Wow! I finished The House at Riverton a few days ago and I'm still trying to process my emotions about the noveWish I could give it 10 Stars
Wow! I finished The House at Riverton a few days ago and I'm still trying to process my emotions about the novel. I loved, loved it since I gave the book the highest rating that exists here, but my emotions are still roiling. An omission of truth led to tragic consequences. But great British Gothic stories are almost always tragic, aren't they? I loved how Kate Morton paid homage to one of my favorite novels, Rebecca, Upstairs, Downstairs even my favorite drama, Downton Abbey and the The House of Mitford. I knew this fact before I read the authors answers in the novel's Q and A. And Kate Morton does a wonderful job of blending these influences to perfection.
Morton's style reminds me of Daphne du Maurier, easy to read but powerful. She develops the characters so well, that I sometimes forgot that they are fictional. I'd love to meet every one of them, even Mr. Hamilton. She accurately depicts the Edwardian Era and her vivid description of Riverton made me feel that I was actually there with Grace and the Hartfords.
Some reveiwers did not enjoy Morton's use of flashbacks, tapes, and letters. I did - I don't think Grace's story could have been told any other way. We readers too become archeologists peeling back layers upon layers to find out what happened on that dark, pivotal night by the lake when a young poet died and a family was forever changed.
A young film maker is doing a bio-pic of the Hartfords and Riverton. She learns that Grace Bradley was a servant at The House at Riverton and may know what happened the night that the young poet R. S. Hunter committed suicide. Of course the 98 year old Dr. Grace Bradley knows exactly what happened - she was there! And she knows the why. Will she tell Ursala? She does tell, but whom? But first Grace must tell what led up to "the crossing the Rubicon". It started when she was 14 and entered service to the Hartford's at The House at Riverton in 1914. ...more
In this (the last?) installment of the Evan Delaney Series we readers finally discover why Jax Riviera and Tim Green keep popping into Evan Delaney'sIn this (the last?) installment of the Evan Delaney Series we readers finally discover why Jax Riviera and Tim Green keep popping into Evan Delaney's life. There is a connection to a mother and son prostitute ring and a failed off the books ops - "Riverbend." Phil Delaney is being prosecuted for revealing classified information and he's been kidnapped by the Sangers. The price is, you guessed it, the Riverbend file that Jax has had hidden all of these years as an insurance policy. Evan must travel to Bangkok, Singapore, and London to get all of Jax's encrypted flash drives before time runs out - Jax has hidden a virus in the encryption that will erase the entire file unless the next drive is installed within a specific timeline. Rio Sanger tells Evan that Phil Delaney only has 72 hours to live without water - she wants that file. So does another interested party that doesn't care about Evan, her father, or an innocent little girl. Jesse Blackburn is working against his fiance, because he promised Phil that he would keep Evan clear from Riverbend, because it would start the "kill chain." Does Evan stay out of the way? No!
Though Evan Delaney have been featured in other Meg Gardiner books as the author told me in her blog's Q & A, the ending of Kill Chain left me cold. I didn't like the way she left Evan - too many questions were left unanswered and more were raised. Gardiner says she'll revisit Evan Delaney/Jesse Blackburn in the near future, but will she? She's written several stand alones and is well through another series, but no Evan Delaney. If a series is coming to an end, I'd like all of the threads tied together, regardless if I like the way those threads are woven. ...more
I really enjoyed this 4th book in the Evan Delaney Series. As before Meg Gardiner grabbed me from the first paragraph and kept me turning the pages, rI really enjoyed this 4th book in the Evan Delaney Series. As before Meg Gardiner grabbed me from the first paragraph and kept me turning the pages, reading furiously until the last word. Although I was a bit put off by one of Evan's decisions in the novel, and that is why I deducted a full star in my rating. That one decision, I'll keep to myself.
Evan Delaney and Jesse Blackburn return to China Lake for Evan's 15th High School Reunion. Many of her classmates are dead - too many. And in the course of 24 hours two more class mates are found brutally murdered. Jax Rivera contacts Evan and tells her that an unstable assassin is killing her friends, and it is connected to a Black Ops project in China Lake 20 years prior. And yes, Evan is a target too.
