Review: The Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson

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There are certain things I look for in a gripping psychological thriller.  Great characters, engaging storyline, plausibility, a nice little twist or two…if these things are present then I’m likely to enjoy and recommend it to others.  This newest release from Kerry Wilkinson fits the bill.

Olivia is the girl who disappeared 13 years ago, and now she’s back.  Her mom and dad couldn’t be happier, although there are other people in their small village who have their doubts.  Where has she been all this time?  What exactly happened that day she disappeared from their backyard?  And why has she suddenly reappeared?  Questions abound as the mystery deepens.  If she’s an imposter, what does she want?

This was a great little story, full of suspense.  It kept me guessing until almost the very end which is no small feat.  Grab it and settle in for an enjoyable ride!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Girl Who Came Back

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Review: The Good Widow by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

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Twisty.  That’s the best possible way to describe this engaging psychological thriller.

Jacqueline has a pretty good life.  She enjoys her job as a teacher.  And if asked to describe her marriage of eight years, she’d probably say it was pretty good.  All that comes to a screeching halt, however, when two police officers show up at her door with the worst possible news.  Her husband has been killed in a tragic accident.  Well, actually, that’s not the worst part of it.  He wasn’t where he was supposed to be, and he definitely wasn’t supposed to be with the woman who died with him.

Confusion reigns as she tries to make sense of what happened.  So when Nick, the fiance of the mystery woman, persuades her to join him on his quest to find answers she willingly joins him.  But answers lead to more questions, and she finds herself no closer to the truth.

Nice little mystery with a neat little twist at the end.  A great, quick read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Good Widow

Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks.  When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.

Most of us are familiar with that eerie little rhyme, maybe not being completely aware of the meaning.  Some of us even know the story behind it, knowing that it’s based on a true crime occurring in the late 1800s.  But have you ever wondered about the dynamics behind the family tragedy?

When Lizzie discovers first her father and then her stepmother brutally murdered, everyone immediately feels sympathy and concern for her.  To have witnessed the aftermath of such a gruesome scene surely must have been a shock.  As time goes on, however, events come to light casting doubt on her innocence.  And the family itself surely wasn’t a happy little group.  There’s enough suspicion to go around.  Was it Lizzie?  Or was it the mysterious man sent by her uncle?  Or maybe one of her father’s business associates?

The story weaves itself back and forth between the day of the crime, the days leading up to the murders, and the aftermath.  It’s fascinating for the criminal investigation procedures of the time if nothing else.  The author does a great job of creating an entirely believable story that very well could be the true story behind an unsolved crime.  And it absolutely made me want to read more about it!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  See What I Have Done

 

Review: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

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Beautiful.  If I had to describe this story using just one word, that’s what it would be.  From the very beginning until the absolute end, it truly weeps with emotion on every page.

It begins with a baby left in a basket. Aptly named, Moses is a crack baby abandoned by his mother. But for the love and sacrifice of his grandmother, who knows where he would have ended up?  He and Georgia are unwillingly thrown together at a young age.  And even though they grow up together in a sense, they’re not really together.  Until one day, Georgia begins to feel something.  And she thinks Moses does, too, although he denies it. Georgia has a normal family life, Moses does not.  He’s damaged, at least in his mind.  But love is love, and love conquers all.  Sometimes.

This is a romance, a mystery, a book of suspense.  It’s a story of family, of life and loss and death.  It’s a story with good guys and bad guys, and sometimes they’re one in the same.  Very soon after I started this book, I was afraid it would break my heart.  And it did.  But that’s okay.  Because often those are the stories that stick with you the longest.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Law of Moses

 

Review: Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

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Shame and honor clash where the courage of a steadfast man is motley like the magpie. But such a man may yet make merry, for Heaven and Hell have equal part in him.” – Wolfram von Eschenback “Parzival

This quote at the beginning sums this novel up nicely.

I think it’s a book that people should read. I think it’s important. Doesn’t matter if you agree with war and politics or you don’t. This book is important.

As I read it, all I could think of was how people often forget that despite the politics and the cause of war…well at the end of the day, the people who fight war…well…it’s often just unsure and untested young people.

You have commanders giving orders based on information that they’ve been told. This information is being gave to them by men that don’t wish to displease him. They might not outright lie, but they certainly don’t give 100% accurate information either….Who wants to be the bearer of bad news to a commanding officer? At the end of the day, the men out on missions are pushed harder than many can endure…harder than any can endure…and the bottom line is, casualties can be offset and justified by the bottom line of damage and killings you’ve done to the enemy. When it’s all said and done, war too is just a numbers game.

