Book Review: The Silkworm

jk-rowling-cuckoos-calling-sequel-cover-fullThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

One thing I dislike intensely is the London Tube.  It is crowded, hot and subterranean.  I don’t like it at all.  Once in a while you meet someone nice and it is tolerable for a bit.  Having said that I am so glad that I am not riding the Tube this week.

The London Tube is oft-mentioned in The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith’s second novel featuring private dectective Cormoran Strike.  It is a wonderfully-written crime novel.

The novel opens as novelist Owen Quine goes missing and his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.  But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

If you are a fan of Tana French or Kate Atkinson, then you will enjoy this book immensely.  Galbraith will surely take his place among the best of the British crime novelists in due time.

Book Details:  Published by Mulholland Books (June 19, 2014), 464 pages, ISBN: 0316206873.

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Giveaway: Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed

Finding MeLast week I posted a review of Michelle Knight’s memoir, written with Michelle Burford.  This book was tough to read, but it is truly a lesson in courage and a celebration of Michelle Knight’s triumph over her abductor and over a childhood of abuse.  If you would like to read Michelle’s memoir, The Booklover is giving away one copy to a fellow booklover!

There are two ways to enter, first you can leave a comment on this post with positive words for Michelle Knight.  Her recovery cannot be complete and she will bear the scars of her abduction and abuse her entire life.  I am hopeful that readers of this blog can be a source of encouragement to her.  The second way to enter is by subscribing to this blog.  Current subscribers are already entered — they only need to leave a comment to get a second entry!

I will use the sequence generator at random.org to choose one winner and will contact them by email.  It is important that you leave your email address if you leave a comment.  Note: There are a maximum of two entries per person.  The giveaway ends on Sunday, July 27th and the winner will be contacted by email on Monday, July 28th.  This contest is open to U.S. addresses only.

Good luck!

Book Review: Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed

Finding MeThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

For 11 years, Michelle Knight was held captive by a man who kidnapped her and two other women in Cleveland.

A year after her headline-making rescue, Knight has written a memoir, Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed.  Written with Michelle Burford, the book describes the torture Knight endured at the hands of her captor and goes into detail about the shocking life she lived before he kidnapped her.  Knight’s terrible childhood began early with getting molested beginning at age five, never having enough food, and finally ending up on the streets as a young teenager. She moved in with a drug dealer after a time on the streets and after his arrest, she again became homeless. Michelle later gave birth to a son Joey, who was the center of her world, but was placed in foster care after her mother’s boyfriend got drunk and broke the boy’s leg.

Michelle was on her way to a hearing to regain custody of her son when she was kidnapped by Ariel Castro.  Castro was the father of one of her friends and she was glad to get a ride from him when the ride she was supposed to get from a family member fell through.  That fateful decision to accept Castro’s offer led to a life of horror for many years.

The most shocking aspect of Michelle Knight’s story was the fact that her childhood placed her in the direct path of her kidnapper.  She was a victim before her abduction and this victimhood put her in even greater peril.  Her life is a testament to survivorship, resilience, and bravery.  My greatest hope for her is that at some point she can get to know the son Ariel Castro took from her.  He stole much more than most people know and her story is worth reading as warning to us all to be aware that someone may be in peril and we may be the one who can help.  Definitely a memoir worth reading and this from a booklover who doesn’t typically favor memoirs.  At 280 pages, this is a riveting read.

Book Details:  Published by Weinstein Books (May 6, 2014), 280 pages, ISBN: 1602862567.

2014 Quidditch World Cup Finals

A recent visit to London brought home that fact that Harry Potter is very much past tense in my life.  Those books brought me and countless millions great joy, but best of all they created many, many new booklovers.  If you want new Harry Potter material these days the only way to get it is pottermore.com – Harry Potter’s online home.

It has never occurred to me to join pottermore.com until J. K. Rowling’s appearance on the Today Show this morning.  Rowling has written a post in the voice of Rita Skeeter, the Daily Prophet‘s gossip columnist. Rowling fills Harry’s fans in on his reunion with friends at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup Finals.  Finally, an update on Harry!

Make sure to click the Today Show link to read the post without joining pottermore.com and I wonder – Does Quidditch have as many fans as soccer?

Book Review: Summer House With Swimming Pool

Summer HouseThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Herman Koch’s bestselling novel “The Dinner” had been on my to-read list since it first came out in 2013, so it was thrilling when a copy of “Summer House With Swimming Pool” landed in my hands.  The main character of “Summer House With Swimming Pool” is Dr. Marc Schlosser, a physician whose patients disgust him.   Into Dr. Schlosser’s office walks Ralph Meier, a big star, who finds Dr. Schlosser to be accommodating in writing whatever prescriptions he requests.

Marc Schlosser and Ralph Meier are not the only ones who hit it off.  At an evening out Ralph gives Caroline, Marc’s wife, lecherous looks just as Marc is sizing up Ralph’s wife, Judith. This little episode doesn’t amount to much at first, but things heat up when the Meiers invite the Schlosser family to visit their summer house with a swimming pool somewhere on the Mediterranean coast.   At the summer house are any number of men (young and old) with mean streaks who could commit violence.

“Summer House With Swimming Pool” reveals at the start that Ralph is dead and that Marc’s medical techniques contributed to his demise. If you are looking for an ideal book to dive into next to the beach (pun intended!) then this would be my pick for your next summer read.

Book Details:  Published by Hogarth (June 3, 2014), 387 pages, ISBN: 0804138818.