Mystery Monday | Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly

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? Michael Connelly has written around 27 books, and he is best known for his known for Bosch and Haller series. Before becoming a best-selling crime writer, he was formerly a newspaper reporter. Dark Sacred Night  is the second book in his Renée Ballard series, which features a fierce female detective.

What is it about? The second book featuring Connelly’s female detective, Renée Ballard sees her teaming up with veteran Bosch to try and solve the old cold case of the death of fifteen-year-old Daisy Clayton. Told from both Ballard and Bosch’s story, this is the team up that fans of these two Connelly series didn’t know they wanted but they definitely need.

Where does it take place? Like many of Connelly’s other books, this one is set in California with the case taking to them the Hills in Hollywood and San Fernando.

Why did I like it? I love a good team up, especially if they feature two of my favourite mystery novel protagonists. I’m already familiar with Bosch having read a few of the books in his series, and I loved Ballard after being introduced to her in The Late Show. The two form an unlikely but interesting duo as one is more experienced, working outside of the police force while the other is still inside, but has been ostracized by most of her peers after filing a report against one of her fellow officers for sexual harassment. I also loved the abundance of female law enforcement officers who play a central role in this book as it’s always great to see the women kick butt and be badasses. That being said, Bosch being the character that he is, ended up dominating the majority of this book despite it being a team up with him and Ballard. And while, the novel does alternate between sections from both Ballard and Bosch’s perspective, Ballard unfortunately is eclipsed by Bosch’ every time he appears or is mentioned. Nevertheless, Dark Sacred Night is another gripping novel from Michael Connelly. Ballard and Bosch work well as a team, and I wouldn’t object to seeing them team up more often in future books.

When does it come out? October 30th 2018

 

 

 

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

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Book Review | What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan

Authour:
Lucy Tan
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
July 10th, 2018
Publisher:
Little, Brown
Source:
Received from publisher.

Review:
A rag to riches tale, Lucy Tan’s What We Were Promised follows the Zhen family as they move from their hometown in rural China to the USA then back to China, only this time they’ve become part of the new wealthy class living in Shanghai, China.

The story follows the lives of Wei and Lina Zhen in addition to the woman who becomes their housekeeper, Sunny. While the focus is on the Zhens, there is enough of Sunny’s backstory to fully flesh out her character development. Each the characters’ stories are told by an omniscient narrator which lends itself well to the reader who is getting a glimpse behind the “doors” of one family among the many who live in the luxury apartments.

For a début novel, What We Were Promised has exquisite prose and stellar storytelling. Tan truly captivates the reader with her descriptions of China and the manner in which she weaves together all the characters’ lives, ensures that their past and present stay connected. The book is rich in detail which further allows the reader to escape into this often inaccessible world of the well-off in China.

I appreciated the fact that Wei was not made out to be a stereotypical, arrogant executive who has countless extramarital affairs. While he has his flaws just like the other characters, it was easy to sympathize with him being a regular man who worked his way up by being diligent and hustling. Meanwhile, Lina’s story gives us a behind the glamour and glitz look at the life of a Taitai aka rich housewife. It’s understandable that transitioning from working full-time to staying at home requires a bit of an adjustment and Lina’s boredom and restlessness is never sugar-coated. Still, in spite of Lina and Wei’s story being the central focus of What We Were Promised, it’s Sunny’s story that resonated with me the most. Unlike the majority of women her age, Sunny is single and makes her own money though she sends a chunk of it back home to her parents. I enjoyed seeing a female character who actually is satisfied with not remarrying and just being financially independent and free. Sunny’s story also provides the readers with a servant’s perspective of the Zhen family drama and life inside a luxury, fully serviced apartment.

What We Were Promised is a story about homecoming, complicated and messy family dynamics and the “Asian tax” meaning the obligations we feel towards our family when we’ve made something of ourselves. And just as the title suggests What We Were Promised is also about expectations both from the family and individual and how it’s all too easy to waste time dwelling in the past and what could have been instead of staying in the present and looking to the future.

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 | The Late Show by Michael Connelly

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? Michael Connelly has written around 27 books, and he is best known for his known for Bosch and Haller series. Before becoming a best-selling crime writer, he was formerly a newspaper reporter. The Late Show is the first book in his Renée Ballard series, which features a fierce female detective.

What is it about? Renée Ballard is a former homicide detective who now works the “late night” shift in Hollywood as “punishment” for daring to file a sexual harassment complaint against her supervisor. This book focuses on two cases that she can’t let go of, one being the assault of a prostitute who is left for dead and the other being a bar shooting. Despite neither being in her jurisdiction, Ballard becomes relentless in her pursuit for justice especially when those close to her get dragged into the cases even if its to come at the expense of her career.

Where does it take place? Hollywood, LA the city of angels aka “Tinseltown”.

