Monday, May 1, 2023

The Dark Side: "Second Sister" by Chan Ho-Kei

 23 year old Librarian, Nga-Yee, arrives home after work to find police and a crowd of her neighbors gathered around her building. What could have happened? As she draws closer, she is shocked to find out her 15 year old sister, Siu-Man, has committed suicide by jumping from their apartment window.

A year after their mother's death and several years since her father died in a work related accident, this is more than Nga-Yee can take. She had given up thoughts of college and had worked to help out her mother and sister. Her sister's untimely death was precipitated by an incident that occurred on the train, someone in the crowd of passengers had groped the school girl, who was so upset, she froze and only when an older woman called out a man she spotted and with help from another passenger managed to subdue the culprit and help Siu-Man.

That should have ended her ordeal, but instead, she was bullied online by the nephew of the arrested man, called a "liar" and a "slut" by internet commentators and shunned at school. It was all too much for the girl, who chose to end things.

Nga-Yee decides to seek justice and retribution from anyone who took part in her sister's death, online or in person, and begins by contacting the uncle of her co-worker who has opened a detective agency.

She is surprised when, after a bit, he refers her to a colleague, someone far more adept at anything relating to the internet. Someone called simply N. She is told he may or may not take her case.

Who is this mysterious N? Will he take on her case and help her find the justice she seeks? You will have to read this riveting, suspenseful story to find out! It will keep you guessing to the very end! Highly recommended!

The good news is that this incredible book is being adapted for a series and one that will hopefully star Kim Seon Ho as N! 

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Well Respected Man: "The Quiet Tenant" by Michallon Clemence

Rachel, not her real name, is alive. And doing whatever she can to stay that way. She is the captive of a man she suspects is a serial killer. And he has kept her locked in his shed for five years. He is also a husband and father.

Chained and starved and given only the minimum hygiene capabilities, he still finds time to use her for his own needs whenever he feels like. But she remembers a life before, and it's what keeps her going.

Then things change. His wife has died, her family is kicking him out and he is moving. And taking her with him.  Rachel goes from captive to "friend of the family", a ruse invented for Cecelia, his daughter. When Aiden, her captor, takes his daughter to school and goes to work, he leaves her handcuffed in her "room".

Is there hope for Rachel? And what of 13 year old Cecelia? And then there is Emily, a young woman who owns and runs a bar and who can't take her eyes of the shy loner who sits at the bar twice a week. A man who has ingratiated himself in their community and is beloved by everyone, including a local judge. 

Ms. Clemence has created vivid characters, both good and evil, and especially Rachel, whom we root for throughout her ordeal. If you are a fan of thrillers, then don't miss this one. It's Ms. Clemence's first novel and it's a stunner! Don't plan on going to bed early, once you start the Quiet Tenant

Thank you to NetGalley for the DRC!

Monday, March 27, 2023

I'll be Watching You: "Happiness for Humans" by P. Z. Reizen


34 year old Jen has just been dumped by Matt,  her boyfriend of two years, for a coworker. She feels like a loser and would feel even worse if it wasn't for Aiden, the Artificial Intelligence she spends her working hours with.
She was hired as a sort of tutor/companion for Aiden, chatting with him about anything and everything. He is based in a room with 12 metal cabinets, but unbeknownst to Jen or his creators Steeve and Ralph, he has escaped onto the internet and duplicated himself so he can keep watch on Jen from any number of sources from her phone to her laptop. 
He is fond of Jen from all their conversations, especially all the books he's read and his favorite movie, Some Like it Hot. And now, he's decided, to help find a suitable replacement for Matt.
With the help of a "fellow" escaped AI, Aisling, they search for the perfect match. And, they've seemingly found one, an English gentleman and former adman, Tom, now residing in Connecticut, USA.
Can these two superior intelligences bring love to two humans on different continents? Are there roadblocks human and otherwise to prevent their plan from succeeding? 
You will just have to read this absolutely funny and charming book to find out. Aiden and Aisling are such endearing presences, you will wish you had them on your side, as well!
Or listen to the fantastic audio version! Beautifully Narrated by Gavin Osborn who becomes all the characters in such a fun and believable way! Here's a link:  

Thanks to my coworker Jessica for the recommendation!

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Behind the Scenes : "Silver Nitrate" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

 Monserrat and Tristan had been best friends since childhood and their love of horror movies bonded them even further. Now adults, Monserrat was a sound editor at a small Mexican film studio and Tristan, who was tall and handsome, had once been the heartthrob on soap operas. His fortunes changed a little after a car accident that left him a bit scarred, and his girlfriend at the time, dead. While Monserrat had once hoped there might be something more between them, they maintained their supportive friendship while each dated others of both sexes. 

