The Fever by Megan Abbott

Book Description:

Published: June 17, 2014

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot’s reputation as “one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation” (Laura Lippman).

Review –

I’m assuming this is a YA book (I need to do more checking) but the language and some discussions between characters seem inappropriate for young teen readers. That being said, I, not a young teen, loved this book and it was the first time I had read or as in this case listened to anything by Megan Abbott.

It looks like the author is a writer of contemporary thrillers but I don’t know if that is how I would classify this book. It’s exciting, puzzling, fast paced and deals with the complicated friendships of adolescent girls.

I couldn’t stop listening once I started and was totally hooked and bought into the premise that a horrific epidemic was causing the girls to fall sick and become debilitated. to find out the true cause you’ll have to read it yourself.

I loved it and will definitely be looking for more of her books.

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Killer (Alex Delaware #29) by Jonathan Kellerman

Book Description:

Published: February 11, 2014

The City of Angels has more than its share of psychopaths, and no one recognizes that more acutely than the brilliant psychologist and police consultant Dr. Alex Delaware. Despite that, Constance Sykes, a sophisticated, successful physician, hardly seems like someone Alex needs to fear. Then, at the behest of the court, he becomes embroiled in a bizarre child custody dispute initiated by Connie against her sister and begins to realize that there is much about the siblings he has failed to comprehend. And when the court battle between the Sykes sisters erupts into cold, calculating murder and a rapidly growing number of victims, Alex knows he’s been snared in a toxic web of pathology.

Nothing would please Alex more than to be free of the ugly spectacle known as Sykes v. Sykes. But then the little girl at the center of the vicious dispute disappears and Alex knows he must work with longtime friend Detective Milo Sturgis, braving an obstacle course of Hollywood washouts, gangbangers, and self-serving jurists in order to save an innocent life.

Review –

Next to Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch character Alex Delaware is a favorite of mine and I was excited to listen to this book. Some of the reviews I read said it didn’t live up to the standards of earlier books but I don’t let reviews influence my judgement one wy or another so I’m here to tell you-this is a great piece of writing!

Alex goes back to his roots as a child psychologist to assist in a child custody battle between the mother of a six-teen month old and her rich sister. What starts out as a court case ends up in a murder investigation and involves several minor characters. It was a twist I didn’t see coming.  I loved it!

If you’ve never read any of the Alex Delaware series please do but read them in order.  This one is number twenty-nine.  You won’t be sorry.

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I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Book Description:

Published: September 16,2014

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This is a beautifully written young adult coming of age novel that has so much happening so here are so highlights:

  • Noah and Jude Sweetwine are identical twins and the book follows them from ages  13, 14, and 16. Noah and Jude live on the California coast in the town of Lost Cove with their parents, Benjamin, a conservative science professor, and Dianna, a liberal art professor. 
  • Their home environment is stable and they are taught love of knowledge, art, reason and emotion.
  • Their mother insists they both apply to a private high school, the California School of the Arts. Noah and Jude get along very well together, and do everything together, until they are 13.
  • When they turn 13, differences between them become apparent. Noah positions himself as the better artist of the siblings (and as his mother’s favorite), the more rational of the siblings, and is secretly gay. To prepare for acceptance into CSA, Noah spends his summer sketching nudes through the school’s windows, where he meets an English model named Oscar. 
  • Jude, herself far more emotional and feeling, falls in with a popular crowd of girls who are more interested in makeup and skimpy clothing than anything else.
  • Things are further complicated by the appearance of a new kid, Brian, whom Noah quickly develops a crush on, though they keep their feelings for each other quiet. Brian and Noah both pretend to be straight, and later have a falling out when Noah cannot accept Brian’s charade.
  • The sky comes crashing down for both Noah and Jude when they learn their mother is having an affair, and she intends to leave their father.
  • When they are 14, their mother prepares to serve Benjamin with divorce papers, only to lose control of her car after a rainstorm, and plummet to her death off a cliff.
  • Both twins reel from the loss. Noah lies and tells his father and sister that Dianna was actually on the way to make things right with Benjamin when she died. Jude, long feeling invisible compared to Noah, only mails her application to CSA when her father requests she mail both hers, and her brother’s.
  • When they are 16, Noah is attending the local public high school while Jude attends CSA. She cannot get her sculptures right, and so is sent out to mentor with famed sculptor Guillermo Garcia. Guillermo himself is reeling from heartache. He also mentors to 19-year-old Oscar, whom is heartbroken years after the death of his own mother. Oscar and Jude take an instant liking to one another, and Jude later learns that Guillermo is the one who was having an affair with her mother, something for which she forgives him.
  • Meanwhile, Noah has been making dangerous dives from the rocky coastal cliffs near Lost Cove, believing that his mother’s ghost guides him down into the ocean to safety. While attempting one such jump while drunk, it is Oscar who saves Noah. Oscar and Jude soon after become an item. 
  • As the novel ends, both twins confess the truth to each other – about their mother and CSA – and reconnect. Noah, Jude, and their father decide to sell their house and live on a houseboat. Noah comes out as gay, and begins officially dating Brian – something acknowledged and accepted by Benjamin.