Why did I like it? I was both wary and excited when it was announced that Michael Connelly would be coming out with a new series, this one featuring a female detective. Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about as once again Connelly brings it! His writing is sharp as always and the story is excellently plotted. I loved that Renée Ballard is a fierce, complex and unrelenting character and that right from her introduction, we see how she truly cares about helping others. She even goes out of her way to help those she knows who have cases that would otherwise get lost in the pile of other police cases. Furthermore, I enjoyed the portrayal of Renée’s employment situation as it highlights how difficult it can be for women working in a male dominated field and how unfortunate it is that those in a position of power can abuse their authority. That being said, I appreciated the fact that while she may be continuously dismissed and mocked, at the end of the day, even her superiors can’t help but acknowledge just how talented Renée is at her job. I’m definitely looking forward to more Renée Ballard books, as I’m intrigued to see where her character goes next.

When did it come out? July 18th, 2017

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 | The Crossing (Harry Bosch #20) by Michael Connelly

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? Michael Connelly has written around 27 books, and he is best known for his known for Bosch and Haller series. Before becoming a best-selling crime writer, he was formerly a newspaper reporter. Currently he serves as an executive producer of the Bosch TV series which is based on the books and is produced by Amazon.

What is it about? Recently forced into an early retirement Bosch is enlisted by half brother, Mickey Haller to assist him with a case. Though uneasy about working for the “other side”, after doing some investigating and research on his own he finds that there may be some truth in Haller’s claims and that the man Haller is working for may actually be innocent after all. And if that’s the case, then Bosch won’t rest until he finds the real killer no matter what he has to do.

crossing

Where does it take place? Mostly in LA near Hollywood.

Why did I like it? The Crossing is probably my most favourite Connelly book so far. It caught my attention from the start and my excitement over the synopsis was definitely warranted in this case. I loved getting to see the two brothers work together as they normally would be on opposing sides, and even if it’s not their first time working as a team it was still awesome to read.

I found it fascinating to witness Bosch’s internal struggle as he is so used to old way of life that the current situation he finds himself is incredibly challenging for him. Additionally, it was nice to see how he was able to slowly make peace with what he’s doing, and even if he showed no interest in continuing this line of work part of me hopes he will change his mind as he and Haller make a great team. Overall the case in this book was an intriguing one and there were definitely few twists that threw me for a second, and I adored every minute of it.

When is it out? November 3, 2015

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 | The Book of Wanderings: A Mother-Daughter Pilgrimage by Kimberly Meyer

wanderingsAuthour:
Kimberly Meyer
Format:
Hardcover, 354 pages
Publication date:
March 24th 2015
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“Some say we are all pilgrims. Pilgrims, from the Latin peregriniper, ‘through’; ager, ‘field, land, country.’ We’re wanderers and strangers, foreigners, aliens, exiles. We’re on a journey, trying to return to some spiritual home.” (p. 13)

What initially drew me to this book was the fact that it was a story concerning a mother and daughter, together in several of the places that I have always wanted to visit, in addition to one country that I in reality lived in at one point in my life. What I did not expect was the major role that religion would play in the book, though I did have an inkling of it since the book is called The Book of Wanderings.

Coming into The Book of Wanderings, I thought it would focus more on the mother-daughter bonding on top of their travel experiences. Instead, we receive a much deeper story that includes all of what I was expected in addition to discussions regarding philosophy, history, faith and spirituality. And while we do discover more about both Kimberly and her daughter as individuals, we don’t get to view them interacting with each as much as I thought which left me feeling slightly disappointed.

Thus for me, this book was a bit of a mixed bag. Several parts I found extremely compelling and I flew through those sections such as the time they spent in Israel. This was probably due to the fact that those sections made me feel nostalgic for the time I spent living in Israel, and I was curious to observe their impressions of places that I have visited myself. Meanwhile other sections felt a bit long winded and came off as rather dry.

Nevertheless, The Book of Wanderings definitely is a touchingly poignant story of self discovery and finding a place where you belong. In the conclusion, reading this book was much akin to embarking on a pilgrimage of my own, at times it felt long and difficult although ultimately I believe it was worth it.

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 | Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

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:brokenmon
Lauren Beukes
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 439 pages
Publication date:
September 16, 2014
Publisher:
Little Brown and Company
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
In Lauren Beukes’s Broken Monsters, the story is told from five major points of views, all of whom are characters that are “broken” in their own way and can be considered “monsters” depending on who you ask. Set in the city of Detroit; a place known for its high crime rate, most of the action revolves around the underground street art world in the book. What I love with regards to this book was how the characters provide such a unique take on the events of the book as they have different backgrounds and different roles that connect them to each other and brings them into the investigation.

On the other hand, I will say that within the different perspective offered, there were definitely some that were more interesting than another. For instance, I loved the chapters that focused on Detective Gabriella “Gabi” Versado who was the ideal blend of cool and vulnerable. I love how she was excellent at her job, yet she was also prone to the stresses and trauma that may result from her job as a detective. I also liked Layla; her daughter who was incredibly different than other teens I’m come across in books. She felt like someone whom I could have known back in high school as she was impulsive, and made stupid decisions despite being quite smart. On the other hand, I was not as interested in Clayton’s story or the journalist, Jonno’s chapters as I felt they were uninteresting and dragged out at times.

Broken Monsters took me by surprise as I initially thought I would be disappointed since the story felt extremely long and slow at the start. Fortunately, over time the chapters started getting shorter, which helped move the story along, though the downside was that it meant I got less time with the characters that I cared about. Overall, Broken Monsters was a vivid, thrilling though slightly disturbing and bizarre read set.

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.