My Husband’s Brother by Gengoroh Tagame – Book Review

This is a manga – the first one I have ever read and I loved it!

This is the story of Yaichi who is a stay at home divorced dad of Kana, who is around eight or nine (my guess).  Yaichi had a twin brother, Ryoji, who moved to Canada a number of years ago and is now deceased.  Ryoji had told Yaichi when they were fifteen that he was gay.  Yaichi seemed to accept it but was not comfortable at all with it.  In Japan, the issue of being gay is not discussed and there is no public displays of affection between same sex couples – there is hardly any displays of affection between male/female couples and/or family members, for example, Kana did not know what a hug was.

Ryoji had met a man called Mike in Canada and they had gotten married.  Ryoji has now passed away and Mike is grieving.  One day Mike decides to travel to Japan to meet his husband’s family and to see all the places that Ryoji had described to him.  He stays with Yaichi and Kana and this first book in a duology is the first half of their story.

I really enjoyed this book and the manga format.  The second book in the duology comes out in September and I will definitely read it also.

My Husband's Brother

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The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler – Book Review

This is the first book in the Philip Marlowe series.  It was written in 1939 and is certainly a product of its time in that violence towards women and homophobia is not given a second thought.

Philip Marlowe is a private investigator who is hired by an elderly, dying millionaire because he is being blackmailed for something one of his two daughters has done.  His daughters are described on the book flap as being psychotic and they really are.  There is not much about them to like.

The novel is described as “hard boiled” and I would agree with that and would add that I think it is a book that was primarily written for men to enjoy.

It was a 3 star read for me.

The Big Sleep

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle – Book Review

I listened to this in audiobook format from the library.  It was an older audiobook and so the recording was not quite as good as they are on audible.  For example, you could tell when the narrator needed to have a drink of water or clear his throat.  I assume that with audiobooks being recorded now, that a lot of editing is done so that the listener does not hear this.

This is the first Sherlock Holmes story and we find out how Holmes met Watson.  I really enjoyed this part of the book but became quite confused when all of a sudden the narrator started telling a story of a man and a young girl crossing Utah on horseback and being rescued by the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and all about the Mormon church.  It all becomes clear near the end of the book how this section in the United States relates back to the story in England but for a while I had no idea what was happening.

I gave this book 3 stars mostly for the beginning of the book when we find out the backstory of the Holmes and Watson meet up.

A Study in Scarlet

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne – Book Review

I absolutely loved this book!!

Cyril Avery’s birth mother was raised with a very strict Catholic upbringing and when it was discovered that she was pregnant and unmarried, she was soon cast out of her family, her church and her town.  She gave birth to Cyril and gave him up for adoption.  This story tells Cyril’s life from birth to death covering not only his major life events but also world events such as the AIDS crisis and 9/11 along with the ongoing prejudice against gay men.  We travel with Cyril from Dublin to Amsterdam to New York and back to Ireland.

There are quite a few characters in this book but what I loved was how the author plotted the story so that all the character’s lives intersected at some point.  When a new character was introduced, the reader may not know exactly what role they will play in Cyril’s life, but at some point, they will intersect and all will be illuminated.

This is a chunky book running approximately 590 pages on my Kindle, however, I became so engrossed in the story that it felt like I got to the end of Cyril’s story too soon.

Highly recommend this book – I don’t give out a lot of five stars but this book certainly deserved it and is my favorite read so far this year.

The Heart's

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie – Book Review

This is another mystery by Agatha Christie featuring Hercule Poirot.  Roger Ackroyd is found murdered in his study.  Again, as with most Agatha Christie books, there are a number of suspects and red herrings.  Normally I cannot figure out the murderer until it is revealed.  This time around, I was able to figure it out but only about four or five pages before the big reveal.  I have not read a lot of books by this author (probably only about 4) but to date, this is my favorite.  I enjoyed the story line that Poirot had actually retired to a small village and was living a quiet life until his assistance was requested to solve this murder.

This book was required reading for a university class that I am taking this fall and I am very glad this was the Christie book that was picked as I found it quite enjoyable.The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Tangerine by Christine Mangan – Book Review

I was of two minds when deciding what rating to give this book – was it going to be three stars or two stars??

The book is about two women – Alice Shipley and Lucy Mason.  They meet in college when they were assigned as roommates and quickly became best friends.  There is an incident at some point during their time at Bennington College and it tears them apart.  Alice is fragile and Lucy is domineering and there is definitely a Single White Female vibe running through this book.  Lucy disappears after the “incident” and a number of years later, Alice marries John and they move to Tangier.  While John loves living in Tangier, Alice hates it and has an extremely difficult time adjusting to the point where she almost becomes agoraphobic and doesn’t want to leave their apartment.  Low and behold, who shows up at the door one day but Lucy with plans to stay with Alice and John.

