If you like historical fiction and mysteries, you should try Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lahon. This page turner is Lahon’s theory on what happened on the last flight of the Hindenburg over 79 years ago. The zeppelin departed from Frankfurt, Germany on May 3 to its fatal crash in Lakehurst, New Jersey, three days later with over 90 people on board. Lahon takes us into the minds of 5 characters on board: “a frightened stewardess who is not what she seems; the steadfast navigator determined to win her heart; a naive cabin boy eager to earn a permanent spot on the world’s largest airship; an impetuous journalist who has been blacklisted in her native Germany; and an enigmatic American businessman with a score to settle.” The author impressively keeps us guessing as she reveals the hidden secrets and lives of the various players on board the fateful flight. Who will bring the Hindenburg down? Who survives the fateful crash? Read or listen to this fascinating novel to find out.
Posted in 2016, 4 stars, Historical Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Tagged 2016, 4 stars, atmospheric, hindenburg, historical fiction, suspense, thriller, zeppellin
Sometimes you can read the first page of a book and know you are in the presence of a master of the written word. That is how I felt as I eagerly read the first few pages of the debut novel, Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume. Longlisted for The Guardian‘s first book award, the novel is the story of two misfits and traces the relationship between 57 year old loner, Ray, and his special rescue dog appropriately named, One-Eye. The novel starts with Ray rescuing One-Eye and the development of their bond over four seasons of the Irish countryside. The two have been so abused by the outside world that is hard for them to trust the other, but they do eventually develop a loving bond. Unfortunately, this comes to an end after One-Eye attacks a young boy and his dog in their small seaside community and the two go on a road trip to save One-Eye from being destroyed. A warning for the reader: this is not a feel-good dog book, with every page we feel a sense of dread, but Baume’s writing makes it difficult for us to leave the book. This simple but gorgeously written book packs an emotional wallop and will stay with you long after you’ve reached its conclusion.
I just finished listening to the fast paced thriller God’s Eye View by author, Barry Eisler. This political thriller deals with a breach at the National Security Agency, and how Theodore Anders, head of the NSA, does everything in his power to suppress any leaks. The author had worked as a covert CIA operative for three years and definitely adds more than air of credibility to this story. Basically Anders wants to track every step of people’s movement on the Internet and have what he has termed a God’s Eye View of the world. Unfortunately, one of his employees, Evelyn Gallagher, gets a whiff of an operative possibly talking to the press and all hell breaks loose. The novel is very suspenseful and you are on the edge of your seat as you learn about assassins, murder plots, bombings, and the lengths the NSA will go to make sure the breach doesn’t reach the press. I was in a state of disbelief as I listened to this story and I was truly impressed because Eisler handles the narration of this novel, including different dialects, with the aplomb of a voice over actor. I predict an Audie award in Eisler’s future for this harrowing tale, which looks more and more believable in today’s world. Read it or listen to it, you won’t be sorry!
Posted in 2016, 4 1/2 stars, Fiction, spy fiction, Thriller
Tagged 2016, 4 1/2 stars, Barry Eisler, compelling, intricately plotted, spy fiction, thriller
Happy February 29th! Leap Year only comes once every four years and is also known as Bachelor Day, a day when women are supposed to feel free declare their love and make a marriage proposal. This is something that is difficult to do and even to find in literature.
Here are a few literary instances of dominant women who make their intentions clear:
Posted in 2016, Adult Fiction, Bachelor's Day, Classics, Fiction, Leap Year, Women's Fiction, Women's live and relationships
Tagged 2016, adult fiction, Bachelor's Day, classics, Leap Year, marriage proposals, Women's Fiction. Women's Lives & Relationships
Identifying as an Asian American, my curiosity was peaked when I read about the debut fiction title, A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton. The title deals with a Japanese widow, Amaterasu Takahashi, who has moved to the U.S. to escape the devastating loss of her daughter and grandson in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The novel starts in present day as a disfigured gentleman appears at her front door claiming he is her grandson, Hideo. What to believe? Amaterasu life has been defined by this loss and for someone to claim this lineage at the end of her life makes her more than skeptical. However, Hideo comes bearing a box of letters that bring back painful memories she has tried to erase over time, and the reader is swept back to the city of Nagasaki before the bombing. Copleton has done her research and her novel demonstrates a skillful handling of prose with twists and turns along the way. A worthy read!
Posted in 2016, 4 stars, Adult Fiction, Asia, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, Women's live and relationships
Tagged 2016, atom bomb, book review, historical fiction, Jackie Copleton, Japan, Nagasaki, women lives & relationships, Women's fiction
I thought my 2016 was off to a bad start with a water leak in my ceiling and my son involved in a car crash, but after reading Chris Bohajalian’s book, The Guest Room, I began to think my life isn’t so bad after all. You see, Bohjalian’s latest book begins with the premise of a bachelor party that went horribly wrong. How wrong? Our main character, loving husband Richard Chapman, offers to host a bachelor party for his younger, wilder brother at his home and things go horribly south. There is not just one stripper, but two, and oh wait, they turn out to be prostitutes who have brought their burly Russian bodyguards with them. The party is rowdy and the guests are getting crazier, when Richard is lured into the guest room and into a comprising position. The reader is already on the edge of their seat when the prostitutes decide to kill their bodyguards and escape, leaving Richard Chapman with a horrible mess to explain to the police and his wife. A nightmare to be sure, and that is just in the first few chapters of the book! I predict The Guest Room is sure to be Chris Bohjalian’s next best-seller as I quickly finished this thrilling read. I would suggest this book to any reader who wants a page turner with an interesting plot line. Highly Recommended.
The first book I read of 2016 was Gratitude by famous neurologist and author, Oliver Sacks. Well known for his books including, Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, this book is a slim 64 pages and contains his thoughts as the author is nearing the end of his life. The book consists of four essays that capture his feelings and thoughts on life and readers can clearly see that Sacks has lived a vital life. This book is a gem that can certainly be read in one sitting, but can be referred to time and time again for the wisdom it imparts. This book was published two weeks before Sacks death on August 30, 2015. The verso of book states, “I am not face to face with dying, but I am not finished with the living.” Sacks makes us count our blessings and this book leaves us with a feeling of gratitude – a perfect start to 2016.