Review: A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn

A Dangerous Collaboration
  • Series: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (March 12, 2019)

A Dangerous Collaboration (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery) by Deanna Raybourn is the fourth Veronica Speedwell mystery. Normally, I don’t read series books, but I’m glad I read this one.  I’ve added A Curious Beginning (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 1) to my reading list.  I understand book 5 is underway!

A Dangerous Collaboration takes place in 1888 at a castle on an island in Cornwall, England.  This is a terrific setting for a who-done-it mystery.

Veronica is a feisty women for her time.  She is independent and vows never to marry.  Stoker is her colleague/love interest.  I enjoyed the sexual tension between the two of them.

The mystery is entertaining.  The lord of the castle gathers various people together to find out what had caused his new bride to suddenly disappear.

This was my first read on the Kindle Paperwhite.  The ability to look up words on the fly came in handy while reading this novel.  Not being familiar with some of the words did not hamper my enjoyment of this novel.  The Kindle Paperwhite has a Vocabulary Builder feature.  I’ll share part of the definitions of a few words here:

chat-e-laine

n. <DATED> a women in charge of a large house.  <SPECIAL USAGE> HISTORICAL a set of short chains attached to a women’s belt, used for carrying keys or other items.

<ORIGIN> mid 19th cent.: from French chatelain, from medieval latin castellanus

ret-i-cule

1 CHIEFLY HISTORICAL a woman’s small handbag, originally netted and typically having drawstring and decorate with embroidery or beading.

<ORIGIN> easy 18th cent.:from French reticule, from Latin reticulum.

vis-count

n. a British nobleman ranking above a baron and below an earl.

<ORIGIN>late Middle English: from Old French visconte, from medieval Latin vicecomes, vicecomit

What Others Are Saying

Continue reading “Review: A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn”

Review: The Suspect by Fiona Barton

The Suspect

The Suspect by Fiona Barton is a fast paced mystery.

Two girls are missing.  They took off from England to go on a holiday in Thailand, before starting college.

Reporter Kate Waters quickly learns, while she is investigating the disappearance, that she has become the story as her son is somehow involved.

As the mystery unfolds, Barton explores the reactions that Kate and the mothers of the two girls have regarding their children.

I enjoyed THE SUSPECT.  I particularly liked the novel’s structure.  Each short chapter is designated from the point of view of a character or is a throwback to what actually happened.  I especially enjoyed the throwbacks and emails of one of the girls to her friend back home, learning what really happened while also following the investigation.

I reviewed Barton’s debut novel, THE WIDOW (read my review here).  Some of the characters are in both novels including Kate Waters (“The Reporter”) and DI Bob Sparkes (“The Detective”) .  I didn’t get a chance to read Barton’s second novel, THE CHILD (An NPR Best Book of the Year), but understand it also features the reporter Kate Waters.

First Paragraph

Continue reading “Review: The Suspect by Fiona Barton”

Review: The Lost Girls by Heather Young

 

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

The Lost Girls by Heather Young

Narrators: Alice Rosengard and Laurel Schroeder 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 12 hours and 35 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • Audible.com Release Date: July 26, 2016

The Lost Girls is told in a steady, very somber/dark tone.  It is multi layered with many surprising twists.

There are two narrators for this novel.  One narrative is about three young sisters and their relationship while spending the summer at the family’s lake house,.  It is told by one narrator in the voice of the middle sister, Lucy.

The second narration is about Lucy’s grand-neice, Justine, who inherits the house.  Justine has two daughters.

Having two different narrators was very effective.  Lucy is writing about that summer for Justine to read and know about what happened.  The author, Heather Young’s talents are clearly on display.

The Lost Girls gives you pause for thought about families, the relationships that exist behind closed doors and the evil that may be lurking there.

If the author’s second novel, Lovelock, is as good as her first, The Lost Girls, it will be a doozy.

This novel is reminiscent of another 5-star rated novel,  A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (my review ~ 2014).

What Other’s Are Saying

“I enjoyed THE LOST GIRLS despite the gloomy feeling that seemed to overshadow everyone. Ms. Young has a marvelous, descriptive writing style that helped you understand and connect with each character and each situation.​ Her writing just pulled you into the story. ” – Elizabeth of Silver’s Reviews

“Impressive debut!” – Diana ☕ Book of Secrets

“I am thrilled to announce that The Lost Girls has been nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel. – Heather Young 

“Young’s intricately wrought family drama tarries over details of time, place, and emotion as it gradually reveals her debut’s tragic core.” – Kirkus Review

About The Author (from the author’s website)

After a decade practicing law and another raising kids, Heather decided to finally write the novel she’d always talked about writing. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop and the Tin House Writers Workshop, all of which helped her stop writing like a lawyer. She lives in Mill Valley, California, with her husband and two teenaged children. When she’s not writing she’s biking, hiking, neglecting potted plants, and reading books by other people that she wishes she’d written.

