Sunday, July 29, 2012

Broken Harbor (Dublin Murder Squad #4)

Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, the brash cop from Tana French’s bestselling Faithful Place, plays by the book and plays hard. That’s what’s made him the Murder squad’s top detective—and that’s what puts the biggest case of the year into his hands.
On one of the half-built, half-abandoned "luxury" developments that litter Ireland, Patrick Spain and his two young children are dead. His wife, Jenny, is in intensive care.
At first, Scorcher and his rookie partner, Richie, think it’s going to be an easy solve. But too many small things can’t be explained. The half dozen baby monitors, their cameras pointing at holes smashed in the Spains’ walls. The files erased from the Spains’ computer. The story Jenny told her sister about a shadowy intruder who was slipping past all the locks.
And Broken Harbor holds memories for Scorcher. Seeing the case on the news sends his sister Dina off the rails again, and she’s resurrecting something that Scorcher thought he had tightly under control: what happened to their family one summer at Broken Harbor, back when they were children. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts
I like how the author paired the veteran detective Mick with a newbie detective Richie, so we could walk along with them through the process. The pace of the story is slow, but in a good way. We get to see each step, as Mick works to teach Richie the nuances of a murder investigation. What questions should Richie ask the suspects? What should we do next? Why do you think this person is a suspect over this one? It’s like we get to learn right along with Richie.

I liked both detectives. Mick has many years under his belt, and has the cynism that sometimes comes with age. Richie is all excited about being on such a big case and is pretty darn smart. I was sad to see what happened with Richie at the end. Hmmmm - what does that mean? Sorry, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

This is my first Tana French novel. It is a well crafted murder mystery. She has a very descriptive writing style. So now, not only do I need to go back and read her other books, I will be anxiously awaiting any new books.

My thanks to Penguin Group and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: July 24, 2012

My rating: 4 out of 5

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Light Between Oceans

In 1918, after four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on remote Janus Rock. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes only four times a year and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Three years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel is tending the grave of her newly lost infant when she hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up on shore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the dead man and the infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim the child as their own and name her Lucy, but a rift begins to grow between them. When Lucy is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world…and one of them is desperate to find her lost baby (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

In early June, I was graciously granted permission by Simon & Schuster, Inc. (via Netgalley) to read an ARC of this book. Since the publish date was not until August, I decided to wait before I read it. Every time I would go to my to be read list, this book was begging - pick me! pick me! The overview was so enticing and I finally decided I could not wait any longer.

I had a roller coaster of emotions for Tom & Isabel. I laughed during their early marriage. I was sad during Izzie’s miscarriages and stillbirth. I was hopeful for their marriage when the little baby showed up, no matter the circumstance. And finally, I was frightened for this family when their world starts to fall apart. What should a reader wish under these circumstances? Should the little lost baby stay with Tom & Isabel? Or should she be returned to her birth mother?

What an amazing story from a debut author. Her writing is picturesque and draws the reader in from the very beginning. This was a book I could not put down. I took it with me when I ran errands, HOPING for long lines and wait time so I could read. I took it to the bathroom (TMI?) and if I could have figured out how to read it in the shower, I would have done so.

Ms. Stedman, if this is an indication of what you will have for us with future books, I’ll be waiting.

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster, along with Netgalley, for allowing me to read this ARC for my unbiased review.

Publish Date: August 7, 2012.

My rating: 5 of 5

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thy Neighbor: A Novel

At thirty-four, Nick Walsh is a broken, deeply cynical man. Since the violent deaths of his parents thirteen years earlier, he has been living alone in his childhood home in the suburban Midwest, drinking, drugging, and debauching himself into oblivion. A measure of solace is provided by his newly found relationship with Monica, a mysterious woman who seems to harbor as many secrets as he does.
Obsessed with understanding the circumstances surrounding his parents' deaths and deranged by his relentless sorrow, Nick begins a campaign of spying on his neighbors via hidden cameras and microphones he has covertly installed in their houses. As he observes with amusement and disbelief all the strange, sad, and terrifying things that his neighbors do to themselves and to one another, and as he, in turn, learns that he is being stalked, he begins to slowly unravel the shocking truth about how and why his parents died. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

When we first meet Nick, he is one crazy dude. Crazy as in he doesn’t have both oars in the water. Or, both oars are in the water but they’re on the same side of the boat. Or, my personal favorite, he has both oars in the water but no boat! Get my drift? We learn very early in the story that when Nick was twenty-one, his Dad shot his Mom, and then turned the gun on himself. Nick had no idea why this happened and has spent the thirteen years since wondering what events took place the would lead to such a horrible occurrence.

