Friday 30 January 2015

The girl on the train

The girl on the train
by Paula Hawkins

Three women. All intertwined. With their own story to tell. Who do you believe? Who do you trust? What really happened that night? 

This book was fantastic! I did not want to put it down, and when I had to, all I could think about was picking it up again. If you love psychological thrillers you will love this book!

Monday 26 January 2015

Tell It To The Trees

Tell It to the Trees
Tell It To The Trees
by Anita Rau Badami

The novel opens with the discovery of a body in the snow outside the family home.  It is Anu, the tenant from the cottage behind the house.  How did Anu come to this terrible end?  What was she doing outside so woefully underdressed in a blizzard?  So begins a dark tale about a family with many secrets.  

The story is told from the perspective of different family members.   Suman is the long-suffering wife who is isolated from the world.  The family home is in the middle of nowhere, she doesn’t drive, and her husband, Vikram, carefully controls the finances.  Hemant is their young son – innocent and yet practically tethered to his older stepsister, Varsha.  She is 13 and terrified that her stepmother will leave her as her first mother did.

Anu’s journals tell her side of the story.  She sees a family in crisis but can’t quite unlock their mysteries. 

As the tale unfolds, what seems to have been a terrible accident transforms into something far more sinister.

Saturday 24 January 2015

The Three-Body Problem

The Three-body Problemby Cixin Liu

Contact has been made.  Aliens exists and they know we are here. This is the story of what happens when people find out that we aren't alone in the universe.  

Translated from the original Chinese Cixin Liu brings a under-represented point of view to science fiction to the West. A fair amount of plot points are based on modern Chinese history, including the Cultural Revolution.  Both the author and translator have added footnotes to help clarify some points for the reader unfamiliar with that part of history.  That said, Liu admits that he is heavily influenced by major Western writers, so you can find planety of similarities with Arthur C. Clark, Philip K. Dick, and others.

The order of some chapters are changed from the original Chinese versionwith the author's approval. He felt that differing tastes would make the book more appealing if he changed the order of the narrative, but the content is still all the same.

This is the first in a trilogy, with books two and three coming soon in English. The whole trilogy is already available in the library is Chinese.

Saturday 17 January 2015

Library of the Dead

By Glenn Cooper

This is the first in the Will Piper series by Glenn Cooper. In Library of the Dead Cooper has demonstrated that, through a great deal of research, he can put together a novel full of twists and turns and span the depths of time. I very much appreciate an author who can create a world that the reader can get completely lost in. Because of all of the real life facts and people throughout this story there were times when I felt that this ride I was on could be based in reality. I loved all of the conspiracy theories that are mentioned. Our main character isjust about to retire when he is given an interesting case to investigate. The FBI have asked Will Piper to investigate the Doomsday Killer; a mass murderer who is on the loose in NYC. Piper begins to unlock closely guarded government secrets that bring him to an underground library filled with centuries old truths.

I have to admit that the reason I picked up this book was the title. I am glad that I did. This mystery/thriller moves fast and kept me up researching many of the theories that Cooper references.
Other Will Piper mysteries include; Book of Souls and The Keepers of the Library.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Deep Down Dark

Deep Down Dark
by Hector Tobar

In August 2010, 33 miners were trapped after a cave-in deep in a century-old Chilean mine.  Miraculously no one was killed but the men spent over two months pinned underground with very few resources, little light, and initially, no hope of rescue.  The world came together to pull them to safety, but until now, we only really knew what happened outside the mine.

The 33 men agreed: they would tell the story collectively, and here author Hector Tobar tells that story.

Monday 5 January 2015


By Kent Haruf

Like all Kent Haruf novels, Benediction is set in the high plains of Holt County outside of Denver, Colorado. It tells the story of Dad Lewis, a man dying of cancer, and the lives of those close to him in his final days.  His wife, Mary, and daughter, Lorraine, are at his side as Dad works through the unresolved issues in his life: most importantly his relationship with his estranged son, Frank.

There’s more to this story than Dad’s death though.  Lorraine has experienced deep loss in her past.  She and a couple of neighbourhood women become fond of Alice, a girl who has lost both her parents and is living with her grandmother.  There’s also the story of the new preacher in town. His home life is already strained, and he manages to make enemies in Holt by expressing his honest views about the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  His belief in “turning the other cheek” extends to the Middle East, and this doesn’t sit well with many of the Midwesterners in his congregation.

Haruf’s writing, as always, is quiet and unassuming but powerful.  Reading about a man dying of cancer is not pretty, and Haruf doesn’t pull any punches.  My impression is that Haruf has first-hand experience with the agonizing, sometimes humiliating and always humbling process of dying.  Every description is accurate and often painful to read.

This is certainly a sad story, and you may even weep reading it -- but it’s worth it to experience the understated beauty of Kent Haruf.

Saturday 3 January 2015

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

By Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern

I love to cook and I am celiac so I though that this book would be a helpful tool for me in my kitchen. I am very visual and I like to see what I am going to create; So I was a little disappointed when I found there was so few images of the dishes, instead there are lovely images of some of the ingredients in the dishes interspersed with images of some of the finished products. There are some interesting stories and anecdotes interspersed as well, I was not interested in knowing about the authors "Sunday Morning" but I did appreciate the information about gluten free baking and the tips on French cooking. Overall there are a few recipes and tips that I will use in the future but I probably will not take this book out again.