She is currently working on her second novel, Lovelock.

(Purchase Fron Amazon)

Review: The Women In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

 

My Review (5 Stars – Loved it!)

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 8 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: July 19, 2016

 Imogen Church (Narrator)

Once I started it, I enjoyed The Woman In Cabin 10 and listened to it over the course of a couple of days.  I listened to the enjoyable English accent of Imogen Church out-loud as I don’t like to wear headphones, if I don’t have to.

There was a lot of cursing, which didn’t bother me as it added to the tension in the story.  However, my husband, hearing nearby, expressed some shock!

The main character in the story, Lo Blacklock, suffers from anxiety.  When she is thrown into a whodunit murder mystery, her anxiety intensifies.  I thought the continual anxiety was a little overkill.  On second thought, that is the nature of anxiety and the author, Ruth Ware, captured it well.

To the author and narrator’s credit, I was, in a way, glued to my seat until the end.  While I didn’t feel it was a particularly clever plot, I rated it 5 Stars since it was entertaining.

On the Simon & Shuster’s website there are links for the book trailer as well as a reading group guide.

What Others Are Saying

“Whoa! This book was a wild ride.” Diana from Diana ☕ Book of Secrets

“The Woman in Cabin 10 was a riveting tale that kept me hanging on by a thread as it catapulted from one strange event to another.” – Laurel-Rain

About The Author (from the author’s website)

Ruth Ware grew up in Lewes, in Sussex and studied at Manchester University, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer.

Her début thriller In a Dark, Dark Wood and the follow-up The Woman in Cabin 10 were both Sunday Times top ten bestsellers in the UK, and New York Times top ten bestsellers in the US.  She is currently working hard on book three.

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Review: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 24 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: June 9, 2015
  • Narrator Zach Villa

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens has some violence in it, but it is about a murderer, so it fits the story well.  The novel is fast paced and well written.  I listened to it in just a few days as it held my interest.

At the opening of the story, the convicted murderer, Carl Iverson, is an old dying man in a nursing home.  Joe Talbert, a young college student, on a school assignment to write a biography of an older person, begins a quest to find out the truth about the rape and murder of a fourteen year old girl, thirty years ago.

I enjoyed Eskens’ characterizations.  In a short amount of time he was able to bring his characters to life and make them seem very realistic and in some cases sympathetic.

The various characters added another facet to the story,  Among the character’s were Joe’s bipolar mother and autistic brother and the college girl who lives next-door to Joe, but keeps her distance.  Another facet is Carl’s story from when he was a soldier in Vietnam.

The Life We Bury is an apropos title as it smartly shows, in several instances, the past that people move on from and in a sense bury.

The narrator, Zach Villa did a great job and was very easy to listen to.

Read More or Purchase from Amazon

First Paragraph (from library book)

Published 2014 by Seventh Street Books an imprint of Prometheus Books

Chapter 1

I remember being pestered by a sense of dread as I walked to my car that day, pressed down by a wave of foreboding that swirled around my head and broke against the evening in small ripples.  There are people in this world who would call that kind of feeling a premonition, a warning from some internal third eye that can see around the curve of time.  I’ve never been one to buy into such things.  But I will confess that there have been times when I think back to that day and wonder: if the fates had truly whispered in my ear – if I had known how that drive would change so many things – would I have taken a safer path?  Would I turn left where before I had turned right? Or would I still travel the path that led me to Carl Iverson?

What Others Are Saying

“Allen Eskens had a way of capturing Joe’s voice in this book. The addition of what his family/home life was like was brilliant.”

“There are not many books in the last year that I can say I fell in love with right from the start, but this one earned that statement.” – Sheila @ BookJourney

“There’s a lot of action and tension so I found myself turning the pages as fast as I could.”

“I thought the storyline of THE LIFE WE BURY was strong and very compelling.” – Kathy @ BermudaOnion’s Web Log

About The Author (from the author’s website)

SHORT BIO

Allen Eskens is the award winning and USA Today-bestselling author of The Life We Bury, The Guise of Another and The Heavens May Fall. He is the recipient of the Barry Award, Rosebud Award and the Silver Falchion Award for his debut novel, The Life We Bury, which was also named a finalist for the Edgar® Award, Thriller Award, Anthony Award and the Minnesota Book Award. Allen honed his creative writing skills through the MFA program at Minnesota State University as well as classes at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. He is a member of the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime.

