Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

Summer House with Swimming PoolWhen a medical mistake goes horribly wrong and Ralph Meier, a famous actor, winds up dead, Dr. Marc Schlosser is forced to conceal the error from his patients and family. After all, reputation is everything in this business. But the weight of carrying such a secret lies heavily on his mind, and he can't keep hiding from the truth…or the Board of Medical Examiners.

The problem is that the real truth is a bit worse than a simple slipup. Marc played a role in Ralph's death, and he's not exactly upset that the man is gone. Still haunted by his eldest daughter's rape during their stay at Ralph's extravagant Mediterranean summerhouse-one they shared with Ralph and his enticing wife, Judith, film director Stanley Forbes and his far younger girlfriend, Emmanuelle, and Judith's mother-Marc has had it on his mind that the perpetrator of the rape could be either Ralph or Stanley. Stanley's guilt seems obvious, bearing in mind his uncomfortable fixation on the prospect of Marc's daughter's fashion career, but Marc's reasons for wanting Ralph dead become increasingly compelling as events unravel. There is damning evidence against Marc, but he isn't alone in his loathing of the star-studded director.




This was an incredible, thrilling read that was impossible to put down. It had everything I ask for in a book: an unreliable narrator, a psychological mystery, and gorgeous writing. 

The narrator’s voice is what makes this novel as good as it is. Marc, the protagonist and narrator, is a general practitioner who doesn’t really care about his patients. He is borderline sociopathic, I felt, and that makes for seriously exciting reading. He is not necessarily likeable as a character, and he is no hero, but the reader does grow to sympathize with him. 

This is a literary novel, so don’t expect car chases, but the plot is ripe with moment brimming over with tension. The author does an incredible job of setting the mood for us and building the tension bit by bit until we are just waiting for the disaster to happen. Although I won’t reveal the ending, I enjoyed its ambiguity. Since Marc really can’t be trusted to tell us what the truth is, the way the novel ends is perfect. 

If you love psychological thrillers, then I highly recommend this one

Monday, August 25, 2014

Musing Mondays



Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain SightThe next book I'm planning on reading is Confessions of  Sociopath by M. E. Thomas. I've always been fascinated by sociopaths, so this should be an interesting read, for sure.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teaser Tuesday




Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Summer House with Swimming PoolFrom Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

“Free-ranging single men are like a house that has been empty too long. There must be something fishy about the house, the woman thinks. Up for sale for six months and it's still vacant.” 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Musing Mondays




Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

HorrorstörI just finished reading a book called Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix. It is an horror novel that takes place in an IKEA-like store. The story itself is interesting, though I found the packaging (the book looks like a furniture catalog) a bit annoying. You can read my review here

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix



Horrorstör Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Columbus, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring wardrobes, shattered Brooka glassware, and vandalized Liripip sofa beds clearly, someone or something is up to no good.

To unravel the mystery, five young employees volunteer for a long dusk-till-dawn shift—and they encounter horrors that defy imagination. Along the way, author Grady Hendrix infuses sly social commentary on the nature of work in the new twenty-firstcentury economy.

I went into this book without a very clear idea of what to expect. After all, it’s not every day that you get to read a novel that looks like an IKEA catalog. 

The novel’s strongest point is its narrative pacing. It is a horror novel, so building up the tension and then allowing for the horror to really overflow the pages is vital to be successful. The author was able to do this without too much stumbling. The last half of the novel will leave you blinking in disbelief and with a renewed respect for IKEA-like furniture, if for the wrong reasons. 

The book’s weakest point, I felt, was the gimmicky aspect. The furniture descriptions before each chapter along with the blueprint drawings were overkill. The story is strong enough in its own right not to need any of that. It ends up distracting the reader. If there had been clues or secret meanings stashed in the descriptions, then that would have made sense, but when you can get rid of something in a book without the loss of it impacting the story, you should get rid of it. 

If you are looking for a scary story with a bit of the absurd to it, as well, then this one is a good choice.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver



The Execution of Noa P. SingletonNoa P. Singleton never spoke a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ended with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Ten years later, having accepted her fate, she sits on death row in a maximum-security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date.
Seemingly out of the blue, she is visited by Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing. Marlene tells Noa that she has changed her mind about the death penalty and Noa’s sentence, and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute the sentence to life in prison, in return for the one thing Noa is unwilling to trade: her story.
      Marlene desperately wants Noa to reveal the events that led to her daughter’s death – events that Noa has never shared with a soul. With death looming, Marlene believes that Noa may finally give her the answers she needs, though Noa is far from convinced that Marlene deserves the salvation she alone can deliver. Inextricably linked by murder but with very different goals, Noa and Marlene wrestle with the sentences life itself can impose while they confront the best and worst of what makes us human in this haunting tale of love, anguish, and deception.

 This was definitely an interesting read. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it was a book that I would recommend to people who like psychological mysteries. 

One of the things I enjoyed most about the novel was the way it unfolded. The reader really doesn’t get too much information at the beginning, and the protagonist and narrator, Noa, doesn’t give too much away. Only as the story moves forward to we start to get glimpses of what really happened to Noa and Sarah. This way of telling a story creates lots of tension, which makes for a very interesting read. 

The writing, for the most part, is lovely. There were some phrases that I found a bit overdone, but that might just be personal taste. All in all, it was a book that is hard to put down once you start it.
If you like unreliable narrators and psychological mysteries, then this one is for you. 





 * I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it! 
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

I will be having my first official book signing and reading event this October for THE ROSE MASTER. It will take place in Books & Books in Coral Gables on October 18th, at 5:00 pm. If you're in the area, I would love to see you there. There will be copies of the book if you haven't bought one yet, and I'll be answering all kinds of questions!