My heart broke many times during this reading…and honestly, all I could think of is, “these men are only kids!!!!!!!” I don’t mean to take away from their service. There should be no way my statement could ever do that. However, think back to when you were 18. 19. 20. Now imagine watching your brothers in arm dying…or sometimes, worse, not dying soon enough…and knowing its your job to prevent it…that your decision, or hesitation, or non hesitation could cause it. Imagine knowing that the order from above will get you and your brothers killed, but it’s an order and it’s your job to make sure those orders are carried through. Imagine experiencing all of this, when in reality all you fucking want is to be back home in your lover’s arms…

As wonderful as the book was, I just can’t imagine! I can’t imagine what these young men were going through. We often get pissed at politicians for decisions they make. We often get mad at military situations…right or wrong…well that isn’t for me to decide…sure, I have my opinions, same as everyone else…but what I took from this book is that everyone dehumanizes during the event. People often forget the boys that are just out there doing as they are told. They look to congress, or the president or to the leaders of other countries…they make it an “event” or a “situation” or a “military action”. They don’t face the reality that it’s dirty, gut wrenching, diseased, no time to think reality for men that might not even be of legal age to drink. These are the men that are fighting….not some politician behind a desk…or a faceless entity. These men are brothers, sons, husbands, fathers and friends. They are not just numbers at the bottom of a count sheet…no matter how much the public and the politicians try to make it so…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

Review: New Orleans Series by Lisa Jackson

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If you’ve not yet experienced the chilling brilliance that is Lisa Jackson, her New Orleans series is a great place to start.

The series starts out with the unforgettable Hot Blooded  and is currently up to Never Die Alone, just released this past summer.  Is it absolutely necessary to read them in order?  Not really.  But as with all great series, they’re best enjoyed read as they were written.  The character development is outstanding, and part of the thrill is seeing the changes each key player goes through over the years.

Most of the stories take place in New Orleans, of course.  But the crimes do venture outside the area from time to time.  Detectives Bentz and Montoya are as good as you’ll find in any series.  The rapport between them is authentic and compelling, and it doesn’t diminish over the course of the series.  Supporting characters are good as well, although my absolute favorites scenes are still the ones revolving around these two.

And lest you fear that they might become a bit cliche as far as murder goes, no worries!  Each one features a distinctly creepy psychopath to contend with.

Sure, I’ll admit I’m a bit biased because of the setting.  Go figure.  But still, it’s murder mystery at its finest.  Each book leaves you guessing until the very end.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  New Orleans series bundle

Review: The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport by Jana Zinser

51Xzv+KHYsL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_If you asked me what my preferred genre is, I’d be hard pressed to narrow it down to just one. However, historical fiction ranks at the top of that list. I love a book that tells a great story while also teaching me a bit of something new. That’s why some of my favorite books of all time include The Book Thief and The Orphan Train. It’s for that very reason that this book by Jana Kinser caught my eye.

Nazi Germany was a terrifying place for all, but especially for young children. Their safe, secure world was turned upside down as they were targeted for nothing more than being Jewish. Homes and livelihoods were destroyed, families were separated, loved ones lost their lives. All because of something they had no control over. But there was hope for many of the children in the form of selfless volunteers who risked their lives to help these children escape and have a chance at a somewhat normal life.

For the most part, this story centers on young Peter. He and his family have a happy, secure life in their comfy little apartment above their butcher shop. That all comes crashing down when the Nazis invade their small town taking over everything. Suddenly, being Jewish is a crime, punishable by death even. Peter and his family find themselves without a home along with many others. When the chance to escape presents itself, Peter and his younger sister take it. On the Kindertransport they go, off to a better life. Their journey is not without risks, though, as the war rages on.

There are other characters, of course. And their stories are just as important. There’s young Eva, the apple of Peter’s eye. She has a ticket on the train to freedom but her older brother has a different idea. Stephen and Hans are sent on the train to safety by their respective families. And then there are the tragic stories of those left behind, children who didn’t get a seat on the train as well as adults not able to escape.

This was an incredibly engaging story for me because I had no idea such a thing existed. The Kindertransport was something new that I’m now highly motivated to learn more about. For that reason alone, it was a book I just couldn’t put down. The characters and storylines were good as well, although I did feel that many of the deaths were described too matter-of-factly. Still, a great story about an interesting subject!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport