Book Review: Blackbird by Tom Wright

Blackbird by Tom WrightBlackbird: What it is about

From amazon: “‘Dr. Deborah Serach Gold died on the cross sometime during a night of freezing rain in late October of my last year at Three. It probably wasn’t the worst thing that happened to her that day, but it had been over two decades in the making . . .’

The day after a terrible storm, electricity still crackling in the air, a woman is found dead on the outskirts of a Texan town. She has been brutally attacked and nailed to a cross.

The victim is Dr Deborah Gold, a psychologist who has taken a lot of people’s secrets to her grave.

Which means a lot of suspects for Detective Jim Beaudry Bonham to investigate. And lately he could use some psychological help himself . . .”

Blackbird: What I thought

The beginning of the description sounded very intriguing. However, the ending of it should have warned me: I’m done with thrillers in which the lead investigator is a flawed character.

I found this man totally uninteresting and didn’t give a *%$@$ about his past and current struggles. The investigation into the murder of Dr Gold was exciting, but the Detective got into the way a bit too much.

I did read to the end, but didn’t really pay good attention from page 100 onwards, when I started to wonder whether I should finish the book.

I think that if you like thrillers, there is no reason not to like this one. It’s pretty clever and intriguing.

It’s not the book, it’s me. Since The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, a good two years ago, I should know not to pick up a thriller featuring yet another detective with yet more personal problems. I guess it’s partially the genre that demands a flawed character solving impossible problems, but I’m so done with it! :-)


Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (almost OK)

Number of pages: 356

First published: 2014

I got this: won this from Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Genre: mystery, thriller

 

Book review: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

The Goodluck of Right Now by Matthew QuickThe Good Luck of Right Now: What it is about

From the publishers: “For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday mass, and the library learn how to fly?

 

Bartholomew thinks he’s found a clue when he discovers a “Free Tibet” letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother’s underwear drawer. In her final days, mom called him Richard—there must be a cosmic connection. Believing that the actor is meant to help him, Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate letters. Jung and the Dalai Lama, philosophy and faith, alien abduction and cat telepathy, the Catholic Church and the mystery of women are all explored in his soul-baring epistles. But mostly the letters reveal one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.”

The Good Luck of Right Now: What I thought

This book is a series of letters by the protagonist to Richard Gere, the movie star. That was really off-putting. :-) Do I care about movie stars? Sorry, not a lot. 

But Bartholomew does, because his mother was RG’s biggest fan. And so, when his mother is terminal, he pretends to be RG to please her. He realizes that he’s much braver when he thinks about what RG would do in particular situations. His first goal in life, after his mother dies, is to have a drink in a bar with a guy. Just like other guys. His therapist suggested it but he has no idea how to achieve this. 

He meets a number of strange people (the therapist isn’t quite who she claims to be, either). It’s fun to read about them, but I was worried for Bartholomew: they were likely to take advantage of him. However, bit by bit, he explores his new life and the people in it, and comes to accept a life without his mother.

This was a fun read, especially because of the characters that make an appearance. Bartholomew is odd but I did start to like him after a while. He’s so innocent for an almost-40-year old! 

I never warmed to the letters themselves, but luckily, Bartholomew doesn’t address RG all the time. He spends a lot of the time just explaining what happened that day. He had a mystery in his life to which I guessed the answer quite soon, but the way it was revealed was still a surprise.

An easy read and a fun book.

 


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 304

First published: 2014

I got this: won from Adorable Books

Genre: fiction

 

Book Review: California by Edan Lepucki

California by Edan LepuckiCalifornia: What it is about

From the publishers: “The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they’ve left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can’t reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant.

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.”

California: What I thought

Suzanne of Bibliosue got this book, a beautiful signed hardback, for me as a birthday present. She’s too nice!

And she was right: this is just the kind of book for me. I love to know what happens after the apocalypse, any apocalypse. It wasn’t really too clear at first what the apocalypse entailed, but the effects were just right: chaos and survival in the woods. When Frida and Cal come across a community, their life suddenly improves, but at a price. Bit by bit they discover how the community works and how it evolved, and they wonder whether they weren’t better off on their own in their cabin in the woods.

I enjoyed very much exploring the world together with Frida and Cal, starting small and seeing more and more of their surroundings. Meeting the different people and their backgrounds was interesting.

The story was believable. The apocalypse wasn’t overdone but seemed like a natural result of the way the world is right now. No zombies, no virus.

Really, the book was about people and their relationships. and how best to survive in a hostile world. There are no certainties, and when Frida gets pregnant they are both terrified and excited. Will their baby be welcome in a community without any children?

It was a less dark read than I expected (which is good) and I really enjoyed this novel a lot. A whole new view on a post-apocalyptic world.

 


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)

Number of pages: 400

First published: 2014

I got this: from Suzanne of Bibliosue, mainly because she’s such a nice person, but more specifically because she read the description and thought of me. Thanks, Suzanne! :-)

Genre: science fiction, apocalyptic

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

itsmonday“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and are planning to read next.

*****

The last three weeks

Three weeks since my last update! Oh, I’ve been busy with other things. I haven’t spent all that much time outside when the weather was good (I loved being inside when we had some days of very, very heavy rain, though!). Another of my online friends bought a fitbit, so I have to be more conscientious and do my 10,000 steps a day myself!

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Books I finished in the last THREE weeks: 7

Mambo in Chinatown by Jean KwokDark Eden by Chris BeckettThe 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy FerrissTantric Coconuts by Greg Kincaid
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan
Thuis in Portugal by Marieke WoudstraAlles hiervoor by Andre Platteel

The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. Some great business ideas, although the 4-hour work week seems not my kind of way to do business. Even so, I got some nice ideas from it. No review.

Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok. A really good story about a young Chinese woman who gets the chance to become a dancer. 4.5 stars

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett. A group of humans on planet Eden is waiting for the time when they can go back to Earth. One young man wants to explore the planet and causes a big uproar with his plans. 5 stars

Tantric Conconuts by Greg Kincaid. A single man and a single woman are traveling by themselves, until they meet and she teaches him spirituality. 4 stars.

Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Book Store by Robin Sloan [Review in Dutch] A man starts working in a strange book store where buyers borrow books. 4.5 stars

Thuis in Portugal [Home in Portugal] by Marieke Woudstra. A Dutch woman and her boyfriend are looking for a home in Portugal. A sunny and fun book. 4 stars

Alles hiervoor [Everything Before] by André Platteel. A Dutch man with a history travels through California and deals with his demons along the way. 3.5 stars

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Other book I reviewed

The Home Place by Carrie la Seur

The Home Place by Carrie La Seur. A woman’s never-do-well sister has died. Was it really an accident? A book full of family secrets. 4 stars

 

Planning to read next

California by Edan LepuckiBlackbird by Tom WrightInamorata by Megan ChanceThe Storied Life of A. J. FikryDay of the Vikings by J. F. PennDe kamer [The Room] by Jomas Karlsson
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What are YOU reading this week?

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