Jun 21, 2020

Sunday Salon: Virtual Romance and Adventure


I see on FB that lots of women readers lighten their chores by listening to audiobooks while they do housework, gardening, cooking, laundry, or even driving. As a result, I've decided to give it a try and get my house spic and span effortlessly, lol. 

Just finished Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely, a light and lively romance set in Miami and NYC. Though I confess I didn't do more than empty the dishwasher and wash some pots and pans while listening.

Lucky Suit (Sexy Suits, #1)

Lucky Suit, January 2019 audiobook, is an enjoyable story about a long-distance romance that is brought about by a grandmother Lulu, who thinks she has found the perfect match for her granddaughter Kristen. 

Lulu plots to get Kristen in touch with her online poker playing friend, Cameron, and goes out of her way to make the meeting happen, though Kristen lives in Miami and Cameron in NYC. A fun book to listen to, well narrated and plotted.   

Next on my audiobook list:

Dumped, Actually

Dumped, Actually by Nick Spalding, July 2019, Audible Audio

Genre: romance 
About: Journalist Ollie asks the subscribers of his website: how did they get over their failed relationships? Chaos ensues when he follows their advice.

Finished reading:
Killing Maine (Pono Hawkins Book 2)

Killing Maine by Mike Bond, December 2019
Genre: suspense, environmental thriller 

Another fast paced book by Mike Bond, this one on the wind industry's deleterious effects on people and the environment - noise pollution and the destruction of birds, bats, and other animals by giant wind turbines. This time it's in Maine. Crooked politicians and officials are paid off by a wind industry corporation to look the other way in return for hefty financial rewards and backing.

Suspenseful thriller with an environmental theme, similar to Bond's other environmental book,
The Last Savannah

Also finished Mike Bond's Tibetan Cross, published October 2014, a thriller involving the CIA helping the Tibetans against the Chinese. Full of action and atmosphere. Set in Tibet and Nepal, of course. 

Tibetan Cross

As you see, I enjoy action and adventure novels. 

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Jun 7, 2020

Sunday Salon: Renewed Reading

That Strawberry Moon hanging behind the trees outside my window has me in thrall. It has for the past two early mornings, too. It was most beautiful and golden Friday morning way before dawn.

My brief period of distaste for books lasted a day or two, and happy to say, I'm back in the reading mode. I've finished
The Last Mrs. Summers by Rhys Bowen 
Publication: August 4, 2020, Berkley
Genre: historical mystery
Georgie, of Her Royal Spyness fame, travels to Cornwall with her friend Belinda, who has inherited a cottage there from her late grandmother. 

They meet Rose, an old childhood acquaintance of  Belinda's, who invites them to stay at her mansion, where Rose lives in lonely splendor, waiting for her husband Tony to return from his business travels. 

The author says this book is loosely based on DuMaurier's Rebecca, but the plot is different enough to make it interesting. There is a spooky and threatening housekeeper who runs things efficiently, as in Rebecca, and Rose seems out of her comfort zone in the stately mansion, as did the heroine of DuMaurier's novel. However, there is enough difference to make the mystery novel suspenseful enough to keep your interest. There is a murder, for one. 

I give this a five for entertainment and originality in spinning the plot of Rebecca into a new weave!

Our House by Louise Candlish
Publication: August 7, 2020, Berkley
Genre: thriller, domestic suspense 

A warning about fraud in real estate deals; sales made and transferred online can be intercepted and stolen. The story was entertaining and informative, as well as suspenseful. A woman returns home after a short trip and finds strangers moving into her house saying they are the new owners. Then she has to figure out how the mistake was made and what her husband Tony has really been up to. The ending is a surprise. Four stars.

The Last Savannah by Mike Bond
Published November 19, 2013, Mandevilla Press
Genre: thriller, travel adventure

Bond uses his international settings to point out political and environmental problems that affect the people and their world. This book deals with wildlife poaching in Africa. Going after poachers from Somalia, who enter into Kenya to gather valuable elephant tusks, Bond goes on a tortuous journey to save a female archaeologist kidnapped by the poachers for ransom.

The novel is both an adventure, a thriller, and a romance. I gave this read five stars for plotting, suspense, atmosphere.

I've dropped a couple of books along the way, as too uninteresting or improbable. But I'm currently enjoying a few others, such as the one below.

All This I Will Give to You
All This I Will Give You
September 1, 2018
Domestic drama set in Spain
Translated novel

Novelist Manuel Ortigosa learns that his husband, Álvaro, has been killed in a car crash and finds out that Alvaro has been hiding his past all these years. 

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

May 31, 2020

Sunday Salon: Two Paradises and the Wrong Mother

I am reading less. For many reasons, reading has lost its appeal, gradually, since the beginning of the stay-at-home orders. I've also canceled subscription to Kindle Unlimited, so several books will disappear from my e-reader at the end of today.

 But there are lots of books on shelves waiting to be picked up and read, and the library has many e-books to lend. 

