Friday, September 15, 2017

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie

The Golden House

The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
A modern American epic set against the panorama of contemporary politics and culture—a hurtling, page-turning mystery that is equal parts The Great Gatsby and The Bonfire of the VanitiesOn the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in the architectural jewel of “the Gardens,” a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The neighborhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and unmistakable whiff of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons: agoraphobic, alcoholic Petya, a brilliant recluse with a tortured mind; Apu, the flamboyant artist, sexually and spiritually omnivorous, famous on twenty blocks; and D, at twenty-two the baby of the family, harboring an explosive secret even from himself. There is no mother, no wife; at least not until Vasilisa, a sleek Russian expat, snags the septuagenarian Nero, becoming the queen to his king—a queen in want of an heir.
Our guide to the Goldens’ world is their neighbor RenĂ©, an ambitious young filmmaker. Researching a movie about the Goldens, he ingratiates himself into their household. Seduced by their mystique, he is inevitably implicated in their quarrels, their infidelities, and, indeed, their crimes. Meanwhile, like a bad joke, a certain comic-book villain embarks upon a crass presidential run that turns New York upside-down.
Set against the strange and exuberant backdrop of current American culture and politics, The Golden House also marks Salman Rushdie’s triumphant and exciting return to realism. The result is a modern epic of love and terrorism, loss and reinvention—a powerful, timely story told with the daring and panache that make Salman Rushdie a force of light in our dark new age.

I have always wanted to try a book written by Mr. Rushdie ad I’m not sorry I tried this book…tried being the operative word!  Apparently, I just don’t have the brains to become engaged with this sort of complex novel.  I didn’t care for the political views of Mr. Rushdie but realize that this gives me another view of the world.

This was a beautifully written book, with deeply complex characters that just didn’t capture my attention -I think I will be giving Mr. Rushdie a pass from now on.  Apparently, I just can’t appreciate books like this – OR he just can’t write for the masses! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews

Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…
Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.
As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke

So this is supposed to be the final entry into this -a trilogy? I don't believe it. Yes we did manage to find out who the bad guy (CEASARE? too lazy to get up and see if this is the correct spelling, sorry!) is -but Nevada and Conner didn't. And wouldn't they be surprised to find out? Are we just supposed to sit here and pretend the Texas magical community is safe? We are not supposed to read about Nevada's and Conner's wedding all while they hunt and kill the bad guys???

Oh well -the fact is there was a lot crammed into this book and I loved every minute of it. I adore Cornelius and his daughter, the new tiger/dog, finding out what exactly Arabella and Catalina can do. And my I say wow! Leon? Nevada's father-yikes! And, well, her Grandmother (you know, the OTHER one!)

There is just too much in this series, and particularly this book that I love that I can't list them all here. 

This was a wonderfully complex read, sometimes difficult to keep all of the character's straight but well worth the effort. I love how everyone grew and took responsibility for themselves and what they can do. I really love how Conner is somewhat tamed by the love of a good woman (cliched, I know, but perfect for this type of character and what he has gone through). 

This is a trilogy that I have been reading often and is now going to be shelved on my 
'comfort read' shelf.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan MalleryA wonderful story full of romance, forgiveness and the unavoidable ties that bind, SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS is Susan Mallery at her very best.
Kelly Murphy's life as a tulip farmer is pretty routine—up at dawn, off to work, lather, rinse, repeat. But everything changes one sun-washed summer with two dramatic homecomings: Griffith Burnett—Tulpen Crossing's prodigal son, who's set his sights on Kelly—and Olivia, her beautiful, wayward and, as far as Kelly is concerned, unwelcome sister. Tempted by Griffith, annoyed by Olivia, Kelly is overwhelmed by the secrets that were so easy to keep when she was alone.
But Olivia's return isn't as triumphant as she pretends. Her job has no future, and ever since her dad sent her away from the bad boy she loved, she has felt cut off from her past. She's determined to reclaim her man and her place in the family…whether her sister likes it or not. For ten years, she and Kelly have been strangers. Olivia will get by without her approval now.
While Kelly and Olivia butt heads, their secrets tumble out in a big hot mess, revealing some truths that will change everything they thought they knew. Can they forgive each other—and themselves—and redefine what it means to be sisters?
Told with Mallery's trademark heart and humor, the Tulip Sisters are in for the most colorful summer of their lives…

 "I'm not even 25% into this book and I already want to throw it though the wall. All the characters have on their minds is sex...I don't condemn thinking about sex, but this is ridiculous!!! If it wasn't for the fact that I promised the author and publisher I would read and review this, I wouldn't be using my precious book reading time on this.
It damn well better, get better!"

Okay so I know that I complained...a lot, about the over abundance of sex in this book and not necessarily the active kind -I mean come on how many times a day can your thoughts turn to sex (when you are not a 14 year old boy at least???)? I found that women of this age that put so much time into thinking of sex was a little unrealistic (then again I'm not of this age!) But the book did get better once they got laid.

