A while ago (longer than I care to admit), I received a download of Laura Shofer’s novel, THE FINGERPRINT OF DESTINY, from her. Due to an odd issue with my Kindle (where it shuffled my hundreds of novels!) I “lost” it and only recently rediscovered it. This novel has a little bit of something for everyone and I really enjoyed reading it!
THE FINGERPRINT OF DESTINY starts with a fire (arson) with deaths involved in the Hope’s Point area of Long Island. Ellie Sinclair goes to cover the fire (which isn’t the first that has occurred in this area of late) for her newspaper and discovers that her estranged mother is among the victims. This starts a series of events where Ellie digs to find the truth, but also digs up old emotions, an old romance, and memories of her “crazy” mother as she was growing up and their complicated relationship. Ellie is scrappy and tough, though somewhat dysfunctional and has a drinking problem. Add in some historical passages tracing Ellie’s Venezuelan heritage and the “fingerprint of destiny”, a few tough Latino gangs, a mystery, and some supernatural thrills and you’ve got the makings for this story!
I enjoyed reading this novel, the first for Ms. Shofer, and found it engrossing and well-written. I think it has such a variety of happenings that many will find it and its “mash-up genre” appealing!
You can see it on Amazon where it is available for Kindle (and where I am an Associate). As of today is it only $2.99!
Recently, Mr. Dean sent me an email and asked if I’d like to read and review his book, a supernatural thriller. I said yes as I was in the mood for a thriller/mystery read. In A DOOR UNLOCKED, a home invasion goes wrong when the bad guy kills the homeowner, rapes the wife, and abducts their eight year old daughter. Vanessa Fitzgerald makes it her mission to find her daughter and bring the perpetrator to justice. However, Vanessa has some help from beyond – when unconscious (e.g. in a coma), she can hear and communicate with her recently deceased husband. He gives her guidance in finding and saving their young daughter, Lydia.
This book reminded me a bit of a Mary Higgins Clark mystery. It read quickly and focused on a heroine who was bent but not broken, and very determined to find her daughter. I wish that the storyline had not included rape and molestation (which I don’t like to read), but they did occur mostly “off stage” so to speak (there wasn’t a graphic, violent, drawn out scene to read). I kept reading to make sure that there was a happy ending!
At less than 300 pages, I finished this book in a few sittings.
Thanks, Mr. Dean, for sending me a download of your novel! You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate (as of this writing, it is only $3.49 on Kindle):
Just in time for Halloween! Dan Newman’s THE CLEARING is a suspenseful story within a story. In 1976 four boys were playing the swamps and woods of St. Lucia when one of them dies. The others decide to keep the events surrounding his death secret and instead blame it on island superstition: the monster Bolum. Time passes and while lives are irreparably changed by the child’s death, life does go on.
Fast forward forty years to present day, and our hero, Nate, is returning to the island to put old ghosts to rest. However, in doing so, Nate opens up old wounds and upsets the precarious balance of society on the island. Soon he is being followed and attacked by scary men wielding sacrificed animals and vials of blood. Someone is trying to hush up the events of that night and will stop at nothing to keep Nate and anyone who helps him quiet.
I enjoyed reading this novel which read quickly and was rather thrilling. At the end things tied up pretty neatly, and I felt that Newman expounded the final conclusions a bit too much (just in case someone couldn’t figure it out on their own, I guess); however, all in all, I enjoyed this light read and kept going to the end. A little fantastic – yes. A good read for the Halloween season – yes!
I got mine as an ARC from Net Galley (Exhibit A Publishers), but you can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate: (publishing 10/29/13)
Regular readers know that I LOVE the Sue Grafton alphabet mysteries and have read them all. I was so excited for “W” to come out this month and pre-ordered it on Amazon. (I actually ordered it to give to my husband for his birthday in October, but gently read it last week while he was away on business!).
W IS FOR WASTED starts with two deaths: a homeless man is found dead of what appears to be natural causes and a less than upright private investigator is found shot to death. Kinsey dismisses the PI’s death, as he was known for being less than honest. She figured he came up on the wrong end of a deal. She decides to help find out the homeless man’s name so that they can notify his next of kin. As his story unfolds, however, Kinsey finds herself drawn into the man’s life with a connection she could not have foreseen. Things become more and more complicated, and then more and more dangerous, as Kinsey becomes involved in an intricate web of dishonesty, subterfuge, and shadows from the past. Are these two deaths related? Is Kinsey much more involved than she first realizes? Will she figure it all out before more people are killed?
