Genre: Suspense

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Book Review: We Were Liars

May 17, 2014 Book Review, reviews 6

Book Review:  We Were LiarsWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press on May 13th, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Source: purchased
AmazonBarnes & Noble
Goodreads

 

Once upon a time there was a book regaled throughout the land as THE must read of the day.  This book told the tale of young Cadence Sinclair, first grandchild of the Sinclair family and heir apparent to the private summer vacation island off the coast of Massachusetts.  Young Cadence had a terrible accident the summer of her 15th year but she cannot recall the details.  It is not until her 17th summer that she begins to piece the events of her 15th summer together.

Silence is a protective coating over pain.

Can I just say when you read this one, keep a box of tissues at hand.  All of the hype and love given to We Were Liars is true – this is one story you don’t want to miss.  The writing is sharp, on point, not an extra word added.  With just a few words the characters are completely understandable “Johnny, he is bounce, effort, and snark. . .Mirren, she is sugar, curiosity and rain.”  The plot is seamless, shocking – grabbing you from the first page and not letting go til long after the book is closed.  As someone who grew up loving fairy tales, the tales that Cadence writes during the two years she is trying to remember the accident are insightful and moving.

You’ll definitely want to add We Were Liars to your summer reading list.  Although We Were Liars is marketed as young adult, it should not be avoided by adults – don’t be scared of it!  Just whatever you do, READ IT!

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Summer vacations with family can be wrought with angst, love, despair, laughter. . .just about every adjective under the sun.  Each year my children, my honey and me go on a family vacation and every other year we go with my entire extended family. . .so far it hasn’t been anything like National Lampoon’s Vacations nor do we have a private island like the Sinclairs.  What we do have is love, laughter and loads of fun.  As we head into summer I pray your vacation plans are planned and highly anticipated!

How do you family vacation?

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Book Review: The Accident

April 18, 2014 Book Review, reviews 8

Book Review:  The AccidentThe Accident by Chris Pavone
Published by Crown Publishing Group on March 11, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 400
Source: complimentary review copy
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As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through the explosive revelations about powerful people, as well as long-hidden secrets about her own past. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals with publication of The Accident, while always looking over his shoulder.

The Accident is to publishing as The Devil Wears Prada is to fashion magazines.  It reads like an expose of the publishing industry and is a wild roller coaster ride following the assassinations and intrigue.  And there are quite a few bodies piling up throughout.  Each turn of the page brought a new plot detail into the open.  I was guessing all the way to the very last page.

I have not read The Expats (Pavone’s first novel) yet but intend to do so very soon.  If you like a good suspenseful thriller with lots of espionage, secrecy, and shock-value then you will probably enjoy The Accident.  It will have you asking questions like how well do we know the ones we love? and wow! is the publishing world really that intense?  And how well do we trust the government to serve the people?

Pavone’s writing is sharp.  The plot is fast-moving.  I read The Accident in one sitting because I could never get to a pausing point – I was afraid of missing something 😉  I did have to suspend belief somewhat because I really hate to think the publishing world is that cutthroat.  The Accident was entertaining, a wonderful escape and immense fun.

Have you read The Accident?  What are your thoughts on this one?

 

If you purchase The Accident from Amazon or IndieBound, I will receive a small percentage at no cost to you.  This is very helpful in paying for hosting fees, giveaways and postage.  Thank you!

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R.I.P. Review: The Silent Wife

October 7, 2013 Book Review, reviews 12

R.I.P. Review: The Silent WifeThe Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison
Published by Penguin on June, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 326
Format: eBook
Source: purchased
Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

A chilling psychological thriller about a marriage, a way of life, and how far one woman will go to keep what is rightfully hers.

please note ~ the quote below is NOT a spoiler…..it’s from the first page!

In other words, she is deeply unaware that her life is now peaking, that her youthful resilience–which her twenty-year marriage to Todd Gilbert has been slowly eroding–is approaching a final stage of disintegration, that her notions about who she is and how she ought to conduct herself are far less stable than she supposes, given that a few short months are all it will take to make a killer out of her.

Jodi Brett and Todd Gilbert have been together twenty years ~ he’s a builder/contractor and she is an Adler-practicing psychologist.  He is an habitual cheater.  She in turn hides his keys.  He knows that she knows.  She knows that he always returns to her.  But things change when he “falls in love” with the “much younger woman.”