Review: Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

 

Before the Fall By Noah Hawley

Grand Central Publishing, 2016

My Review (3 Stars: Liked it!)

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley got off to a good start with a private plane crash and the dramatic survival of two passengers, a man and a boy.

About two-thirds of the way into the story, I felt it had stalled (the story, not the plane) and almost put it down.

The main characters, dimly connected, included those who were on the plane, the boy’s aunt and uncle, those investigating the crash and a reporter.  Many of the individual characters’ backstories and life perspectives are in-part looked at.  Since most of their stories, individually, were interesting and I was curious to see what or who caused the plane crash, I continued to read/listen to the end.

I consider this book to be more of a mystery than a suspense.

Book Trailer

What Others Are Saying

“Opening with the plane crash, the book works backwards and forwards to tell the stories of each passenger and those close to the crash’s aftermath. As with some other books that worked for me lately (The Expatriates, Only Love Can Break Your Heart), the mystery (i.e. why the plane crashed) serves as a catalyst to explore human emotions and behavior. The crux of this story is more about the people on the plane and what today’s media can do to a tragic story than the crash itself.” – Sarah @ Sarah’s Book Shelves

About The Author (from amazon)

Noah HawleyNoah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter and producer. He has published four novels and penned the script for the feature film Lies and Alibis. He created, executive produced and served as showrunner for ABC’s My Generation and The Unusuals and was a writer and producer on the hit series Bones. Hawley is currently executive producer, writer, and showrunner on FX’s award-winning series, Fargo.

 

Click on Image to Read More or Purchase from Amazon

SheReads

 

Before The Fall is a SheReads Summer 2016 book selection.  Click here to find links to other blogger’s book reviews for Before The Fall.  I’d like to thank the publisher, Grand Central Publishing and the SheReads organization for sending me this book, free of charge for review.

 Disclosure of Material Connection: 

NetGalleyBadgeI received this book (ARC) free from the publisher, Grand Central Publishing, Hatchette Book Group as a member of the SheReads blog network.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  As I have been preferring audiobooks lately, I purchased this book when it became available and listened to it instead of reading it.  NetGalley also provided me with an electronic copy for review.

Review: Since She Went Away by David Bell & Giveaway

since she went awaySince She Went Away by David Bell

New American Library, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC, 2016

With Questions For Discussion

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

David Bell is a smooth storyteller.  I enjoyed this captivating novel.  It is an, easy to read suspense/mystery with a steady pace and great characterizations.

Since She Went Away takes place in a small town.  At the heart of this story is a single mother, Jenna Barton and her teen-aged son, Jared.  The suspense and the mystery surround Jenna’s friend, Celia, who is missing and Jared’s girlfriend who is new in town.

Please feel free to enter the giveaway contest below.  You don’t want to miss this novel!

First Chapter(s)

CHAPTER ONE

Five police cars.  Three news vans.  And one coroner’s wagon.

Jenna Barton saw them as she made the turn onto the last county lane.  The vehicles were fanned out around the old weathered barn with one all collapsing and the others hanging on for dear life.

About The Author

David Bell is bestselling and award-winning author whose work has been translated into six languages.  He’s currently an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  He received an MA in creative writing from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a PhD in American literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati.  His previous novels are Somebody I Used to Know, The Forgotten Girl, Never Come Back, The Hiding Place and Cemetery Girl.

I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me this book to read and for sponsoring this giveaway contest (June 21-July 18) for a free copy of Since She Went Away.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

** This is the second novel I’ve read by Bell.  The first one was in 2015, The Cemetery Girl.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: 

netgalley50I received this book  free from the publisher, Random House as well as an advance copy via NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Review: The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

Audio

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

Narrator: January LaVoy

Sept 1, 2015

Length: 14 hr 6 min

Category: Mystery

Provider:Penguin Audio

Presented by Audible

I won a signed hardcover copy of this book from T @ Traveling With T.  I’d like to thank the author, Hester Young and T.

The Gates of Evangeline is also one of SheReads Books of Winter 2016.

My Review (4 Stars: Liked It A Lot!)

The Gates of Evangeline is a thoughtful and entertaining debut novel by Hester Young.

The protagonist of this novel, Charolette (Charlie) Cates has visions.  They began after the tragic death of her four year old son.  The visions are from children needing help.  That is what draws her to a  wealthy family’s home, Evangeline, in Louisiana.

Religious and spiritual questions are raised in this novel.  It is a mystery with drama, twists and turns.  There is also romance.  Young does a great job in building her characters and presenting the Louisiana setting.

Continue reading “Review: The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young”

Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

The Widow by Fiona Barton

New American Library an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

Release Date: February 16, 2016

My Review (4 Stars: Liked It A Lot!)