Because of where Nick is mentally, he needs some level of hyperstimulation and decides to start spying on his neighbors. What he sees while spying is sometimes difficult to read - the idea of what goes on behind the closed doors of seemingly “normal” people.

When I first finished this book, I thought I would give it a 3 out of 5 star rating. To be honest with you, I really thought - how does spying on his neighbors tie in to Nicks search for what happened with his parents? Ohhhh - I assure you, it does. The more I thought about it, the more I felt the author had written a very well put together story. It is very interesting how Ms. Vincent ties all the pieces together.

My thanks to Penguin Group and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC for my unbiased review.

Publish date:  August 6, 2012

My rating:  4 of 5 stars

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Unspoken (Krewe of Hunters #7)


AN AIRLESS TOMB. AN UNSPOKEN CURSE 1898: Bound for Chicago, the freighter Jerry McGuen goes down in Lake Michigan, taking with it every man aboard. But what other fate could befall a vessel carrying the ill-gotten sarcophagus of an Egyptian sorcerer? Because a curse unspoken is no less deadly. Now: A veteran diver and "ghost ship" expert is exploring the legendary wreck for a documentary. He dies inexplicably inside the freighter's main saloon. Then another diver is killed and panicked rumors rise like bubbles from the lake: ancient demons have awakened below! The expedition's beleaguered financier calls paranormal investigator Katya Sokolov to Chicago to save the film -and perhaps some innocent lives. Along with media forensics guru Will Chan, Kat plumbs the depths of an evil that may date back to the time of the Pharaohs. But some secrets are best drowned in the seas of the past....(Overview from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I am so glad I have discovered this Krewe of Hunters series. In The Unspoken, Ms. Graham combines a murder mystery with some historical information and just enough romance to make it fun. We get to learn a bit about time period of Amun Mopat as Katya and Will work to solve the mystery behind the murder of three people involved with the salvage of the Jerry McGuen .

This is my second Krewe of Hunter book (and book seven in the series). The stories are just fun, fun, fun! A light read and fast paced. The romance part is integrated nicely and does not overwhelm the story line.

I have said it before and I’m certain I will say it again. I’m looking forward to continuing with this very entertaining series.

Many thanks to Harlequin Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC for an unbiased review.

Publish date: July 24,2012

My rating: 4

Monday, July 16, 2012

City of Women


It is 1943—the height of the Second World War. With the men taken by the army, Berlin has become a city of women. And while her husband fights on the Eastern Front, Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, the model soldier’s wife: She goes to work every day, does as much with her rations as she can, and dutifully cares for her meddling mother-in-law, all the while ignoring the horrific immoralities of the regime.
But behind this façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former Jewish lover, who is now lost in the chaos of the war.
Sigrid’s tedious existence is turned upside down when she finds herself hiding a mother and her two young daughters—whom she believes might be her lover’s family—and she must make terrifying choices that could cost her everything. (Overview from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I certainly was intrigued when I read the overview for this book. Little did I know the story would become an obsession. This was one of those book that I wanted to constantly be reading but did not want it to end.

Sigrid has a simple, albeit boring, life. She is a German wife who lives with her very mean mother-in-law. She has an affair and falls in love with a secretive Jewish man named Egon Weiss. She meets a young girl named Ericha, who is involved with helping Jews escape the horrors of 1943 Germany. Ericha goads Sigrid into helping with escapees, called u-boats because they are “those in hiding. ‘submarines’, because they are submerged and must run silently to avoid detection and destruction.” One family consists of a woman and her two daughters. Egon has told Sigrid that he has a wife and two daughters that he believes are dead. Could this be them?

