Sailing in a Sea of Words

Literature Fanatic. Writer. I tend to lean toward mystery and fiction, but I like to change patterns with the occasional YA or non-fiction book. I hope you enjoy my reviews and they inspire you to read the book yourself!

Book Review: River Road

River Road: A Novel - Carol Goodman

Book: River Road

 

Author: Carol Goodman

 

Genre: Fiction/Present Day/Thriller/Mystery

 

Summary: Nan Lewis - a creative writing professor at a college in upstate New York - is driving home from a faculty holiday party after finding out she's been denied tenure. On her way, she hits a deer, but when she gets out of her car to look for it, the deer is nowhere to be found. Eager to get home and out of the oncoming snowstorm, Nan is forced to leave her car at the bottom of her snowy driveway to wait out the longest night of the year - and the lowest point of her life . . . The next morning, Nan is woken up by a police officer at her door with terrible news - one of her students, Leia Dawson, was killed in a hit-and-run on River Road the night before. And because of her damage to her car, Nan is a suspect. In the days following the accident, Nan is shunned by the same community that rallied around her when her own daughter was killed in an eerily similar accident six years prior. When Nan begins finding disturbing tokens that recall the death of her daughter, Nan suspects the two accidents are connected. As she digs further, she discovers that everyone around her, including Leia, is hiding secrets. But can she uncover them, clear her name, and figure out who really killed Leia before her reputation is destroyed for good? -Touchstone, 2016.

 

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Book Review: The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden - Susanna Kearsley

Book: The Rose Garden

 

Author: Susanna Kearsley

 

Genre: Fiction/Sci-Fi/History

 

Summary: Eva Ward returns to the only place she truly belongs, the old house on the Cornish coast, seeking happiness in memories of childhood summers. There she finds mysterious voices and hidden pathways that sweep her not only into the past, but also into the arms of a man who is not of her time. But Eva must confront her own ghosts, as well as those of long ago. As she begins to question her place in the present, she comes to realize that she too must decide where she really belongs. -Sourcebooks, 2011.

 

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Book Review: Seduction

Seduction: A Novel of Suspense - M.J. Rose

Book: Seduction

 

Author: M.J. Rose

 

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

 

Summary: Grieving his daughter's death, Victor Hugo initiated seances from his home on the Isle of Jersey in order to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communicated with Plato, Shakespeare, Dante - and even the devil himself. Hugo's transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it has been believed. . .  A hundred years later, recovering from her own great loss, mythologist Jac L'Etoile is invited to Jersey to uncover a secret about the island's mysterious Celtic roots. She's greeted by Neolithic monuments, medieval castles, and hidden caves. But the man who has invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, hopes she'll help him discover something quite different . . . something that will threaten their sanity and put their very lives at stake. - Atria, 2013

 

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Book Review: The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton

Book: The Forgotten Garden

 

Author: Kate Morton

 

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mystery

 

Summary: A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book - a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell's death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go. -Washington Square Press, 2008.

 

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Book Review: Apparition Island

Apparition Island - Jenifer LeClair

Book: Apparition Island

 

Author: Jenifer LeClair

 

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

 

Summary: A chilling tale of murder unfolds during a fierce September hurricane on the Maine coast in this haunting story of two deaths mysteriously bound together by the long reach of time. As Hurricane Ivan bears down on the coast, the crew of the Maine Wind retrieves the body of a young woman from the sea. Who is she and how did she die? The search for the woman's identity thrusts Homicide Detective Brie Beaumont into an investigation on Apparition Island in the aftermath of the violent storm. A verdict of undetermined death begs the question: Was this an accidental drowning; did Claire Whitehall commit suicide, or was she murdered? As a baffling investigation unfolds, Brie is drawn back into a decades old cold case - one that has cast its shadow into the present, where she could become its next victim. - Conquill Press, 2015.

 

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Book Review: All Dressed in White

All Dressed in White: An Under Suspicion Novel (Under Suspicion Novels) - Alafair Burke, Mary Higgins Clark

Book: All Dressed in White

 

Author: Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke

 

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Romance

 

