Tag: #bookreview

“Home for Erring and Outcast Girls” by Julie Kibler

“Home for Erring and Outcast Girls” by Julie Kibler

Blurb:

In turn-of-the-20th century Texas, the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls is an unprecedented beacon of hope for young women consigned to the dangerous poverty of the streets by birth, circumstance, or personal tragedy. Built in 1903 on the dusty outskirts of Arlington, a remote dot between Dallas and Fort Worth’s red-light districts, the progressive home bucks public opinion by offering faith, training, and rehabilitation to prostitutes, addicts, unwed mothers, and “ruined” girls without forcibly separating mothers from children. When Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride meet there—one sick and abused, but desperately clinging to her young daughter, the other jilted by the beau who fathered her ailing son—they form a friendship that will see them through unbearable loss, heartbreak, difficult choices, and ultimately, diverging paths.

A century later, Cate Sutton, a reclusive university librarian, uncovers the hidden histories of the two troubled women as she stumbles upon the cemetery on the home’s former grounds and begins to comb through its archives in her library. Pulled by an indescribable connection, what Cate discovers about their stories leads her to confront her own heartbreaking past, and to reclaim the life she thought she’d let go forever. With great pathos and powerful emotional resonance, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls explores the dark roads that lead us to ruin, and the paths we take to return to ourselves.

My Thoughts:

This is a very moving story and beautifully written. The narrative moves back and forth between Cate in the present, and Lizzie and Mattie in the early 1900’s. Mattie and Lizzie immediately appealed to me as characters. As the story opens, both are in desperate situations with no resources to draw on. Cate took me a little more time to warm up to because she has closed herself off from people so completely. In the end, I think I enjoyed her part of the story the most because of the depth of the transformation her research leads her to. Having lived a stone’s throw from Arlington, TX, where the Berachah home was located, I was very drawn to the historical aspect of the story. In the historical records there is mention of a Lizzie and a Mattie and the author has incorporated what is actually known about their lives into the this fictional account. I loved everything about this book, the setting, the characters, the historical setting and recommend it to anybody who wants a good story.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 

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Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

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“Liar in the Library” by Simon Brett

“Liar in the Library” by Simon Brett

Blurb:

Fethering has everything a sleepy coastal town should: snug English pubs, cosy cottages, a little local library – and the occasional murder . . .

Bestselling author Burton St Clair, complete with soaring ego and wandering hands, has come to town to give a talk. But after his corpse is found slumped in his car, he won’t be leaving. Jude is the prime suspect; she was, after all, the last person to see Burton St Clair alive. If she is to prove her innocence, she will have to dust off her detective skills and recruit her prim and proper neighbour (and partner-in-sleuthing) Carole to find the real culprit.

My Thoughts:

This is book 18 in the Fethering series but the first one from this author that I have read. I have listened to some of Simon Brett’s BBC radio productions in the past and enjoyed them so I thought I would give one of his books a try. I found this book to be a fun, cozy mystery. The characters are all very unique but some of them took me a little time to warm up to. I even liked the villain, but only until he was exposed for his crimes at the very end. Mr. Brett’s vivid characterizations is what I had enjoyed the most in the radio programs and the characters here are equally vivid. Jude and Carole rule the show of course, but they are so different. I was surprised by the number of avenues of investigation these two explored. Fethering turns out to be a quite charming village but it is not immune to the challenges of our times like drug addiction and a reduction in library funding. This was a fun little mystery and I was not disappointed.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Bad Axe County” by John Galligan

“Bad Axe County” by John Galligan

Blurb:

Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.

My Thoughts:

Bad Axe County has a bad-ass sheriff. Well, technically she’s the interim sheriff until the special election is held. But there is nothing interim about her drive to bring down the criminals of the county. Heidi Kick is a complicated character. Difficult enough to be a wife, mother and sheriff but Heidi is haunted by her past and when if begins to collide with her present she struggles to keep her objectivity. I would love to meet her in person. I was initially drawn to this story because it’s set in the Wisconsin Dells area, a place I have vacationed at several times. I was impressed by the way the author used the setting as a character in the story. The hills and valleys of the place, even the weather, play a huge part in the drama and thrills of the narrative. This drama also touches on the issues of sex trafficking, the drug trade, and illegal interstate commerce. Not to mention the complicated relationships between residents. This book kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole ride and kept me guessing till the end. Top-notch read!

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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This book releases on July 9, 2019. Pre-order yours today!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

“The Night Window” by Dean Koontz

“The Night Window” by Dean Koontz

Blurb: A visionary young filmmaker hunted for sport across a vast Colorado ranch by the celebrated billionaire at the heart of a monstrous cabal . . .

