Review: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

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Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.

There were so many things I absolutely loved about this book. I want to start with the character of Arthur Pepper. What a wonderful man! Somehow he reminded me of my grandfather. Patrick’s writing is exquisite and she does a wonderful job at bringing those characters to life and making them as likable as they are. Arthur’s adventure becomes your adventure and it is so nice to experience with him all the changes he goes through during his journey. I don’t want to give too much away, but rest assured this is a delightful book that I think will stay in my heart for a while. I finished the book and I immediately missed it. That’s always a great sign of the power of a book. This is indeed a sentimental novel exploring the themes of death, grieving and moving on with life.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

5 star

Review: The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham

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Seven people might have murdered Eric Crowther, the mysterious recluse who lived in the gaunt house whose shadow fell across the White Cottage. Seven people had good cause. It was not lack of evidence that sent Detective Chief Inspector Challenor and his son Jerry half across Europe to unravel a chaos of clues. The White Cottage Mystery was Margery Allingham’s first detective story, published initially as a newspaper serial.

I love mystery novels and I absolutely adore Agatha Christie, so I couldn’t help but give Margery Allingham’s most acclaimed work The White Cottage Mystery a try. This book is a very fast, easy, and cozy mystery to read. I really enjoyed the plot and the twists. I have to admit that parts of this book reminded me of Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and considering that The White Cottage Mystery was published in 1928 a couple of years after Agatha Christie’s novel, Allingham was probably influenced a bit by Christie’s work. In that respect, I can’t say that this book was very original.

Overall, there were some elements of nostalgia in regard to the language and manners that are outdated in this day and age. I liked it, though. I was really happy with the surprising twist at the end.  Great and quick summer read.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Review: Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

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Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can’t see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley’s abilities start to become too strong for her to handle – and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can’t drown out the voices – she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri’s not a believer, but she’s just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she’s not too late. Time, she knows, is running out.

Wow! That’s the word that came out of my mouth after reading Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger. Lately, between grad school, two children, a dog, and a full-time job, long were the days I could finish books in one day, let alone in one sitting. When I picked up this book I had no idea how addicting, thrilling, and exciting this reading would be. I only have praise for Unger. From the very first pages, you are drawn into this intricate web that mixes psychological thriller, crime, and paranormal. I found this story to be very disturbing, but surprising. Every time I thought the story was going in one direction, bam! The author takes you on a completely different route.

Extremely refreshing, chilling, borderline horror (really!), page-turner, can’t-put-it-down sort of book. I highly recommend this book to fans of the genre.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published June 7, 2016.

5 star

Review: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

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When the remains of a young child are discovered during a winter storm on a stretch of the bleak Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, a man named Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family, along with members of their parish, embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine.   But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites. Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost.

Ok, so this is a novel I admit I had huge expectations from. Not only because I had heard all the praises about it, but also because this book won the 2015 Costa First Novel Award, a popular literary prize in the UK.  I can’t see how this happened. Don’t get me wrong, the novel is very well written. I really enjoyed the character of the pious mother and the gothic, eerie, creepy suspense that the author brought to the pages. However, the reason I can’t rate this book more than 3-stars is for the simple fact that some parts were extremely slow and repetitive, the ending was disappointing, and it just didn’t live up to the suspenseful atmosphere of the beginning of the book.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Review: Five Roses by Alice Zorn

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Fara and her husband buy a house with a disturbing history that reawakens memories of her own family tragedy. Maddy still lives in the house, once a hippie commune, where her daughter was kidnapped twenty-seven years ago. Rose grew up isolated with her mother in the backwoods north of Montreal. Now in the city, she questions the silence and deception that shaped her upbringing.

Fara, Maddy, and Rose meet in Montreal’s historic Pointe St-Charles, a rundown neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification. Against a backdrop of abandonment, loss, and revitalization, the women must confront troubling secrets in order to rebuild their lives. Zorn deftly interweaves the rich yet fragile lives of three very different people into a story of strength and friendship.

Alice Zorn writes a beautiful story against the backdrop of rural Quebec. Montreal is certainly on my bucket list of places to check out and thanks to Zorn’s description of the rural outskirts of Montreal as well as the city, the reader gets a chance to be transported to this side of the world. I loved the way Zorn depicted each one of these characters allowing the reader to truly empathize with each one of them.

This novel has some sad parts, some slow parts, but for most of the book, you get a well-crafted story with believable and captivating characters.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Love for Lydia by H.E. Bates

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Lydia – shy, sheltered, beautiful and just 19 – glides into Evensford one wintry day, stirring up feeling amongst the town’s young men. But it is the young Mr Richardson that she befriends. As winter turns to drowsy summer, his world becomes a wondrous place, full only of Lydia; but a change comes over the once retiring girl as she discovers the effect she has on other men. As his closest friends fall under her spell, the love Richardson feels for Lydia becomes tangled with jealousy and resentment, a rift that may never be repaired.

