Friday, February 24, 2017

Leave Me by Gayle Forman

"Leave Me " by Gayle Forman deals with important issues: motherhood, work-life balance, feeling unappreciated. The blurb takes us right into the crux of the matter: "Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack."


It's an enjoyable book, and a quick read,  though I must confess I couldn't empathise with the protagonist. I realise a heart attack combined with unresolved feelings around being adopted are powerful motivators, yet still I could not understand Maribeth's choices.



Friday, February 17, 2017

Right Behind You

"Right behind you" is Lisa Gardner's latest book. The local shooting gets personal for FBI Profiler Quincy and his wife Rainie, and probably because of it, this novel is more of a character-driven drama than a thriller. A fast, enjoyable read.





Monday, February 06, 2017

EXCERPT Operation: Genocide

Chapter 8 - Wednesday, 3 Days Before The Murder


Wednesdays were Hester’s days off. Funny that. She still had to cook breakfast and straighten the house. But if she hurried, the madam would let her go before lunch. Hester was counting on it today. She didn’t want to be late for her meeting.
            The night before Hester had left the kitchen spotless. This morning the sink held two smudged whisky tumblers, an oily pot encrusted with burnt popcorn (takes forever to scrub), a greasy bowl and two mugs with dregs of milky coffee.
            The madam and the master must have had one of their good evenings together. Shared popcorn, whisky and coffee. Alcohol to make her more agreeable and coffee to make him stay up. Hester sniggered. The master got a bargain last night. When he entertained his mistress at home the time his wife and kids went to the seaside, he served lobster with sparkling wine.
            “Good morning, Hester. The children will have soft-boiled eggs with toast for breakfast.”
            “Yes, missus. What will the master have?”
            The madam moved her mouth into a tight smile that faded before it began. “Probably nothing, Hester. He’s running late this morning. I’ll just pour the coffee.”
            Perhaps if the master took as much trouble with his wife as he had with his mistress, the smile would’ve been genuine.
Heavy footsteps on the stairs didn’t bode well. The master stomped in like a buffalo with tight testicles. A chuckle bubbled in Hester’s throat. Good for the madam not to have been seduced with a bowl of popcorn.
“I’m late,” the master’s growl was all buffalo too, “and the coffee’s bloody hot.”
“Sorry. Let me put some more milk in it.”
He took another sip. Scowled. “That makes it too weak.”
The madam handed him a paper bag. “I’m very sorry, Gordon,” she repeated. “Here is some dry sausage and fruit for your breakfast. Would you like to take a lunch sandwich as well? It’s ready.”
“No, I’ll get something at work.”
Hester was sure he would. Not once and not twice did she launder traces of lipstick off the master’s business shirts.
***
“I’m late,” Gordon said, “and the coffee’s bloody hot.”
Annette felt her stomach cringe. It was all her fault. She should have got up earlier. “Sorry. Let me put some more milk in it.”
“That makes it too weak.”
Annette still hoped to make amends as she handed him a paper bag. “I’m very sorry, Gordon. Here is some dry sausage and fruit for your breakfast. Would you like to take a lunch sandwich as well? It’s ready.”
He didn’t want it. Perhaps he realised she hadn’t made his lunch with as much love and devotion as a wife should. When they were newlyweds fourteen years ago, she would hide little “I love you” notes in his sandwiches, but Gordon complained he kept biting into the pink paper, so she stopped.
            When they were newlyweds fourteen years ago, Gordon had this contagious laugh that started in his belly and burst out like gunshot from his mouth. What had happened to that laugh? Had she killed it?
            “Bye, doll.” Gordon called out.
            For old times’ sake, Annette wanted to say, “Bye, honey.”
            She couldn’t.
***
 “Bye, doll.”
Doll. Well, the madam did look like a porcelain doll, and she certainly acted like one, too, whenever the master was around.
With the puppeteer gone, the doll regained control of her own strings. “Hester, I’m going grocery shopping later on. What do we need?”
Hester recited a long list of foodstuffs and cleaning products, and the madam wrote it all down. The whites couldn’t remember things, which explained why they had to be so good at reading and writing.
The clock hurried on without mercy. Hester changed the baby’s nappy, straightened the beds, picked up the dirty clothes, washed up after breakfast, changed another nappy. Beth was getting hungry. Hester was getting restless.
“Shall I make up the bottle, Missus?”
            “No, I’ll feed Beth myself. You may go now. Please take the sandwich from the fridge, if you like.”
            “Thank you, Madam.” The sandwich was bound to contain something more interesting than Hester’s usual apricot jam with a slice of pink Polony sausage.
            Free at last. The madam would make her own lunch and gobble it all up, away from the master’s controlling gaze. For dinner, the family would go out to a restaurant in order to relieve the white woman’s workload. After all, the madam was bound to be tired from lying by the swimming pool all day, painting her nails and pretending not to gawk at the gardener’s muscles covered with forbidden black skin.
            Hester glanced at the clock. Just enough time to catch a taxi van to the illegal meeting.
***
            Annette glanced at the clock. Just enough time to drive into the city for her meeting.

***




Saturday, February 04, 2017

Lie Lay Lain - Bryn Greenwood

Today I'm delighted to introduce you to "Lie Lay Lain" by Bryn Greenwood. Bryn is a New York times bestselling author, and the book's about lies. The lies we tell others. The lies we tell ourselves. It's also about truth and the importance of a good manicure.




Friday, December 30, 2016

Guilty Minds by Joseph Finder

Joseph Finder writes fast-moving thrillers and believable characters. "Guilty Minds" is a Nick Heller book, and, as usual, the premise is alluring: Heller is engaged to halt a smear campaign, and he only has hours to figure out what's really going on.



Blurb:

The chief justice of the Supreme Court is about to be defamed by a powerful gossip website called Slander Sheet, which specializes in dirt on celebs and politicians. Their top reporter has written an exposé claiming that he had liaisons with an escort, a young woman willing to appear on video and tell the world her salacious yet convincing tale. But the chief justice is not without formidable allies, and his greatest supporter is determined to stop the story in its tracks.
     
Nick Heller is a private spy—a private intelligence operative based in Boston, hired by lawyers, politicians, and even foreign governments. Known as both a maverick and a dedicated, high-powered investigator, he’s called to Washington, DC, to help out in this delicate, potentially explosive situation.
   
Nick has just forty-eight hours to prove the story about the chief justice is baseless. But when the call girl is found murdered, the case takes an unexpected and dangerous turn, and Nick resolves to find the true mastermind behind the Slander Sheet story before anyone else falls victim to the maelstrom of political scandal and ruined reputations predicated upon one carefully concealed secret.   

Moana

"Moana" is so good, it's up there with Shrek and Inside Out and Up when it comes to my favourite animation movies. Here are some of the reasons you should see it:

  • It's got a strong female lead, a role model who is concerned about those around her, and not about her looks.
  • She's not a princess - she's the chief's daughter.
  • It'll make you want to visit the Pacific Islands.
  • It'll make you laugh.
  • There is a twist in the plot.
  • They tried hard to limit the number of songs.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Gender Experiment by L.J. Sellers

The Gender Experiment by L.J. Sellers is a gripping suspense novel, taking the reader into the dark underbelly of science experiments performed on pregnant women. The book also asks important questions about our attitude towards persons who are gender-fluid (the currently accepted term for people who used to be called hermaphrodites).


Blurb: Taylor Lopez works in a morgue and discovers a statistically highly improbable number of bodies with certain physical characteristics. Teamed up with an ex-journalist, she investigates the deaths. With the clock ticking on Phase 2 of the experiment, can they get to the truth in time to save innocent lives?