E-galley provided by Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Author, Jen Waite for my honest opinion. To be published July 11, 2017
What if the man youE-galley provided by Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Author, Jen Waite for my honest opinion. To be published July 11, 2017
What if the man you thought you married turned out to be someone else entirely? What do you do when your dream guy, the father of your infant daughter, turns out to be a liar, a cheat, possibly even a sociopath? In retrospect would you see the signs?
Using a format of alternating chapters of Before and After, Jen Waite does her best to tell her story so others might not have to go through the heartbreak that she has experienced. It is not always easy to follow and a bit choppy at times but her willingness to bare her soul is the major strength of this book. Heartfelt, this memoir could have benefited from better editing. If you’re questioning your gut feelings that something is not right in your relationship this could be the right book for you. ...more
Shocker Alert - Loquacious that I am I really have little to say about my latest outing with Maeve Kerrigan, #4 in the series. This is more a means ofShocker Alert - Loquacious that I am I really have little to say about my latest outing with Maeve Kerrigan, #4 in the series. This is more a means of recording the read, than a review.
No, there was really nothing wrong with this book. Yes, I did enjoy it, but there was nothing that really excited me either. What I missed here was development Maeve. This was more Derwent's story and perhaps we need this to understand our Maeve. (view spoiler)[If you've read any of these you know Kerrigan and Derwent have a complicated relationship but to make him the prime suspect in a series of serial murders makes little sense to me. If and this is a big if, I truly believed he did it, maybe. But no, are we supposed to believe Jane Casey would trash Derwent, the foil that keeps Maeve on her toes and guides her growing expertise in her career? Not yet, at least. Derwent is just too important a character to have sitting in The Old Bailey waiting to swing from the gallows. (hide spoiler)]
Remember I'm not rating books but if I were - 3 stars. Time to move on to #5. ...more
With sincere thanks to Red Wheel Weiser Conari / Hampton Roads, Edelweiss and the author Marcia Moss, who provided this e-galley to be published May,With sincere thanks to Red Wheel Weiser Conari / Hampton Roads, Edelweiss and the author Marcia Moss, who provided this e-galley to be published May, 1, 2017.
Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love is an emotionally raw memoir made all the more powerful in graphic design. It would be nice to think that everyone that has a terminal illness dies with bravery, dignity, and understanding, losing the battle after a courageous fight while their loving family is by their side.
I don’t believe it was Marcia Moss’ intent to lessen the severity of her husband Harvey’s illness (ALS) his death or to dishonor his memory, but more her wish through her writing and images to heal herself and her children. Her book was many years in the making and is published with the permission of her three sons, now adults. We visualize Harvey’s anger at his fate, one that seems to keep those closest to him at arm’s length, shutting them out instead of allowing their love to comfort him. Perhaps this is his way of protecting them and himself. He never seems to move beyond this. I did now walk in his shoes and I just don’t know. I’m not certain Moss ever truly understands this either.
You cannot read without Last Things feeling sad. However, Moss shares an important story with us, one of her resilience as she struggles to be the glue that keeps her family together during extremely hard times.
You cannot walk away with taking something from her story. The title alone sheds insight that through the loss of much, including many last things, this author held on to her love of the man she married while nurturing her sons, maintaining a family unit. Don’t hesitate to pick this up but do pick your time. ...more
The Hook - Having read, heard and enjoyed Peter Heller before, this is a natural for me. I will get to see him once again when I attend Booktopia 2017The Hook - Having read, heard and enjoyed Peter Heller before, this is a natural for me. I will get to see him once again when I attend Booktopia 2017 in Manchester, Vermont.
The Line - ”Celine always rooted for the weak, the dispossessed, the children, for the ones who had no means or power: the strays and homeless, the hapless and addicted, the forlorn, the remorseful, the broken.“
The Sinker - Celine represents all the best of Heller’s writing style, knowledge and expertise. His passages that describe the wilds, nature, fishing, hunting, painting, and the beauty of a photograph, are stellar. His characters are often rough-edged and Celine, the protagonist in this story that is her namesake, is no different. A PI, who mostly deals in reuniting birth parents and their birth children, Celine is a woman to heed. Somewhere there’s a past that we are only getting a glimpse of, one in which she learned to shoot, to fight, to become a strong, and self-sufficient woman. Her ability to read people and honed instincts make her perfect for her job though the heartache she sometimes deals with can take their toll. A recovering alcoholic with emphysema, one who takes many risks, she has little to lose, in her own words ”I am already dead.”. Celine’s Watson, Pa or Pete, a man of few words, adds depth, wisdom, and peace to her strength.
When a young woman approaches Celine to get to the bottom of the disappearance of her father, an award-winning photographer who went missing in Yellowstone over twenty years ago, she accepts the assignment with trepidation.
