Sunday, May 5, 2024

Books 12-15

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley 

Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.
The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge
Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.
This is about Ben and his step-sister Jess getting involved with a 'family' of disfunctional people that are hiding many secrets. After arranging with Ben to come and stay with him he's nowhere to be found when she arrives. As Jess digs deeper to find him she realizes she needs to be afraid. Something is not right here and now she may be next on the chopping block. Interesting but pretty weird!

The Lost Girls of Ireland by Susanne O'Leary
A story about family secrets and one woman’s escape to dreamy Sandy Cove on the stunning west coast of Ireland.
The picturesque beach of Wild Rose Bay is the last place Lydia Butler thought she’d be. But having just lost everything, the run-down cottage she inherited from her Great Aunt Nellie is the only place she can take her daughter, Sunny. Hidden away in a tiny Irish village, she can protect Sunny from the gossip in Dublin, and the real reason they have nowhere else to live…
The cottage is part of the old coastguard station and other eccentric residents are quick to introduce themselves when Lydia arrives. Lydia instantly feels less alone, fascinated by the stories they have about Nellie, and she’s charmed by American artist, Jason O’Callaghan, the mysterious man who lives next door.
But the longer Lydia relaxes under the moonlit sky, the more the secret she’s keeping from Sunny threatens to come out. And as she finds herself running into Jason’s arms, she knows she must be honest and face up to the past she has tried to forget. Has she finally found people who will truly accept her, or will the truth force her to leave the cottage for good?
Interesting story.  Light summer type read where everything falls nicely into place.  

Ice Blue by Emma Jameson
Lord & Lady Hetheridge, Book One

Anthony Hetheridge, ninth Baron of Wellegrave, Chief Superintendent for New Scotland Yard, never married, no children, no pets, no hobbies, and not even an interesting vice, will turn sixty in three weeks. With the exception of his chosen career, too sordid for his blue-blooded family to condone, his life has been safe and predictable. But then he meets Detective Sergeant Kate Wakefield — beautiful, willful, and nearly half his age. When Hetheridge saves the outspoken, impetuous young detective from getting the sack, siding with her against Scotland Yard's powerful male hierarchy, his cold, elegantly balanced world spins out of control. Summoned to London's fashionable Belgravia to investigate the brutal murder of a financier, Hetheridge must catch the killer while coping with his growing attraction to Kate, the reappearance of an old flame, and the secret that emerges from his own past.
This is the first book in the Lord and Lady Hetheridge series.  I quite enjoyed this book with some interesting characters.  I look forward to reading the second book.

Blue Murder by Emma Jameson
Lord & Lady Hetheridge, Book Two

Two Dead Men
In London’s fashionable Chelsea, a Halloween bash goes terribly wrong. Emmeline Wardle, daughter of a frozen foods baron, throws a party which results in the demise of two university schoolmates. Handsome golden boy Trevor Parsons is dead. So is pasty computer nerd Clive French. Both died on the Wardle estate within minutes of one another, and both died the same way – an axe to the skull. Given the social connections of all involved, New Scotland Yard sends a real baron to investigate: Chief Superintendent Anthony Hetheridge, also known as Lord Hetheridge, ninth baron of Wellegrave.
Two Prime Suspects
This time around, Detective Sergeant Kate Wakefield and her partner, Detective Sergeant Deepal “Paul” Bhar, have their work cut out. Bhar must contend with Emmeline Wardle, a spoiled blonde with a penchant for the finer things, including a certain illegal white powder. Kate must decide if Kyla Sloane, model-pretty and delicate, is being truthful about the events of that fateful night. And if Kyla’s connection to a former lover of Bhar’s means nothing – or everything.
This book kept me guessing right to the end.  Good read.

That's it for books for April.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

May came in like a LION!!!

Monday was a beautiful day.  Neighbours were out doing yard work, mowing lawns . I noticed that I had one little crocus in my flower bed and probably about 100 tulips all in bud. Nice end to April.

Er, no!  

Woke up yesterday morning and this is what we saw!! Five inches of wet, heavy snow. Fortunately for us the neighbours had already shovelled the walks for us.  The temperature was high enough that the snow on the roads soon turned to sloppy soup and dried up.  But not before there had been many accidents around the city. All the lawns are white and will be for a while. We are expecting the same amount of snow again today.  It's times like this we are so glad we are retired and don't have to go out if we don't want/have to. 
Garry's surgery has been delayed.  It's now May 9th.  Fortunately only one weeks delay.  We were told we are very lucky it is only a week as some were delayed for over a month!  No reason given. 


