The Fish That Climbed A Tree

I have had nothing on my mind but this book since I finished it last week. I’ve waited to write a review until now because I wanted to give the book all that it deserved. I loved this book. Five gigantic *! As I see it, it is a book about good at the extreme and bad at its worst.

First the good. The Reverend Ulysses Drummond had been appointed vicar of St Cuthbert’s Chuch in the London borough of Hackney. He and his wife, Florence lived quietly and only wanted to help everyone.

Henry Drummond is Ulysses’ and Florence’s 10-year-old son. On Henry’s 10th birthday, his Mother and Father are brutally murdered in the vicarage while Henry was at school. Henry is a most peculiar child in that he had an old-fashioned air about him. He was an avid reader and was the butt of the other children’s bullying. He was basically friendless while going through school.

Now the bad. Pascal Makuza had escaped Rwanda and arrived in London after a very dangerous trip. The Hutu death squad that he had been forced to join had sliced off his upper lip and fed it to a dog. Therefore, his appearance was somewhat that of a skeleton.

He was mentored by Yuri Voloshyn a Ukrainian who remains unpunished for his many crimes, including rape and murder in Odessa. Henry vowed to his only friend, Bertie, to hunt the men down and see that they are punished for the murder of his mother and father.

In the meantime, Ulysses and his wife are somewhere between earth and paradise. Now being raised as a Catholic, I imagined this is what purgatory would be like. Ulysses and Florence were having an argument. Florence wanted to go toward the light and enjoy paradise and Ulysses wanted to stay where he was so that he can watch over his son Henry. Florence stayed a while but then decided she would follow the light and go on to paradise hoping that Ulysses would soon follow.

There are other characters in this book, developed beautifully by Kevin. Much happens to Henry and I absolutely could not put it down. You have good, evil, love, and humor.

Who the characters are; does good overpower bad are all questions that I will leave unanswered. All that I can say is READ. THIS. BOOK. You will not be disappointed.

I have d/l the other two books authored by my good friend on Goodreads, Kevin Ansbro, and intend to read them both in the near future. Kevin, thank you for writing this wonderful book.

The Need by Helen Phillips

I really thought I would like this book.  I expected to like this book.  Why didn’t I?

The main reason was I didn’t know what the heck was going on for about 85% of it.  Mol/Molly clearly is flawed.  She has two precious children, Viv who is 4 years old and Ben who is a baby.  Ms. Phillips simply wore me out with the lactating references in almost every short chapter.  I didn’t see the need.  Okay, you have a baby, who is walking BTW, and you’re a proponent of breastfeeding.  Hip, hip, hooray for you. 

The first 15% of the book was good.  After that, it simply fell to pieces.  I felt absolutely no kinship or affection for any of the characters, largely because they were never really developed.  And the ending, Ugh!! I have whiplash it ended so abruptly.  So, the question remained in my mind was Molly simply insane, was she dead, were the children dead, did the elusive husband, David even exist.  I never figured it out.  Big letdown. 

I do, however, want to thank Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

The World We Knew – Alice Hoffman

Five stars for sure. This was a beautiful book. Even throughout reading about the brutality of the era, unconditional love, loyalty, and bonds between those in need were evident. World War II was a horrific time. Horrible things happened. This book will be hard to read for some.

The magical realism is well represented and a genre that I have never explored. I had to stop and research a lot of the book, but I learned a great deal in doing so.

I would highly recommend this book to everyone, although it will no be for everyone.

I would like to thank Netgalley, Simon & Schuster and Alice Hoffman for an opportunity to read this ebook in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

Lock Every Door – Riley Sager

My grandmother always told me when I was a teenager “Be careful what you wish for, little girl”.  Jules Larsen would have been better off heeding that advice. 

Jules is broke, brokenhearted due to losing her job (laid off) and losing her boyfriend, (infidelity with a student).  She moves out and into her best friend Chloe’s apartment while she is job hunting.  An ad comes up on Craigslist that is too good to be true.  An apartment sitting job at the luxurious and infamous Bartholomew in Manhattan.  The salary is very generous and since Jules does not have much money, she calls for an interview.  After an interview, she is hired.  Strict rules are, she must spend every night in the apartment, have no visitors and not bother the other residents. 

After meeting another apartment sitter in the apartment directly below hers, she finds that Ingrid has been there a while longer and is afraid of things that might be happening at the Bartholomew.

Jules and Ingrid start to delve into the history of the Bartholomew and the very dark past.  Many events took place which I will not go into detail about.  The results of their investigation are grisly. I don’t want to say anymore for fear of revealing spoilers. 

I did enjoy this book.  It was a quick and a light read for me and did keep me turning the pages into the late night.  The only reason for the 4 **** stars as opposed to 5 ***** stars is the lack of relationship development, especially between Jules and Ingrid.  It felt rushed to me.  However, I know many people will enjoy this book and I hope you do. 

My thanks to NetGalley, the Publisher and Mr. Sager for providing an arc of this ebook in exchange for my honest opinion, which are all mine.

Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk

This wonderful book is based on the life of Margaret Fishback, the renowned chief copywriter at Macy’s Department Store, as well as a poet. Ms. Fishback was a woman way before her time. She stated publicly that she did not need a husband to have a full life and then commenced to show the world.

This fiction book based on her life takes place on the last day of 1984. Mr. Boxfish is 85 years old. She had always been a zealous walker. So she sets off on her walk through Manhattan. She encounters many people on her New Year’s Eve walk while recalling a long and eventful life. Her career was cut short by her marriage, divorce and eventually a breakdown.

New York City, is and always has been, on my bucket list, and I am hopeful I will make it there someday. This remarkable book gave me a glimpse of NYC, specifically the Manhattan of yesterday and today.

The Elegance Of The Hedgehog

This book was not an easy read for me. I read it a few years ago after a recommendation from a good friend. Thank you Philip Butcher (RIP). ]

I used Wikipedia and the Dictionary often. I started to give up on it, but kept on plugging. I’m so glad I did. Not only did I learn a lot from this book that I didn’t know, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it.

Renee’ is a chubby, cranky concierge in an elegant apartment building in the middle of Paris. She witnesses everyday, the opulent lifestyles of the residences. She goes about her business begrudgingly. What nobody knows is that Renee’ is an autodidact who loves all the good things in life and is well versed on same.

Then there’s Paloma, a 12 year old genius who lives in the apartments with her father who is a Parliamentarian . She has a grisly plan. She will end her life on the 16th of June, which will be her 16th birthday. Until that date, she will continue on with her life as usual.

Next is the wealthy Japanese gentleman, Mr. Ozu. He manages to connect with both Paloma and Renee’. I will end my review here so as not to give away too much in case anyone wants to read it.

This book was at time funny and sometimes sad. IMHO, Mr. Ozu was the least credible.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

I’m really late to review this book. I thought I had already written the review but I can’t find it. Anyway, here it is.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier. Ms. Hillier has written a completely engrossing psychological thriller. I couldn’t put this book down.

It centers around 3 friends, Angela, Georgina, and Kaiser, Angela was a victim of murder and wasn’t found for 16 years. Georgina, Geo for short, is involved somehow. Kaiser is a police detective who finds the murderer, one Calvin James. Case closed? Not yet. It seems that Geo was intimately involved with Calvin and has knowledge about the murder that she has kept a secret all these years. More bodies start turning up and the plot thickens.

Jar of Hearts is a tale of friendship, secrecy, obsession and ultimately murder. Unputdownable for me. Loved it.

Afternoon of a Faun by James Lasdun

I enjoyed this book. I can say that it probably won’t be on my top reads for 2019 but I do recommend it. The book opens and introduces Marco Rosedale, a self-centered English man now living in New York City. He had enjoyed some notoriety in the past but was not currently in the mainstream. Next comes a journalist from a national magazine called The Messenger who sent Marco a message through Twitter that he urgently needed to talk with him. From that point forward, “The Ordeal”, as Marco called it, sprouted wings. It seems that an old girlfriend of Marco’s, Julia Gault, was in the process of writing a memoir and Marco was in it. Not in a complimentary manner. While the excerpt strangely painted Marco in a favorable light, at the same time Julia reported that Marco had raped her after a drunken night sometime in the ’70s. The 1970s was a decadent time for Marco and he did admit his morals were loose. Marco admitted knowing Julia but didn’t remember having any meaningful relationship with her. The narrator of this book, who is never named, is a friend of Marco that is also a transplant from England to New York City. He becomes Marco’s confidante during “The Ordeal”.Julia, it seems of late was down on her luck and needed money. Marco suspected that her motive to report an event that never happened must have been from this need. She had been a media star at one point, but that train had left the station. The story unfolds from there. There is a girlfriend and a daughter that Marco desperately endeavors to keep “The Ordeal” a secret from. We don’t get to really get to know them. Nor do we get to know the daughter’s lesbian girlfriend. I can’t say that I particularly liked any of the characters. Particularly Marco. His friend and confidante served only as the narrator of the story. His personal feelings for “the Ordeal” were mostly neutral. I will not say anymore. I hate spoilers so I won’t reveal anymore. I do recommend it.

The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out

This was a beautifully written book. I felt very close to all the characters and could feel their emotions. Bill Dameron is a middle-aged man, who finally comes “out of the closet”. He has a wife and 2 beautiful children which he adores. Try as he might, he cannot suppress his true feelings. This book takes us on Bill’s journey to finally face his true self and then the revelation of the truth to his family and friends. 

Bill knew at a young age that he was gay, but society was not accepting of alternate lifestyles. He marries, has children and tries to suppress his true character. I felt much emotion as I traveled with Bill and felt the pressure and the pain he felt, as well as, the sadness that his wife experienced. The children were equally affected when their father revealed what he had been hiding for all these years. Many emotions were portrayed before Bill finally found his peace. The prose in this book is stunning. 

In conclusion, no matter what your stance is on or alternate lifestyles, this book is just beautiful. I cried and felt the pain of everyone involved.

Thanks, NetGalley for providing this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own. (less)