I love that each book in the series is darker than the previous one. But I do love a dark mystery thriller. ...more
Lawyer and Sci-Fi author, Evan Delaney is having a bad 24 hours. She is called to a Frat house and finds her boyfriend's brother, P.J. Blackb3.5 Stars
Lawyer and Sci-Fi author, Evan Delaney is having a bad 24 hours. She is called to a Frat house and finds her boyfriend's brother, P.J. Blackburn, high in a locked bathroom. He claims he saw a girl falling to her death before a fire breaks out at the house. The Police don't believe her, especially when the girl's body washes up on the beach with Evan's credit cards. Evan was on that beach beaten up by some muscle who claims she owes their boss big money. Earlier that morning her boss demands an explanation as to why their biggest client - Karen and her Rock and Roll husband Ricky Jimson - believe that Evan stole some checks from them and they are made out to Kathleen Evan Delaney. P.J. works for the Jimsons. Evan is a murder suspect and an Identity Theft victim.
The beginning of the novel is shaky as well as chaotic. That might have been on purpose by Meg Gardiner to emphasize the drug high of P.J. or the confusion of the dead girl's identity. But I didn't like the beginning. Jesse is acting erratic also throughout the novel. Marc Dupree surprised me, though. I didn't like how the author treated the puppy, either. I'm an animal lover.
But Gardiner tells a spot on suspenseful story that kept me guessing throughout its pages. ...more
Franklin Brand is back. The Franklin Brand that took Jesse's ability to walk and killed his buddy. He confesses to Evan that he's still stuck there inFranklin Brand is back. The Franklin Brand that took Jesse's ability to walk and killed his buddy. He confesses to Evan that he's still stuck there in Mission Canyon. He can't move to comfort his swimming mate as he lay dying. More memories are coming back and he's being blackmailed all within 9 weeks of his and Evan's wedding.
A couple claiming to be ex-CIA want to hire Evan to ghostwrite their memoirs. She senses something off putting about the couple. She's right. They are part of what happened to Jesse up in Mission Canyon. Her friend is legal counsel for Mako, the company that Brand worked for, is acting weird. The CEO made right toward Jesse, but something is rotten within Mako headquarters, and as Evan and Jesse seek justice for Brand more bodies turn up. What is Mako up to? And why did they (and still do) want Blackburn and another buddy dead?
Again, Meg Gardiner writes a fast paced suspenseful novel. There a few scenes that really stretch suspension of disbelief, but her full characterization of Evan and Jesse in China Lake and this sophomoric installment will allow that suspension of disbelief. Another recommended read. ...more
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Amy and her mother are starting a tour themed vacations business. The Abel wI received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Amy and her mother are starting a tour themed vacations business. The Abel women need this fresh start; they both lost the men in their lives. They also are mystery buffs. So it is appropriate that their first themed tour is a mystery rally from Monte Carlo to Rome. Amy is in Monte Carlo with her 24 guests. They embark on their trip after seeing the opening act of the mysterious disappearance of a wealthy tycoon who just left the dinner table and just disappeared.
What Amy doesn't know is that her mystery event creator has just been murdered and the mystery he wrote for her mystery tour/rally is based on a real case that a killer will do anything to protect his/her identity. And the killer is closer than she thinks.
After the tour/rally ends, Fanny and Amy work the case of a death of one of the tourists and the case that was thinly disguised by Otto Ingo.
The premise is fresh, but it was slightly slow. The author's name repeatedly in the text was very off putting, especially in the dialogue. The dialogue was constantly stepped upon by different characters. It was hard to follow at times. But that all may have been corrected in the published copy. So, I will read the next installment in the series. ...more
Lucy Atkins has written a wonderful debut novel. The Missing One is partly a quest to find out more about a mother whom has just died and par4.5 Stars
Lucy Atkins has written a wonderful debut novel. The Missing One is partly a quest to find out more about a mother whom has just died and partly a psychological thriller. We readers don't feel the psychological suspense until the last 1/3 of the novel, because Atkins subtly uses it while building it to a crescendo as we realize the danger Kali, Finn, and Susanna find themselves in.
Shortly after her mother's death, Kali McKenzie is looking for her mother's birth certificate. Her younger sister - Alice - can't bear to go into Elena's studio. So, Kali does. And she finds a few things that are mysterious: 37 postcards saying "missing you ~Susanna and a letter from her father Graham -"did he have an affair" just like Doug? Those texts...
Kali can't think about the state of her marriage right now. She can't stay there in her mother's house. She can't go home to Doug. What can she do? She can go to British Columbia and try to find the answers to her difficult relationship with her mother. The trip will prove cathartic or it will show the limits of what a mother will do to protect her young just like the Orcas.