Monday, April 1, 2024

Books 7-11

 A Friend of the Family by Stuart Field

Families are dying. No matter how hard DCI Platt tries, he's not seeing a pattern; not even after his own wife and daughter are targeted. Young Melanie has forgotten what life outside Larksford House was like. She's been in for so long. But when Toby joins the team, she starts to remember. She really shouldn't be there. Professor Hicks is delighted that Toby has made the breakthrough for him. It might actually allow Hicks to improve his own fortunes. Bill Brown sells security; his business improves with every strike of the family killer. As fear in the community grows, Bill's ability to gain a stranger's trust comes to the fore. But what is he hiding? As the clock ticks, can Platt get closer to the killer, and will Melanie remember the truth?

You would think that with the length of the book and number of chapters there would have been a few things resolved, even though there is another book in the series. I did enjoy this book but the ending left much to be desired!

Something really major, for me, in this book was the need for a proof reader. There were so many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors that it became quite distracting

Homecoming by Kate Morton

Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek on the grounds of the grand and mysterious mansion, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.
Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.
Nora has always been a vibrant and strong presence: decisive, encouraging, young despite her years. When Jess visits her in the hospital, she is alarmed to find her grandmother frail and confused. It’s even more alarming to hear from Nora's housekeeper that Nora had been distracted in the weeks before her accident and had fallen on the steps to the attic—the one place Jess was forbidden from playing in when she was small.
At loose ends in Nora's house, Jess does some digging of her own. In Nora's bedroom, she discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime—a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. And for a journalist without a story, a cold case might be the best distraction she can find…
I have read all of Kate Mortons books and usually enjoy them but I found this one really dragged. In fact I was quite bored in parts. I think it could have been condensed into 300 pages instead of 500. I found the last 100 pages, for the most part, beyond belief.

The Boardwalk Bookshop by Susan Mallery

When fate brings three strangers to a charming space for lease on the California coast, the Boardwalk Bookshop is born. Part bookstore, part gift shop, part bakery, it's a dream come true for Bree, Mikki and Ashley. But while their business is thriving, their personal lives are…not.
Bree, wounded by brilliant but cold parents and her late husband's ultimate betrayal, has sworn to protect her heart at all costs. Even from Ashley's brother, a writer and adventurer who has inspired millions. He's the first man to see past Bree's barricades to her true self, which terrifies her. Mikki has this divorce thing all figured out—somehow, she's stayed friends with her ex and her in-laws…until a new man changes how everyone looks at her, and how she sees herself. Meanwhile, Ashley discovers that the love of her life never intends to marry. Can she live without being a wife if it means she can have everything else she's ever wanted?
At sunset every Friday on the beach in front of the Boardwalk Bookshop, the three friends share a champagne toast. As their bond grows closer, they challenge one another to become the best versions of themselves in this heartachingly beautiful story of friendship, sisterhood and the transformative power of love.
Easy read, very predictable but I enjoyed it.

The Girls of Mersey Square by Pam Howes

Mersey Square, Stockport, 1959. Jane Wilson’s parents met during the war in the north of England, but Jane is more interested in listening to the new rock music than hearing stories about the Blitz. When she meets handsome drummer Eddie Mellor, with his sparkling blue eyes and cool black leather jacket, she knows her life is about to start.
But Jane’s parents think Eddie’s rebellious ways will lead their beloved daughter into trouble. They forbid her from seeing Eddie, telling Jane to get a proper job as a nurse. But Jane cannot stand the idea of life without the boy she loves and secretly continues to see Eddie. The day she finds out that Eddie has betrayed her, she is utterly distraught. Were her parents right all along?
Jane is desperate to rebuild her life. Her friends rally round to support her and she gets a job at the local music shop she loves, when to her shock, Eddie invites her to his family home and begs her to reconsider. Just as Jane is feeling tempted, someone pounds on the door of the house bringing shocking news that will change both of their lives forever…
Can Jane find happiness with Eddie? And if she does, will her family ever forgive her?

