The Burning Island @HesterYoung

The Burning Island is a fast paced, well written, slightly paranormal suspense novel that will knock your socks off!

51MoprSjBAL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Charlotte “Charlie” Cates is a journalist who believes in facts. This is why she hasn’t fully accepted the “fact” that she is having vivid dreams and visions of children who need her help. After her latest adventure, saving a young boy who was near death in the Arizona desert, all Charlie wants to do is get away – from the dreams, the drama and the press who are hounding her every move. When she has the opportunity to travel to Hawai’i for work, she takes along her best friend, Rae, in the hope that she will relax and have some quiet time away. Of course that doesn’t happen. Of course. She’s writing a story about a volcanologist whose daughter happens to be missing. Haunting dreams begin appearing to Charlie as soon as she arrives on the Big Island.

Hester Young has created an eerie, atmospheric novel that grabs you on the first page and does not let you go until the very end. The story takes you from green sand beaches, to the crater of a volcano and into lush dense woods as we follow along with Charlie on her quest to locate the missing girl before it is too late. The suspense is palpitating, the horror quite real. Although there is a touch of paranormal in The Burning Island, it is so well written that I never once doubted the believability of the story. There are a few surprises but, again, it was how the story played out and not done for the shock factor.

The Burning Island is the third book in the Charlie Cates series, but it works very well as a stand alone. In fact, I didn’t know until I had finished that there were books before this one. I’m now the proud owner of those first two books. I love the character that Hester Young has created in Charlie and enjoyed her style of writing as well. I cannot wait to read Charlie’s story from the beginning!

Thank you to #Edelweiss, G.P. Putnam and Sons and #PenguinBooks for my copy of The Burning Island.

 

Advertisements

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way

My apologies for going MIA for a few days. In my real-life-non-reviewer world, I run a bed and breakfast. We purchased an abandoned, run-down, falling apart Victorian home two years ago and are rehabilitating it to its former glory. This week, we opened a new guest room but WOW did it take more work than anticipated. The BnB also had its first wedding of sorts so there was a ton of prep work for that as well. Loads of Fun but, sadly, no time for reviews. Now I’m back, at least until the holidays. 🙂

415a2TwFvvL._AC_US327_QL65_

Camilla Way is a new-to-me author. I went into the book unsuspecting and was wowed by its gripping suspense.

The Lies We Told is the story of two families – one who has a daughter, Hannah, who never has been quite normal. In fact, she has sociopathic tendencies that worsen the older she gets. The second family has a son who is missing and his girlfriend is trying desperately to find him – hopefully before it is too late. The intersection of these two families is where our story lies. Each family has a dark secret that will affect the outcome of all of their lives. Their secrets have been buried for decades but what will the cost of revealing that secret be?

While the story itself was not always as plausible as I would have liked, the suspense was nail-bitingly fantastic! I stayed up late to read this one through to the end because I just had to know the “secret” and how these two families were intertwined. To say I was shocked at the reveal is an understatement – more so – I was shocked at the subsequent twist. This is one helluva ride from start to finish.

If you like mysteries, suspense and thrillers, this is the book for you. Camilla Way is definitely on my radar now and I cannot wait for her next book!

Thank you to PenguinPublishing – Berkley for this amazing read!

 

House of Gold by @NatashaSolomons

House of Gold is a sweeping saga of the Goldbaum family during World War One and the events leading up to the great war.

51vzeCOisEL._SY346_

I am finding myself reading more and more historical fiction often for the actual history that is included in the books. Some of these authors have done extensive research on fashion, important families and, most importantly, the events of the era about which they are writing. Natasha Solomons’ House of Gold is no exception. Based on the Rothschild family, the Goldbaums are one of, if not, the wealthiest families of Europe. They are the bankers, financiers and confidants of the most influential politicians and land owners. Specifically, House of Gold follows the branches of the family in Austria, Germany, France and England just prior to WW1. The story primarily is told by Greta, from Austria, and her brother Otto. Greta is married off to a distant cousin in England. As the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand occurs, the branches of the family are severed with the families in Eastern Europe cut off from those in the west.