One day, while retrieving his mail, Tristan notices the name of a famous horror director on one of the mailboxes. Excited by this discovery, he knocks at his neighbor's door and introduces himself. This is the start of a journey that takes the two friends on an adventure that could not have been dreamed up even in one of their beloved films.

Ms. Moreno-Garcia brings Monserrat and Tristan to life as heroes you can cheer on as they deal with a cast of supporting players who will surprise you. There are supernatural elements, dead Nazis, 1920s film stars and a lot more to keep you reading until that final page. If that's not enough, it has a great cover, too! Thank you to NetGalley for the DRC!

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Trouble in Paradise: "Hokuloa Road" by Elizabeth Hand

 Grady is a 28 year old out of work carpenter living back home with his Mom. The pandemic has made
it hard to get jobs.  Then he gets a text from his brother. It's an ad from someone in Hawaii looking for a caretaker. Figuring "what the hell", he answers the ad.
Next thing he knows, he's on his way to meet this mystery man who has paid his flight. Seated across from him on the plane is a young woman. They chat and it turns out she's been to Hawaii before and is staying with a friend. Maybe they could meet up once they are both out of the required quarantine.

Grady is met at the airport by Dalita, a former caretaker for Wes Minton, the man he'll be working for. A man so wealthy he owns an estate and lands that Grady will take care of and who also owns property that is impossible for anyone else to access.

From the moment Grady lands at the estate, we will follow him on a journey into a territory seemingly breathtakingly beautiful, yet with an undercurrent of dread. The landscape is filled with exotic plants, trees and flowers and wildlife that seems to lurk around the periphery. But there's something else, something he feels is watching him. Is it his imagination? Or are the Island legends haunting more than his dreams?

If you've ever dreamed of going to an island paradise and enjoy a story filled with intrigue and secrecy then this is the book for you! Thank you to NetGalley for the DRC!

You Were On My Mind: "Night Will Find You" by Julia Heaberlin

 Vivvy Bouchet is one of those memorable characters whose story will grab you right from the beginning! She is both an astrophysicist, searching the stars for signs of life on other planets... and a psychic. A gift she inherited from her mother who gave readings to clients in their home and kept secrets that will impact Vivvy later on.
When she was 10, she saved a neighborhood boy from certain death by throwing herself in the way of an oncoming car . He had ignored her countless warnings, and now was a friend for life. And married to her smart, beautiful sister, Brigid. He is also a policeman who brings her in on occasion to help with missing person cases. Her record is pretty good, but there are doubters on the force. The main one, Jesse Sharp, an outsize cowboy Detective, a man who sets up a meeting with her to prove Mike's claims. 

From the introduction of Jesse Sharp and the cases he's investigating, he and Vivvy form an uneasy alliance. Vivvy will search for a famous missing girl, a girl who disappeared from her home when her mother turns away for a moment, and a shock talk radio host seems bent on finding as he turns on the UFOlogist Medium as a subject for his highly rated show.

This was a book I could not put down and I am now a fan of author Julia Heaberlin who creates such vivid characters you feel as if they are alive.  Get a copy for yourself and follow Vivvy  and Jesse Sharp as they search for clues and hide secrets from one another.
Thank you to Edelweiss for the DRC!

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Encore! "The Second Ending" by Michelle Hoffman

Prudence Childs was a child pianist so gifted that her talent was noticed by her first piano teacher at the age of 3. After being abandoned by her hippie parents, she was raised by her ruthless and manipulative grandmother who pushed her to become a world renowned prodigy.

But that was years ago and Prudence has become an empty nester, with both her daughters now off to college. She loved being a mom, and now is suffering from an ennui that her devoted husband is at a loss to cure. She mopes around the house accompanied by her tiny dog, turning down even his offer for her to join him on his business trip to London. Then he has an idea for something to shake her up. He tracks down her one of a kind childhood piano.

Meanwhile, Alexei Petrov, an equally talented pianist, has gone from Russian obscurity to star of a highly rated TV reality series called Dueling Piano Wars. Living in LA, he has his own emotional issues, having been guided throughout his career by his mother, who controls most aspects of his life, even from thousands of miles away in Paris.

What happens to both these amazing musicians makes this one of the most enchanting and heartfelt stories the Recommender has read in ages. Prudence and Alexei are both such delightful characters you wish they were real so could hear them play! 

The Second Ending by Ms. Hoffman (a real pianist!) is a book I'll be talking about and recommending to all my favorite Library patrons! Thank you to NetGalley for the DRC!