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The Forgotten Room

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig.

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: NAL (January 19, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0451474627

Amazon Review

1945: When the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion.
Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel’s portrait miniature who looks so much like Kate?  And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother?  In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known.  But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room? 
The Forgotten Room, set in alternating time periods, is a sumptuous feast of a novel brought to vivid life by three brilliant storytellers.

Wow.. this makes 10 books I’ve read by Karen White over the years!  If you wonder why that surprises me, it’s because most of them involve a love story and I am not big into love stories.  It seems however she writes a compelling story around the love story to make them interesting enough for me to enjoy.   In this one there were three generations of mystery to solve along with the love story.  …and I do like family secrets or discovering information on families.  So this one filled the bill nicely.

I think Karen White books are a good gap filler for me to break away from crime now and then.  So, it that’s you.. you may well enjoy this book.  Or.. one of her many other books!

Brevard Zoo

Cathy took me on an adventure!  We went to the Brevard Zoo!  It’s  not a huge zoo, but just enough to be enjoyable! The photo’s below are from our Trek thru the Zoo! 

  

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost and Gone Forever

Lost and Gone Forever: by Alex Grecian.

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons(May 17, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0399176101

 

an Amazon review..

All of my favorite characters are back so immediately upon starting this book I felt as though I was right back with the London Murder Squad…except that nothing was the same. So…in order to truly get into this book you really have to have read all of the others that came before it. There really isn’t any other way to truly understand what these characters have gone through and how much they have endured. So…briefly…Walter Day has been held captive by Jack ( the Ripper ) for a year. Hammersmith…a former police associate of Day’s…has a private investigator’s practice specifically set up by Claire Day…Walter’s wife…to find Day. Jack is clever and cruel and sadistic is still killing people. There are other people…specifically hired to kill Jack…they are hired by a powerful secret society…not the police. These books take place in Victorian London so everything is kind of squalid, smelly and vermin filled…plus there are lots of orphans. In those days a penny bought a lot! Jack has messed with Walter Day’s head so much that he really doesn’t even know who he is any more.

Alex Grecian has now written 5 books of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad.  .. and I have read them all!  He built some really good characters and one gets invested enough to want to keep reading more !

In order the books are:  The Yard,  The Black Country,  The Devil’s Workshop, The Harvest Man and Lost and Gone Forever.  In order to really know the characters one should start at the beginning.  Even though they are all new cases, what happens to the main characters changes with each book.  I certainly hope this isn’t the last of the Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad!

The Book of Speculation

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin(May 31, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1250055636

An Amazon Best Book Water shrouds the fascinating, often doomed characters of The Book of Speculation. Featuring mermaids, swarms of horseshoe crabs, deadly floods, and the silent secrets of an ancient tarot deck, The Book of Speculation is split like a savory peach between the odd ventures of a traveling carnival in the late 1700s and the modern-day discovery by librarian Simon Watson of an old, handwritten volume containing his grandmother’s name. The water-damaged book may reveal the root of certain mysteries in his family, such as why the women can hold their breath far, far longer than normal, and the inexplicable reason they have all drowned while young women on the exact same date—a date that is only a few days away as the book begins. When Simon’s sister, Enola, unexpectedly returns home, vibrating with an angry sadness Simon has never seen before, Simon dives deeper into the book and the dark waters of their family history, hoping to change what he fears is her destiny. Erika Swyler has written an engrossing literary tale-spinner with an assurance rarely mastered in debut novels, allowing a well-placed detail or a lyrical phrase to paint a character or sketch even as she builds tension like a pro. As Simon grows obsessed with unraveling the secrets in his book, so will you become bewitched by The Book of Speculation.

I picked this book up at a thrift store. The cover read like it was more of a family mystery then anything else.  And it was!  It was a nice break from detective books.  It read a lot like digging up ancestry, but in this case it wasn’t just an interest… it turned into fear for life.

I read it pretty quickly so that means it held my interest, and it did have some surprises along the way.

I was never much into "side shows" or Tarot cards, but in this case it worked well.  By the end of the book I was wondering how people put so much belief in Tarot cards..  and made me curious at the same time .  Has anyone ever had the fortune told?

Coffin Road

Coffin Road by Peter May.

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Quercus (October 4, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1681443899

 

Amazon Review

In his latest mystery set in Scotland and the Outer Hebrides, award-winning author Peter May spins a tale about three disparate cases that may or may not be linked…
On the remote Isle of Harris in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, a man washes up on a deserted beach, hypothermic and completely disoriented. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his condition is a map of the island showing a desolate, ancient path called the Coffin Road. With a sense of dread and no clear idea what lies at the other end, he knows he must follow the trail if he has any hope of discovering his identity.
Meanwhile, homicide detective George Gunn makes the rough ocean crossing to a remote, sea-battered lighthouse on a rock in the northern Atlantic, twenty miles west of the Outer Hebrides, to investigate a brutal murder. Despite its isolation, the tiny island has seen its share of tragedy: more than a century earlier, three lighthouse keepers disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. And now there is a new tragedy, and Gunn must figure out what happened.
At the same time, a teenage girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her father’s death. Two years after the discovery of the pioneering scientist’s suicide note, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that her father would willingly abandon her. And the more she discovers about the nature of his research, the more she suspects that suicide had nothing to do with it.

I am not sure if it’s Peter May’s writing that I like so much..or.. where he puts me for his story.  I can’t say that I like this book "better" then "The Lewis Trilogy" but I know I had no problem in wanting to "read more" each day.

