Mystery Monday | Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories from Mystery Writers of America

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional 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.

Who is it by? Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories is by various authours who are all members of the Mystery Writers of America (MWA), an organization of mystery and crime writers based in NYC. Some of the more familiar names that can be found in this collection include Mary Higgins Clark who also serves as the editor of this collection as well as Ben H Winter (The Last Policeman trilogy), Lee Childs (the Jack Reacher series) and T. Jefferson Parker (Silent Joe, California Girl).

What is it about? Manhattan Mayhem is a collection of short mystery stories that were put together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Mystery Writers of America. The collection is edited by well known mystery writer, Mary Higgins Clark and it contains new and original mysteries from eighteen different mystery writers. Together all eighteen stories take you on a tour of all the iconic neighbourhoods in Manhattan, New York.

mantthanmayhem

Where does it take place? The stories take place all over New York, spanning across several neighbourhoods and even throughout different significant time periods.

Why did I like it? I’ve wrote before on this blog, that what I love the mainly about these short story collections is that I become exposed to the works of authours that are new to me. Also, with Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories, it is evident that there was a enormous amount of time, effort and thought spent on the exterior and interior of the book as the production quality is quite high. Additionally within the book, I adored how each story has photos and a map of the neighbourhood its set in which actually helps set the mood for each of the eighteen stories.

And reminiscent of several other short story collections, there were various stories that were a hit with me, while others were a bit of a miss. Either way I loved how short the stories were as it made it effortless to pick up the book and put down and pick up again later, which is the ideal solution for those who love to read on their morning and/or afternoon commute. Of the eighteen stories, one of the stories that were Three Little Words by Nancy Pickard, which concerns a 26 year woman who is told she doesn’t have much time left and she decides the only thing she wishes to carry out before she dies is to tell truth. This simple decision turns out to have major ramifications for every person around her, including her doctor. I also thoroughly enjoyed Trapped by Ben H Winters, a play about a murder mystery which was my personal favourite for the reason that it has such a well thought out, splendid twist to it. Finally, I loved Chin Yong-Yun Makes a Shiddach, since I can definitely relate as I have relatives that resemble the mother in the story. This story piqued my curiosity enough that I would love to check out more books from S.J. Rozan where the daughter of the mother in this story is the protagonist.

When did it come out? June 2, 2015 from Quirk Books

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 | Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo by Grace Buchele Mineta

confesstexAuthour:
Grace Buchele Mineta
Format:
PDF, 188 pages
Publication date:
June 21st 2015
Publisher:
Texan in Tokyo Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Just last month, I reviewed Grace Buchele Mineta’s second comic book My Japanese Husband STILL Thinks I’m Crazy for my Words of Asia blog event and I jumped at the opportunity to review her latest book, Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo. Similar to her previous books, the comics in Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo once again follow the adorable couple of Grace and her husband, Ryosuke as they navigate their lives as a young married couple in Tokyo.

Though Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo shares numerous similarities with Grace’s other books, what I enjoyed most regarding Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo was that there were more detailed blog posts included in this book. The blog posts in this book are extremely well thought out and better structured in this book, compared with her last two books. And I especially enjoyed the pages where Grace talks about what she loves and doesn’t love about living in Tokyo. Additionally, Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo also contains pages that inform the readers of words that are only found in Japanese. These pages are always amusing to read as we learn words such as tsundokusuruhito (積読する人) which is a Japanese word to describe a person who buys numerous books and lets them pile up around their house. I’m sure several people, whether they are book bloggers or not could probably relate to this.

Furthermore if you enjoyed the forewords that Ryosuke contributed to Grace’s last two books, then you’re in for a treat as the foreword in Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo is probably my favourite one to this point. Thus, if you’re a fan of Grace’s blog, videos, the comics she creates, and/or you like reading about adorable couples then you’ll definitely enjoy Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo.

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One of my favourite comics from Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo, that showcases the adorableness of Grace and her husband, Ryosuke. ( Confessions of a Texan in Tokyo, p. 30)

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 | A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install

a-robot-in-the-garden-by-deborah-install-book-coverAuthour:
Deborah Install
Format:
Trade Paperback, 284 pages
Publication date:
June 30th 2015
Publisher:
Random House Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“Why would there be a robot in the garden? Have you left that bloody gate open again, Amy?” (p. 7)

Although I had lukewarm feelings towards The Rosie Project, a book which A Robot in the Garden has been compared to, I did fall in love A Robot in the Garden. The premise of A Robot in the Garden is basically what’s stated in the title; however it contains a greater amount of substance. The story takes place in a world and time when androids not uncommon and we get to travel to different countries as Ben and Tang embark on their journey to find out more concerning Tang right around the time when Ben’s life starts to fall apart.

Surprisingly, enough while I was not fond of Ben or Tang as individuals, I adored them together. The bond that forms between the two is incredibly endearing to witness, as is the mental and physical journey the two embark on together, which takes to places far from Ben’s home like Japan and the USA. And while I found the transformation Ben undergoes to be slightly difficult to believe, I did appreciate how as a result of his new found maturity he doesn’t rush into anything when he returns home from his journey with Tang. I also love the various characters that Ben and Tang encounter on their journey, and I found it hilarious when Ben and Tang were mistaken as lovers.

A Robot in the Garden is a truly lovely story that warmed my heart and gave me hope simultaneously. Additionally, it’s also a story concerning family, marriage, loss, and love with a slightly surprising reveal regarding Tang’s origins that shows that ultimately it is up to you to decide how you will live your life. Deborah Install has written a simple yet highly enjoyable and amusing adventure story that is a wonderful summer pick and should be on everyone’s reading list for the beach or a summer vacation.

