Apr 25, 2010

Sunday Salon: Catch Up

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I missed a Salon last weekend, so I have some catching up to do! I did a few more reviews than I thought I had time for, given my back-to-fulltime-work status and its accompanying frustrations (Did I do the right thing? Time will tell! )

Here are my reviews, three crime novels and a memoir:

Murder in the Palais Royale, a mystery novel by Cara Black, her fifth in the Aimee LeDuc Detective series, a series I recommend for anyone who loves Paris and mysteries.

The Stone Monkey by Jeffery Deaver, a thriller written in 2004 about skinheads who prey on illegal immigrants.

Skin and Bones by D.C.Corso, a California writer's debut novel, a psychological thriller about our eroding values, set in the days after Sept. 11, 2001.

Perfection: A Memoir by Julie Metz, who writes about discovering her dead husband's infidelities, coping with it, and moving forward.

I discovered some new books, which I posted about in Turkish mysteries and romance novels, and am finishing up Arabesk, a detective novel set in Istanbul.

Am having fun with Magpie Tales, a weekly writing prompt hosted by Willow. Here are two short entries that I did the last two weeks: "Cane," "Time Will Tell". Free verse poems, just for fun.

Wish I could go to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books this weekend. Esme at Chocolate and  Croissants wrote a post on her visit yesterday. She met, among others, Cara Black, author of Murder in the Palais Royale. Lucky Esme!

What did you read/do last week?

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Apr 24, 2010

Book Review: Perfection: A Memoir by Julie Metz

Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal
 by Julie Metz (Hardcover - June 9, 2009)

Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal
I was attracted by the title and the cover of this library book and borrowed it after briefly scanning the inside cover and the author's information. A graphic artist and writer, Julie Metz has written her first book, a memoir about discovering her husband's illicit affairs only after his death.

Her friends and family try to hide the facts from her but she eventually finds out about Henry's infidelity - from email on his computer, and from correspondence, not to one but to many women. And there were other hints which she had ignored during their marriage.

Julie plunges into her husband's past, ferreting out letters or other correspondence that lead her to the other women in Henry's life. She can't move on without finding out as much as she can and confronting the facts head on.

Julie has the reader's sympathy and yet she seems to become overly obsessed with  the past, even contacting the women she suspects were Henry's lovers. She explains his behavior as a quest for perfection - in his work as a chef, in his wanting to be a writer, and in his affairs.

The explanation isn't sufficient, however. We'd like to know more about the charismatic and effervescent Henry. That's impossible, however, as Julie wrote the memoir after his death and there is no one to explain Henry. If this were fiction, the novel would include his telling us more about himself. The book seems to need it badly, but it's impossible.  Julie finally moves on with her life, telling her journey in this memoir.

More about Henry's distant past, his childhood, where he grew up and his life before his marriage to Julie might have helped us to get a better grasp of his "quest for perfection." As it is, the memoir left me feeling as if there was something missing.

Challenge: 100 + Reading Challenge, Support your Local Library Challenge

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Apr 23, 2010

Book Tour and Review: Skin and Bones by D.C. Corso

Skin and Bones, a mystery novel by D. C. Corso, takes place in the Pacific Northwest and begins with the abduction of a child, every parent's nightmare.

Publisher's description: FBI Special Agent Severin Ash lives in a world haunted by people he's never even met - the missing and the dead. Working out of Seattle's field office, Ash is assigned to coordinate a child abduction investigation in the small island community of Carver Isle, WA. The case at first seems to be open-and-shut, but when another child disappears on Halloweeen, Ash realizes it's far from over. He teams up with local woman Parker Kelly, who has her own ideas about what may be happening. Together, Ash and Parker must solve this puzzle of deceit, identity and manipulation, exhuming secrets and memories both would prefer to leave undisturbed.

The striking cover may be a little off-putting, even for those who like mystery novels, but the writing is solid. The cover does prepare you for a book that is definitely not cozy but a hard core look at crime. Hats off to Ms. Corso for writing a novel that doesn't hold back on some of the nastiness and harsh realities of life...and crime.

Visit the website of author, D.C. Corso
This review is part of a book tour by Pump Up Your Book Promotions. I was provided with a free copy of the book and have given an impartial review.
Challenge: Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge

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Apr 22, 2010

A Diet for Earth Day: Clean, Green & Lean by Walter Crinnion

Clean, Green, and Lean: Get Rid of the Toxins That Make You Fat
Clean, Green, and Lean: Get Rid of the Toxins That Make You Fat
by Walter Crinnion (Hardcover - March 1, 2010)

Look what arrived today, right on Earth Day when we celebrate Green and Clean! It's written by naturopathic (I learned a new word) physician, Walter Crinnion, who also wants to get you Lean in 30 days as you also clean your home and environment of the toxins surrounding you!

Thanks to FSB Associates for sending this book for review. Will be happily perusing for a future review. Happy Earth Day!

Apr 21, 2010

More Turkish Mystery and Romance Novels

The Black Book
The Black Bookby Orhan Pamuk (2006) is a detective novel and also a work of philosophy about Turkish identity, according to Sinan, the son of Inspector Cetin Ikmen, the main character in Barbara Nadel's mystery novel, Arabesk: Inspector Ikmen #3, the third in the mystery series that's set in Istanbul.

The Turkish Gambit: A Novel (Erast Fandorin Mysteries)Another Turkish mystery novel: The Turkish Gambit: A Novel (Erast Fandorin Mysteries) (2005)was written by a Russian, Boris Akunin, and set in the 19th century during the conflict between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. It's described as more of a war novel and romance than crime fiction.

Turkish Wedding: Once There Was, Once There Wasn'tOn romance, there is Turkish Wedding: Once There Was, Once There Wasn't (2008) by Judith Reynolds, a book about a woman and her Turkish fiance who visit Turkey but tell his family they are already married.
The family dynamics and the resulting conflicts remind me of the romantic film, A Walk in the Clouds with Keanu Reeves, who pretends to be the husband of a Mexican farmer's daughter.

I'm reading Arabesk and hope to get to The Black Book as well as Turkish Wedding. After two crime novels, a romance would be a nice break.

Wordless Wednesday: Sour Cherry Blossoms

I wasn't home to see the bees. Were there any? Will there be cherries this summer?

Apr 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Flirting with Forever by Gwyn Cready

Teaser Tuesdays, hosted by MizB, asks you to choose two sentences at random from your current read. Include the author and title for readers.

Flirting with Forever (Mass Market Paperback - March 30, 2010) by Gwyn Cready

Cam's hands flew up instinctively to cover her eyes. "Mace!"
"Not mace," Jeanne said. " I used it before my date last night. He liked it."  p. 15
Publisher's description: Art historian Campbell Stratford ....thanks to a time portal she accidenally discovered, (she) has caused quite a stir in the Great Beyond....Sir Peter Lely has been recruited by the Guild protecting dead artists to save their reputations by sabotaging Cam's latest project (to reveal the sexy secrets of the artists).

The book is described as a "sexy time-travel adventure." Can't wait to read it all!

UPDATE: I posted my review on May 20, 2010. Here it is: My review of Flirting with Forever.

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...