It is a tale of survival and of betrayal. One action can dramatically change someone and forever alter the course of her life. It is the beautiful story of the Orca. Everyone must read this one. ...more
I really wanted to like this novel - the premise sounded intriguing. Nine year old triplets go to the movies, and only one leaves the Movieplex. TheseI really wanted to like this novel - the premise sounded intriguing. Nine year old triplets go to the movies, and only one leaves the Movieplex. These girls belong to Katie and Scott Monroe: THE Monroes. Scott is beloved within the Yankee Organization, while Katie is a renowned Forensic Child Psychiatrist. Who took the girls? Someone connected to Katie's work - putting away the bad guys that hurt children?Or someone close to Scott? Or is it racial, since the Monroe triplets are bi-racial?
The 1st half of the novel is very suspenseful, but the author should have had a better editor. Gussin provided way to many suspects to maintain the psychological suspense she had created. Names kept changing throughout the novel. Within the Chapter POV kept changing without the proper spacing, so it was difficult to determine who and what part of the storyline I was reading about. That was quite frustrating. And Katie! I don't believe that she acted the way she did toward the "safe" daughter, Jackie. After all, the author kept praising her psychiatric approach with wounded children. And the end - a bit hastily written. ...more
I have never been a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald nor of his wife Zelda. You can chalk up that fact to my love for all that is Ernest Hemingway. But after reading this novel, I am more sympathetic towards Zelda, and am more outraged toward her writer husband. And my feelings does cloud my rating of Call Me Zelda.
Erika Robuck does an amazing job at writing the novel as she did in Hemingway's Girl. I loved that she told Zelda's sad story through her Psychiatric Nurse Anna Howard's eyes. One grows and gets over her painful losses, and the other perishes from them. But at least the salamander and her one true love are eternally at peace now. ...more
Big Little Lies will make you laugh, cry, and angry, because the little lies are outrageous. It is something I've never read before: a who's-gonna-getBig Little Lies will make you laugh, cry, and angry, because the little lies are outrageous. It is something I've never read before: a who's-gonna-get-it meets coming of age. Yes, the parents do grow up. The writing is wonderful. Each woman has her unique voice and problems - "Oh, calamity!" In between the changing POV Liane Moriarty adds some juicy school parent gossip that furthered the story line - a parent dies on Trivia Night. We readers know that the chain of events begin when Madeline falls in the street and new school mom, Jane gives her a ride to kindy orientation day. Jane's 5 year old boy is accused of bullying a little girl. Battle lines are drawn.
Madeline, Jane, and Celeste among others are on Ziggy's side vs. The Blond Bobs and the little girl's mummy.
There are a few serious issues running through the novel, and Moriaty makes them work with her prose and easy writing style. To say more about the plot and subplots would ruin this wonderful book. I highly recommend Big Little Lies. ...more
I had to get some emotional distance before sharing my thoughts on The Bell Jar. I read this in high school many years ago and I remember thinking howI had to get some emotional distance before sharing my thoughts on The Bell Jar. I read this in high school many years ago and I remember thinking how anyone could feel as if a bell jar has suddenly descended upon their soul or psyche. But after I experienced a few traumatic events in my own life, I understand how Plath could feel that desolation and despair. While I was able to bounce back from my painful experiences, Plath could not - she committed suicide at the young age of 30.
Such a gifted writer and poet she was! She had a wonderful gift of language and imagery in her writings. Her poems are magnificent. In The Bell Jar, I think as Esther (and Plath) received awards upon more awards, her expectations for and of herself were so lofty; there was only one way to go - downwards. And that was the shear shame of Plath's life. She never lived long enough to see the appreciation of her readers of her work! ...more
It's 10 years since "The Year That Changed Everything" and a week before the First Frost and the Waverly Women are feeling the first frost woes beforeIt's 10 years since "The Year That Changed Everything" and a week before the First Frost and the Waverly Women are feeling the first frost woes before their wonderfully mischievous magical apple tree blooms all 24 hours. Just because it can't throw apples at the men the Waverly women love - it can still give comfort to Claire, Sydney, and Bay. And they do need some comfort.
