Tuesday, April 24, 2018

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Rainbirds; Clarissa Goenawan

On Tuesdays First Chapter, First Paragraph/Intros is hosted by Vickie/ I’d Rather Be at the Beach.  Readers are asked to share the first paragraph of a book they are reading or plans to read soon.  This week's selection hooked me right away (I'm on Chapter 4). Tell me how you like the intro.

Rainbirds;  Clarissa Goenawan
ECCO - 2018


"At first, nothing was unusual.

I was on the phone with my sister. She sat by her desk by the window in her rented room in Akakawa. The sun shone through the curtain, casting brown highlights on her long dark hair.  She asked me question after question, but I just mumbled one-word answers, impatient for the conversation to be over.  But then, before my eyes, she crumbled and turned to ashes."

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Recent Movies and Books - Tangerine; Christine Mangan and Girl in Snow; Danya Kukafka

Our birthday sisters turned 4 and 6 this week. It's been such a joy to watch them grow. Our kindergartener even lost 2 teeth recently.


  • (2017) Thoroughbreds (odd movie)
  • (2017) Chappaquiddick - (very good)
  • (1996) Fargo (loved it)
  • (1981) Mommie Dearest (another one I loved)

  • Books

    Tangerine; Christine Mangan
    Ecco and Harper Audio - 2018

    Alice Shipley and Lucy Mason were once college roommates in Bennington, Vermont, but after an incident there, the two parted ways. Now Alice is married and living in Morocco, her marriage and life in general is anything but, blissful. She is uncomfortable in her new surroundings.  One day Lucy Mason, the fearless, gutsy friend from her past, arrives in Tangiers unannounced.  However, the visit, unbeknownst to Alice, is anything but altruistic.  

    Set in 1956, this tension filled psychological thriller reminded me in some ways of the movie, The Talented Mr. Ripley.  The character development and setting was excellent and I enjoyed how the story played out even though certain aspects seemed a bit contrived.

    Rating - 4.5/5 (audio and eGalley)

    Girl in Snow; Danya Kukafka
    Simon & Schuster - 2018

    Set in a small Colorado town where nothing much happens, a high school girl named Lucinda Hayes, who seemed to have everything going for her is found murdered.  As the investigation unfolds, so does a snapshot of three individuals connected to her in some way.  There's Cameron, a socially awkward voyeur who had a crush on Lucinda and had become somewhat of a secret stalker.  Then Jade, a classmate who both envied and despised Lucinda and finally,  Detective Russ Fletcher, the shady character who happens to be investigating the murder.

    This was a decent debut novel but, I do think it had a YA audience feel to it.  I liked the way that my opinion as to who the murder might be had changed as I read.  I do wish that the story was a bit more plot driven but, overall, the author did a good job.

    Rating - 3.5/5 stars

    Tuesday, April 17, 2018

    First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - A Noise Downstairs; Linwood Barclay

    Every Tuesday Vicki @ I'd Rather Be at the Beach now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph, maybe two, of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.  (Started this yesterday, very addictive story.)

    A Noise Downstairs; Linwood Barclay
    William Morrow - 2018


    "Driving along the Post Road late that early October night, Paul Davis was pretty sure the car driving erratically in front of him belonged to his colleague Kenneth Hoffman.  The ancient, dark blue Volvo station wagon was a fixture around West Haven College, a cliche on wheels of what a stereotypical professor drove."

    Would you read more?

    Sunday, April 15, 2018

    Everything Here is Beautiful; Mira Lee and I Am, I Am, I Am; Maggie O'Farrell

    Pamela Dorman Books/Viking - 2018

    Everything Here is Beautiful was an impressive debut novel about sisters and mental illness.

    Miranda and Lucia are sisters, Miranda is seven years old and has always been the cautious one, watching out for her ofter unpredictable younger sister Lucia.  After their mother dies of cancer, Lucia begins to hear voices and as her mental illness becomes more intense, she does some outlandish things including marrying someone she hardly knew and later even moving to a different continent.

    Can Lucia ever lead a normal life, often refusing to take her meds?  Can her sister or Lucia's husband influence her and keep her safe?

    Told in alternating POVs, this is a beautifully written, compelling story about mental illness and family. I will definitely be looking for future offerings from this promising new author.

    Rating - 4.5/5 stars

    Maggie O'Farrell
    Knopf - 2018

    This is a different kind of memoir in which the author describes in very short stories her, seventeen near death experiences.  The stories cover an array of experiences beginning when she was just a toddler through adulthood and follow no particular chronological order. It's not a memoir that feels like all doom and gloom and it never felt morbid or depressing. Instead, this was a book that helped me to reflect on my own life and the things that are most precious.

    A few of the stories were quite intense and even felt jarring at times while a few others seemed far from threatening to me.  Overall, this book was great reading experience, I loved the quality of the writing.

    Rating - 4/5 stars