This is where I start to have issues with this book.  As I said earlier, Lucy is domineering and Alice just lets her walk all over her.  For example, several times Alice asks Lucy to leave.  Lucy just disregards Alice’s request and continues to live with them.  I got so tired of Alice being a doormat that both John and Lucy walked all over.

My preference for book endings is when good triumphs over evil and unfortunately that doesn’t happen in this book.  While I think the book is well written and I enjoyed the descriptions of Tangier, personally, my enjoyment factor wasn’t high and while I gave it a 3 star rating, it was teetering on the edge of two stars.

Tangerine

Meghan – Book Review

This is another biography of a member of the Royal Family by Andrew Morton, best known for his collaboration with Diana, Princess of Wales, on the 1992 biography, Diana:  Her True Story.  In this memoir, we learn more about Meghan Markle who married Prince Harry in May, 2018.

While I enjoyed the book (it was certainly a fast read), I can’t say that there were any great revelations that I didn’t already know as I follow the Royal Family by reading biographies, following their Instagram account and news articles.  I have just recently started watching the tv show Suits for which she is most known for and I was pleasantly surprised at how good she was in that show.  I also give her credit for all the charity work that she did prior to meeting Harry.  It certainly seems like this is a love match and as Harry will not be King (it would take a disaster to happen), hopefully they will be able to live a more private life than William and Kate.

Enjoyable read – 3 stars.

Meghan

Book Review – On Chesil Beach

This is a short novel of 166 pages that covers one night in Edward’s and Florence’s life – their wedding night which goes disastrously.  Through flashbacks, we relive their courtship days leading up to their engagement, wedding and wedding night.  Both Edward and Florence come to their marriage as virgins, the difference between the two being that Edward is very much looking forward to becoming intimate with Florence while as Florence is dreading the thought of having to be intimate with Edward.

I have read two other books by Ian McEwan; Atonement which I enjoyed very much and Amsterdam which I did not enjoy at all.  I am placing On Chesil Beach somewhere in the middle of these two books with respect to my enjoyment factor.

On Chesil Beach has been made into a movie which is out in theatres now and I suspect that this will be one of those rare books where although I enjoyed the book, I believe I will enjoy the movie more.

On Chesil Beach

Book Review – Once A Rancher

This is the first book that I have read by this author and as I don’t read a lot of romance, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised.  In one sense, this seemed to be a traditional romance story, however, there was also a mystery element to it which is what I really enjoyed.  This is the first book in a series and I will continue on with it.

Once A Rancher

Book Review – Something In the Water

This book begins in the present day with the protagonist, Erin, digging a grave in the woods.  We even know who the grave is for as the body is lying beside her at the time, but I’m not going to tell you as you will want to read this story yourself and then when you turn the last page, ask yourself “how well do you really know the people in your life?”.

The story takes the reader back 3 months in the past to allow us to understand why Erin is digging a grave in the woods.    Erin is a documentarist and is engaged to Mark, a financier who has a successful career in the banking industry.  Their wedding is only weeks away and we hear this story from Erin’s point of view.  We hear all about the planning leading up to the wedding and then the wedding itself and finally the honeymoon.  They have booked a luxury honeymoon in a private cabana in Bora Bora and the first few days are glorious, sun-filled relaxation and fun.  Erin is a bit nervous, however, as she has promised Mark that she would go scuba diving with him.  Mark is an experienced scuba diver but Erin has only gone once and it was a bad experience where she panicked and felt like she was suffocating.  Mark has promised her that he will be right by her side and help her through it and she wants to make Mark happy so she agrees to a day out on the boat diving.

The resort suggests to Mark a good spot where there is a wreck they can explore along with a deserted island that they can spend some time on.  They both end up having a great day and Erin does well with the scuba diving, however, evening is coming and it is time to get back to the resort.  On their way back to the resort, they encounter something that will change their lives – something in the water.

This book is a Reese Witherspoon book club choice and she has done an excellent job picking a book that is hard to put down.  This is a debut novel and I think that the author has done a fabulous job.  She has written a book where the plot has been well thought out and she has come up with plausible solutions for each hurdle in the story.  Hurdles that I thought were insurmountable but yet the author had solutions that I could actually see working and loose ends were continually being tied up.

I am giving this book 4.5 stars and I will definitely pay more attention to when Reese announces a new book pick if this is any indication of the types of books she will be suggesting. Something in the Water