A brilliant computer hacker slipping through top-secret databases a whisper ahead of security trackers, gathering the facts to fight the all-powerful perpetrators of mass murder . . .

A pair of brutal operators, methodically shadowing their targets with every cutting-edge tool in the arsenal of today’s surveillance state . . .

A sequence of quiet heroes—everyday citizens—stepping up, stepping forward, intent on countering the advancing darkness . . .

A Vegas mob boss teamed with a homicidal sociopath, circling a beloved boy and his protectors, aiming to secure him as leverage against his fugitive mother . . .

And that fugitive mother herself, ex-agent Jane Hawk, closing in on the malevolent architects of ruin she has stalked as they stalk her, prepared to sacrifice herself to finally bring them down.

These are the people and circumstances of The Night Window, the thrilling new novel in Dean Koontz’s acclaimed Jane Hawk series. Replete—and then some—with the ingenious twists, the spellbinding action, the resonant themes, the sheer heart that have characterized Jane’s journey from the start, The Night Window follows its extraordinary heroine to her long-sought objective, in a stunning, unforgettable finale.

My Thoughts: This finale is definitely unforgettable, but will it be the end of Jane Hawk or the end of the Techno Arcadians? You’ll have to read to the last page to find out the answer. This story is so full of thrills and chills I had to take breaks to let my heart rate go back to normal. Jane is still on the hunt to bring down the Techno Arcadians but you can really tell in this book that the strain of the mission and the separation from her son are starting to get to her. She has a new partner in this installment as the computer whiz Ragnesh, formerly of the FBI, joins her for the final push. I’ve been surprised at how much I have enjoyed this series and my only disappointment is that this is the final installment. Dean Koontz’s imagination continues to surprise and thrill me and after reading this series I will definitely be picking up more of his books in the future. This book releases on May 14th so plan your book shopping accordingly.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

“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

“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 Wolf in Winter” by John Connolly

“The Wolf in Winter” by John Connolly

Narrated by Jeff Harding

Blurb:  The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children’s future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town.

But the death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter draw the haunted, lethal private investigator Charlie Parker to Prosperous. Parker is a dangerous man, driven by compassion, by rage, and by the desire for vengeance. In him the town and its protectors sense a threat graver than any they have faced in their long history, and in the comfortable, sheltered inhabitants of a small Maine town, Parker will encounter his most vicious opponents yet.

Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive. Prosperous, and the secret that it hides beneath its ruins….

My Thoughts:  Prosperous, Maine is an entirely creepy place but a great setting for a thriller. The devotion of the people of Prosperous to their town is unmatched. Even when they leave they stay loyal to the end. Charlie Parker has his work cut out for him getting to the bottom of this one. This is another twisty, turny thriller in this series, with an excellent narration. Definitely a great addition to the series!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Leave No Trace” by Mindy Mejia

“Leave No Trace” by Mindy Mejia

Blurb: There is a place in Minnesota with hundreds of miles of glacial lakes and untouched forests called the Boundary Waters. Ten years ago a man and his son trekked into this wilderness and never returned.

Search teams found their campsite ravaged by what looked like a bear. They were presumed dead until a decade later…the son appeared. Discovered while ransacking an outfitter store, he was violent and uncommunicative and sent to a psychiatric facility. Maya Stark, the assistant language therapist, is charged with making a connection with their high-profile patient. No matter how she tries, however, he refuses to answer questions about his father or the last ten years of his life.

But Maya, who was abandoned by her own mother, has secrets, too. And as she’s drawn closer to this enigmatic boy who is no longer a boy, she’ll risk everything to reunite him with his father who has disappeared from the known world.

My Thoughts: If you have not yet discovered this author, then now is the time! This is her third book and I really enjoyed the previous one “Everything You Want Me To Be” so I was looking forward to this one. This is not a series but, in my opinion, it is a case of the author getting better as they go along. This story had me spellbound from start to finish. First, the setting is the Duluth area of Minnesota, which I have visited and is as beautiful as the author makes it sound. Of course, technically, I live in North Dakota but Minnesota is within walking distance of my house, so this story feels like it’s in my backyard. Maya is a deliciously complicated character who works as a therapist in a mental hospital, so there’s the psychology aspect that I love. The story has a mystery woven in to it and a very unusual relationship between the main characters. One important thing for me in making a story good is the secondary characters. I look for characters that are distinctive and unique, not just there so the main character can have a conversation. This author hits the nail on the head here for me. From Maya’s boss to her father to the security guard, they all bring something to make the story better not just fill a space. Finally, I love the way that in this book the Boundary Waters themselves are a character and really enriches the story. I don’t think this particular story would be as effective if it was in any other setting. I look forward to a lot more wonderful books from this author in the future and am so glad that I have had the opportunity to read her books. Get a copy now!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website