Along with the disinclination to read a lot as I used to, comes the disillusionment with my once favorite genres - psychological thrillers whose plots I cannot remember or keep straight even though I enjoyed them while I was reading; police procedurals which seem dry and unoriginal; contemporary fiction that seem superficial and thus uninteresting. 

Whatever the reason, I hope to find the odd book that will grab my attention again. I just finished Saving Paradise by Mike Bond, whose thrillers on politics and international affairs I still enjoy.

Saving Paradise

Saving Paradise

Saving Paradise is set in the Hawaiian islands and features a surfer and Special Forces veteran, Pono Hawkins, who gets involved in fighting corporations and politicians wanting to change parts of the islands into giant windmill farms. 

Pono discovers the body of Sylvia, a journalist covering the island windmill deals, and vows to find her killers, thus putting himself in danger from those involved in national and international interests threatening his beloved islands. 

The suspense of chases across the islands and on the ocean separating the islands made the book entertaining. Some armchair travel and an intriguing plot with unusual characters made this book one I was able to stick with! 

Another book I liked:

The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah
The Wrong Mother
The Wrong Mother's compelling and intricate plotting made me want to read more of Sophie Hannah's books.
Just when you had it figured out and all seems to be revealed in this psychological mystery, you are turned on your head. The ending is brilliant.

On my ebook reading list:

The Library of Legends
The Library of Legends

The Price of Paradise
The Price of Paradise

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

May 17, 2020

Sunday Salon: A Man by Keiichiro Hirano

Finished reading:

A Man

A Man by Keiichiro Hirano, June 1, 2020, Amazon Crossing  

Genre: psychological thriller, family drama, legal thriller 

Setting: Japan 

Source: Kindle Unlimited

Loved this thoughtful and philosophical mystery novel. Akira Kido, a lawyer, is asked by his client, Rie, to find out who her recently deceased husband Daisuke really was. His family don't recognize his photo as their family member, whom they have been estranged from for many long years.

Kido determines that the husband had switched his legal information and identity to become Daisuke. A hunt ensues to unentangle the threads to identify the real name of the husband for Rie, his befuddled widow. While doing this, the lawyer tries to make sense of his own marriage which he sees as failing.

I didn't want the book to end. There were literary references to mythology and criticism, psychology, and philosophy. This made the book more than an ordinary mystery novel and fascinating to read.

The novel won Japan's Yomiuri Prize for Literature and is the first of the author's novels to be translated into English. 
The Divided Child

The Divided Child by Ekaterine Nikas,  March 2013, Little Fox

 Genre: romantic mystery . Setting : Corfu,  Greece.  Source: Amazon Unlimited ebook 

British tourist Christine Stewart, on vacation in Corfu, gets herself invited to a luxurious villa on the Greek island after rescuing a young boy from falling masonry. 

Since the accident seems suspicious, Christine wants to keep a watchful eye on young Michael, who lives in the villa with his young stepmother. Michael's father had died in a car accident recently and the stepmother and Michael's uncle are in a fight for custody of the boy. 

Reminiscent of the romantic mysteries of Mary Stewart, who also set some of her books in Greece, The Divided Child held my interest because of the well described setting as well as the  compelling mystery and romance plots.  Five stars. 

The Dilemma

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris,  January 1, 2020, HQ 

Genre: family drama, contemporary fiction  

Family drama of couples and their grown children. The dilemma both parents of Mandie have are different but both are reluctant to reveal the situations to each other. The consequences of their withholding important information from each other about their daughter are startling. Four stars. 

Currently reading

Can You See Her?

Can You See Her by S.E. Lynes,  April 22, 2020, Bookouture 

Genre: psychological thriller  Rachel feels invisible, as if no one ever sees her. But did she feel so invisible that she could commit murder?

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

May 8, 2020

Sunday Salon: Three Reviews

I have finished three paper books recently, very different from each other but enjoyable in their own way. 

Five Days
Five Days by Douglas Kennedy, April 2012, Atria Books
Genre: contemporary fiction, romance, family drama

Laura and Richard are both in unsatisfactory marriages and they also have troubled sons going through personality and personal crises. When the two both visit Boston for five days for a conference and for business, they meet while at the same hotel and romantic sparks begin to fly as they discover how alike they are.

Laura and Richard reveal their secrets  to each other - their pasts, their unhappy present, and what they envision their future to be. We wait to see how this will unfold.

The romantic and the realistic come together as the novel focuses on these two personalities, how they handle the limits they have put on themselves, and their wish to change their lives.
I rated this four stars.

Singapore Sapphire (Harriet Gordon Mystery #1)
Singapore Sapphire by A.M. Stuart, a Harriet Gordon Mystery, August 2019, Berkley
Genre: historical fiction, mystery

The first in an historical mystery series set in early 20th century Singapore.

Harriet Gordon arrives in Singapore from England in 1910 to join her headmaster brother Julian after leaving England in disgrace, having served time in jail as an arrested suffragette. 
She gets a job as a typist with Sir Oswald Newbold, an explorer, who is writing his memoirs. When Harriet finds Sir Oswald murdered and his manuscript missing, she becomes involved in solving the crime, working with Inspector Robert Curran.