This is a story about randy, horny boys and silly, niave girls all between the ages of 14 and 17. The ending was a bit abrupt obviously ending that way so you will buy the next book.  If it comes up free on my book app I'll read the next one.

Her Sister's Death by K.L.Murphy

When her sister is found dead in a Baltimore hotel room, reporter Val Ritter’s world is turned upside down. What’s worse—an empty pill bottle at the scene leads the police to believe the cause of death is suicide. With little more than her own conviction, Val teams up with a retired detective who has his own personal interest in the case.
But digging into the corners of her sister’s life and retracing her last days, will lead them to the hotel’s dark, sordid history. In 1921, another guest on the brink of womanhood, will soon marry an eligible older man, sure to be a comfortable match—or is it?
With time running short, Val races to uncover the truth behind her connection to the woman in 1921, and the detective who knows more than he should about her sister, the hotel, and its sinister secrets.
There were two timelines in this book. One was present day and one in the 1920s. How the two events are connected don't come together until the end of the book. The present day story line kept me guessing until pretty close to the end.  The 1920s storyline was pretty brutal and hard to read but I wish that part of the story had gone on longer than it did. I did like this book and would read another book by this author.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Our usual spring storms

Since last Tuesday evening we have had six straight days that it snowed ALL THE TIME!! Enough, enough, enough!!  It didn't snow yesterday so we went out and got a few groceries. We had a skiff of snow over night and now it is bright sunshine but still cold.  We are suposed to get +1C for the next 3 days and then back to the minuses and more snow.  We have had over 65cm of snow so far.

We did get some great news last Friday. Garry will have his hip replacement surgery on May 2nd! That took 6months from the referrel to the surgery.  Much better than the 2 years it took for me to get my knee replacement! He/we can't wait for it to happen.  He is in a lot of pain right now and only getting worse as time goes on.

GD Annika is working on The Abandons, a Western action drama series that is being filmed here.  She is the head lead paramedic. She is really enjoying it but it is very long days.

And just a few pictures to end on a happy note!!

Walker, 18months old!

Friday, March 1, 2024

Books 5-6

 The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans

The year is 1450, a dangerous time in medieval Britain. Civil unrest is at its peak and the legitimacy of the royal family is suspect. Meanwhile, deep in the forests of western England, a baby is born. Powerful forces plot to kill both mother and child, but somehow the newborn girl survives. Her name is Anne.
Fifteen years later, England emerges into a fragile but hopeful new age, with the charismatic young King Edward IV on the throne. Anne, now a young peasant girl, joins the household of a wealthy London merchant. Her unusual beauty provokes jealousy, lust, and intrigue, but Anne has a special quality that saves a vast knowledge of healing herbs. News of her extraordinary gift spreads, and she is called upon to save the ailing queen. Soon after, Anne is moved into the palace, where she finds her destiny with the man who will become the greatest love of her life -- the king himself. 

 If your looking for a book that is historically correct then this isn't the book for you. If you can ignore all that then it isn't a bad story.  It follows the life of Anne from peasant to living in the royal household. 

Man in the Water by Jon Hill

An attempted murder.
A missing spouse.
And an international conspiracy that could change the world.
Jack Green has always been skeptical of so-called facts. Though he's forced to confront the reality about his wife's recent cancer diagnosis, he puts his own needs aside to make the best of what may be their last vacation. But he's shocked to be rudely awoken in his stateroom, abducted by masked men and thrown off the cruise.
Plucked from the ocean's cold grip of death, he fears the worst when he learns his spouse has disappeared. But when he returns home to find his mother-in-law and son missing, his frantic search reveals a staggering secret he refuses to believe... until someone tries to kill him.
Can Jack uncover the conspiracy surrounding his family before the next attempt on his life succeeds?
For me this story was so far fetched and ridiculous. The absurdity level at times really went beyond belief. Between the FBI, CIA, KGB, FSB and Russian spys nobody was believable. This was the first book in a series but I will not be reading any of the others.

Only two books for February but I do have 3 other books that I am more than halfway finished so they will be in the March group.

