Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Sunday, February 28, 2016

"White Devil", by Mark Dawson

Book 1, in the Beatrix Rose: Hong Kong Stories (trilogy)

In this story (84 pages novella) Beatrix is in Hong Kong to find some needed cash for the search in her beloved daughter Isabella who disappeared without a trace. The opportunity presented itself unexpectedly when her particular skills were needed by the Triad.

Intriguing and action-packed this fast paced mystery is a great read. It may be short, to the point with no frills and unnecessary words but the author knows how to place the right amount of punch to push the excitement to the limit.

This little book is unputdownable

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"Adios, Havana", by Andrew J. Rodriguez

A Mémoir

“Adios Havana” is a true account intended to remind us of the fragility of freedom. Cuba was an island paradise and Havana, its capital, a crown jewel internationally renowned till the Revolution. The aftermath brought powerful domestic and international repercussions. This mémoir paints the author’s struggle, along with his wife, to escape the communists at any cost.

The author opens his book by vividly describing life in Cuba before Castro. He doesn’t sugar coat his words when the revolution came and subsequently life in the country accelerate from zero to tyranny practically overnight. He touches some of the barbaric practices Castro’s goons did but this was a small part in the book what he mainly covered is his quest to escape to Florida and how he managed to do so. As a “Cuban exile” the Rodriguez did not think like most refugees that the new government would not last long and wanted to make the USA their permanent home and leave a legacy for the future generations. With a bit of help from sponsors and charitable organizations they started their new life and through the years became highly regarded US citizens.

Being a memoir one can only read what the author wishes to say after all it is his own souvenirs. It has some very touching moments.

“Adios Havana”, is also a love story of his unswerving love and devotion to his wife. He writes about how he met her, his courtship, his marriage, their escape and their arrival penniless and with little knowledge of English to a country that greeted them with open arms…

This is a real heart-warming story I enjoyed very much.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This is the Way I see it.

Friday, February 19, 2016

"The Fire Witness", by Lars Kepler

                                      Book 3, in Detective Inspector Joona Linna series

Before you read this novel be warned it is one of those rare stories that are truly difficult to put down. Once started you will be reading till the wee hours….This pulse-pounding third outing sends Joona to

a home for troubled girls where one of them was brutally murdered, one girls is gone missing and one girl claims to have witnessed it all.

The story weaves puzzles into puzzles and is as dark, gritty and as brutal as you can imagine. It starts slowly at first but fast gain momentum. Brilliantly written in short and exciting chapters combined with a present tense narration the action is largely centered on trying to find the prime suspect, the missing girl. Giving us only the information we need, no long back stories the author’s proceeds in giving clues as the investigation moves along and draws us deeper and deeper. In every turn there is a reversal of fortunes and the horrendous set of circumstance is what kept me glued to every single page till I reached the conclusion.

“The Fire Witness” has a more violent side than the previous installments. What brings this page-turner to new heights is the mystery behind the issues covered, the minutia of the details, the originality in which it is delivered and not forgetting the intriguing characterization.

Although part of a series “The Fire Witness” can easily be enjoyed on its own.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

"Fifteen Dogs", by André Alexis




Fantasy is not usually my pick for entertainment but since this sounded totally different and to boot written by a prestigious award winner why not give it a go and I never regretted my decision. This is moral fable with animal characters.

The story is a spin onto Modern Greek mythology where the author frames his storyline around a disagreement between Zeus’s two sons, Apollo and Hermes who argues whether animals would be happier with human intellect. With this, fifteen dogs in a kennel in Toronto awaken to the unfamiliar sense of awareness and along with the dogs we are taken through their unfamiliar journey and what a journey it was.

This slim and elegantly written novel possessed of both intelligence and deep feeling is quite refreshing. The dramatizing of human qualities, language and abilities are well orchestrated. It surely was a feat to manage such a large cast and the various lines of actions without losing the momentum of the novel. The pack hierarchy is brutal. These brave furry tails can only struggle in the violent streets of Toronto in hope to find a helping hand or waiting patiently for a human friend that will never come…. The plots include murder and euthanasia, the death of humans and the narrative show how the dogs respond. . The book also includes several poems composed by Prince, one of the dogs. Love and friendship and strong bond with humans are covered in the narrative. Quite a range of topics is fantasized through this wonderful apologue.

“What is my dog thinking?” will surely be on any readers mind after reading this book.

Great reading

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"The Witch of Watergate", by Warren Adler

Book 5, in the Fiona FitzGerald Mysteries

This mystery focuses on the death of a gossip columnist, who is discovered hanging from a balcony in the Watergate apartment complex.

Mr. Adler is a real tale-teller and a dandy weaver of political intrigues. Fiona makes good reading, in this installment she teams up with a cynical rookie Charleen Davis and all along the case the two squabbles continuously rarely seeing eye to eye.

Mr. Adler’s views on Washington’s political life are a real kaleidoscope of scandals and he is not shy to fictionalize his experiences in entertaining ways. The plot in “The Witch of Watergate” primarily showcases law enforcement rivalries at its best and takes the paranoia in Washington to a different level. Of course he did not forget to have the media sharks looking for a good bite and usually they take a real gone one into a mayor, a police commissioner, a sleazy politician, the usual prime targets are always the favourites. The full drama is dedicated to figuring out what may have happened: if not a suicide who was behind this terrible deed. Although this story may be a drama it is not fast moving and we do not find extensive suspense to thrill us. It snails along and is steady till Fiona unlocks the mystery into the columnist’s murder. Fiona is a great character and all the players are cleverly handled. The dialogue is written with care, is simple and to the point. This book is not very taxing so an easy read.

“The Witch of Watergate” is good entertainment but not much more

Friday, February 5, 2016

Colton Bayon Mysteries 1-3", by Gerald J. Kubicki

I recommend this fun series, having read and reviewed all 3 thrillers individually I can honestly say that this offer is a real treat and should not be passed by those who are thrill seekers or by those who enjoy a mix of sci-fi, tidbits historical facts, good suspense, over the top characterization and a series that has its ups and downs but surely knows how to fully entertain us with each installment. Each book can be read and enjoyed on its own but I do suggest reading them in sequence.

A boxset is an excellent and economical way to experience Mr. Kubicki’s craftsmanship and especially getting to know his main players and discover their colourful background. Each book as its own story and each is an unbelievable adventure. The way to go is to start with the 3 first books in the series and here is the chance to do so.

"Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage", by Alfred Lansing

This bestseller first published in 1959 and reissued in 1999 recounts the failure of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition by Sir Ernest Shackleton in its attempt to cross the Antarctic continent by dog sledge in 1914.

Men have to be nuts to be explorers ….

The British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic in August of 1914 by October 1015 half way from its intended base the ship was trapped, crushed in the ice leaving the crew drifting on ice packs in one of the world’s most inhospitable regions.

Mr. Lansing describes with chilling words how the men survived the long voyage in an open boat across the stormiest ocean and vividly recounts the overland trek through the glaciers and mountains. What shines over all the misery in this harrowing adventure is the resilience and courage of the 28 men. This book written from interviews and access to the journals of all the survivors of the expedition is one hell of a tale and is as exciting as a novel. Although the tone has a dry style the story is far from being dull. We know from the start that this is a story of 28 men absolutely doomed….The most fascinating is the gritty details of how much their day to day life was bad: hiking across slushy ice pack, being wet for weeks, frostbitten, starving, sleeping in freezing water, surviving gale force wind,, etc. and this lasted for two long years. It is amazing they didn’t kill or eat each other. It seems so unbelievable they managed to survive.

“Endurance” is an amazing catalog of miseries and is one of the most intense and captivating read.