Summary: Five years ago Amanda Pierce was excitedly preparing to marry her college sweetheart in a lavish ceremony at The Grand Victoria Hotel in Palm Beach. Then, with their guests and families on site, Amanda disappeared. In present-day New York City, Laurie accepts an uninvited visitor into her office: Amanda's desperate mother, who begs Laurie and her Under Suspicion television team to investigate Amanda's disappearance. It's an appeal Laurie, a widow too familiar with the grief felt by the families of victims of unsolved crimes, can't refuse. Soon she and the team are re-creating the night of the disappearance at the Florida resort with Amanda's friends and family in attendance, hoping to shed new light on the mystery, as the series has done in the past. With Amanda's former fiance now married to one of Amanda's bridesmaids, her jealous sister now integral in the family business, playboy groomsmen still behaving badly, a too-friendly wedding photographer, and rumors about the "beloved" bride herself, Laurie and Under Suspicion host Alex Buckley quickly realize everyone has a theory about why Amanda vanished into thin air - and a reason to direct Laurie's attention elsewhere. One thing is certain: whoever was behind Amanda's disappearance plans to keep the truth hidden "until death do they part. . ." - Simon & Schuster, 2015

 

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Book Review: The Splendour Falls

The Splendour Falls by Kearsley, Susanna (2014) Paperback - Susanna Kearsley

Book: The Splendour Falls

 

Author: Susanna Kearsley

 

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Romance

 

Summary: Emily Braden has stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings. When her fascinating but unreliable cousin Harry invites her on a holiday to explore the legendary town of Chinon, and promptly disappears - well, that's Harry for you. As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a "treasure of great price." And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, another Isabelle lived at Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry. As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself. -Sourcebooks, 1995

 

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Book Review: The Bones of You

The Bones of You - Debbie Howells

Book: The Bones of You

 

Author: Debbie Howells

 

Genre: Fiction/Thriller/Mystery

 

Summary: I have a gardener's inherent belief in the natural order of things. Soft petalled flowers that go to seed. The resolute passage of the seasons. Swallows that fly thousands of miles to follow the eternal summer. Children who don't die before their parents. When Kate receives a phone call with news that Rosie Anderson is missing, she's stunned and disturbed. Rosie is eighteen, the same age as Kate's daughter, and a beautiful, quiet, and kind young woman. Though the locals are optimistic - girls like Rosie don't get into real trouble - Kate's sense of foreboding is confirmed when Rosie is found fatally beaten and stabbed. Who would kill the perfect daughter, from the perfect family? Yet the more Kate entwines herself with the Andersons - graceful mother jo, renowned journalist father Neal, watchful younger sister, Delphine - the more she is convinced that not everything is as it seems. Anonymous notes arrive, urging Kate to unravel the tangled threads of Rosie's life and death, though she has no idea where they will lead. Weaving flashbacks from Rosie's perspective into a tautly plotted narrative, The Bones of You is a gripping, haunting novel of sacrifices and lies, desperation and love. - Kensington Books, 2015.

 

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Book Review: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead

Book: Vampire Academy

 

Author: Richelle Mead

 

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Supernatural

 

Summary: Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth's magic. Her best friend Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir: a guardian whose blood is a powerful blend of vampire and human. Rose's life is dedicated to protecting Lissa from the dangerous Strigoi - the fiercest vampires, who will stop at nothing to make Lissa one of them. After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and Strigoi are always close by. -Penguin, 2007.

 

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Book Review: The Demonologist

The Demonologist - Andrew Pyper

Book: The Demonologist

 

Author: Andrew Pyper

 

Genre: Fiction/Thriller/Horror/Supernatural

 

Summary: David Ullman is a literature professor at Columbia University, with special expertise on Paradise Lost. The epic poem about Satan and his court of fallen angels makes for a fascinating lecture, but at the end of the day for David, it’s just another text, a class work of fiction. . . until he travels to Venice with his beloved daughter, Tess, who - to David’s utter horror and disbelief - is abducted by one of the very demons whose existence he denies. Following symbols taken from the pages of Paradise Lost, and opening himself to the possibility that demons walk among us, David races to save his daughter from the entity’s grasp. If he fails, he will lose Tess forever. - Simon and Schuster, 2013.

 

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SPOILER ALERT!

Book Review: In The Woods

In the Woods - Tana French

Book: In the Woods

 

Author: Tana French

 

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

 

Summary: In Tana French's powerful debut thriller, three children leave their small Dublin neighborhood to play in the surrounding woods. Hours later, their mothers' calls go unanswered. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. Twenty years later, Detective Rob Ryan - the found boy, who has kept his past a secret - and his partner Cassie Maddox investigate the murder of a twelve-year-old girl in the same woods. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him, and that of his shadowy past. -Penguin, 2007.

