Monday, 31 August 2015

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend; by Katarina Bivald

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
by Katarina Bivald

Trade Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: Bond Street Books

Is there such a thing as a hug in a book? This spirit-lifter was made for book lovers.

Us somewhat shy people who quite often feel better with a book in front of us than another human being. This book is for us.

A small town gal visits a small town half the world away and when she realizes her penpal is no longer there, turns to books and reading as a way to understand her new world and her place in it. Pretty much buries herself in them until she finds the courage to communicate with others. Through books.

Lots of references to other books current and classic and a lovely feel-good story. Delightful.

From the Back Flap:

A debut novel to charm all readers, that shows beyond all doubt that it's books, along with love, that make the world go round.

     It all began with a correspondence between two quite different women: 28-year-old Sara from Haninge, Sweden, and 65-year-old Amy from the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa. After years of exchanging books, letters and thoughts on the meaning of literature and life, Sara, mousy, disheveled, who has never been anywhere in her life--has really lived only for her work in a beloved bookshop, which has just closed its doors for the last time--bravely decides to accept her unknown friend's invitation to visit. But when she arrives, she finds her house empty, the funeral guests just heading home. . .

     Sara finds herself alone. And what choice do the inhabitants of Broken Wheel have but to take care of their bewildered tourist? And what choice does Sara have, faced with a town where nobody reads and her desire to honour her friend, but to set up the perfect bookshop with all the books she and Amy shared--from Yann Martel's Life of Pi to Iris Murdoch and Jo Nesbo, to Bridget Jones and Doug Coupland's All Families Are Psychotic to Little House on the Prairie? And then watch as the townsfolk are, one by one, transformed in unexpected ways. . .

     In the glorious tradition of 84 Charing Cross Road, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Will Schwalbe's The End of Your Life Book Club, Jane Austen, and movies such as You've Got Mail and Love Actually, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a big-hearted, witty book about books, friendship, love--and always being open to the unexpected.

About the Author
KATARINA BIVALD grew up working part-time in a bookshop. Today she lives in Älta, Sweden, with her sister and as many bookshelves as she can squeeze in. She has still not decided whether she prefers books or people.

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Hesitation Cut by Giles Blunt

The Hesitation Cut
A novel
by Giles Blunt

Trade Paperback, 320 pages
Publisher: Random House Canada

Holy crap. Wait, can you say Holy crap when the book starts in a monastery?

This book comes right from a different corner of storydom.

I am a big fan of Giles Blunt's Cardinal crime series, Canada's answer to Nordic Noir. But this book is a 180 degree departure from those kinds of books.

It's not really a crime novel. Not really a mystery.... And yet....
An intense, serious, and personal psychological thriller - like we have never read before. Well, like I have never read before. And I am guessing for the bulk of other readers out there too.

I remember feeling the discomfort and nausea while reading Dostoevsky in my studious youth. How he was able to affect you physically with the tension.

The Hesitation Cut is not exactly Dostoevsky (and thank goodness, who has the patience?) but you feel this story in your bones, in your head, heart and organs.

It stays with you. It's a great work. Congratulations, Giles Blunt.

Great book.

From the Back Flap:

Master crime novelist Giles Blunt is back with a standalone novel of penetrating psychological suspense. Turning the screw tighter on every page, he delivers an intricately plotted story of jealousy and obsession that rivals the best of Patricia Highsmith and Gillian Flynn.

     Nothing could be more serene than the life of Brother William, a young Benedictine monk who had turned his back on the world ten years earlier to retreat to a monastery in upstate New York. But then Lauren Wolfe, a troubled young poet, comes to use the library to research a book on Heloise and Abelard; one sight of the faint scars from a failed suicide attempt on Lauren's wrist is enough to turn the monk's life upside down. Every suppressed romantic impulse rises to the surface: his desire to rescue and soothe her trumps his vows of obedience, poverty and chastity. Soon he is simply Peter, a gentle young man who has followed his beloved to New York City because he needs to look out for her, as sincerely as he once pursued his calling.

     Of course, just because you love doesn't mean your love will be returned. Just because your intentions are good doesn't mean you'll achieve what you intend. No one illuminates the extreme psychological states this tale of obsession explores better than Giles Blunt. And no reader will ever see the end coming...

 About the Author

GILES BLUNT grew up in North Bay, Ontario, and spent twenty years in New York City as a writer and a scriptwriter for such shows as Law and Order, Street Legal and Night Heat, before making his home in Toronto. He is the author of the six novels in the bestselling Cardinal crime series, featuring Algonquin Bay’s John Cardinal and Lise Delorme, which he is currently adapting as a television series for CTV. He is widely considered “one of Canada’s top crime novelists” (the Globe and Mail) and among “crime drama’s elite” (Publishers Weekly). He is a two-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel and a recipient of the British Crime Writers’ Macallan Silver Dagger.

Friday, 21 August 2015

No Cure for Love by Peter Robinson

No Cure for Love
by Peter Robinson

Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Yes, I too missed this one the first time around and am happy to have been given a second chance to discover the novel.