I found Celine somewhat uneven. Celine is aching in its tale of love and loss but there were times I was confused in the flow of the mystery. I enjoyed the story when Heller was on his game in passages like this:
”It was that time of day, or night, that happens only a few weeks a year at a certain hour in certain parts of the American West. The sun sets behind mountains but the cloudless sky that is more than cloudless, it is lens clear—clear as the clearest water--holds the light entirely, holds it in a bowl of pale blue as f reluctant to let it go. The light refines the edges of the ridges to something honed and the muted colors of the pines on the slopes, the sage-roughened fields, the houses in the valley—the colors pulse with the pleasure of release, as if they know that within the hour they too will rest."
Or in this description of a photograph:
”It could begin in the tilt of her head, the angle, the light tension it put on the neck so that she seemed at once poised and relaxed, the way a violin can look—or a bird. Celine thought of the great blue heron in Baboo’s cattails, just below the porch. How the bird would stand, it seemed for hours, neck stretched over the shallows in effortless balance, between stillness and strike. Because the strike would inevitably come. Celine used to think that if eternity was anywhere it was somehow contained in the attitude of this bird. Everything the heron had done, and would do, and was so now so perfectly not doing, was contained in her bearing. And so Amana. As she tipped her head she was both bowing to time—there is no mercy there, that is clear—but she was also gathering herself, her focus, for something that went beyond acceptance. She had acted and she would act, and there would be love in the action, and imagination. In whatever she did. That was also clear.”
Celine is a quirky character with a story to tell, one that might not be finished. If so, I’m willing to go along for the ride.
This is another of those books that came from browsing in the stacks at our library.Time Lottery. The title drew me in and the cover blurb hooked me.This is another of those books that came from browsing in the stacks at our library.Time Lottery. The title drew me in and the cover blurb hooked me. "What would you do if you could do it all over again?"/ How many times do we ask ourselves that question. If I go back, if only I had, I wish I did, these thoughts visit us throughout our lives.
What if you really did have the chance to go back and change your own history? Nancy Moser gives three characters just this opportunity in Time Lottery. The story begins as Alexander MacMillan arrives home only to find his front door open. He's peeved. He's told his wife to be careful, to keep the door locked, to take precautions, as he often travels and worries about her and his son Andrew. Today's Andrew's fourth birthday and they are to celebrate with Andrew's favorite meal of hot dogs, lime Jell-O, and grape Kool-Aid. Calling out to his wife there's no answer. Walking through the house, continuing to call out, Alex finds them and nothing would be normal again. Flash forward in time and Alex is offered the opportunity to be the marketing rep of a company who plans to hold a time lottery and send 3 lucky winners back to any time in their lives they choose, a time that becomes their Alternity. They then could choose to remain in their Alternity or return to the present. As Alex understood this, "scientists had discovered a way to tap into a portion of the brain--they called it the Loop--where memories are stored, and somehow fix it so people could go back into their own pasts". For managing the lottery, Alex would be given the opportunity to go back before that tragic day when his life changed forever.
I enjoyed this exploration of the linguistics of time travel, the whats, the hows, the whys but also the reasons, the dreams, the hopes, the three winners could explore. Moser did a good job of fleshing out the three winners and their stories are interesting. I was not expecting the faith based approach she took . I am not a big fan of what I consider Christian fiction and this one is heavily based on the bible and scripture, but I was still able to appreciate the story for its premise.
Would I want to win this lottery? Whenever the question of returning to younger years come up I generally say no, but just picking up this book, gives pause that I might be more interested than I thought....more
The Hook - Begin at the beginning, that’s my motto when it comes to most series mystery fiction.
The Line(s) - ”The rich onion flan might have come ouThe Hook - Begin at the beginning, that’s my motto when it comes to most series mystery fiction.
The Line(s) - ”The rich onion flan might have come out of the freezer but Barbara had cooked it before it went in. It was topped with tomatoes and Parmesan and latticed with anchovies and olives. “ The above lines may seem strange to quote but I was intrigued by this dish intrigued me. Searching for a recipe I saw a latticed anchovy-onion tart, but flan it was not. If anyone has every heard of this or has a recipe please let me know. Anchovies are grand in our family.
The Sinker - I’m not quite certain how I feel about The Crow Trap. I’ve heard so many accolades to Ann Cleeves and this series that I thought I should get on the bandwagon. One thing I noticed immediately was that Cleeves had a way of drawing us in. One moment all was right with the world and in the next sentence all is changed.
The title is explained in this way:
”The trap was a large wire mesh cage with a funnel in the top. Inside a live, tame crow fluttered provocatively, inviting in another to defend its territory. Once in through the funnel there was no way out. Presumably they had to find some form of co-existence until the keeper came along to put the intruder out of its misery.”