 

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Book Review: The Villa

The Villa - Nora Roberts

Book: The Villa

 

Author: Nora Roberts

 

Genre: Romance/Family/Drama

 

Summary: PR Executive Sophia Giambelli loves her job and has never worried about competition. For three generations, her family's wines have been world-renowned for their quality. But things are about to change at Villa Giambelli. Tereza, the matriarch, has announced a merger with the MacMillan family's winery - and Sophia will be assuming a new role. As a savvy businesswoman, she knows she must be prepared for anything . . . but she isn't prepared for Tyler MacMillan. They've been ordered to work together very closely, to facilitate the merger. Sophia must teach Ty the finer points of marketing - and Ty, in turn, shows her how to get down and dirty, to use the sun, rain and earth to coax the sweetest grapes from the vineyard. As they toil together, both in and out of the fields, Sophia is torn between a powerful attraction and a professional rivalry. At the end of the season, the course of the company's future - and the legacy of the villa - may take an entirely new direction. And when acts of sabotage threaten both the family business and the family itself, Sophia's quest will be not only for dominance, but also for survival. -Penguin, 2001. 

 

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Book Review: The Jewel

The Jewel - Amy Ewing

Book: The Jewel

 

Author: Amy Ewing

 

Genre: Teen/Sci-Fi/Dystopia

 

Summary: The Jewel means wealth, the Jewel means beauty - but for Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Bought at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake, Violet (now known only as #197) is quickly thrown into the royal way of life. But behind its opulent and glittering facade, the Jewel hides its brutal reality, which is filled with violence, manipulation, and death. Violet must accept that she will bear a child for the Duchess, as well as the ugly truth of the city. . . all while trying to stay alive. Before she can accept her fate, though, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess's control, and a forbidden love erupts. Toeing the line between calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and whom, she is willing to risk for her own freedom. -HarperTeen, 2014.

 

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Book Review: Depraved Heart

Depraved Heart: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta) - Patricia Cornwell

Book: Depraved Heart

 

Author: Patricia Cornwell

 

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

 

Summary: Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a highly suspicious death scene in a historic home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link lands in her text messages, immediately begins playing...and it seems to be from her niece Lucy. But how can it be? It's clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago. As Scarpetta watches she comes to grips with frightening secrets about her niece, whom she loves like a daughter. That first clip and others sent soon after raise dangerous implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, alarmed, and not knowing where to turn. She doesn't know whom she can tell - not her FBI agent husband, Benton Wesley, or her investigative partner, Pete Marino. Not even Lucy. Cornwell launched these unforgettable characters on an intensely psychological odyssey that includes the bizarre death of a Hollywood mogul's daughter, wreckage on the bottom of the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, a grisly gift left in the back of a crime scene truck, and videos from the past that threaten to destroy Scarpetta's entire world and everyone she loves. The diabolical presence and singularly "depraved heart" behind what unfolds seems obvious - but strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that's the message they send when they start harassing Lucy and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life. In the latest novel in her bestselling series featuring medical examiner, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell captivates readers again with the jolting twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail for which she is renowned, proving yet again why she is the world's number one bestselling crime writer. - Harper Collins, 2015. 

 

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Book Review: The Haunted Season

The Haunted Season: A Max Tudor Mystery (A Max Tudor Novel) - G.M. Malliet

Book: The Haunted Season

 

Author: G.M. Malliet

 

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

 

Summary: Agatha Award-winning author G.M. Malliet has charmed mystery lovers, cozy fans, and Agatha Christie devotees everywhere with Wicked Autumn, A Fatal Winter, Pagan Spring, and Demon Summer, the critically acclaimed mysteries featuring handsome ex-spy-turned-cleric Father Max Tudor. Something sinister is stirring at Totleigh Hall, the showcase of the English village of Nether Monkslip. Usually, the lord and lady of the manor are absent - high tax rates, it is murmured with more than a trace of envy, force them to live on the continent for most of the year. But Lord and Lady Baaden-Boomethistle have been in residence for some weeks now, and the villagers are hoping for a return to the good old days, when the lord of the manor sprinkled benefits across the village like fairy dust. Father Max Tudor's invitation to dinner at the Hall comes as a welcome novelty; it will be his first time meeting the famous family that once held sway in the area. But before he has time to starch his clerical collar and organize a babysitter, a sudden and suspicious death intervenes, and the handsome vicar's talent for sorting through clues to a murder is once again called into play in this charming and clever novel. -Minotaur Books, 2015. 

 

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Book Review: The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America - Erik Larson

Book: The Devil in the White City

 

Author: Erik Larson

 

Genre: Non-Fiction/Historical/True Crime

 

Summary: Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larson's spellbinding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men - the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World's Fair, striving to secure America's place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction. - Vintage Books, 2003.

 

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Currently reading

Once in Every Life by Kristin Hannah