What should she do? Who can she ask for help, when today’s friend could be tomorrow’s enemy. One misstep, one wrong word, one wrong look and the whole process could come tumbling down.

I often put this book down with my stomach in knots from the suspense. There were several twists and I often gasped when someone who seemed trustworthy turned out to be not so.

I am so often amazed at the art of storytelling. This book is a perfect example of why. A page turner from the very beginning. I hope Mr. Gillham has more tales to weave, as I would definitely be interested in reading any other books that he may write.

Thank you so much to Penguin Group (USA) and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC for an unbiased review.

Publish date: August 7, 2012.

My Rating: 5 of 5

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


In Northern Ireland’s darkest corner, the Troubles have never ended

Though bombs no longer rock Belfast, for some the fight goes on. Retired Special Branch agent David Hughes disappears after looking into the previously closed case of Oliver Jordan, who went missing at the hands of the IRA decades ago. Soon after, a former spy is found bludgeoned to death, the day after placing his own obituary in the newspaper. Beneath Northern Ireland’s modern calm, ancient jealousies threaten to rend the country asunder once more.
A Catholic detective in a Protestant nation, Celcius Daly knows too well the agonies of sectarian strife. To solve this string of murders, he must reach decades into the past, confronting a painful history that Ireland would prefer to forget. (from Goodreads)


My Thoughts


Move over everyone, there’s a new author in town and his name is Anthony Quinn. Mr. Quinn has written a smart, tightly woven mystery. Along with this, Mr. Quinn writing is beautiful - lyrical and descriptive. When you read this book, take my advice. Do NOT - skim, skip, fast forward or in any way miss out on the details.

I really like the main character, Detective Celcius Daly. He is driven to solve both a new and old murder, along with a disappearance no matter how many threats he receives telling him to stop.

This is Mr. Quinn’s first novel. Welcome to America, Mr. Quinn. I am glad your book made it across the pond and I look forward to future books.

I tip my hat to Netgalley and Open Road for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: July 24, 2012.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)


"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown"—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches

Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens. (Synopsis from Goodreads).


My Thoughts

I so loved this continuing tale of Diana and Matthew. I call both books in this trilogy my “escape” books. Ms Harkness writes with such depth of character and scenic detail, that I often feel like I am in the book. When I read her stories, all sound is blocked out and time is irrelevant. Then, I look up to discover it is 2012 and I am in the Midwest, USA!

We meet many interesting characters in book #2, not the least of which is Matthew’s father, Phillipe. We also get to meet Diana’s father who had also time traveled back to Elizabethan London, but in current times is already dead. Make sense? You’ll need to read the books, as I feel like I’ve already told too much.

My dream vacation will occur when book #3 is published. I’m going to lock myself away somewhere and escape one more time within this truly delightful story. This is what story telling is all about!

I bow in gratitude to Netgalley and Penguin Group (USA) for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

Publish date: July 10, 2012

My Rating:  5 of 5

Thursday, July 5, 2012

This Bright River: A Novel

Ben Hanson’s aimless life has bottomed out after a series of bad decisions, but a surprising offer from his father draws him home to Wisconsin. There, he finds his family fractured, still reeling from his cousin’s mysterious death a decade earlier.
Lauren Sheehan abandoned her career in medicine after a series of violent events abroad. Now she’s back in the safest place she knows - the same small Wisconsin town where she and Ben grew up - hiding from a world that has only brought her heartache.
As Lauren cautiously expands her horizons and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs?
A compelling family drama and a surprising love story, rich with the dark humor and piercing intelligence that made The Cradle so beloved, This Bright River confirms Somerville’s status as one of the most talented writers at work today (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts
There are so many ways that I liked this book. There were some laugh out loud parts that would appear rather unexpectedly, mostly comments made by the main character, Ben. I liked how the tale was told from Ben and Lauren’s perspective. As the story unfolds, we get to learn the history of what led them back to their hometown, along with their current life stories and what brought them together. The book was a good mix of drama, humor and suspense.

This was the first book I have read by this author. It was so well written that I will definitely be looking for more from Mr. Somerville.

Thank you Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish Date: June 26, 2012

My Rating: 4 of 5