Friday, March 14, 2014

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie - TLC Book Tours

The Sound of Broken Glass by Deborah Crombie

  • Series: Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James Novels (Book 15)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 25, 2014)

Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
**FTC Disclaimer - the publisher provided me a copy of The Sound of Broken Glass in exchange for an honest review.  The review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

Title?  Not at all obvious...but very effective...made me say "Ahhhhhhh, nice touch" when I put all the pieces together.

Golden Lines

"...I learned years ago that he would never make a real effort to defend a woman.  It was as if he made an automatic assumption of guilt." (119)

The sound faded out.  She stood, paralyzed, as little animated rain clouds began to move across the map of Britain on the screen.
It couldn't be.  It couldn't be him.
What on earth had she done? (140)

The bastards had followed him home.  And they had seen Nadine. (147)

Cleaver Square is a paradox.  Sandwiched between two busy streets, it provides a sense of eerie calm rarely seen outside of a Hitchcock movie. (155)

"The way Melody talked about that guitar chap yesterday - did you notice?  I didn't like it.  Something's up, and I want to know what it is." (163)

"Another barrister?  Strangled?  Dear God.  This is turning into a royal balls-up.  What the hell is going on here?" (166)

"...Just play, Andy."  She touched one of the geranium blossoms.  "No one has been kind to me except you.  Think of it as red for red." (186)

"You, Andy?  Of all people.  I thought you were my friend." (265)

"We all need looking after.  It's the greatest of mistakes to think otherwise.  No one knows that better than me." (352)

Summary from Amazon

Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are on the case in Deborah Crombie’s The Sound of Broken Glass, a captivating mystery that blends a murder from the past with a powerful danger in the present.
When Detective Inspector James joins forces with Detective Inspector Melody Talbot to solve the murder of an esteemed barrister, their investigation leads them to realize that nothing is what it seems—with the crime they’re investigating and their own lives.
With an abundance of twists and turns and intertwining subplots, The Sound of Broken Glass byNew York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie is an elaborate and engaging page-turner.

What I Liked

The map - I love the penciled map drawing at the beginning of the novel...Crombie uses the real life Crystal Palace and surrounding areas as the main geographical focus of The Sound of Broken Glass.  Even though I've never been to London, nor did I ever feel lost while reading, I enjoyed looking back a the drawing from time to time...and especially once I was completely done with the story.

The twists - By page 140, I thought I had it figured page 318, I realized I was wrong...and had been very willingly duped by Crombie :P  Well played, Ms. Crombie...well played.

The lingo - I won't apologize for being a language lover...I could listen to/read different accents, different cultural sayings all day long.  There's something about it that makes you feel as if you're actually there.  I think it's like giving a blind person cotton balls to help them understand what clouds look like.  Yes, I'm an academic who thinks too much...why do you ask? :/

The way the past slowly weaves its way into the present - very possibly for the first time, after finishing The Sound of Broken Glass, I thought about how the writer's craft is not just a story but a well designed puzzle.  Those puzzles make all the difference in the world to a reader...and those puzzles very quickly separate the good from the bad.  Crombie is most definitely one of the best serial writers I read.  

Jagger and Ginger - Michael and Tam's German Shepherd dogs - not even gonna apologize for this :P

What I Didn't Like

The Sound of Broken Glass is only my 2nd read of this series.  My first foray into the Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James mysteries was No Mark upon Her.  Don't get me wrong; I never felt left out of anything...I just want to know these characters better.  It's like meeting new people who have a history together and you want to sit around asking questions so you get the whole picture.  That is certainly no fault of Crombie's; as a matter of fact, I love her writing even more that she can make her characters that real.

Overall Recommendation

Don't shy away from this series because it's a series.  Crombie's books are have enough depth to satisfy even if you don't want to read the entire series.  

The Author

Other Stops on the Tour

Tuesday, February 25th: The Best Books Ever
Wednesday, February 26th: she treads softly
Monday, March 3rd: The Year in Books
Tuesday, March 4th: Kelly’s [Former] France Blog
Thursday, March 6th: Book Dilettante
Monday, March 10th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, March 11th: Jen’s Book Thoughts
Wednesday, March 12th: 5 Minutes for Books

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro - TLC Book Review

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 4, 2014)

Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
FTC Disclosure - The publisher provided me with a complimentary copy of The Perfume Collector in exchange for an honest review.  The review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

I was reminded of? Under the Tuscan Sun

What Now? Now, I think I shall have to go to Paris :)
In the meantime, I'd love to read some of Tessaro's other books.  She is definitely a writer I will come back to.

