Monday, October 14, 2019

Swiss Vendetta by Tracee de Hahn

Swiss Vendetta
by Tracee de Hahn

Published: 2017
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, WWII, Switzerland
Paperback: 368
Rating: 4

Agnes Luthi Mysterie series
Swiss Vendetta
A Well-Timed Murder

First sentence(s):
"I thought you'd left."

In Tracee de Hahn's magnetic debut, Swiss police detective Agnes Luthi finds herself trapped in a chateau during the blizzard of the century when she's called out on her first homicide.

Detective Agnes Luthi, a Swiss-American police officer in Lausanne, Switzerland, has just switched over to the Violent Crimes unit from Financial Crimes in an effort to shed all reminders of her old life after her husband's death. Now, on the eve of the worst blizzard Lausanne has seen in centuries, Agnes has been called out on her very first homicide case. On the lawn of the grand Chateau Vallotton, along the edge of Lake Geneva, a young woman has been found stabbed to death. The woman worked for an art auction house in London, and had been taking inventory at the Chateau Vallotton, which is dripping in priceless works of art and historical treasures.

Agnes finds it difficult to draw answers out of anyone—the tight-lipped Swiss family living in the chateau, the servants who have been loyal to the family for generations, the aging WWII survivor who lives in the neighboring chateau, even the American history student studying at the Vallotton castle's library. As the storm rages on, roads become impassible, the power goes out around Lake Geneva, and Agnes finds herself trapped in the candlelit halls of the chateau with all the players of the mystery, out of her depth in her first murder case and still struggling to stay afloat after the death of her husband.

My two-bits:
Lots of suspects that kept me wondering and wandering until the end.

Loved roaming the chateau grounds for this mystery and discovering the secret areas.


* part of Books, Inc. Foreign Intrigue Book Club (here)

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 10.13.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Listening to Bach Cello Suite 1

2. Viewing artwork online by Marta Minujin for ¡VIVA! Annual Celebration of Latino Hispanic Heritage month - Impressed with her epic Parthenon of Books in Germany and Babel Tower of books in Buenos Aires made with books!

3. Sumo Wrestling exhibition at Japan town


For Review:

The Bride of Northanger
by Diane Birchall
-Historical, Romance, Jane Austen theme
courtesy of book tour -Thanks! | Goodreads

Review posts theme for this month: I am in a dark funk and will be reading books related to True Crime, Hunger, Horror, or Harassment.


We were treated to hearing from so many wonderful authors at the 5th Filipino American International Book Festival (details)

The Dear America: Writing Filipinx Counter Narratives included moderator, Janet Mendoza Stickman and panelist authors, E.J.R. David, Janice Sapigao, Jan-Henry Gray, Juanita Tamayo Lott, Grace Talusan and Jose Antonio Vargas.

I picked up these up...

Bodies of Water
by Yves Lamson
-Folklore, Fantasy, Filipino | Goodreads

The Body Papers: A Memoir
by Grace Talusan
-Memoir, Feminism, Filipino | Goodreads

AND watched: in theatre

To Each Her Own (2018)
Director/Writer: Myriam Aziza
Writers: Olivia Jaudeau (script adaptation), Denyse Rodriguez-Tomé
Stars: Sarah Stern, Jean-Christophe Folly, Julia Piaton

-Drama, LGBTQ, France | imdb | my rating: 4

Simone plans to inform her conservative Jewish family that she's a lesbian, but as she proceeds with coming out she finds herself attracted to a man.

CURIOUS. This is one that has grey areas which is not necessarily a bad thing.

A Journey Through Genders (2019)
Director: Miyuki Tokoi
Stars: Takamasa Kobayashi
-Drama, LGBTQ, Japan | my rating: 5

24-year-old Takamasa Kobayashi has been trying to find his true gender since childhood. Born as a girl, he was one of the first students in Japan to persuade a junior high school to accept a female as a boy. At 20, he underwent surgeries so that he could legally become a man, the youngest case in Japan. But this was just the beginning. Takamasa then discovered that he is not a man either and is now searching beyond gender binaries. We followed Takamasa for 9 years on his journey through gender transformation.