Phenomenal book!!!!!!

Five stars *****

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Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure (Aunt Dimity Mystery #21) by Nancy Atherton

Book Description:

Published: May 24, 2016

While exploring the attic in her cottage near the small English village of Finch, Lori Shepherd makes an extraordinary discovery: a gold and silver bracelet inlaid with gleaming garnets, which she quickly learns belonged to Aunt Dimity. When Lori brings news of the garnet bracelet to Aunt Dimity, it awakens poignant memories of a doomed romance in Aunt Dimity’s past. Regretfully, Aunt Dimity asks Lori to do what she could not bring herself to do—return the bracelet to her unsuccessful suitor or to his rightful heir.

In the meantime, a new family has moved to Finch. The villagers are thrilled because their new neighbors are avid metal detectorists. Metal detectors soon become all the rage in Finch and the villagers unearth a lot of rubbish (some of it quite embarrassing) before one of them stumbles upon a real treasure—an ancient hoard of priceless gold and silver artifacts.

The artifacts look strangely familiar to Lori. She begins to suspect that the villager isn’t the only person who’s stumbled upon the hoard. Did Aunt Dimity’s suitor get there first? If he took the garnet bracelet from the hoard, what else might he have taken? Was Aunt Dimity’s long-lost love a common thief? If so, who is his rightful heir? As Lori searches for answers, she discovers an unexpected link between the buried treasure in the village and the treasure buried in Aunt Dimity’s heart.

Review –

If you love cozy mysteries, you should really read the Aunt Dimity Mystery Series, and in order. Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference in which order a series is read but this one follows the characters from the beginning with the discovery of an unexpected inheritance by a woman Lori didn’t even know, to how Lori met the man she would marry and their  life in the quaint village of Finch in England. There is a natural progression in the lives of all the characters involved  and the reading is easy and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

I love this book just as much as the others and look forward to the next one.

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The Leopard (Harry Hole #8) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: 2009

In the depths of winter, a killer stalks the city streets. His victims are two young women, both found with twenty-four inexplicable puncture wounds, both drowned in their own blood. The crime scenes offer no clues, the media is reaching fever pitch, and the police are running out of options. There is only one man who can help them, and he doesn’t want to be found. Deeply traumatized by The Snowman investigation, which threatened the lives of those he holds most dear, Inspector Harry Hole has lost himself in the squalor of Hong Kong’s opium dens. But with his father seriously ill in hospital, Harry reluctantly agrees to return to Oslo. He has no intention of working on the case, but his instinct takes over when a third victim is found brutally murdered in a city park.

The victims appear completely unconnected to one another, but it’s not long before Harry makes a discovery: the women all spent the night in an isolated mountain hostel. And someone is picking off the guests one by one. A heart-stopping thriller from the bestselling author of the The Snowman, The Leopard is an international phenomenon that will grip you until the final page.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

The first thing that I noticed about this book was the length, it is longer that most of the other Harry Hole books I have read, and secondly, there is much more violence.

Here is the book in a nut shell:

  • Following the traumatic events of the previous novel, The Snowman, former police inspector Harry Hole has exiled himself in Hong Kong and frequents the Opium Dens.
  • Kaja Solness, a new Norwegian Crime Squad officer, tracks down Hole and asks for his help in investigating a series of possible serial murders in Oslo.
  • Solness convinces Hole to return when she tells him that his father, Olav, is seriously ill and will not live much longer.
  • Harry returns to the Crime Squad unit to find it engaged in a power struggle with Kripos—Norway’s national crime investigation unit that investigates organized and serious crime. Its power-hungry head, Mikael Bellman, seeks to have all Norwegian murder investigations placed under his agency’s jurisdiction. From the very moment of landing in Norway, Hole finds himself the target of Bellman’s hostility—though the head of Kripos is not averse to obtaining the results of Hole’s investigation and taking credit for them.
  • Hole and Solness discover that all three victims had stayed at the same ski lodge some time previously, all on the same night. Harry deduces that the murders are part of the killer’s attempts to cover up his trail. Suspicion initially falls on a man known to have been at the ski lodge at the time, but he is eliminated from the enquiry when it is discovered that he has been murdered by the killer.
  • Following a discussion with The Snowman, from his previous case, Harry believes that the murderer is someone whom he knows and who has become close to him. This person is arrested but, unfortunately, Harry’s instincts are proven wrong. It is then discovered that the real killer has fled to the Congo, where Harry and Solness pursue the killer. There Harry—and separately Solness—are kidnapped by associates of the killer. Harry manages to escape and, following clues given by one of the killer’s associates, finally confronts and kills the murderer at the lip of a live volcano.
  • Later, at the funeral of his father, Harry spots his former lover, Rakel, and her son, Oleg, who have fled from Norway following the events of The Snowman murders. At this short meeting, Harry manages to confirm that they are happy away from Norway. It becomes apparent that Rakel is the one great love of Harry’s life—that no other woman can truly replace her, and that Kaja’s deep love for Harry and her aspiration to build a life together with him are doomed to failure and to heartbreak.
  • Harry returns to see The Snowman, who is gravely ill and who feels some remorse for his crimes. It is tacitly suggested that Harry helps The Snowman to commit suicide out of remorse for having failed to follow his father’s request for him to perform euthanasia.
  • By the end of the novel, Harry has accumulated many new traumatic memories and haunting “ghosts”—having been very near death several time. He mutilated his own face to get free of the killer’s fiendish trap. He shot an African mercenary who turned out to be a young boy. He twice saved Kaja’s life by ruthlessly sacrificing somebody else’s: during an avalanche, while resuscitating Kaja, he allows another police officer to suffocate to death and, at the final showdown in Africa, while shooting down the murderer, Harry inadvertently kills another woman who was held hostage. Though not facing any charges for these deaths, Harry is well aware of what he has done and is determined to return to Hong Kong for good.

