Edelweiss

The Quality of Silence

The Quality of Silence
The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday
Flashback Friday

Friday, December 15, 2017

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healy- Feature and Review


ABOUT THE BOOK:

‘Elizabeth is missing.’ Maud keeps finding notes in her pockets with this message scrawled on it, but she can’t remember writing it. That said, she can’t remember much these days: the time of day, whether she’s eaten lunch, if her daughter’s come to visit, how much toast she’s eaten. Still, the notes about Elizabeth nag at her. When was the last time she spoke with her best friend? It feels like ages ago...

Frustratingly, no one seems willing to help Maud find her: not the police nor Elizabeth’s son - not even Maud’s own daughter or granddaughter. It’s like they’re hiding something.

Maud resolves to take matters into her own hands, and begins digging for the truth. There are many clues, but unhelpfully, they all seem to point to another unsolved disappearance: that of Maud’s sister Sukey just after the war.

Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance lead Maud to the truth about Elizabeth? As Maud’s mind retreats into the past at a frightening pace, alienating her from her family and carers, vivid memories of what happened over fifty years ago come flooding back to give her quest new momentum.

Strange Companions is a debut novel about a mind in the grips of dementia. Simultaneously a fast-paced mystery and a moving meditation on memory and identity and told through Maud's unforgettable voice, it humanises a condition most of us find impenetrable and frustrating.


LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:




MY REVIEW:



Elizabeth Is MissingElizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healy is a 2014 Harper Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

For me this was a stunning novel, not only as a mystery but one that gives an unique insight into the mind of someone dealing with dementia and the effects it has on them and their family.

When Maud who is 82 years old, realizes her friend Elizabeth is gone, she desperately tries to convey this to her daughter, Helen, who is her sole care taker. No one takes her seriously, which frustrates and agitates Maud even more. But, this turn of events has jarred loose a torrent of memories regarding the disappearance of Maud's sister “Sukey” when she was much younger. She tends to confuse the two events in her mind and of course is fighting so hard to keep things straight and communicate to those around her who are totally clueless about what is really going on in Maud's head

When her sister disappeared, Maud was driven nearly mad by it . Slowly, Maud's mind sketches together the events of the past with the present day vanishing of her friend Elizabeth. It's a slow moving realization and the saddest thing of all is Maud's inability to hold on to her train of thought long enough to enjoy some kind of peace of mind or obtain closure in any way for herself.

I found myself feeling intensely angry with Helen and the police and Elizabeth's son, Peter. While I know it is so difficult to deal with a parent suffering from dementia, and I am certainly not making light of that burden, I couldn't help but feel irritation at Helen's making faces at Maud behind her back or dismissing her symptoms with the doctor or a thousand other ways she was rather unkind to her mother. I mean, this was her mother!! She resented every single thing she had to do for her and blamed her brother for not helping out more, which of course I would have to agree with that, and realistically this happens more often than people realize among siblings. Helen performs her duties admirably, but it's seldom she shows any real empathy or tenderness for her mother.

The two mysteries, the cold case, if you will, and the current mystery of Elizabeth's disappearance is compelling, mostly because we know that there is something twisted up in Maud's mind and our frustration is as deep as hers. We know on one level that Elizabeth's disappearance is more of a catalyst for the deeply buried trauma of Maud's memories regarding her sister, but there is also a feeling of foreboding in regards to Elizabeth, mainly because Maude simply can not turn the idea loose. She is like a dog with a bone when it comes to her great concern over her friend's absence.

I think at times there are books placed in a rather generic genre classification, like mystery, suspense or psychological thriller, and that fits in this case, no doubt, BUT, it also leads people to draw a certain expectation of what to expect, and then perhaps, as could be the case with this book, the reader isn't quite sure what to think. The mystery is certainly understated, but I'm afraid many missed the poignancy of the story and the truly remarkable thing the mind really is.

While, Maud was mostly unaware of what she has ultimately revealed by insisting Elizabeth was missing, it is astounding what she has managed to accomplish here. No, this is not exactly a whodunit in the traditional sense. Yes, it is difficult to read, and is very emotional and yes, it is slow moving without many of the elements most mysteries employ.

 So, I suppose it might have been best to have added this one to the literary fiction or contemporary fiction category along with mystery/ suspense to give the potential buyer an idea of what lay ahead. I thought this was a well thought out novel that maybe went over the heads of some who perhaps are not in any way familiar with dementia other than what they see on television. If you know someone with this disease, I can think you would look at this book with a different perspective. If you are interested in reading the typical mystery novel, police procedural, detective, forensic, sort of thing, then keep going.

But, if you are looking for something that digs a little deeper into the human psyche and examines the long term emotional effects of loss, crime, guilt and in some ways even redemption, give this one a look.


GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Missing-Novel-Emma-Healey-ebook/dp/B00FJ3AAWQ/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/elizabeth-is-missing-emma-healey/1117005055



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Emma Healey grew up in London where she completed her first degree in bookbinding and was the third generation of women in her family to go to art college. She then worked for two libraries, two bookshops, two art galleries and two universities, and was busily pursuing a career in the art world before writing overtook everything. In 2008, after the death of one grandmother and the decline of the other, she began to explore the idea of dementia in fiction, and she moved to Norwich in 2010 to study for the MA in Creative Writing at UEA. Elizabeth is Missing is her first novel.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton- Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:

On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrived in Alaska.

Within hours they were driving alone across a frozen wilderness

Where nothing grows

Where no one lives

Where tears freeze 

And night will last for another 54 days.

They are looking for Ruby's father.

Travelling deeper into a silent land.

They still cannot find him.

And someone is watching them in the dark.


LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:



MY REVIEW:





The Quality of SilenceThe Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton is a 2016 Crown publication.

Harrowing, white knuckle suspense!

Alaska. Its beauty contrasts with the dark, brutal, bitter cold, making it the perfect backdrop for this gripping environmental thriller which is coupled with a story of undying love and devotion.

Yasmin has traveled to Alaska in search of her husband, Matt. She has brought her deaf daughter, Ruby along, believing deep in her heart that despite evidence to the contrary, her husband was not a victim of the deadly fire that wiped out an entire village.

Knowing no one is looking for Matt, Yasmin and Ruby take off across Northern Alaska, in one of the worst winters on record, determined to find her husband.

Not only will Yasmin have to contend with weather conditions few humans could endure, she feels a prickly sense of danger, as though someone is following her, trying to prevent her from making it to her destination.

Did Matt know something about the fire someone wants to keep quiet?

This story has a several interesting layers to it. On one hand, we have Yasmin, who is unwavering in her belief that Matt is alive, and rises to the occasion, showing a type of grit only sheer determination and a refusal to give up could pull off. Yet, all the time she is battling the elements, she is also battling an internal struggle involving the state of her marriage, which has hit a rough patch.

But, the story also features the fearless and brave ten year old, Ruby, whose deafness accentuates an added vulnerability, but in reality, it could be what makes Ruby so strong, so pragmatic and observant. Ruby’s narrative plays a key role the way the reader views the various aspects of this incredible landscape.

She has absorbed every single thing her father has shared with her, using that information to help guide her mother and to restore Yasmin’s faith in Matt and their marriage.

In this way, the novel is a beautiful story of familial love, a bond between parent and child and husband and wife, as each member gains a new perspective on their relationship as they face incredible adversity.

The plot is centered around ‘Fracking’, the danger to the environment that it poses, and the motives behind the argument for tapping down that far underground for oil.

All these elements combine to create a taut story of suspense, adventure, greed, and danger, as well as a tightly woven family drama.

The author does an incredible job creating the Alaskan climate, bringing both its beauty and its harshness into focus. As awesome as the images of it appear in pictures and on television, I don’t think I’d survive living in Alaska!

The only downside here, is that some parts of the story are just too unrealistic, but the atmosphere is so tense, I willed those negative thoughts away and focused on the what was working.

Ruby’s characterization, the various tools she uses to communicate, is also part of what makes the story poignant and her mettle so impressive.

But, thrumming in the background, is that pesky feeling that something is terribly wrong, that the elements are not the only thing Yasmin and Ruby should be afraid of and that knowledge haunts their journey from start to finish, until the all the pieces of the puzzle finally snap into place.

I was so impressed with this book, I wanted to see what else this author has written. I was surprised that I had already read one her books. I didn’t make the connection until just now, because I think I had it mixed up with another book with a similar title. But, sadly that means I only have one more book to read by this fabulous author. I hope to hear from her again soon!!

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Quality-Silence-Novel-Rosamund-Lupton-ebook/dp/B00XST7IEG/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-quality-of-silence-rosamund-lupton/1121955563

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Rosamund Lupton is the author of Sister, a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and a bestseller in Europe. 

Published in the UK by Little, Brown Book Group, Sister has been translated into over thirty languages and has international sales of over 1.5 million copies. It was the fastest-selling debut of 2010 by a British author, a BBC Radio 4, Book at Bedtime and was winner of the Richard and Judy Best Debut Novel of 2011 award and the Strand Magazine Critics First Novel Award. Film rights of Sister are currently under option with Studio Canal, to produce with Kevin McCormick of Langley St Pictures. Emily Blunt is attached to star and the script is in development. 

Lupton's critically acclaimed second novel Afterwards also went straight into the Sunday Times bestseller lists and was the No. 2 Sunday Times fiction bestseller of 2011, with UK sales alone of more than 200,000 copies. 

The Quality of Silence is her third novel.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami by Roben Farzad- Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:

The wild, true story of the Mutiny, the hotel and club that embodied the decadence of Miami’s cocaine cowboys heyday—and an inspiration for the blockbuster film, Scarface...In the seventies, coke hit Miami with the full force of a hurricane, and no place attracted dealers and dopers like Coconut Grove’s Mutiny at Sailboat Bay. Hollywood royalty, rock stars, and models flocked to the hotel’s club to order bottle after bottle of Dom and to snort lines alongside narcos, hit men, and gunrunners, all while marathon orgies burned upstairs in elaborate fantasy suites.

Amid the boatloads of powder and cash reigned the new kings of Miami: three waves of Cuban immigrants vying to dominate the trafficking of one of the most lucrative commodities ever known to man. But as the kilos—and bodies—began to pile up, the Mutiny became target number one for law enforcement.

Based on exclusive interviews and never-before-seen documents, Hotel Scarface is a portrait of a city high on excess and greed, an extraordinary work of investigative journalism offering an unprecedented view of the rise and fall of cocaine—and the Mutiny—in Miami.


LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT:




MY REVIEW:



Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control MiamiHotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami by Roben Farzad
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami- by Roben Farzad is a 2017 Berkley publication.

Miami Vice? Al Pacino’s Scarface? Miami in the 1980s, was all that and more. You'll have to keep reminding yourself that this is no work of fiction. While the entire country suffered an economic downturn, Miami was hustling and bustling, its economy bursting at the seams, solidifying its ‘sexiest’ city reputation- all thanks to that high priced, highly addictive, white powder- Cocaine.

At the center of all the excitement, sat the Mutiny Hotel, situated on Bayshore drive. The hotel and club, was Miami’s version of ‘Casablanca’, with Burton Goldberg at the helm. This was the gathering spot for the Miami Dolphins football players, rock stars, party girls, drug smugglers and dealers and cops, alike.

Business was conducted at all hours of the day and night. The Cocaine, the money, the Dom- all flowed like water through the Mutiny in its heyday. The city was a war zone, with the highest murder rate in the nation, and the cops and judges were in the pockets of the drug lords- many of whom were household names, right alongside the celebrity clientele at the Mutiny. People from all walks of life, small time earners, and lower income Cuban immigrants, were suddenly flush with unimaginable amounts of cash, expensive cars, and all the rest.




It was a crazy time, and Mutiny Hotel became THE place to meet and do business for the notorious ‘Cocaine Cowboys.’

The book replays the drama that took place inside the storied walls of the Mutiny, featuring a large cast of characters, some of whom will sound very familiar, while others were mostly famous inside the confines of the drug industry. To help keep it all sorted, the author graciously provides a list of the major players the book is centered around.

I was not surprised by the number of celebrities that partied there, and while a few of the names mentioned will shock you, most of them won’t. Some may be moderately shaken by how many local athletes were participants, but you really shouldn’t be.

A few notorious regulars were Rick James, members of the classic rock group- The Eagles, and a few politicians, popped in and out as well- maybe a famous Kennedy? – And of course, some cast members of the wildly popular television show, 'Miami Vice’.



One notorious dealer even landed a couple of guest spots on the show for providing the crew with trustworthy cocaine.

While the stage is set to look like everyone was having a good time partying, drinking Dom, visiting the fantasy suites, there was a lot more going on than meets the eye. The Cuban immigrant issues that settled into the city in the 1980’s and the political climate with Cuba, in general, roiled just as intensely as it did two decades prior.

While the events that were transpiring in Miami may have helped inspire the Al Pacino movie, ‘Scarface’, the movie was mostly shot outside of Miami, and the author will explain those details, but it mainly had to do with the fear of how Cubans would be portrayed in the film.

Still, many thought they recognized themselves or others they knew in the film, and weren’t particularly offended by it.


It’s crazy to think back on it all now. Everything detailed in this book would have made for great television and movies… which it did- but it was very real, very scary, and a very dark piece of Miami’s history. It was a dangerous situation, shocking to the core, as Americans watched it all play out in real time, but now with the benefit of hindsight, it seems even more insane and hard to believe.

This book makes an excellent companion piece to the documentary ‘Cocaine Cowboys’- (the producers of the documentary even provided the prologue for this book), if you have seen it. If not, I highly recommend watching it and reading this book, in no particular order, because both will provide an incredible look back at this part of America’s history- Miami’s, in particular. FYI- the documentary is available with Neflix streaming.



Overall, this book focuses primarily on the Mutiny Hotel and the goings on connected to it, but also delves into the city’s history, political climate, Cuba, Columbia, and the drug smuggling superstars and how it all came crashing down.

The author did a great job of organizing the material and helping to put names with faces, so to speak,
and tells this riveting true crime saga in such a way, you feel like you are seeing these events unfold in front of your very eyes.

Even if you remember hearing all about Miami's drug trade on the news ad nauseam in the eighties, you didn’t get this inside version of events, believe me. You will feel the reverberations, get caught up in a bit of nostalgia, shake your head at the name dropping, and gasp in horror at the ruthless double crosses and killings. I can almost hear Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice theme song in my head as we speak.

This is an excellent true crime drama which will appeal to those of a certain age, but I highly recommend it for younger readers, too, who will get a bit of unexpected history behind the sexiest city in America. You will never look at the Miami skyline the same way again.





GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Hotel-Scarface-Cocaine-Cowboys-Partied-ebook/dp/B01N5UFLHE/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hotel-scarface-roben-farzad/1125578535

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Roben Farzad hosts the weekly program Full Disclosure on NPR One and is a special correspondent on PBS NewsHour. He was previously a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, where he covered Wall Street, international finance, and Latin America. Farzad is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Woman Who Couldn't Scream by Christina Dodd- Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:


From the New York Times bestselling author comes the fourth novel of suspense taking place in Virtue Falls, Washington.

Beautiful Merida is married to a wealthy older man who takes her around the world as his trophy. Merida is everything a man could want. But a traumatic accident years before left her without the ability to speak. When her husband dies, she knows it's her chance to exact revenge on those responsible for her accident—and that vengeance begins in Virtue Falls. Reinventing herself, she slips into village life, biding her time. But someone knows exactly who she is and will use this chance to finish what was started years ago. And this time an accident for Merida will mean silencing her forever.
 


LISTEN TO AN EXCEPT:






MY REVIEW:



The Woman Who Couldn't Scream (Virtue Falls #4)The Woman Who Couldn't Scream by Christina Dodd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Woman Who Couldn’t Scream by Christina Dodd is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication.





Because the third installment was so awesome, I a little nervous going into this one, but I needn’t have worried. The momentum carried over to this latest installment… and then some!

Merida, is beautiful, but can not speak. After the death of her obsessive husband, she is also rich- so she
returns to Virtue Falls with one thing in mind- revenge.

But, her plans go off the rails when several women are slashed to death, and her old lover recognizes her and as fate would have it, her old friend, Kateri is the sheriff.

Meanwhile, Kateri’s half sister arrives in Virtue Falls looking for the strange package Kateri’s deceased father sent her, believing it holds something very valuable. But, Kateri is busy hunting down the man who shot Rainbow and the person who is killing women in Virtue Falls, and attempting to understand her complicated relationship with Stag.

I do believe this series gets better as it goes along. Merida is a real mystery and her past is riddled with extreme pain, physically and emotionally. What is the history between her and the wealthy Benedict? Why is she seeking revenge against him? This is a very interesting and intense part of the story, and I loved how it all came together. Whew! Good stuff!

I have also enjoyed getting to know Kateri, and I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but I also love, love, love her dog, Lacey!!

In this installment, Kateri really gets to show off her law enforcement skills, more so than usual, and proves once and for all she is the right person for the job, while she also deals with a host of personal issues, as well as the Frog God, which is always very interesting.

While each book in the series has been suspenseful, this one has a slightly darker edge to it, and fit more into a traditional format than the previous installments, and I thought it worked out wonderfully.

This is yet another outstanding installment in this series! Romantic suspense fans will love this one!!

Thank you, Goodreads, Christina Dodd, and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a copy of this terrific novel!!


GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Woman-Who-Couldnt-Scream-Virtue-ebook/dp/B01N23DPKT/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-woman-who-couldnt-scream-christina-dodd/1125377159

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Go to Christina's home page for her, "Books by Series and In Order," page and her printable book list sorted by genre, series and in order. Join Christina's mailing list for updates! http://christinadodd.com

Upcoming Titles:
DEAD GIRL RUNNING: Cape Charade Full-Length Thriller, a Virtue Falls series spin-off

Out now!
—THE WOMAN WHO COULDN'T SCREAM: Virtue Falls Full-length Suspense #4 in hardcover and ebook (Amazon Best of September, Library Journal Starred Review, RT Book Reviews Top Pick)
— THE WATCHER: A Virtue Falls Short Story starring Sheriff Kateri Kwinault
—BECAUSE I'M WATCHING: Virtue Falls Full-length Suspense #3 (2016 Amazon Best of Romance, #1 Amazon Romance of September, Kirkus starred review, Booklist starred review and Best of 2016, Library Journal starred review, RT Book Reviews Top Pick.) Readers' Group Discussion Questions available on Christina Dodd's website.
—A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT: Stories of Virtue Falls, a compilation of the previously published Virtue Falls short stories with new extras from the Virtue Falls books (deleted scenes, the alternate ending of OBSESSION FALLS, Readers' Guides.)

