Monday, September 30, 2013

The Bones of Paris

Laurie R. King

New York Times bestselling author Laurie R. King, beloved for her acclaimed Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, consistently writes richly detailed and thoroughly suspenseful novels that bring a distant time and place to brilliant life. Now, in this thrilling new book, King leads readers into the vibrant and sensual Paris of the Jazz Age—and reveals the darkest secrets of its denizens.

Paris, France: September 1929. For Harris Stuyvesant, the assignment is a private investigator’s dream—he’s getting paid to troll the cafés and bars of Montparnasse, looking for a pretty young woman. The American agent has a healthy appreciation for la vie de bohème, despite having worked for years at the U.S. Bureau of Investigation. The missing person in question is Philippa Crosby, a twenty-two year old from Boston who has been living in Paris, modeling and acting. Her family became alarmed when she stopped all communications, and Stuyvesant agreed to track her down. He wholly expects to find her in the arms of some up-and-coming artist, perhaps experimenting with the decadent lifestyle that is suddenly available on every rue and boulevard.

As Stuyvesant follows Philippa’s trail through the expatriate community of artists and writers, he finds that she is known to many of its famous—and infamous—inhabitants, from Shakespeare and Company’s Sylvia Beach to Ernest Hemingway to the Surrealist photographer Man Ray. But when the evidence leads Stuyvesant to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, his investigation takes a sharp, disturbing turn. At the Grand-Guignol, murder, insanity, and sexual perversion are all staged to shocking, brutal effect: depravity as art, savage human nature on stage.

Soon it becomes clear that one missing girl is a drop in the bucket. Here, amid the glittering lights of the cabarets, hides a monster whose artistic coup de grâce is to be rendered in blood. And Stuyvesant will have to descend into the darkest depths of perversion to find a killer . . . sifting through The Bones of Paris (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts:

Harris Stuyvesant takes a job trying to locate a young American girl who has gone missing. Set in 1929 Paris, when surreal art is very popular, he becomes entwined in something far more sinister than the missing of one individual. When an old flame and a good friend get caught up in the evil doings, the story really becomes exciting!

I thought this was very smartly written. There are many characters, but the author did an outstanding job of keeping the story line straight and clear. I liked the cat and mouse of who was good and who was bad. There were several nice twists, and towards the end, I could barely put the book down.

This is book# 2 of what I hope is going to be a series. I have not read book #1, but I definitely will.

Merci beaucoup to Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell, vis Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: September 10. 2013.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Wishing Thread

Lisa Van Allen

The Van Ripper women have been the talk of Tarrytown, New York, for centuries. Some say they’re angels; some say they’re crooks. In their tumbledown “Stitchery,” not far from the stomping grounds of the legendary Headless Horseman, the Van Ripper sisters—Aubrey, Bitty, and Meggie—are said to knit people’s most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens, granting them health, success, or even a blossoming romance. But for the magic to work, sacrifices must be made—and no one knows that better than the Van Rippers.

When the Stitchery matriarch, Mariah, dies, she leaves the yarn shop to her three nieces. Aubrey, shy and reliable, has dedicated her life to weaving spells for the community, though her sisters have long stayed away. Bitty, pragmatic and persistent, has always been skeptical of magic and wants her children to have a normal, nonmagical life. Meggie, restless and free-spirited, follows her own set of rules. Now, after Mariah’s death forces a reunion, the sisters must reassess the state of their lives even as they decide the fate of the Stitchery. But their relationships with one another—and their beliefs in magic—are put to the test. Will the threads hold? (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

In this story, we spend time with three sisters - Aubrey, Bitty and Meggie. Each has their own distinct personalities that sometimes clash not the they are reunited after the death of their aunt. Ultimately, their bond as family holds them together as they work through some life changing events that resulted from their aunt leaving them her knitting store - Stitchery.

I’m not a knitter, but I still found this story to be very cute. In the beginning, I was not sure this book was one I would enjoy, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It became more interesting as we got to know each character better. I liked the idea of knitting a spell or magic into a piece - a hat, or scarf, maybe some mittens or socks. Each sister had their own personality, but Aubrey was the one who could work the magic and I felt she was the one who had the most to lose after her aunt passed away. The ending was different than I had imagined and I like when that happens.

Thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for a review.

Publish date: September 3, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Storycatcher

Ann Hite

From the author of the “wonderfully crafted” (San Francisco Book Review) Ghost on Black Mountain comes a haunting gothic novel set in the Depression-era South about two young women who form an unlikely alliance when the spirit of a dead woman takes up residence in their home.

