It’s spring! Get hyygelit!

little-book-of-hygge

The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Late last month I sat down and read the best little book! Miek Wiking’s book The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well has become a bestseller all over the world and I can see why.  He has a way of bringing you back to earth and focusing you on what’s important in your daily life.

Many people have heard about Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) and relate it to cosy homes, candles, cups of hot chocolate, etc.  They are right – all of those things are hyygelit and related to winter.  So, can you still enjoy hygge the rest of the year?  Yes, you can.

Spring has definitely sprung where I live.  So bringing hygge into spring means decluttering your home, bringing in some fresh flowers,  having a picnic on a warm day (preferably with friends!), and getting some fresh candles with a springtime fragrance.

One additional thing to do to make your spring hyggelit is read this book if you haven’t yet.  It has a way of changing the way you look at your life and changing how you set your priorities. So read it and get started on that emergency hyyge kit!

Book Details:  Published by William Morrow (January 17, 2017), 240 Pages, ISBN: 978-0062658807.

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Book Review: Five Days at Memorial


The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥

It took me months to read this book and the problem started right at the beginning. The horror for me began with the euthanasia of a cat in the beginning of the book and I just found it too much to read.  Ms. Fink won a Pulitzer Prize for her work on reporting the crisis at Memorial Medical Center when Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005 and deservedly so, but this crisis made for a slow and arduous read for me. This book is not for the faint of heart.

Ms. Fink’s book begins with an account of the preparations at Memorial Medical Center begins as Hurricane Katrina approaches New Orleans.  Little did the staff, patients and families know that weathering the storm was only the beginning of a crisis that would last several days and ultimately result in 45 dead.

The book recounts the storm, its aftermath and the investigation into the events and deaths at Memorial Medical Center.  Fink forces readers to consider what is right and what is wrong in times of crisis, to examine how we would behave if put in the same or similar circumstances, and perhaps most importantly what is the role of government (local, state, and federal) versus the role of the individual in ensuring their own survival.

Five Days at Memorial is a thought-provoking and difficult read.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Details:  Published by Broadway Books (January 26, 2016), 592 Pages, ISBN: 978-0307718976.

Book Review: Wilde Lake

wilde-lake-by-laura-lippman-0062083473The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I frequently lament mysteries, thrillers, or suspense novels that I figure out ahead of time.  It’s not that I am so smart, but that many of the plots are formulaic in nature — therefore it is easy to come to a conclusion before it is revealed in the narrative.  Wilde Lake is not easy to figure out.  Laura Lippman has one plot twist after another, and before you know it you’ve been reading and the novel took a turn you didn’t expect.  It was easy to give this book a four-heart rating.

Wilde Lake weaves back and forth between two different time periods and does this effortlessly.  One part of the story is Lu Brant’s personal account of her childhood in Columbia (planned as an inclusive utopian community), where she and her brother AJ grew up and attended Wilde Lake High School.  The story opens with her memories of AJ’s attendance at a graduation party which was marred by a suspicious death.

The other half of the story is contemporary and recounts Lu’s life as a single parent and prosecutor.  Lu’s first case is the murder of a local woman, Mary McNally, who didn’t report to work after a week-long vacation.  It is quickly determined that the murderer is Rudy Drysdale, a local misfit and former classmate of Lu’s brother AJ.

Wilde Lake is an engrossing read — hard to put down.  Just when you think you have it all figured out, Lippman throws in another plot twist.  The end wraps up nicely though, and the book keeps you guessing.  My only fault with the novel is that some of the story just doesn’t seem entirely plausible, but I wouldn’t let that get in the way of an entertaining read.

Book Details:  Published by William Morrow (May 3, 2016), 368 Pages, ISBN: 978-0062083456.

Book Review: City of Blades

City of BladesThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The best book I read in 2014 was Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs.  I wasn’t in the habit of reading fantasy, but had heard an interesting review of the book on NPR and thought that I would check it out.  The book was outstanding — a definite five hearts!

When City of Blades came out early this year, I couldn’t wait to read it as well.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Bennett has included all of the characters which I grew to love in  City of Stairs.  This is important.  Bennett’s characters are well-developed and he imbues them with qualities that endear them to the reader.  Very often, you just can’t identify with the characters making the story difficult to read.  Not so with General Mulaghesh, Sigrud, etc.

