Lately, I’ve been reading books that are set in exotic locales. Well, at least to me they’re exotic. I admire authors who paint pictures with words that make me, the reader, feel as if I’m right there in the middle of things. Here are a few of my favorites.
Elin Hilderbrand sets her novels on Nantucket Island. I recently read Here’s to Us, and now I’m desperate to get on a ferry and visit. She makes Nantucket sound like a summer paradise. Also, I probably gained twenty pounds just reading her book! She’s one of those authors who makes her readers’ mouths water when she describes food.
My next favorite is Cormac McCarthy. All the Pretty Horses didn’t exactly make me want to ride off into the Texas sunset, but I did feel like I was right there alongside John Grady Cole as he traveled from Texas and into Mexico.
Finally, I’m heading to Alaska for The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. This one is amazing because it not only draws you into the Alaskan wilderness, it also brings you back to the year 1920. Imagine living in such extreme conditions without benefit of cellphone, electricity, or indoor plumbing! In winter and summer, Alaska is fascinating. I highly recommend this addicting fantasy novel.
Set on a lonely island in the Pacific northwest, The Twilight Wife is a thrilling mystery that will leave readers turning pages.
Kyra Winthrop’s diving accident turns her world upside down. Despite the fact that her loving husband, Jacob, patiently helps her heal, she can’t stop questioning the events of the tragedy. As memories unfold, Kyra grows more and more unsure until everything she thought she knew about her life is called into question.
I won’t lie. The mystery is inventive and leaves you guessing; however, my favorite part of the book is the setting. Banner does an outstanding job of describing the lonely island and its quirky inhabitants. Had this been a travel book, I would have packed my bags and headed straight for Kyra’s cottage.
But I digress. Kyra was a good protagonist – likeable and smart. Although she was, at times, a little too trusting, it was easy to understand why she would be this way given her circumstances. I was meh on her husband, however. I wanted him to have more personality, especially at the beginning of the book.
My only other complaint was that I guessed at what had happened before Kyra did (although, not by much). I would have liked a little more surprise.
All in all, however, this was a very enjoyable read. I like how the author was able to put me directly in the middle of the story. I really felt that I was there. I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.
Thanks to Netgalley and Touchstone Publishing for the review copy.
Blood Money is a fast-paced, thrill ride of a book that leaves you guessing until the very end.
When Tony Robson gets tragic news about his son, he goes to extreme measures to save his child. As a parent, the book made me think about what lengths I would go to for my family. Tony is likable and brave, good qualities in a protagonist.
There are other dramas wrapped up in this as well. Sally, a young drug addict, battles for her life and the life of her friend. She, too, is brave and likable. In fact, I enjoyed her story more than that of Tony’s. From the blurb, it isn’t clear that she would be the central focus of the novel, but she is. If I had one complaint about the book, it’s that the description doesn’t match the actual plot as well as it might. Tony is more of a fringe character. Not that this lessened my enjoyment of the book, but it did confuse me at first since I thought he was meant to be the central figure.
I was also somewhat taken aback by the ending since some of the threads were left hanging. True, a lot of it was wrapped up really well, but I had a sense that there was more to follow. I believe, however, that this book is part of a series, so it’s quite likely that the characters will continue on.
Blood Money is a very enjoyable thriller, and I would definitely read more of this author’s books.
Thanks to Joffe Books and NetGalley for the ARC.
A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward begins with a terrific, double mystery. A body turns up at an old morgue, but the victim was supposed to have been murdered fifteen years before. It’s up to DI Sadler and his team to figure out to whom the unidentified body belongs, and who was, in fact, murdered all those years before.
The premise of the mystery is very good, and there are some wonderful twists in the plot. It also deals with policing issues that are pertinent today. The characters are nicely detailed, and I enjoyed getting to know them.
What I had problems with were the motivations of some of the characters. While it makes sense that a traumatized victim would not want to turn to the police during a time of trouble, it doesn’t make sense that the person would willingly go to prison for fifteen years in order to avoid talking to them. There were several times that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief, and more than once, the motivation of certain characters left me scratching my head. Many times, I felt as if the characters were forced into actions in order to make the plot work instead of having the plot flow from their actions.
I enjoyed this book well enough to finish it, but I’m not sure I’ll read on in the series.
Kiss of the Sun by R. K. Jackson is a twisty, turny thriller that always leaves the reader guessing. The characters are smart and interesting, and the setting is vibrant. Most of it (especially a vivid description of a chase through an underground cave) kept me on the edge of my seat.
However, as much as I liked the book, the second half of it didn’t interest me as much as the first. The first half was well-paced and the buildup made the book impossible to put down. The second half, on the other hand, seemed rushed. In fact, in some places, I wondered in parts were missing. It’s not that the book was confusing, but more that it was too hurried. When I finished reading, I walked away feeling cheated.
Maybe my reaction stems from the fact that I did not read the previous book in this series. Because I enjoyed the setting and characters of Kiss of the Sun so much, I do intend to read the first book.
[I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.]
Hunted on the Fens by Joy Ellis is a face-paced mystery with on-your-toes suspense. I didn’t realize that it was part of an ongoing series, but now that I know, I’ll be coming back for more.
When DI Nikki Galena wakes to find her shed on fire, her world begins to spiral downhill. Someone is stalking her. Someone who thinks reparation is in order. But as Nikki struggles to understand what the reparation is, her comrades are being targeted one by one.
I enjoyed the setting of this novel as well as its characters. Sometimes in a crime book, the police and others in charge act like fools, but that wasn’t the case here. Everyone in the book was smart and did their jobs well. As the mystery’s clues were rolled out, it was fun to guess who the bad guy would be. The ending came as a bit of a surprise, almost too much of one, but in the end, things were tied together nicely.
One thing that did bother me was that some of the actions of the criminal were inconsistent. At times, the criminal was diabolical while at other times, he was almost helpful. And I was left with a few questions at the end of the book.
On the whole, however, this was a fun read, and one I’d definitely recommend.
[I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.]