Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Friday, October 22, 2021
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Monday, October 18, 2021
Friday, October 15, 2021
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
WWII books are all the rage right now. Rader-Day has come up with a unique and different take on this genre.
I was immediately intrigued when I read this descriptor from Harper Audio: "...a captivating suspense novel about nurses during World War II who come to Agatha Christie’s holiday estate to care for evacuated children, but when a body is discovered nearby, the idyllic setting becomes host to a deadly mystery."
I know what you're thinking - and of course I had to know. Christie did own a home called Greenway. And yes, children from London were evacuated to Greenway. There were two nurses to look after the children - and here's where Rader-Day makes the story her own. (Note that Christie's involvement in this book is very minor)
Bridey made a horrible mistake in her former hospital setting and has been terminated from her nurse trainee program. She is determined to make this posting a success, so she may reapply. But she hasn't shared that information with her employers. The other nurse is Gigi and she seems as lackadaisical as Bridey is devoted. She too seems to be harboring secrets.
They're an odd pairing and Bridey is fascinated by Gigi. As a listener, I had my suspicions about her. Rader-Day slowly ekes out details about each woman's life, weaving a wide net that slowly grows smaller. When a body washes up on the shore near the house, it's deemed a murder, not a war casualty. And suspicions grow...
Rader-Day tells the story from not just Bridey and Gigi, but also from others living in the house - the nurses' employers, the Arbothnots, the butler and his wife and even one of the children. There are other village residents that make appearances and there was more than one I was suspicious of as well. The atmosphere is worthy of a Christie book, even more as we hear from those different points of view.
The mystery of the dead body is only one facet of a multi-layered story. Rader-Day provides lots of twists and turns on the way to the final chapters. And while I had guessed correctly at some of the outcomes, I was happily surprised by the others. Subplots include searching for a sense of self, relationships and friendships.
I chose to listen to Death at Greenway. The reader was Moira Quirk and she was an excellent choice. She created the perfect voices for each character and it was very easy to identify who was speaking. Bridey's starts off somewhat hesitant and unsure, but grows as the book progresses and she becomes more confident. Gigi's voice had a rich accent, dripping with ennui. When Gigi wants or needs something or someone, she uses her voice and her words to manipulate situations and people - and Quirk does a great job of bringing that to life. Quirk infuses each voice with lots of inflection. The voice for Mr. Arbuthnot, a self centered blowhard, is spot on. Mrs. Arbuthnot's supercilious tones aptly capture her high self regard. Quirk's speed of speaking is just right, she's easy to understand, has a lovely accent and enunciates clearly. I'm always amazed who a conversation is carried out between two or more characters by one reader. Quirk never misses and I would swear I was listening to more than one person. Quirk interpreted Rader-Day's work very well and turned in an excellent performance. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Death at Greenway.
Monday, October 11, 2021
This latest is a stand alone. And it's also the perfect read for a dreary, rainy day.
Kinsella always creates a lovable lead character. In this case, its Effie. Now, she is an adult, but when you find out your parents are divorcing and everything you remember about your childhood may not be true, and your cherished family home is up for sale, well, it's devastating. How can her brother and sister be so accepting of their father's new girlfriend Krista? When Krista decides to throw one last party at Greenoaks, Effie doesn't receive an invitation. But, that's not going to stop her from attending....
And this is how it begins - Effie sneaks onto the grounds, into the house, hides in cupboards, attics and most spectacularly - underneath the dining room table. I totally remember hiding under a table as a youngster, hidden by a long tablecloth! I laughed out loud so many times while reading The Party Crasher.
So, with all the creeping about, Effie hears her own name being mentioned - more than once. Her clandestine skulking offers up a different picture than she had painted for herself. Or does it?
At it's heart, The Party Crasher is all about families and friends - the good, the bad and the ugly. Kinsella explores those relationships with humor, candor and wit. Indeed, I'm sure each reader will find something or someone that they can identify with. And it wouldn't be a Kinsella novel without some romance! There's a lovely will they, won't they storyline that is written just right.
The Party Crasher was perfect escapist, laugh out loud, heartwarming read sprinkled with some truths we can all identify with. See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Party Crasher.
Thursday, October 7, 2021
The premise? From Flatiron Books:
"It's been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she's wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven--free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja's boss--kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can't seem to refuse.
The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer..."
Sleepless opens with a letter - the sender or recipient are not named. The letters continue throughout the book offering up a look at the past of the writer. I always enjoy epistolary entries in a book.
The time frames of Sleepless goes back and forth from chapter to chapter. Nadja's entries always have her name, but the other timeframes are identified only by date. A myriad of players populate these chapters.
