10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

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I was recommended this book from a pen pal and ordered it from the library.  I did remember it from being shortlisted for the Booker but I didn’t know much about it.

This is set mainly in Istanbul with flashes back to Tequila Leila’s early childhood throughout. It is tale or a kind of mystery told in reverse.  Beginning 10 minutes and 38 seconds after Tequila Leila’s heart has stopped beating and her brain is still working as her body is thrown in a dumpster.

Leila spends those 10 minutes reliving her life and taking the reader through the journey that led to her becoming a prostitute in Istanbul and being murdered.  Eventually uncovering the mystery of her murder.  Along the way, the reader learns of the strong bonds Leila has formed with her group of friends, mainly other outsiders or outcasts.  We see how her death impacts them and what occurs because of it.

This was extremely well written and moving story that leaves the reader with almost a sense of despair at the state of a world that can treat people in such a way.  There is definitely a sense of people being disposable and being treated as objects or tools.

The Bigamist

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

I needed to be upfront about the fact that I accidentally requested this.  I don’t usually read true crime at all.  I didn’t realize this was true crime until I actually got the title, I thought it was a fiction title.   That being said it was an engrossing read in a Dr. Phil/ Oprah watching sort of way.  It is like watching a slow motion car crash, the average person sees what is happening and thinks, “Why aren’t you getting out of the way?”  But that is the power of these master manipulators, they have skills at both manipulation and selection of their victims.  The event that sets this story in motion is when a woman, Mary Turner Thompson, is contacted online and gradually built a relationship with someone who turned out to be not anything or anyone he claimed to be.

The novel untangles a far reaching, both geographically and relationship wise, web  of lies.  It also delineates the damage that these psychopaths do to the vulnerable women they target, financial and emotional damage that is ongoing for years after the fact.  Definitely an interesting read and probably a warning still needed because even though the events in the book took place in the early 2000s, the same type of actions still occur regularly today.  Fans of true crime or maybe users of online dating services 🙂 would enjoy.

 

White Out & The Day Henry Died

 

These were two books I saw mentioned on other blogs and just downloaded.  I believe White Out was an Amazon First Read this month.  They are very different books.  The Day Henry Died is a supernatural mystery, in essence a ghost story while White Out is a gritty serial kidnapper/killer thriller.  What they do have in common is in both cases the protagonists are having some memory issues and the exploration of those issues drive a lot of the action in the stories.

In The Day Henry Died,  Henry wakes up alone in bed and thinks it to be a normal day. he goes about his routine and heads off to work.  At some point in the day, he realizes that there  is an obituary with his name on it and no one can see him.  No one that is except for a young woman named, Rita who works in the local supermarket.  Henry has no idea how he has ended up in this predicament or if it is all some terrible mistake.  He enlists Rita’s help to solve the mystery.  A charming mystery that is turns sad and funny, an enjoyable read.

White Out begins with a bang, a car accident and a young woman, Lily,  awakes with no idea of why she is in the car or who the man she is with is or what has led to her being there.  She has a sense of being in danger or perhaps trouble and begins to try to unravel the mystery from bits and pieces of clues she picks up along the way.  Meanwhile a few miles a way the body of a woman is found in a dumpster.  The woman has a horrible connection to Lily’s dark past and to the current danger she is in. Great psychological thriller with themes of abuse, PTSD, and alcoholism.

 

 

The Fly and the Tree

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This had a really interesting premise.  A young Phd candidate is reviewing her data and finds an anomaly in some tests run on some brain matter retrieved from a corpse.  The victim was supposed to have died peacefully in their sleep according to the police report but Baz’s findings contradict that.  She needs to be able to explain the anomaly to defend her research so she starts to look into the source of the brain matter, one Cathy Marsden.  The problem is the Cathy’s death has been marked a closed case and no one really appreciates her poking her nose in.

The idea for this novel is really interesting.  The character of Baz is a great female lead with a strong science bend, which is somewhat unusual.  The book does need some editing in terms of writing dialogue and tightening up.  There is a long section of Baz explaining her research that dragged on right at the very beginning that almost had me put the book down. I think a good editor could have made this a much stronger book.  As is, there are definitely good elements to it.

