Saturday 25 April 2020

A Finer End

Finished March 31
A Finer End by Deborah Crombie

I like this series and have been reading it all out of order. This is the seventh in the series. Here, Gemma has taken a new position due to a promotion that she went after. This has created some friction in the relationship between her and Duncan with them no longer working together, and they are both missing each other, but unsure of the way forward.
Duncan gets called by his cousin Jack to come to see him in Glastonbury where Jack is involved in a situation and his lover, Winnie has been hurt. As the case has entanglements back into the distant past of the town, it also has a number of side stories among the main characters.  Winnie's brother Andrew seems put out by her new relationship with Jack. Jack is having episodes that give insight into the town's past. A young girl, pregnant, has been taken in by a local potter, and is working in a cafe, but seems very protective of her secrets. Local artist Fiona has been having recurring visions that are disrupting her usual painting and creating some issues between her and her gallery owning husband. Nick Carlisle came to town a while ago after his graduation from university, running from the oversight of his mother and his own secrets. He has stayed, but not thrived here, working in a new age bookstore and living in a ramshackle caravan.
There is an element of the paranormal here, with old gods and messages from the past. Duncan and Gemma with him, come in late in the story, but have large roles to play in figuring out all the threads in this complex situation.
Very good.

Vintage 1954

Finished March 20
Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain, translated by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce

This light novel has an interesting premise, time travel from wine made from grapes affected by an alien spacecraft. It's way better than that sounds.
Back in 1954, Pierre Chauveau saw a UFO. It appeared suddenly above his vineyard, stayed for a while, then suddenly disappeared. He was not the only one to report a sighting that year. No explanation for the phenomenon was ever discovered. In 1978, he opened a bottle of wine that he had laid down from that vintage, and shared a little (as he always did) with his German shepherd. The next morning, the two of them set off for work at the winery, but never arrived.
The main story begins in 2017, where a group of people get together for an impromptu celebration at an apartment building. They are all living there, some temporarily like Bob Brown, an American staying in an Airbnb on a long-planned trip to Paris, missing his wife Goldie who is in a coma in hospital back home in Milwaukee, and who was supposed to be with him. Others had recently moved into the building, like Magalie Lecoeur, a restoration specialist who took over a former carpet shop on the ground floor and used the former sixth floor storeroom as her apartment. Julien Chauveau, great-grandson of Pierre, also recently moved in to a small apartment in the building. Julien is a barman at the famous Harry's Bar, and has always been fascinated by his ancestor's story. Hubert Larnaudie, on the other hand, has lived in the building his whole life. It was his family who originally built it in 1868, and gradually sold off bits as they needed the funds. He retains a lot of pride in the building and its fixtures and accoutrements, and has recently raised the issue of the security of the cellars, many of whose shutters are broken leading to some recent burglaries. When he goes down to the cellars to check on them, he is drawn back into memories as he finds the myriad of items his family has stored over the years. One of them is a bottle of 1954 wine. When he gets locked in the cellars, he cries out for help, and it is Bob, arriving at the apartment, who hears his call for help. As he sends Bob to Magalie for assistance, Julien is also there, and after releasing Hubert and securing the cellars temporarily, Hubert invites them up to his apartment to share the bottle of wine.
When they awake and venture out the next morning, they find themselves in a bright sunny Paris, and each only gradually realizes that it is 1954. And then the adventures begin as they find each other and try to figure out how to get back to their own time.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

13th Canadian Reading Challenge April and May Roundup

Please post your remaining reviews for April and reviews for May here.

Leave a comment if you like
We're almost at the end of the year, and what an end it is turning out to be. Stay safe.

Monday 6 April 2020

The Me I Used to Be

Finished March 14
The Me I Used to Be by Jennifer Ryan

This romantic suspense book brings the reader in to the middle of a situation. As the book opens, Evangeline is heading to a parole hearing, hoping she'll be able to get out. She's had a tough time in jail, including getting physically attacked by another inmate. She is surprised to see the cop, Chris Chambers, who arrested her walk into the room, and even more so as he asks for her immediate release.
Evangeline is not prepared for the world that awaits her now. Her father has died, her mother openly resents her, and her brothers seem to be annoyed at her existence. She just wants to move on with her life, with the skills she took the time to learn while in jail.
But Chambers has something else he wants from her, cooperation in finding who was really behind the crime she went to jail for. But she has a secret she's held to herself this entire time, and she won't give it up easily.
This book has a lot going on. Evangeline was a woman who was ready to move on from a wild youth when she got caught up in a situation and went to jail. She's had time to think about her life, and about what got her where she is now, and she wants a life where she can hold her head up. Chris seems to be on her side, wanting to see her succeed, but is he really?
And will her family ever be willing to take her back into their lives in a meaningful way? Only her best friend Jill, now married and a mother, welcomes her back.
I liked Evangeline and how she was the smart one in the family, level-headed even in tough situations. A good read.

Written in the Stars

Finished March 12
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

This romance novel takes place in Seattle and is a delightful rom-com of a read. Darcy Lowell is an entrepreneur and astrologist on the verge of a big business deal, with her and her business partner Margot signing a deal with a popular matchmaking firm. The principal at the matchmaking firm that they've been working with on the deal has set Darcy up with his sister Elle, who's recently come out of a painful break-up and moved to Seattle only after that.
But things don't go well on that first date, which is per usual lately for Darcy. Darcy is feeling down, not just because of her non-existent love life, but also because her family doesn't see her unconventional career choice as a serious venture, despite her success.
Elle is also not feeling great about her life. She's tired of her brother trying to set her up, and doesn't have the energy to keep going on bad dates. When she tells a lie about the date to buy some time from her brother, she ends up making a deal with Darcy that might help them both. If it doesn't hurt them.
Both women have been burnt in relationships and are a bit wary of getting hurt again. Both have families that have some issues.
There's some intriguing things happening her, and I had trouble putting this book down. A fun and engrossing read.