broken verses

In broken verses, there are two essential relationships. Pakistani’s greatest poet and his muse, as well as the muse’s relationship with her daughter. The story is told from the daughter’s perspective, years after the poet was murdered by government thugs and her mother went missing. Aasmani has never recovered from her mother’s desertions after the poet’s death, nor the many, many times she left her when he poet was exiled.

Through letters written in the poet’s secret code, Aasmani tries to unravel the mystery behind the poet’s death and her mother’s desertion. Having believed that the only ones who knew the code were dead, Aasmani doesn’t know what to make of the letters until she starts to believe one or the other didn’t die. Her current romance and her relationship with her family become strained as Aasmani investigates the source of the letters and confusion builds as more letters are received.

Beautifully, poetically written.

Read June 2017

The Shadow Land

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova follows a young American woman, Alexandra Boyd,  who lands in Hungary and accidentally steals an elder woman’s bag as she’s getting into a taxi. Trying to return the bag, she turns to the police and another taxi driver. Alexandra and her new taxi friend travel around Sofia and the surrounding countryside desperately trying to find the older couple and their son who lost their bag.

Along the way, the duo gets caught up in the story about the man who’s belongings are in the lost bag, a young violinist who was detained in politically oppressed Bulgaria. Alexandra’s story is interspersed with the tales of Bulgaria from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, spilling secrets that somebody wanted hidden.

There is an old world gothic feel to this story, as if ghosts might pop out of the corner. But the horrors in the real world are more terrifying than any ghost story.

Great novel!!! Read May 2017

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale tells what happens when a culture ruins their environment and steals the autonomy of women due to a decreased birthrate. Its scary and horrifying. Healthy babies are prized over a woman’s right to her own life. Women are separated by their ability to have children, higher class women, working class women and women of color are just sent away as not needed.

In the world we live, this tale is too reminiscent of politicians preaching about the sanctity of life while depriving poor people, especially people of color, basic human dignities. I originally read this book years ago and it didn’t have the same horror I felt this time.

This book is so well written and so horrifying, Read May 2017.

Home

In Home, two men with incredible wealth behind them are able to break into an underground sex business with a lot of death and explosions and leave completely unharmed. Harlan Coben’s characters are over the top masculine, with sensitive spots for the women they love.

Home was a quick, fun read where Myron Bolitar and his friend Win are able to rescue a boy kidnapped 10 years earlier and solve the mystery of what happened to his friend. They are able to do things outside the law without any repercussions and set things right according to what they deem is right. All the time, traveling on private jets and cars, they are whisked around the world to find out what happened to Win’s nephew and friend 10 years ago.

The whole story is so unbelievable, but an enjoyable read, even with the ridiculous masculinity oozing from the Batman-like characters.

Read April 2017

A Twist of the Knife

In Becky Masterman’s A Twist of the Knife, Brigid Quinn returns to southern Florida to visit her ailing father and her caretaker mother. While there, Quinn reunites with Laura Coleman, a former colleague working to free a man from death row for a possible wrong conviction.

There’s so much to like in this novel. Brigid Quinn is a carefully written character with flaws and depth to her. She unpacks her childhood baggage while dealing with her family and explores her own trauma while dealing with Laura who almost lost her life a year ago. All this while investigating an old crime for a man on death row whom she cannot determine if he’s sincere or just really charming.

And Florida itself plays a part. The weather, the heat, the stickiness of life in southern Florida invades Quinn’s life just as much as the people.

And randomly, I feel like this is the first novel in awhile that I’ve read that doesn’t jump from time period to time period, or character to character. The simplicity of the storytelling was soothing after reading books where every chapter is a different voice or purpose. It really allowed for detailed characterization that gets lost when there’s too many character’s perspectives to relate to. It was refreshing to have such a straight forward read.

Great read. Recommended.

Read April 2017

False Tongues

While False Tongues is listed as a “Callie Anson” mystery, Callie isn’t embroiled in a mystery. While she’s away dealing with her school friends, including her ex-boyfriend who dumped her and immediately married another woman, a young boy is murdered. The mystery of his death never touches Callie, but her new boyfriend deals with his family as his role in the police.

Callie and her dealings with her ex, aren’t very exciting or noteworthy, other than she is now officially over him. While back at school, her Principal, Margaret Phillips also must deal with her past before moving on. While thematically similar to each other, neither story comes close to the story about the murder.

I don’t know if its just my preference of storyline, but the whole Callie Anson part of this mystery wasn’t interesting and took away from the storyline of the murder and uncovering the secrets teenagers have. If Callie had been at home, and had dealt with the family or police officers in the murder investigation, then maybe this would be a more interesting book. As is, I didn’t like the parallel unrelated stories.

Read April 2017