It's an interesting gap in history, so close but so far away. Technology, fashion, attitude, and probably some other more subtle things I did not catch.

And the story stands up just as well now as then.

Classic tension-building with surprises along the way. This novel delivers what we want from a mainstream psychological thriller.

Bring it on your next trip. Pack it in your beach bag. Trade it with a friend when you are done.

Just don't drop it in the tub.

From the Back Flap:

On the twentieth anniversary of No Cure for Love--Peter Robinson's classic, standalone noir mystery--comes this sharp repackage, which features an introduction by Michael Connelly.

     You think you do not know who I am, but you do. They took you away and Seduced you and stole you from me, just as the others did before. They have tried to blot out your Memory of me... But everything is clear now...

     At first, British TV star and recent Los Angeles transplant Sarah Broughton thinks the letters she has been receiving are from a typical fan--someone a little strange, perhaps, but harmless. But when her admirer--who identifies himself only as "M"--starts threatening Sarah and her loved ones, she turns to detectives Arvo Hughes and Maria Hernandez of the LAPD Threat Management Unit and experts in pursuing the most dangerous of stalkers. Pitted against a frighteningly twisted mind, the detectives test their expertise and experience to the limit in the desperate race to save Sarah's life.

     Twisted, fast-paced, and suspenseful, No Cure for Love will have readers on the edge of their seats.

About the Author

Peter Robinson
is the recipient of numerous awards for his Inspector Banks novels, including the prestigious Grand Prix de Littérature Policière for the French translation of In a Dry Season, the Edgar Award for the short story “Missing in Action,” Denmark’s Palle Rosenkrantz Award, and several Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Novel. In 2002, he was awarded the Dagger in the Library by the British Crime Writers’ Association. Robinson was born in Yorkshire, England, and immigrated to Canada after graduating from the University of Leeds. He now lives in Toronto.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins

A Journey into the Wild and 
Haunting World of Dolphins
by Susan Casey
Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

It generally takes me twice as long to read non-fiction as it does a novel. Generally.

For this one I stayed home for three days. Okay, I also had a tooth out. But still.

Prepare to have your life changed. To laugh, love and cry. A lot.

To want to be a better person.

A better part of the environment that we live in.

Susan Casey is a journalist and a damned good one. She spent two years working on this book and it shows. Dolphins are close to her heart. Granted, most of us feel an affinity for them, but I guarantee you will be a champion for them when you finish this incredible book. After you finish crying. Or raising your fist in fury. Or smiling. Or thinking about who needs to read this right after you finish it.

Being a journalist she is able to share some of the science needed to understand dolphins without being 'science-y'. I had no idea how complex they were. I doubt most people do.

Susan travels the world to experience first-hand the good, the bad, and the ugly in regards to man's relationship with dolphins. Ancient civilizations, New Agers, Marine parks, conservation areas, studies done on and with dolphins, and of course our impact on their lives and habitat.

Some can be hard to read. But this is an important book. She does not tell you how to think or what to do. Just shares what she has learned.

It's important that we know this stuff. Especially for such an incredible animal with such a complex brain. (Far more so than ours)

Read it. Then buy it for people for Christmas, or birthdays. Or just because it is a special book.

From the Back Flap:

From Susan Casey, the New York Times bestselling author of The Devil's Teeth and The Wave, a breathtaking look into the mysterious world of dolphins and their conflicted history with man.

     Since the dawn of recorded history, humans have felt a kinship with the sleek and beautiful dolphin, an animal whose playfulness, sociability and intelligence seems like an aquatic mirror of mankind. In recent decades, scientists have discovered dolphins recognize themselves in reflections, count, feel despondent, adorn themselves, rescue each other (and humans), deduce, infer, form cliques, throw tantrums, gossip and scheme.

     Several native peoples trace their lineage to dolphins. They are the stars of multi-million dollar aquatic theme parks, money which has fueled a sinister illicit trade as shown in the documentary Blackfish. The U.S. Navy has a secret program using dolphins as undersea soldiers. The theory that they are a superior, extraterrestial species is popular among the new age fringe. They are the victims of brutal slaughters as depicted in the documentary The Cove. To swim with a dolphin is a transporting experience, an encounter with a being seemingly so like us, yet so alien.

     No writer is better positioned to portray these magical creatures than Susan Casey, whose combination of personal reporting, intense scientific research, and evocative prose made The Wave and The Devil's Teeth contemporary classics of writing on the oceans. For two years Casey traveled the world, and has written a thrilling book about the other intelligent life on the planet.

About the Author

Susan Casey, author of New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival Among America’s Great White Sharks, is editor in chief of O, The Oprah Magazine. She is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist whose work has been featured in the Best American Science and Nature Writing, Best American Sports Writing, and Best American Magazine Writing anthologies; and has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Outside, and National Geographic. Casey lives in New York City and Maui.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

The Night Sister
by Jennifer McMahon

Hardcover, 336 pages
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

I read Jennifer McMahon's last book, The Winter People, and greatly enjoyed it - but this book was even better.