We are having quite the weather event at the moment. Yesterday morning it was -2C and sunny. Kelsey was at work downtown and would be coming here when she finished work. Kelseys husband, Joel, GGS Walker and DIL Rhonda would be coming from their house and picking up pizza for supper on the way. At about 5pm it was like someone had flipped a switch.  It became very windy, instantly dark and a blizzard was happening. We couldn't even see the end of our driveway it was coming down so hard.  I phoned DIL and they had already picked up the pizza and then it took them 30mins. to make a 5mins. drive to our house. Of course, when they left home it was quite nice.  I phoned Kelsey and she said she had been on the road 20mins. and she had gone one block. We decided that she should just go home as by the time she got here it would be past Walkers bedtime. It is 26Km. from her work to her home.  Normally it would take her 20 mins. but it took her almost 3 hours.  As soon as we had eaten the ones that came to our house were on the road to go home, a 14Km. drive which usualy takes 15mins. but it took them over an hour.  Fortunately everybody got home safe and sound. The temperature had also dropped to -22C.
I got up at 7:00 this morning and our wonderful neighbours had already shovelled all our snow, including the driveway.  It hasn't stopped snowing and is supposed to continue until Sunday. I think March came in like a lion!!

Monday, February 5, 2024

It could always be worse!!

 It's been snowing all last night and all day today.  Our wonderful neighbours have shoveled 3 times for us today, including the driveway

The deer sure seem to like it.  Three of them were jumping and dancing around on the lawn across the street!

And then there's the Maritimes!

We have nothing compared to them.  Some places got 150cm!!! Kids are happy-no school!

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Books 1-4

Shadow Falls by Wendy Dranfield

You thought your little girl was safe at summer camp. You were wrong…
The little girl drags her eyes open, realizing she’s starting to fade. She tries calling out—“Daddy?”—using all her remaining strength. But she’s too late and her voice just isn’t loud enough…
When Detective Madison Harper arrives at a remote summer camp in Shadow Falls, northern California, her heart breaks for Jenny, the sweet little girl last seen splashing in the lake with her friends before she vanished. Peering into the silent cabins filled with rows of neatly made beds, Madison knows this idyllic place is hiding a terrible secret.
The girl’s parents are distraught, and the local police have no leads—they desperately need Madison’s help. She’ll do whatever it takes to crack this case, because it’s the only way back to the son she lost to the care system years ago when she was framed for a crime she didn’t commit.
But with the camp staff keeping tight-lipped and her new partner on the edge of a breakdown, Madison can’t find any truth to her instinct that there is more to Jenny’s perfect parents than meets the eye. Until she discovers a disturbing family portrait Jenny drew at the local library. Was this angelic girl more troubled than anybody knew? Was she in danger from those she trusted most?
One thing is certain, if Madison doesn't find the answers soon, the lives of more innocent children will be at risk…

I enjoyed this book.  It was a very different backstory for the two main characters.  Towards the end of the story there were so many secrets and lies being told that it was hard to figure out what had happened. It was quite a surprise ending!!  Nothing is resolved with the two main characters, which was to be expected as this is the first book in a series.

 Silenced Girls by Roger Stelljer

She moved far away to try and forget her past. A past that would seep back in when she least expected it and crushed her soul over and over. She tried to keep the evidence packed away in boxes high up on a closet shelf like carefully packing away a tragic part of her life. As if sealing the boxes, was sealing away a time in her life she desperately wanted to go back and change. Until one day a mysterious letter arrives from an unknown sender that unravels everything.
FBI Special Agent Tori Hunter returns to her hometown of Manchester, Minnesota for the first time in twenty years to investigate the disappearance of a woman who is gone without a trace. She is desperate to solve a case that will cause her to confront her own painful past and question the motives of friends she thought she knew and trusted. It will plunge her and the other detectives into the crosshairs of a dangerous killer while in search of the truth.

I really liked this book.  It was quite wrenching at times with so many deaths.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Frances Mayes entered a wondrous new world when she began restoring an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. There were unexpected treasures at every turn: faded frescos beneath the whitewash in her dining room, a vineyard under wildly overgrown brambles in the garden, and, in the nearby hill towns, vibrant markets and delightful people. In Under the Tuscan Sun, she brings the lyrical voice of a poet, the eye of a seasoned traveler, and the discerning palate of a cook and food writer to invite readers to explore the pleasures of Italian life and to feast at her table.
There were parts of this book I enjoyed but other parts I felt my eyes were glazing over.  The parts about the house and land were really interesting but I found the travelogue became boring very quickly.  I have to say I enjoyed the movie a lot more than the book.