Life has a way of taking its toll on the person you thought you were.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Silent Wife.  Told in the alternating voices of Jodi and Todd, The Silent Wife takes us into the psyche of both characters.  I was so impressed with the depth of Jodi’s character as a psychologist ~ Harrison did a superb job in researching Jung and Adler philosophies and methods of counseling.  For someone who majored in psychology it was refreshing to see the portrayal as so fact-based.

Since finishing the novel I’ve thought long and hard about the plot, the ending, the choices each character made ~ while much of the novel was stereotypical in that the middle-aged man falls for much younger woman, falls in love and leaves the wife ~ the reactions to each change along the way and seeing it from inside the mind of Todd or Jodi helped to humanize the situation.

 Monogamy wasn’t designed for men.  Or men weren’t designed for monogamy.  However you want to put it.  Both things are true.” “You think so?” “I know so.”

A perfect book for book clubs or couples, this novel had me & my partner talking for a while about the nuances of each character ~ and that was just with me outlining the novel for him {he’s not a reader – I know! huge gasp!!}  The Silent Wife raises all sorts of questions relevant in today’s society ~ do all men cheat? or as my darling bf says – “it takes a woman for a man to cheat with!” so is it a 50/50 thing? and what about Jodi, standing by silent for 20 years while Todd constantly had a fling on the side ~ was she right or wrong in hiding his keys, throwing out clothes, doing subtle things to get back at him though never confronting him ~ is that the norm for women with cheating husbands?  And I love that Harrison had a psychologist as the wife ~ she’s the one who is supposed to be the saner of the two, the one trained to handle stressors in life and deal with everyone else’s stress.  And with an ending worthy of Gone Girl, The Silent Wife is tops in my book for psychological suspense!

Have you read it? What were your thoughts?

 

Images by Artists Jennifer Gordan and Roman Sirotin, used with permission.

Images by Artists Jennifer Gordan and Roman Sirotin, used with permission.

To participate in R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril or to find more spooky reads, please visit Stainless Steel Droppings.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Books for the complimentary review copy!

four-half-stars

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Book Review: The Drowning House

September 12, 2013 Book Review, reviews 6

Book Review: The Drowning HouseThe Drowning House by Elizabeth Black
Published by Doubleday on January, 2013
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Suspense
Pages: 268
Source: complimentary review copy
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

“…the past wasn’t always nice.” He paused. “But isn’t that what we all do?  Rework our history?  Most of us keep to the basic facts.  But we improve on them, cast them in a better light.  We back off just enough to be comfortable.  I mean, who would want to remember what it was like to be an adolescent? The awful details.  To live with that knowledge on a daily basis.”

There has been a story shared on THE Island of Galveston since the The Great Hurricane of 1900: A young woman was found drowned, hair entangled in the large chandelier from the “castle” commissioned by Ward Carriday.  The 17-year old former beauty entangled in the chandelier was naked, clothes torn away by the rushing waters, and believed to be Ward’s daughter, Stella.  Her unusual and erotic portrait continues to hang above the mantel at the castle, although it is Will Carraday, grandson to Ward, at the helm in 1990.

The Drowning House opens with Clare Porterfield leaving the DC area for Galveston, summoned by the charismatic Will Carraday in order to create a photographic history of the Carraday mansion.  Her attorney husband stays behind, the excuse being a large case to prepare, but both Clare and Michael know the marriage is over.  Their six-year old daughter died a year prior and Clare has only just begun to break out of the shell of grief engulfing her.

Returning to the Island where every inhabitant is given the designation of either BOI {Born on Island} or LIO {Living on Island} or worst of all: tourist;  reminds Clare of the veil of secrecy imbuing the very fabric of Galveston ~ where everything is not as it seems and no lie is to big or small to tell in order to hide the truth.  When Clare uncovers the truth to both Stella’s life and her own past, her world is upended in ways unimaginable.

He was a serious man, my father.  He used to say that the heart is a muscle, gristly, resilient.  A diagram on the wall of his study showed how its valves opened and closed.  Red and blue arrows with sharp points indicated blood coursing through.  And even though I knew better, I couldn’t escape the thought that perhaps feeling flowed through those openings too.  That the arrows with their points explained why sometimes it hurt.

