Monthly Archives: February 2018

Read: C is for corpse: a Kinsey Millhone mystery by Sue Grafton

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Finished the third in the series and can’t wait to read the next! C is for corpse: a Kinsey Millhone mystery by Sue Grafton continues to follow the sassy, twice divorced Kinsey Millhone as she takes on yet another perplexing case. This time, her client winds up dead and she even more doggedly tries to solve the case.

When Kinsey meets Bobby Callahan, he’s already been purposefully run off the road and is disfigured from his injuries. There is no evidence of a crime, however, and it appears that he just had an accident but his best friend died in the crash and Bobby is determined to figure out who is trying to kill him even if he can’t remember a thing before the accident. As Kinsey and Bobby become close, when he dies in a fatal car accident, she digs into the case even harder, wanting to figure it out not only for herself but for him.

Compared to the other two in the series, this is my least favorite so far. While Kinsey is still her same sassy and sometimes rude self, the plot just didn’t grab me. Bobby is killed about halfway through (which is spoiled on the back cover so it’s not really a spoiler) and the. It drags for a bit but picks back up at the end for a thriller. Also, the side story abut her landlord sly new girlfriend didn’t interest me even though it’s its own mini mystery inside the novel. It just felt in the way of the main plot.

Grafton includes many more characters as well, starting to include more of a cast than just a handful which is good. It may allow her to do more complex mysteries in future books in the series. In this novel, they are all well-used, even if briefly. The world felt more full and complete, though the simplicity and tightly-bound stories of the first two worked as well. It’s just a different approach. Since it is a large series, it’s nice to see variety this early on. Cookie cutter books are never much fun for me.

Recommended?: Yes, if you want to read all in the series. If you are new, better to start at the beginning and then work up to this one especially as there are only two before it. If you don’t care about reading them all, you could skip. While it stands alone better, I wouldn’t recommend beginning with or only reading this one, though. Next up: D is for deadbeat!

C is for corpse: a Kinsey Millhone mystery by Sue Grafton book cover

My other reviews of the Kinsey Millhone series:

  1. A is for alibi
  2. B is for burglar
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Read: The diary of a Tokyo teen: Japanese-American girl travels to the land of trendy fashion, high-tech toilet and maid cafes by Christine Mari Izner

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The diary of a Tokyo teen: Japanese-American girl travels to the land of trendy fashion, high-tech toilet and maid cafes by Christine Mari Izner is a fun illustrated overview of visiting Japan.

Izner writes about going back to her home country of Japan for a summer when she was a teenager. She stays with her grandparents for several weeks on her own and then the rest of her family joins for the last part of her trip. During that time she sees Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara, along with enjoying the company of her grandparents in their small town outside of Tokyo. Several popular foods, sites, and noteworthy cultural aspects are explained as she explores Japan.

Although the graphic novel is simple with only a photo or a few drawings and minimal text on a page, it really is meant for a teenager. However, adults can enjoy too especially if you need a quick idea of what it is like to visit Japan. For the most part, there isn’t anything offensive, but there is a reference made to love hotels.

The overall style of the graphic novel conveys the bright and trendy as well as historical parts of Japan very well. She uses snapshot photos, drawings and doodles to tell the story. Sometime she makes comparison drawings while other times she depicts the scenery of an area. The style makes for a fast and breezy read, and if you have a bit of time, it can be finished in one sitting.

Recommended?: yes, for any teens or adults traveling to Japan, lovers a graphic novels, and anyone who wants to be transported on a whirlwind adventure. Although it’s told from the perspective of a teenage girl, everyone can enjoy it.

Diary of a Tokyo teen by Christine Mari Izner book cover

Picture of pages 56 and 57

Read: China rich girlfriend: a novel by Kevin Kwan

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Crazy rich Asians have nothing on a China rich girlfriend. This sequel by Kevin Kwan is even more over-the-top, a feat that doesn’t seem possible, making it another fabulous time in Singapore, Hong Kong, and of course mainland China.

