Saturday, December 8, 2018

Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal

Maggie Hope is very excited to be accompanying the Prime Minister to Washington D.C., since she's been away for three years. The United States have just joined the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and Churchill's visit will hopefully drum up more support for the war effort. However, Maggie soon finds herself helping Mrs. Roosevelt when her secretary is found dead and later revealed to be murdered. Against the backdrop of the holiday season of 1941, the reader is immersed in the lives of  Maggie and those around her.

Friday, December 7, 2018

The Adults by Caroline Hulse

Claire and Matt are divorced, but both want to spend Christmas with their seven-year-old daughter, Scarlett. They decide to go to a resort with Scarlett and their respective partners, Patrick and Alex. Alex is not thrilled with the idea, especially since her friend, Ruby, figures it can only end in disaster. Patrick, meanwhile, is upset because his ex-wife has isolated him from his two children and he hardly gets to see them. Soon after arriving at the Happy Forest holiday park, tensions arise between the four adults, and Scarlet's dislike of Alex by way of her imaginary rabbit, Posey comes to the surface. When one of the adults is injured, the reader is left to wonder, how did things get so out of control? The Adults is great read-alike for the novels of Liane Moriarty.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss by Rajeev Balasubramanyam

Professor Chandra is positive this year will be the one that he finally wins the Nobel Prize in Economics. When that fails to happen, he goes further into the funk that started when his wife, Jean, left him for another man and continued when he became estranged from his older daughter, Radha. When Chandra has a heart attack and is ordered to rest, he decides to take a visiting professorship in California, away from his job at Cambridge University.  Being in the U.S. will also allow him to be closer to his younger daughter, Jasmine, who is in high school and is struggling. This "time off" allows Chandra to relax and reflect on his childhood, his marriage, and his relationships with his children. Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss is a humorous journey of one's self-discovery. Perfect for readers who enjoyed Major Pettigrew's Last Stand  and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. So, so much fun, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Chandra. The book will be published in March.

Friday, November 23, 2018

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten

In this short story collection by Swedish mystery writer Tursten, we meet octogenarian Maude, who lives in a spacious apartment in Gothenburg. A former teacher, she has lived on her own since her older sister, Charlotte, died forty years ago. She spends her time travelling, going to spas, and getting revenge on those whom she thinks have wronged her. The five stories in the book show a completely different type of murderer than the regular mystery reader is used to. A short and light diversion...

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

In 1942, Lale agrees to be the member of his Jewish family handed over to the German government, so that the rest of his family is not sent to a concentration camp. Lale is sent from his home in Slovakia to Auschwitz. Lale speaks many languages, which gives him the advantage of knowing more about what's going on around the camp. Soon, he gets a job as the tattooist responsible for placing ID numbers to prisoners' arms, and this allows him his own room, more food, and the ability to move a little more freely around Auschwitz and Birkenau. It does not shield him, however, from the daily horror, violence, and inhumanity that permeates the camp. Lale's bright spot and hope is meeting Gita, a young woman in the camp who is also from Slovakia. They fall in love and try to see each other weekly. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale, with whom author Morris became friends, and who, over time, allowed her to interview him about his experiences.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Colors of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith

Mma Ramotswe's good friend, Mma Potokwane, is convinced that Mma Ramotswe should run for the Gaborone City Council. The council is soon to decide whether a new hotel should be built next to a cemetery, an idea that both women oppose. Mma Ramotswe is not keen on the idea of being on the council, but knows from past experience that it is hard to turn down Mma Potokwane. The detective agency, however, is investigating a hit and run in the town of Mochudi that left retired Dr. Marang seriously injured. The case takes on a personal note for Mma Ramotswe, since Dr. Marang knew her father when she was a child. In this latest book of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, the reader spends time with all Mma Ramotswe's friends and family--even the young apprentice, Charlie, who's been a minor character up until now.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Novelist Frances Welty is hoping that time at Tranquillum House will provide her with the rest and relaxation she needs after her latest book has been rejected for publication. The other eight guests are also hoping for time away and a transformative experience, but they worry about the rules--giving up your cell phones and having to eat very healthy food for the ten days they are there. Meanwhile, owner of the spa, Masha Dmitrichenko, and her employees, Yao and Delilah, are set on providing a memorable time for everyone--just not in the way the guests have in mind...