My Blog List

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Wife's Choice by Emma Davies

Divided into three segments of the past, present and future Alys quiet life - controlled and more than controlled manipulated very quietly by her unassuming husband Hugh - is about to take a nose dive. Alys is made redundant - the manner in which it was done was surreptitious (Hugh her husband is her boss too). He never mentioned it to hr earlier, she was just given her notice at the end of the day in an envelope with no fair warning. The fact that Alys just took it like a doormat was irritating. But Hugh had a habit of turning any conversation to the way he wanted it to be and for sake of peace and their daughter Esme let it ride. When Esme gets a job of her dreams in The Green Cafe, one that has a stellar reputation Hugh is miffed, Alys is elated till she one day meets up with the co owner Sam who incidentally happened to be her ex husband from whom she separated under very tragic circumstances. The story actually evolves from there - the path that Alys must take, the secrets that have to be told, the ugly truth of what happened twenty three years ago all revealed and then Alys must decide what she wants to do with her life even in the mid fifties better late than never. A story of a very late blossoming, of facing facts full on, unpalatable and earth shaking as they may be. A lovely story which I enjoyed reading tremendously. Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture. PS still not resolved the picture issue here.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Pearl River Mansion by Richard Schwarz

We have a list of very strong characters in this book. Joan is a very powerful woman, used to getting her own way. Tyler her son and heir knows that his mother will only give anything if there are conditions attached and all are in some way or the other beneficial to her. Sarah his wife, impressed by the family wealth (she comes from very humble background) and then there are the twins Cody and Rachel. The story set in the South at a time of racial inequality is reflected in this book and it is at times disturbing and makes one aware of how hard it was for the average American black man to live or even to survive unless he toed the line and did everything that was expected of him by his white neighbours or his boss. The story of Joan Chandler, the control she had over her domestics, her grandchildren and the manipulative way she went to circumvent justice, just to get her own way in obtaining sole custody of her grand daughter were beyond imagination. The detectives in charge of the case saw it as an open and shut case. It was the determination of a private investigator instructed by a sister who knew that her father's absence was no missing runaway but that it hid a deeper secret and who pursued her belief that uncovered the whole sorry mess. Complicated, and a family saga this was a long story but it did hold my interest throughout. Sent by Mascot Books via Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Day I Disappeared by Brandi Reeds

A little girl is abducted whilst playing with her friend, the two mothers are chatting just there. It is in broad daylight and very bold. There is a difference however, this little girl is returned unharmed physically 92 days later. Slightly different to other child kidnappings we hear about.

The family of course are the first suspects - the mother on the road to ruin by drink, the father does not know what to do to keep the family together, at the same time having a long term affair with the lady next door, both spouses know of their partners infidelity and do not want to bring it into the open and we have the children involved who are the victims here.

Fast forward twenty years and a similar case crops up and now detectives ponder whether the man serving the prison sentence is innocent. Is this a copycat case or is someone just continuing the work started twenty years ago. Eleven little girls missing, some found, some not all dressed in the same way when found eerily similar.

The story goes in chapter form from one character to another - each of their stories is a story in itself and all center around Holly's abduction and return. The actual links appear very slowly and only at the end.

A different kind of mystery story.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

On another note reading vintage classics is turning out to be rather fun. As an alternative kind of read to the mystery or suspense stories of present times, these rather slower books are catching my fancy big time.

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

Can one hide a love affair for 28 years. Mallory and Jake have done just that. Jake is now married, with a family. He comes every weekend just one weekend mind you to live with Mallory and he has done that for 28 years unknown to his friends, to Mallory's own family and to his own wife. The circle is close, they are all known to each other and one thinks what is the love that binds Jake to Mallory but that is not sufficient for him to actually leave his wife (now a US Senator) and an aspiring Presidential candidate to boot. The story set in Nantucket in a quiet town and then going back and forth over the lives of each character appearing now in one city and then the next, the cross referencing between all of them and underneath it all the thread of Mallory and Jake's love story. Very poignant, sad and emotional this was inevitably a sad story of a different kind of love story. It has to end it cannot continue - one begins to feel that from midway through the story. This is one of the author's best ever books. Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel

