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

RELEASE DAY! THE FIRST FAMILY BY MICHAEL PALMER and DANIEL PALMER

The First Family by Michael Palmer

Oh my what a thrill ride this was. The writing of this father/son duo is so easy to read. There were no good places to pause on this one. If you blinked you missed some important clue.

Things start to go wrong with Cam and no one can figure out why. The White House physician is suggesting therapy but this guy is shady at best and I did not have a good feeling about him.

Karen, the ex-wife of Lee Blackwood is head of security for the first family and when things just don’t feel right, she suggests an outside consult with Lee. Lee is convinced there is something medically wrong here, but gets a lot of push back from the doctor as well as from the president. The doctor and the president have long been friends and their sons are as well.

To be perfectly honest, about 13% in I smugly thought I had figured out who was the bad guy and who was the good guy. Let me just say I was so wrong.

I could not read this fast enough. Because it is possible. And that is what has you questioning a lot of things right here in the real world.

Great job to the Palmers! Can’t wait to see what’s next!

NetGalley/St.Martins  April 17, 2018

via THE FIRST FAMILY by Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer

Plum Tea Crazy by Laura Childs *A Tea Shop Mystery #19)

Plum Tea Crazy (A Tea Shop Mystery, #19)

Theodosia Browning investigates a Charleston steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

While viewing the harbor’s Gaslights and Galleons Parade from the widow’s walk of Timothy Neville’s Charleston mansion, local banker Carson Lanier seemingly tumbles over a narrow railing, then plunges three stories to his death. But a tragic accident becomes something much more sinister when it’s discovered that the victim was first shot with a bolt from a crossbow.

At the request of the mansion owner, Theodosia investigates the tragedy and is soon neck-deep in suspects. An almost ex-wife, a coworker, a real estate partner–all had motives for killing the luckless banker, but one resorted to murder to settle accounts.

This is the 19th book in this series and I have read them all. For the characters, the setting and of course the tea and recipes! It’s like visiting with old friends.

The characters are still evolving and we have some new additions to the group. Drayton is even a bit looser in this one and we meet more of Haley’s family. Theodosia has a nice boyfriend and that is coming along nicely. We still have Tidwell, who I enjoy very much, but Detective Riley is more Theo’s cup of tea.

This one was also hilarious! Cat fights, and women behaving badly in public! Oh the horror in Charleston society.

Already waiting on the next one!  Great job.

THE HELLFIRE CLUB by JAKE TAPPER

The Hellfire Club

The debut political thriller from Jake Tapper, CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and the New York Times bestselling author of The Outpost — 1950’s D.C. intrigue about a secret society and a young Congressman in its grip

Charlie Marder is an unlikely Congressman. Thrust into office by his family ties after his predecessor died mysteriously, Charlie is struggling to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, DC, alongside his young wife Margaret, a zoologist with ambitions of her own. Amid the swirl of glamorous and powerful political leaders and deal makers, a mysterious fatal car accident thrusts Charlie and Margaret into an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a plot that could change the course of history. When Charlie discovers a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of governance, he has to fight not only for his principles and his newfound political career…but for his life.

I enjoy listening and reading Jake Tapper, the journalist. I was excited to see this book.

I know it is set in the 1950’s but Charlie is not a stupid man. He knows right from wrong, he served our country in the military. He has principles. Oops, not a good thing to have as a politician.

You don’t even need to  have average intelligence to know that Washington is one big game of who you  know, who you owe, and who owes you. Trust no one and keep your mouth shut.  I can’t believe with his famous father Charlie didn’t grasp that quickly. If you didn’t figure out what was going on by Chapter 2, after the car crash, well keep those rosy glasses on.

Other than a lot of political name dropping and the mix of fact and fiction, there wasn’t a lot of meat to this book. The characters were vague and some a bit over the top. All in all I was bored.

But I sure hope Mr. Tapper keeps up the journalistic career!

NetGalley/April 24th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company

THE FIRST FAMILY by Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer

The First Family

A riveting new medical thriller from the critically acclaimed novelists.

Cam Hilliard is, in addition to being the President’s sixteen-year-old son, a chess prodigy. A year into President Hilliard’s second term Cam inexplicably stops playing the game he loved and becomes withdrawn. The First Lady is convinced that the senior White House physician is wrong in diagnosing Cam’s issue as a psychological one, and she demands that Dr. Lee Blackwood be brought on to provide a second opinion. Lee’s opinion is dismissed, until Cam’s spleen ruptures and it becomes obvious that something is horribly wrong.

Lee informs the President and First Lady that to make a diagnosis they need to find other people with the same symptoms to conduct additional testing. From there, it’s possible to identify the gene defects and correlate those to the missing enzymes. Only then can a diagnosis be made and treatment begun. For now, they must face the harsh reality that Cam’s genes are producing a mutation that appears to be entirely new to science.

As Lee delves into this medical mystery, he comes to believe Cam is not the first case of this presentation of an inborn error of metabolism. But when two young people Lee has found, each with exceptional gifts, are murdered, Cam’s condition suddenly takes on a terrifyingly new dimension. Is someone out to murder the President’s son? If so, why? As Lee searches for answers he will uncover unimaginable secrets and dark betrayals that breach the highest levels of security.

Oh my what a thrill ride this was. The writing of this father/son duo is so easy to read. There were no good places to pause on this one. If you blinked you missed some important clue.

Things start to go wrong with Cam and no one can figure out why. The White House physician is suggesting therapy but this guy is shady at best and I did not have a good feeling about him.

Karen, the ex-wife of Lee Blackwood is head of security for the first family and when things just don’t feel right, she suggests an outside consult with Lee. Lee is convinced there is something medically wrong here, but gets a lot of push back from the doctor as well as from the president. The doctor and the president have long been friends and their sons are as well.

To be perfectly honest, about 13% in I smugly thought I had figured out who was the bad guy and who was the good guy. Let me just say I was so wrong.

I could not read this fast enough. Because it is possible. And that is what has you questioning a lot of things right here in the real world.

Great job to the Palmers! Can’t wait to see what’s next!

NetGalley/St.Martins  April 17, 2018