Feb 28, 2017

Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Thriller: I See You by Clare Mackintosh, February 27, 2017, Berkley
Genre: thriller
Setting: London
Publisher description: Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her...

First chapter, first paragraph:
The man behind me is standing close enough to moisten the skin on my neck with his breath. I move my feet forward an inch and press myself into a gray overcoat that smells of wet dog. It feels as if it hasn't stopped raining since the start of November, and a light steam rises from the hot bodies jammed against one another. A brief case jabs into my thigh. As the train judders around a corner I'm held upright by the weight of people surrounding me, one unwilling hand against the gray overcoat for temporary support. At Tower Hill the carriage spits out a dozen commuters and swallows two dozen more, all hell-bent on getting home for the weekend.

My comments:  The book seems to be a warning to women whose routine daily - to and from work - never or hardly varies. They can become targets for snoops or those intent on doing harm.  

Zoe Walker picks up the newspaper and sees her picture in the classified ads, with a listing for callers to visit FindTheOne.com. It seems to be a dating site that requires a specific password. Zoe is alarmed as she has not registered with such a site and doesn't know how the advertiser got her picture.

She becomes more alarmed when women in the ads become targets of crime and even murder. The one thing the women have in common: They take the train on their daily commute and are easy to track to and from their home.

Far from being a simple case of a stalker or stalkers, Zoe finds a complex plan to match FindTheOne.com members with unsuspecting women they can choose to follow. She manages to get onsite and sees her daily commute logged for members of the dating site to see. Things get worse from then on.
Working closely with police investigator Kelley Smith, Zoe finds out more than they bargained for.

Recommendation: A police procedural and a thriller, this was an engaging novel, with a most unusual plot. The ending was totally unpredictable and I wish there had been some clues given earlier in the book so that the culprits were not such a surprise. As it was, they were not completely plausible, believable. However I gave 5 stars for thriller writing and the interesting police procedural work.

MEME: Every Tuesday Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two, from a book you are reading or will be reading soon.

Feb 26, 2017

Sunday Post: Books and Movies

Two new books for review/feature:
The Day I Died - William Morrow
A Bridge Across the Ocean - Berkley
And of course, a new library book:
 Cooking for Picasso
E-book bought and my current read - historical fiction set during WWII:
The Orphan's Tale
We also got a bit of Oscar fever and went to see Lion last week and La La Land and Hidden Figures yesterday. Manchester by the Sea and Fences are on our list for later. How many of the films have you seen?

And what are you reading this week?
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 Date

Feb 24, 2017

Book Beginning: The Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

Post WWII historical and contemporary fiction, A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner, March 14, 2017, Berkley Books

Main characters and story line:
February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Book beginning:
San Diego, California
Present day

A friend's baby shower was the last place Brette Caslake expected to encounter a ghost.

The gauzy apparition wafted into the stylish living room, as if blown in on a breeze, the moment the pregnant guest of honor began to open her presents. Or perhaps the ghost had been loitering there by the mahogany bookcase long before the attendees started arriving, and it was just the gentle gust from the open window that had stirred the form, giving its edges depth and shape.

Page 56:

You are the last of the women in our family who has the Sight. It skips around the generations with no regular pattern.

Memes: 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.

Feb 22, 2017

Wondrous Words Wednesday: Two New Words

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion. You can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. 

This is my first time participating in this meme and I joined today as I came across two strange, to me, words found in The Wangs vs. the World, a humorous novel by Jade Chang.

* Praxis has the following meanings (Miriam Webster dictionary)
  1. :  exercise or practice of an art, science, or skill
  2. :  customary practice or conduct
  3. :  practical application of a theory
 "...praxis in a democracy." (The Wangs vs. the World, ch. 4)
Sartoriphilia comes from two words: (Reverso Dictionary)
sartorial - of or relating to tailor or tailoring
philia - a tendency towards or an abnormal liking for something
"Still on the ridge: Charles, saved by his sartoriphilia." (ch. 11)
Explanation: Charles was thrown from a helicopter before it crashed thus saving his life. He was not wearing his seatbelt, not wanting to wrinkle his newly pressed shirt.

What new words did you find in your reading this week?

Feb 21, 2017

First Chapter: The Last Treasure by Erika Marks

The Last Treasure by Erika Marks, August 2, 2016, is an adventure and romance novel about three college friends searching for a lost nineteenth century schooner along the Carolina Banks.

