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. 


  1. I do enjoy a good mystery, so I'll have to keep an eye out for some of these.
    I recall I saw the movie, "The Help" before I read the book, and I was actually disappointed in the book. I felt the movie fleshed out some of the scenes better. I wonder if that's the case with your reading of "Under the Tuscan Sun".

    1. I just remember the visuals were breathtaking in the movie but the book seemed to just drone on and on about historic sites and I found it quite boring. I even skimmed over some parts and I never usually do that.

  2. Great selection and reviews again. And one I've actually read. Under the Tuscan Sun. I loved that book. Read it many years ago. She has written others too.
    I have seen the film about 3 times. It keeps on turning up on Greek tv. Different from the book. .. Great film

    1. I really enjoyed the movie, I saw it a long time ago.

  3. Hmmm, you found some great books to read. Yet more that I have to search for.

    God bless.