Golden Lines

'...What would you like to do with it?' he pressed.
Grace thought for a moment.  'Live,  Monsieur Tissot.  I'd like to live in great comfort.  And peace.'  And then she added, quite to her surprise, 'With no one to tell me what to do or how to do it.' (80)

As soon as she entered, the smell of perfume hit her.  Not flowery or whimsical but sophisticated, strong.  Like a hand reaching out across the impossible distance to pierce the veil that separated them, it pressed hard against her solar plexus, stopping her in her tracks.  (97)

'There is nothing more difficult than simplicity,' Madame added, turning her back on them. 'And therefore, nothing more refined.' (143)

'One cannot underestimate the importance of a train being on time.  Or leave to chance the space between the plane and the bomb.' (161)

'I don't know why,' she confessed, 'but I've always loved the smell of rain.' (178)

Madame considered a moment. 'What if knowing more meant that your life would change?' (222)

His muse possessed him, saturated him the way water soaks into a flimsy cloth until the fabric is more liquid than solid. (327)

And she'd smelled of something familiar, something so natural, so elemental that for ever afterwards and for reasons she could never quite place, Grace would associate the sudden drop in temperature, the darkening of the sky and the low growl of thunder, with peace and comfort. (386)

Madame Zed passed her the final vial.  Choses Perdus, she said.  'It means "Lost things". This is the accord Eva was obsessed with - the heart of the fragrance Hiver can't reproduce.' (427)

'What matters now, all that matters now, is what Grace Munroe chooses to do next.' (456)

Summary from Amazon

A remarkable novel about secrets, desire, memory, passion, and possibility.
Newlywed Grace Monroe doesn’t fit anyone’s expectations of a successful 1950s London socialite, least of all her own. When she receives an unexpected inheritance from a complete stranger, Madame Eva d’Orsey, Grace is drawn to uncover the identity of her mysterious benefactor.
Weaving through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London, the story Grace uncovers is that of an extraordinary women who inspired one of Paris’s greatest perfumers. Immortalized in three evocative perfumes, Eva d’Orsey’s history will transform Grace’s life forever, forcing her to choose between the woman she is expected to be and the person she really is.
The Perfume Collector explores the complex and obsessive love between muse and artist, and the tremendous power of memory and scent.

What I Liked

Eva d'Orsey - She's a flawed scrapper and a survivor...and that's most definitely my favorite kind of female protagonist.

Madame Zed - Even though her world didn't last and she harvested some pretty strong hurt against both Valmont and Eva, she didn't let it devour her in the end and decided to turn that around into something good for Grace.

Valmont and Lambert - both men who played integral roles in Eva's life.  They were both flawed, of course, and while certainly not perfect characters, I do think neither of them had any intention of hurting her.  They were more her equals and saw in her a young woman with intellectual gifts that needed to be refined...of course, not always for good...but they were surviving.

I'm a fan of the past/present narrative...but I've seen it done well and not so well.  I usually am drawn more to one than the other, but Tessaro made me want to know both stories equally, and I think it's because the threads that hold the stories together are so intricately sewn.  I never felt like I was switching perspectives...The Perfume Collector just reads like one story...not two that eventually come together in the end.

What I Didn't Like

Roger - even before Tessaro gave me a really good reason to dislike him, I disliked him.  What an ass.

Miss Waverley - I have no nice words at all for this woman...I guess someone could say Miss Waverley taught Eva survival tactics and gave her a great gift in the process, but she also lied, manipulated, offered Eva up as a sacrifice, and then left her for dead. That's evil in my book...Eva was just a kid.  I dislike her more than Roger.

Overall Recommendation

I'm in a little bit of a reading slump right now...I can't seem to find books that hold my attention very well, so I'm having to be very selective with what I pick up.  By the time I arrived at pg. 80 of The Perfume Collector when Grace told Monsieur Tissot that she wanted to live in peace with no one telling her what to do (see Golden Line #1 above), I was hooked and didn't put the book down until I was finished.
Best of all, I'm re-energized to read the next book on my list!!!
Gotta love an author who can pull you out of a slump!

The Author

Other Stops on the Tour

Tuesday, February 11th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Wednesday, February 12th: The Blog of Lit Wits
Thursday, February 13th: Read. Write. Repeat
Tuesday, February 18th: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, February 20th: Sidewalk Shoes
Monday, February 24th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, February 25th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, February 26th: Walking With Nora
Thursday, February 27th: Kritters Ramblings