There was a lot of intrigue, emotional angst and secret keeping - so much so that I wonder if I could ever forgive my friends and/or sister some of these closely guarded secrets?

I did NOT like the fact that we have a story that was at best a trilogy of romance novellas that seemed to be meshed into one book based on several lies and one large project...very little character development is allowed when you are developing so many at one time and in so few pages.

Not a bad book by far, but this author (who used to be a auto read for me) has become a hit-or-miss author and I find that I don't like spending my book money on something that isn't going to be a fairly sure thing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Down a Dark Road -Linda Castillo

Product DetailsIn this electrifying new thriller in the New York Times bestselling series, a convicted murderer is on the run and Chief of Police Kate Burkholder must catch him before he strikes again.

"Murder in Amish country has a certain added frisson, and Castillo’s the master of the genre.” People magazine

“Castillo weaves the particularities of the Amish mindset into a complex mystery that will leave you crying with pity or seething with rage.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Two years ago, Joseph King was convicted of murdering his wife and sentenced to life in prison. He was a “fallen” Amish man and a known drug user with a violent temper. Now King has escaped, and he’s headed for Painters Mill.
News of a murderer on the loose travels like wildfire, putting Chief of Police Kate Burkholder and her team of officers on edge. But this is personal for Kate. She grew up with Joseph King. As a thirteen year old Amish girl, she’d worshipped the ground he walked on. She never could have imagined the nightmare scenario that becomes reality when King shows up with a gun and takes his five children hostage at their Amish uncle’s farm. Armed and desperate, he has nothing left to lose.
Fearing for the safety of the children, Kate makes contact with King only to find herself trapped with a killer. Or is he? All King asks of her is to help him prove his innocence—and he releases her unharmed. Kate is skeptical, but when the facts and the evidence don’t align, she begins to wonder who she should trust. Spurned by some of her fellow cops, she embarks on her own investigation only to unearth an unspeakable secret—and someone who is willing to commit murder to keep it buried.

I was worried after the last book that this author had lost her touch, but this book proved me wrong -thank goodness!

Kate is off being a good cop again and boy does she pay for it. She is 'caught' trying to help a long time friend that had become estranged. He is Amish but had been sentenced for the murder of his wife; this is his big crime although there have been other crimes along the way.

This is a novel of corrupt policemen and police departments and how they can sometimes take advantage of those who don't understand or live by our rules like the Amish.

I dislike having to say that this book dept me guessing and at the edge of my seat, but it really did. At one point I had thought that it was going to be a cliff hanger, but it wasn't.

The secondary character's are mostly unlikable and disagreeable, but frankly that is how they should be. Even the Amish secondary character's got on my nerves a bit and I had to keep reminding myself that this is the way they live -by keeping to themselves.

This is not the type of Amish book that we read when we read Amish/Christian romances -this book is about the 'real' Amish or at least what I believe to be the true Amish. And I enjoy looking into this unusual lifestyle (at least it is to me). To add a murder into the mix is the cherry on the strudel!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mr. Right-Swipe

Mr. Right-Swipe

Mr. Right-Swipe

3.0 out of 5 stars Added StarJuly 7, 2017

Book Description - MR. RIGHT-SWIPE
A Tale of #LeftSwipes, #NotMyTypes, and #Vodka

Rae Wallace would rather drown in a vat of pinot greezh and be eaten by her own beagle than make another trip down the aisle--even if it is her best friend's wedding. She's too busy molding the minds of first graders and polishing that ol' novel in the drawer to waste time on any man.

But when her best friends stage an intervention, Rae is forced to give in. After all, they've hatched a plan to help her find love the 21st century way: online. She's skeptical of this electronic chlamydia catcher, but she's out to prove she hasn't been too picky with men.

However, when a familiar fella's profile pops up--the dangerously hot substitute teacher from work--Rae swipes herself right into a new problem...

Sarcastic, irreverent, and uproariously funny--the painfully-true, so-insightful-it-hurts kind of funny--Ricki Schultz's wry debut will speak to fans of Bridesmaids or Trainwreck, and to anyone who's ever been on a bad date.
Okay, I admit that I did not finish this book and I know that I will take a large hit because of that. I will also admit that this book was probably NOT geared towards anyone of my age, so I probably shouldn't be so harsh in my condemnation of it. I will say that I added a star since I believe that many others will love and appreciate this book much more than I did. However with what I did manage to finish, I found the premise of this book to be smarmy, the language difficult to understand, the character's unlikable and the idea of it all to be cliched. This is a case of what was popular ages ago merely being updated to today's standards and that is where the age of the reader may play a big role in the liking or not liking of this book.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The People We Hate at the Wedding – Grant Grinder

