This & That

I hope you all had a great weekend. It was a bit overcast and rainy here but that meant I spent a bit of time in the studio crafting and we also finished watching season three of Broadchurch. Have you guys seen that? I loved it and am just bummed out there won’t be another season.

So as Christmas is coming up (which I still can’t believe it’s almost here) I decided to do a quick stop at the library to drop off some books that were due soon and which I didn’t get to finish. Rats. Of course I had to pick up a few as the library is going to be closed for the holiday. I may have hundreds of TBR books but that doesn’t stop me from acting like I’m going to run out of reading material while the library is closed. Ha.

I borrowed Book of Twilight by Pablo Neruda, The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk and Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma. These all sounds wonderful but I can tell you I’m probably going to pick up the Neruda book first.

So I know that with the year drawing to a close we are all putting lists of best/favorite books and I’ve started working on mine. I’m hopeful I’ll still finish three books before end of the year so expect the list next week. I’m still trying to do some mini reviews and decide on reading challenges. Oh my goodness, I know I don’t have a very good track record with reading challenges but there are some favorites I want to keep doing and I’ve heard of some others that are just too good to pass up so a post on those coming up soon as well.

Anyway, hope you all have a great start to the week and let me know you are still working on your end of year favorites list and/or are going to do any reading challenges.

Three Books

I’m still trying to finish up a few reviews before the end of the year so this is going to be a little summary of some of the books I read that you might want to check out. All three were received via NetGalley.

By Christine Bell

“Lily had known her grief would be a constant companion but hadn’t known how greedy it would be, how fierce when not attended to. Its shape-shifting discomposed her. It shuffled after her in the house.”

Lily Declan is a young widow who after a year still finds herself deep in mourning. She goes through the motions of being a mom and working but still has a hard time coping without her husband. Then, a letter arrives from someone claiming to have been very close to her husband and soon it’s not just a letter. The insistence of this woman to be heard and be understood sets Lily on edge and very soon she doesn’t know if she’s imagining things or there is something more sinister at work. An interesting premise, not quite a thriller but had some good moments of suspense. More than anything though I found it a good character study on someone processing grief.

The Graybar Hotel
By Curtis Dawkins

“Normally I’m not a very good conversationalist, but the past two months in jail had made clear to me I had nothing better to do. So if someone talked to me, I had resolved to take him up on it. At least until he got boring, or until the lies became too much, or until The Price Is Right came on.”

All of the stories in this debut short story collection deal with incarceration. While there is violence to be expected what is more interesting is how prisoners countdown their days some trying to find a better path, barely surviving and others afraid to be back outside. What made this somewhat difficult to read is knowing the author is in prison serving a life sentence with no chance for parole for murder. This certainly adds authenticity but makes you think about how his voice is heard but what about his victim’s story?

The Boy in the Shadows
By Carl-Johan Vallgren
Rachel Willson-Broyles, translator

“Stockholm, 1970. He had taken bus 49 from Stadshagen with the younger boy sleeping in the stroller. It was early June. The seventh of June, to be precise. He would remember the date for the rest of his life.”

This thriller first starts with the disappearance of a young child. A father is trying to get his children home but one of the boys wants to take the stairs rather than the escalator. A helpful woman sees the father struggling with the decision and suggests she can walk with the young boy. When the father steps out of the elevator with his other child, the young boy is nowhere to be seen. Fast forward to present day and now another disappearance tied to the one that happened many years ago needs to be solved. Enter, Danny Katz a former drug addict but brilliant translator who uncover a lot of secrets. A good thriller from a Sweden.

The Loving Husband

“Sunday night, Monday morning. 2:07. He might be beside Ben’s cot, he might have woken before she did, her sleep might after all have been even deeper than usual, all things considered, and for a second a little happy world bloomed in the dark, the loving husband who’d looked down at her head on the pillow and thought, let her sleep.”

The Loving Husband
By Christobel Kent

Fran and Nathan Hall have moved their young family to a remote, dilapidated house. What should be a peaceful existence is quickly turn on its head when Fran discovers the dead body of her husband out in the field one early morning. What made Nathan go outside?

Immediately police officers are on the scene and Fran feels like they are looking at her as the main suspect. She won’t give them the satisfaction of intimidating her but it’s hard when the officers are so rude and practically aggressive in their treatment of her. If she tells them everything about her last moments with Nathan will they think she did it?

As the story progresses there are flashbacks to Fran and Nate’s earlier life and their brief courtship. What made them fall in love and why did Fran accept to move some place where she knew she wouldn’t be happy. Now she is struggling with two little children and what to do now with Nathan gone.

The author excels at creating a claustrophobic setting where you are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Fran is completely isolated and whether she had anything to do with Nathan’s death, he also isn’t wholly a victim. This isn’t a thriller that moves at a fast pace but the biggest issue I had with this book where the detectives. As they suspect that Fran may be involved I understand that they can’t be treating her with kid gloves but they were downright unlikeable at times.

Source: Advance review copy