The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Book Description:

Published: March 20, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

Review –

OMG!    Five Stars!

This is the best “edge of your seat” book that I have read or listened to in ages.  I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves a great murder mystery that involves the past colliding with the present.

In The Broken Girls, Simone St. James delivers two gothic mysteries for the price of one. The narrative bobs and weaves through time with two sets of characters.

In the contemporary mystery, Fiona searches for definitive proof that Deb’s murderer is in prison. The deeper she digs, the more she realizes everything has not been tied up into a pretty bow. Plenty of dangerous darkness lingers in the present.

Back in 1950, we meet four vastly different girls—haunted Sonia, abandoned CeCe, athletic Roberta, and beautiful Katie—who become closer than sisters through their experiences at Idlewild and their shared brokenness. Mary Hand is a real presence in their lives, but not nearly as terrifying as the traumas they’ve already overcome.

They love one another fiercely. But one of them won’t leave Idlewild Hall alive.

With this dual narrative, the author produces an excellent  mirage, interweaving historical fiction, thriller, gothic horror, and mystery into an incredibly satisfying and cohesive whole. Every character springs vividly from the page. In a predominantly female cast, St. James shuns stereotypes and creates complicated, flawed women who support one another at any cost.

The societal commentary is frequent and biting: how some lives are prioritized over others; corruption in police forces; psychological trauma going untreated, seen more as a weakness and failing than a genuine problem to be fixed; how society has constantly devalued and oppressed women.

Sisterhood is the beating, undying heart of The Broken Girls; without it, crimes go unpunished and the victims remain nameless.

And, of course, we can not leave out the ghost. Mary Hand takes a backseat to the primary plots—she’s more of a signal post, a ghostly emblem of Idlewild and the horrors the girls have already experienced. Yet her moments are perfectly eerie and unsettling, adding a supernatural, psychological flavor to the already bloody tragedies.

By the last page, St. James has gathered up every thread into a solid knot. The Broken Girls is an intense, emotional lament on loss and pain. 

This is my first read by this author, but it will not be my last !!!!!

The Last Time I Saw Her (Dr. Charlotte Stone #4) by Karen Robards

Book Description:

Published: August 25, 2015

In this world, Dr. Charlotte “Charlie” Stone skillfully probes the twisted minds of incarcerated serial killers to better understand what makes them tick, and to help nab those who remain at large. But in the next world, Charlotte’s ghostly lover—convicted killer Michael Garland—is facing death yet again. It seem the only way Charlie can snatch Michael from the jaws of oblivion is by proving his innocence. And this dead man’s dead ringer may just be the key.

A mysterious stranger has turned up in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, and Charlie is shocked to realize he could be Michael Garland’s identical twin. But she suspects the resemblance is only skin deep—and that behind the handsome face may lurk the perverse mind of a killer. While using all her keen profiling gifts, Charlie risks her life to discover the shocking secret that will clear Michael’s name.

Then a breakout at Wallens Ridge State Prison forces Charlie to contend with a sudden swarm of psychopaths bent on spilling blood. No one has a better chance of tracking down the deadly fugitives than Charlie—unless the rampaging killers manage to find her first and make this case her last. But Michael will move heaven and hell—and even make a devil’s bargain—for the chance to save Charlie’s life, and feel her touch once more . . . if only for the final time.

Review –

I decided to read this book chiefly because it was free and I didn’t think I had ever read this author before, so I checked my GoodReads account and lo and behold, I had read Shattered back in 2011, but no other books in this series.

I hadn’t realized it was a series until after I had decided to read it and then it was too late. I always finished a book I start, no matter how long it takes me.

This was the last in the Dr. Charlotte Stone series so I didn’t have any back story but I trudged on through the book, but it was hard.

I found it to be totally out there, very predictable, boring and annoying because of the narrator’s voice. I finally reached the end and had couple of Biscoff cookies to celebrate. 

Don’t waste your time unless you are already invested in this series.

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Book Description:

Published: 1820

Tom Mison, star of the hit Fox series Sleepy Hollow, narrates the classic Washington Irving short story.

In the secluded Dutch territory of Sleepy Hollow, nebbish schoolmaster Ichabod Crane competes with the town hero for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, the 18-year-old daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel’s farm one autumn evening, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, an apparition said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper snuffed out by a stray cannonball during the Revolutionary War.

Review –

This was offered as a free audio book and was perfect for the Halloween season. Loved it.

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Joyland (Hard CaseCrime)by Stephen King

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Book Description

Release date: June 4, 2013 | Series: Hard Case Crime
A STUNNING  NEW NOVEL FROM ONE OF THE BEST-SELLING AUTHORS OF ALL TIME!
Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.
“I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites. I also loved the paperbacks I grew up with as a kid, and for that reason, we’re going to hold off on e-publishing this one for the time being. Joyland will be coming out in paperback, and folks who want to read it will have to buy the actual book.”Stephen King
Review –
Although this book wasn’t a typical Stephen King book, at least to me, it was great.  It’s a great book  to read at the beach or lake cabin or craft room chair (as is my case) because it’s simply a ghostly murder mystery that takes place at an amusement park and what better time to visit an amusement park if not summer.  It’s also about a dying boy who has a profound effect on those around him. I cried when he died and I usually don’t cry when I read a Stephen King novel so that’s another reason that’s it’s not typical. 
This one is a MUST READ for the summer or anytime.