I feel so bad for Harry because he just could not catch a break in this book and now he goes back down the rabbit hole in Hong Kong. (makes me want to cry)

Five stars *****

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The Snowman (Harry Hole #7) by Jo Nesbo

Book Description:

Published: May 10, 2011

Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo Nesbø’s antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother—and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised—and constantly revised—by the killer.

Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.

Review –

This book was recommended as a winter read with spooky overtones and I couldn’t resist. It is  translated from the Norwegian and I had the audio book so I didn’t have to worry about wrongly pronouncing the names of people, places and things.

The story grabs you by the neck from the first few words and doesn’t let go.  I love a good “who-dun-it” but add in creepy snowmen at each crime scene and what could be better? I’m looking forward to listening to or reading more by this author.

Excellent!!

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Private Down Under (Private #6) by James Patterson and Michael White

Book Description:

Published: October 1, 2012

The world’s most exclusive detective agency opens a new office – in Australia!

With the best detectives in the business, cutting edge technology and offices around the globe, there is no investigation company quite like Private. Now, at a glittering launch party overlooking the iconic Opera House, Private Sydney throws open its doors . . .

Craig Gisto and his newly formed team have barely raised their glasses, however, when a young Asian man, blood-soaked and bullet-ridden, staggers into the party, and what looks like a botched kidnapping turns out to be a whole lot more.

Within days the agency’s caseload is full. But it is a horrific murder in the wealthy Eastern Suburbs and the desperate search for a motive that stretches the team to the limit. Stacy Friel, friend of the Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police, isn’t the killer’s first victim – and as the bodies mount up she’s clearly not the last . . .

Review –

I never thought I’d read or listen to the Private series by James Patterson and his co-writers, but when I was faced with no audio book while driving all over town doing my errands I was desperate.  I stopped at a local Hastings store and found this audio book on sale for a very good price and so bought it and continued running my errands while listening to the story unfold.

Miracle of miracles, I actually liked it, so, when I got home I looked on Overdrive to see if any were available and found a few and have since listened to three more.  None of them are five stars but they are entertaining. 

The premise of the stories are all about the same-some horrible crime occurs and Private is called into action to save the day. Like I said, it makes for an entertaining listen or read.

I recommend the series if you have an afternoon or evening with time  on your hands.  

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Seven Years to Sin by Sylvia Day

Book Description:

Published: August 30, 2011

The longer the resistance…

Seven years ago, on the eve of her wedding, proper Lady Jessica Sheffield witnessed a licentious scene no innocent young miss could imagine. Shocked, yet strangely titillated, she’d held her silence regarding scandalous Alistair Caulfield, and walked down the aisle as expected. But through years of serene, unremarkable marriage, Caulfield’s image remained burned into her imagination, fueling very illicit dreams…

…the sweeter the reward

Alistair ran far from the temptation of the prim debutante with the fire of passion in her eyes–all the way to the West Indies. As a successful merchant, he has little in common with the rakehell youth she knew. But when newly widowed Jessica steps aboard his ship for a transatlantic passage, seven years’ worth of denied pleasures are held in check by nothing more than a few layers of silk–and the certainty that surrender will consume them both…

Review –

I didn’t care for this book at all even if it the main character, Alistair Caulfield, is an English version of Gideon Cross of the Crossfire series. The plot was too predictable and the narrator’s voice grated on my nerves.   Don’t waste your time!

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