First chapter:
She descends through the mist, the weight of her tank rolling along her spine, the smooth motor of her fins cutting silently through the water.

She is looking for the wreck's debris field, the pieces of its battered puzzle emerging through the murky haze, and the clouds of sand and silt that have kept the ship's bones hidden for so long will part like smoke.

But something is wrong.

MEME: Every Tuesday Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros sharing the first paragraph or two, from a book you are reading or will be reading soon. 

Feb 20, 2017

Book Review: Unbound by Steph Jagger

Review of Unbound for TLC Book Tours
Hardcover: 304 pages, Harper Wave (January 24, 2017)

A young woman follows winter across five continents on a physical and spiritual journey that tests her body and soul, in this transformative memoir of adventure and courage. (publisher)

About the book: I was so glad to join this tour of a memoir written by a woman who wanted to test her resolve, her courage, and to set herself a difficult task in order to challenge herself. She learned a lot about herself and became a new, liberated woman after her ski adventure and her goal of skiing 4 million feet in several countries across the globe in a year.

Background and conflict: Believing she was the odd one in her family of conventional but very successful people, the youngest child in her family, Steph, first achieves goals her family would approve of - education, a successful career, a home of her own. Then she sets out to prove to her family and to herself that she is really one of them -  as tough, as driven, and as physically and mentally capable as any of the men, more than equal to them.

The result: She achieves her goal, but her greater achievement was finding herself after facing the challenges she set for herself - skiing down 4 million feet of snow all across the globe. Steph comes to realize in the end that she is her own person, not an extension of her family, and that she doesn't need to keep proving herself to them.

The ski trips: Her year-long ski adventure takes her from her home in British Columbia, Canada to five continents, starting with South America, where she skies in Chile and Argentina. She then flies to the ski resorts of New Zealand to very challenging and unexpected ski circumstances.

After taking a break in Bali, Indonesia with a Brazilian skier she had met in New Zealand, Steph heads to Japan which doesn't offer much snow at first that year. She reunites with her parents in Tokyo, and then travels to the Japanese Alps which offered great powder snow and her best ski experience so far.

At this point, after all her up-and-down experiences, Steph begins to let go of her old perfectionism, her old fears, and starts forming a new self. She heads to the European Alps in France, then off to Italy's Matterhorn, skips Austria and other resorts and heads back to Vancouver. She then flies to San Diego to meet with Chris, a skier she had met in South America, the person she would eventually marry.

Steph skied downhill more miles than needed for the Guinness world record, she finds, but didn't have the photos, paperwork, and eye witness accounts to support a claim. That was left to Pierre Marc Jette, who contacted Steph about her ski adventure before he went on to ski over 6 million feet from 2014-2015, to become the new Guinness Record holder.

Today: Steph, interestingly enough, still lives part time in Vancouver, near her family, and also lives in San Diego.

Recommendation: A heady adventure that armchair skiiers and travelers will enjoy and that women will easily cheer on as they read. She loved Italy the best for overall vacations - the food, wine, the cities, the mountains, and the coast.

Steph Jagger splits her time between Southern California and British Columbia where she dreams big dreams, writes her heart out, and runs an executive & life coaching practice. She holds a CEC (certified Executive Coach) degree from Royal Roads University and she believes courageous living doesn’t happen with one toe dangling in, but that we jump in, fully submerge, and sit in the juice. Think pickle, not cucumber.

You can find her at www.stephjagger.com or on Instagram @stephjagger.

Read other reviews on the tour.


Feb 19, 2017

Sunday Salon: Loving My Library Books

I read these three books in the last several days. The travel book on India is short but honest, and the book of poetry, Milk and Honey, is absolutely sublime. Orphan Train was quite revealing about the history and fate of early immigrant children to American who were also orphans.

February is National Library Lovers Day. From the library, I borrowed two other books, my current reads.

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict, October 18, 2016. Einstein's first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić was a brilliant physicist in her own right and may have contributed to his theory on relativity.

The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner, December 27, 2016. This is a thriller about a woman who has lost the memory of her last four years and has to rely on her husband, now a stranger to her, for information on the diving accident that led to her memory loss. I am in the middle of this one and enjoying it.

We also saw the movie, Lion, yesterday and hoping to see La La Land today before it leaves the theaters. I recommend Lion, about a five-year-old Indian boy lost in Calcutta who is adopted by an Australian couple. Have you seen these, and what did you think?

What are you reading this week?
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 Date

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...