Review: Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webbk

Sometimes you just need a good ghost story. Something slightly spooky without being over the top, something that’ll give you a touch of the goosebumps. This story by Wendy Webb does just that.

After her marriage ends badly, Kate returns home to recover. Peace and quiet, time to reflect, is just what she needs. Those thoughts are tossed aside when a body washes ashore near the family home. And it’s not just any body. Kate recognizes the woman. She knows her, not from real life but from her dreams. How does one explain this to the authorities, though? Especially since Kate herself is somewhat of a suspect.

With the help of her cousin, Simon, Kate begins to dig deeper into the mystery of the dead woman. As she uncovers more and more of her family’s past, she finds secrets she’s not prepared to confront. And some of these secrets are a danger to her.

This was a really good story, better than I expected it to be. Part murder mystery, part historical fiction, part ghost story, it has a bit of everything!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Daughters of the Lake

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Review: The Myth of Perpetual Summer by Susan Crandall

I love stories like this. Historical, epic, tales of families and their pasts & presents. And of course, all families have secrets. Those secrets play a big role in this latest book from Susan Crandall.

Tallulah had a very unusual childhood. Growing up in a small town means being part of the gossip. And her family offered up much to gossip about. Her parents’ erratic, volatile relationship meant that she and her siblings were left to their own devices much of the time. It fell upon her shoulders to raise her younger siblings during the many times her mom was off saving the world.

So when Tallulah escapes and goes off to build her own life, she has little intention of ever returning. But she can’t stay away when her brother is accused of murder. And this family reunion of sorts will expose all kinds of secrets from her childhood.

Great story, wonderful characters, and beautifully written!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Myth of Perpetual Summer

Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Beautiful. Poetic. Haunting. Lyrical. This latest story from Celeste Ng is all that and more.

Izzy has finally gone over the edge. Everyone knew it was going to happen eventually. But what caused this inevitable collapse? Things are never as simple as they seem, and that rule applies to the Richardson house being burnt to the ground by their erratic, youngest daughter.

Rewind to the beginning. That’s when Mia and her daughter Pearl arrive in town. At first just tenants in a rental house owned by the Richardsons, they soon find themselves ingrained into the family. Pearl finds friendship among the four Richardson children while Mia takes up employment as their housekeeper. Their nomadic, artistic lifestyle is too tempting to resist. Soon their lives are intertwined in unimaginable ways. But all families have secrets, and these two families are no exception. As secrets typically go, when one is discovered another soon follows. Some secrets aren’t so big, others are huge and life changing.

These characters are amazing, every single one of them. Mrs. Richardson is controlling and disciplined beyond belief. Mia is free spirited and thoughtful. The teenagers are, well, what you would expect of teenagers. The way they all come together is simply spellbinding. This is a story that I both wanted to end and wanted to last longer at the same time. An outstanding tale!

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Little Fires Everywhere

Review: All We Can Do Is Wait by Richard Lawson

I love it when I find an unexpectedly good story. One that you haven’t heard of, pick up on a whim, are moderately intrigued by the blurb on the back, and then are pleasantly surprised by the way it turns out.

A bridge collapses…hundreds of lives in the balance. But instead of focusing on the victims, this story centers around the family members waiting to find out the fate of their loved ones.

Siblings Alexa and Jason, at odds much of the time lately, find themselves clinging to each other in the hospital waiting room. Not knowing if their parents are alive or dead, they’re still finding it difficult to set their bad feelings aside. Scott rushes to the hospital after hearing that his girlfriend, Aimee, was on that bridge when it collapsed. Skyler is devastated when she’s notified that her sister Kate is among the missing.

These young people, not even adults, are facing everyone’s worst nightmare. We find out, though, that each one of them has something else haunting them. And hearing each story unwind is more intriguing than the accident that brought them all together. A good story with a satisfying, though not necessarily happy, ending.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: All We Can Do Is Wait

Review: My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan

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Yes, I’m doing it again.  I’m recommending a book about lying families with dark secrets.  Sorry, it is what it is!  But never fear, this one is heavy on the emotions and light on the mayhem.

Willow has lived with her aunt Hope for almost as long as she can remember. Orphaned at a very young age, she takes her aunt’s version of what happened at face value.  Why would she question the past, anyway?  But when she receives an invitation to a gallery exhibit, she begins to wonder.  And the more she wonders, the more she uncovers.  An aunt she didn’t know existed, questions about her parents’ death…all these things lead her to dig deeper.  Unfortunately her aunt Hope is no help, preferring to leave the tragedies of her youth hidden and forgotten.  So Willow is left on her own, with a lot of determination and a bit of help from both friends and strangers.

Alternating between the past and the present, the author successfully blends the two together into a story that covers all possible angles.  I found myself caring as much about Charity’s story as I did Willow’s.  It’s a rare author that can do this.  A great summer beach read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  My Sister’s Secret

 

Review: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

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What can I say about this latest novel from Megan Miranda other than it’s pure gold?  Truly, it’s along the lines of “Run and grab this one as fast as you can and be prepared to stay up way  past your bedtime to finish it.”

Nic dreads returning to her hometown.  But she can’t avoid it after being summoned by her brother.  He needs her help to make arrangements for their aging father.  Her plan is to get in and out as quickly as possible, get back to her life as she knows it.  History, however, has other ideas…

You see, there’s a reason she left in such a hurry all those years ago.  Was it the devastating disappearance of her best friend, Corinne?  Or was it something else?  Whatever the cause, it’s still there after all these years.  Dark secrets don’t stay hidden forever.  And once you start digging, well, it’s just a matter of time until everything is out in the open.  Or maybe not.

Megan Miranda has written an outstanding thriller, making me want to read all of her others.  Bonus points on originality for this one as the story is told in reverse.  I wasn’t sure how that was going to work at first, but by the end it all came together.  A must-read for fans of suspenseful, well-told stories!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  All the Missing Girls

 

Review: The Silent Girls by Ann Troup

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Having never read anything by Ann Troup, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Sure, the description is intriguing.  But how many times have we started a book with high expectations only to experience disappointment when it doesn’t follow through?  Not the case with this one!

When Edie returns to her childhood home to clear up some loose ends after her aunt’s untimely death, she doesn’t expect to be there for long.  Clean out the house, sell off some belongings, settle the estate, and then she’ll be on her way.  But of course things don’t go as planned.

It’s known by all that Coronation Square was the scene of a series of grisly murders years ago. When the killer was caught and executed, justice surely was served.  But as Edie starts digging through the clutter and dankness that was her aunt’s life, she begins uncovering secrets. It quickly becomes apparent that there are people who want those secrets to remain hidden.  And they’ll stop at nothing to make that happen.

This is such a dark, dreary book.  And that’s exactly as it should be.  Anything else wouldn’t have worked.  The author paints a depressing, suspenseful scene that fits the story perfectly.  There are twists and turns galore to keep you guessing until the very end. An excellent, well-told mystery!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Silent Girls