New York Times bestseller Christina Dodd writes “Edge-of-the-seat suspense.” —(Iris Johansen) with “brilliantly etched characters, polished writing, and unexpected flashes of sharp humor that are pure Dodd.” (ALA Booklist) Follow Christina on Amazon to receive notices about her upcoming and new releases, and join her mailing list at christinadodd.com for entertaining newsletters, book news and contests. THE WOMAN WHO COULDN'T SCREAM (September 5) is next in the Virtue Falls series; RT Book Reviews calls it, "The Payoff Kateri Fans have been Waiting For," (top pick) and ALA Booklist says, a "Sexy, compulsively readable tale of romantic suspense.” Her current thriller, BECAUSE I'M WATCHING, is an Amazon Best Book of 2016, a Booklist Best Book of 2016, and a Top Pick for RT Book Reviews, with a starred Kirkus review ("Another Virtue Falls winner!") and a starred Library Journal review. Christina's fifty+ novels have been translated into more than twenty-five languages, won the Golden Heart and RITA Awards, and been called the year's best by Library Journal and Booklist. Much to her mother's delight, Dodd has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. And let us not forget the infamous three armed cover… You can find more information on her website, ChristinaDodd.com

Monday, December 11, 2017

Finding Grace: Captured by a Cult by Warren Adler - Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:

The chilling new drama from Warren Adler, the bestselling author of The War of the Roses, gets to the heart of brainwashing and its power to corrupt and control. 

A father. A mother. A daughter. A cult. 

When their twenty-three-year-old daughter goes missing, divorcees Harry and Paulie are forced to leave behind their newly constructed lives to track Grace down. But Grace isn’t lost, not physically at least. They find her seemingly unharmed in California on a sunny farm the other residents call “Camp Star.” But nothing is as it seems… 

Sinister motives lurk behind the smiles of those at the camp and the two soon learn that Grace is in the clutches of a notorious cult. Under the spell of mind control, she denies Harry and Paulie as her family and shuns their love, leaving them to search for answers in the most desperate of places. 

Scrambling to piece together their shattered lives, Harry and Paulie race against the clock to bring Grace back home – but will she ever be able to return? How do you help someone who doesn’t know they’re lost? 

READ AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


Finding Grace: Captured by a CultFinding Grace: Captured by a Cult by Warren Adler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finding Grace by Warren Adler is a 2017 publication.

Do you believe strange religious cults are a thing of the past? Think again…

Grace, a beautiful, young political intern, has joined an odd cult and is completely under their spell. The cult’s goal is to take over the world, starting with America. They are totally right-wing, fascist types, but spout all the usual cult rhetoric and use commonly known methods of brainwashing and persuasion to entice and hold their followers.

Henry and Paulie divorced when Grace was a child, both remarried, but Henry is separated from his wife, while Pauley is rather content in her second marriage, despite it lacking the passion she shared with Henry. Although the couple have been divorced for fifteen years, they swiftly discover the bond they once shared, the bond that still binds them through their daughter, is still quite strong.

As Henry and Paulie work to free their daughter, they rediscover the passion and love that brought them together in the first place and must face a plethora of complications as their lives turn on a dime.

This book is set back in the late eighties or early nineties, so you’ll want to keep that in mind. There are phone booths, and landlines and the mention of Pan Am, so it obviously takes place a few decades ago, and is NOT a current day scenario.

Still, by that time, cults were beginning to lose ground, disperse, and no longer showed up regularly in the news. But, as we know, they didn’t go away entirely.

Paulie and Henry were blindsided by the revelation their smart, seemingly well-adjusted daughter fell prey to such manipulations. Their work to free her becomes an obsession, as they both reflect on their past life together, how or if they had unwittingly let their daughter down, blaming themselves for their self- absorptions, and remembering the intense feelings they once shared.


It may seem like an odd time to publish a book with this particular theme, since we seldom think of cults like the one described here in modern times. But, the topic did make me wonder about that, so I did a quick internet search and was shocked to discover how many cults are still quite active, and boasts incredibly large numbers of followers. Spooky.

But, the story also offered a couple of chilling remarks that reminded me of what uncharacteristic, complete and total loyalty can mean. So, from that angle, it seems like a bit of a cautionary tale, a warning that it still might not be safe to go back into the water, so don’t let your guard down.

Yet, after having said all that, the story doesn’t appear to be about Grace, per se. We only get a very tiny glimpse of the type of person she was prior to her cult conversion. Once she was immersed in that setting, she became almost a parody of the typical, brainwashed cult member. Her role in the story seems to serve more as a catalyst from which Henry and Paulie are forced to pull the focus off of themselves and onto a common goal, leading to an in -depth examination of their relationship, both past and present, and what that might mean for their future. In a weird way, it’s almost like a very quirky love story- a second chance at love trope, told within a very strange context.