Claire doesn't cook much any more, nor does she spend hardly any time with her family. She spends her every waken hours in the kitchen making candies. Her business is growing by leaps and bounds, all the while she feels inadequate, introverted, and questions her Waverley power - her cooking with petals and herbs from her garden that give people who eat her food just what they need. Yes, her cooking is magical.
Although, Sydney loves her life with her husband, Henry, and her fifteen year old daughter, she longs for another child. And her anxiety shows as the red highlights in her hair get brighter by the day. Adding Violet and her small baby boy to the mix, it could be disastrous to he clientele - her Waverley gift is how to do perfect hair.
Then there is Sydney's daughter, Bay. She has always known where people and things should be; where each belongs. And she knows that Josh belongs with her - not knowing that his father broke her mother' heart driving her away from Bascom, NC. Claire's daughter, Mariah, is a normal girl. And that is a problem adding to Claire's distress - is she a Waverley?
A mysterious stranger has arrived in Bascom and has an interest in the Waverleys, especially Claire. He is there, then suddenly he's not leaving the smell of smoke. What does the silver-haired man want?
I loved Garden Spells and couldn't wait to read First Frost, Southern magic and all. While I did really enjoy the novel, it was darker than I expected. The magic of the Waverleys is who the Waverleys are. And there is not much magic in First Frost. Yes, the house still plays tricks on Tyler and won't let some people in and Evanelle still "has to" give something to people that he/she needs. But that pretty much is all of the magic seen until First Frost when magic gloriously rains apple blossoms....more
I debated whether to give this 4 Stars because I really enjoyed the novel, but it was slow in parts. Then I remembered that Greg Iles is a S3.75 Stars
I debated whether to give this 4 Stars because I really enjoyed the novel, but it was slow in parts. Then I remembered that Greg Iles is a Southern Writer. He takes his time. And that is not a bad thing. But for a mystery, I prefer more of a fast pace that keeps me up at night turning pages. Though in some scenes I did turn the pages quickly, sometimes holding my breath thinking 35 years isn't long enough for Penn Cage to re-open a murder that has the hallmarks of being a civil rights murder. Del Payton was killed in between MLK and Bobby Kennedy in 1968.
Payton was involved with the movement, and was promoted to a job that had been for "whites only." He was considered "uppity" by 1968 Natchez MS white population. Cage had returned home to Natchez hoping it's serenity and his parents could help his 4 year old daughter, Annie, with her grief of losing her mother - Penn's beloved, Sara. But statements he said off the record during an interview with Natchez's newspaper has blown up the small MS city. And Livy Marsden is back in town, too complicating Cage's life as well as the case.
As Penn decides whether to take the case, he finds out that Livy's father - Judge Leo Marsden - is involved, he's full steam ahead. He will destroy the Judge, as Marsden tried to destroy Penn's father years ago. What Penn Cage finds is corruption and every one attached to the case is playing "the quiet game." As people talk, people die. To win the case and find justice for Del Payton, he must play "the quiet game" and live. ...more
I finished this on St. Paddy's Day and I'm still torn between 3 and 4 Stars. Paula Hawkins had me spell bound. Her writing is fierce - she certainly kI finished this on St. Paddy's Day and I'm still torn between 3 and 4 Stars. Paula Hawkins had me spell bound. Her writing is fierce - she certainly knows how to spend a very suspenseful tale, keeping the reader quickly turning the pages despite all of her very unlikeable characters.
Rachel is Tom Watson's ex-wife. She is quite pathetic. She's a drunk and unemployed. But each morning she rides the train to London (to save face) pretending she's just another commuter. And the train always stops very near her old house where she was happy and hopeful with Tom. A few doors down live a beautiful couple that she's dubbed "Jess and Jason." She imagines their life together, giving them wonderful attributes and marriage. Looks can be deceiving as the real "Jess" - Meagan - shows us. Tom's current wife hates Rachel and truly believes that Tom's ex-wife is unstable and dangerous to her, Tom, and their baby daughter. Everything is going as smoothly as each woman's situation can go until one of them suddenly disappears. Rachel must interject herself in the investigation. After all, she's invested a year of mornings and evenings watching this woman. Bad decision, girlfriend.
The story line is told from each of the three women's altering POV, and that technique is powerful and makes the novel work. As I've said there is not one redeemable or likeable character in the whole book, but the reader is also a Rachel - a voyeur of a sort like in Rear Window. Something bad has happened and we know it's coming and we can't shut our eyes. We readers must know what happened and by whose hands. ...more