Sunday, May 20, 2018

A few quick reviews - A Noise Downstairs; Linwood Barclay - The Death of Mrs Westaway; Ruth Ware and Eight Hundred Grapes; Laura Dave

I can't believe it's been almost 3 weeks since I last posted here, just where do the days go? Hope everyone has been doing well.  I've still been reading quite a bit, a few really great reads and a few just okay ones.    Here's a recap:

A Noise Downstairs; Linwood Barclay
William Morrow - 2018

The set up for this psychological thriller is pretty simple, Paul Davis thinks his colleague, Ken, just might be a murderer.

Paul is a college professor who is driving home one night and notices that his colleague, Ken is driving erratically and a tail light is out, when Paul follows him,  he discovers he has two dead bodies in his car. Ken beats Paul up and nearly kills him but Paul recovers, suffering from PTSD as a result of the attack. He feels like he is losing his mind and when his therapist suggests he write about the incident that has caused him so much anguish, his wife and son buy him an antique typewriter to chronicle his thoughts.  Unfortunately, the typewriter seems to have a life of its own at night, typing sounds that only Paul seems to hear. Has Paul lost it or, is something or someone more sinister at play here?

The story is told primarily from the POV of Paul, his wife Charlotte and his therapist, Anna.  An addictive read that reels you in and keeps you guessing.  I loved how the story played out and, I felt the author did an awesome job. This is a must read for psychological fiction fans.

Rating - 5/5 stars

Gallery/Scout Press - 2018

Hal (Harriet Westaway) is a young woman who is struggling to make ends meet.  Her mother died three months earlier, a victim or a hit and run accident. Hal has followed in her footsteps as a boardwalk, physic reading tarot cards for tourists.  She's flat broke and has even borrowed money from a loan shark who is now threatening her.  

One day she receives a letter in the mail stating that a relative has died and that she's in line for an inheritance.  Although she is pretty certain that the letter was sent to her in error and mean for someone else, she's desperate and decides to travel to Cornwall for the funeral of the deceased, a woman who is supposedly her grandmother.  A reading of the will is to follow the services.

An atmospheric, creepy, Gothic type mystery with cranky, suspicious characters. The setting, Trepassen House, a creepy old mansion was ideal for the story to play out. I enjoyed the characters and the way that the story unraveled.

Rating - 4.5/5 stars

Simon & Schuster - 2015

I wanted a lighter story to listen to on my walks and this story was delightful.  Set in Sonoma Valley's wine country, 30 year old, Georgia Ford has learned quite a bit about making wine, her family owns a vineyard there.  Now, living away from home in LA, Georgia's wedding is just one week away when she learns that her husband to be has been hiding a secret.  Unsure what she should do, she returns home to her family for comfort and to sort things out, only to find that her family has been hiding something from her as well. Will Georgia sort things out, marry and move to London as she had planned or will her life take a new path?

This was a nice story about family, dreams and bumps in the road of life. Likable characters and s beautiful setting as well. This audio book was would be a nice summer reading choice.

Rating - 4/5 stars

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Death of Mrs Westaway; Ruth Ware

On Tuesdays First Chapter, First Paragraph/Intros is hosted by Vickie/ I’d Rather Be at the Beach Readers are asked to share the first paragraph of a book they are reading or plans to read soon.  This week's selection hooked me right away (I'm about 1/3 into it and enjoying it). Tell me how you like the intro.

Gallery - Simon & Schuster - 2018

29th November, 1994

"The magpies are back. It's strange to think how much I used to hate them, when I first came to the house.  I remember coming up the drive in the taxi from the station, seeing them lined up along the garden wall like that, preening their feathers.

Today there was one perched on the frost-rimed branch of yew right outside my window, and I remembered what my mother used to say when I was little and whispered Hello, Mr. Magpie under my breath, to turn away the bad luck."

Monday, April 30, 2018

Rainbirds; Clarissa Goenawan

Rainbirds;  Clarissa Goenawan
Ecco - 2018

Japan, 1994, Ren Ishida is finishing up his graduate studies in Tokyo when he learns that his older sister, Keiko has been murdered and that there are no suspects.  Since Keiko was estranged from their parents, Ren heads to the fictional town of Akakawa to claim his sister's remains and personal effects.  He soon finds himself, desperate to find out more information about his sister's personal life in the years since she left home.  Ren takes a room, the very room, where his sister had stayed and even gets a teaching job, her vacated teaching job, at the university where she worked.

A thought provoking, compulsively readable, debut novel with style reminiscent of Haruki Murakami. The writing is beautiful, part mystery with bits of magical realism, but never too far over the top for my taste.  The imagery created by this talented new author was an unexpected treat.

Rating - 5/5 - loved it

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Week in Review and a mini book review - Let Me Lie; Clare Mackintosh

I'm always a bit hesitant to say this but, I think spring might just be here. The birds are nesting and singing and although there aren't any flowers blooming this week, they will be, very soon. I'm also out there walking more and more as well. Our cat is enjoying having the windows open for a few hours each day as well.  Last week was 3 days of yoga, book group meeting, lunches out and time with my daughter. We also took a ride to the casino (something we do about twice a year) and, I won $387.00, so I picked out some spring clothes which was fun. I also managed to find some reading time and some min review catch up time, and finally...

It's been a while since I posted my new book acquisitions, sent to me thanks to various publishers. So many sound good that I haven't yet decided where I shall begin.

Let Me Lie; Clare Mackintosh
Penguin Audio and Berkley - 2018

I finished Let Me Lie this week, a combination of audio download and eGalley and thought it was fairly well done. Here's a mini review:

Annie is a young woman and mother who has struggled to get on with her life after both of her parents committed suicide seven months apart.  Both deaths occurred in a similar manner, falling to their deaths off a cliff into the waters deep.  When a suspicious note arrives on the anniversary of her mother's death, Anna has reason to question whether murder versus suicide might have been the cause of death.  Murray, a semi-retired police officer agrees to help Anna piece together the mystery behind her parents deaths.

This is a twisty, psychological thriller, told from several POVs that held my interest both in audio and in print.  The story wasn't perfect, but enjoyable all the same.

Rating - 4/5 stars

Hope everyone has a beautiful Sunday!