In her debut novel, The Widow, the author, Fiona Barton, skillfully presents a detective story.

The case is that a two year old child goes missing from her front lawn.
Among the main characters are Bob Sparks (a detective),  Glen Taylor (a suspect who is linked to child pornography),  Jean Taylor (the suspect’s widow), and Kate Waters (a reporter ).  The case was not solved before the suspect died.  DI Sparks just can’t let go of this.  The main suspect is dead and the little girl has not been found.

I enjoyed the setting, which I believe is in the UK.  I think the characterizations might be slightly different than if set in America.  A small example might be that often characters have tea.  Here in America, I think it might be coffee.  John O’Connell in “The Best Recent Thrillers – Reviews Roundup“, from The Guardian might phrase this notion better.

“My one reservation is Jean’s odd voice, which feels too 1950s-prim – an upper-middle-class person’s slightly dated idea of how lower-middle-class people speak. But then, Glen and Jean are nothing if not strange, so perhaps that extends to their domestic idiolect.” – John O’Connell (“The Best Recent Thrillers – Reviews Roundup“, The Guardian)

However, I felt, the author’s writing style was very engaging.

The interesting and different slant on this story is that the focus is on the suspect’s widow.  Her life was complicated by her husband.  After her husband dies, her life is complicated by the investigators and the reporters.  The reporter, Kate Waters is successful with her  approach toward getting interviews.

This novel has been compared to Gone Girl.  While the widow is introspective as the wife was in Gone Girl, the novel did not have that sudden, surprising, gripping, twist that I was anticipating.

Continue reading “Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton”

Review: The Stranger by Harlan Coben

 

The Stranger by Harlan Coben

Dutton (est. 1852), Published by the Penguin Group, A Penguin Random House Company, 2015

My Review (3 Stars: Liked It!)

Author, Harlan Coben writes many catchy observations or short commentaries about mundane upper middle-class living and not so mundane events throughout The Stranger.  His writing is filled with one interesting sentence after the next.

The story is basically a mystery.  A stranger reveals a secret to Adam Price about his wife.  Soon after being confronted by Adam, his wife Corrine disappears leaving a text message, saying that she needs some time apart…just a few days.

Coben raises the question, How far will anyone go to protect their family?

Continue reading “Review: The Stranger by Harlan Coben”

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Delacorte Press, 2014

From GoodReads

literary awards

Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2015)The Inky Awards Nominee for Silver Inky (2015)Bookworm Best Award for Best Fiction (2014)Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction (2014)The Magnolia Award Nominee for 9-12 (2016)

My Review (5 Stars: Loved It!)

I can see why this is an award winning book.  Each chapter is more captivating than the previous one.

It is a short read.  I read it over the course of one day. Continue reading “Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart”

Review: The Last September by Nina de Gramont

The Last September by Nina de Gramont

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2015

My Review ( 5 Stars: Loved It!)

Author, Nina de Gramont expertly tugs the reader along in this suspenseful page turner.

In The Last September, the plot is not too complicated.  There are many references to Emily Dickinson, that I might not have completely understood.  However, overall it was an enjoyable read.

I loved the way the author portrayed the main character, Brett, and her total love for her husband, Charlie.  In the beginning of the novel we are told Charlie was murdered.   He was handsome, charming, and a free sprit.  He loved Brett.  They married and had a daughter together.  Brett doubted her husband loved her as much she loved him.

Brett met Charlie through his brother, Eli, her best friend in college, in Boulder, Colorado.  Eli had mental illness and was a problem at times.

The main part of the story takes place in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

This novel is a quick read (about 300 pages).  Once I started reading it, I did not want to put it down.

First Paragraph

“Because I am a student of literature, I will start my story on the day Charlie died.  In other words, I’m beginning in the middle.  In medias res, that’s the Latin term and though my specialty is American Renaissance poetry, I did have to study classics.  Homer, Dante, Milton.  They knew about the middle, how all of life revolves around a single moment in time.  Everything that comes before leads up to that moment.  Everything that comes afterward springs from that moment.”

Also by Nina de Gramont

Books For Adults

Of Cats and Men: Stories

Gossip of The Starlings

Books For Young Adults

Every Little Thing in the World

Meet Me at the River

The Boy I Love

She Reads

I would like to thank author, Nina De Gramont, the She Reads Organization and the publisher, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,  for providing me with this book, free of charge, for review.

The Last September by Nina De Gramont is one of She Reads’ Books of Fall.  Visit SheReads’ page to read more about their winter selections  @ The Books of Fall.

Disclosure of Material Connection:

I received this book free from the publisher, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, as a member of the She Reads Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.