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

Mystery Monday | Hungry Ghosts by Peggy Blair

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: HUNGRYGHOSTS
Peggy Blair
Series:
Inspector Ramirez, #3
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 363 pages
Publication date:
June 2015
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Peggy Blair has once again done! Thrilling and compelling, Hungry Ghosts is probably my favourite book of the Inspector Ramirez series to date. In Hungry Ghosts, the mystery this time involves both an art heist in addition to a string of murders of prostitutes in Cuba. Meanwhile, in Northern Ontario in Canada we follow Detective Charlie Pike (who was introduced to readers in the previous book, The Poisoned Pawn) as he investigates a murder of a woman who appears to have been killed in a manner similar to the prostitutes that were killed in Cuba.

What I loved mainly regarding Hungry Ghosts was that I got to revisit the characters again, and learn what’s been happening on with them. I didn’t realize how much I missed Ramirez, Apiro, Maria, Celia and Charlie until I started this book. Fortunately for me it was relatively simple to jump right back into their world even though it’s been awhile since I’ve read the last book. I also found it interesting that we receive further details on Charlie Pike’s back-story as the case he is sent to investigate brings him back to his people. I appreciated reading his back story as it truly builds on his character. In addition, it was fascinating to acquire glimpse of what is life for those living on a reserve. And as always, the plot in Cuba with Inspector Ramirez offers a large amount of insight on what it is like for the locals who in reality live there and it definitely shows throughout the book that the authour has done her research.

Hungry Ghosts is an intriguing page turner that was extremely difficult to put down. Peggy Blair does a brilliant job of telling two separate stories, each with their own twists thrown in and tying it altogether into one book.

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

Words of Asia | China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

WOA

For a listing to the links for all the other review posts for the Words of Asia blog event click here.

About the Authour:
Kevin Kwan was born in Singapore and currently lives in Manhattan. China Rich Girlfriend is his second novel, a follow up to his first novel, Crazy Rich Asians. Having grown up in the world that is depicted in his novels, he’s in an excellent position to give the rest of us an insider’s look into the exclusive world of the wealthy in Asia.

Where Does it Take Place?
The book jumps around ALOT! It starts in China then goes to Hong Kong before jumping to California and then to Singapore. Basically reading this book is like traveling to a whole bunch of different places, most of them in Asia.

chinarich

What’s it About:
The sequel to Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend once again follow Rachel and Nick as they get to know a whole other side of crazy rich, this time in Mainland China. And this whole new, crazy world may or may not be somehow connected to Rachel’s father. Along the way w get to catch up with some fan favourite characters from the first book such as Eddie and Astrid as well as getting to know some of the new characters.

My Thoughts:
In case you guys don’t know, China Rich Girlfriend was pretty much my most anticipated read of 2015. I could not wait to dive into that world again and visit all the familiar characters as well as meet the new ones. Fortunately the book did not disappoint, I love that we get to see both Astrid and Peik Lin again as well as Nick and Rachel of course. And I love Rachel’s interactions with some of the new characters especially one in particular who may be connected to her father. All in all, this entire book was much more intense and crazier than the first book, what with all the mind games and characters sizing each other up at every chance they get. It was basically a rollicking, good time and an excellent novel if you ever want to escape into another world. I also loved how in this book, the authour made the decision to show some of the plot through gossip tabloids and news articles, I thought it was an incredibly creative idea and it was a welcome addition to the reading experience. In the end while I really loved the book, I can’t help but want more so I really hope there will be a third book. Not ready to say goodbye to these characters yet!

You’ll like this book, if you love:
Books with LOTS of DRAMA, soap opera- like gossip, fashion and of course mouth watering descriptions of food. Also for those who you something slightly different from your usual adult contemporary fiction and a different kind of setting.


I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Nevertheless, regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Words of Asia | In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar

WOA

For a listing of the links to all the other review posts for the Words of Asia blog event click here.

About the Authour:
Mia Alvar is a writer who currently lives in New York City. She was born in the Philippines and raised in Bahrain and the United States. In the Country is her first book.inthecountry

Where Does it Take Place?
Like the Filipino diaspora, these stories take place anywhere from the USA to the Middle East which gives readers a look at how different the immigrant experience is as well as the common thread between all their experiences despite ending up in different countries with different cultures.

What’s it About:
In the Country, is a collection of nine short stories about the Filipino diaspora. These are women and men who are starting their lives in countries all over the world.

My Thoughts:
Usually with short stories collection there are some stories I love and others I don’t love. However, with Mia Alvar’s In the Country I found that I love pretty much most of the stories in the collection. Each of the stories is more captivating than the previous one. The stories, themselves have a lot of substance, and are extremely thought provoking. The recurring theme in In the Country is that there’s so much more to people and situations then you may see at first glimpse.

With so many choices to choose from, I’d have to say my favourite of the collection would probably be, The Miracle Worker story which is an exceptionally well written story about a woman who is hired to teach severely handicapped girl. As a result of her encounter with the girl and the girl’s mother she starts to doubt her marriage and what she wants in life. I loved the story for the message it imparts on the reader at the end. Additionally, I enjoyed reading Legends of the White Lady because it mixes a traditional ghost story with the contemporary story of a foreign model in Philippines. What I loved most about this book was reading about all the Filipino people living all over the world and the lives they lead, as these stories are the ones that I don’t often hear about or come across as often in the books I tend to read.

You’ll like this book, if you love:
Stories about the immigrant experience, and not just of those who have immigrated to North America but those who have moved to countries that you may not expect them to.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Nevertheless, regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.