Books: Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry

Audrey Niffenegger’s second novel is a ghost story that reads almost like a fairy tale.  Twin sisters Julia and Valentina are left their estranged Aunt’s London flat with the instructions that they have to live there for 1 year and their Mother, their Aunt’s twin sister, mustnt step foot in the flat.  The sisters are spoiled 20 year olds living in Chicago with Mom & Dad looking for the next thing to try and this seems like the perfect adventure.  This is their chance to grow up, and for one sister, she thinks it’s her chance to seperate slowly from her clingy, bossy twin. 

The relationship between the twins is strained with only Valentina feeling the strain as Julia the bossy twin decides their every move and every fashion choice.  They dress alike, they sleep in the same bed, they eat the same meals.  The character’s in their new flat slowly seperate the thoughts between the twins.  Aunt Elspeth is a ghost in their flat and makes herself known to the twins.  Elspeth’s lover Robert lives downstairs and starts an odd relationship with Valentina that makes Elspeth jealous and the upstairs shut in Martin gains relief from his OCD’s in befriending Julia. 

The relationships are well developed and thought out and the Historic Highgate Cemetery that the building overlooks even seems to be it’s own character in the book.  The book is told from many perspectives and the most interesting perspective seems to be when told from that of the ghost of Aunt Elspeth.  Manipulative in person, I believe she magnifies that quality as a ghost trapped in her flat. 

A beautifully haunting tale that I think most people with an open mind to spirits will enjoy.  You won’t think of ghosts in the same way. 

Four out of five milky white ghost like butterflies.

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Book: The Monster of Florence

MoF

The Monster of Florence - by Douglas Preston & Mario Spezi

This book was not exactly what I thought it would be.  As a non-fiction book about a serial killer in Italy I thought it would be extremely interesting and would take me to the end of the story where a killer was revealed.  Instead it goes deeply into history of Italy and of the way cases are handled in Italy.  If you are looking for an answer….there is none.  If you are interested in getting hooked on a story and then never finding out the end…this book is for you.  An unsolved crime that spanned from the 1960’s until the late 80’s resulting in 16 deaths and many many suspects being held with no evidence.  Apparently speculation is enough to get you put in prison for up to a year with no charges.  And writing a book about the crimes while dissing the police effort is enough to get you put in the slammer and thought of as a suspect. 

This book frustrated me and was put down MANY times.  If I wasn’t reading it for book club I would have probably not finished it and when I did finish it I was angry at the result.  I think that is what Douglas Preston wanted though, he was frustrated as an American thriller author of fiction when he became intangled and then a suspect because he was pulled into the real life mystery.  I think he wanted us as the reader to be frustrated as well.  Mr. Preston you succeeded in the frustration and the anger at the Italian legal system.  Yes, it’s messy and nothing appears to be based on facts.  It puts the point across that should I travel to Italy I should stay out of trouble at all costs! 

I give the book 2 1/2 out of 5 butterflies.  A lot of the history not relating to the crimes could easily have been left out, it felt heavy and uneeded to get the point across.

Books: The Salaryman’s Wife by Sujata Massey

masseyThis book had a little of everything.  Mystery, romance, action and a foreign setting made this the perfect book choice for me.  Rei is a states born Japanese-American who loves Japan and teaches English for a kitchen retail company in Tokyo.  On a long New Years Eve vacation to a snowy small town in Northern Japan she stays at an Inn with a handful of colorful characters and a murder takes place.  She gets pulled into the mystery as the translator but becomes emotionally involved when a new love interest made at the Inn becomes the main suspect.

The book takes you through many of Japan’s towns, the unspoken manners that are required and the seedy nightlife that exists in Tokyo.  I found myself unable to put the book down and while I thought I had everything figured out and just KNEW who the bad guy was…I was surprised to find I was wrong.  I love it when mysteries let me think I have it figures out and then pull a fast flip on me!  I will be checking out more of Sujata Massey’s many mysteries.  Many of them seem to be American’s working in Japan.  A fun fast read!  4 out of 5 butterflies!

Makes My Heart Flutter

Random Bits of Happy

Rollerderby!  Duval!

*Thursday I popped into a Bealls discount outlet looking for one thing and didn’t find it but came out with a super cute 50’s style bathing suit, turquoise flip flops and two hair bands for under $35.

*Friday I spent the day in said bathing suit laying by the pool (thanks to a friend copying their complex pool key for us) listening to tunes and reading a book. An indulgent day that I savored.

*I went to my favorite used bookstore, Chamblin Bookmine, and bought the rest of a vampire series that a friend referred me to. The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward has me hooked.

*I am finally starting to get called back on jobs that I’ve applied for. This is a relief just because I was beginning to lose hope that jobs were really out there.

*Our city’s Rollerderby is the bomb. They didn’t win last night but they invited the winning team to Starlite Cafe for the after party and showed the Tallahassee ladies how Jacksonville gets down. A good time was had by the girls and their fans(and friends!).

*I love summer TV programming. So You Think You Can Dance is on, this show makes me hella happy! Plus Weeds and True Blood!

B4 you go…xoxo

Shana