Rachel and Nick are back with another whirlwind adventure trip to the East. This time, they go to China but Nick’s family features fairly prominently as well in Singapore and Hong Kong. Drama seems to follow them despite their low-key attitudes, making this another fun and enjoyable read.

While the first novel focused on Nick’s family dynamics and their desire to remain private and frugally spend their wealth (or not), China rich girlfriend is all about the publicity-seeking, gigantic-spending, wealth-inheriting Chinese mainlanders of Nick and Rachel’s generation. The more bling the better! No price is too much.

Again, Kwan plots an extravagant story that has believable characters despite the grandiose setting and spending sprees. He is very deft at walking the fine line between ridiculously unbelievable and just crazy enough. Rachel and Nick head to China once again on a trip that has likely found her actual birthday father but his family is less than thrilled that she found them. As she tries to enjoy China, drama ensues with her stepmom and they try to make the best of the trip anyway.

Recommended?: Yes, especially if you’re a fan of the first novel or want a peak into how the opulent young mainlander Chinese unload their money without so much as blinking an eye. While not required to enjoy this sequel, it certainly makes more sense since you will know right away who everyone is and what their relationships are to each other. I can’t wait to read the third in the trilogy!

China rich girlfriend by Kevin Kwan book cover

Read: Leviathan wakes by James S.A. Corey

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Sometimes I think books should count as two, especially when they are 561 pages such as Leviathan wakes by James S.A. Corey. However, despite its size, it truly was a fast read considering, due to the plausible premise, compelling storytelling, and interesting characters of this sci-fi mystery novel. It is the first in the Expanse series, which has also been made into a tv show although the book contains much more depth and detail.

While no year is given, the story is set in the distant future in which Mars has a stable military colony, something disastrous happened to Earth that changed the environment in certain areas, and there are additional human colonies throughout the solar system on stations and moons. Enough time has passed that people born and raised in space alone have different features, being extra tall and lanky among other things–referred to as “belters”. Mars and Earth have a love/hate relationship at this point. The three groups just barely get alone since everyone needs the others to fully survive as they trade resources and provide services or goods unique to their group. However, war breaks out flamed by tension and mistrust between them all, which only obscures the real threat going on that very few know about and a handful are trying to stop it.

The novel consists of alternating chapters by two main characters: Detective Miller and Captain Holden. Miller is a belter working on a missing person’s case until he gets fired when the war breaks out. Holden was part of a larger crew when he and a few other crew members got separated from the rest and saved from the attack on their main ship, making him the new captain on their smaller shuttle; unwittingly, he sets off the war when he broadcasts the evidence of the attack, not knowing at the time that it was all a set-up to allow a greedy corporation to do human experiments with alien technology that they discovered and kept to themselves, believing they could profit from it. However, the alien technology is more of a virus than realized so wreaks havoc and devastation. Miller and Holden, first separately then together, work to expose and correct the actions of the devious corporation in order to save humanity.

Corey writes such a realistic and plausible colonized space, describing the environmental systems running the space stations, negative effects of space travel and the countermeasures in place to counteract them, as well as the aging technology in need of further upgrade that’s not receiving it. Many times sci-fi only showcases shiny, new technology and space travel with zero consequences on the mind and body, but Leviathan wakes captures a more wholistic view and places the story in a “lived in” world, at a time in which space colonies are boring, typical, everyday life. It’s a great take on life in space and likely would eventually happen if we ever actually colonized the solar system. The plot is then more about humanity than space, in that regard.

There’s a great mix of characters and personalities, several of whom the story follows closely. Their perspectives are unique and many times they have to either convince each other or explain their reasoning, which deepens the plots and characters.

Recommended?:

Yes! Sci-fi fans will love it, along with anyone who likes space novels or pondering humanity and the fragility of it. Word of caution, there’s a good amount of gore and descriptions about how the alien virus-like technology as it transforms its human victims that can be a bit disturbing. Due to this, it’s more adult reading even though older teens could understand it. Still, it’s a great novel and very enjoyable read. I can’t wait to read more books in the series!

Leviathan wakes by James S.A. Corey Book cover