The Stone Secret by Amanda McKinney

He spent twenty years in prison.
She spent twenty years living a lie.
At 2:00 a.m. Sylvia Stone awakens to a letter on her doorstep suggesting the handsome carpenter who was convicted of murdering her mother twenty years earlier is innocent. The anonymous letters continue, each one revealing details only the true killer would know, making Sylvia question her testimony so many years ago.
Newly released from prison, Rhett Cohen has spent the last two decades with only one thing on his Find the man who framed him for killing Marjorie Stone, and kill him. Rhett will do anything to get his revenge, including manipulating the late woman’s daughter.
But suddenly, Sylvia disappears.
Public interest in the twenty-year-old case reignites around Sylvia’s disappearance. The suspect? The man she accused of murder—the reticent former inmate, Rhett Cohen.
Under mounting pressure from the police and media, Rhett must find Sylvia, convince the angry small-town mob that he is innocent, and prove he was framed—or risk going back to prison for life.
In this twisted tale of revenge, deception, and forbidden love, there are two sides to every story, and two faces with every crime.

There were lots of twists and turns in this story. I had figured it out before the end but it was still a good read.

These are all the books I read in January. I'm going to try and post at the end of every month so that the book posts don't end up being so long. 

Saturday, January 13, 2024

So so cold!!!!

 We have just received a Critical Civic Emergency alert!!       After days and days of frigid temperatures and extreme cold, resulting in high power demand, this has placed the Alberta grid at a high risk of rotating power outages this evening!!  We are asked to immediately limit our electricity use to essential needs only.  We have turned off everything we can, got extra blankets and flashlights at the ready-and hope we don't need them!!

We haven't been out of the house since Tuesday as it is so cold.  We have wonderful neighbours who shovel all our snow, including the driveway, for us. I just had to shovel a path from the deck to the garage to plug in the vehicle! Hopefully it will have warmed up a little by Monday as we have appointment Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Books 47-53

 The Shell Shop by Cindy Nichols

One missing shell. One quirky family. One chance to save the Shell Shop. Julia and her husband started the shell shop in the Florida Keys decades ago, before their now-grown children were born—he sold the rare shells he found on diving trips around the world and she raised their kids among the balmy breezes and waving palm trees. But John died in a diving accident and now it’s all up to Julia. Her adult kids are busy with their own lives, and Julia has to dig deep to figure out a way to keep the shop—and her home—afloat. When a world-famous shell collector expects a rare shell that her husband promised to deliver, can the Montgomery family rally together and figure out the method to John’s madness? Find the shell John died trying to find and keep the shop in business? 
This is a cozy mystery so it's pretty obvious what is going to happen-probably in the next book.  I did enjoy the story.

Black Ice by Brad Thor

The new Cold War is about to go hot.
#1 New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and #1 Publishers Weekly bestselling author Brad Thor is back with his most intense thriller yet.
Scot Harvath is having his best summer ever. With a cottage on the fjord, a boat, and his beautiful girlfriend Sølvi, he’s got everything he could possibly want. But out of vacation days and long overdue back home, America’s top spy has a decision to make—return, or submit his resignation.
When his deadly past comes calling, though, he’ll be left with no choice at all.
Leaving his favorite Oslo café, Harvath watches as a ghost climbs out of a taxi—a man he killed years ago, halfway around the world. How is he still alive? And what is he doing in Norway?
In a race against time that will take him high above the Arctic Circle, Harvath will be tested in ways he has never imagined and pushed to a limit few human beings could ever endure.
If he succeeds, he’ll walk away with everything. If he fails, the United States and its allies will be at the mercy of one of the world’s most dangerous actors.
I really enjoyed this book.  Lots of action, pretty ruthless in parts and a good story.

Private Island by  M. J. Hardy

Only the invited get to stay.
Only the lucky ones get to leave.
When Katrina Darlington lost everything, she turned to a stranger for help.
Desperate and grieving, she trusted the hand of friendship and travelled halfway across the world to a very private island.
Blue skies, blistering sunshine, and luxury on a scale way beyond the average person’s means.
The perfect place to start again, surrounded by warm and friendly people who have your best interests at heart.
Or not!
Catalina Island is paradise hiding a sinister secret.
Will Katrina become just another one of its victims, and after having lost everything, discover she still has even more to lose?
Desire creates lies and deception, but is having it all worth losing your humanity?
Were the people you trust most in the world the ones you should have feared all along?
It’s time to find out.
When you lose everything, the only thing left to find is yourself.
This book was kind of weird and scary at the same time. The ending wasn't expected so that's always good!