Part of the Japan Film Festival 2019 (here) with a Q&A with director.

INFORMATIVE. Helpful in learning about what goes on in regards to a young person in transition.

Clemency (2019)
Director/Writer: Chinonye Chukwu
Stars: Vernee Watson, Aldis Hodge, Alfre Woodard
-Drama | imdb | my rating: 5

Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams. As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.

THOUGHT PROVOKING. Gave perspectives of people involved and affected by an execution.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Thanks for stopping by :-)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Bunny by Mona Awad

by Mona Awad
Published: 2019
Publisher: Viking
Genre: Horror
Hardback: 307
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
We call them Bunnies because that is what they call each other. Seriously. Bunny.

Zombie sighting:
Where she drinks her spiked gunpowder tea and draws th eworld as a series of zombies.
-chapter 6, page 51

Samantha Heather Mackey couldn't be more of an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at New England's Warren University. A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort--a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other "Bunny," and seem to move and speak as one.

But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies' fabled "Smut Salon," and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door--ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies' sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus "Workshop" where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision.

The spellbinding new novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.

My two-bits:
Loved how there are references and hints of fairy tales, Alice in Wonderland and Watership Down.

Appreciation for writers and their imaginations.

Plenty of creepy and snickering moments.


* monthly theme: True Crime, Hunger, Horror, Harassment

Friday, October 11, 2019

Savage Appetites by Rachel Monroe

Savage Appetites
Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession
by Rachel Monroe

Published: 2019
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: True Crime
Hardback: 272
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Until a few years ago, Oxygen was a cable TV channel that targeted a young, female demographic with forgettable high-drama shows with names like Last Squad Staanding and Bad girls club.

Zombie sighting:
"We used to do zombies and vampires, but that's going nowhere. It's all true crime now."
-chapter 1, page 6

In this illuminating exploration of women, violence, and obsession, Rachel Monroe interrogates the appeal of true crime through four narratives of fixation. In the 1940s, a bored heiress began creating dollhouse crime scenes depicting murders, suicides, and accidental deaths. Known as the “Mother of Forensic Science,” she revolutionized the field of what was then called legal medicine. In the aftermath of the Manson Family murders, a young woman moved into Sharon Tate’s guesthouse and, over the next two decades, entwined herself with the Tate family. In the mid-nineties, a landscape architect in Brooklyn fell in love with a convicted murderer, the supposed ringleader of the West Memphis Three, through an intense series of letters. After they married, she devoted her life to getting him freed from death row. And in 2015, a teenager deeply involved in the online fandom for the Columbine killers planned a mass shooting of her own.

Each woman, Monroe argues, represents and identifies with a particular archetype that provides an entryway into true crime. Through these four cases, she traces the history of American crime through the growth of forensic science, the evolving role of victims, the Satanic Panic, the rise of online detectives, and the long shadow of the Columbine shooting. In a combination of personal narrative, reportage, and a sociological examination of violence and media in the twentieth and twenty-first century, Savage Appetites scrupulously explores empathy, justice, and the persistent appeal of violence.

My two-bits:
Fascinating look into five women's lives (including author) that portray different angles of the True Crime genre.

side note: Reading about Frances Lee Gessner triggered my interest in the world of miniatures.


* monthly theme: True Crime, Hunger, Horror, Harassment

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Hunger by Roxane Gay

A Memoir of (My) Body
by Roxane Gay

Published: 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Memoir, Feminism
Hardback: 306
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
Every body has a story and a history.

Zombie sighting:
The term morbid obesity frames fat people like we are the walking dead.
-chapter 4

“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”

In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her own past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.

My two-bits:
This memoir strongly portrays the experience of being in Roxane's body and history of it which brings about an understanding of the mind and body connection and how we are shaped.


* listened to the audio version

* monthly theme: True Crime, Hunger, Horror, Harassment

* part of Our Shared Shelf 2017 (here)
Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu