Sunday, February 28, 2021

Review: One Left Alive

One Left Alive One Left Alive by Helen Phifer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Morgan has just completed her training and this was the first day she has been out on her own. She's called out to what looks like a suicide. Olivia Potter is hanging from a tree outside her home. The rest of the Potter family are missing. Morgan gets seconded to the Detective team to help in their investigation. Morgan quickly realises this is the job she wants to do and she's determined to prove her worth.

This is a great start to a brand new police procedural series featuring Morgan Brookes. This is a fast paced, well written police procedural. I was hooked from the beginning and didn't want to put the book down. I was guessing all the way to who was behind it all. I was shocked when the reveal came. I never saw it coming. There were a few loose ends left hanging but I'm hoping when the second book comes out in December, they will be tied up then. I highly recommend this book. An excellent read.

Review: Transcendent Kingdom

Transcendent Kingdom Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Transcendent Kingdom Yaa Gyasi’s second novel we meet a Ghanaian family living in Alabama. The story is told from Gifty’s perspective, she takes us into the world of her immigrant family and shows us how they moved from being together to things falling apart. Gifty’s parents met in Ghana, her mother decided America would be a great place to raise a family. She works hard and sends for the father who Gifty refers to as Chin Chin man. The father comes to Alabama but does not climatize as the rest of the family, for him, America is not all that it is cracked up to be. He tells his family he will be visiting Ghana but never returns.

Gifty’s brother Nana is a star athlete who bring victory upon victory to his home team. He performs so well he starts getting calls from major universities to play for them. Nana’s life is on track for greatness, until one day after an injury he is placed on bedrest and told to take OxyContin which he gets addicted to. Gifty and her mother tries everything in their power to help Nana recover from this addiction, he goes to a treatment camp, they pray for him, nothing works. A police man visits to let the family know Nana overdosed.

With the Chin Chin man in Ghana, Nana dead, Gifty and her mother is now a family of two, but with the mother barely present. She goes through significant bouts of depression, Gifty is left to raise herself. She manages to submerge herself in the sciences and ends up being a candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine. Gifty intends to study reward seeking behaviour as a way to understand what happened to her bother and is currently happening to her mother.

A major theme in this book is faith and religion and I think it was theme that was executed with excellency. I felt the book does a great job of showing us realistic way people’s faith gets tested and why some turn away from God.  The mother-daughter theme was beautifully portrayed in such layered and nuanced way. At times my heart broke for Gifty and how her mother handled the death of her son, and the suffering of her daughter.

An excellent read and looking forward to more from this author.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Review: Downfall

Downfall Downfall by Robert Rotenberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this series and admit that it thrills me to read about my own city and all the places where I grew up and know so well.

Detectives Kennicott and Greene are on the hunt for a serial killer who is murdering homeless people. The last murder was of a brilliant lawyer who, through some sort of mental breakdown had also become a homeless person. Alison Greene is now a TV reporter and is right in on the action as well.

The Bloor Viaduct bridge plays a prominent role and that is where I crossed every day of my school life and brings back so many memories.

Excellent read.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Review: The Last Story of Mina Lee

The Last Story of Mina Lee The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very good first novel, well written and very well thought out. Margo is heading off from Seatle to visit her mother for Christmas. Her mom still lives in the same apartment of her childhood. When Margo arrived and went into the apartment, she found her mother on the floor dead. It appeared that she had fallen.

Margo was raised by her single mom who was originally from Korea. Margo was in the dark about her mom's past and for that matter she probably didn't realize that she had a past. She knew that her mom was raised in an orphanage and not a lot more than that.

But in the days following her discovery of her mom's body she decides to begin a search, first of all to try to discover who her father was. And then the story plot thickens.

An excellent read.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Review: Kinfolk

Kinfolk Kinfolk by Pearl S. Buck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An absolutely absorbing family story. A Chinese/American first generation family living in New York. Two of the children were born in China and the other two were born in the US. The older two have visions of returning to their homeland and to work and help the people in their country.  James is a doctor and his sister Mary is a teacher. 

It is the type of book that you give yourself over to and just let it happen. I especially love the pace of the book which was neither too fast nor slow, if that makes any sense. With the Pearl Buck novels that I have read so far, you just get a feeling of life and living. Nothing big and wild, but just the day to day pace of a people.

Just loved this book. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Review: Without Warning

Without Warning Without Warning by David Rosenfelt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Years ago, Katie Sanford's husband was convicted of the murder of Jenny Robbins, then died himself in prison. It's a small town and memories are long, and Katie and Jenny's husband, Chief of Police Jake Robbins, have had to work at putting the tragedy behind them. But it's all brought up again in the wake of a hurricane which has just wreaked havoc on their quiet Maine town. Since its founding, Wilton has had a quaint tradition of creating a time capsule every fifty years, and the storm unearthed the most recent capsule. As the editor of the local paper, Katie joins Chief Robbins to supervise its opening. Neither of them is prepared for the macabre set of predictions, dating back to months before Jenny's murder, that they find inside. Someone predicted her death, as well as eleven other tragedies, which are still occurring even long after the death of Katie's husband. At last, after all these years, Katie has reason to hope that her husband might not have been guilty of Jenny's murder after all. But as she and Jake race to stop the next predictions from coming true, they find themselves caught in a terrifying mind game with no rules and life or death consequences.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Review: The Girl in the Mirror

The Girl in the Mirror The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the story of twin girls, Iris and Summer. When their rich father died, his will stateed that the first of his children to marry and have a child will inherit his whole estate, 100 million dollars. At the time of his death though, the oldest was only fourteen so there was going to be a few years of waiting for the inheritance.

The family also owned a yacht and the girls were good sailors, especially Iris, who loved sailing and loved the boat. You can imagine the sibling rivalry that was faced when the children all started to reach an age where they could produce children.

A good read that kept you guessing right up to the last sentence.

Review: The Other Side of the Bridge

The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson My rating: 5 of 5 stars A beautifully written novel. A book ...