My second book by V.E. Schwab, I loved The Invisible Life of Addie LeRue a couple of years ago. And this week’s haunting novel has a similar feel, with Schwab’s talent for the gothic story unfolding beautifully. Here is my book review Gallant by V.E. Schwab.
Olivia Prior never knew her father and still hopes her mother will return for her at the Merilance School for Girls where she has spent most of her life. Olivia is a loaner at the school, has a gift for seeing the dead walking about, and understands she is “unusual”. But all she wants is a home and a family.
When a letter arrives inviting her “home” to Gallant Olivia is stunned. But when she arrives no one in this strange mansion is expecting her. But Olivia immediately feels a pull to this house.
But strange things are lurking, two shadows are battling, and Olivia knows she must unravel the mystery of the mansion, and its twin just beyond the crumbling walls. Who or what inhabits it? Has she been called to make amends?
A haunting novel that does not feel like a violent horror story, this book is in the vein of Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors. Excellent and compelling characters carry the novel forward and keep you turning the pages. Thanks for reading my book review Gallant by V.E. Schwab.
Read last week’s book review The Night Ship by Jess Kidd
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This was an audible book for me while we were on the island of Maui. It was an easy and interesting story that would work well in audible, kindle or paper. I enjoyed it. Here is my book review The Night Ship by Jess Kidd.
Like many historical novels, The Night Ship is told in two parallel storylines. First we meet 9 year old Mayken in the year 1629. Mayken’s mother has recently passed and she is about to set sail to find her father who she has never met. Her guardian Imka is sailing with her on board the Batavia as they leave Holland heading to the Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta Indonesia) . Mayken has had an interesting childhood so far…with an unconventional mother, Mayken is curious, feisty and intelligent. She is naive about the coming long voyage, and her imagination, fueled by Dutch folklore propels her into lots of adventures onboard the ship.
In alternating chapters we follow 9 year old Gil in the year 1989. Gil is a lonely, young boy struggling with his gender identity. His mother has recently passed after a battle with substance abuse and mental illness. Gil is sent to live with his grandfather on Beacon Island off the west coast of Australia. The tiny island doesn’t offer much for a nine-year old boy, and friends are hard to make particularly because many of the islanders dislike his grandfather. Gil’s one friend, is an ancient tortoise named Enkidu who offers a humorous respite to this grim story.
The real life wreak of the Dutch East Indies flagship The Batavia in 1629 is the basis for this fictional novel. Wreaked near Beacon Island, the horrifying experience of the survivors of The Batavia is some of the most barbaric ever recorded. Kidd brilliantly chronicles the events in both fact and myth through the eyes of two small children in The Night Ship. I enjoyed this book very much. Thank you for reading my book review The Night Ship by Jess Kidd.
Four stars for The Night Ship by Jess Kidd.****
See last week’s book review The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker
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Jan Walker is an author from my home town of Gig Harbor Washington and this is the second book I have enjoyed of hers. I really liked this story, and admire Jan for her self-published works and her love of writing. Here is my book review The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker
Last summer I enjoyed Jan’s book Rain Shelters and Ghost Gods which was based in two places I love; Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. This novel, The Whiskey Creek Water Company is also based in the Pacific Northwest, and in fact in the small county where I grew up.
Set during prohibition, the small fictional town of Burke Bay is loosely based on the area of Kitsap County called Brownsville. The people of Burke Bay are primarily of Scandinavian heritage and work off the land and sea for their livelihood.
The heroine of the story is local school teacher Maeva Swanson. Determined and hardworking Maeve keeps herself and her mother afloat with her teaching salary. But the small town has new residents in bachelor brothers Hauk and Lang Nordlund, and another new more sinister guest Farley Price. Though Farley’s wife Eleanor and his daughter Hannah are warmly welcomed by the community, Farley is an angry firecracker on the verge of exploding. And when he does, all hell will break loose.
The character development in this story is really well done, from illegal distillery operator Orval Blevins to arrogant brother Jonas and all the cast of people who make Burke Bay the friendly town it is. How will all these folks come together to keep everyone safe when violence erupts? Find out in The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker.
And if you are from Kitsap County and of Scandinavian heritage, I think you will particularly enjoy this story. Thanks for reading my book review The Whiskey Creek Water Company by Jan Walker.
See last week’s book review Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer.
A follow up story to the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Less, Andrew Sean Greer once again takes this lovable character out of his comfort zone and on an unexpected road trip. Here is my book review Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer.
Arthur Less, gay and moderately successful, finds his world turned upside down once again when his former lover dies and with the death come financial hardship. Less must earn some serious cash and seriously quick and so he takes on some literary gigs that send him road tripping around the USA.
