Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Gracekeepers

Kirsty Logan

As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland ("landlockers") and those who float on the sea ("damplings"), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives--offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age(from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Callanish and North are two young girls living completely different lives. Callanish on land and North on the sea. Each has a preconceived notion of th other’s living style and originally could not fathom any commonality. And then one day, by happenstance, theirs paths cross and they make a connection. What will this chance meeting mean for these two?

Because of how each girl earns her sustenance and the environment they each live in, this story had a magical feeling. Callanish is all by herself on an island. North is part of a traveling circus with some very unique performers. They are loners due to their circumstances, but don’t really want to be alone.

This was one of those books that I would put down, not sure that it was for me. But then something about it would call to me and I would pick it back up. This happened a few times, but once I got into the heart of the story, I was hooked. I liked how the author wove the two girls stories together. I’m very glad I decided to stick with this story.

Thanks to Crown Publishing, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Third Wife

Lisa Jewell

In the early hours of a summer morning, a young woman steps into the path of an oncoming bus. A tragic accident? Or suicide?

At the center of this puzzle is Adrian Wolfe, a successful architect and grief-stricken widower, who, a year after his third wife’s death, begins to investigate the cause. As Adrian looks back on their brief but seemingly happy marriage, disturbing secrets begin to surface. The divorces from his two previous wives had been amicable, or so it seemed; his children, all five of them, were resilient as ever, or so he thought. But something, or someone, must have pushed Maya over the edge…

With psychological nuance that gets into the heart of its characters, The Third Wife is a gripping story about a man seeking the truth behind his seemingly perfect marriage and the broken pieces left behind (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Adrian has been married three times. First he marries Susan and has two children. Then, he leaves her to marry Caroline that resulted in three children. Next, he leaves Caroline for Maya and they have no children. This big extended family hangs out together, goes on vacation together, babysits each others children. Much of the coordinating of everyone’s activities falls to Maya and why not. She has no children and even though she works, she should still have time to take care of everyone else - right? From the outside, this looks like an amazingly blended family. But as we know, looks can be deceiving. One night, after some heavy drinking, Maya steps in front of a bus and is killed. What secrets was Maya holding on to that led to this fateful night?

I like the way Lisa Jewell develops her characters. Adrian is oblivious to how his behavior has impacted his family. He thinks if he’s happy, everyone else must be happy. I wanted to slap him.And poor Maya, I felt so sorry for her as her seemingly happy little life slowly falls apart. I enjoyed the suspense as Adrian pieces together the mystery that was his third wife. This was well paced and smartly written. No surprise from this very talented author.

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


Friday, June 12, 2015

The Ice Twins

S.K. Tremayne

One of Sarah's daughters died. But can she be sure which one?

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcroft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.
But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity--that she, in fact, is Lydia--their world comes crashing down once again.
As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, they are forced to confront what really happened on that fateful day. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Sarah and Angus are married and have identical twin daughters, Lydia and Kirstie. Lydia dies in a tragic accident. Or does she?

Early on in this story, Sarah is talking to Kirstie. Out of the blue, Kirstie says “Mummy, why do you keep calling me Kirstie? I’m Lydia.” And from that moment on, the reader is in for one heck of a roller coaster ride.

This book is the perfect example of why I love to read. To get sucked into a story early on and not want to let it go. There are so many twists and turns - who’s telling the truth and who’s not, is the little girl Lydia or Kirstie. What happened on the night she died? Is the island they moved to haunted or is what Sarah experiences just the aftermath of the traumatic loss of a daughter?

I thought this plot was ingenious. I have know idea how someone can come up with a story like this, but I’m sure glad S.K. Tremayne did. Hands down my most favorite book of 2015, and believe me, I’ve read some good ones this year.

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

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Forgotten Room

Lincoln Child

Jeremy Logan (The Third Gate, Deep Storm) is an "enigmalogist"—an investigator who specializes in analyzing phenomena that have no obvious explanation. In this newest novel Logan finds himself on the storied coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, where he has been retained by Lux, one of the oldest and most respected think tanks in America. Just days earlier, a series of frightening events took place in the sprawling seaside mansion that houses the organization. One of its most distinguished doctors began acting erratically—violently attacking an assistant in the mansion's opulent library and, moments later, killing himself in a truly shocking fashion. Terrified by the incident and the bizarre evidence left behind, the group hires Logan to investigate—discreetly—what drove this erudite man to madness.
His work leads him to an unexpected find. In a long-dormant wing of the estate, Logan uncovers an ingeniously hidden secret room, concealed and apparently untouched for decades. The room is a time capsule, filled with eerie and obscure scientific equipment that points to a top secret project long thought destroyed, known only as "Project S." Ultimately, the truth of what Project S was . . . and what has happened in that room . . . will put Logan in the path of a completely unexpected danger. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Jeremy Logan has an ability to solve strange phenomena - an enigmalogist. He is also an empath. These two characteristics put him the middle of an interesting puzzle. While trying to solve the death of a scientist at a prestigious research facility, he discovers a hidden room. The are no doors or windows, but it is very clear the room has been recently used. Does this forgotten room hold the key to the mysterious death and odd occurrences that have been taking place?

This was a well paced mystery. Mr. Child has created a very likeable character in Jeremy Logan. Logan solves this puzzle by observing what most people would miss and using all his sense to pick up on clues. Slowly but surely, the pieces of the puzzle fall together and this results in a page turning ending.

The Forgotten Room is book #4 in the Jeremy Logan series, but I thought it read well as a stand alone. I look forward to keeping up with Jeremy Logan to see what will be his next adventure.

Many thanks to Doubleday, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Jack of Spades

Joyce Carol Oates

Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies in nearly thirty countries, and he has a top agent and publisher in New York. He also has a loving wife, three grown children, and is a well-regarded philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades,” he writes another string of novels—dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn’t be seen reading, let alone writing. Until one day, his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel that he has carelessly left out and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Rush’s reputation, career, and family life all come under threat—and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Andrew Rush is a successful author. No one, not even his family, knows that he also writes books under the name Jack of Spades. Andrew takes great pleasure writing as Jack of Spades because the stories are dark and twisted. He likes that this part of his life is hidden. But when there is a chance that his secret will be revealed, Andrew’s hold on reality slowly starts to unravel.

When we first meet Andrew J. Rush, he is a bit of a pompous jerk. His biggest fan is himself. He can’t imagine his life might fall apart and when it starts to do exactly that, his alter ego - Jack of Spades - starts to take over his thoughts and actions.

Ms. Oates did a great job creating an unstable character with Andrew J. Rush. I found it interesting that she incorporated author Stephen King into the story, as the level of creepiness in Jack of Spades made me think of King’s writing. Rush was one of those characters that made me happy he got what he had coming at the end.

My thanks to Grove Atlantic, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.