Love for Lydia was first published in 1952 and it is still an extremely poignant novel. This is by far one of the greatest love stories of the twentieth century. It is a beautifully written, classic love story. The prose is exquisite and the descriptions of the outdoors and countryside scenery are a delight. I’m very glad a gave this novel a chance. A timeless, steamy love story that I highly recommend.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: Earthbound Bones: A psychic Seasons Novel by ReGina Welling

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After being tossed out of heaven, former guardian angel, Galmadriel isn’t like any other angel. Not quite human, yet not fully an angel, the best thing the PTBs can think to do with her is bounce her around so she can solve supernatural problems.

Ghosts that need to find their way home or that purposefully take the wrong path are her bread and butter. To add insult to injury, she is assigned a fledgling pair of guardian angels to train. Julius and Estelle are ready and willing to learn, but they also have a secondary agenda. One that Galmadriel is never supposed to find out about.

Helping the ghost of young Ben Allen find his way home reconnects Galmadriel with Kat, Amethyst, Gustavia, and Julie in the first of many adventures to come.

This is my first book by ReGina Welling and it is a spin-off of her other series. Although I didn’t read any of her previous books, this book sucked me right in. I loved the main character Galmadriel and I really enjoyed the fact that this book combined paranormal, romance, and cozy mystery. This is a fun and light read. A great start of a series. I’m looking forward to her next installments.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.3 star

Review: The Blue Bath by Mary Waters-Sayer

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The Blue Bath by Mary Waters-Sayer is the story of Kat Lind, an American living in London with her husband Jonathan and their son Will. Kat comes from a privileged family and in her early twenties she lived in Paris where she was studying French literature. While studying in Paris, Kat meets David, a British young artist, who was also studying in Paris and they start a powerful and obsessive romance. Twenty years later Kat is now married to Jonathan and living in London. So when a friend invites her to attend an opening at a prestigious art gallery, Kat is shocked to see her face on the paintings, an evidence of her long-ago affair with the artist David Blake. Kat and David once again rekindle their passion, but when her portrait catches the attention of the press threatening to reveal not only her identity but her infidelity, Kat has to make a choice that could mean losing everything.

I want to start by saying what I really loved about this novel. The cover of this book is simply superb. The writing is beautiful, and Mary Waters-Sayer’s description of Paris and London really allows the reader to be transported to those places. The characters, although not super developed are believable, and the story is developed well enough to make it an easy read. The ending is probably the only part that lost points for me. It felt a little rushed, but it was still a very enjoyable read.

The Blue Bath is a novel that deals with themes of love, trust, obsession, betrayal, and tragedy. A novel that stays with you long after you are done reading it. I highly recommend it.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on May 3, 2016.

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Review: Arsenic With Austen by Katherine Bolger Hyde

cover82927-mediumArsenic With Austen is my first book by Katherine Bolger Hyde. The novel starts with the return of Emily Cavanaugh to the little town of Stony Beach, Oregon to inherit a fortune from her great-aunt Beatrice. What Emily is not counting on is having to solve a murder mystery and face and old flame, Luke, who she hasn’t seen in 35 years.

Hyde’s novel has a great premise with a whodunit style of crime and a love story. There is, however, very little Austen in the book except for the fact that each chapter opens with a quote from Jane Austen’s more famous novels (Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility…). I’m a huge Austen fan and I think that had a lot to do with my first interest in this book, however, the Austen connection ends there. The characters although nice are a bit flat and stereotypical, the love story between Emily and Luke seems unrealistic and the murder mystery, although cozy, is quite predictable.

Arsenic With Austen is book number one in a series called Crime With The Classics, and although I couldn’t rate it more than 3-stars I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on July 12, 2016.

3 star

Review: Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

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On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the passengers disappear into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

The book starts with a small plane that falls in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with 11 people on board. Scott, a struggling middle-aged artist, and a four-year-old boy are the only survivors. The crux of the book is finding out the cause of the crash and events that led to the disaster.

I really enjoyed reading this book by Noah Hawley. The first couple of chapters are suspenseful and impossible to put down. There is a great message about the ridiculous power of media covering tragedies. It does slow down a bit as it alternates between the aftermath of the crash and the lives of the passengers before the accident (the fall), but overall a great summer read.

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley is one of those great suspenseful books that you can read in one sitting. A fast-paced, page-turner that keeps you guessing until the end. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of the genre.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on May 31, 2016.

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