I found it impossible to connect with the lead character Nadja. I felt like I should because of her past, but she makes impossibly foolish decisions over and over again. There's another character called Nelly who appears at the beginning of the book in a past timeframe. Her I liked. As the book progressed I wondered how her story and Nadja would connect by the end of the book. But that connection ended up being only marginal and I questioned her even being in the book. Same goes for her counterpart Paul. He too only has a tangential connection with the main plot. Without saying too much, the epilogue was an odd add-on.
I liked Hausmann's premise, but felt the execution was lacking for me. The jumping timelines, the twists that defied belief and the disjointed feeling overall. I really had higher hopes for Sleepless based on Dear Child. I'm sorry to say this one was a bit of a disappointment for me. See what others thought on Goodreads.
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Monday, October 4, 2021
"She met him through a dating app." That little sentence opens up a wealth of directions for a book to go...
Wren seems to have it all - and on the surface she does. When she meets Adam she thinks she's found the one. Until the day he leaves her with one last text and disappears. She's been ghosted. Instead of saying good riddance, Wren is determined to find him. Someone else is also looking for Adam - a private investigator looking for Adam's last girlfriend as she's gone missing...
I liked the premise, liked Wren, liked the PI and the possibilities Unger's plot held. Wren has a secret in her past and I really wanted to know what it was. She revealed it to Adam right before he left, but the reader has no idea what it is. Roughly halfway through the book Unger takes us back to Wren's childhood and we relive her past. Unger has come up with a background that also offers up lots of possibilities.
As the book heads towards the final pages and resolution, that initial 'I'm behind you Wren' feeling started to dissipate for me. She made some choices that I had a hard time with and honestly couldn't believe anyone would make. The ending was a bit too much and tied up a bit too pretty for me.
Unger is a talented writer and I will be picking up her next book. Last Girl Ghosted was good, but not great for this reader.
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
But I have to say, my absolute favorite recurring character of hers, is Hercule Poirot. I love his style, mannerisms, dialogue, idiosyncrasies - and those "little gray cells" that drive the investigations. I always have enjoyed the deductions, the piecing together, the reasoning, the seemingly innocuous clue tucked into a sentence somewhere along the way. Christie was a clever, clever writer.
Now I'm not much of a short story reader. But! When I saw that Harper Audio had released Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories, an audiobook of 50+ Poirot stories, I knew I wanted to listen. There's 35 hours of listening just waiting for you! Most are just 30ish minutes long, but there are some longer novellas as well. The length of the short stories were perfect - eating lunch, waiting rooms, while crafting and those nights when I can't sleep. There's much satisfaction in having a case presented and solved in thirty minutes. There were some familiar cases and some I'd never read. But each and every one was a treasure.
Now, the real reason I wanted to listen - David Suchet is one of the readers! There have been many actors that have portrayed Poirot, but he is the best in my opinion. Suchet portrayed Poirot for twenty five years! Hearing his voice immediately evoked a strong mental image of the character. And knowing the voice drew me right into the stories. Suchet brings Poirot to life with his voice. He captures Christie's work easily, changing the tone, tenor and emphasis as the plot progresses. Now, as excited as I was about Suchet, I was just as excited to find that Hugh Fraser was also a narrator. Fraser played Captain Arthur Hasting, Poirot's sidekick. Again, a familiar voice was like settling in with old friends to hear a tale. Nigel Hawthorne and Isla Blair rounded out the cast. Excellent performances all round. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
What's it about? From She Writes Press:
"In Joanna FitzPatrick’s charming and gripping new novel, set in 1924, Sarah Cunningham arrives in Carmel-by-the-Sea from Paris to bury her estranged older sister, Ada Belle. En route, Sarah was stunned to learn that Ada Belle’s death had been categorized as a suicide. The inquest’s verdict makes no sense. Ada Belle’s reputation was growing: her plein air paintings regularly sold out, and she was about to show her portraits for the first time, which would have catapulted her career.
What begins as a short trip to bid Ada Belle adieu turns into a protracted stay for Sarah. She puts her own artistic career on hold and, trailed by Ada Belle’s devoted dog, Albert, becomes a secret sleuth—a task made harder by the misogyny and racism she discovers in this seemingly idyllic locale. From the posh Hotel del Monte to the windswept sands of Carmel Beach to Robinson Jeffers’s Tor House to Point Lobos’s Whalers Cove, The Sarah immerses herself in the women’s artist colony to discover Ada Belle’s secrets - and to expose a killer.
Part mystery, part historical fiction, this engrossing novel celebrates the artistic talents of early women painters, the deep bonds of sisterhood, the muse that is beautiful scenery, and the dogged determination of one young woman to discover the truth, to protect an artistic legacy, and to give her sister the farewell she deserves."
"FitzPatrick keeps the pot stirred nicely, with revelations popping up like whack-a-mole. There is also a nice sense of scene, capturing this idyllic place on the Monterey peninsula. . . . The Artist Colony delivers an escape to gorgeous Carmel and an engaging mystery."--- Kirkus Reviews
|Cr: Michelle Magdalena|