Fowl of the House of Usher by J.R.Ripley

Fowl of the House of Usher (A Bird Lover's Mystery #7)

It really is the dead of winter in Ruby Lake when a party becomes an invitation to murder for Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms . . .

No one ruffles Amy’s feathers like Craig “The Gigolo” Bigelow. Not only has the two-timer returned to town, but his new girlfriend has invited Amy to a dinner party. And at Usher House of all places—legendary home to ghosts, freak accidents, and now, most horrifying of all, an ex-boyfriend and his fiancé. Regrettably, there are also sick ducks on the property that need attention. For a bird lover like Amy, it’s fowl before pride.

When everyone becomes snowbound, Amy can’t imagine the evening getting worse. Until a guest is found with a carving knife stuck in his chest. And he’s not the first to call it a night. Now Amy’s got till dawn to go hunting for a killer—before someone else ends up a dead duck . . .

This is the 7th in the Bird Lover’s Mystery Series by Mr. Ripley and I can honestly say they just keep getting better!

Craig is back and with a sweet little thing on his arm. With Paul away on vacation, Craig has rented a house outside of Ruby Lake to oversee things until Paul returns. Knowing he won’t be allowed to stay in Paul’s apartment in Amy’s house with this little chippy on his arm.

When Amy is invited to come to dinner at a supposedly haunted mansion, she is adamant about not attending. Until Craig brings up the wood ducks that look sick. Amy is a sucker for a bird in need and if Amy has to go, well, Kim is going as well. But when they find one of the snowed in guests with a knife in his chest, it turns into fouled up mess!

This has been my favorite book in the series. Amy is growing, standing her ground more and becoming someone I like very much. With new shady characters thrown in, it’s more of a game of Who’s Next than Who Done It! And this one kept me guessing as long as it took our Amy!

I love the setting. Winter, snowstorm, trapped in a haunted house with a dead body, it was perfect!

Once again, Mr. Ripley, you have done an outstanding job!

Netgalley/Lyrical Underground May 15, 2018

“WE’LL SING IN THE SUNSHINE…”

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Happy Sunday! It’s a beautiful day to be outside, at the lake or the pool with a good book and a good drink!

I’m bouncing between two books right now. Rush by Lisa Patton and The Vintage TeaCup Club by Vanessa Greene. Two very different books.

Hard to believe it is almost May. I have a busy week ahead so today I’m taking my books and heading to the pool to read and hopefully get some sun on my pale legs!

If you’ve read a good book lately, let me know! And enjoy your Sunday.

xx Patricia

MELTDOWN by G.P. James

Meltdown

The Pace of The Bourne Identity, the technical depth of Michael Crichton, and the universal magnitude of Dan Brown

A timely thriller illuminating facts regarding the state of the world’s energy crisis, climate change, and the quandary of nuclear energy—inspired by events in Fukushima, unexpected earthquakes across the planet, and the deterioration of nuclear power plants worldwide.
Bear Mountain Nuclear Energy Center sits one mile outside the active Ramapo fault line, thirty-five miles from the center of New York City. The fault line rocks causing a massive earthquake in the town of Peekskill; power is clipped and control of one of the reactors at Bear Mountain is abruptly lost.
Plant supervisor Trace Crane fights to save the reactor while his wife Avi searches for their daughter in the destroyed Northeast. As the condition of the reactor plummets and radiation is released into the environment, Trace is left to choose between saving the nuclear plant, the East Coast, and the twenty million residents of the NYC metro area or finding his family and saving himself.

Aging nuclear plants, failing infrastructure and a pass the buck mentality have led to a complete failure of one of the plants after a 6.1 earthquake rocks New York.

Trace Cane is  trying to manage the damage while dealing with a know it all underling and the suits and politicians. As the reactor melts down his family is dealing with the results of the earthquake and trying to evacuate the city. Trace is torn between saving lives or leaving to find his family. Will they or will he survive?

I would like to say that I am not fond of books that advertise they are ‘like’ a book or author. It rarely pans out to be the same thing and this is true for this book.

I can’t say I cared what happened to the characters, bouncing back and forth from one to the other, from past to present and I still didn’t feel anything for any of them. I would have liked to have seen less diagrams and more depth. While it is a good premise, it falls short of comparisons to Crichton or Brown.

Netgalley/May 15th 2018 by Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

Titles To Look Forward To In May!