The Serial Killers Wife by Robert Swartwood

How far would you go to save your child?
Five years ago Elizabeth Piccioni’s husband was arrested for being a serial killer. Her life suddenly turned upside down, she did what she thought was best for her newborn she took her son and ran away to start a new life.
Now, living in a quiet part of the Midwest with a new identity, Elizabeth is ready to start over. But one day she receives a phone call from a person calling himself Cain. Cain somehow knows about her past life. He has abducted her son, and if Elizabeth wants to save him she must retrieve her husband’s trophies — the fingers he cut off each of his victims.
With a deadline of one hundred hours, Elizabeth has no choice but to return to the life she once fled, where she will soon realize that everything she thought she knew is a lie, and what’s more shocking than Cain’s identity is the truth about her husband.
I didn't finish this book so I won't count it into the years number.  I just couldn't deal with a four year old child blindfolded, tied down and a bomb strapped to his neck. This is all revealed about 100 pages in so I'm not giving anything away.

Death at Hazel House by Betty Rowlands

Years ago, Sukey was hoping to become a detective but life took a different turn. Now she’s happy to be involved with the local police force, as long as she still gets to work the occasional murder case...
When Sukey arrives to photograph the body of Lorraine Chant, the beautiful wife of a wealthy businessman, she’s baffled. At first, it looks like a botched burglary, as the huge family safe has been left wide open and empty. But why does Lorraine’s rich husband claim nothing was taken? And what is he not telling the police?
Deciding to do a little investigating of her own, things take a darker turn for Sukey when she is set upon by a shady figure. What do they think she knows? As Sukey finds herself in the firing line, can she expose the true killer before it’s too late?
We the readers know more of what is going on than the characters do.  It's interesting how they discover what is going on and there are a few surprises.  There is the typical love line but that will be explored infuture books.

Saltwater Cove by Amelia Addler

Second chances...and the secrets that sabotage them. At 48 years old, Margie Clifton never expected to be starting her life all over again. But when her brother gifts her a property on San Juan Island, that’s exactly what she decides to do. After all, it’s the perfect place to start a new business venture, provide a second home for her adult children, and recover from her nasty divorce. And if her new life happens to involve the town’s gruff and ruggedly handsome Chief Deputy Sheriff? All the better. The last thing Hank Kowalski wants is an emotional entanglement. It’s only been two years since his beloved wife passed, and there’s no way his daughter is ready to accept him dating anyone new. Still, there’s something about Margie’s quiet strength and beauty that draws him in, making him wonder if maybe a fresh start—and possibly a new love—is exactly what he needs in his life. But Margie is harboring a secret—a dark one that threatens to destroy the new life she’s worked so hard to build. Can Margie and Hank find the courage and faith to overcome all that stands between them? Or will their second chance at happily ever after be lost forever?
Well this was interesting.  Lots of twists and turns and a scumbag ex husband. all seems to be sorted out until, of course, the next book comes out!!

The Downstairs Neighbor by Helen Cooper

From her downstairs apartment in suburban London, Emma has often overheard the everyday life of the seemingly perfect family upstairs–Steph, Paul and teenage daughter Freya–but has never got to know them. Until one day, she hears something that seizes her attention: Freya has vanished and the police are questioning Steph and Paul about their life. Do either of you have any enemies? Anyone who might want to harm or threaten you?
The effects of Freya’s disappearance ripple outward, affecting not just her parents, but everyone who lives in the building, including Emma and local driving instructor Chris, who was the last person to see the teenager before she went missing. Each character’s life is thrown into sharp focus as devastating mistakes and long-held secrets are picked apart and other crimes come to light–including a child gone missing 25 years before, and a shocking murder–that make clear that the past never stays where we leave it, and that homes can be built on foundations of lies.
I liked this book but it took a long time to tie everybody together, and the events of the past to the present. there was lots of deception, family secrets people making terrible choices.  I would read another book by this author.