I really enjoyed this quick read, which was well plotted and moved swiftly. While I have been disappointed in only a few of Grafton’s stories, this was one that I really liked!
See it on Amazon where I am an Associate:
This past spring, a longtime friend suggested that I read THE BOY FROM REACTOR 4. I found it for my kindle on Amazon at a great price. THE BOY FROM REACTOR 4 is a suspenseful, action-packed mystery/thriller, which takes the reader from the US to Russia and deals with espionage, murder, and the effects of the Chernobyl disaster.
Nadia Tesler is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, living in NYC. She is contacted by a man who says he knew her deceased father, and she agrees to meet with him. To her horror, he is shot while they are greeting each other and he whispers a somewhat garbled message to her before dying. Nadia takes off a quest to discover what he meant, find a formula worth $10 million, and find out the truth about her family and their legacy. Travelling from the US to the heart of Russia and into Siberia and the Aleutian Islands, this novel’s setting serves as a parallel to the emotions of the criminals and the bleak life for many of the people she meets and comes to know in this book. Action packed and thrilling, the action moves at a non-stop pace right until the last page.
I really enjoyed this novel! I like a good crime/mystery, and this one was easy to read and hard to put down! I’m glad my friend recommended it to me. I would love to see it as a movie, too.
See it on Amazon where I am an Associate:
Check out this clip I found on You Tube with the author discussing the novel:
My readers know that I LOVE Rhys Bowen’s historical cozy mysteries series – especially the Molly Murphy series and the Royal Spyness series. The latest Royal Spyness book – HEIRS AND GRACES – has just come out and I received an ARC from Rhys herself to read and review.
First let me say just how very EXCITED I was to get a book from Ms. Bowen herself and even signed by her! Yeah!! (I follow her on Facebook and she had mentioned having a few if any bloggers wanted one.) Lady Georgie is one of my favorite characters in cozies. She’s so likable and yet so ordinary. She’s clumsy and unsophisticated, and always struggling to make ends meet. Yet she’s intelligent and spunky and keeps the most remarkable company (ex-police officer grand-dad, actress mummy, cousin the Queen of England, etc.). You can’t help liking her and wanting her to be successful!
In this story, Georgie is sent to a friend’s estate to help a new family member adjust to life as a noble. It seems that an heir has been found for the Altringham family: a heretofore unknown son of the son who died in the war. This young man, Jack, has been born and raised in Australia and is now found and coming to “train” so he can eventually claim the title (a bit against his will). The family is in an uproar and the head of house, the very unlikable and unfriendly eldest son and Duke, is giving Jack less than a warm welcome. Then the Duke is found dead with a knife in his back – Jack’s knife. Can Georgie figure out who the killer really is and save the day?
This might be my favorite Georgie title yet! There was no dearth of suspects and even though I figured it all out, the mystery was cleverly plotted. Familiar friends Darcy and Belinda plays their parts as well.
Definitely one to read for those who follow the series – and for those new to the series, too!
See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate, and THANK YOU, Ms. Bowen, for my copy!
I grabbed this book on a whim off Net Galley. If you read me you know I love YA and I have a special spot in my reader’s heart for stories that take place in boarding schools. I’m rather critical of these story lines since I’ve worked in independent schools since the 80′s, and quite honestly, if the administrators were as clueless/useless/evil/unavailable as they usually are portrayed, well, they’d all have gone out of business long ago! I was prepared to not really like this book – to be honest the title put me off – so I was surprised by how much I really enjoyed reading it!
PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, which is the first in a series, starts with protagonist Anne Dowling getting expelled from her toney Manhattan private school for (accidentally) setting a fire. She is shipped off to a New England boarding school in the Boston suburbs where her first order of business is to rearrange the pecking order and get herself to the top of the social hierarchy. Anne’s a tough nut to crack – she’s feisty, tough, and fearless. At the same time, though, she’s sincere and has integrity (which is more that can be said about some other characters). She quickly forms her friends and enemies. Then her roommate goes missing and is found murdered. Anne seems to care more than the administration does about finding Isabella’s killer, so she starts her own “investigation” to figure out how and why Isabella was killed.