Ann Cleeves is a storyteller and enjoys the use of words, painting a thorough portrait of her characters and environs. Detailed and atmospheric it is.
I was surprised that the central character of the series, Vera Stanhope, herself doesn’t truly appear until more than 200 pages go by. She makes a cameo appearance, showing up at a funeral of one of the victims being described as a bag lady. If you’re paying attention you’ll know its she.
Murders, flawed characters and a complicated environmental plot weave in and out in this 500+ debut of the beloved, unconventional DI Vera Stanhope. She is a piece of work. This is not your typical political, sit behind the desk, Detective Inspector. She is odd gal out in dress and appearance, a bit unkempt, and older than many among her rank in the written pages of crime/mystery fiction. She loves to eat, often greasy food; you might even find a half eaten doughnut in her purse along with ”papers, keys, photo, five brios”. She is outspoken to say the least, barges her way in, has no problem ordering people around for a cup of tea, she’d have preferred a beer if available and expects her team to “get on with it”. But she gets results; she’s comfortable with herself and is no one’s fool. It's even hard to peg this woman in any hole. Literary novel, suspense fiction, crime or mystery? it's a bit of a mix.
The more I think about it, the more I have decided I could easily become a fan of both Stanhope and Cleeves. It often takes me a bit to get into the rhythm of a new series. Vera Stanhope, her eccentricity and her territory of Northumberland are bound to grow on me.
With sincere gratitude I thank Algonquin Books, Annie Mazes of Workman Publishing, the author, Lisa Ko, and Edelweiss for providing an e-galley of LeaWith sincere gratitude I thank Algonquin Books, Annie Mazes of Workman Publishing, the author, Lisa Ko, and Edelweiss for providing an e-galley of Leavers for my enjoyment and review. A special shout-out to Northshire Bookstore and Tracy Davies, Events Manager for bringing Kisa Ko to Booktopia 2017 in Manchester, Vermont.
I usually format my reviews with The Hook, The Line, and The Sinker. This is difficult to do with galleys as the publisher asks that passages not be quoted, as the finished work may be different.
Lisa Ko begins her novel in which the first sentence states a fact, yet presents a question that hooks this reader. Deming Guo, a young Chinese boy is living in a New York City apartment with his mother, her boyfriend, the boyfriend’s sister and her son. One day Peilan (Polly) Guo does not come home from work. Having mentioned a plan to seek employment in Florida, Deming is certain this is where she has gone and will soon be home. But why didn’t she tell him she was leaving? As days turn into years, the course of Deming’s life changes in ways we might not suspect. What follows is an emotionally wrought exploration of leaving and just what that means.
It is hard to believe that this is Lisa Ko’s debut work as it is pitch perfect. It is a social and cultural commentary for our time, and deserving of the 2016 Pen/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
As I read Leavers it brought to mind the leaves on trees; they come and go without consent, just as Ko’s characters do.
Highly Recommended Leavers is a winner and bound to be a most beloved book of 2017. It hits the stand May 2, 2017. Don’t miss it....more
Many of us are card-carrying organ donors. In most states it’s an easy thing to do. Just check off a box when you renew your driver’s license and it’sMany of us are card-carrying organ donors. In most states it’s an easy thing to do. Just check off a box when you renew your driver’s license and it’s done. This assumes that your organs will be harvested if you die. We’re comfortable with the idea that if we’re dead our organs can possibly provide lifesaving transplants for the many waiting on donation lists. But what about donating one of your healthy kidneys to someone in need, someone in end stage renal failure, on dialysis for what remains of the rest of their life.
Vanessa Grubbs, a resident in the field of nephrology never intended to fall in love with Robert, a man just beginning the dialysis journey. Robert’s only chance for survival was a kidney transplant but his odds of receiving one were complicated by the large number waiting and to Grubbs dismay, his color. Grubbs decides Robert’s only real chance is her kidney and she is determined to make it happen. Grubbs makes us privy to far more than the transplant of her kidney to Robert in this fascinating memoir. It is a striking example of the power of love, the path to becoming a doctor, an examination of the intricate workings of an organ we take for granted, and a call to even the odds for equality in your rank on the list. One’s color should have little bearing in the process. Blood type is far more of an issue.
As I read I highlighted many passages but none stuck out more to me than the initial visit of Robert and Vanessa on their first visit to a clinic to investigate the possibility of a donor kidney. Vanessa’s sugarplum dream” of a few day wait and even her MD did not prepare either for the reality. Cost, blood types, African American propensity to rejection, all were unforeseen barriers. ”Each statement was like a sobering slap to the face.” And then this sobering message they took away
”The kidney transplant system doesn’t like Black people.”