Full Bloom by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes

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Book Description

Publication Date:May 6, 2008
Dear Reader,
The temperature’s on “sizzle” again in Beaumont, South Carolina, where peach trees are in season and ripe for the picking. So is its newest entrepreneur, Annie Fortenberry, who has inherited her grandmother’s B&B (and its eccentric handyman Erdle Thorney). According to a local psychic she also inherited a spirit from its glory days as a brothel-not the kind of publicity the Peach Tree Bed & Breakfast needs if it’s hosting millionaire Max Holt’s upcoming wedding! If rumors of a naughty, prank-playing ghost aren’t stressful enough, a mysterious man has arrived with an eye on Annie and her master suite. Wes Bridges is all leather and denim, sporting a two-day beard, straddling a Harley, and sending the B&B’s testosterone level through the roof. Annie’s cool demeanor may be dropping as fast as Wes’s jeans, but leave it to her missing ex-husband to dampen the passion! Turns out someone has done him in, and all evidence points to Annie! Wrapped up in a murder plot, Annie must find the killer, save her own neck, and get back to where she was-wrapped up in Wes’s strong loving arms…
We guarantee that you’re going to have as much fun reading Full Bloom as we had writing it! (Even if we were surprised by the ending!) And you won’t want to miss the hair-raising shenanigans when Fleas, the hound dog, meets the most cantankerous, snooty, bad-tempered, twenty-two pound orange cat….
Janet and Charlotte
Review-
This is only the second book I’ve read by this author. The first was Manhunt  in May of 2009.  To me they are good as “fluff” reading or listening because you don’t have to think while time passes. After reading The Infection by Craig DiLouie I was ready for something less deadly,menacing, and world ending so I choose this and besides our local public library has a horrible selection of audio books and I didn’t have much choice.
It was a murder mystery mixed with romance and a ghost.  It was pleasant to listen to and I didn’t have to work my brain too hard, which is nice once  in awhile.

The Safe Man:A Ghost Story by Michael Connelly

Book Description

Publication Date:October 23, 2012
Published for the first time under his own name, a dark and haunting story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly
Like his father before him, Brian Holloway is a safe man. That is, his specialty is opening safes. Every job is a little mystery, and he has yet to encounter a lock he can’t break or a box he can’t crack. But the day Holloway gets called in to open a rare, antique safe in a famous author’s library, his skills open a door that should have remained closed.
In this haunting and singular story, previously published anonymously, Michael Connelly proves once again that he is “superb at building suspense…. the reader can never be sure what sudden turns the plot may take” (Wall Street Journal).
Review –
Who knew Michael Connelly could write “ghost stories”?  I loved it and it fits in my favorite genre, horror/spooky.  The story is short and only digital but if you get the chance check it out, especially if you’re a Connelly fan.

The White Devil by Jason Evans

 

Product Description

Set in a four-hundred-year-old boys’ boarding school in London, a chilling gothic thriller by the author of the critically acclaimed A Good and Happy Child . . .

A fierce and jealous ghost . . .

A young man’s fight for his life . . .

The Harrow School is home to privileged adolescents known as much for their distinctive dress and traditions as for their arrogance and schoolboy cruelty. Seventeen-year-old American Andrew Taylor is enrolled in the esteemed British institution by his father, who hopes that the school’s discipline will put some distance between his son and his troubled past in the States.

But trouble—and danger—seem to follow Andrew. When one of his schoolmates and friends dies mysteriously of a severe pulmonary illness, Andrew is blamed and is soon an outcast, spurned by nearly all his peers. And there is the pale, strange boy who begins to visit him at night. Either Andrew is losing his mind, or the house legend about his dormitory being haunted is true.

When the school’s poet-in-residence, Piers Fawkes, is commissioned to write a play about Byron, one of Harrow’s most famous alumni, he casts Andrew in the title role. Andrew begins to discover uncanny links between himself and the renowned poet. In his loneliness and isolation, Andrew becomes obsessed with Lord Byron’s story and the poet’s status not only as a literary genius and infamous seducer but as a student at the very different Harrow of two centuries prior—a place rife with violence, squalor, incurable diseases, and tormented love affairs.

When frightening and tragic events from that long-ago past start to recur in Harrow’s present, and when the dark and deadly specter by whom Andrew’s been haunted seems to be all too real, Andrew is forced to solve a two-hundred-year-old literary mystery that threatens the lives of his friends and his teachers—and, most terrifyingly, his own.

Review –

This story reminds me of a good old fashioned ghost story, only this one has many many sexual undertones. It was a fast read and I enjoyed it very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Shroeder

From the Publisher

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back…

…sort of.

Ava can’t see him or touch him, unless she’s dreaming. She can’t hear hisvoice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she’scrazy, but she knows he’s here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she’d spend the rest of her life with. He’s back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

 

Review-

This is a story of loss, grief, loss and moving on and is written in verse form which makes it a very fast read.  I loved and story and was moved to tears a few time(what else is new).  I liked the author’s style so I think I’ll see what else she has written that I can add to my “to read” list.