Tag: #bookreview

“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

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“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

“Their Lost Daughters” by Joy Ellis

“Their Lost Daughters” by Joy Ellis

Narrated by Richard Armitage

Blurb: Deep in the muddy fields of the Lincolnshire Fens, a teenage girl is found wandering, delirious, claiming to have been drugged at a party. Metres away, the drowned body of another girl is found on an isolated beach. And all this on a small stretch of land where, nearly 10 years ago, the shocking disappearance of a young girl remains an open case.

For DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans, the pressure is on to bring the perpetrators of these shocking crimes to justice. Are the crimes linked? Who are these young girls? And what on earth is going on under the green and pastured land of the Lincolnshire Fens?

My Thoughts: Dark. This story goes to some very dark places, both literally and figuratively. This is book one in the Jackman and Evans series and also the first I’ve read from this author and I was a little nervous going in. But this one really surprised me. Jackman is the older, seasoned detective, single, lives alone. Evans is his trusted partner, also single, devoted to the job and fighting some of her personal demons in this one. I particularly enjoyed the way these two spark ideas off of each other and seem to anticipate the other’s thinking as they dig into the investigation. They find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place when they are assigned to assist an investigation at another division while also looking into the assault on a local teenager and a high-profile cold case. I also found the criminal activity to be unique from other missing girls stories I’ve read. There are a lot of suspects but Jackman and Evans, through many twists and turns, manage to hone in on the culprits and find connections where none were suspected. Richard Armitage is great as the narrator of this dramatic thriller. He manages to give distinction to each of the characters while allowing the author’s words to tell the story. This series is a great discovery for me and I highly recommend the audiobook version.

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Liar, Liar” by Lisa Jackson

“Liar, Liar” by Lisa Jackson

Narrated by Brittany Pressley

Blurb: In death, Didi Storm is finally getting the kind of publicity that eluded her in life. Twenty years ago, the ex-beauty queen worked the Vegas strip as a celebrity impersonator, too busy trying to make it big to spare much time for her daughter, Remmi. Shortly before she leaped from a San Francisco building, Didi’s profile was rising again, thanks to a tell-all book. To Detective Dani Settler, it looks like a straightforward suicide, or perhaps a promotional stunt gone wrong. But Remmi knows the truth isn’t so simple. Because though the broken body on the sidewalk is dressed in Didi’s clothes and wig, it isn’t Didi.

Remmi was 15 when she last saw her mother. Their parting came in the aftermath of a terrible night in the Mojave desert when Remmi – who’d secretly stowed away in Didi’s car en route to meet her crush, Noah Scott – instead became witness to a mysterious rendezvous. Didi handed over one of her newborn twins to a man Remmi didn’t recognize. Subsequently, Didi disappeared, as did Remmi’s other half-sibling. Remmi has pleaded with the authorities to find them, but there have been no clues. Yet she’s always had the sense that someone is watching her….

If the victim isn’t Didi, who is it – and what’s the connection? Remmi is shocked when Noah resurfaces. He was also in the desert that night, and now runs his own PI firm. He too believes it’s time to find out what really happened. As they and Detective Settler dig deeper, the truth about Remmi’s missing family begins to emerge…a story of ruthless ambition and twisted lies that someone will kill again and again to keep hidden….

My thoughts: I found this story really intriguing. It begins and end with action and thrills, and the narrative in-between had so many twists I wasn’t sure the answer would ever be found. I also found Remmi devotion to finding answers about her mother, in spite of the pain her disappearance had caused her, to be quite touching. The parts that are told from Remmi’s perspective felt very human. Detective Dani Settler was also a fascinating character with a distinct story to tell. I think the author took great care in creating these two female characters and it shows. The nasty extended family characters were also really well written and the interplay between them and Remmi was totally unexpected. Hat’s off to Brittany Pressley for her narration of all these characters that really brought them to life for me. I found this story to be unique and surprising and overall a great read!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“A Steep Price” by Robert Dugoni

“A Steep Price” by Robert Dugoni

Narrated by Emily Sutton-Price

Blurb: Called in to consult after a young woman disappears, Tracy Crosswhite has the uneasy feeling that this is no ordinary missing-persons case. When the body turns up in an abandoned well, Tracy’s suspicions are confirmed. Estranged from her family, the victim had balked at an arranged marriage and had planned to attend graduate school. But someone cut her dreams short.

Solving the mystery behind the murder isn’t Tracy’s only challenge. The detective is keeping a secret of her own: she’s pregnant. And now her biggest fear seems to be coming true when a new detective arrives to replace her. Meanwhile, Tracy’s colleague Vic Fazzio is about to take a fall after his investigation into the murder of a local community activist turns violent and leaves an invaluable witness dead.

Two careers are on the line. And when more deadly secrets emerge, jobs might not be the only things at risk.

Thoughts: This is book 6 of this series but the first one I have read and I have to say I was impressed by this story. I found Tracy to be one of those characters that you can imagine being a real person. I really enjoy books where the main characters have personal lives, but sometimes that part of the story feels forced to me. I did not have the feeling with this story so bonus points to the author for being able to write that way. Another thing I really like about this book is that the victim is a young woman from an Indian family and I think the cultural aspects of that were handled really well. The investigators came across to me as being sensitive to the fact that the family’s cultural norms might be different from theirs and handled them with respect.

As to the story itself, I found the plot to be original and unique. The young woman’s disappearance had lots of mystery and contradictions that kept me guessing. It was definitely not immediately apparent who had done it. As the investigation continues it just got more and more intriguing. While the ending was not a complete surprise it was really well written. Finally, the narrator was a really good pick for this one, knowing when to bring in tension and drama and when to be more relaxed. I enjoyed listening to the narrator as much as the story itself. Overall, I would highly recommend this one and I will be on the lookout for other books in this series.

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Wrath of Angels” by John Connolly

“The Wrath of Angels” by John Connolly

Narrated by Jay Snyder

Blurb: In the depths of the Maine woods, the wreckage of a plane is discovered. There are no bodies, and no such plane has ever been reported missing, but men both good and evil have been seeking it for a long, long time. What the wreckage conceals is more important than money. It is power: a list of names, a record of those who have struck a deal with the devil. Now a battle is about to commence between those who want the list to remain secret and those for whom it represents a crucial weapon in the struggle against the forces of darkness.

The race to secure the prize draws in private detective Charlie Parker, a man who knows more than most about the nature of the terrible evil that seeks to impose itself on the world, and who fears that his own name may be on the list. It lures others, too: a beautiful, scarred woman with a taste for killing; a silent child who remembers his own death; and a serial killer known as the Collector, who sees in the list new lambs for his slaughter. But as the rival forces descend upon this northern state, the woods prepare to meet them, for the forest depths hide other secrets. Someone has survived the crash. Something has survived the crash.

Thoughts: I think this one is my favorite so far. I found the idea of a plane crashed in the woods and the mysterious list to be fascinating. The possibilities of what became of the people on the plane and the mysterious sightings in the woods really captured my imagination. I also found this one to be a lot creepier than some of the previous books and I loved it. The supernatural aspects of these stories is a large part of what keeps me coming back for more. I also find it very appealing that Mr. Connolly is letting his characters age as the series progresses. Charlie’s daughter continues to grow up and he continues to try to be a father to her while still being haunted by his past. In my opinion, this series continues to be high quality and thrilling. Finally, another excellent pick for the narrator. Next up for me, “The Wolf in Winter”, Book 12.

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website