Product DetailsThe People We Hate at the Wedding – Grant Grinder

"Relationships are awful. They'll kill you, right up to the point where they start saving your life.
Paul and Alice’s half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at “it” restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins. They couldn’t hate it more.
The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a less than perfect family. Donna, the clan’s mother, is now a widow living in the Chicago suburbs with a penchant for the occasional joint and more than one glass of wine with her best friend while watching House Hunters International. Alice is in her thirties, single, smart, beautiful, stuck in a dead-end job where she is mired in a rather predictable, though enjoyable, affair with her married boss. Her brother Paul lives in Philadelphia with his older, handsomer, tenured track professor boyfriend who’s recently been saying things like “monogamy is an oppressive heteronormative construct,” while eyeing undergrads. And then there’s Eloise. Perfect, gorgeous, cultured Eloise. The product of Donna’s first marriage to a dashing Frenchman, Eloise has spent her school years at the best private boarding schools, her winter holidays in St. John and a post-college life cushioned by a fat, endless trust fund. To top it off, she’s infuriatingly kind and decent.
As this estranged clan gathers together, and Eloise's walk down the aisle approaches, Grant Ginder brings to vivid, hilarious life the power of family, and the complicated ways we hate the ones we love the most in the most bitingly funny, slyly witty and surprisingly tender novel you’ll read this year."

I generally like books about dysfunctional families. They tend to make me appreciate my own dysfunctional family even more. But this book was so out of left field that I very nearly decided to give up on it, but kept plodding through it just to see how it would end.

The premise was somewhat confusing once you started reading this – yes it did deal with exactly what the synopsis claims, but the ‘why’ of it all was so stupid that I wanted to scream.

Most of this book seemed to dwell on Paul and Mark’s relationship and sexual antics. The sex part was somewhat explicit but not over the top for this sort of book. However, this made for short shrift in dealing with the other members of this family. Oh, Alice got her own part and boy was she a bit whacko, but nothing compared to her brother! And the mother, Donna, well we don’t get much on her at all.

Then there is the not so beloved step-sister Eloise (and this is where I don’t see how this could come together to make a story, even a fictional one) who is hated by her younger brother and sister. She is hated because her father left her well-off? Because she wasn’t there for her step-sister’s emergency? Well so what of it? He wasn’t their father so how could they have such horrid reactions? She had her own problems (such as they were) when her sister had her emergency. Just plain jealousy is what it all turned into.

These are three of the most unlikeable characters I have met and I think had I ever net someone like this in real life I would run not walk away from them as fast as I could run. I have never felt less for character’s as I felt with this bunch…ALL of them. Even during the worst the world threw at this crew, I felt nothing for them. They were shallow, flat, unlikeable drug addicted, drunks, and attention prostitutes.

There is some closure, but not enough.
ARC supplied by publisher/author

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Rich People Problems: A Novel by Kevin Kwan

Rich People Problems: A NovelKevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians and China Rich Girlfriend, is back with an uproarious new novel of a family riven by fortune, an ex-wife driven psychotic with jealousy, a battle royal fought through couture gown sabotage, and the heir to one of Asia's greatest fortunes locked out of his inheritance. 
When Nicholas Young hears that his grandmother, Su Yi, is on her deathbed, he rushes to be by her bedside—but he's not alone. The entire Shang-Young clan has convened from all corners of the globe to stake claim on their matriarch’s massive fortune. With each family member vying to inherit Tyersall Park—a trophy estate on 64 prime acres in the heart of Singapore—Nicholas’s childhood home turns into a hotbed of speculation and sabotage. As her relatives fight over heirlooms, Astrid Leong is at the center of her own storm, desperately in love with her old sweetheart Charlie Wu, but tormented by her ex-husband—a man hell bent on destroying Astrid’s reputation and relationship. Meanwhile Kitty Pong, married to China’s second richest man, billionaire Jack Bing, still feels second best next to her new step-daughter, famous fashionista Colette Bing. A sweeping novel that takes us from the elegantly appointed mansions of Manila to the secluded private islands in the Sulu Sea, from a kidnapping at Hong Kong’s most elite private school to a surprise marriage proposal at an Indian palace, caught on camera by the telephoto lenses of paparazzi, Kevin Kwan's hilarious, gloriously wicked new novel reveals the long-buried secrets of Asia's most privileged families and their rich people problems.

What can I say about this book...well first thing it would help a lot if you make sure you read the first two books in this series (?). It might help you keep the myriad of characters straight. You might also want to be happy with foot-notes, a LOT of them. And let me tell you it is no picnic reading a book with foot-notes on a Kindle.

You need to be happy with constant advertising of items that the hoi polloi (like me!)wont know about, but with a book such as this it is the norm or how else would we know that these people are filthy rich if it wasn't for all the advertising???

There are a about a skagillion character's (it seems) and it is sometimes very difficult to keep them all straight, but the main character's of Nick and his sister Atstrid will grab you and they are fairly well written- not too fleshed out but enough so you can empathize with them.

In the long run this was a bit more boring than I would have thought a book of this type would be. It is also somewhat long winded, but again for a book of this type it is understandable.

I did love learning about Ah Ma and her past. She should have a book all to herself -it wouldn't be a funny one, but it sure would capture me!

I think that this author has so much more inside and could branch out from these ironic books, to something just as entertaining but with a little bit more to say.
ARC from Author and/or Publisher