Savaged by Mia Sheridan

Book Description:

Published: May 28, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

When wilderness guide, Harper Ward, is summoned to the small town sheriff’s office in Helena Springs, Montana, to provide assistance on a case, she is shocked to find that their only suspect in the double murder investigation is a man described as a savage.

But the longer she watches the man known only as Lucas, on the station surveillance camera, the more intrigued she becomes. He certainly looks primitive with his unkempt appearance and animal skin attire, but she also sees intelligence in his eyes, sensitivity in his expression. Who is he? And how is it possible that he’s lived alone in the forest since he was a small child?

As secrets begin to emerge, Harper is thrust into something bigger and more diabolical than she ever could have imagined. And standing right at the center of it all, is Lucas. But is he truly the wild man he appears to be? A cold blooded killer? An innocent victim? Or a perplexing mix of all three?

Harper must find out the answers to these questions because the more time she spends with him, the more she risks losing her heart.

Review –

Savaged is unlike any other Mia Sheridan’s that I have read so far! It is rather a crime/mystery mixed with romance.

The opening scene begins in the night somewhere above a cliff where four little boys will be abruptly thrown into empty air with a question: Will you die today?
These four kids were obviously kidnapped and we’ll learn later that they were part of a sick scheme.

Throughout the story we will follow one of them Jack forced to do unspeakable things to survive, totally alone for years in the Montana’s wilderness.

Why was he thrown into this life? Who is he? Why him? To whatever ends?Round and round these questions circled my mind while my heart broke so many times for that abandoned little boy.

Go back to present time on a crime scene.
The small town of Helena Springs has seen two murders by arrow in a few days and the person of interest is Lucas. A man looking like a caveman who happened to be close to the last crime scene.
Mark Gallagher freshly arrived from California is tasked with elucidating the crime. He’ll enroll Harper a local nature guide.

When Harper meets Lucas their connection is immediate. She just has to know that savage man who seems connected to her parents death years ago.

All these plot lines entertwine going from past to present and back again to form an intriguing story with the horror of what happened to these kids as a constant background.

This is a story of survival and resilience.
This is a story of madness and evil.
This is a story of new beginnings and hope.
This is a story of love and meeting your soul mate. That perfect someone who will love you whole animal and man alike.

Five stars !

 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Book Description:

Published: August 26, 2014

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam–a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion–a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant.

“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . .”

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office–leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist–an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand–and fear–the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

Review-

“Jessie Burton’s debut novel, The Miniaturist, begins like many a Gothic mystery before it: An 18-year-old virgin arrives in a strange place, on the doorstep of a great house where she has been invited but does not feel welcomed.

However, the time is not the 19th century, and the place is not a British lord’s brooding manor on the moor. Instead, it’s the autumn of 1686 in Amsterdam, a city then in its Golden Age and a powerful center of world trade.

The Miniaturist is set in much the same world as Tracy Chevalier’s best-selling Girl With a Pearl Earring, a story placed two decades earlier in another 17th-century Dutch city, Delft. But Johannes Brandt, the man at the center of The Miniaturist, is even more of a mystery than the Johannes Vermeer of Chevalier’s story.

When The Miniaturist begins, no Gothic courtship awaits us, for Johannes already has legally married Petronella “Nella” Oortman, a girl from an ancient but impoverished family in another town. Johannes is 20 years Nella’s senior, “a true Methuselah” in her opinion. Still, he’s a wealthy merchant in Amsterdam, a supremely eligible bachelor and even reasonably handsome, making him quite the catch in a world where marriage is the only real option for a Dutch girl of good family.

So the marriage is accomplished, but it has yet to be consummated. Nella arrives in Amsterdam on the Brandts’ second-best barge, alone but for her beloved pet, a little green bird in a cage. The Brandts’ nine-room house, on the prestigious Herengracht canal, contains no husband to greet Nella. Instead, she is met by her haughty sister-in-law, Marin, a saucy maidservant named Cornelia and Johannes’ manservant, Otto — he is a former slave and the first African Nella has ever seen.

When Johannes finally appears, he is kind to Nella, telling her that she has nothing to fear from him. But he’s in no noticeable hurry to bed his young bride. He is an important man, a shrewd, bold merchant sailor whose business might as well be his mistress. In this, Johannes seems not so different from other Amsterdammers, devout Protestants who preach humility but prize wealth and consider business the lifeblood of the city. It’s a place where Joel Osteen’s prosperity gospel would fit right in.

