Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Well, the month of January is almost over. A lot has been happening of late. Yesterday, I was featured on the Chick Lit Central Blog as the guest writer for the Reader Spotlight segment for January. Here is a link to my piece. I hope you enjoy it!

http://www.chicklitcentral.com/2016/01/january-reader-spotlight-barbara-khan.html

The books that I read from the mid- December to present were:

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (compliments of Book Sparks)
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (compliments of Net Galley)
Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf (compliments of Net Galley & the author)
The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart (compliments of author Catherine McKenzie's giveaway)
Try Not To Breathe by Holly Seddon (compliments of Ballantine Books)
The Widow by Fiona Barton (compliments of New American Library publishing)
The Cardinal's Sin by Robert Lane (compliments of the author)

Pretty Girls, Missing Pieces, Try Not to Breathe, and The Widow were all more psychological thrillers. The New Neighbor and The Cardinal's Sin were mysteries. My Name is Lucy Barton, I am not sure what genre I'd put it in, and it was my least favorite from the past month. I know Ms. Strout is a Pulitzer Prize winner, but the book felt disjointed to me. Here is my review of Lucy Barton:



I had mixed feelings while reading this book. The book to me felt a bit disjointed, more of a collection of thoughts for a book, than a full book. It is certainly a short book, but even then, there is some beautiful writing contained in this short book. The author is a talented writer. This is my first book by Ms. Strout. The story follows Lucy Barton who is recovering from complications from a simple surgery. She's been hospitalized for an extended period, only interacting with the nurses, her doctor, her husband, and her children when they are allowed to visit. Lucy has a lot of time to ponder her life, her poor and difficult childhood, where it seems her parents were not loving due to their own troubles and might even have been abusive. She thinks back to how she escaped from that terrible time, went away to college on a scholarship and became a successful author, married and living in New York. There's a dark quality to the prose where Lucy comes across as a brooding person who struggles to enjoy life. Much of the story is told in recollections of her past when Lucy's mother comes to stay for a few days with her in the hospital. A few passages I liked: "To be raised the way I was, with so little - only the inside of my head to call my own - I did not require much." and "But I think I know so well the pain we children clutch to our chests, how it lasts our whole lifetime, with longings so large, you can't ever weep."

My favorites of these books were The Widow and Try Not to Breathe. Both are set in England, always a favorite place for a good psych thriller. I hope these two do really well here. They were extremely well done. I had a hard time putting them down to get things done!! Both were five star reads.


Add this book to your TBR, right away. It is a compulsive read. What a thriller! Told in 3 perspectives, the widow, the detective and the reporter. The widow is Jean Taylor whose husband Glen was suspected of a terrible crime. The kidnapping of little two year old Bella Elliott, but Glen was never found guilty, because there just wasn't enough evidence. The detective is Detective Inspector Bob Sparkes, whose job is to find the evil monsters that harm little children and help bring them to justice. He and his team work extremely hard on the case, pursuing all leads. Some, including Bob, become obsessed with trying to prove Glen is guilty. The reporter is Kate Waters who is a shrewd and experienced woman, able to get the people in the top news stories to trust her and talk to her, but will Jean Taylor let Kate inside the secrets of her marriage to Glen? This dark tale story takes us inside a marriage and as they always say, things are not always what they seem. You will not see the ending coming.



Wow, I just finished this, but I can't wait for the next book by this author. I found the book very reminiscent of The Girl on the Train. Alex Dale's life is in a downward spiral. She lost her marriage and her career due to her drinking problem. She's literally holding onto life by tenterhooks, trying to be healthier by jogging every morning, limiting her wine intake by setting herself limits, no drinking until after 12:30pm, and always a measured amount and plenty of water too. She's struggling to get back into serious journalism by working as a freelancer on health articles. In the course of that work she "meets" Amy Stevenson. Amy has been in a coma for 15 years, after a brutal attack as a teen left her for dead. She's all but forgotten by the world, but Amy's doctor has been working with coma patients for years and tells Alex that he feels many patients are trapped inside their bodies, still able to hear, feel, and even communicate, if we could only understand their way of communicating. Alex decides Amy's story is her path back to real living, a career and relationship, if she can solve the crime of who attacked Amy. Her research leads her into Amy's past, her boyfriend at the time, her high school friends, mother & stepfather, and even her birth father. It seems Amy had many secrets of her own and now it's up to Alex to find out what they are and hopefully lead her to Amy's attacker. This book will keep you turning the pages, because there's always some clue you just didn't see coming.

I did an author spotlight and giveaway over on my Facebook page, Baer Books, for The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan. That is the first book in her Inspector Esa Khattak series. The next installment, Language of Secrets is coming February 2, so I wanted to create a little buzz for her latest book. I have really enjoyed the series featuring a Pakistani-Canadian Muslim police inspector.