All in all, this is a very offbeat story, strangely absorbing, fast paced, and easily read in one sitting. It lingered around in my mind for a while, as I puzzled over and searched for some missed hidden message or allegory, but I never could come up with anything solid on that front.

It’s an interesting read, perhaps a little shallow in places, predictable in others, but sinister and thought provoking all the same.

GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Finding-Grace-Captured-Warren-Adler-ebook/dp/B075G24Z4R/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Warren Adler is best known for The War of Roses, his masterpiece fictionalization of a macabre divorce turn into the Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated dark comedy hit starring Michael Douglas. Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito. In addition to the success of the stage adaptation of his iconic novel on the perils of divorce. Adler has optioned and sold film rights to more than a dozen of his novels and short stories to Hollywood and major television networks. Random Hearts ( starring Harrison Ford and Kristen Scott Thomas), The Sunset Gang (starring Ben Stiller, Uta Hagen, Harold Gould and Doris Roberts), Private Lies, Funny Boys, Madeline's Miricles, Trans-Siberian Express and his Fion Fitzgerald Mystery series are only a few titles that have forever left Adler's mark on contemporary American authorship from stage to screen. Learn more at: www.warrenadler.com

Friday, December 8, 2017

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews- Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Three Weddings...And a Murder


So far Meg Langslow's summer is not going swimmingly. Down in her small Virginia hometown, she's maid of honor at the nuptials of three loved ones--each of whom has dumped the planning in her capable hands. One bride is set on including a Native American herbal purification ceremony, while another wants live peacocks on the lawn. Only help from the town's drop-dead gorgeous hunk, disappointingly rumored to be gay, keeps Meg afloat in a sea of dotty relatives and outrageous neighbors.

And, in a whirl of summer parties and picnics, Southern hospitality is strained to the limit by an offensive newcomer who hints at skeletons in the guests' closets. But it seems this lady has offended one too many when she's found dead in suspicious circumstances, followed by a string of accidents--some fatal. Soon, level-headed Meg's to-do list extends from flower arrangements and bridal registries to catching a killer--before the next catered event is her own funeral...
 




READ AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


Murder With Peacocks (Meg Langslow, #1)Murder With Peacocks by Donna Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Murder with Peacocks (Meg Langslow #1) by Donna Andrews is a 2006 St. Martin’s Press publication. (Originally published in 1999)


Fast paced and witty!

I need to start another series like I need a hole in my head, but….

This series keeps popping up in crime novel sites I follow, or book recommendation sites, and because already had a couple of the books on my bookshelf, I decided to read one to see how well I liked it.


Well, for better or worse, I’m hooked. This is the first installment in a very long running series. For a ‘first in a series' novel, published over seventeen years ago, it was pretty darned good. In fact, it was a riot!

Meg’s best friend, her brother, and her mother are all getting married, and Meg has been roped into helping them plans their weddings.

But, when her mother’s fiancĂ©’s former mother-in-law arrives, she stirs up a real hornet’s nest, and the next thing you know her body is found. While it is quite evident the woman was murdered, the suspects are very clever, and their motives are even murkier.

With local law enforcement ill equipped to handle such a serious crime, Meg’s father rises to the occasion to play amateur detective. But, before long, Meg finds herself bitten by the detecting bug, herself. Along with her new friend, Michael, she begins to uncover shocking secrets, lies, and cover-ups, that just might lead her to the murderer!


This is a madcap, screwball family comedy on one hand, and a puzzling murder mystery on the other. Meg and her father have a special bond and work well as detection team. Meg’s inner monologue is hilarious, but also a poignant at times.

The story moves at warp speed, and is so entertaining, I finished it before I was ready to- and that is always a good sign.

So, here’s to piecing together another long running series and to many more adventures with Meg and her zany supporting cast!





 GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Peacocks-Langslow-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B003OYIAA6/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murder-with-peacocks-donna-andrews/1100337678

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Donna Andrews was born in Yorktown, Virginia, the setting of Murder with Peacocks and Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos, and now lives and works in Reston, Virginia. When not writing fiction, Andrews is a self-confessed nerd, rarely found away from her computer, unless she's messing in the garden

http://us.macmillan.com/author/donnaa...

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays―even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything.

Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wit’s end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby―and the inescapable longing in his heart―off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along?

READ AN EXCERPT:






MY REVIEW:


The Christmas Cowboy Hero (Heart of Texas, #1)The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant is a 2017 St. Martin’s Press publication.

This one’s a winner!!


Ex-Navy SEAL AND a Cowboy? Yes, please.

