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review 2017-11-25 14:06
The Light in the Ruins ★★★☆☆
The Light in the Ruins - Chris Bohjalian

I am a little disappointed in this book overall, as I had high expectations after seeing some very good reviews. Also disappointing that I didn’t like this more because my library has several more audios of this author’s books on Overdrive. It started out well, at least, with a brutal murder occurring from the anonymous murderer’s POV, and it kept me interested enough to keep pulling me along with the story and trying to guess at the murderer. But… I felt myself growing more distanced from all the characters as the story progressed, which really should not happen. By the end, I really didn’t care much about any of them, but was only curious to see how the story resolved and if any of my guesses at the murderer were right. I’m fine with a book peopled by unlikeable characters, because it’s absolutely possible for them still to be drawn in a way that the reader can still connect with them. I don’t feel the author accomplished that here. The mystery reveal was a disappointment, too, as it turned out that

the murderer is a minor character whom we aren’t even introduced to in the war storyline until close to the end.

(spoiler show)

I will still try other books by this author, though. Maybe I’ll like another better.


Audiobook from my public library via Overdrive. I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, for my first Light Joker: Read a book that has the words “light”, “candle”, “lamp”, “sun” or “fire” in its title or features any of these five things on its cover. This book fits, obviously, because it has “Light” in the title. I’ll use this for square 4: Book themes for Thanksgiving Day: Books with a theme of coming together to help a community or family in need.  –OR– Books with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover.

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review 2017-10-13 01:18
The Flight Attendant
The Flight Attendant: A Novel - Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is an author that I can't count on to entertain me with a good story so I requested his latest book when I saw it on Netgalley. The description made it seem like something that I'd really enjoy.


This follows Cassie, a flight attendant who wakes up one morning after a one night stand next to a dead body. She can't really remember what happened and must piece it together.


I can't really say that I liked Cassie at all. The way she clung to drinking even though it was clearly destroying her life made the book a little less enjoyable. She makes it very hard to like her. As she is not likeable it made the book seem to drag on to me. Quite frankly I just got tired of reading about her.


There was some action and some twists that unfolded towards the end but I feel like some of the action should have come sooner. I would have rather had a little more action and a little less of Cassie bumbling around.


Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the galley.

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review 2017-09-22 20:04
The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
The Flight Attendant: A Novel - Chris Bohjalian

A special thank you to Edelweiss and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


On Chris Bohjalian's Instagram there is a post where a reader asked him why he always wears a suit and tie to an author event and his response was that it was a way of showing respect and thanks to his readers.  I was touched by his post and thought it showed a tremendous amount of class.  In return, I would like to thank Chris Bohjalian for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy of The Flight Attendant.


Bohjalian, known for several of his books including an Oprah pick (Midwives), is a gifted writer.  Every novel he crafts is vastly different from the last, yet equally as rich in character development and plot. 


In The Flight Attendant, we have a flawed, self-sabotaging unreliable narrator—Cassandra Bowden is a flight attendant with a taste for adventure and alcohol.  Being a binge drinker, Cassie suffers from self-loathing and the odd blackout.  Waking up in a hotel room in Dubai after a one night stand with a dead body is beyond blacking out.  Could she have actually killed him?  Afraid to involve the authorities, Cassie starts lying to cover up any speculation that she could be involved.  With each lie she tells, she increasingly looks more guilty.  How far will she go before the truth comes out that she was with the passenger who was found dead in his hotel room?      


I recommend picking up this character-driven thriller/mystery.  Bohjalian weaves an engaging tale of regret, murder, and mystery through strong female characters. 

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review 2017-02-03 15:16
Interesting, but not his best!
The Sleepwalker: A Novel - Chris Bohjalian

The Sleepwalker, Chris Bohjalian, author; narrators, Candy McClain, Grace Experience
The novel is told mostly through the voice of Lianna Ahlberg, but occasionally, another younger voice interjects with questions, concerns or explanations. I disliked several characters and I don’t know if it was the way the narrator portrayed them or if they were simply over developed, making them seem like caricatures rather than actual individuals.
Annalee and Warren Ahlberg lived in Bartlett, Vermont, with their two children, Paige and Lianna. Nine years separated the girls because of their mother’s frequent miscarriages. Paige was twelve and Lianna was twenty-one. She was about to enter her senior year in college.
Warren was a professor at Middlebury College and Annalee was an architect with an office in Middlebury. From outward appearances they were a typical happy family. Annalee was devoted to her children, and the couple seemed devoted to each other, but Annalee had a unique problem. She suffered from parasomnia or somnambulism or what is better known as sleepwalking. Lianna had, on occasion, discovered her mother in this state. One time, she actually found her on a bridge and may have saved her life. Annalee was unaware of what she did when she went for a walk in her sleep. Somnambulists had been known to drive in their sleep. Their eyes would be open, they would appear conscious, but they were in a sleep state and were not aware of the presence of others. They might go out naked, or take off their clothes at some point later on. They might have sex in their sleep. Sometimes, they would go out searching for sex while sleeping. They were unaware and often ashamed of this behavior. There were sleep clinics which attempted to treat this disorder which appeared to be genetic and could, therefore, be passed on to progeny.
Because Annalee only seemed to walk in her sleep when her husband, Warren, was traveling, he had stopped making business trips until he felt she was stable and no longer would be in danger of walking in her sleep and possibly coming to harm. When he felt it was safe, he decided to attend a conference, and on that first night when he was gone and the girls watched over their mother, something went wrong. When Paige woke up in the morning, she discovered her mother was gone. She rushed to tell Lianna. They both searched for her but did not find her. They called 911, but they were rebuffed by a responder who said they should call back because the shift was ending shortly. When they reached their dad, he told them how to proceed and the police eventually arrived. One of the detectives was a man called Gavin Rikert. Coincidentally, he also had a sleep disorder, and he and Annalee had become friends when they were both in the sleep clinic at the same time. Even though Annalee was a good deal older, they bonded because of their mutual problem. When he began to interrogate the family, he was kind and Lianna was attracted to him. It was largely through this relationship that the mystery of Annalee’s disappearance was explored.
Regarding the novel, I didn’t think the vulgar moments were necessary. I also thought that there were a lot of side themes which didn’t seem that relevant to the thread of the story. Lianna was a bit shallow and self-indulgent when it came to snooping into the affairs and private records of others. She seemed immature on the one hand and overly promiscuous on the other. Her rude, often insolent and arrogant behavior made the relationship with a more adult and older Gavin, seem less plausible to me. At 33, he was about a dozen years older. Why would a “grown-up” tolerate the tantrums of an immature young woman, even one who is trying to find out what happened to her mother, a mother who had also been his friend? Paige was a bit over characterized as a sarcastic near-teenager. Warren Ahlberg seemed a bit too distant at times, not involved enough with helping the girls cope with the mystery of their missing mother as a parent normally would, even if they were suffering as well.
While I enjoyed the book, because of the information on somnambulism, and it was obvious that the author did a great deal of research for the book, I found some of the story disjointed. Still, as with all of Bohjalian’s books, there were secrets, lies, twists, misdirection and surprises which held my interest. I never expected the ending, but it left me with unanswered questions that arose from what I thought were holes in the narrative that remained unfilled. 

