Mystery Monday | Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness by David Casarett

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? David Casarett, is a physician, researcher, and tenured associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness is his first work of fiction, and the first novel in the Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency series. He currently lives in Philadelphia.

What is it about? Ladarat Patalung is a nurse-ethicist (someone who “guides” her fellow nurses and physicians on matters of clinical ethics), and not a detective nor did she ever want to be one. However, when a series of murder victims are patients at her hospital she must act fast with the help of her assistant and a kind detective and figure out what is happening or her hospital’s excellent reputation with be ruined.

rooster

Where does it take place? Set in Northern Thailand, this book is filled various details about the culture and lifestyle of the people living in Thailand. And while it was fascinating learning about a country I only vaguely heard about before, I did find that having a lot of details tin the book was somewhat distracting as I would often put down the book to google various dishes and plants mentioned throughout the book.

Why did I like it? Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness stars a nurse Ethicist, Ladarat who find herself playing the role of detective. Before reading this book I had no idea what a nurse ethicist did.  Thus, it was interesting to have a protagonist whose day job was a nurse ethicist at a major hospital.

What I liked about Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness was the fact that Ladarat did not have any superhuman like special skills, instead she was just a very observant person. This was something that I could relate to, as I often people watch when I’m out in public. Another thing that was done well were the various descriptions of Thai food and culture. I never gave much thought to Thai culture, but reading about it has made me interested in learning more about the country and perhaps visiting it one day. Through his writing, it is obvious that the author has a deep love and respect for the people and culture of Thailand. Although he does tend to compare Thailand to America quite a bit in the book.

While Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness does take some time before it picks up, it was overall a decent read. The author does a good job at capturing the voice of the female protagonist, and it’s definitely evident that he has a medical background which he brings to the novel making the story come alive more.

When did it come out? September 13, 2016

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 | Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett

femAuthour:
Jessica Bennett
Format:
ARC; 293 pages
Publication date:
September 13th 2016
Publisher:
Harper Wave
Publisher Social Media:
Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

I first heard about Jessica Bennett’s Feminist Fight Club from this quite epic book trailer, where a woman has to “defeat” various scenarios/rounds in a video game. Despite being non-fiction, I found this book to be a witty, entertaining and quick read that can be accessible to even readers who typically do not read non-fiction. This is due to the writing style which is not pretentious or overly preachy. It also helps that there are hilarious illustrations and diagrams that give readers a break between pages of text.

The book itself is divided into six different sections (along with a few other mini sections and a glossary at the back of the book). The six core sections are: Know the Enemy, Know Thyself, Bobby Traps, Get Your Speak On, F You Pay Me, and  WWJD – What Would Josh Do (aka “How to Carry Yourself with the Confidence of a Mediocre Man“). Within each section an issue or scenario/example is presented before being followed by some practical, and useful advice and tips on how to tackle the issue or how to act accordingly.

Regardless of your background, there is something for every young woman to relate to in this book. I personally loved the Know Thyself section in addition to the Get Your Speak On section as there was a great deal of helpful information in those two sections that are applicable to me and my current circumstances. And for those who have the option to negotiate their work but are terrified or unsure of how to start, the F You Pay Me section is a must read. Finally the last section, WWJD – What Would Josh Do is hilarious yet true and genuinely helpful. The back cover of my review copy for Feminist Fight Club describes it as “Lean In for the BuzzFeed generation” which I believe is accurate since the writing and illustrations would definitely appeal to this particular group of 20-30 something year olds. If you’re in need of an empowering read, I would definitely recommend purchasing Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett.

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 | Don’t I Know You? by Marni Jackson

don't knowAuthour:
Marni Jackson
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
September 27th 2016
Publisher:
Flatiron Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Written by Canadian journalist, Marni Jackson’s Don’t I Know You? has an intriguing premise to it. Rose McEwan is an ordinary woman who lives a fairly regular life except for her various random encounters with random celebrities among them, Joni Mitchell, Meryl Streep, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Taylor Swift.

While the first chapter where Rose encounters John Uplike was weird and to be honest, slightly creepy the following chapter with Joni Mitchell made up for it although I hated how passive Rose was. This was generally the tone of the book, a few of the encounters were strange while others were charming and cute. My favorite story in the collection is, probably, Mister Softee where Rose first encounters Leonard Cohen for the first time. I loved that it concerns family and dealing with death, and while it was a simple story it was incredibly poignant. The Reading featuring Meryl Streep and Exfoliation with Gwyneth Kate Paltrow giving Rose a facial in addition to Free Love with Joni Mitchell were all memorable and were close runner-ups. And obviously the final chapter with a featuring a canoe trip that Rose takes with Leonard Cohen, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Taylor Swift stood out as the most unrealistic yet charming of all the stories in this whimsical collection.

Being a Canadian myself, I love that the author takes the time to highlight the various sights and sceneries that can be found in Canada. Thus whether intentional or not, it felt as if this collection of stories served as a homage or even a “love letter” to the country itself even if the book wasn’t completely set in Canada. Don’t I Know You? is a book that I’d recommend for those who appreciate short story collections that are slightly unusual yet charming throughout.

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