The investigation centers around people connected to a Burmese exploratory trip  and the Hotel Van Wijk, whose missing employee is also murdered.

Historically interesting for  atmosphere, setting, and time, the novel is a kind of police procedural in colonial Singapore.
I gave this five stars.

A Good Marriage
A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight, May 5, 2020, Harper
Genre: mystery, legal thriller, family drama 

A corporate lawyer is coerced into defending a former law school classmate, who has been accused of the murder of his wife. The plot involves other couples in an upper scale community in Brooklyn, couples who are connected through their children's local school.

The novel looks at four different families in total, each with their own dynamic. Two of the families seem ideal, but the couples are interconnected in more ways than being parents of children in the same school.

The solution to the mystery murder comes as a surprise. A good story is revealed slowly through the eyes of the women in the families, including the point of view of the murder victim. An unusual and entertaining family mystery and legal thriller.  I gave this five stars.

Thanks to the publishers for the above galleys for an objective review

Current ebooks:

Good Dogs Don't Make It to the South Pole

Good Dogs Don't Make It to the South Pole 

The Florios of Sicily

The Florios of Sicily

The Night Bird (Frost Easton, #1)

The Night Bird

Reading from my shelves:

The Silent Dead (Reiko Himekawa, #1)
The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda, May 2016, Minotaur Books
Genre: thriller, police procedural, crime fiction
Setting: Tokyo

Reiko, age 29, is a lieutenant in the Tokyo police force, handling a bizarre set of murders, and being a target of the killer as well.

What are you reading this week?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Apr 26, 2020

Sunday Salon: What I've Been Reading During Lock Down

I've been reading more recently, especially ebooks from the library, Netgalley, Amazon Unlimited, and books from my shelves.  Here are some of the books, mostly mystery, but a few historical fiction, travel fiction, and contemporary fiction.

The Chef's SecretThe Aunt Who Wouldn't Die: A NovelThe Missing Sister

That Birthday in BarbadosFunny, You Don't Look Autistic: A Comedian's Guide to Life on the SpectrumThe Friends We Keep

Kill the King (Colomba Caselli, #3)One Minute Out (Gray Man, #9)Paris by the Book

When I Was You
That Month in TuscanyMagpie Murders

For details on these books, click on my reviews on Goodreads. 

Have you been reading more, or less, during this stay-at-home period?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

Mar 29, 2020

Sunday Salon: Self-Isolation Reading

I've been doing a lot more reading during self isolation, since I have someone else to do the shopping for the house. Ha!

New book:

The Big Lie

The Big Lie by James Grippando, February 25, 2020, Harper

Genre: political thriller, suspense
AboutAs the Electoral College battle for the White House lands in a Florida courtroom, Miami attorney Jack Swyteck has never felt farther from the truth.

Currently reading: 

Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Japan

Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Japan by Keisuke Matsuoka, April 30, 2019, Vertical

Genre: mystery set in Japan
Source; library book 
About: Where did Sherlock Holmes go during his famous disappearance between his death at Reichenbach Falls and reappearance in Baker Street, three years later? God of mystery Keisuke Matsuoka contends that it was in the Far East in Japan, to be exact.

Finished reading: 

The Prisoner's Wife by Maggie Brookes

The Prisoner's Wife by Maggie Brookes, May 26, 2020, Berkley

Genre: historical fiction
Source; NetGalley ebook

Based on a true story as related by a soldier in WWII, the author has filled in the details that are missing in this story about a Czech girl who runs off with a British POW, disguising herself as a boy/man in order to stay with her man all through his ordeals as a German prisoner of war.

The true story focuses on the details of the Czech girl's deception and how she could pull it off in spite of all the odds, living in camps populated by male war prisoners. It also includes the Long March, of  Allied and British prisoners, from Poland to Germany, which I was interested to learn about.

As part of WWII literature, and based however roughly on facts, the book is of importance to a fuller story of WWII.

Thief River Falls

Thief River Falls by Brian Freeman,  Feb ruary 1, 2020, Thomas & Mercer

Genre: thriller, mystery
Source; Kindle Unlimited ebook

A thriller with a very big twist at the end that I did not see coming.
 Unusual, but pretty good reading, about a woman who must protect a young boy who show us at her door, apparently being hunted by crooked police and police officials. 

How the Penguins Saved Veronica

How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior, June 16, 2020, Viking

Genre: contemporary fiction
Source; ebook

This novel reminded me very much of  the plot of  the book and movie, Where Did You Go, Bernadette?  
How the Penguins Saved Veronica is about an 85 year old woman who becomes intrigued by the penguins in Antartica and decides to do something drastic about it.  A very light read, enjoyable. 

I loved the author's previous book, Ellie and the Harpmaker, a romance that was unusual in plot and characters.

What books have you chosen to read?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer. Also,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday Salon

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...