Sunday, April 23, 2017

I Found You

Title: I Found You
Author: Lisa Jewell
Expected Publication: April 25th 2017 by Atria Books
Format: eBook,Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

This book takes shattered people, shatters them again, and then finds a way to put them back together that not only makes them stronger but gives them hope and purpose.

When Alice Lake decides to take a jacket to a lonely looking man that has been sitting on the beach in front of her home for hours, she did not realize that she would be involving herself in a 20-year old mystery. Alice is notorious for making bad life choices so it is no surprise that she invites him back to her home and allows him to live in her shed for the time being. Unaware of his own name or how he got there, the man that Alice’s children have name “Frank”, just knows that his answers are on this stretch of coastline.

Outside of London, Lily Monrose, a young recently married Ukrainian woman waits for her husband to arrive home. He is always on the same train, always answers his phone when she calls, always draws her bath at night and treats her in a way that no one has ever treated her before. What she did not know, was that her husband was not the person that she thought he was. His name is a fake, his passport a lie.

In 1993, the Ross family takes their annual vacation to the seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay. Kirsty, a young 15-year-old is smitten with a 19-year-old that she meets on the beach. Her brother Gray does not trust Mark, there is just something wrong with him. He warns his sister and their parents, but Mark comes from a local wealthy family, what could possibly go wrong.

Ms. Jewell expertly weaves these three stories together. As your brain intertwines the three narratives, you find yourself trying to figure out exactly who the man on the beach is. With various twists that prevent you from reaching the conclusion too quickly, you are drawn to this book in a way that only a well-written psychological thriller can.

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Cast of Vultures

Title: A Cast of Vultures
Author: Judith Flanders
Published: February 21st 2017 by Minotaur Books
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Genre: Mystery
Series: Sam Clair #3

Part publishing, part neighbor curiosity, part relationship issues, part unexplained fires, and a whole lot of humor, makes this a perfect weekend book.

Samantha Clair wants to deal with her hangover in peace, but that is not to be when Viv, a delightful reoccurring character, ask for help when her neighbor has gone missing. The missing neighbor quickly takes a backseat when a fire destroys a house that lodged squatters. Funny, everyone in the neighborhood knows that a family and others lived there, but the local police had no idea. It was not until Sam informed her detective boyfriend of the situation before matters were taken seriously, that and a body was found in the rubble.

This is a tight community and when Sam offered her front garden to one of the now homeless to grow some vegetables, Jake’s police antenna goes into full alert which puts quite a strain on the Sam and Jake relationship. A relationship which on the outside is in trouble, but they manage to make it work. They still seem to be working on trust, but when two people who do not see things in the same way, tackle the same issues, there are going to be problems.

There is a great deal going on in this book, if one part does not catch your attention, another half dozen will. You will be delighted in the mother daughter relationship between Sam and Helena and the pseudo mother son relationship between Sam and a neighborhood boy. People, their relationships, and humor are central to this book.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sunshine Beach

Title: Sunshine Beach
Author: Wendy Wax
Published: June 21st 2016 by Berkley
Format: Paperback, 420 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Series: Ten Beach Road #4

The excessive whining over money and finances was a drawback in this book, I understand that the women needed to find backing for their next home renovation project, but it was a bit too much. There is a great deal of rehashing of the prior books in this series. The reader is reminded on a couple of occasions of the Ponzi scheme that had gotten the women into their current situation and Nikki’s reluctance to have any further contact with her brother. There is a bit of forward movement with this part of the story, but Nikki’s has another secret. One that will both terrify her and delight her at the same time.

Maddie is still with Wild Bill and her ongoing angst of “she is good enough” was beginning to wear thin. Kyra is somewhere in her on again off again relationship with her son’s father who is going to funny extremes to see his son. Surprisingly, there were only a few brief mentions of Avery’s grief over the loss of her mother. Plus, there is a new designer on the scene that waits until the last minute to reveal why he is so good at what he does.

Stumbling across a dilapidated beachfront hotel, the women get it into their heads that this would be the perfect renovation project for their yet newly unnamed show. Since they quit “Do Over” so publicly, they are now in need of a new network, project and cash. How hard could an independent show be? Turns out that the wreck of a hotel is owned by locals and has quite a dubious past. Wendy Wax does an interesting job here in trying to throw in some depth, but it was too little too late.

This book was intended to be a mindless summer type read, but I was hung up over the numbers. Loans, costs and profit figures did not add up. I know, that is not what this book was supposed to be about, but still, it started to distract me. Yet, I will continue with this series, I figure that I am invested this far, why not ride out their adventure.

Monday, April 10, 2017

One Perfect Lie

Title: One Perfect Lie
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Published: April 11th 2017 by St. Martin's Press
Format: eBook, Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Suspense
Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Clear your calendar because you are going to want to read this book in one setting. Ok, maybe two since the book is divided up into three sections and it is not until section two that you get to the non-stop action. Granted, in section three, you are going to hit a part that has you wondering what Lisa was thinking and if she had spent too much time at the circus, but still, you will forgive that as you barrel to the end.

Central Valley, PA is an idyllic town. A place that a man can picture settling down with a family. At least that is what Chris Brennan tells school officials as he applies for a temporary teaching and coaching position at the high school. Chris has prepared his background story; no one could tell where the real man ends and ‘Chris Brennan AP Government teacher and coach’ begins. As your mind wonders who exactly Chris is, there is a slip up or two, but as Chris narrows down his “unwitting” the story takes off.

Chris has only three days to find his person. Three days until the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and he knows that someone on this baseball team is going to be involved in a deadly attack. Chris has done his research. There are four boys that match the profile and as he, and the reader, analyzes each, the full story begins to unfold.

Lisa Scottoline does an excellent job in keeping the reader unbalanced. From the beginning, there is no clear-cut target and you find yourself unsure if you can trust anyone. Each child and parent is held up to a microscope. They are each examined as people and as parents. As worlds are crumbling, in the end, who will be left unscathed?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Lucky Bastard

Title: Lucky Bastard
Author: Deborah Coonts
Published: May 14th 2013 by Forge Books
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Genre: Fiction
Series: Lucky O'Toole #4

It has been a while since I have read a book by Coonts so I thought that I would get back on the crazy train and see what Lucky has been up to.

Lucky O’Toole, the general manager of mayhem at the Babylon Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, has seen her fair share of shenanigans, but this week seems to be never ending. Deborah Coonts is throwing the whole load into this book. A week that begins with a dead woman on the hood of a Ferrari with a stiletto in her neck ends with a baby in her arms as she climbs out of a storm drain after a near death drowning experience. You will also have to add in a poker room manager with a few sneaky secrets, a French Chef and his adorable son, Shady Slim Grady’s questionable heart attack and his cowgirl attired wife Betty Sue wanting to throw an over the top Celebration of Life party, and the return of someone that will have Lucky questioning her future.

There are many characters that the reader has to keep straight, but since this is the fourth (in addition to a couple novellas) book, the series reader will have no problem keeping most of them straight. The multiple story lines may be a different matter, but the author keeps the flow moving and there might only be a couple of times that you have to remind yourself who someone is.

Lucky’s mother Mona is still one of my favorite characters in this series, where else would you find a former madam who is now wanting to run for a council position and her past would not be held against her. A woman who says what she is thinking and has no problem with the insanity that is going on around her – even if she is the one that is causing a great deal of it on her own and is in the last trimester of a later life pregnancy.

This series needs to be read from the beginning to not only understand whom Lucky is but to get a firmer grasp on her friends, but more importantly, her enemies.