Mystery Monday | FaceOff

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Authour:faceoff
Edited by David Baldacci
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 444 pages
Publication date:
June 3rd 2014
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
What do you get when you add two well known thriller writers together along with some of their well known characters all in one story? For countless fans of thrillers it would probably be a dream come true. For someone like me who ordinarily isn’t the biggest fan of thriller fiction, it was an eye opener to the different possibilities the genre has to offer. Even before I read this book, the concept alone was enough to know that I needed to review this book on my blog.

There are eleven stories in this collection, which is edited by David Baldacci a writer who is quite well known in his own right. Each chapter features a different collaboration between two well-known thriller writers, and starts off with an introduction that tells the reader about the two writers the characters they choose to include in the story, an explanation as to why the authours were paired up and finally in some instances we get a behind the scenes glimpse of the whole writing, collaboration and thought processes. I found these introductions extremely informative as well as a helpful guide to the characters which in turn enhanced my reading experience as there were only like three characters in this entire collection that I was familiar with. The introductions also showed that much thought was put into the pairings which made me appreciate this collection even more as the pairings worked extremely well for the on the whole.

Taken as a whole, FaceOff had me slowly changing my mind reconsidering trying out more thrillers though nothing too scary. There was a variety in the types of thriller stories in this collection from super creepy to bone chilling to fast paced procedurals, which is excellent for those who want to dip their toes into the thriller genre as it introduces readers to various different characters and from these stand alone stories you can decide based on the characters which series you would like want to pick up next. I know that after reading this collection, the list of thriller novels I want to read has grown substantially as I know I want to read more books with Patrick Kenzie, Malachi and Repairman Jack in them. All are interesting but remarkably different and unique characters who make this collection a highly recommended read for all.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Laughing All the Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz

Authour:mosque
Zarqa Nawaz
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 237 pages
Publication date:
June 24th 2014
Publisher:
HarperCollins Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Back in high school, I discovered and fell in love with a Canadian television show called Little Mosque on the Prairie. It was so different from all the other shows I had seen on TV not to mention that it was funny and had a great cast of well written characters. As a result, when I heard that the creator of Little Mosque on the Prairie was coming out with a book that was a sort of memoir, I knew that it would be on my to-read list.

Laughing All the Way to the Mosque is a book that is divided into numerous short chapters, each touching upon different aspects of Islamic culture and the authour’s personal experience with them. I love the earlier chapters more than the later ones since the experiences were awfully relatable to me even though I’m not a Muslim. I can, however definitely relate to the feelings of not fitting in as a kid and feeling like an outsider as I was one of only two Asians in my elementary school which was dominated by Italians.

The chapters that stood out to me were, “Muslim Summer Camp” and “Meeting Sami”. The former was about the time she was left in charge of running a Muslim Summer camp for kids and had no idea what she was doing while the latter recounts her adventures meeting various suitors before she met the man who would later become her husband. Both of these stories were hilarious to read about and they were my two favourites in this book. However my favourite one as it is the chapter that I relate the largely to, would have to be, “Medical School Reject”. For anyone who’s been a student and who has had their plans for after graduation fall apart, Zarqa’s story and journey is a definite must read.

In conclusion, Laughing All the Way to the Mosque is an exceptionally entertaining and comedic look at at one woman’s view of growing up Muslim. I love how the book ends with a chapter titled, “Photos with White Men”. I first heard it on the CBC radio show, DNTO and I loved reading it because of its message that no matter what culture you are, your mother always knows best.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Blog Tour | Mating For Life by Marissa Stapley Book Review

Authour:matelife
Marissa Stapley
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 312 pages
Publication date:
June 24 2014
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Marissa Stapley’s debut novel, Mating for Life is both an interesting and a touching story about the relationships women have with each other in addition to being about family and love. Though the book started off slow for me, and some parts were a bit too wordy for my liking, I thought Mating for Life was overall a nice read.

What I enjoyed about Mating for Life is that it follows only the women in the book with the men acting as more secondary characters. Throughout the book we get to know Helen Sear, the mother of three grown up daughters and a woman who has always prided herself on not needing men. As well, we also obtain an opportunity to get acquainted with her daughters, Liane, Fiona and Ilsa, who are all unique though fairly believable characters. And even though I could not relate much to them with the exception of Liane’s tendency to idealize strangers; they still felt extremely real to me since the issues and questions the characters have are quite common today.

With many characters, it was a bit tough to get used to all the bouncing between different characters’ point of views which often happens in a single chapter, perhaps it would have been better if each character had their own chapter so that the flow was not disrupted as much. However even within the chapters, the transitions between different characters were handled better compared to other books I’ve read previously.

Overall, Stapley’s greatest strength in Mating for Life lies in capturing the complexities of female relationships as well as describing the little and on occasion dramatic moments such as the bridge scene between Fiona and her husband, Tim as well as the epilogue with Helen. The first scene made me tear up a bit, which made me look even weirder than usual as I was reading it while on the bus. Meanwhile the latter just filled me up with so much hope and joy.

Mating for Life is a book that I believe would make for a fine cottage read given its main setting. And I love how Stapley plays with the title of her book by including a brief description of the mating and/or breeding behaviour of a different animal at the start of each chapter. This adds to the book, as not only do you find an interesting story, but you also learn a thing or too.

If you like this book, you’ll love: My Ghosts by Mary Swan

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Early Book Review | So Much a Part of You by Polly Dugan

Authour:somuch
Polly Dugan
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 229 pages
Publication date:
June 10th 2014
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
So Much a Part of You by Polly Dugan is a short but strong collection of short stories that are all interconnected. We follow a young boy named Jack who has an extremely dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father, a passive mother and a sister whom he does not get along with. This boy later grows up and becomes a father to a Anna, a character who appears in some form in almost all the stories afterwards. Jack’s relationship with his sister, Clare kind of reminds me of the relationship I have with my younger brother though fortunately our parents are nothing like theirs. It was pretty interesting to see the father Jack ends up being and one can only conclude that his experiences with growing up and the traumas he encountered really had an impact on him.

Anna was an ordinary protagonist though her relationships with other characters later on made her a more fascinating character to follow. It was interesting to see how Anna was connected to all the other characters and it was cool to see their back stories. The nice thing about the stories featured in So Much a Part of You is how relatable some of the things the characters’ experiences can be to young people. Things like wanting to fit in at college, to make bad decisions and even the fear that you are becoming more and more like your parent as you grow older.

Though the description on the back of the book is a bit misleading as it focuses on only one of the numerous stories in this collection, So Much a Part of You is overall, a mostly well-written collection of short stories that I think would appeal especially to those who are in their twenties and older. It is also a perfect, quick read for a work commute as the stories are enjoyable and despite being about life, relationships and growing; they aren’t heavy reads.

If you like this book, you’ll love: Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess


Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.