Monthly Archives: January 2018

“The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz

TheCrookedStaircase

 

Ok, y’all, this series….this, is awesome. I have loved Dean Koontz’ work for a long time. I believe the first book of his I ever read was “Watchers” – a great blend of a tantalizing plot and just enough scary, then on to “Lightening”, which not only grabbed my by the heartstrings, but made me use the phrase “Mulepuke” for a good 3 months, and quandry paradoxes for quite some time. “Sole Survivor” and “Life Expectancy” are more of my favorites….then I met Jane Hawk. I can’t say Jane knocked out my top 3, but they have definitely expanded my number of top favorites. My family gave me “The Silent Corner” for Christmas, the first in this series, and I devoured it. Sometimes when a book is written about a strong female lead, they must make her almost unhuman to be strong, but in this case, Jane is just a person – a strong person, but a person with weaknesses, a person with a background that gives her an edge over us “normal” everyday people, but she’s so much less powerful than those she fights against. Its a David & Goliath story from the very beginning. In the true Dean Koontz fashion, through “The Silent Corner” and the second book, “The Whispering Room”, people from different places come together in coincidental ways, and lend each other support during Jane’s journey. She must keep herself safe, alive and hidden, protect her son’s location and identity, and those who hide him, protect any who support or assist her, while seeking out the head of the snake while they use seemingly endless resources to track her down. You don’t think of all the ways you can be seen in such a digital age, but Jane has too – and if she doesn’t, or she forgets, for even one split second – someone usually dies. She’s on a mission to prove that her husband’s suicide wasn’t of his own volition, and that many other people in particularly strategic or influential positions haven’t died of natural causes. But will anyone believe her? Does anyone want to believe her? To believe that they can be controlled by such a large high ranking deception by a large group who could potentially control the course of the world? Well, I don’t know yet, because this is an ARC, and it doesn’t finish Jane’s journey – I’ll be waiting with baited breath for the fourth installment, “The Forbidden Door”, and praying that Mr. Koontz will randomly ask me to be a preview reader of this latest gem.

 

(I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Release date May 8, 2018)

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The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

the sleepwalker30211957

Annalee Ahlberg goes missing during one of her husband’s business trips, and her teenage girls fear the worst. Their mother is a sleepwalker, and her affliction manifests itself in ways both dangerous and bizarre. Her oldest daughter, Lianne, has pulled her off the bridge side rails naked, her husband, Warren, has interrupted her spray painting the hydrangea bush in the front yard, and apparently, has rebuffed her sleep “advances”, in a disorder called parasomnia, or sexsomnia. This, understandably, can cause problems in a marriage. When your partner sleep walks, or has “sleep sex”, what happens if you’re not there when that happens? They go in search of another warm body – but is it really their fault? Can you blame them? Do they even know or remember what they’ve done? But does that make the hurt less real for the spouse? So when Annalee goes missing, the first suspect is close to home.

When Warren begins talking to a local minister about planning a memorial service a few weeks after her disappearance, her daughters are surprised, dismayed (does this mean he’s given up hope of Annalee’s return), and a little angry, as her body hasn’t been found, (so how does he know for sure she’s dead?).
Lianne withdraws from college to stay home and take care of her dad who has withdrawn, and her younger sister, Paige, who has begun to show signs of sleepwalking, and is withdrawing from her friends, and favorite competitive sports of swimming and skiing. Both girls try to investigate and look for clues of their mother’s disappearance in their own way. Both uncover secrets that may or may not have something to do with her disappearance, but make them question people around them.
With an unforseen twist at the end, author Chris Bojalian keeps you interested until the very end.

For more information on sexsomnia, or sleep sex, read this link.

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Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

This was a difficult book to read. I planned to read more non-fiction this year than I have in the past, and so when I read a blurb about this book, I thought it would be a good one to add to my list. I’ve watched the movie, The Impossible, which is based on a true story about this same tsunami from a different perspective. In The Impossible, the family is vacationing in Thailand for Christmas, and in this book, the family is vacationing in Sri Lanka. The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami reached both places, and affected both families, however, one family was far more fortunate than the other. “Wave” is written by Sonali Draniyagala, who lost both of her children, her husband, and her parents in this unexpected catastrophe. She alone survived. There were so many similarities in the description of the flooding, the hospitals, the devastation, but the grief in “Wave” is unbearable. The book describes the terrifying moments the tsunami hits the southern beach of Sri Lanka, Sonali’s amazing survival after being buffeted by the storm waters, her search for her family at the hospital and morgue after he rescue, and her months vacillating between grief and denial at her uncle’s home in Colombo where he relatives kept a six-month suicide watch over her. It took four years before Sonali was able to go back to their home in London, where things were left just as they were the day in December, 2004, when they left for Sri Lanka just before Christmas. The stark and transparent grief, denial, and slow recovery scares me, although she eventually comes back to herself, enjoying memories of her family, while continuing to grieve and miss them. I don’t know that I would handle this situation any better or differently, and reading another mother’s pain is difficult. I found myself shaking while reading about the initial catastrophe, and crying, imagining her grief through the search and final loss of her family. If you’re looking to expand your non-fiction reading, or are interested in reading an amazing story of survival, spend some time reading Sonali’s story.

Wave cover

Sonali Deraniyagala

Author, Sonali Deraniyagala

Yal Sri Lanka

Location of the author during the 2004 Tsunami. Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Tsunami aftermath 3

Sri Lanka, 2004 Tsunami aftermath

Tsunami Aceh

Sri Lanka, 2004 Tsunami aftermath

Sri Lanka Tsunami aftermath

Sri Lanka, 2004 Tsunami aftermath

 

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My Year in Reading – Goodreads 2017

https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2017

 

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