Book Reviews

My Last Read: Miramont’s Ghost, Elizabeth Hall

miramonts_ghost_2I picked up this ebook out of pure curiosity since Miramont Castle is a real place located in Manitou Springs, Colorado. The story was inspired by historical research but his purely fiction. I confess that I was hooked very quickly and was not expecting the twists and turns that took place as the story progressed. I enjoyed it enough that when the weather is better here in Colorado (it’s May now), I plan to visit the castle myself.

“Miramont Castle, built in 1897 and mysteriously abandoned three years later, is home to many secrets. Only one person knows the truth: Adrienne Beauvier, granddaughter of the Comte de Challembelles and cousin to the man who built the castle.

“Clairvoyant from the time she could talk, Adrienne’s visions show her the secrets of those around her. When her visions begin to reveal dark mysteries of her own aristocratic French family, Adrienne is confronted by her formidable Aunt Marie, who is determined to keep the young woman silent at any cost. Marie wrenches Adrienne from her home in France and takes her to America, to Miramont Castle, where she keeps the girl isolated and imprisoned. Surrounded by eerie premonitions, Adrienne is locked in a life-or-death struggle to learn the truth and escape her torment.” (Courtesy of the Amazon.com book description.)

My Last Listen: Fear Nothing, Lisa Gardner

fear-nothingTwo sisters whose father was a notorious and brutal serial killer, their lives forever marked by their DNA and possessing characteristics out of their control, are forever bound by their ancestry. This was a great “listen” that kept my attention all the way. I thought I had it figured out, then not so much, then figured it out again, then not so much. No spoiler here, I did have it figured out but I never expected the ending here. I love Lisa Gardner’s ability to keep the listener/reader’s attention from beginning to end. She can even make the the most craven monster seem multidimensional and almost sympathetic.

“They were daughters of a monster—a father who slaughtered eight prostitutes before dying himself. Dr. Adeline Glen left the nightmare behind, and now she specializes in pain management. Her sister, Shana Day, followed in her father’s violent footsteps, first killing at age fourteen and being incarcerated for more than twenty-five years.

After a brutal attack, Boston Detective D. D. Warren needs Adeline’s professional help to recover physically. But when a new psychopath known as the Rose Killer begins a reign of terror, D.D. must also consult the insane Shana—who claims she can help catch the madman.

D.D. may not yet be back on the job, but she is back on the hunt. Because the Rose Killer isn’t just targeting lone women; he is targeting D.D. And D.D. knows there is only one way to take him down.…” (Book description from http://www.Amazon.com)

Previous Listens: Touch and Go, Lisa Gardner

touch-and-goWhen Gary and I are on the road, we listen to audiobooks. We almost always choose mystery/thrillers (Kathy Reichs, Sue Grafton, James Patterson, etc.) or comedy/mysterys (Janet Evanovich, Carl Hiaason, etc.) or suspense/mysteries (David Baldacci, Dan Brown, etc.).

Touch and Go is a great mystery. The characters are well developed. The plot has more twists and turns than the road through the Rocky Mountains National Park. This is the second book featuring the character Tessa Leone and there are numerous references back to the book in which this character first appeared, Love You More, which was also a great listen. In fact, it might be worthwhile to read or listen to that book first. the review from “The Booklist” follows.

“Libby Denbe is smart, pretty, and talented. Her husband, Justin, owns a successful Massachusetts construction company. Both are devoted to their 15-year-old daughter. But their marriage is falling apart. After an evening out, supposedly to repair their broken relationship, Libby and Justin return home to find three men waiting for them. With the touch of a taser, their lives change. When they awake, they find themselves and their daughter captive in an abandoned prison built by none other than Justin himself. As they struggle to come together during their captivity, long-held secrets are revealed. But one big question hangs over their heads. Why were all three taken? That’s definitely not the usual kidnapper’s agenda. It also bothers private cop Tessa Leone (Love You More, 2011). Nor does it seem logical to Wyatt Foster of the local sheriff’s office, who becomes involved when the kidnappers cross state lines. Gardner pulls readers right into Libby’s personal and family drama as she bears witness to the horrific captivity her family undergoes and reprises the circumstances of her failing marriage. At the same time, Tessa, Wyatt, and a group of other law-enforcement officers piece together a surprising story that leads to an equally surprising conclusion. Gardner’s depiction of a woman in the midst of emotional chaos is spot on, as usual, and she proves herself just as capable when it comes to creating intriguing men. Readers will want to see more of Wyatt, just as they grew to appreciate Bobby Dodge in Gardner’s earlier books. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Gardner’s previous thriller, Catch Me, debuted at number two on the New York Times best-seller list; this one is likely to follow suit. –Stephanie Zvirin ”

Previous Reviews:

The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend

the-man-called-cashJohnny Cash was one of the most influential figures in music and American popular culture. While he was an icon to people of all ages during his life, Cash’s legacy continues after his death. His remarkable story is captured in this exclusive authorized biography, addressing the whole life of Johnny Cash—not just his unforgettable music but also his relationship with June Carter Cash and his faith in Christ. His authenticity, love for God and family, and unassuming persona are what Steve Turner captures with passion and focus in this inspiring book. Different from other books written about him, The Man Called CASH brings Cash’s faith and love for God into the foreground and tells the story of a man redeemed, without watering-down or sugar-coating. Unquestionably one of the biggest book releases of 2004, The Man Called CASH will be a huge success with his millions of fans and will draw in many new fans with this inspiring story of faith and redemption. (Adapted from Amazon.com’s description of the book.)

The Silver Boat

the-silver-boatThis is the third book I’ve read by Luanne Rice. It is a “rites of passage” type novel, with grownup characters. I must say, I only teared up occasionally and the ending was not really surprising. This was a free ebook and I’m kind of glad it was free. The first book I read by Luanne Rice was Cloud Nine and it was wonderful. It was the first time I read more than half a novel with tears streaming down my face and when it was done, I felt incredibly uplifted.

The next Luanne Rice book I read was Follow the Stars Home and it was also a wonderful feel-good book with a happy ending. In those two books, Rice tackled difficult topics with sensitivity and grace. By contrast, The Silver Boat seemed somewhat formulaic. My advice, read Luanne Rice–just not necessarily this book.

Shoveling Smoke

shoveling-smokeShoveling Smoke is a fun, easy read. The author has created likeable and quirky characters and lots of plot twists. I picked this book because of the Amazon.com review (below) and I was not disappointed.

“Reveling in outrageous shenanigans and hilariously off-kilter characters, Shoveling Smoke does for East Texas what Carl Hiaasen’s novels do for South Florida. Burned-out corporate lawyer Clay Parker chucks it all and moves from Houston to a tiny firm in a dusty small town, searching for his lost integrity and a simpler life. Instead, he lands in the middle of a bungled fraud case defending the disreputable and downright nasty Bevo Rasmussen, accused of torching the stables housing his over-insured thoroughbreds. Immediately confronted with corrupt officials, crazed survivalists, an incompetent hit man, an emu, and a naked county clerk, along with an assortment of vengeful wives and great barbecue, Clay discovers that nothing is what it seems to be. By the end, our hero gets way more than he bargained for, justice (Texas-style) gets served, and the reader gets a laugh-out-loud first novel.”