I’m a tad embarrassed to admit it, but I couldn’t put this book down. I thought the mystery was cleverly plotted and I liked the character of Anne. I often laughed out loud at her sarcasm and humor. I would have absolutely loved this book when I was in high school. I think Ms. Taylor did well with her independent school portrayal, and I wonder if she maybe attended a school very like Wheatley in real life!
I’m looking forward to the next book in this series which will be out in 2014.
See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate, and thanks, Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for my copy:
I had been reading about Chris Bohjalian’s THE LIGHT IN THE RUINS all over the blogosphere, so I was more than thrilled to score a copy through Net Galley. This is a touching and beautifully written novel that leaves the reader thinking about the characters long after it is over.
THE LIGHT IN THE RUINS takes place in Italy and moves between 1943 and 1955. During WWII, the Rosati family live quietly in their villa. They are a remnant of Italy’s nobleman past and are faring better than the peasants in the area. Caught in the crossfires of the war, they must support and welcome Nazi soldiers into their home; at the same time they must aid and assist partisans in their area. The war is turning and the Germans are getting desperate, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t do their utmost to destroy all they can in their path. The marchese and marchesa are a middle-aged couple. One son is away at war and his wife and two young children are living in the villa with them. Their second son is working as an archeologist. Their eighteen year old daughter Christina lives at the villa, too. Soon she finds herself falling in love for the first time – with a Nazi officer. At the same time, partisans are living in the hills and using the property, including ancient Etruscan tombs, as hideouts. The events converge into a riveting and tragic ultimatum.
Meanwhile, ten years later in 1955, a murder occurs in Rome. It soon becomes apparent that someone is stalking the surviving members of the Rosati family and killing them. Of the police detectives assigned to the case, one is the tough and intrepid Serafina - the first female police officer in her department and a surviving partisan from WWII. Serafina is horribly scarred from the war, in more ways than one. Her involvement with the Rosati case opens up old wounds and memories.
The story is written as switching between 1943/44 and 1955. As it progresses, we hear the full story of WWII for the family, and its tragic events. We follow the events of the murders and try to figure out the murderer. I could not put this book down!
I just loved this book. I found it so well-written and it evoked such strong images of the Tuscan countryside, along with such emotion. The word that comes to mind is heart-breaking. I couldn’t stop thinking about the story and its characters afterwards.
I also loved the choice of title. The “light in the ruins” can be the light in the Etruscan tombs where they hid, or the light that shined through in the aftermath of the devastation of WWII. Or it can be that small light that shined within those who were most damaged by the events of the war.
Brilliant! Buy it! Borrow it! But whatever you do – read it!
Thanks to Doubleday Books and Net Galley for my copy! You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate:
A few weeks ago, Sarah McClain contacted me to ask if I would read and review her new novel FOR RANSOM. It was presented as a Christian suspense mystery, which sounded interesting to me, so I offered to read it.
In FOR RANSOM, eighteen-year-old Hailey Bennett is kidnapped and held for ransom. Her bodyguard and boyfriend, Eli, works to beat the clock in order to find her. Her father is a distant and preoccupied British government official who appears to know more about her abduction than he is letting on. Her mother is sincere and caring and willing to do whatever she can to get Hailey back.
This story read very quickly for me — I finished it in a few hours. The storyline centered around Hailey’s abduction and her rescue. While I liked the characters of Hailey and Eli, and found them plucky and courageous, I had some problems with the other characters. Hailey’s mother Anne was very one dimensional to me. Her father was even more one dimensional – in fact I couldn’t get into his head at all and found him almost a caricature. I would have liked to have seen more development of these two. I think it would have made them more believable to me.
I like the idea of “Christian suspense” as a genre. The main characters of Hailey and Eli had great faith and used it to get them through the hard times. The book could be considered less violent than other mysteries, though I thought it had some pretty serious physical stuff in it. Poor Hailey gotten beaten repeatedly by her captors and I found that disturbing.
I thank Sarah for sending me a galley of her novel. Best of luck with it!
You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate: