Monday, September 9, 2019

The Golden Oldies Guesthouse

Title: The Golden Oldies Guesthouse
Author: Dee MacDonald
Published: August 27th 2019 by Bookouture
Format: eBook, 543 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Though not specifically billed as a sequel to “The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane”, since “The Golden Oldies Guesthouse” can be read as a standalone, it takes up about eighteen months after Tess and Simon Sparrow are married. While on vacation in the Cotswolds, the ever-adventurous Simon takes an old bumpy road and at the end is a glorious yet crumbling mansion. Called Over and Above due to its never-ending costs, which are over and above quoted repair bills, Tess and Simon toss all care to the wind and purchase it with the hopes of turning it into a long-term retreat for authors, artists, and whatnot.

The whatnot is their first set of guests who arrive in the second part of the book, and with them, secrets which bring this book to life since the first part was beginning to border on boring. As backstories are revealed, the reader finds themselves falling deeper into the narrative. From a spinster, to a lonely older man, to a has-been actress, to a couple trying to hold on to their marriage, this book bounces from one storyline to the next without missing a beat.

I do hope that Dee McDonald continues this as a series. The mere fact that each guest coming to the Sparrows’ Nest (which they had renamed) will have their own unique stories could make this a gem of a series for years to come.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Wonton Terror

Title: Wonton Terror
Author: Vivien Chien
Published: August 27th 2019 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Format: eBook, Paperback, 320 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
Series: Noodle Shop Mystery #4

I love coming back to this series. Maybe it is all the food talk or maybe it is the main character that seems to bumble her way through her amateur sleuthing, but there is something charming about Lana Lee and the input from the Mahjong Matrons. Maybe that could be a second series for Vivien Chien, something centered on the matrons who breakfast together and supply a fountain of knowledge from the comfort of their favorite booth.

The first outdoor Asian Night Market of the summer is in full swing when an explosion rips through the event. Turns out that propane tanks on food trucks can be tricky and when a body is found in the rubble, a man who was seen fighting with his wife, starts everyone gossiping when it comes to light that the two had a contentious marriage and on a previous occasion the police had gotten involved. Is it possible that his death was intentional?

It isn’t until Lana, with her murder book and overcurious mind, starts putting the clues together and asks one too many questions, do the pieces fall together and once again Lana’s life is on the line.

Monday, September 2, 2019

The Rosie Result

Title: The Rosie Result
Author: Graeme Simsion
Published: June 4th 2019 by Text Publishing Company
Format: Hardcover, 378 pages
Genre: Fiction
Series: Don Tillman #3

About halfway through I lost interest in the book. From what I remember from the prior books were more humor and more odd encounters. Granted there were a few in The Rosie Result, but they seemed to miss the mark.

With a son who is suspected of being on the autism spectrum, over-analytical, and on the spectrum himself, Don Tillman takes it upon himself to diagnose 11-year-old Hudson. There are online evaluators, but Don being Don decides to take it a step further and develops his on “Hudson Project”. There is nothing typical within the project, but in the end, both father and son come to their conclusions about themselves, friendship, responsibilities, and other suitable things which will finally put an end to all questions and allows the Tillman family to find their places, and futures, in the world.

The Rosie Result is the third and purported final book in the Don Tillman trilogy.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Perfect Wife

Title: The Perfect Wife
Author: J.P. Delaney
Published: August 6th 2019 by Ballantine Books
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 413 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

This is a book which will stay with you. There is a futuristic reality of Artificial Intelligence (AIs) taking over the everyday world that is spooky in its possibility. Start with the advancements made by the companies run by the tech billionaires, add in a slightly off-center tech genius, add in a disappearance, or is it murder, then finish it off with a cobot, a companion robot, who takes on the appearance of the person you love and there you have “The Perfect Wife”.

There were parts of the book that confused me. How could a preprogrammed AI, with data gathered from social media accounts, have what from the outside appears to be insider knowledge of the person they have replaced? Granted, in this book AI is not technically artificial intelligence, but rather autonomous intelligence, yet Abbie seems to know more than “she” should.

There is a side story around the son of Abbie and Tim. Danny developed a disintegrative disorder called Heller’s syndrome which is often referred to as late-onset autism and you see the battle between Tim and AI Abbie as to what is the right care for Danny. This had introduced me to Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. Doing a little side research, it is no wonder they disagreed as to what is best for their son and why Abbie fought so hard to find a stable environment for him.

It is the ending that will make you say “oh, I get it now”. Where it should have all made sense in the beginning, when you realized what a self-obsessed narcissist Tim was and as you reflect, you realize the clues were there all along.

JP Delaney is an author that has psychological twists down to an art. You know there is a bombshell waiting for you, you just don’t know when or where it will land and when it does, you are blindsided.