Can a birthday party destroy lives? One wealthy San Francisco family is about to find out. Hannah is turning 16 and her parents agree to a sleepover party with four guests. The girls arrive. The pizza and cake is delivered. Jeff and Kim go to bed assuming that the girls will watch movies and talk all night, safely ensconced in the family basement. What happens in the wee hours of the morning will completely alter the lives of this model family and their guests forever.
This is a great story about relationships and family dynamics and how one small choice can change a person forever. The characters are wonderful and perfectly suited to their roles. I couldn’t help but love Hannah, a girl on the cusp of adulthood who just wants to explore what it means to be alive. I totally sympathized with Mom Kim and her frustration with her teenage daughter, while at the same time I completely got why Hannah felt so restricted by her mom’s presence. Jeff was a little harder to like as he seemed at times to be trying to ignore that he had a family, but at same time wants to be the cool Dad in the eyes of his teenage daughter. I also really enjoyed the interplay between the main characters and the side players. I think the author really hit the nail on the head with how she portrayed the ever changing landscape of the character’s social circles. There is a message here about how variable “friendships” can be. This book also has a lot to say about bullying, both amongst the kids and the adults that surround them. I found this story to be brilliantly conceived and executed and I highly recommend it.
When the body of Jeannette Gilbert is found in a recently discovered crypt under an old church, Kieran Finnegan finds herself unexpectedly drawn into the investigation. Kierans’ family owns the Finnegan’s pub which is located directly behind the church turned nightclub. What she doesn’t realize at first is that her twin brother Kevin is Jeannette’s “mystery lover”. Meanwhile, her boyfriend Special Agent Craig Frasier of the FBI is assigned to the case, and Kieran and her employers are called in to help with the profile of the killer. As the publicity heats up and another girl goes missing, the pressure to find the perpetrator intensifies. Will Kieran and Craig be able to find him before he has a chance to strike again, or will Kieran become his next victim?
This is a very intriguing story with some clever twists thrown in to keep you guessing. It reads in a way that is more similar to a cozy mystery than an intense thriller, but there is danger and some psychological thrills given that Kieran is a forensic psychologist. I found Kieran to be a lovely character with a well-developed personality. Likewise, her boyfriend Craig, though he’s just a bit too protective sometimes. There is a nice interplay between Kieran and her brothers, and several interesting secondary characters. I was still guessing almost till the end as to who the killer was, so in that respect the mystery is well presented. This is the 2nd book in a 3 book series and I have not read the first one, but I didn’t feel like that detracted from my enjoyment of this story. Overall, I found this book to be an enjoyable read with a good story and characters.
I apologize that my blog has been so quiet this week. First week back at work just had me so exhausted I couldn’t even think about writing anything. I did manage to finish reading one book, “A Perfect Obsession” by Heather Graham and my review will go up later today or tomorrow morning at the latest. A bookish sidenote: my son is taking a dual-credit English this year and the first book they will read is “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. They will be reading several books this year that I’m not familiar with so I’m thinking I might have to reorganize my TBR and read with him. I keep you posted on that. So, let’s check the numbers…
TBR – I did succumb to the NetGalley temptation again this week and picked up 2 books. The current total is now 273. I think I still have a couple of requests pending so that number might go up some more this week.
NetGalley – Dropped one point to 81%.
Goodreads Challenge – Slipped a bit this week and I am once again 1 book behind schedule.
I’m currently reading “The Party” by Robyn Harding and I’m having a hard time putting it down so I expect to get that review out later this week.
If you are following the Journeys Through Bookland narrations, I should have at least one, maybe two, up this week. Hopefully, I’ll have a better routine going this week. So that’s it for now guys. Have a great week and
Alexandria takes a job as a summer intern at a Louisiana law firm that defends murderers. When she sees a videotape of Ricky Langley’s confession she does not expect the maelstrom of personal memories and emotions that bombards her, or the journey that she will embark on as a result. In this book the author tells us the story of Ricky Langley side-by-side with her own story. Both of these stories are moving and compelling, addressing the complexity of family relationships and how they shape who we are.