In the first portion of the book, Solomons delves deep into the opulence of this wealthy family – their parties, their castles, their travels throughout Europe in their specially designed train car. Once Greta is settled into England, we then extensively learn about the elaborate gardens and greenhouses created by both Greta and her mother in law. These garden descriptions are, in fact, based on the Rothschild’s famous gardens in Europe. Ultimately, however, the latter portion of the book covers the war and the division of the family. I was stunned at the great detail that Solomons took in her description of the war. I could read historical text after text and never quite get the emotional turmoil that she evokes with her recounting of these characters’ fate during the war. This portion of the book, alone, is reason enough to read House of Gold.

Overall, I found House of the Gold to be one of the best books in this genre that I’ve read. The details are well researched, the character development amazing. However, as with all historical texts or fiction, the author will bring with them their own slant to the events that they are telling. This particular book really pushed home the rise of anti-Semitism and, unfortunately, not everything was historically accurate from that perspective. There was a lot of anti-Russian sentiment brought into play that really did not occur in Europe in WWI but was more a part of the post WW1 era and leading up to, of course, WWII. It’s important to remember, always, that Russia was part of the western alliance during both world wars and suffered the greatest casualty count, greater even than that of France. This story would lead you to believe that Russia was the enemy to the west. Not so. I also did not realize before I read the book that it would be intricately  tied to the Rothschild family. Call me a crazy American, and I am, but I truly despise that particular family and its global machinations. Every time I would begin to sympathize with one of the characters, I would pull myself back again because it’s really the Rothschilds that are being described and I couldn’t care less what their fate might have been and, in reality, I know the ultimate end result and their role in the world today. IF the book had solely dealt with a fictional affluent family and there had been no reference to the Rothschilds, I would have enjoyed the book to its fullest. Again, it’s the crazy American in me and perhaps other people may not have a problem with this.

If you can read the book as a totally fictional account of a totally fictional family, then it is an amazing read. I did enjoy the book and I do recommend it, I just had to overlook a few elements in order to do so.

My thanks to Natasha Solomons, #Edelweiss and #GPPutnamsSons and #PenguinPublishingGroup for my copy of this fascinating tale.

Tell Me You’re Mine by #ElisabethNoreback

It’s publication day for this riviting suspense tale!

9780735218543_aeab3

Tell Me You’re Mine is a slow simmering suspenseful tale of three women: Stella, a psychologist, wife and mother to a 13 year old boy and to a child that was presumed dead twenty years ago. Isabelle, who is seeking answers about her own very confusing life after she was harshly told that the father who recently died was not her biological father and Kirsten, Isabelle’s mother, who is desperately trying to hold on to her daughter while her life is crumbling to pieces around her. As the lives of these three women merge, we see how very fine the line can be between sanity and the brink of madness.

This is a debut novel for Noreback who does an incredible job of pulling you into the lives of these women. She craftfully creates a web of lies, deception, fear and insanity. As Stella becomes more convinced that Isabelle is her “dead” daughter, those around her fear she is on a brink of a breakdown. Stella has done this before, seen her daughter where she did not exist, and she is currently being investigated for having an unhealthy relationship with a patient. Perhaps she is losing her mind. As Isabelle looks for more answers, the questions she is asking and the independence she is seeking causes her own mother to crumble. As readers we, too, are forced to ask questions – who is sane, who isn’t, where should loyalties lie in situations like this and who is telling the truth.

I found the story very engaging and suspenseful. I felt Stella’s terror as she questions her sanity and wanted so badly for her to be correct about Isabelle being her daughter. I became enraged with her husband who questioned Stella’s version of the truth. I desperately wanted him to be stronger and believe her. Noreback does a terrific job creating these very dynamic, sympathetic characters. Ultimately, however, this is a suspense tale and the action packed ending will leave you breathless.

Admittedly, there were times that I felt the book dragged, or perhaps it was just that I was engrossed in the story that I wanted to know how it ended – who was telling the truth. Regardless, I read it in a day because I could not put it down. For me, that alone makes a book at least 3.5 to 4 stars. If I am that engaged with the characters then it’s a good tale – and this is.

I highly recommend it for mystery/suspense lovers and I look forward to reading more from this new author in the future. The book is on sale today at Amazon and your local book sellers. I’d love to hear from you if read it or have read it. Drop me a comment below.

Thanks to #Edelweiss, #ElisabethNoreback and #ThePenguinPublishingGroup for me advanced copy of this terrific book.