Sep 24, 2017

Book Review: Glass Houses by Louise Penny

Glass Houses: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #13
by Louise Penny
Publication: August 29, 2017, book courtesy of Minotaur
Genre: mystery, crime novel

Objective rating: 5/5
This is the 13th in the series but it doesn't let you down. It's so good that the book is hard to stop reading, and it gets better toward the end. The people of Three Pines pull you into their little world, as usual, but when criminal events begin to encroach into the lives of the secluded village where Chief Superintendent Gamache of Quebec and his wife Reine-Marie live, the sparks really begin to fly. 

There is an unknown person in a Death costume standing on the village green for three days or so, who doesn't speak or tell anyone in the village why he is there. He appears threatening, and the villagers become uncomfortable with his presence there. Later on there is a murder, and suspects begin to surface among the visitors and newcomers to the village. 

I won't give the plot away, but it's suspenseful and takes you where you least expect; the characters are as entertaining and as colorful as in the previous twelve books; the Chief Superintendent and his second in command, Beauvoir, hold your interest as they plan to take down dangerous criminals that threaten their province and personal lives.

I really enjoyed this and think its one of the best in the series. It can be read as a stand alone book, of course, for those who have not read others in the series. Highly recommended for mystery lovers. 

Meme: Welcome to the Sunday Salon. Also visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. 

Sep 22, 2017

The Resurrector by Layton Green: Book Beginning

The Resurrector, author Layton Green
Published June 29, 2017
Genre: thriller, fantasy
A Dominic Gray novel, #6

Book beginning:
The light of a full moon illuminated the couple huddled around a rusty oil drum in the center of the township. The trash fire in the barrel doubled as a source of warmth and as an oven for roasting corn.Behind them was the storage container they called home. A good space. Unlike most of the neighboring shacks, it had a metal roof instead of tarpaper. More resistant to wind and floods. Just beyond the township lay the gentle swells of wine country. Golden fields and sprawling manors steeped in the wealth of the old Boer families. The inequalities of life in the Western Cape used to  motivate the couple, inspire nightly political discussions with their neighbors while quaffing sour umqombothi beer, but they no longer cared for such things. 
Page 56: 
Solomon had drawn a single face for the sketch artists, the only person he could identify from his captivity. 
Book description:
A modern day Dr. Frankenstein, probing the secrets of life and death. Two men racing against the clock to stop the spread of a horrific virus. As the victims mount..., the world's only hope rests in the hands of Professor Viktor Radek and Dominic Grey, a broken warrior and a relentless professor, facing the darkest of forces.

I'm definitely intrigued by the beginning and the setting of this one, having read other suspense/thriller/fantasy novels by Layton Green. 

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.

Sep 20, 2017

Review: Little Fires Everywhere, a novel by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, published September 12, 2017, review copy thanks to Penguin Press
Genre: literary fiction
Objective rating: 5/5

This is a story not only about Chinese-Americans but about adoptions, infertility, mother-daughter relationships, and teen angst.  Set in an affluent suburb of Cleveland, Mia and her daughter Pearl arrive and hope this time this is a place they can stay after years of wandering around the U.S.

But the adoption of an abandoned Chinese infant by an American family brings conflict to the town and involves Mia and her daughter. What happens when the mother of the child appears and wants her baby returned?

I loved that the book involved so many different issues and themes. The characters are complex yet believable and the plot very revealing of human nature.

I highly recommend this novel for those interested in the above themes and those who enjoy good literary fiction.

Sep 17, 2017

Sunday Salon: The Leavers by Lisa Ko

I am juggling ebooks and books right now, going from one to the other, from Kindle and Nook to the paper book. Too many books that are hard to ignore.
A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food by David Downie
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The temps est assassin by Michel Bussi, in French

I finished reading

The Leavers by Lisa Ko, May 2, 2017

My comments: An interesting story with a theme about immigrants who come and go,  in New York and China, and leave parts of their families behind in each case. Deming is raised by American foster parents after his mother disappeared from his life. What will he choose later in life - the American or the Chinese parents he was to eager to reunite with, both or neither? 

I found young Deming contradictory at times, but maybe that is the way the author wanted him to be.

New books include
The Templar Brotherhood by James Becker, October 3, 2017, courtesy of Berkley
Ghost on the Case by Carolyn Hart, October 3, 2017, courtesy of Berkley
A Room with a Brew by Joyce Tremel, courtesy of Berkley
Perfectly Undone by Jamie Raintree, courtesy of Graydon House

What are you reading this end of summer?

Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date Also visit Mailbox Monday.

Sep 15, 2017

Book Tour: Whispers of Warning by Jessica Estevao

Whispers of Warning: A Change of Fortune Mystery #2 by Jessica Estevao
Publication September 19, 2017, courtesy of Berkley
Objective rating: 4.5/5
This is the second novel in the Change of Fortune series, but it can be read as a stand-alone work, as most books in series can.  

Ruby Proulx has traveled to a seaside hotel owned by her aunt Honoria, in order to help out and also contribute as a psychic medium for guests. The hotel is visited by psychics and others interested in the supernatural, and part of the hotel's draw is its reputation for readings and other metaphysical events.  A well known spiritualist and suffragette, Sophronia, comes to the hotel for an extended stay and mentors Ruby in her art. However, when a murder occurs nearby, Ruby finds herself helping solve the mystery and its connection to her aunt's hotel.