Running from or into his problems it’s hard to tell with Less, as he packs up and leaves behind his current love Freddy, his reasonable sister and his ghost of a father. Less finds himself escorting a sickly author who doesn’t seem to know who Less is, then following theatrical troupe who are performing one of his works, all while regularly “zooming” online with a literary critique group. All because he needs money to save his home.
But along the way from New Mexico to the South then on to the mid-Atlantic, Less begins to find himself. With Pug Dolly in tow in the old camper van called Rosina, Less learns a lot about the world outside the small box he has hidden in for years. And in the process, he learns a lot about himself and the demons he faces.
Funny and profound Less is Lost shows the enigma of America through the eyes of this quirky character who like all of us, just wants to be loved.
Four stars for Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer.****
Read last week’s Book Review The Guncle by Steven Rowley.
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A super fun and moving family story that will have you falling in love with all characters in this award winning novel. Here is my book review The Guncle by Steven Rowley.
Gay Uncle Patrick (Gup) also known to his niece and nephew as Guncle, finds his world turned upside down when a family tragedy back home in Connecticut has him caring for his niece and nephew all summer in Palm Springs. Can he handle this?
“GUP” is a washed up former sitcom star, whose been hiding in Palm Springs since his show was canceled and the love of his life Joe was killed by a drunk driver. Uncle Patrick is flamboyantly gay, has a gay “threesome” living next door, loves a good mimosa (light on the OJ) and lives life to his own drummer. Not exactly the perfect role model for young Maise and Grant.
But the sudden death of Maise and Grant’s mom and the unexpected drug rehab stint for their father, Patrick is thrust into a parenting role no one thinks he can handle…including himself. But armed with a set of Guncle Rules, GUP and his charges will fill the summer with adventure, love and healing…not just for Maise and Grant but for Uncle Patrick too.
A very heartwarming, funny and easy read about family and so much more. Everyone will love The Guncle. Thanks for reading my book review The Guncle by Steven Rowley.
Five stars for The Guncle***** A film is definitely in the future.
See last week’s Book Review The Bloodless Boy by Robert J. Lloyd.
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The New York Times gave this novel it’s Best New Historical Novel in 2021. A wonderfully imagined tale based partly on fact and actual characters…like so many historical novels. Having just read and loved Act of Oblivion this book was reminiscent and set in the same era. Here is my book review The Bloodless Boy by Robert J. Lloyd.
London 1678. The city is still in upheaval 12 years after the Great Fire and 18 years since the fall of Oliver Cromwell. No one trusts anyone and papist plots are rumored daily. But then the body of small boy, drained of all blood, is discovered on a cold and snowy night and suspicious grow.
Lloyd introduces us to several real life characters, such as Robert Hooke, scientist, engineer and curator of the newly formed Royal Society. Hook’s assistant, the young and ambitious Harry Hunt is by his side when they retrieve the bloodless boy from the river bank.
A well defined story-line makes this novel a page turner as large cast of characters come and go…who is the real villain? Is this a plot against King Charles II? And what of more young bloodless boys they learn about?
During a time in history where science is just coming into play, but paranoia and witchcraft remain, Lloyd takes the reader through the complicated facts and fiction of this engrossing story. If you liked Wolf Hall or The Name of the Rose you will enjoy The Bloodless Boy.
Thanks for reading my book review The Bloodless Boy by Robert J. Lloyd.
Four stars for The Bloodless Boy by Robert J. Lloyd****
See last week’s book review The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.
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British Author and Comedian Richard Osman is the creator of The Thursday Murder Club book series. The Man Who Died Twice is second of the series, but you don’t need to have read previous book to enjoy this fun novel. Here is my book review The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.
A group of retirees, and long-time friends, who at first blush seem a bit of a misfit bumbling group are actually the heroes of this book. Unassuming solvers of murders all.
Osman introduces us to Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim who are trying to quietly enjoy their later years at the Cooper’s Chase retirement village. But this eclectic cast of characters can’t seem to keep out of the murder-solving world, along with their close friends from the local police.
A rollicking set of circumstances keeps the plot moving forward as reserved yet brilliant Elizabeth and demure but observant Joyce lead the charge to find the murderer…and as more murder victims are discovered Ron goes undercover. Meanwhile is a violent attack on Ibrahim part of the murder plot?
Questions are numerous, diamonds are missing, people are dead and suspects are numerous. The Thursday Murder Club to the rescue.
Light, fun and simple read everyone will enjoy. Thanks for reading my book review The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.
****Four stars for The Man Who Died Twice.
See last week’s book review Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.
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