Shelly Parker, a sixteen-year-old servant who works for the tyrannical Pastor Dobbins and his family, has had the gift of sight for as long as she can remember. She’s grown accustomed to coexisting with the spirits of the dead who roam Black Mountain, telling Shelly their stories and warning her of the dangers that surround her. When the ghost of Arleen Brown, a poor woman who died on the mountain during childbirth five years earlier, begins to pursue Pastor’s daughter Faith—hell-bent on revealing a terrible secret that she took to her grave—Shelly is the only person that can help her. The two young women soon find themselves tangled up in a web of secrets and lies that takes them from Black Mountain to the murky saltwater marshes of Georgia, uncovering long-hidden truths that put their own lives in danger…

Atmospheric and infused with supernatural elements, Hite’ novel is a rich and wonderfully eerie tale that will stay with you long after the story ends (from Netgalley)


My Thoughts

I’ve been wanting to read a spooky book and this one seemed like it might fit the bill. This story is told in several different voices. Some of the characters have passed and are still around to seek revenge or to give warning to an evil that is still alive. Some of the characters are of the living and are in harms way from this person who has wicked ways. Together, and in very interesting ways, they work their retribution.

I loved the dialect the author used. I don’t know any “mountain” people, but the writing felt real for the time period and the local. We know from the story that there is a very bad person, but it is not until the end that it all falls into place of how this one individual has impacted so many lives.

There is a very good story here. I will say that I was sometimes lost due to the number of characters. Overall I got the gist of the storyline and I really enjoyed the premise. I just frequently found myself saying - ok - who is this again?

My thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: September 10, 2013.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Sandra Brown

Living on a remote island under an assumed name, novelist Parker Evans guards his secrets well. Fascinated by this reclusive genius, publisher Maris Matherly-Reed decides to pursue him. But this new project threatens an old commitment, a commitment at the very center of her life. Envy has all the ingredients of a Sandra Brown beach read bestseller. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts
This was a fast paced tale that hooked me right from the start. I liked the plot twist and not knowing who was going to end up being a good guy or a bad guy (or girl). It seemed everyone was out to screw - literally and figuratively - Maris. Fortunately, she’s not quite as stupid as she sometimes came across. The real issue was - who exactly could she trust?

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Sandra Brown novel and this was a good choice to bring me back into the fold. She has quite a talent for keeping the reader guessing and writing with just the right amount of suspense. I couldn’t read this fast enough to see if Noah - Maris’s husband - was going to be successful in his evil deed or if someone would take him down.

I’m glad I picked this book up to remind me of Ms. Brown’s talent. I have no doubt I’ll be reading more of her books.

My thanks to Grand Central Publishing, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: 2002

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Born of Persuasion

Jessica Dotta

The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Julia is very naive regarding the wicked ways of men who hold or want power. Events happen so quickly after the death of her mother that sometimes her head was spinning (as was mine) trying to figure out who was friend and who was foe. As her past slips away and her future looks precarious, we are left to wonder what will happen.

When I read stories about women of this era, I find it hard to imagine what it was like to have absolutely no say in running your own life. Sometimes I wanted to smack Julia. But honestly, she was only behaving in a manner befitting the time period. Since this is book one, I have a sneaking suspicion we are going to see this young lady eventually make a turn around in her submissive behavior.

I did get hooked into this story fairly quickly. I sometimes found myself rooting for the wrong person. There were some interesting twists and the ending left me wanting to know more about how Julia’s life will turn out. I look forward to reading the next books.

Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: September 1, 2013.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Returned

Jason Mott

Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were."

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time.... Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep-flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

This is a story about people returning from the dead and how the world reacts. The people who return are exactly as they were upon their deaths - the same age, the same personalities, the same health issues - the same everything. Many of the returned make their reappearance far from home and through the kindness of others, are presented back to their families. Some of the returned are never reconnected with loved ones, sometimes showing up in a foreign land, just as confused as the people who find them.

As the result of this phenomenon, the government creates The International Bureau of the Returned, who proceed to muck things up pretty good. As with many chaotic situations, there are the good guys and the bad guys. In this, book one, we see how people take sides and lives are changed forever.

I really liked two of the main characters, Harold and Lucille. They have the wit and wisdom of old age, often using humor as they struggle to come to terms with the return of their deceased son. Their reaction felt real and brought to mind many of the same questions. How would I feel if a loved one returned from the dead? Would I be happy or afraid? Accepting or wary?

Mr. Mott has presented a very interesting premise and I am very curious to see where he takes this story in future books.

I would like to thank Harlequin, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: August 27, 2013.