Johannes’ wedding gift to Nella is a huge cabinet containing a sort of dollhouse, an amazing miniature version of their own house. “The accuracy of the cabinet is eerie, as if the real house has been shrunk, its body sliced in two and its organs revealed,” Burton writes. Marin is horrified that her brother has spent 3,000 guilders on it; Nella, while touched by Johannes’ generosity, is perplexed.

Back in her hometown, “Nella had known children who’d been given cabinet houses, but none so grand as this. … Her heart sinks. I am too old for this, she thinks.” The cabinet house, meant for a child to practice housekeeping, “is a monument to her powerlessness, her arrested womanhood. It’s your house, her husband had said, but who can live in tiny rooms, these nine dead ends? What sort of man buys a gift like this, however majestic its casing, however beautifully made?”

Johannes is never cruel, but Nella “wants love,” as her mother used to say mockingly. “She wants the peaches and the cream.” Lacking the lagniappe of romance, Nella becomes obsessed with her cabinet house, ordering tiny accessories and furnishings from the only miniaturist in Amsterdam. Though this mysterious craftsman avoids meeting her, Nella is both enchanted and mystified by the exquisitely worked objects that arrive in each delivery from the miniaturist.

Who is the Kalverstraat artisan who knows every secret of the Brandt household? More importantly, how will those secrets be exposed? For when they are, they tear the Brandts’ lives apart as surely as if the Zuiderzee had once again rushed in and flooded their world.

In The Miniaturist, Burton uses a historical object — the real Petronella Oortman’s cabinet house in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum — as the springboard for a fantastically spun tale of love and mystery. It’s a story that astutely reflects our own age’s obsessions and prejudices, and it’s one not to be missed.” dallas news.com

A wonderfully enjoyable story!

 

 

 

The Witches’ Tree (Agatha Raisin #28) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: October 3, 2017

Format: E-Book/OverDrive

Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead—and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered—and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds—a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation—and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn’t make her feel any better…

Review –

Another quirky murder mystery involving  the aging, unmarried, chubby, woman with small bear like eyes, Agatha Raisin. I have felt sorry for Agatha in past books but this one takes the cake. In between looking for clues to solve numerous murders she always has her eye out for a new man and a new romance.  Sir Charles Fraith, her old friend, comes in and out of her life and  uses her for sex when he fancies and Agatha, looking for a man’s comfort allows herself to be used. 

The murders seems to be secondary to Agatha’s plight for a new man and that’s sad. She does solve the crimes, with help and still ends up unhappy at the end.

The author needs to do something in the next book to turn Agatha around and into the confident woman she once was or I’m afraid her following is going to drastically dwindle.

I’m a huge fan so I will continue to read the next when it comes out but fingers crossed that the author sees the light!

The Tale of the Body Thief (The Vampire Chronicles #4) by Anne Rice

Book Description:

Published: October 4, 1992

At the beginning of the story, Lestat grows depressed and becomes remorseful because of his vampiric nature. Although he tries to limit his victims to murderers, serial killers and other criminals, he nonetheless caves into temptation once in a while and kills an “innocent” or someone who he feels does not necessarily deserve to die. Lestat also suffers from constant nightmares concerning his late “daughter,” Claudia, for whose death he blames himself.

The “coven” of vampires formed at the end of The Queen of the Damned has long since broken up, and Lestat has become extremely lonely. Among his only remaining friends is the mortal head of the Talamasca Caste, David Talbot, who is seventy-four years old. Although Lestat has repeatedly offered David the Dark Gift, David has always refused to become a vampire and keep Lestat company through eternity. Lonely and depressed, Lestat goes to the Gobi desert at dawn in a half-hearted suicide attempt. When he does not die, he goes to David’s home in England to heal.

A mysterious figure, Raglan James—the eponymous “Body Thief” of the story—approaches Lestat with what seems to be a cure for his ennui and depression. James sends Lestat several messages hinting that he has the ability to switch bodies. Eventually, he proposes to Lestat that the two of them trade bodies for a day. Against the advice of other vampires and David Talbot, Lestat jumps at the opportunity. Unfortunately, James has no intention of ever switching back, and Lestat is forced to scheme to regain his body.

Lestat nearly dies after becoming human again—his new body is wracked by pneumonia, which he ignores during a tour ofWashington D.C. in the middle of winter. He is saved by the care of a nun named Gretchen. He enjoys a short love affair with Gretchen before she returns to South America, where she works in a convent, and Lestat sets out in search of his body.

Lestat seeks help from other vampires but is completely ostracized by them. Marius is extremely angry at him for leaving such a powerful body to a thief and refuses to help him. Likewise Louis turns him away when he asks Louis to make his new body into a vampire, arguing that Lestat ought to be happy to be human again and also calls him out on his previous writings, accusing him of altering his actual past in favor of one that portrays him heroically. Lestat’s only ally is David Talbot.