The story begins with a messenger coming to see the novel’s protagonist General Turyin Mulaghesh, in a bid to bring her out of retirement and get her aid in solving the disappearance of a Saypuri operative.  She accepts the mission. During her search General Mulaghesh, rumored war criminal and hero of the Battle of Bulikov, uncovers evidence of the divine in Voortyashtan, only this divinity is the goddess of war and death.

This second installment in Bennett’s Divine Cities series is as good as the first novel City of Stairs.  At this point, I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to Justin Cronin’s third installment in The Passage Trilogy or Robert Jackson Bennett’s third installment in The Divine Cities series.  What a wonderful dilemma for a reader to have!

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Details:  Published by Broadway Books (January 26, 2016), 498 Pages, ISBN:  978-0553419719.

Book Review: The Dinner

The DinnerThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

While most people were introduced to Herman Koch through his novel The Dinner, I read  Summer House with Swimming Pool first and really liked it.  Most psychological thrillers usually involve a psychopath who really can’t function in society as a whole, Koch’s psychopaths are particularly high-functioning and that is what is so enthralling and alarming about his novels.

Koch got the idea for The Dinner while having dinner out on New Year’s Eve in Barcelona in 2005.  While observing everyone at the dinner table (a party of sixteen) he came up with the first two sentences and decided right then and there to write the book in five sections, Apertif, Appetizer, Main Course, Dessert, Digestif.  I found this fascinating in and of itself.  You can read more about Kock’s writing process in his essay entitled  The First Sentence.  The essay is at the back of the book and is as much a must read as The Dinner.

Koch’s novel moves quickly and is a fast-paced and easy read.  At 292 pages, it is extremely well-plotted.  Regular readers of this blog know that I have great disdain for mysteries and thrillers that I figure out the ending for before I get there.  No worries with this one.  The ending is spectacular and will blow you away at the genius of it.

2016 is off to a great start with The Dinner and  The Travelers by Chris Pavone.  This looks to be a great year for reading.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Details:  Published by Hogarth (October 29, 2013), 320 Pages, ISBN:  978-0385346856.

Book Review: The Other Son

51tncx1id4l-_sx327_bo1204203200_ The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ 

When this book became available on Blogging for Books, I requested it right away. Soderberg’s novel The Andalucian Friend was a good read.  I enjoyed it and thought that this sequel would be a enjoyable.  Not so.

From the publisher:

From the moment Hector Guzman entered a coma, Sophie Brinkmann has regretted joining his crime family. Hector’s right hand, Aron Geisler, is doing all he can to keep the sinking ship afloat and keep Sophie in their steely grip. But when Hector’s brother is murdered in Biarritz, Sophie gains the upper hand, and intends to use it.

Sophie becomes a player in a game where the rules are constantly changing, where loyalty and friendship are rendered meaningless. In order to survive, she must look inward and find her inner darkness. If not, she will be swallowed whole by the forces closing in on her: vengeful mobsters, cunning detectives, charismatic arms dealers, and possibly her own son.

It was difficult to get into the novel and I wouldn’t recommend this book at all if you haven’t read The Andalucian Friend.  Although many of the same characters were present, it was difficult to remember exactly what role they played in the first book and to put them in their proper place in this book.  The Other Son is probably worth it if you want to keep up with the story and the characters (none of whom are the least bit likeable), but frankly I found that I don’t really care what happens to these people.  If you are a fan of  The Andaludcian Friend and read this book, let me know what you think.

Book Details:  Published by Crown (July 21, 2015), 400 pages, ISBN: 978-0770436087.

Book Review: Slade House

The Booklover’s Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ 

David Mitchell is one of my favorite writers, so when Slade House came out I had to pick up a copy right away and read it.  While I enjoyed the read, I can only give this book three hearts and not the usual five I would award for a David Mitchell novel.

Slade House is Mitchell’s take on the classic ghost story and is a good read for this time of year, when it gets dark early, seems to rain everyday, and a chill sets in early in the evening.  Slade House spans five decades from the 1970s to the present.  Every nine years a guest is either invited or happens to find Slade House on the same day late in October.  Every nine years, there are unexplained disappearances.

Slade House has a tie in with The Bone Clocks, which makes the book interesting for those readers that have read The Bone Clocks.  Slade House is a worthwhile read, but isn’t quite up to Mitchell’s usual standard.  The book uses the same plot over and over again, only changing at the end.  One feels a little let down at the end, the author could have done so much more with this.  It really could have been fabulous.

Book Details:  Published by Random House (October 27, 2015), 256 pages, ISBN: 978-0812998689.