Clayton has returned home at his mother’s bidding, due to his father’s sudden illness and the family ranch teetering on bankruptcy, due to a major embezzlement scheme and cattle theft ring.

When Abby Harper’s younger brother is caught stealing cattle, as his guardian, she must sort things out. When Clayton realizes Abby is raising her brothers and is a little overwhelmed, his heart melts a little, and he decides to cut her some slack, by generously allowing her brother to work off his debt at his ranch.

As Abby begins to spend a little time at the ranch, she learns of Clayton’s financial issues and winds up helping him uncover the embezzlement issues, but she also finds herself falling for the tortured cowboy, and Clayton begins to have feelings for the beautiful lady who had to grow up too quickly when she had to step up and become a parent to her brothers at the ripe old age of eighteen.

I loved this story for many reasons. Everyone deserves a second chance, and although Clayton may have been moved more by Abby than her brother’s regret and remorse for the crimes he committed, by having him work off his debt, it helped Brice build character, and he responded to having a stable male presence in his life.

I also love the tortured hero complex and Clayton has all those traits. His time in the military left him hallowed out and the loss of his brother gutted him. You won’t be able to resist this big hearted Texan!

Abby is being taken advantage of by her boss, has her hands full trying to make ends meet, and raise her brothers. I admired her loyalty and responsibility to her brothers, and I’m glad she found a better life for herself and her brothers.

This may be my favorite contemporary holiday romance, so far, this year! It’s sensual and sexy, but also has a little suspense and mystery, with lots of drama and a heartwarming holiday atmosphere to top it all off. That I’m a little partial towards SEALS and cowboys is also a big added bonus! This is the first book in a new series, and that means more Texans and more cowboys. I can sense my romance novel diet could be coming to an end. So, Merry Christmas to me!!

This one gets all the stars!

5 stars




 GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Cowboy-Hero-Heart-Texas-ebook/dp/B06Y5L7CL4/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-christmas-cowboy-hero-donna-grant/1125902867


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her "totally addictive" and "unique and sensual" stories. Her latest acclaimed series, Dark Kings, features a thrilling combination of dragons, Fae, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children and an assortment of animals in Texas. 

Visit Donna at www.DonnaGrant.com

Follow her on Twitter @donna_grant

And on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDonnaGrant

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor- Feature and Review



ABOUT THE BOOK:


The author of The Girl Who Came Home turns the clock back one hundred years to a time when two young girls from Cottingley, Yorkshire, convinced the world that they had done the impossible and photographed fairies in their garden. Now, in her newest novel, international bestseller Hazel Gaynor reimagines their story.

1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true—didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?
 



READ AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


The Cottingley SecretThe Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor is a 2017 William Morrow Paperbacks publication.

Charming and magical-

This novel is based on the real events surrounding a group of photographs taken by sixteen year old Elsie Wright and her nine year old cousin, Frances Griffiths, in Cottingley, England in 1917.

The photographs allegedly captured images of fairies at the Cottingley Beck, a stream where the two girls often played. The photos garnered the attention of Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who featured the story in ‘The Strand Magazine’, in 1920.


                   LETTER WRITTEN TO ELSIE FROM SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE


For years the public debated whether or not the photos were genuine, or if it was all a big hoax. This novel tells a fictional account of Elsie and Frances, and their adventures, alongside the current day story of Olivia Kavanagh, a woman who has come to set her grandparents affairs in order after the death of her grandfather.

Olivia is engaged, with a life back in London, but after inheriting her grandfather’s bookstore, she begins to reassess her life and decides to stay and manage the bookstore, unable to bring herself to sell it. But, along with the bookshop, Olivia’s grandfather left behind a manuscript written by Frances Griffiths, in which she details what really happened back in 1917, and puts to rest, the question regarding the one photo Frances insists is the real deal.



                                              FRANCES GRIFFITHS AND THE FAIRIES


This is a delightful and fanciful accounting of Elsie and Frances' life story, and how they gave the gift of hope and a little bit of magic to people during the dark and bleak days of world war one. It is fascinating to me how people seized hold of the possibility that the fairies did indeed exist and could be captured on film. I think there is a bit of psychology behind that, with world war one raging in the background.

I also enjoyed the way the story unfolded bit by bit through the eyes of Olivia, who has found the courage to rediscover her true self and in so doing, finds that maybe, just maybe, believing in fairies and magic might not be a bad thing, after all.

For me, this story occasionally had a sad and bittersweet tone, but mostly it was sweet and whimsical, and I enjoyed immersing myself in the dual time lines, allowing myself to be swept away by the history and even felt a slight tingle of magic along the way, so much so, I might have become a bit of a believer, myself.