Drawing from the Talamasca’s resources on the supernatural, Talbot reveals that James was a gifted psychic who once joined the order, but was kicked out for constant theft. He is a kleptomaniac who enjoys stealing for the thrill of it — it is revealed that every single thing he owns, from his house to his body, was stolen or schemed for. However, he also has major psychological problems, and his life is a series of cycles — he gets rich by theft, then often ends up in prison. Dying of cancer several years before, James tricked the inmate of a mental institution into switching bodies with him, allowing him a type of immortality.

It is James’ lack of imagination and petty thievery that allow Talbot and Lestat to track him down. Despite his newfound wealth and powerful new body, James continues to steal jewelry from people. He also makes a conspicuous show of his wealth, boarding the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, and draining victims of their blood along the ship’s path. The pattern allows his pursuers to easily find him.

On the cruise ship, Lestat manages to regain his body with David’s help, but the sun is rising as he performs the switch and he must immediately flee to a safe place in which to spend the day. When he awakes in the evening he finds that both James and Talbot have disappeared.

Lestat finds David in Florida and is surprised to find that his friend, despite his earlier protestations, now wants to become a vampire. However, while taking his blood, Lestat discovers a final trick — when forced out of Lestat’s body, James took over Talbot’s body instead of returning to his own. Lestat angrily attacks James, crushing his skull. The blow proves fatal—the injury damages James’ brain and prevents him from leaving the dying body or trying to switch bodies before his current one dies.

At this point, Tale of the Body Thief reaches a false ending. Raglan James is dead. David has begun to enjoy life in his new, young body. Lestat returns to New Orleans, reunites with Louis, and begins to renovate his old house in the French Quarter. Above all, Lestat claims that he has finally come to accept his vampiric nature. However, Lestat then warns readers not to continue if they are happy with this ending.

Lestat then resumes the narrative, claiming that he has regained his “evil” nature. A few weeks later after reuniting with Louis, Lestat decides to make Talbot into a vampire against his wishes, and despite the role Talbot played in saving his life when everyone else abandoned him. Before engaging in the transformation, Lestat asks David if he’s ever had any luck with having physical affairs. David admits that he’s had a few, but not with much luck. Lestat then tells David what he’s about to do to him and tells him that he’s going to bring him over to him. Thus, indicating that Lestat is not playing around this time and that he really is going to do it. Lestat tells David that he won’t let him die and that he’s the only real friend that David has in this world. During the first part of David’s transformation, he at first he strongly resists Lestat’s domineering, assaultive and verbal advances despite Lestat’s warning not to fight him, but after a while he succumbs. Secretly though, Lestat really loves David fighting him. As this is happening, Lestat lets the readers in on his real emotions for David by thinking of David as having this scrumptious body with a very beautiful mind for ‘his’ beautiful friend and as ‘his’ beloved David. Also during the first part Lestat asks David if he loves him. Soon after David admits his love for Lestat and Lestat says that he feels the same way for David. After having immortality forced upon him, David disappears again. Lestat looks for him for a while, but upon having no luck he gives up and returns to New Orleans where to his surprise he finds that David has already contacted Louis.

David explains to Lestat that, in secret, this is what he always truly wanted. He tells Lestat that he is no longer angry with him, although he does usurp Lestat’s position of leadership, despite the latters’ protests. Having gotten rid of his old age, and now being immortal, David plans to visit Rio de Janeiro with Louis, and asks Lestat to join him. At the end, Lestat also realizes that, despite all that happened, he is still alone, has failed to regain his “humanity,” and has thrown away his only chance to make amends for his past misdeeds. (from Wikipedia)

Review –

Loved it but at times it seems to bog down in details, but I think that’s pretty common for the author. Very lengthy but if you like the vampire genre I recommend you add this to your “to be read” list.

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Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Book Description

September 23, 2014

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

Review –
Two days into the new year and I have read my first five-star rated book. *****
I had the audio version of the book and the narration was done by multiple readers, which made it like listening to a play. The Walkers are a dysfunctional family and are back to bury the father/husband of the family and the two ghosts of the house are not at all mentally balanced and throw in a run-away and a third ghost and you have the makings of a dramatic ending to say the least. I loved it beginning to end and I highly recommend it.
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Emissary by Jonathan Davison

Book Description

May 4, 2012
When Dr Trehearn Culver is awoken from cryogenic stasis only to find the rest of his colleagues have mysteriously died, he becomes the sole survivor aboard the ‘Emissary’, a vast star ship on a mission to colonise a far off planet. Battling his solitude and compelled to carry on his mission to appease his only companion, Adraste, the ship’s ‘thinking computer’, Trehearn travels down a road of scientific research and ethically questionable experimentation.
Believing himself to be the only hope of rekindling his species that have reduced themselves to near destruction, Trehearn’s genial aptitude and tireless efforts look to have achieved the impossible, but then even the best laid plans can be doomed for failure.