The motive for the murder is one that is common in mysteries, especially earlier ones, but also in this one. Could it be fear of loss of reputation? I hope that tidbit doesn't give too much away. But the question of true motive remains a mystery as you read along. 

I enjoyed this unusual book's setting - the era of women's fight for voting and other rights - and I like that the supernatural aspects of the plot are not overwhelming. I am planning to read the first in the series, Whispers Beyond the Veil. 

Book beginning:
The atmosphere of the suffrage rally had far more in common with a medicine show performance than the attendants would likely have enjoyed hearing. In my experience, crowds of people composed of some filled with hope and other with scepticism, create the same impression, no matter the subject of the gathering. Even the setting was similar.... I felt oddly at home and deeply uncomfortable all at the same time.
Page 56:
Heavy velvet draperies hung alongside the long, mullioned windows. The wallpaper provided diners with a sense that they were seated in a fairy-tale aviary.  
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.

Sep 10, 2017

Sunday Salon: TV or a Book?

It's not as if I don't have any books to read. I have too many. But I went to have coffee in the bookstore and came out with two novels I couldn't resist.
The Leavers by Lisa Ko, May 2, 2017, Algonquin Books
Genre: literary fiction
I have started this and am fascinated by the young boy born in New York but raised till age six in China by his grandfather, whom he misses when he finally joins his mother in New York. His mother later leaves him suddenly and unexpectedly with friends in the city. How he grows up with the experiences of being left behind, and how he perhaps or perhaps not seeks out his mother again is the overriding question.
Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison, Septemer 5, 2017, Mira Books
Genre: psychological suspense
I couldn't resist another psychological thriller. There seems to be so many being published recently and is now a popular genre for many readers. This one involves someone who disappears from a testy relationship.

Other books that landed on my desk:

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa, translated from the Japanese, November 14, 2017, courtesy of OneWorld Publication
Genre: novel in translation
I saw the movie based on this book on Netflix and really liked the story of a down-and-out older woman given a job making pancakes filled with bean paste. She helps the owner of the failing shop to attract buyers, with her delicious cooking. But she hides a secret that will be a huge problem as time goes by.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Pulished September 12, 2017, courtesy of Penguin Press
Genre: literary fiction
I loved the author's first book, Everything I Never Told You , and am looking forward to this new one. She presents complex situations involving Chinese-Americans in American environments.

A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food by David Downie, courtesy of St. Martin's Press
Genre: travel, food, nonfiction
Described as "a culinary history" of Paris, this book is one of several books on Paris and France by David Downie, an informative, entertaining, and well researched writer. 

The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap by Gish Jen, courtesy of Knopf Publishers
Genre: nonfiction, social science
I'm looking forward to the author's ideas in this study of the differences between East and West in perceptions of the "self and society" and how these differences affect education, art, geopolitics, and business.  

I finished reading The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George after reading her The Little French Bistro and The Widows of Malabar Hill, a new historical mystery series set in India, by Sujata Massey. Reviews later in the month. 

I have been taking a break from watching Irma on TV and wishing the best for friends and family in Florida and Georgia. Luckily, the people I know live on the Florida east coast, where Irma seems to be having a slightly less of an impact, fingers crossed.

What are you reading or have you been glued to the TV?
Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also visit It's Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by Book Date Also visit Mailbox Monday.

Sep 8, 2017

Book Review: Winter's Child by Margaret Coel

Winter's Child: A Wind River Mystery by Margaret Coel, September 6, 2016,  courtesy of Berkley
Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O'Malley discover a centuries-old mystery tied to a modern day crime on the Wind River Reservation.

Plot: An Arapaho couple hire an attorney, Clint Hopkins, to help them adopt a child they had been caring for over five years. The child had been left as an infant on their doorstep and the couple had taken her in. But while working on the adoption case, the attorney is killed in a suspicious hit-and-run, and Vicky Holden steps in to solve a crime involving the past and the mystery of the child.

My comments: The book has an intriguing and suspenseful plot. It appears to be a straightforward request from the lawyer, Clint Hopkins, to Vicky, asking her to be a cocounsel in the adoption of a five-year-old girl by an Arapaho couple. But the case quickly involves murder, and Vicky is left on her own to solve the mystery. The ending, which I won't give away, is not a clear cut solution, but realistic.

My rating: 5/5

Book beginning:

Snow had fallen all day, dense cotton fluff that cocooned the brick bungalow in a white world and obscured the small sign: Vicky Holden, Attorney at Law. Now the snow dissolved into a white dusk as Vicky drove through the side streets of Lander, tires bumping over ruts and ridges. The heater kicked into gear, and warm air streamed into the frosty cold that gripped the Ford. She hunched over the steering wheel. She was late.

Page 56:

 "Come on, Uncle John." She stopped in her tracks and was looking up at him. "No one in my generation believes in fairy tales. Ever after just doesn't happen. It never did, really. Your generation was the last to cling to that belief...."

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.

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...