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review 2017-01-16 19:09
The Sleepwalker
The Sleepwalker: A Novel - Chris Bohjalian

By: Chris Bohjalian 

ISBN: 9780385538916

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 1/10/2017 

Format: Other

My Rating: 3 Stars 


Master storyteller, Chris Bohjalian returns following The Guest Room landing on my Top Books of 2016 with an intriguing tale of the mysterious world of parasomnia and dark family secrets. Recommend reading the novella, The Premonition, a prequel to THE SLEEPWALKER.

“I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me.” – Sylvia Plath

Set in Vermont, a young mother sleepwalks and performs complex behaviors. Now she has gone missing. Annalee is a sleepwalker. A condition, or a state, a sleep behavior somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness

Her daughter Lianna was twenty-one and her sister, Paige was twelve. The husband and father, Warren (English Professor) at the elite New England college--was away on business. They have not recovered.

Annalee embarrassed her husband. They both felt shame, but for different reasons. He because of what people saw and she because of what she could not control. The parents often fought. Annalee was smart and beautiful. She battled depression and took antidepressants.

“They tell you there is no connection between sleepwalking and dreams. Perhaps. After all, you can remember your dreams."

The girls were years apart and there had been five miscarriages between the two births. Seven years later the sleepwalking began. Lianna was in high school and Paige in the second grade.

When the mother was sleepwalking, it seemed she was oblivious, even to the weather, and no recollection of the events the follow day.

"You climb out of bed. You search out a stranger who will satisfy the craving. With any luck, you will wake before you find one. But not always."

The events only occurred when the father was out of town—including the night when she vanished once and for all. It was why the police almost instantly discarded him as a suspect. He had been at a poetry conference in Iowa City.

Both the girls are feeling guilty since neither woke up that night. No body had been found.

“It’s only when the dreams lead you from your bed; from sleep, that the amusements become dangerous.

The next morning, the patient is amnestic. They remember nothing or next to nothing or presumes it was merely a dream.

Detective Gavin Rikert with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Waterbury is on the case. Lilanna is sure her mother did not kill herself and she was not having an affair.

An accident? Did she drown? They found a scrap of nightgown; it was by the river. A concussion. They hoped she was not in the water. The Detective and the mom had attended the same sleep center. He mentioned they had not seen one another for the last several years. Lianna thinks he knows more than he is saying.

The author sprinkles first person notes in italics between chapters. The reader is unsure who is speaking-adding to the mystery.

The novel unfolds surrounding the fallout emotions of the disappearance of Annalee. Warren throws himself in work and drinking; whereas Lianna takes drugs to dull the pain, and Paige swims the river in search of the mother. Everyone handles the guilt and grief in different ways.

People go to the extremes when sleepwalking. From having sex, commit crimes, cook, drive, and drown. It also runs in the family. The ongoing mystery of what really happened to Annalee- to the final conclusion.

If you have read any of Bohjalian’s previous books, you come to expect he tackles highly charged emotional topics with informative and well-researched compelling information. Twisty, slow-burning, and absorbing.

“The earth is as rich with magic as it is with horror and sadness.”

While the subject was fascinating, I will admit this was not my favorite of his books. Felt, it was missing the intensity, suspense, and literary flair of his previous books. Not sure I enjoyed it enough, to read "book two" in the series.

In addition to the reading copy, I also purchased the audiobook, and while I enjoy Cady McClain, the other performer Grace Experience had the most irritating voice. Later discovered Grace is Chris's daughter (sorry); however, a narrator will make or break a book.

There are six common parasomnias that afflict sleepers:
* Sleepwalking. More commonly seen in children, sleepwalking (also called somnambulism) affects about 4 percent of American adults
* REM sleep behavior disorder
* Nightmares.
* Night terrors
* Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder
* Teeth grinding

A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.



Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/02/The-Sleepwalker
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