Sign of the Cross (Cal Donovan #1) Introducing Harvard professor Cal Donovan in the first of an intriguing new series of religious conspiracy thrillers.   May 1st

Love and Ruin The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century. May 1st

Summer in a Cornish Cove Set against the stunning backdrop of the glorious Cornish Riviera, this summer will change their lives for ever! The book to fall in love with this summer – May 1st

The Favorite Sister When five hyper-successful women agree to appear on a reality series set in New York City called Goal Diggers, the producers never expect the season will end in murder… May 15th

Fowl of the House of Usher (A Bird Lover's Mystery #7) It really is the dead of winter in Ruby Lake when a party becomes an invitation to murder for Birds & Bees owner Amy Simms . . . May 15th

 

Meltdown A timely thriller illuminating facts regarding the state of the world’s energy crisis, climate change, and the quandary of nuclear energy— May 15th

Beach House Reunion (Beach House #5) Whisking you back to the shores of her bestselling Beach House series, Mary Alice Monroe weaves together a tale of the struggles and triumphs of the historic Rutledge family of Charleston, South Carolina. May 22nd

A lot of good titles coming in May. Time to start planning those vacation reads! What’s on your May list?

xx Patricia

THE FAVORITE SISTER by JESSICA KNOLL

The Favorite Sister

When five hyper-successful women agree to appear on a reality series set in New York City called Goal Diggers, the producers never expect the season will end in murder…

Brett’s the fan favorite. Tattooed and only twenty-seven, the meteoric success of her spin studio—and her recent engagement to her girlfriend—has made her the object of jealousy and vitriol from her cast mates.

Kelly, Brett’s older sister and business partner, is the most recent recruit, dismissed as a hanger-on by veteran cast. The golden child growing up, she defers to Brett now—a role which requires her to protect their shocking secret.

Stephanie, the first black cast member and the oldest, is a successful bestselling author of erotic novels. There have long been whispers about her hot, non-working actor-husband and his wandering eye, but this season the focus is on the rift that has opened between her and Brett, former best friends—and resentment soon breeds contempt.

Lauren, the start-up world’s darling whose drinking has gotten out of control, is Goal Diggers’ recovery narrative—everyone loves a comeback story.

And Jen, made rich and famous through her cultishly popular vegan food line plays a holistic hippie for the cameras, but is perhaps the most ruthless of them all when the cameras are off.

If you are a fan of the Housewives franchise, you really need to read this book!

I personally am not a fan of these shows. Why do women let themselves behave like this toward each other? That has always been a question I struggled with. Is it the money? Obviously not, as what they make couldn’t keep me in tea for a year!

Shows like this are what make it hard for women to be taken seriously. They should just change the name to Women Behaving Badly. And the author has laid it all out there. Every ugly part of “reality” television. There is no reality here. None of these characters had any redeemable qualities at all. Back stabbing, cheating, lying, and the unhealthy need to be front and center. To matter.

This book could not have come at a better time. With social media and all of these so-called reality shows, everyone’s life looks better than yours. But is it? Really?

Not only are the women ruthless, the women who run the show are as well and encourage the fights. When everything comes to a head with a shocking conclusion in the end I thought, well maybe this will knock some sense into the women of television, but I was horribly wrong.

Well Done!  I will definitely check out what ever comes out next from Ms. Knoll!

NetGalley/May 15th 2018 by Simon & Schuster

SUMMER IN A CORNISH COVE by KATE RYDER

Summer in a Cornish Cove

Oliver Foxley is an acclaimed movie star, global heartthrob and one half of Hollywood’s golden couple. But under the glare of the spotlight his ‘perfect’ life is slowly starting to crumble.

Cara Penhaligon is a struggling young Cornish artist, and widowed mother of two children. Life has been unbearably harsh to Cara, but meeting Oliver might just give her a second chance at the happiness she deserves. As each begins to heal the other, the pieces of Oliver’s frustrating jigsaw puzzle effortlessly fall into place. But as the Cornish summer draws to a close, Oliver faces the toughest of choices, and no one emerges quite as they were at the start.

Oliver Foxley seems to have it all together. He does not. He has been battling severe depression since he was a child. He has had some success holding it together, but it is getting harder. I got the feeling that his wife didn’t understand his condition as she seems to just want him to pull it together, which as we all know, doesn’t just magically happen with depression.

When he returns to Holy Isle, a retreat run by monks, he encounters a seriously disturbed young fan who turns into a stalker.

Cara, a widow and an artist has already had one great love in her life and is happy enough with what she has. Until she meets Oliver.

I think this is supposed to be a Romance, but the book needs some serious editing and character development. Characters are introduced and seem to be important to the story line and yet we are left hanging as to what happened to them.

