Friday, December 8, 2023

Books 36-39

 Eleven by Carolyn Arnold

When Brandon Fisher joined the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, he knew he'd come up against psychopaths, sociopaths, pathological liars, and more. But when his first case takes him and the team to Salt Lick, Kentucky, to hunt down a ritualistic serial killer, he learns what nightmares are truly made of.
Beneath a residential property, local law enforcement discovered an underground bunker with circular graves that house the remains of ten victims. But that's not all: there's an empty eleventh grave, just waiting for a corpse. The killing clearly hasn't come to an end yet, and with the property owner already behind bars, Brandon is certain there's an apprentice who roams free.
As the FBI follows the evidence across the United States, Brandon starts to struggle with the deranged nature of his job description. And if the case itself isn't going to be enough to push Brandon over the edge, he's working in the shadow of Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper, who expects nothing short of perfection from his team. To make matters even worse, it seems Brandon has become the target of a psychotic serial killer who wants to make him--or his wife--victim number eleven.
This was a very scary, on the edge of your seat kind of thriller.  It made me feel anxious as I was reading it as to what was going to happen next. Even though I did like the story I wouldn't like to read more of this series without taking a break with less stressful stories inbetween.

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep. When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.
Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another - or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.
The fact that the boxcar full of babies, described in the novel is based on a true story is heartbreakingly hard to accept and that this story was inspired by real people that the author met during her research for this novel and that the circus was a way to hide some Jewish people to help keep them safe during the Holocaust is something I hadn't read about before.
 I thought the book did an especially good job of showing how the war impacted not just Jews, but those associated with Jews, and to a lesser extent, all German citizens. A beautiful story of family, friendship, and trust. 

Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

Evacuated from Blitz-battered London, shy and genteel Elizabeth White is sent to stay with the boisterous O’Connors in Kilgarret, Ireland. It is the beginning of an unshakeable bond between Elizabeth and Aisling O’Connor, a friendship that will endure through twenty turbulent years of change and chaos, joy and sorrow, soaring dreams and searing betrayals.
Writing with warmth, wit and great compassion, Maeve Binchy tells a magnificent story of the lives and loves of two women, bound together in a friendship that nothing could tear asunder -- not even the man who threatened to come between them forever.
My main criticism of the novel is its ending. I won’t spoil it by revealing too much, but I feel that certain characters changed unexpectedly and unbelievably. Binchy didn’t prepare her reader for an ending that seemed unbelievable, rushed and the most unsatisfying part of the book.  This is unfortunate as I did enjoy this book until the ending.

Lilac Bus by Maeve Binchy

Each Friday, Tom Fitzgerald drives the same people home from Dublin to spend the weekend in Rathdoon. Nancy, Dee, Kev and Celia - each has their own secret story, unknown to their fellow passengers. And of course Tom himself has his own reasons for returning home so regularly...
I really wasn't crazy about this book.  It was more like a novella.  Each chapter about a different person and only a few of the people had interaction or connections to the other.  Not my favourite Maeve Binchey book I'm afraid.


  1. I've read several of the Maeve Binchy books (Light a Penny Candle is one), and though I enjoyed some, there were others that were just meh. I haven't picked one up in years thought.
    The Orphan's Tale sounds like something I would appreciate. I understand there is a movie based on the book, but it hasn't been released as yet.
    I agree, thrillers need to be interspersed with more relaxing tales.

    1. I agree about the Maeve Binchy books-very hit and miss. I have a few more of hers but I'll wait a while before I read them.

  2. You have reviewed another few books that id like to read. One day

    1. Is it hard to get a good selection of English books where you live? You'll have to get some of your visitors to bring you a few!!!

  3. More lovely reading material. Must get to the library once again when the weather clears up.

    God bless.

    1. I have enough books to last me more than a lifetime!!