I had difficulty with a few of the story threads in The Drowning House.  It was almost as if the story were being told underwater, in a garbled, wavy not quite clear manner.   The reasons for Clare leaving her home {after a year of agoraphobia} to travel to Galveston were left somewhat ambiguous.  I knew she had a photography job but that part was never fully developed.  Also, Clare spends the first hundred pages seeking a long lost love and yet we are constantly told what a small, close-knit island Galveston continues to be and the long lost love nowhere to be found ~ that part didn’t make sense to me.  A minor character is introduced and shares critical information to the progression of the plot; however, his personality and character are never fully fleshed out.

The surface of the bay was broken only by the creamy trails of pleasure boats.  Overhead, clouds hung huge and motionless as mountains.  I saw nothing that would have been out of place in a travel brochure.  Nothing to explain the feeling I had, like the one you get when the roller coaster leaves the loading platform and starts to move slowly, inexorably, up the first incline.  For this was the Texas Gulf coast, the soft, sinking-down edge of the continent, and there wasn’t a real hill for miles.

But the writing style?  Luscious, richly woven tapestry of privilege and the sacrifices we make in the name of love.  Such evocative use of words that open up Galveston as a main character, making me want to jump in my car and drive there getting lost in the atmosphere.  The writing style made up for the plot deficiencies and in actuality, I felt the novel was written in such a way to evoke the feeling of the vagueness of memory and how some memories are simply illusions our mind creates to survive.  The murkiness, the underwater feelings all seemed warranted and ruled by Clare’s faulty memory.  Thoroughly enjoyed but wish I could ask the author certain leading questions regarding plot!  Recommended with a bit of reservation.

Many thanks to Doubleday and NetGalley for the complimentary review copy.

 

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The Seventh Stone by Pamela Hegarty

February 10, 2012 Book Review, reviews 0

The Seventh Stone by Pamela HegartyThe Seventh Stone by Pamela Hegarty
Published by Sky Castle Publishing on December 15th, 2011
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 423
Source: complimentary review copy
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Books about religious artifacts have become quite popular since Dan Brown exploded on the scene with his Angels and Demons series. Pamela Hegarty takes us into New York City, Princeton and the Colombian rain forest for an oft-overlooked treasure from Moses’ day – the Breastplate of the High Priest, also known as the Breastplate of Judgment and the Breastplate of Aaron.

In The Seventh Stone, Princeton historian Christa Devlin is on a mission to find the seven missing stones of the Breastplate before the sociopath “Prophet” can get his hands on the gems.  With tremendous twists and turns along the way, including the water of New York City and Princeton being contaminated with a deadly poison that kills within seven days, The Seventh Stone is a grand adventure and jaw-dropping suspense all in one.

What I would have liked better:
For me, someone who really loves a long book – especially a suspenseful adventure, I found some sections to be slower in the 423 pages.  It may be that sometimes it was difficult {for me} to keep track of the numerous characters important to the story. For example, at the beginning of a chapter the brother-in-law is introduced but it took me until the end of the same chapter to realize Percival was the brother-in-law and not the husband.

Please give me more:
I really liked Christa’s gung-ho, never-give-up attitude throughout the book, even when all seemed lost.  And the historical aspects of this novel were fascinating – including Mayan and Anasazi Indians and the Spanish priests and conquistadors!

The villain in The Seventh Stone was truly a man you could love to hate. He had the face of an angel and the heart of a snake! Any more and I’ll be disclosing spoilers!

Interesting to Note:
Most gem scholars agree that the tradition of birthstones developed from the Breastplate of Aaron: the twelve gemstones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel also correspond with the twelve signs of the zodiac and the twelve months of the year.

About the Author:
Pamela Hegarty has adventured in more than thirty-five countries on six continents. She summited Mount Kilimanjaro, backpacked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and camped with lions in the Serengeti. A novelist who has adventured the world enough to write a heroine we could adore! Author’s Blog | Author on Twitter 

Final Thoughts:

I liked the Seventh Stone for the strong female lead and vast amounts of historical aspects included in the novel. If you are a mystery/suspense/adventure junkie like me then this book will certainly keep you entertained!

Happy Reading!

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