”National data said it wasn’t just our imagination or where we sat. I soon learned that though Blacks and Whites each made up a third of the kidney transplant waiting list at that time, Whites received every other donated kidney and Blacks received every fifth one, which meant that on average, Blacks waited nearly two years longer than Whites for a kidney transplant. As a primary care doctor at the time and not aware of the realities of nephrology, I didn’t know that two year s could mean never having to be on dialysis at all. That two years could be the difference between surviving in body and spirit. Or not."
My sincere thanks to GR friend Marika for making me aware of this title to be published by Harper Collins, June 2017. E-galley provided by Edelweiss. Passages quoted may change in the finished product.
The Hook - I needed an audio book. I read and enjoyed The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes and thought why not try another.
The Line - Leila’s got herseThe Hook - I needed an audio book. I read and enjoyed The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes and thought why not try another.
The Line - Leila’s got herself into a sewage plant’s worth of the brown stuff.“ If you’re wondering why this line appeals to me, my husband worked in a Waste Water Treatment Plant for many years.
The Sinker - What the hey was that? After listening for approximately an hour my first thought was “naw, this isn’t for me” but I was enjoying the multicast narration so much that I decided to give Broken Monsters a second chance. It just goes to show that it’s not always a good idea to give up too soon. I really liked this, am glad I continued but still was scratching my head by book’s end.
Broken Monsters takes place in Detroit after the bankruptcy has been declared making the tone feel a bit like an apocalyptic novel. For some reason I also felt like I was in a steam punk setting. Could have something to do with this once thriving industrial city being a bleak landscape of empty buildings scrambling to recover. Regardless, it’s the perfect backdrop for this story.
Is this horror? Broken Monsters certainly starts out with a horrific scene, graphically described and easy to envision. Detective Gabriella Versado has seen some pretty (wrong word) bad deaths but none as sick or bizarre as this one. Torso of a young boy (?) with the hindquarters of a fawn attached (think Bambi), with no sign of the kid’s missing half. All around queasy.
Is this a thriller? Suspenseful? You bet. After my initial huh, I couldn’t listen fast enough.
Is this what you call a crossover? A blend of genres? Yesserie bob.
Applause to the five narrators, Christine Lakin, Terra Deva, Sunil Mohatra, Robert Morgan Fisher, JD Jackson, who made this reading all the more creepy, terrorizing and dark and yet were also able to bring out the humanness of the character’s personalities, which balanced this tale of horror with surprising dashes of love, laughter, and hope....more
The Hook - After being quite delighted with my first Anthony Berkeley classic mystery, Trial and Error, I wondered if another would be as entertainingThe Hook - After being quite delighted with my first Anthony Berkeley classic mystery, Trial and Error, I wondered if another would be as entertaining. Read on.
The Line - ”To make no bones about it, the Bendixes had apparently succeeded in achieving that eighth wonder of the modern world, a happy marriage.
The Sinker - In Berkeley’s short story The Avenging Chance a club member receives an anonymous sample box of chocolates, and in turn it is given to a friend who then dies from poisoning. In a parallel to Berkeley’s own founding of The Detection Club, an invitation only group of renowned mystery authors, fictional character Roger Sharingham establishes his own Crimes Circle. This group of six meets to share food and to discuss the non-appetizing subject of murder. In addition to Sharingham, whose first book has just been accepted by a publisher, the group consists of an established novelist, a detective-story writer, a barrister, a dramatist, and one mild mannered man who somehow passed their test.
It was not enough for the would-be member to profess an adoration for murder and let it go at that; he or she had got to prove that they were capable of worthily wearing their criminological spurs.”
Sharingham, in an effort to liven up the group visits Scotland Yard with a proposal to help them solve an actual murder that has them stymied. Though highly out of the ordinary, they see no harm and possibly some good in allowing the group to use their detection skills in hopes of finding the culprit. The case involves the death of Mrs. Bendix, poisoned by a tainted box of chocolates given to her by her husband as the prize in a bet. Sir Eustace, a member of Graham Bendix’s club receives the liqueur-chocolates anonymously with a note to sample them as they would appeal to a man of his taste. ”Do they think I’m a blasted chorus-girl, fumed Sir Eustace, a choleric man, “to write ‘em testimonials about their blasted chocolates? Blast ‘em!” and so offers the chocolates to Bendix who though he could easily afford the cost accepts the box as the trouble to get them is worth the time saved. Sharingham’s idea is that each of the six will use their own method of investigation to bring a solution to the group for scrutiny.
Over the next few weeks each of The Crimes Circle members with skill and reasoning present their conclusions of the guilty party to the group. All seem well thought out and logical. But only one is right.
”Artistic proof is, like artistic anything else, simply a matter of selection. If you know what to put in and what to leave out you can prove anything you like, quite conclusively.”
Will you be able to nail the murderer?
With the fair play that is paramount to The Detection Club, with cunning and humor, The Poisoned Chocolates Case is the great Golden Age Puzzle it is professed to be. I loved it....more