Saturday, September 16, 2023

Kid Stuff: "Mister Magic" by Kiersten White

 The Recommender just finished listening to Mister Magic, an absolutely riveting thriller/ mystery!
Once there was this kids' show that everyone who watched it remembered and the six kids who were on it, the Circle of Friends, were like your best friends! But when you try and look it up online there's hardly any mention of it. And what was it called? No one can quite recall. Something with Magic in the title. 
But the good news is... there's talk of a reunion! Even though it's been off the air maybe 30 years, you and everyone you know wants that Circle of Friends to get together again.

Val grew up on Gloria's ranch. She and her Dad have lived and worked there since she was a little girl. Now, she's almost 40. She runs the kid's camp and gives riding lessons and is great with the kids and with their rich parents who she knows how to wrap around her little finger. She has no memory of what she and her Dad did before the ranch. Her Mom is dead. She can't even remember her anyway. She wishes she could remember. 
Then, suddenly, her Dad died. She's helping Gloria with the arrangements when two men show up. Strangers. One is tall and lanky with a beard and glasses. The other olive skinned and elegant. They are Isaac and Javi.  Somehow, she knows them. But how? And a third man enters. He's Black and handsome and is equally thrilled to have found her. His name is Marcus.

If you want to find out who these guys are and how they are connected to Val and what that addictive kid's show was all about, than grab a copy of Mister Magic by Kiersten White, or get the amazing audiobook narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Kiersten White. This is one of my favorite books of the year. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Deja Vu: "Wrong Place, Wrong Time" by Gillian McAllister


Jen is waiting for her teen son, Todd, to come home. It's late and it's almost Halloween and her ill attempted carved pumpkin sits in the window as she watches her son come down the street. She sees him get accosted by what seems to be an older man. There's an interchange between them and next thing she knows... her sweet, funny boy has stabbed the stranger. She calls out to her husband and they rush out to try and help, but, before she knows it, her son is in police custody, there's a man dead and he was the one who killed him! There's nothing she can do to change what happened!
After an exhausting time at the police station, they go home. Jen goes to sleep hoping to figure things out in the morning.
Then she wakes up... and it's like the horrible events of the night before hadn't happened... yet, anyway! What can this mean? Will they eventually go through this occurrence again, or is there something she can do to prevent it?

Gillian McAllister's Wrong Place, Wrong Time is a fast paced, gripping story that will keep you guessing! I listened to the audiobook (thanks to hoopla!) and narrator Lesley Sharp perfectly inhabits all the characters and keeps the tension level high which makes for a compulsive listen, or read! Highly recommended for anyone who likes a thriller with a very different twist!

Fast Ride! "Girls and Their Horses" by Eliza Jane Brazier

 If you've ever wanted a horse of your own then you can relate to the horse crazy goings on at Rancho Sante Fe Equestrian in Eliza Jane Brazier's Girls and Their Horses!
Plus...someone at the barn was possibly murdered! The story follows the investigation alternating with that of a noveau riche  family, the Parkers.
Horse loving Mom, Heather Parker, never got to do all the horse related shows and events she wanted when she was younger, so now that her husband has made a fortune in his business, the family moves from Texas to Rancho Sante Fe, a wealthy Southern California community.

Her older daughter, Piper, was an excellent rider with a future ahead of her but her Mom put so much pressure on her she quit. Now Heather has set her sights on her younger daughter Maple. Joining the upscale Rancho Santa Fe Equestrian center, she pushes Maple, a girl who had been bullied back in Texas, to make new "barn" friends and to learn to ride competitively, something beyond the shy girl's comfort level.

Two girls, Vida, the barn queen bee (or mean girl)  and her follower, Effie, are both encouraged to befriend the wealthy Maple. Meanwhile, Vida's Mom, Pamela, befriends Heather. The Parker's money can only help the Barn and its owner, Kieran.

How these "friendships" impact Maple, Piper and Heather plus the mystery death will keep you guessing until the very end!

I listened to the audio of this book and it was fantastic! Narrator Helen Laser grabs you from the start as she makes all the characters, intrigue and even the horses come to vivid life! Whether you read Girls and Their Horses or listen to it, like I did, I guarantee it's a book you'll be thinking about long after you finish the story!
Thanks to Penguin Random House for access to their audio!

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!