The Resistance Girl by Jina Bacarr

Two women. One heartbreaking secret.
Paris, 1943.
Sylvie Martone is the star of French cinema, adored by fans and on the good side of the Nazi officers who swarm the streets of Paris. Chosen as one of Goebbels’ select few, she is torn between her duty to her country and her desire to survive.
As she walks the city arm in arm with an SS Officer, her fellow Parisians begin to turn against her. But Sylvie has a secret - one she must protect with her life.
Paris, 2020.
Juliana Chastain doesn't know anything about her family history. While her mother was alive she remained very secretive about her past.
So when Juliana discovers a photograph of a glamorous French actress from World War Two amongst her mother's possessions, she is in shock to find herself looking at her grandmother - especailly as she is arm in arm with a Nazi Officer...
Desperate for answers, Juliana is determined to trace the journey of her grandmother. Surely there is more to the photograph than meets the eye?
But as she delves into Sylvie's past, nothing can prepare Juliane for the tales of secrets, betrayal and sacrifice which she will uncover.
This was a really good read. This is the story of a grand daughter desperately trying to find the truth about her grandmother during WW11 and whether she was a nazi sympathizer. 

Well, that's the final group for 2023.  There were some really good and some not so good books read.  Far fewer books than last year but still a decent number I think.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Books 40-46

 The Orphanage by Lizzie Page

Shilling Grange Orphanage, England, 1948. She was their only hope. Now they are hers. A gritty, heartbreaking and unforgettable story of love and hope in the darkest of times.
Clara Newton is the new Housemother of Shilling Grange Orphanage. Many of the children have been bombed out of their homes and left without families, their lives torn apart by the war, just like Clara’s. Devastated by the loss of her fiancé, a brave American pilot, she is just looking for a place to start again.
But the orphans are in desperate need of her help. Funds are short, children cry out in the night, and tearful Rita tells Clara terrible stories about the nuns who previously ran Shilling Grange. Clara cannot bear to see them suffer, but what does she know about how to look after eight little ones?
Clara can’t get anything right, and then she accidentally ruins Rita’s only memento of her mother. Overwhelmed, she wonders if they’d be better off without her. But she’s not completely alone. Living next door is Ivor: ex-Shilling Grange resident, war hero, and handyman with deep brown eyes. He doesn’t trust Clara and she is fiercely independent, but he has a way with the children. And with his support and the help of other locals, Clara begins to find her way.
As she heals from her grief and adjusts to her new life, Clara wonders if she has finally found her home and family among the orphans. Can she find the strength to fight for them when nobody else will? And dare she open her heart to love again?
Right from the get go you can tell that Clara is a complete fish out of water and she has been taken so far out of her normal routine. She knows nothing as to how an orphanage runs and how can she interact with children who have come from such varied backgrounds full of trauma and loss. The is a heart breaking story but most of it comes right by the end.  this is the first book in a series so there will be more revealed with the children in future books.

The Enchanted Garden Cafe by Abigail Drake

For her sixth birthday, Fiona Campbell’s mother, Claire, made her a peace sign piñata filled with wishes for a better planet instead of candy. When she got her period, her mother held a womanhood ceremony at their café and invited the neighborhood. On her sixteenth birthday, they celebrated with a drum circle.
Fiona grew up trying to keep the impulsive Claire in check, and their struggling café afloat. She plans to move out, but first must find a way to stop a big corporation from tearing down their business and destroying her mother’s livelihood.
Claire thinks karma will solve their financial and legal problems. Fiona prefers a spreadsheet and a solid business plan. The last thing she has time for is Matthew Monroe, a handsome complication who walks through their door with a guitar on his back and a naughty gleam in his eye. But when disaster strikes, and Fiona’s forced to turn to him for help, will she learn to open her heart and find she can believe in something magical after all?
I did enjoy this book from the dizzy mom to the no nonsense daughter.  This is a cozy mystery so we all know the outcome.  It was a very light read with a predictable ending.