His & Hers

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This was quite a ride of a novel.  It tells the story of a murder or two and the conflicting view points of the news reporter (her) and the detective (him) entangled in an investigation.  Oh, and the reporter and the detective used to be married.  The twists and turns here are rapid and the reader has to pay attention and not make too many assumptions or they will get lost.  There are other characters moving within the orbit of the story as well and they are well written and fully fleshed out.

Themes of alcoholism, domestic abuse, secrets, family loyalty,  and second chances are explored here.  Well done psychological thriller with a twisted ending.  Fans of Girl on a Train will enjoy.

The Cookbook Club

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

When I saw the title of this, and the author, I knew I wanted to read it.  I collect cookbooks and I have read and enjoyed other books by Beth Harbison.  This one did not disappoint.

Three very different women, each finding themselves at a crossroads in their lives for very different reasons, come together at a cookbook club.  Margo was just dumped by her husband and is in the throes of a divorce.  Aja is unexpectedly pregnant and not in a relationship with the father at this point. Trista has left behind her law career and done a complete life about face by opening a bar.   The novel follows each of the women as they face their personal challenges.  I appreciated that this was not ridiculously sweet or sassy; the characters had more of a realistic feel to them.  

Good women’s fiction read exploring themes of friendship, second chances, and family.

 

The Cottage of New Beginnings

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I received  a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

I found the cover of this so appealing and requested it from NetGalley based upon that.  I am a fan of Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell, Trisha Ashley, etc and this seems to be aiming at that same base.  The lead,  Annie is both a fun and sympathetic character and the village portrayal is lovely.  The novel tells the tale from Annie’s return to the village and continues  through her trials and tribulations as she finds her footing there, recovering from an engagement gone wrong. The plot seemed somewhat rushed to me, but nevertheless an enjoyable romance read.

The Nidderdale Murders

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This is the 5th in this Yorkshire Murder Mystery Series.  I am reading this out of order.  The only other one that I read in the series was the first one.  This has everything that one expects from a cozy English Village police procedural.  Plenty of local color, both in  characters and scenery. red herrings and misdirection, and not much in the way of on screen violence.

DCI Jim Oldroyd has a good team but even with an eyewitness to a murder, they seem to have their hands full trying to lay their hands on the suspect.  It doesn’t  help that the victim was not the most likable of citizens. As he investigates he uncovers secrets in the town and connections to an old crime and a missing person.  The novel has an elaborate twist at the end!  A fun cozy village procedural read.

21 Immortals

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

I requested this title because I wanted to read a mystery set somewhere that I am not that familiar with and by an author new to me.  21 Immortals starts off grabbing the reader immediately with a bizarre crime, an entire family found dead and posed around a New Year’s feast in their home.  Inspector Mislan only is on the case because the call came in at the very end of his shift and now he finds himself stuck with it.  The case twists and turns through leads that involve hacking, triads, infidelity, and police corruption.  There is also a significant side plot involving Inspector Mislan’s personal life as his wife has left him a single Dad to a five year old and he is now dating.

I found the case really interesting and enjoyed reading along as Mislan uncovered all the elements of the crime.  I will admit to feeling a little lost about some of the references to Triads and crime in Malaysia and events in 1995.  I feel I need  a little more background knowledge to fully appreciate some of this novel.  Still a very enjoyable police procedural and a change of pace from my normal reads.

What She Saw

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I received a free ebook of this title from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

This crime novel grabs you right from the opening paragraphs.  It has has a shocking opening and continues on from there.  The novel opens with a teenager lying on her bedroom floor staring up at her father who has just shot her and and also her boyfriend.  The boyfriend is dead.  Thus, begins this family annihilation scenario.  After we leave Poppy behind, we jump to DS Jenna Morgan’s side of story and pick up there.  The novel alternates with some snatches of  Poppy’s father’s POV and actions.

There is a lot of action and tension throughout the course of the book.  It makes for very quick and un-put-downable reading.  The action writing and the character of Poppy was well done.  The depiction of a family annihilator was intriguing and well thought out.  I actually did not connect with Jenna as much as some of the lead characters in other police procedural series I read.  Definitely a good read for those who enjoy fast paced thriller style police procedurals.