Oct 8, 2014

Book Review: Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu

Title: Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials by Ovidia Yu
Published September 30, 2014; William Morrow
Genre: mystery

Publisher description:
Aunty Lee’s Delights, a restaurant in Singapore run by Rosie “Aunty” Lee, the feisty widow and amateur sleuth, is catering a brunch for socialites Henry and Mabel Sung. But soon after arriving at the Sungs’, her curiosity turns to suspicion. Where is the missing guest of honor? Then Mabel Sung and her son, Leonard, are found dead.

The authorities blame it on Aunty Lee’s special stewed chicken with buah keluak, a local black nut that can be poisonous if cooked improperly. She’s certain the deaths are murder—and that they’re somehow linked to an organ donor scandal. To save her business, she’s got to unmask a dangerous killer.
Sharon scooped up some of the buah keluak gravy in a spoon and tasted it.
"Why did you do that? Isn't that for Lennie?" GraceFaith stepped up.
"I always taste food I'm serving," Sharon said. "It's a personal rule. Then nobody can blame me if something's wrong with it."
"I do the same thing!" Aunty Lee said.
(p. 63)
My comments: It's always nice to find out about another kind of cuisine, the good and the bad, or in this case, the bad that can happen if you don't prepare a food properly. The buah keluak nut is the culprit in this mystery set in Singapore. It reminded me of the puffer fish that is a delicacy in Japan, good only if you can prepare it minus its poison. It also reminded me of the akee fruit in the West Indies that is poisonous if eaten or cooked before the seed pod has opened.

Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials has included more than ill timed food, however. The book adds an organ donor scandal as part of the murder plot.

Exotic in flavor (food and setting) and intriguing in plot, Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials is a book that mystery readers will really enjoy.

Ovidia Yu is one of Singapore’s most acclaimed writers. She has had more than thirty plays produced and the author of a number of mysteries. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Iowa’s International Writers Program and has been a writing fellow at the National University of Singapore. Connect with her through Facebook Twitter. 

For more reviews, check out the tour schedule by TLC Book Tours.
I received a review copy of the book through the tour and publisher.

Oct 7, 2014

Book Tour: Lust, Poems by Diana Raab

Teaser Tuesday meme courtesy of MizB at Should Be Reading. Share quotes from a current read.

Lust by Diana Raab
Published February 1, 2014; WorldTech Communications
Genre: poetry
"Raab examines the emotional and physical complexity of love, helping readers navigate the risks of intimacy as we move toward the realization that every experience enriches our lives, whether we perceive it as joy, pain, or out of the ordinary. Yet for all their psychological richness, the poems’ simplicity and accessibility will resonate with women and men across all walks of life." (publisher)
My comments:  This collection of love and erotic poetry has several themes, including the various physical and emotional feelings engendered by love, the kindness of the lover, bliss and delight, wondering. The poems also include themes of the wounds of love, wondering about love, illicit relationships, removal from reality, loss, being alone, and jealousy and panic. At the end, there are poems included on love's endings and memories.

A poem of loss that I especially liked:  (p. 24)


Your planet encircles mine
Once a year
when you call
to the phone I once held
and which now sits
in the dark at the back
of my old underwear drawer
in the empty bedroom
where you stayed
on that night you whispered
how I was no longer the fantasy
of all your unmet dreams.

Diana Raab, an award-winning poet, memoirist, began crafting poems at the age of ten. She is the author of four poetry collections, My Muse Undresses Me (2007); Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems for You (2008); The Guilt Gene (2009); and Listening to Africa (2011). She is editor of two anthologies, Writers and Their Notebooks (2010) and Writers on the Edge (2012), co-edited with James Brown.

Diana has two memoirs, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal (winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Award for Adult Nonfiction and the National Indie Excellence Award for Memoir), and Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey (winner of the 2011 Mom’s Choice Award for Adult Nonfiction).

 She is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post and writes a monthly column for the Santa Barbara Sentinel, “The Mindful Word.” She lives in Southern California with her family and is working on her doctorate in psychology, researching the healing power of writing and creativity.

For more reviews of Lust, visit TLC Book Tours. I received a review copy of the book for this tour. 

Oct 5, 2014

Sunday Salon: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week.Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer; Also visit It's Monday: What Are You Reading hosted by Book Journey and Stacking the Shelves at Tynga's Reviews.

I've been reading a lot but posting short reviews on goodreads only, not on this blog. No time, and not enough time to tackle those books I want to read. By the end of November, I will have finished the book tours and hope to have none or few from thenceforth! Let's see if I can follow this resolution.

Only one new book this past week, plus two cozies for book tours.

Thanks to Ecco for a review copy of Rooms - "a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.
Bless Her Dead Little Heart

Bless Her Dead Little Heart and Gossamer Ghost are for book tours organized by the publisher, Berkley. 

I finished reading and reviewing recently on goodreads:
A Possibility of Violence by D. A. Mishani, mystery set in Tel Aviv
Stillwater by Nicole Helget, historical novel set in Minnesota, a surprisingly good book. 

What interesting books have you read or received recently? 

Oct 2, 2014

Book Reviews: The Marco Effect; and For the Dead

Check out Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader.

For the Dead

The Marco Effect

I became quite attached to the young protagonists in these two mystery novels, two crime series books set in Bangkok, Thailand and in Denmark, respectively.

Thirteen-year-olds, Miaow and Andrew, in For the Dead, come across a stolen iPhone, a phone belonging to a hit man for a powerful and influential person in the upper echelons of the police department in Bangkok. The phone has pictures that would reveal a major plot and scandal. The two kids naturally become targets, but targets who, young as they are, add to the suspense as they help Poke Rafferty, fighting to keep them safe, resolve the complex case. For the Dead is the sixth in the Poke Rafferty mystery series by Tim Hallinan, to be released November 4, 2014. My thanks to Soho Press for an advance edition for review.

Fifteen-year-old Marco, in The Marco Effect, discovers a body buried by his uncle Zola and his cohorts, a gang of thieves that force youngsters to become pickpockets in the streets of Denmark. Marco discovers an even bigger and more significant plot linking to the dead man, and he is hunted by both Zola and these new enemies. How he helps the police and Department Q unravel the plot while hiding and running for his life is the main theme of this suspenseful novel. The Marco Effect by Jussi Adler-Olsen was published September 9, 2014 by Dutton Adult. My copy came from the library.

Book beginning of The Marco Effect: 
Autumn 2008

Louis Fon's last morning was as soft as a whisper.
He sat up on the cot with sleep in his eyes and his mind still a muddle, patted the little one who had stroked his cheek, wiped the snot from the tip of her brown nose, and stuck his feet into his flip-flops on the stamped clay of the floor.
He stretched, squinting at the light as the cackle of hens and the distant cries of boys as they cut bananas from the palms drifted into the sunbaked room. 
I rated both The Marco Effect and For the Dead a 5! Great reading for lovers of international crime fiction with compelling plots, sympathetic characters, and unusual settings!

Oct 1, 2014

New Cozy Mysteries: Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. What new books are you looking forward to?

Off Kilter .. a brand-new series, in which a young writer finds herself swept up in a murder amidst the glens and lochs of the Scottish Highlands…to be released October 7, 2014 by Berkley.

Weave of Absence
At Della Wright’s weaving studio in Briar Hollow, North Carolina, Della has enlisted friends to hand weave household linens as a wedding gift for her friend Marnie's wedding.

But Della notices Marnie’s fiancé in a heated argument with one of her students at the engagement party. After the student turns up dead, Della must find the killer—before Marnie agrees to marry her fiance. To be released October 7, 2014 by Signet.
What new releases are you waiting for?