Tag: #fiction

“The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morgan – Audiobook

“The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morgan – Audiobook

Narrated by Caroline Lee

I just loved, loved, loved this story. I have not read the book but the narration her was so compelling that it felt like I was being read a beautiful, dreamy, bedtime story. The story starts in London with a young woman who lives in poverty with her brother after their mother dies. Then she loses her brother and the uncle she’s never known finds her and takes her into his manor home to be a companion for his sickly daughter. The two girls form an intense bond that continues until one of them gets married. Meantime, the reader is also hearing the story of Nell in Australia. Nell was found as an orphan on a ship that came from Britain. No one seems to be looking for her and the man who found her takes her into his family and raises her as one of his own. Years pass and Nell has raised her own daughter and granddaughter and when she dies she leaves everything to her granddaughter, including a cottage in England. Why did she buy a cottage in Britain? And just where did she come from? Nell’s granddaughter sets out to answer these questions.

This is a sweeping story covering 4 generations of women and secrets galore. I am just in awe of Kate Morgan and her ability to create really rich and unique characters in her stories. I also admire the complexity of her plots. In this book, the story moves back and forth between the past and the present, which in an audiobook can be a little confusing for me until I get a feel for the narrator’s voicing of the different characters. That being said, Ms. Lee did a superb job with this book. I enjoyed the narration as much as the story itself. One of my favorite things about this book is the way the ocean was used as kind of an anchor for each of the characters. And let me talk a little bit about the garden. The garden belongs to the cottage owned by Nell. I place she visited once and never saw again. The cottage and garden have been unoccupied for decades when Nell’s granddaughter finds it and sets about bringing it back to life. The garden is a place full of secrets and possibilities. This is a rich and compelling story with a top-of-the-line narration. Get a copy today.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

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“Lullaby Road” by James Anderson

“Lullaby Road” by James Anderson

Something really different for your reading pleasure! Ben Jones is a truck driver on Route 117, a remote highway in the desert of Utah. He travels back and forth from Price to Rockmuse making deliveries the “desert rats” that live along his route. As he heads off on his route one winter morning he comes across a mute Hispanic child. Not being able to leave the child alone at a truck stop, he takes him with in the cab planning to find his father, a truck stop employee, upon his return. This is just the start of what will turn out to be a very unusual day for Ben and everyone who lives on Route 117.

This story is simply incredible and there’s really not a good category to put it in. It’s fiction but with a lot of mystery and thrills thrown in. Ben is a bit of a troubled soul. His lost the love of his life and his only comfort is the presence of a young single mom who lives in the other half of his duplex. His route puts him in contact with a wild assortment of people, some friendly, others downright hostile, and all wanting to be left alone. Rockmuse is a community that is slowly being abandoned following the withdrawal of a source of employment. This story is so rich with characters and all of them make the narrative happen, none of them feeling superfluous. I also really enjoyed the rich descriptions of the desert, capturing everything about it from the rocks to the weather, and you really get the feeling that the desert and the people that live there and somehow intrinsically intertwined with each other. Finally, the story itself is full of attention-grabbing interactions and twists that all feel like they could really happen but perhaps only in that place. You really should check out this rich and fascinating story.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

“The Stolen Marriage” by Diane Chamberlain

“The Stolen Marriage” by Diane Chamberlain

It’s the 1940’s. America are fighting two wars. One on foreign soil and one at home, in the form of the polio epidemic that surges every summer. Tess is a young woman in Baltimore, studying to be a nurse. She is also engaged to her childhood friend Vincent who has recently become a doctor. While Vincent is away in Chicago studying polio, Tess and her friend Gina take the train to Washington, D.C. for an overnight visit. But something unexpected happens to Tess while she is there and it turns her life upside down and destroys her dream of a life with Vincent. Tess suddenly finds herself all alone in the world and grasps desperately at a chance for redemption that takes her to Hickory, NC. Here she comes face to face with the issues of racism and gender bias.

I was captivated by this story from the beginning. Tess is a well-rounded young lady with a lot of spunk (as my grandmother would say). She has a great deal of empathy for others and she fit in perfectly with my image of working class young ladies during the period. The author very deftly guides her through the hard choices that she finds herself having to make and surrounds her with a whole host of wonderful characters. While reading this book, I really felt like a “fly on the wall” of Tess’s life. It’s also obvious that the author put in a lot of time researching life at the time in Hickory and the realities of treating polio patients. The story moved at a really good space and every scene helped to push the story forward. This is a book that you won’t want to miss.

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

Happy Reading!

To purchase on Amazon US click here.

To purchase on Amazon UK click here.

To view on Goodreads click here.

“Nail’s Crossing” by Kris Lackey

“Nail’s Crossing” by Kris Lackey

Indian country, Oklahoma. It’s hot and dry, and on this day, it’s deadly. Bill Maytubby is a tribal Lighthorse policeman and Hannah Bond is a deputy for the county. When Hannah discovers the body of Majesty Tate, a drifter, she has no idea what kind of a hornet’s nest the investigation will turn into. Finding answers will take Maytubby across three states and put his life and the life of his fiancé in danger. The question is who will be left standing when the final dust clears.