Although this novel is mostly conjecture, I think the author captured the atmosphere perfectly and built an interesting story around true events. I have since done a few Google searches on the Cottingley fairies. It’s an amazing story that captured the public’s imagination for decades. I think the time and place had a lot to do with why those pictures became such a phenomenon, but that the myth persisted as long as it did is what makes the story so captivating.

Overall, I think what makes the story work, is the reminder that sometimes believing in something gives it a certain power, regardless of how fantastical, and sometimes, something fantastical can give people real hope, and that magic comes in many forms.


GET YOUR COPY HERE: 

http://www.amazon.com/Cottingley-Secret-Novel-Hazel-Gaynor-ebook/dp/B0IN3O9X8V/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-cottingley-secret-hazel-gaynor/1124807481

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A MEMORY OF VIOLETS and THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel THE GIRL FROM THE SAVOY was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. 

In 2017, Hazel will release two historical novels: THE COTTINGLEY SECRET (August, William Morrow/HarperCollins) and LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS (October, William Morrow/HarperCollins). 

Hazel was selected by the US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and was a WHSmith Fresh Talent selection in spring 2015. Her work has been translated into several languages and she is represented by Michelle Brower of Aevitas Creative Management, New York. 

For more information, visit www.hazelgaynor.com 

@HazelGaynor

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Married Till Christmas by Christine Rimmer- Feature and Review

ABOUT THE BOOK:

An impulse wedding... Strong, sexy Nell Bravo won't be fooled again. After all, Declan McGrath already shattered her heart into pieces--not once, but twice. When alluring CEO Deck sweeps Nell off her feet in Las Vegas, though, she tumbles headlong into an "only in Vegas" fling with her first love. But Nell sure didn't bargain on a Vegas wedding! ...a lifetime of love? It's taken a long time for Deck to finally capture the one who got away. And this time, he's charmed her straight to the altar. But Nell will stay married to him only until Christmas Day--unless Deck can prove that this time, it's for keeps. With the clock ticking, can Deck convince Nell that he truly is her one and only...or has Mr. Love-'Em-and-Leave-'Em broken a Bravo's heart for the last time? 


READ AN EXCERPT:





MY REVIEW:


Married Till ChristmasMarried Till Christmas by Christine Rimmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Married Till Christmas by Christine Rimmer is a 2017 Harlequin Special Release publication.


Nell has already given the seemingly incorrigible Declan McGrath two chances- Could the third time be the charm?


Delcan- aka- Deck- knows Nell Bravo is the love of his life and despite two false starts, he’s ready to make a lifetime commitment. But, Nell has been burned one too many times and is having none of it.

But, after running into Deck in Vegas, he manages to manipulate Nell straight to the alter with a ‘quickie’ wedding. Once she comes to her senses, she immediately starts making plans for an annulment. But, Deck manages to convince her to wait until Christmas before doing anything rash. Nell reluctantly agrees to give the marriage a shot, but knows deep down, she can never trust him again.


 Can a little holiday magic bring hope, healing and forgiveness to Nell and Deck along with the promise of a long overdue happily ever after?


Oh, Deck- I was not so sure he and I were going to get along so well. He’s cocky, over confidant, and manipulative. He ‘handles’ Nell and although the chemistry between them sizzles, I couldn’t blame Nell for her wariness.

But, as the story progresses, a different side of Deck begins to emerge and while I didn’t agree with the way he treated Nell in the past, I could understand his pride, his wish to find equal footing with Nell, and do a little growing up. As much as I hated to admit it, he was right about the timing, but he still has to convince Nell that this is their moment.

Deck has a troubled background, and although he’s come a long way, he still struggles with his father’s actions and isn’t sure how to handle the idea of Nell meeting him again.

Nell loves Deck, but she’s too afraid of getting hurt by him again, and can’t move past the way he broke her heart- not once- but twice. Trust is the hardest thing to regain once it has been lost, and I really was worried Nell might not be able to manage it.

The couple runs hot and cold, back and forth, up and down, but one thing that stays constant is the undeniable fact that they are in love with each other, always have been, and always will be.

This holiday themed romance has just the right blend of humor, drama, and holiday cheer and I really liked the way things ended.

Overall, this is another enjoyable holiday romance from one of my favorite Harlequin authors!


 GET YOUR COPY HERE:

https://www.amazon.com/Married-Christmas-Bravos-Justice-Creek-ebook/dp/B071HT457N/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/married-till-christmas-christine-rimmer/1126400495

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



A New York Times and USA-Today bestselling author, Christine Rimmer has written more than 100 contemporary romances for Harlequin Books. A reader favorite, Christine has won Romantic Times BOOKreview's Reviewer's Choice Award for best Silhouette Special Edition. She has been nominated seven times for the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award and five times for Romantic Times Series Storyteller of the Year. Christine lives in Oregon with her family.