Scarlett Feather by Maeve Binchey

They met in cooking school and became fast friends with a common dream. Now Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather hope to take Dublin by storm with their newly formed catering company, aptly dubbed "Scarlet Feather." Not everyone, however, shares their optimism. Cathy's mother-in-law disapproves of both Cathy and her new "hobby," while Cathy's husband, Neil, pays no mind to anything- except his work as a civil rights lawyer. And then there's Tom's family, who expect him to follow in his father's footsteps, and an ambitious girlfriend who's struggling with career dreams of her own. Between friends and families, ups and downs, heartaches and joys, Cathy and Tom are about to embark on the most maddening-and exhilarating-year of their lives...
This is another Binchey book that I'm up and down about.  I like the premise of the story but there were parts that left me quite exasperated!! Some of the different family characters were way beyond belief.

The Girl from Silent Lake by Leslie Wolfe

Her daughter, with emerald eyes and the sweetest smile, is everything to her. Her whole world. “Mommy,” the little girl says, touching her mother’s face with trembling fingers before she’s torn away. “Don’t cry.” Will she ever see her again?
When single mother Alison Nolan sets off with her six-year-old daughter, Hazel, she can’t wait to spend precious time with her girl. A vacation in Silent Lake, where snow-topped mountains are surrounded by the colors of fall, is just what they need. But hours later, Alison and Hazel vanish into thin air.
Detective Kay Sharp rushes to the scene. The only evidence that they were ever there is an abandoned rental car with a suitcase in the back, gummy bears in the open glove compartment and a teddy bear on the floor.
Kay’s mind spins. A week before, the body of another woman from out of town was found wrapped in a blanket, her hair braided and tied with feathers. Instinct tells her that the cases are connected––and it won’t be long until more innocent lives are lost.
As Kay leads a frenzied search, time is against her, but she vows that Alison and little Hazel will be found alive. She works around the clock, even though the small town is up in arms, saying she’s asking too many questions. Then she uncovers a vital clue – a photograph of the blanket that the first victim was buried in.
Just when Kay thinks she’s found the missing piece, she realises she’s being watched. Is she getting too close, or is her own past catching up with her?
With a little girl’s life on the line, Kay will stop at nothing. But will it be enough to get inside the mind of the most twisted killer she has ever encountered, or will another blameless child be taken?
This book was pretty creepy and scary.  It definitely kept me reading!! If you like crime thrillers this is a good one to read.

Where Lost Girls Go by B.R.Spangler

When Detective Casey White discovers the body of a beautiful teenage girl in a white nightgown near the shoreline in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a familiar fear floods through her. Could this be Hannah, her sweet, blue-eyed daughter snatched from home fourteen years ago? But it only takes one look to confirm that the girl with dark bruising around her throat is another family’s tragedy.
Putting her own grief aside, Casey digs into unsolved missing child cases in the area. The victim is Cheryl Parry, one of two little girls taken during a family beach vacation nine years ago. Her sister’s body was found strangled a week later, but someone has been keeping Cheryl alive—until now.
Fearful there may be other innocent lives in danger, Casey and her team work around the clock to trace the material from Cheryl’s nightgown, but hit a dead end and don’t know where to turn. Then, another teenager’s body is found in a nearby pine forest, dressed all in white. It’s suddenly clear that a twisted killer has been hiding in the Outer Banks for years, and he will strike again.
Casey painstakingly combs the forest soil for clues to the killer’s next move, but nothing prepares her for what she finds: a buried charm bracelet exactly matching one that her little Hannah always wore—right down to the broken star charm by the clasp…
This book had a lot of inconsistences in it and I think some of them are, of course, to get you to read the next books in the series.  It wasn't a bad book but the main character makes a lot of stupid mistakes.

The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy

Night after night the beautiful woman walked beside the serene waters of Lough Glass. Until the day she disappeared, leaving only a boat drifting upside down on the unfathomable lake that gave the town its name. Ravishing Helen McMahon, the Dubliner with film-star looks and unfulfilled dreams, never belonged in Lough Glass, not the way her genial pharmacist husband Martin belonged, nor their spirited daughter Kit. Suddenly she is gone and Kit is haunted by the memory of her mother, seen through a window, alone at the kitchen table, tears streaming down her face. Now Kit, too, has secrets: of the night she discovered a letter on Martin’s pillow and burned it, unopened. The night her mother was lost. The night everything changed forever .
This was a pretty good book but the ending seemed so rushed that it really didn't give the story the ending that it should have had.

So here it is January 1,2024 and I'm only just posting this.  I have another post in draft form that will finish up the last of the books I read in 2023.  I hope to get that posted in the next few days.