Bridget and Will have a relationship which is close, intimate friends but nothing more. It is something that is platonic but very deep rooted. Bridget is with her head in the clouds on most practical things and would drive most people nuts! she is lucky her children see the goodness in her beyond the slightly scatty behaviour! Bridget has also got a egoistic father Edward who is famous and at 94 thinking of embarking on marriage (on a big scale at that). Bridget has also just been dumped in the most appalling fashion by her lover and Will has just fallen head over heels in love with Emma in the most unexpected of places (in the small village lives) Will is not a village type! Bridget and Will are musicians part of a trio. The third party has now led them down and Will has now approached Gavin a former member of the trio to rejoin them without running it by Bridget who has a history with Gavin, unknown to Will and when she does unveil the secret it catches all of them unaware of the repercussions. Slightly muddled, absolutely fascinating, me wanting to know what new mess everyone has got into because believe me they do. Chaotic and excellent reading. Family loyalty above all lots of love around. Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Atria Books. PS If anyone can explain how I can get an image on this post I would be very appreciative.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The President's Dossier by James A. Scott

I dont seem to know how to post a picture of the cover of the book. In this case you are not missing much as its rather drab! The story was not though. Very fast paced and you have to be on your toes to see whether Max Geller is being pursued by M16 the CIA or the Russian Police or the Russian mafia, actually both. The story moves very quickly between one location and the next and seems slightly fantastical to a layman but I suppose this is the way high treason/spying works! Lots of betrayal, a President out for himself (money laundering in a huge manner) do you see the trend and a familiar figure peeking out! Very easy to relate to despite the quick work on the part of all parties involved. Interesting read of this genre to have. Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of OceanView Publishing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Poisoned Primrose by Dahlia Donovan

I've not read a book with several murders involving a character who is autistic, asexual and very much part of a community. At 40 Motts has just moved to a quaint village in beautiful Cornwall with her cat and her turtle. She wants a quiet life, to become independent of her parents who hover over her all the time and get on with it.

What Motts did not expect is to find a body buried in her back garden. This was where the murders start. She did not expect to be personally attacked either because she started an enquiry of her own with her eccentric friends in the village, who all had her back but who could not protect her from someone in the village who was determined to put a stop to all the enquiries.

As is usual in villages, there is usually a lot of history in personal quarrels and this was no exception.
A British cozy mystery set in (again) stunning settings of Cornwall, and this time with a very mixed cast of characters, a touch of romance (just starting btw) and probably more to come.

Very fun read.

Sent by Tangled Tree Publishing courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths

The series was new to me and I am definitely looking forward to reading more about this particular forensic archaeologist (what a good combination).

The setting was the marshes of Norfolk and it was very evocative of the bleakness, the quietude and the stillness and loneliness that was the marshes. It did not detract from its attractiveness though. It was the ideal setting for a series of kidnapped, missing women and a suspect already in prison. More kidnappings happen and the detectives think there is either a copy cat killing going on or Ivor March is still controlling someone behind the prison walls to dally with the detectives.

Full of suspense and clues going all over the place, the detectives in charge of this case have a lot of personal relationships which may tend to cloud their judgment as well. At the middle of the story, I thought maybe this would affect the case as well as there were histories and tensions which could, but it straightened out anyway.

I found the personal relationships and connections added to the richness of the story, apart from the police procedural work and the history itself of the area. Very well told and full of promise this book was an excellent read.

Sent by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Friday, August 14, 2020

The Persistent Marquess by Susan Payne (Regency background)

Our marquess and our debutante are definitely different and not run of the mill people of the period. This is what made the story different.

A lighthearted romance culminating in a marriage brought about by flouting of convention! Nice read which ended very happily and with a touch of sexual play as well.

Good reading.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Wild Rose Press Inc.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Study In Murder by Callie Hutton (set in Victorian England)

Lady Amy is a mystery murder author but incognito. Her father would consider it shameful if the word got out because her work is a bit gruesome. It is Victorian England and everything is governed by what will people say, with rigid rules for behavior especially for women. Lady Amy is as it is considered eccentric, a bit on the shelf as it were though she is very young by modern standards.

When her fiancée from whom she has just severed ties, when an anonymous note is delivered to her saying that he is involved in the opium trade, is discovered with a knife sticking out of his chest in her home, in her library - Amy knows that she is coasting dangerously precariously to the wind. The Bow Street runners have no other focus other than that Amy out of a sense of pique murdered the man. On the sidelines is another interested suitor who is more than willing to help Amy despite his doubts on the suitability of a woman doing all this dirty work! Together they uncover step by step the murky details of Vincent's past and how and why his murder happened.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Crooked Lane Books.

A very nice cozy set in Victorian England.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Ringmaster's Daughter by Carla Schabowski (set against Paris 1940)

Paris in the 1940s. A rather frightening place to be especially for those who were "slightly different" even a wee bit. Hitler was on the rise, approaching Paris and anyone who wanted to flee had to do it now.

Michel takes refuge as a stowaway on a train housing a circus of all things and when discovered, with his aptitude for being a horse whisperer he is taken on to train a particularly skittish beauty and then tolerated by Werner the owner of the circus, despite his always taking a crack at Michel for no apparent reason.

Going further on the journey, we see that many of the performers hide secrets that they are terrified to reveal - past Resistance, Jews, Roma all enemies of Hitler. They are all fearful for their lives and this story takes on the vista of people on the run fleeing from one small village to another gradually losing their performers who either leave or are taken away by the German Army till finally Michel and Frieda the ringmaster's daughter both flee for America.

A story of a family because the circus becomes their family in the absence of any, and how people survive. A story of loss and sadness but also hope always for something better tomorrow.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Shore House by Heidi Hostetter

There is a house which has held good memories of summers past for the Bennet family and now Kaye wants to recreate the same atmosphere that was there in the past. But the children are grown up now and nothing ever remains the same.

With good intentions two adult children are summoned for a holiday - Stacy and Ryan who is an easy going man with two kids and another on the way. Brad turns up with Iona his partner who from the word go is definitely not in sync with Kaye the matriarch of the family. Stacy and her mother do not really get on well and she needs her brother Brad to run interference. Chase the father is over protected by his wife after a near fatal heart attack and is now allowed any decisions of his own by Kaye. It does not augur well for a peaceful and happy summer.

Families - the threads of anxiety, of competitiveness, of animosity and feelings of overbearing as well as not being compassionate are common in lots of families. This is a story of one such family who try over one summer to iron out differences so that the family unit can be maintained.

Descriptive of the area in which the Shore House is situated almost idyllic in fact this was a family saga.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O'Neal

Four generations of women - all strong willed and all thrust under one roof almost to manage as best as they could.

Zoe and her daughter Isabel are returning to the home of Zoe's grandmother who is now ailing. Lillian the matriarch is a well published writer but who is now beginning to show the onset of dementia.  Poppy her daughter abandoned her daughter Zoe at the age of seven and this wound has never healed for Zoe. Despite decades gone by Zoe does not want to have anything to do, or even see her mother. Living in the same small village, and knowing that Poppy has been a care giver for Lillian does not make it easier. Also realizing that she alone has held out against Poppy is gall, because even Isabel who is such a troubled spirit seems to find solace in Poppy.

The focus then shifts with the absence of Diana, a caregiver for Lillian who goes missing and who over a period of weeks is feared dead. The story of why and how this happened is a secondary story because it is the four women's story which is the primary one. It is an emotional, heart breaking one because the hurt caused by actions of abandonment and seemingly lack of love for a child is something that is seemingly un bridgeable.

It was not easy to keep track of four different stories - but the fact that they are divided into separate chapters helped.

Beautiful story.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Last Scoop by R G Belsky

Clare Carlson was a tenacious journalist. She had learnt from an old timer Martin Barlow and to her regret she found that during the last year she had not made enough time for him and now it was too late as he was found dead. No one wants to believe there was foul play but Clare knows that there is a story behind his death.

How big the story was, was the unknown part as it took a lot of digging, a lot of threats from the mob and from other important people including Martin's own family and she ruffled a lot of feathers both at the TV station where she worked and the Police with her reveals.

There are cover ups and conspiracies, there is a lot of guilt over neglect and over extra marital affairs, there are lots of strands but they are woven together very well to bring forward an exceptional story.

The series is new to me and though this was the third book, it did well as a stand alone.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Oceanview Publishing.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

As Far As You Can by David A. Fiensy (History AD 66 to 73)

This was a different kind of read. History and a lot of it, some of it rather obscure but as you read the story it did get very interesting because it showed me particularly how limited people were. The world was a smaller place and your village, your clan, your race was the most important.

In Elazar's world having a son was the most important thing and however good his wife was, until she produced this boy there was no worth at all. This was sad particularly because the only son that was born to him was deformed in his face and for Elazar this was an insurmountable problem.

Plenty of violence, betrayal and battles this was a novella set against the great Jewish war against Rome in AD 66 to 73. The violence was extensive, the damage to life and property immense and the value given to life was minimal. Primal almost the desire to be famous, and in the process as savage as you can be.

And most importantly a question that continues to be asked - Is God present in a world which has so much evil?

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Christian Faith Publishing.