Friday, January 10, 2020

Twenty-one Truths About Love: A Novel

"Twenty-one Truths About Love: A Novel" is the latest book by author Matthew Dicks, also known as Matthew Green, or the guy who wrote "Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend".

What makes this book different is that it's written entirely in bullet points. Yes, it is a book of fiction. Yes, it does have a story arc. I love bullet points, but yes, it's difficult to read, and I imagine even more difficult to write.

Yes, it's good.

Blurb
Daniel Mayrock's life is at a crossroads. He knows the following to be true:
1. He loves his wife Jill... more than anything.
2. He only regrets quitting his job and opening a bookshop a little (maybe more than a little)
3. Jill is ready to have a baby.
4. The bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent. Dan doesn't know how to fix it.
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble.
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.
This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances:
1. Dan wants to do something special.
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary.
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure.
4. He doesn't want to live in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.
Dan is also an obsessive list maker; his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to do anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.


Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery

A year ago, I saw Sally Andrew's "Recipes for Love and Murder: A Tannie Maria Mystery" in a South African book shop, and added it to my to-read pile. Its time has finally come, and I was glad to be able to travel down the memory lane to the Little Karoo, the ostrich farms, bobotie and the heat of the South African summer.

This book is a "cosy" murder mystery, which makes a nice change from everything that's a thriller these days. I know there are two more books in the series, and I can't wait to get my hands on them!

Blurb
Tannie Maria (Tannie meaning Auntie, the respectful Afrikaans address for a woman older than you) is a middle-aged widow who likes to cook—and eat. She shares her culinary love as a recipe columnist for the local paper—until The Gazette decides its readers are hungrier for advice on matters of the heart rather than ideas for lunch and dinner.
Tannie Maria doesn’t like the change, but soon discovers she has a knack—and a passion—for helping people. Of course she shares her recipes and culinary advice whenever she can! Assisting other people with their problems, Tannie Maria is eventually forced to face her own issues, especially when the troubles of those she helps touch on the pain of her past, like a woman desperate to escape her abusive husband.
When the woman is murdered, Tannie Maria becomes dangerously entwined in the investigation, despite the best efforts of one striking detective determined to keep her safe. Suddenly, this practical, down-to-earth woman is involved in something much more sinister than perfecting her chocolate cake recipe . . .






Thursday, November 21, 2019

Blue Moon - Lee Child

Loved it.

I've read the reviews that agree with me, and I've read those that don't. The former affirmed my opinion. The latter didn't budge it.

This book, Jack Reacher 24, is pure escapism. I want to be Reacher, and at the same time I want to be friends with him. Yeah, probably more than friends. And I definitely want to give him a list of bad people to visit.

It reads fast, too fast. That's the worst thing that I can say about it.

Blurb:
It's a random universe, but once in a blue moon things turn out just right.
In a nameless city, two rival criminal gangs are competing for control. But they hadn’t counted on Jack Reacher arriving on their patch.
Reacher is trained to notice things.
He’s on a Greyhound bus, watching an elderly man sleeping in his seat, with a fat envelope of cash hanging out of his pocket. Another passenger is watching too ... hoping to get rich quick.
As the mugger makes his move, Reacher steps in.
The old man is grateful, yet he turns down Reacher’s offer to help him home. He’s vulnerable, scared, and clearly in big, big trouble.
What hold could the gangs have on the old guy? Will Reacher be in time to stop bad things happening?
The odds are better with Reacher involved. That's for damn sure.


The Two Lives of Louis and Louise

"The Two Lives of Louis and Louise" (UK) or just "Louis and Louise" (USA) by Julie Cohen is a masterpiece of prose and pacing. You will fall in love with the characters, the plot twists and even the toxic setting.

Blurb:
Louis and Louise are the same person born in two different lives. One was born female, and one male.
They have the same best friends, the same red hair, the same dream of being a writer, the same excellent whistle. They both suffer one catastrophic night, with life-changing consequences.
Thirteen years later, they are both coming home . . .


Friday, October 18, 2019

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

I almost didn't read this. My rule is to stay away from books and movies that have the potential to break my heart, and this book makes no secret of the fact that it's going to rip your heart out of your chest and shatter it into tiny shards.

I'm glad I read it.

That it's loosely based on the author's own experience almost undid me.

I'm glad I read it.

You will be, too.


How to Be Perfect by Holly Wainwright

It would be a mistake to dismiss "How to be perfect" as chick lit for moms. I mean, yeah, it is that, sure, but it's so, so much more.

This book makes you think about all the ways our way of life, advertising and society encourage us to part with money: face creams, yoga clothes, food supplements, "miracle" ingredients, perfect houses, perfect furniture, health retreats... and daycare for our children so that we can go back to work in order to afford it all.

This book gives you permission to parent your way: hippy, natural, bottle and formula, electronics, whatever works best, or whatever works least badly.

This books shows you that life is far from perfect, and that it's still ok, even when your teenage daughter is naked online.

(BTW, it's a sequel, but I read it as a stand-alone.)


Thursday, September 05, 2019

The Marsh King's Daughter

Title: The March King's Daughter
Author: Karen Dionne
Genre: Thriller (moderate)
Atmosphere: The setting and mood are somewhat like "The Great Alone"
Uplifting: Yes
Themes: family love, nature, sustainability

This book will make you wonder about many issues. Is it possible to love the baby of your kidnapper? How much does the father need to screw up before you stop being on his side? Children are resilient - why do we lose that as we grow up? How minimalist can you go when you live in a cabin cut off from civilisation?

Beautifully written. You'll be glad you've read it.