Review –
I enjoyed the first half of this story the most and didn’t see the twist coming so that made it even better. This is a first-rate piece of Science Fiction and shows the relationship between humans and a thinking computer.  Well worth the read,
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Young Sherlock Holmes-Death Cloud- by Andrew Lane

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Book Description

Publication Date:February 1, 2011
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.
Review –
Again, this was a free audiobook which I listened to on my Ipad,
I didn’t know if I would like it because in my mind I pictured the actor that played Sherlock Holmes in the old classic movies, which I love, Basil Rathbone, only young. That image didn’t work for me so I went with the one on the book cover. 
It’s a great story of mystery, loneliness,new friendships,a mentor, a blush of romance, and of course Sherlock, with a bit of help, solves the crime.
Looking forward to following the series in the New Year.
Review –

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

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Book Description

Publication Date: 1954
Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left.
I Am Legend was a major influence in horror and brought a whole new thematic concept to apocalyptic literature. Several humanistic and emotional themes in this book blend the horror genre with traditional fiction: we see Neville as an emotional person, and observe as he suffers bouts of depression, dips into alcoholism and picks up his strength again to fight the vampiric bacteria that has infected (and killed off) most of humankind. Neville soon meets a woman, Ruth, (after three years alone), who seems to be uninfected and a lone survivor. The two become close and he learns from Ruth that the infected have learned to fight the disease and can spend short amounts of time in the daylight, slowly rebuilding strength and society as it was.
The novel was adapted to film in 1964 as The Last Man on Earth, as Omega Man in 1971 and finally as I am Legend in 2007, starring Will Smith.
Review –
The movie, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH,starring Vincent Price, has always been a favorite of mine and so I thought I’d read the book to see if the movie stayed true to the written words.  It did, for about 95% of the movie and you can’t say that about the other movies that were made from the same book, especially the OMEGA MAN.  I was very pleased.
Review –

You by Charles Benoit

From Booklist

Fifteen-year-old Kyle is a member of the “hoodies.” So named for their ubiquitous hooded sweatshirts, they are the slackers/burnouts/freaks common to every high school. In fact, Kyle would be the first to admit his commonness—he gets picked on by bullies, he serves detention, he pines after a girl. The deadness he feels is impinged upon by the arrival of Zack, a private-academy transfer who wears sports coats, quotes philosophers, laughs at Shakespeare, and seems to have every student and teacher in the palm of his hand. Zack takes on Kyle as a sort of project, but his swank parties and daring escapades soon turn to deeds far darker. Benoit’s stylistic gamble here is the use of the second person—you, the reader, are Kyle. The gimmickry of it quickly fades; in fact, the reader identification helps fill in the gaps of an otherwise watery protagonist. Zack is a theatrical, Iago-like villain, and he makes a great foil to Kyle’s antihero in their twisted relationship. This is a brutal, fast, and satisfying read. Grades 8-12. –Daniel Kraus

Review –

This is another book given to me to read by my daughter whose passion is young adult literature.

This one gave me a bad feeling from the very first page.  I normally don’t read depressing books and lately that’s all I’ve read. Again, like the books before this one, the ending leaves you hanging so you’ll have to use your imagination.  I lean toward the “happy ever after ending” but it’s hard to find in my latest choices of literature.

Enough of depression.  I’m going back to happier stories after this one.

 

By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

Product Description

Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she’s determined to get her death right.  She starts visiting a website for “completers”— http://www.through-the-light .com. 

While she’s on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten.  When she’s not on the Web, Daelyn’s at her private school, where she’s known as the freak who doesn’t talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she’s waiting to for her parents to pick her up.  Even though she’s made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won’t give up.  And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life…isn’t it?

National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters shines a light on how bullying can push young people to the very edge.  

Review –

 
This is not a book I would have normally chosen to read but it was given to me by my daughter whose passion is Young Adult Literature.
 
The story was just too depressing for me and I don’t recommend it for immature young teens. I had a problem with the ending because I like it spelled out not left to your imagination.  I always imagine a happy ending or at least one that isn’t so depressing or sad.
 Parents should read this and be mindful of the signs of  depression and thoughts of suicide.  It may help save a childs life.