Month: February 2019

“The Lady of the Rivers” by Philippa Gregory

“The Lady of the Rivers” by Philippa Gregory

Narrated by Bianca Amato

Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.

Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke’s squire, Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York, threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty.

Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter, Elizabeth, for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.

I have been wanting to read a Philippa Gregory for a long time because I’ve read so many good things about her books. So I couldn’t resist this audiobook when I saw it. At 19 hours it looked a bit daunting but once I started listening I was so captivated by the characters and the story that the time just flew by. This is a sweeping saga full of drama, intrigue and history. Now I understand all the high praise that Philippa Gregory receives and she deserves it. Bianca Amato did a fantastic job with the narration. There are a lot of male and female characters in this story and she was able to differentiate them all seemingly effortlessly. There is nothing I didn’t like about this book, except the bad guys, of course. I will die happy knowing that I’ve read at least one of Philippa Gregory’s books.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“My Sister’s Grave” by Robert Dugoni

“My Sister’s Grave” by Robert Dugoni

Narrated by Emily Sutton-Smith

Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House — a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder — is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past — and open the door to deadly danger.

So, I recently reviewed “A Steep Price” by this author, which is the most recent book in the Tracy Crosswhite series. Then this one popped up on my Audible feed and I just couldn’t resist finding out how it all began. I really like Tracy because she is believable. She can be the tough cop, but she is also an intrepid investigator and a woman who has feelings and desires just like the rest of us. At times this creates conflicts but also adds drama and realism to the story. I found the storyline of the sister’s disappearance to be really intriguing and the culprit was definitely not obvious until very late in the story. As I expected, there is a host of secondary characters that drive the story forward and I will leave you to read the book for yourself and discover the hero.  I listened to the audiobook version which was expertly narrated and really captured the drama. I look forward to reading more in this series and highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating 4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“A History of Cadbury” by Diane Wordsworth

“A History of Cadbury” by Diane Wordsworth

Since February is the Valentine month, I thought a history of world famous chocolate maker Cadbury was appropriate. My first encounter with Cadbury was when the crème-filled eggs hit the U.S. market and I thought I had been transported to chocolate heaven. I had no idea the company had such a long history. Diane Wordsworth has written a very approachable narrative of the Cadbury family and the development of the company. I was very pleased to read about the employment reforms that the family introduced for their workers over the years. Cadbury’s, like many companies, faced setbacks during the World Wars and takeovers battles over the years but they continue to produce memorable chocolates. This is a great story and well-written.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating 4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:  Amazon   |   Goodreads

“Death in the Stocks” by Georgette Heyer

“Death in the Stocks” by Georgette Heyer

Blurb:  In the dead of the night, a man in an evening dress is found murdered, locked in the stocks on the village green. Unfortunately for Superintendent Hannasyde, the deceased is Andrew Vereker, a man hated by nearly everyone, especially his odd and unhelpful family members. The Verekers are as eccentric as they are corrupt, and it will take all Hannasyde’s skill at detection to determine who’s telling the truth, and who is pointing him in the wrong direction. The question is: who in this family is clever enough to get away with murder?

My Thoughts:  This is a mystery story but it tickled my funny bone more than it challenged my detective skills. The mystery storyline wasn’t bad but the story overall seemed to be more about the relationships between the characters with less police type work than you would expect. Georgette Heyer is probably best known for her Regency romances but she also published quite a few mysteries. This is the first one to feature Superintendent Hannasyde and Detective Hemingway. The murder did keep me guessing and I didn’t begin to suspect the culprit until near the end. My favorite part though, had to be the Vereker family. Not only are there two sets of siblings who can’t seem to get along, but a lost brother who appears out of nowhere and a particularly nasty big brother. Based on this book, I would say that characterization is where Georgette Heyer really shines. None of these people are clichés. This story is also written with a lot of humor and, overall, I found this to be a delightful read.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads

“The House with a Clock in Its Walls” by John Bellairs

“The House with a Clock in Its Walls” by John Bellairs

4-5-star-rating

Narrated by George Guidall

Blurb:  When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan, comes to stay with his Uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor, Mrs. Zimmermann, are both witches! Lewis is thrilled. At first, watching magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Serenna Izard. It seems that Serenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls – a clock that could obliterate humankind. And only the Barnavelts can stop it!