I found this book really easy and enjoyable to read even though the subject matter is at times very dark. The author spent years researching the Ricky Langley case and has put together a very thorough presentation of his story. At the same time, she has opened herself up in a heart-wrenching way in order to relate her own story. The story is well-written and moves seamlessly between the two narratives. This is a great biography/memoir/true crime story.
Well, this week didn’t go as planned. The process of getting ready to go back to school just seemed to take over my week and I didn’t get nearly as much reading done as I had hoped, nor did I do as many narrations as I wanted to. So, I start work again tomorrow and it will probably take me a couple of weeks to figure out what I can realistically accomplish each week. I apologize if you all have been missing me this week. Let’s check my status.
TBR – I did not add any books this week. But in the interests of full disclosure, I have at least 3 requests in at NetGalley. I finished 2 books this week and the current total is 274.
NetGalley Score – Currently sitting at 82% but if those requests come thru, I’m doomed.
Goodreads – I am still on track but barely…
Coming Up – So this is what’s coming but I’m making no guarantees as to when at this point. Review of “The Fact of a Body” by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, hopefully up tomorrow. I am currently reading “A Perfect Obsession” by Heather Graham. So that’s it for today guys. Assuming I survive my first week back I check back in with you next week.
Who would have thought that the time honored tradition of Spring Cleaning could end up in murder? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening in the quiet little community of Chitterton Fells. Ellie Haskell finds herself right in the middle of the mystery when she finds her new cleaner, Mrs. Large, dead in the study at the home of the Miller sisters. At the same time, her long time cleaner Mrs. Malloy has left town to care for her new grandchild, leaving Ellie at loose ends just as she is starting her spring cleaning. Then protestors show up at her husband’s restaurant and Jonas’s health seems to be declining. Adding to the confusion are her 3-year old twins, Tam and Abbey, who are very busy indeed. Will Ellie and the members of the C.F.C.W.A. be able to figure out who is killing off the cleaning women?
This is such a fun cozy mystery. The author has created a charming community, full of all kinds of characters. Ellie and Ben are a delightful married couple and the twins are adorable, if a little nerve-wracking at times. The story line had a lot of twists and turns and really kept me guessing. I really enjoyed how the author didn’t just tell the story of the mystery but also told the story of the daily lives of Ellie and Ben. I found that the book overall had a bit of a literary fiction feel because of this. This is the 7th book in the Ellie Haskell mysteries and I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for future installments. Pure delight is to be had here!
A moving story of poverty and desperation! Sadie Blue lives in Baines Creek, NC, a small town deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Baines Creek is full of secrets. Sadie is married to Roy Tupkin who takes pleasure in beating her up, but violence has always been a part of Sadie’s life. This story is told by several members of the community who each gradually reveal the town’s secrets. In a place where people depend so much on each other for survival, betrayal runs deep.
I was completely captivated by this story. The characters are carefully crafted and they develop in the reader’s mind as the story grows. I thought that the author’s choice to tell the story through the eyes of different members of the community, each revealing their part, was very clever and engaging. This story is dark at times but it captures well the life of the residents. This is a beautiful debut novel and I highly recommend it.
Happy Sunday everyone! It’s a rainy one at my house so I should have lots of time for reading today. I’ve got 8 days left of my summer vacation and I’ll be squeezing in as many books as I can. Let’s check the numbers:
TBR – I added 3 books this week and I finished reading 2, which leaves the TBR at 276 again.
NetGalley – My score got a bump up to 81%.
Goodreads – As of this morning, I am 1 book behind schedule but I anticipate finishing a book today so am I really behind?
Coming Up – I’m still working my way through the audiobook version of “The Muse” by Jessie Burton. (Amazon link)
Today I’m reading “The Spring Cleaning Murders” by Dorothy Cannell and hope to get my review up tomorrow – fingers crossed. (Amazon Link)
On Friday, I hope to post my review of “The Fact of a Body” by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. (Amazon Link)
That’s all I’ve got for these week, guys. I hope you have a great week!
The Snow Queen is written by Hans Christian Andersen and is a collection of seven short vignettes. This recording is subtitled The First Story and is only about 3 minutes long. I will posting each vignette separately over the next couple of weeks.