Not to mention Oliver seemed a rather spineless man. Sleeping with more than one woman while his wife held down things at home. It was rather disjointed to be honest and I’m still not sure what the point was.

NetGalley/Aria

LOVE AND RUIN by PAULA McLAIN

Love and Ruin

The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century

In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Hemingway, a man already on his way to becoming a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China, Key West, and especially Cuba, where Martha and Ernest make their home, their relationship and professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, and her own.

This was a great work of historical fiction. Coming after The Paris Wife, where we read about Hemingway’s marriage to Hadley Richardson, the first of his four wives, this to me was even better!

Martha Gellhorn is a well-known name in journalism and I loved her fierce independence and the way she knew herself so well. Instead of getting lost in the shadow of the great Hemingway, Martha was the one that got away. The one that left him and made her own star shine so brightly. I have great admiration for this woman and this was a very good look at two passionate people and the ups and downs of their relationship, but this was truly Martha’s story.

What a great story!

Netgalley/Ballentine Books  May 01,2018

SIGN of the CROSS by GLENN COOPER

Sign of the Cross (Cal Donovan #1)

Introducing Harvard professor Cal Donovan in the first of an intriguing new series of religious conspiracy thrillers. 

Responding to an urgent summons from the Vatican, Harvard professor of religion and archaeology, Cal Donovan, flies to Italy to interview a young priest who has developed the stigmata of the crucifixion. Stunned to discover that the priest’s condition may be genuine, Cal determines to uncover the cause of the mysterious wounds.

But Cal is not the only one. When Giovanni is kidnapped from his church at dead of night, Cal comes to realize that the priest holds the key to an earth-shattering secret: a secret which a shadowy nationalist organization is desperate to control. Teaming up with Giovanni’s sister Irene, Cal must unravel the mystery and track down Giovanni in a perilous race against the clock … before an apocalyptic catastrophe is unleashed.

I do love a good religious conspiracy book! Especially one so well researched.

As a Catholic and a History teacher the subject matter was very interesting. We all know the Nazi’s made off with a lot of holy relics and artifacts. Remember the movie The Monument Men? And it’s quite easy in this day and age to imagine those bad guys are still out there trying to take things that don’t belong to them and they have no problem killing anyone in their way.

Full of suspense, rich in history and fast paced action will draw you in and keep you biting your lip!

Cal is a good character. Funny, a bit of a drinker and yet can still hold his own with the Pope. He is like a Catholic Indiana Jones! And I loved every minute of this book.

Netgalley/Severn House May 01, 2018

 

THE NEIGHBOR by Joseph Souza

The Neighbor

In a taut psychological thriller filled with breathtaking twists, Joseph Souza explores the tangle of betrayal and deception between two neighboring couples, and asks how well we can really know others–or ourselves.

It all seems so promising at the start . . .

When Leah and her husband, Clay, move from Seattle to Maine, she envisions a vibrant new neighborhood packed with families–playmates for her twins, new friends she can confide in and bond with. But while Clay works long hours to establish his brewery, Leah is left alone each day in a nearly deserted housing development where the only other occupants are aloof and standoffish.

Bored and adrift, Leah finds herself watching Clarissa and Russell Gaines next door, envying their stylishly decorated home and their university careers. But Leah’s obsession with the intriguing, elegant Clarissa grows until she’s not just spying from afar but sneaking into their house, taking small objects . . . reading Clarissa’s diary. It contains clues to a hidden turmoil Leah never guessed at–and a connection to a local college girl who’s disappeared.

The more Leah learns about Clarissa, the more questions emerge. Because behind every neighbor’s door there are secrets that could shatter lives forever . .

This is the book blurb above.

Right from the start you just felt there was something odd and just plain wrong about every one of these characters.

Moving from Seattle to Maine is a huge culture shock but Clay has a dream of making beer and owning his own pub. And the market in Seattle is saturated and housing costs are outrageous, so it’s off to Maine.

While he gets the business going, Leah and the kids finish up in Seattle and come to join him. They find what seems to be a great deal on a new house, one of only two completed in a new subdivision. But like they say, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

As Clay spends all his time drinking the beer he makes and Leah seems to be seriously disturbed, going into their neighbor’s house and snooping on them.

This was one twisted psychological thriller! And in the end, you are left asking yourself What in the heck just happened?  There was not one redeeming character here even one of the kids is a psycho. And I enjoyed every twisted minute of it.

Well Done Mr. Souza!

NetGalley/Kensington April 24,2018