My Thoughts:  So I saw this book pop up on my Audible and recognized it because of the recent movie ads, but then I saw that it’s narrated by George Guidall, and you all should know by now that I can’t resist one of his narrations, even if it’s not my usual genre. I was not disappointed. This story is delightful! Lewis Barnavelt is a charming young boy who just wants to make friends and his eccentric uncle Jonathan is a mystery but also a very intuitive guardian. Of course, Mr. Guidall delivers another stunning performance. This is a great listen for adults and children alike!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads

“The Murder That Defeated Whitechapel’s Sherlock Holmes” by Paul Stickler

“The Murder That Defeated Whitechapel’s Sherlock Holmes” by Paul Stickler

4-star-rating

Category:  Historical True Crime

Blurb:  In 1919, when a shopkeeper and her dog were found dead in Hitchin, Hertfordshire with brutal head injuries, there followed an extraordinary catalogue of events and a local police investigation which concluded that both had died as a result of a tragic accident. A second investigation by Scotland Yard led to the arrest of an Irish war veteran, but the outcome was far from conclusive.

My Thoughts:  What first got my attention with this book was the Sherlock Holmes in the title and then that it was the murder of a widow, and I found that I really enjoyed it. This is not a fictional account but more of a documentary style. Because the murder occurred in the 20th century there is quite a bit of documentation that the writer had to work with and forensic techniques were beginning to be developed. Mrs. Ridgley was by all accounts a decent woman who ran her shop to make her living and didn’t have any particular enemies, yet she is found dead in her shop one cold morning. The first policeman to arrive tries to follow all the correct crime scene procedures of the time but the local investigators aren’t quite so conscientious. After a week, Scotland Yard is called in and they send their best detective to run the case.

One of the things that I think makes true crime so fascinating is all the forensic tools now available to solve crime and sometimes we forget that those tools are still relatively new. I found this investigation to be intriguing, not only because of the way the forensics were messed up but because the techiniques were still new. Though they couldn’t DNA match the blood, they could determine that it was blood on the accused’s shirt. The author takes the reader through the investigation in great detail using records from the time period and trial transcripts as much as possible. This crime took place 100 years ago but boy how things have changed since them. This book would be a great pick for true crime lovers or anyone interested in police work.

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

January 2019 Round-Up

Welcome back friends! It feels like such a long time since I’ve done one of these. Here in North Dakota we’ve shoveled our way through 3 blizzards in January and bundled up against arctic temperatures for more days in a row than was really necessary. Yesterday, the temperature finally got back above zero but we’re definitely not out of winter yet. I’m hopeful though because the groundhog didn’t see his shadow yesterday and supposedly that means winter will be shorter. Other than that I’ve just been working and mostly listening to books. So let’s see what the bookish numbers look like today.

TBR:  So I started the year with 192 books on my TBR. In January I read, or listened to, 7 books. I also succumbed to temptation at NetGalley and picked up 6 new books there, and my father gave me a book that he really wants me to read. Also, the audiobooks I listen to usually don’t get added to the TBR, so my total today is 201. That’s a little disturbing…

Goodreads Challenge:  I set my goal for 2019 at 80 books and so far I am on track with that goal.

NetGalley Score:  I was at 86% when I started the year but, of course, I went a little nuts with acquisitions and my score has dropped to 84%. Gotta get this back in control.

John Connolly Challenge:  I listened to book 12 in the series this month so I’m getting close to the end.

Coming Up:  I’ve got 2 books I finished this past week that I hope to get reviews up for this week. I’m currently reading “Death in the Stocks” by Georgette HeyerDeath in the Stocks and, in preparation for Valentine’s Day, “A History of Cadbury” by Diane Wordsworth.A History of Cadbury I’m also listening to “My Sister’s Grave” by Robert Dugoni. My Sister's Grave Well, thanks for stopping by for this little update. Take some time to look around and we’ll chat again soon.

Happy Reading!