She has the ability to write a thriller that is personal and character driven and that brings you in right away. One of those books that you don't want to end because it is so entertaining. So easy to just dive into and become engrossed in, no matter where you are.

It has travelled, happily, I like to believe, with me all this week. A friend when I needed it. An escape. One of those books you can leave mid sentence and dive right back in at first opportunity.

I look forward to more of her work. Jennifer McMahon is a treasure.

From the Back Flap:

A derelict motel, haunting childhood memories, hidden rooms, two sisters and family secrets--a supernatural tale that will thrill and chill in equal measure.

     Once a thriving attraction on the well-traveled roads of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, an eerie, abandoned place. Amy, her best friend, Piper, and Piper's younger sister, Margot, played there as kids, exploring everywhere, even the forbidden tower itself--where they uncovered a secret one summer that ended their friendship.

     Twenty years later, Piper has left all of that behind, until she gets a call from Margot telling her that Amy's been accused of a horrific crime. Piper and Margot will have to confront what truly happened that long-ago summer and all that led up to it--a hidden room, a family drowning in secrets, another pair of sisters each believing the other to be something truly monstrous--in order to understand, and survive, what is happening now.

JENNIFER McMAHON is the New York Times bestselling author of six suspense novels, including The Winter People, The One I Left Behind, Island of Lost Girls, and Promise Not to Tell. She lives in Vermont with her partner and their daughter. Visit her at

Friday, 7 August 2015

The 3rd Woman: a Novel by Jonathan Freedman

The 3rd Woman (429x648)
The 3rd Woman
a Novel 
by Jonathan Freedman
• Hardcover: 480 pages  
• Publisher: Harper

The 3rd Woman is an intelligent thriller in a modern style.

Political nightmare meets investigative journalism meets the stubborn love of family and the need to get to the bottom of the violent crime that has taken the lead character's sister way too early.

Throw in sex and intrigue, cover-ups and confusion, and you have a dynamite thriller that will frighten you in more ways than one.

Jonathan Freedland knows our fears and plays on them. Sometimes in an all-too-real fashion. 

From the Back Flap:  

The first two murders went unnoticed. The third will change everything. . . . She can't save her sister. Journalist Madison Webb is obsessed with exposing lies and corruption. But she never thought she'd be investigating her own sister's murder. She can't trust the police. Madison refuses to accept the official line that Abigail's death was an isolated crime. She uncovers evidence that suggests her sister was the third victim in a series of killings hushed up as part of a major conspiracy. She can expose the truth. In a United States that now bows before the People's Republic of China, corruption is rife—the government dictates what the "truth" is. With her life on the line, Madison must give up her quest for justice—or face the consequences. . .

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31437About Jonathan Freedland

Jonathan Freedland is an award-winning journalist, a number one bestselling author, and a broadcaster. He is the Guardian's executive editor for Opinion and also writes a weekly column. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times and the New York Review of Books, and presents BBC Radio 4's contemporary history series The Long View. In 2014 he won the Orwell special prize for journalism. Find out more about Jonathan at his website, and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Circling the Sun: A Novel by Paula McLain

Circling the Sun
A Novel
by Paula McLain
Hardcover, 384 pages
Publisher: Bond Street Books

Circling the Sun is an absolutely beautiful book. The setting, the times, the people, and especially the main character - a woman very much out of her time. 

I don't know how Paula McLain does it, but she brings you right into Kenya in the twenties. I felt everything Beryl felt. Her longings, her shames, hopes, disappointments, struggles and triumphs.

She has brought this puzzle of a woman to life, in full colour. 

The book envelopes you and takes you away. And that is the best thing a book can do.

From the Back Flap:

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Paris Wife, takes readers to Kenya in the 1920s, where the beautiful young horse trainer, adventurer and aviator Beryl Markham tells the story of her life among the glamorous and decadent circle of British expats living in colonial East Africa--and the complicated love triangle she shared with the white hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa.

    Brought to Kenya as a small child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised both by her father--a racehorse trainer--and the native Kipsigis tribe on her father's land. Her unconventional upbringing transforms her into a daring young woman, with a love of all things wild, but everything she knows and trusts dissolves when her father's farm goes bankrupt. Reeling from the scandal and heartbreak, Beryl is catapulted into a disastrous marriage at the age of 16. Finally she makes the courageous decision to break free, forging her own path as a horse trainer and shocking high society in the process. The British colony has never seen a woman as determined and fiery as Beryl. Before long, she catches the eye of the fascinating and bohemian Happy Valley set, including writer Karen Blixen and her lover Denys Finch Hatton, who will later be immortalized in Blixen's memoir, Out of Africa. The three become embroiled in a complex triangle that changes the course of Beryl's life, setting tragedy in motion while awakening her to her truest self and her fate: to fly.

PAULA McLAIN is the author of The Paris Wife, as well as two collections of poetry; a memoir, Like Family: Growing Up in Other People's Houses; and a first novel, A Ticket to Ride. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and has been awarded fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Cleveland with her family.