Sheriff of his town. Day by day, he treks the wide plains which surround the almost deserted village, hunts Arctic foxes and lays bait in the sea....  One winter, after he discovers a pool of blood in the snow, the swiftly unfolding events threaten to overwhelm him.

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

Apr 9, 2022

Sunday Salon: A Reposting of a 2010 Sunday Salon

March 28, 2010 Sunday Salon Post

Time to reprint this post with its links to reviews of interesting books of then! Click on the titles for my full blog reviews!

In between full time work, I did only two book reviews the past week. I tried to sneak in as many pages of reading as I could during lunch and breaks. I'm on the computer all day but can't blog, of course. It's been a busy but Ho Hum week.

Posted a review of The Writing on My Forehead: A Novel by Nafisa Haji (March 2009) for TLC Book Tours, plus a guest post by the author on writing.

The Godfather of Kathmandu by John Burdett, detective fiction, also got a review, which I changed around a few times as I had a hard time expressing how I felt about the book. There was just so much to it.

I loved The Old Capital by Yasunari Kawabata, a short novel about the beauty of the old Kyoto, the ancient capital, and about a young girl finding out that she is adopted. Straight forward and easy to read.

I reviewed a new mystery novel, Murder in the Palais Royal (Aimee Leduc Investigations, No. 10) by Cara Black, set in Paris. One of my favorite mystery series.

Then there is a love story, Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright, a debut novel. 

On the 6-hour drive to and from Canada last weekend, we listened to 8 discs of the 17-disc audio of  The Swan Thieves: A Novel.  My hubby, who loves art and a good mystery, really liked it. Click on the title for my post.

It will rain tomorrow. Later, I'll take down the old robin's nest in the tall bush/tree outside my window. I think robins build new ones each year.

Ho, hum, time to turn in! What did you do last week?

So, this is my post 12 years ago in the Sunday Salon. I'm amazed I read so many books so quickly during that time! Do you have posts from 2010?

What are you reading this week? 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the Shelves

Apr 8, 2022

At Least You Have Your Health by Madi Sinha


At Least You Have Your Health

Dr. Maya Rao is a gynecologist with three young children, a career, and a happy marriage. But Maya is forced to walk away from her career.
She meets Amelia, owner of an exclusive wellness clinic that needs a gynecologist for house calls to wealthy women clientele.  (publisher)

Book beginning:

When Amelia DeGilles - forty-five, tailored jeans, nude sling backs with a red sole - caught the arm of Maya Rao - thirty-six, threadbare leggings, brown stain on one off-white canvas sneaker - in the parking lot of Hamilton Hall Academy after the October parent council meeting, people noticed.

At 56% of book:

"The baby says she wants to be born in Belize." 
Maya's eyebrows shot up. She laughed, assuming this was a joke. 

Would you read on? 

The Friday 56. Find any sentence that grabs you on page 56 or on a 56% page of your ebook. Post it, and add to Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader.

Apr 2, 2022

Sunday Salon : New Books and ARCs

 Books to be read:

The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra, May 3, 2022, Pegasus Crime. Source: from publisher for possible review

The first in a cozy crime series set in 1920s Bangalore, India, featuring sari-wearing detective Kaveri and her husband Ramu. The two are determined to find the real killer who struck at the Century Club party.

Source: review ARC from publisher 

a family making a fresh start moves into a house which was the site of an unsolved triple homicide."
There's a problem right there, in my opinion -  choosing the wrong house for a young family! But this may make a better thriller. 

Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone, May 24, 2022, NetGalley
Genre: international thriller
About: The novel follows Ariel Price, newly married, after she wakes up in her hotel room during a business trip to Lisbon. Her husband is nowhere in sight and she must find answers to his disappearance on her own.  

I haven't started on the first two books and am finishing up the last two ARCs. 

Apr 1, 2022

Book Beginning: Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun


Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun is described as loosely following the structure of a detective novel. The mysterious death of a high school beauty is revisited seventeen years later; the story is told mainly by the victim's sister and also by others at different time periods. The book "explores grief and trauma, raising important questions about guilt, retribution, and the meaning of death and life."

Book beginning: 

 I imagine what happened inside one police interrogation room so many years ago. By imagine, I don't mean invent. But it's not like I was actually there, so I don't know what to actually call it. I picture the scene from that day, based on what he told me and some other clues, my own experience and conclusions.

Page 56:

Mother, with her voice shaking, ordered me not to go anywhere, to lock the door and stay put. 


 Lemon by Kwon Yeo-sun, October 12, 2021, Other Press

Would you read on?

The Friday 56. Find any sentence that grabs you on page 56 of your book. Post it, and add your URL to Freda's Voice. Also visit Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader.

Travel Can Be Fun or Not: Sunday Salon

Books read and to-be-read The Trip by Phoebe Morgan, May 25, 2024; HQ, NetGalley Genre: mystery, adventure, travel fiction, adult fiction B...