Book Review | The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault

leaf reader cover.jpgProtagonist Marnie is not one of high school’s popular kids, but her hobby of tea leaf reading gets her involved with the in crowd after one of their own goes missing. Matt is attractive and popular, but something seems slightly off about him. As he searches for answers about his best friend’s disappearance, it’s unclear to Marnie whether he knows more than he’s letting on or has an ulterior motive. When Marnie begins having recurring dreams that involve her tea leaf readings and seeing images outside of the tea cups, she realizes she may be the only hope of solving the town’s mystery.

Definitely a YA book, The Leaf Reader was an enjoyable read. The writing is simple and straight-forward, with an easy to follow plot. The cast of characters is manageable, though somewhat flat. The mystery in this book is intriguing and certainly unpredictable. It’s a plot-driven, fast paced, quick and engaging read. Check it out from a library near you!

I received an advance uncopyedited edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading The Leaf Reader, you may be interested in The Clairvoyants by Karen Brown (2017).


Book Review | The Clairvoyants by Karen Brown

clairvoyants karen brown.jpgAfter growing up on the Connecticut coast, Martha moves to Ithaca to further her photography skills at Cornell. Before long, she is joined by her younger sister, Del, and they fall in with a group of gals from the neighboring town of Milton. Martha’s curiosity regarding the disappearance of one Milton girl grows after she sees the girl’s spirit outside her apartment. After thinking she’s found love, Martha is at a loss when she finds out she’s been courting the missing girl’s beau.

The Clairvoyants is an enjoyable and thought provoking read. Brown’s writing is clear, offering a plot that’s easy to get involved in. Though I didn’t particularly like any of the novel’s characters, their stories were interesting and kept me constantly engaged. The supernatural aspect of the plot, while ever-present, is not overdone. This book would appeal to fans of gothic or women’s fiction. Check it out from a library near you!

I received an advance reader’s edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

*If you’ve enjoyed reading The Clairvoyants, you may be interested in An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman (2014).

Film Review | Journey to the Shore (Kishibe no tabi) directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

indexThree years after his disappearance, Mizuki’s husband Yusuke returns home and calmly explains to his wife that he drowned at sea. Pleased that he has finally come back to her, Mizuki seems mostly unfazed by the fact that her husband is dead. Yusuke asks her to go away with him and she agrees, leaving the mundane life she has established as a children’s piano teacher behind. The couple embarks on a journey where they cross paths with various people in need of some type of spiritual release, ranging from a man whose wife has abandoned him, to a couple who has lost a child.

This movie was very well done. It was both moving and thought provoking. Although it dealt with seemingly impossible happenings, such as dead people blending in among the living, Kurosawa has done so tastefully, in a palatable manner. The movie captured my interest from the beginning and continued to keep my attention for the whole two hour duration. Fans of Japanese cinema are likely to enjoy this feature, especially because it moves at a decent pace with a logical and easy to follow plot. It may also appeal to those going through relationship issues away from a loved one or those who may have lost someone very close to them.

Book Review | So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood by Patrick Modiano

cover so you don't get lost in the neighborhood by patrick modianoFrom the beginning, this book was an inviting read, but was at times difficult to follow chronologically. Protagonist Jean Daragane is a bit of a hermit in his Paris apartment. He is drawn outside by a strange couple who claims false identities when returning his lost address book. Beyond simple pleasantries, the couple shares documents from a former police investigation and asks for Daragane’s assistance in giving additional background information. At first he is unable to recall any relevant details, but upon closer inspection he realizes just how much of his own past seems to be hidden. 

There are many things to appreciate about So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighborhood. The writing style is very straightforward and concise. Images are depicted fairly well and the main points of the novel are clear. With few characters it is easy to keep them straight during this generously spaced quick read of about 150 pages. If you’re looking for a brief escape to Paris, this will do.

Modiano has chosen three distinct time periods in which this novel’s events occur: Daragane as a child, as a man 15-20 years later, and 40 years later believing himself to be a different person. Without any chapter breaks, I found it hard to tell the exact chronology of events. Characters were not well developed and though this was a conscious choice by the author, I have to question whether the book would have been better served with more text. I found the first half of the book much more intriguing than the second half. Check it out from a library near you. If you really enjoy this book, try The Silence of the Wave by Gianrico Carofiglio