This is a hard review for me.  When my son passed away I was reading a different book. One in which I really thought I could get into.  However, after reading 200 of the 400 pages I could not get into it. I felt as if I was reading the same things over and over.  I don’t know if it was the book, or my not being able to put my mind into the book.  And so, this book.. helped somewhat. I knew what was going on and felt that I was able to want to know the outcome.

This is a good stand alone book, but if I had my druthers I would recommend The Lewis Trilogy to anyone who thinks they want to be in a place they never thought they would be.

And so.. I end 2016 having read only 43 books. I thought I would hit 50 but life got in the way.  Maybe 2017 will give me more interesting books to read.  Here is the list of what I read this year.:

1..The Murder Man………………….Tony Parsons……….(384 pgs)
2..Strings of Murder…………………Oscar De Muriel…….(406 pgs)
3..The Haunting of Maddy Clare……Simone St. James……(329 pgs)
4..The Vanishing……………………Wendy Webb…………(304 pgs)
5..Jack Kennedy Elusive Hero……..Chris Matthews……..(496 pgs)
6..These Few Precious Days……….Christopher Andersen..(336 pgs)

7..Inspector of the Dead…………..David Morrell……..(352 pgs)
9..Jackie After Jack……………….Christopher Andersen.(427 pgs)
10.Empty Mansions………………..Bill Dedman……….(456 pgs)
11.Cover of Snow………………….Jenny Milchman…….(326 pgs)
12.Things Half in Shadow………….Alan Fin………….(448 pgs)

13.The Lake House…………………Kate Morton………(512 pgs)
14.Wild Fell………………………..Michael Rowe……..(180 pgs)
15.Wit and Wisdom of Downton Abbey….Jessica Fellows…..(127 pgs)
16.Uprooted……………………….Naomi Novik………(456 pgs)
17.Anatomy of Evil………………..Will Thomas………(336 pgs)
18.House on an Irish Hillside………Felicity McCoy……(320 pgs)
19.The Silent Sister……………….Diane Chamberlain…(368 pgs)

20.Pretty Girls…………………….Karin Slaughter…..(416 pgs)

21.The Black Box…………………..Michael Connelly….(480 pgs)
22.Cracks in the Sidewalk…………..Bette L. Crosby…..(332 pgs)
23.A Memory of Violets……………..Hazel Gaynor……..(432 pgs)
24.The Midnight Rose……………….Lucinda Riley…….(496 pgs)
25.The Likeness……………………Tana French………(466 pgs)

26.Faithful Place…………………..Tana French……..(400 pgs)
27.Since She Went Away………………David Bell………(412 pgs)

28.Broken Harbor……………………Tana French……..(450 pgs)
29.The Burning Room…………………Michael Connelly…(576 pgs)
30.The Buried Giant…………………Kazuo Ishiguro…..(336 pgs)

31.Black Rabbit Hall…………………Eve Chase……….(384 pgs)
32.The Silent Girls………………….Eric Rickstad……(416 pgs)
33.The Woman who Walked into the Sea…..Mark D Home….(352 pgs)
34.The Life we Bury………………….Allen Eskens…….(303 pgs)
35.Every Dead Thing………………….John Connolly……(512 pgs)

36.Carved in Bone……………………Jefferson Bass…..(352 pgs)
37.Who Buries the Dead……………….C.S. Harris……..(352 pgs)
38.The Thirteenth Tale……………….Diane Setterfield..(406 pgs)
39.Abomination………………………Colleen Coble……(336 pgs)
40.The Hidden Child………………….Camilla Lackberg…(526 pgs)

41.The Uninvited…………………….Cat Winters……..(343 pgs)
42.The Sound of Glass………………..Karen White……..(448 pgs)

43.Coffin Road………………………Peter May……….(392 pgs)

So many books…  so little time.

The Sound of Glass

The Sound of Glass by Karen White.

Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: NAL;(April 5, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0451470907

Two years after the death of her husband, Merritt Heyward receives unexpected news—Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by his reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.
In Beaufort, the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life—a life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old  half brother.
Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low country.

I have read several books by Karen White and enjoyed them all.  She has written many more but at times when I read reviews they just aren’t for me, but, the ones I have chosen have been very good and I even have one on my wish list yet!

This is a very touching story of a woman beginning her life over again after the death of her husband.  She inherits her mother-in-laws old home in South Carolina and decides to start life again there, and moves from Maine to South Carolina.

Many interesting life stores rolled into one in this book, along with a love story.  There is more then one kind of love and there are more then one type in this book.  Typically I am not a love story reader but some have the knack to pull me in and this is one of them.

I enjoyed the book and hope one day to get another book of hers to read.

The Uninvited

The Uninvited by Cat Winters.

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 11, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0062347330

 

 

Amazon Review:

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains.  For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

The Uninvited is an atmospheric, haunting, and utterly compelling novel.

Ok, so…. this had a very unexpected ending!  This is a good thing ! I am not the brightest bulb in the pack but I truly didn’t pick up on any hints that the ending would be as it was!

Once again a book I read is set in wartime. Even "American Germans" are shunned against.  There is so much hatred around, it was not a nice time to live.  I feel as if Cat Winters has her own strong feeling written in this book as well as her fictional story…

In it she writes as the German young man:

Since my immigration, I have learned that Americans have belittled, beaten and killed their black and native citizens for centuries.  The recent number of abused and murdered Germans and other foreign-born residents seems relatively small in comparison to the crimes against the nonwhites of this country.  Yet this added surge of hatred only proves that America has no right sailing to foreign lands in the name of protecting freedom-not when we’re  steeped in the mire of violent inequality here at home.

I will leave it at that… and, just ask:  do you believe in ghosts?