I think this is a great debut mystery/thriller. I certainly hope it is the start of a series with these characters because I really liked them. The dynamic between Maytubby and Bond is really unique. They are not exactly partners because they work for different agencies but they seem to end up working together when the jurisdictions overlap and I really enjoyed their banter and the way they are able to sense what is needed in any given situation. This story does have a lot of secondary characters that are vital to the story but you will need to be paying attention to keep up with it all. The plot line has a lot of interesting twists and turns and the finale had me on the edge of my seat. Overall, I’m really impressed with this one and will be keeping my eyes open for more from this author.

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

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads

“Birdcage Walk” by Helen Dunmore

“Birdcage Walk” by Helen Dunmore

Lizzie and Diner have recently married. Lizzie is learning her new role as Diner’s wife, while Diner is busy trying to make his real estate development business take off. It’s the 1790’s and there is revolution in France. When Lizzie’s mother becomes pregnant, her loyalties are torn and trouble begins to brew in Lizzie’s mind. Will world events upset Diner’s carefully laid plans? Will Lizzie be able to come to terms with the specter of Diner’s first wife, who died before they met?

This is a complex and delicious story. I really loved the characters that are created here. Lizzie is a delightful young lady who is doing her best to adjust to a husband who is perhaps more demanding than she anticipated. Diner is a bit strange and sometimes I liked him but other times not so much. The mystery of the first wife adds a lot of interest and drama to the story. Basically, I loved this story and highly recommend it.

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

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads

“The Party” by Robyn Harding

“The Party” by Robyn Harding

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.

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

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads

“A Perfect Obsession” by Heather Graham

“A Perfect Obsession” by Heather Graham

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.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  3-5-star-rating  3.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads

“If the Creek Don’t Rise” by Leah Weiss

“If the Creek Don’t Rise” by Leah Weiss

Genre: General Fiction

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.

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

Happy Reading!

On Amazon   |   On Goodreads

“Watch Me Disappear” by Janelle Brown

“Watch Me Disappear” by Janelle Brown

A captivating family drama! Olive and her father Jonathan are trying to come to terms with the death of Billie, their mother and wife. The 1-year anniversary is coming up and Jonathan is trying to get the courts to declare her legally dead so he and Olive can move on. The problem is no body was every found. Then, out of the blue, Olive starts seeing visions of her mother and becomes convinced that not only is she still alive but that she is in trouble and they must find her. Jonathan is writing a memoir of Billie and finds himself very conflicted when he discovers things about his wife that seem to indicate she may have just run off. At the same time, he needs the money from the sale of the book in order to keep going. When Olive starts skipping classes, and Billie’s best friend starts hitting on him, everything seems to be spinning out of control.

I wasn’t sure at the beginning if I was going to like this book but I ended up not being able to put it down. I confess I was the one at the 4th of July concert who was glued to the e-reader the whole time. The first couple of chapters seemed a bit slow to get going but when the story took off, it took off in a big way. I was totally sucked into Olive and Jonathan’s world and the emotional tug-of-war that each was going through as they learned more and more of Billie’s secrets. Olive is a very likable teenager, going through the usual teenage things when she starts having visions. She believes in her visions but at the same time tries to understand them in an adult way. Jonathan has lost the love of his life but is trying his best to carry on for the sake of his daughter. As he discovers the truth about Billie’s past he runs the gamut of emotions from betrayal to devotion. At the same time, he’s facing the possibility of financial ruin and must change his view of what it means to be a family. I found both of these characters to be very well written. Their internal and external dialogues are totally believable as are the circumstances they find themselves in. I also really enjoyed that the story is set in Berkeley, CA since I am familiar with the area. Overall, this is a great piece of fiction and a beautiful story.

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

Happy Reading!

Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

“The Cleaner” by Mark Dawson – Audiobook Review

“The Cleaner” by Mark Dawson – Audiobook Review

Narrated by David Thorpe

John Milton is a government agent, a cleaner, someone who solves problems. Milton is called in when all else has failed, and his job description includes murder. But Milton has reached the point where his past is haunting him with nightmares, and he wants out, but just walking away in not an option. Then he meets Sharon, a single mother in the East End of London. Sharon has a teenage son who is being wooed by a local gang leader. Milton is determined not to let that happen.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I like the person of John Milton but not his profession. The story is complex with lots of surprises but there is a lot of gang activity and violence and I just find that hard to relate to. I think I was expecting more of a traditional spy story. That being said, I might have to read book 2 so I can find out what becomes of Milton. The narration was excellent and really enjoyable to listen to. Overall, I think the book is well-written and narrated, it just wasn’t quite to my taste.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 3-5-star-rating  3.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

Amazon US link   |   Amazon UK link   |   Goodreads link