Quite a captivating book

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The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase

Book Review:  4 out of 5 stars

Jessie hopes that a move to the country will help her relationship with her teenage step daughter, Bella. Jessie is also trying to escape from being surrounded by memories of her husband’s deceased wife, Mandy, and wants a fresh start.  But their new home is not the haven that Jessie had hoped for.  Bella is caught up in the disappearance of a young girl, Audrey, some 50 years ago.

The book fluctuates between telling the present-day story of Jessie and the story of the missing Audrey 50 years ago. Five years after Audrey’s disappearance, Margot and her three sisters are sent off by their mother to stay with Audrey’s parents, their Aunt Sybil and Uncle Perry.  Sybil and Perry have been housebound since their daughter’s disappearance and pretty much shunned by their neighbors since Perry had been a suspect in his daughter’s disappearance.  Margot is pulled into the strange world Audrey has left behind and the sisters are drawn apart by the attentions of two young men.  When disaster strikes, hard decisions need to be made.

This is the second book by this author and I’ve had the pleasure of reading them both. I very much enjoy the characters and atmosphere that she creates in her books.  While in many ways, it’s a typical tale of an old English house with past secrets, the author has quite a knack for bringing her characters to life and has wonderful insight into the human heart.

Spellbinding and recommended.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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Do we ever know anyone?

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Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Book Review:  3 out of 5 star rating

Billie Flanagan is the mother of teenager Olive and the wife of Jonathan. She’s a bit on the rebellious side and despite warnings of hiking alone, she sets off for Desolation Wilderness and doesn’t return nor has her body been found.   A year after her mother’s disappearance, Olive begins to have visions of her mother asking that Olive find her which convinces Olive that her mother is still alive.  Jonathan is trying to have Billie officially declared dead so he can access insurance money that the family desperately needs but he’s having doubts as to what happened to Billie as he has found secrets that she has kept from him.

I had trouble getting into this one. Some of the characters’ decisions just didn’t gel with the characters’ nature as the author described them.  Some of it was hard to believe, especially the ending.  The parts concerning Olive mostly seemed written in a YA style.  The author does do a good job of describing the characters’ grief and their struggles following Billie’s disappearance.  And it certainly did keep me guessing right up to the end.  While I did find some enjoyment in reading t, the book didn’t impress me enough that I want to read the author’s other books so I can’t give it more than 3 stars.

An average book that I enjoyed.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 

Mystical tale of murder

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Burntown by Jennifer McMahon

Book Review:  3 out of 5 stars

Miles is a 10-year-old boy in the 1970’s. He’s playing Robin Hood when he sees his mother murdered by a man wearing a chicken mask.  Miles has always vowed to find the man who murdered his mother. Even when he grows up and marries Lily, he carries with him a secret that his father entrusted him with.  His father claims to have the plans to a very special machine designed by Thomas Edison himself.  With this machine, the living can speak to the dead.  When tragedy strikes their family, Miles’ wife, Lily, and their daughter, Eva (now known as Necco), become homeless.  But they can’t escape their past as the Chicken Man is still hunting them down.

I remember enjoying “The Winter People” by this author so thought I would give her newest book a try. I enjoyed the beginning of the book which is mostly about Miles, both as a child and as a man.  But when the section about Necco started, I began to lose interest.  It felt too much like a young adult book at that point.  I seem to be reading far too many books lately that start off about adults and then morph into stories about teens.  They’re not listed as young adult books and yet they feel like they are to me.  For that reason, I can only give this book 3 stars.

What I did enjoy about the book was its fairy tale atmosphere, particularly the inclusion of the circus fat lady, Pru, with her miniature circus and fanciful dreams. What I really didn’t like was the subtle acceptance of the drugs taken by The Fire Eaters, a group of eccentric women Lily became involved with.  These drugs apparently gave them special insight into the present, past and future.  The book was entertaining and quirky but I can’t say it’s one that I would recommend.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for discussion in the Goodreads group, “Keep Turning Pages”.

No big surprises in this one

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It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell

Book Review:  3 out of 5 stars

Kate, Jenny & Aubrey, although coming from very different backgrounds, become friends when they room together at college. After all, as Kate says, “They say your freshman roommates become your best friends for life”.  But it soon becomes apparent that their friendship has serious flaws.

The book starts out promising with a well-written scene of an unsuspecting woman being led to a bridge and then being encouraged to commit suicide there. Then it switches to 22 years before when the three young women arrive on campus and first meet each other.  I at first liked the girls but that soon started to unravel.  I wasn’t really interested in their daily activities but something certainly did keep me turning those pages.  The first half of the book, which covers the college years, seemed to read as a young adult novel, which I don’t personally care for.  I thought that I would become more involved in the story when the second half of the book starts with the present day occurrences, but unfortunately by that time I didn’t really care enough about which one of them ends up on the bridge or who had led them there.  I didn’t find the ending to be surprising.

But as I said, something kept me turning those pages to find out what happens so I’ll give this one my “It was okay” rating of three stars.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Wonderfully unique

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The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

Book Review:  5 out of 5 star rating

What a delightful blend of the past and the present and the ties between them.  This book is so unique and completely one of a kind.  I’ve never read anything like it.   This is a hauntingly beautiful book, one that will pull you into its imaginative world.  It’s breathtaking, magical and poetical – all that literature should be.

For those of you who like mysteries, there are several of them in this book.  The first is the disappearance of a young child twenty years ago while in the care of 15-year-old Jane.  And then there’s the mystery of a young woman who went missing over a hundred years ago, which an adult Jane is researching.   But the most haunting mystery involves the fascinating ghostly beings connected to Jane.  The author does a masterful job of weaving together the three time frames without any confusion as to what is happening.

This is no run-of-the-mill historical mystery.  It’s layer upon layer of thought-provoking material.  On some levels, it’s a light read since it’s very easy to follow.  But it’s also a very deep read which you will remember long after the book is finished.  It’s one of those books that I hated to see end as I wanted to stay in the world that this author had created.

This book is deserving of the highest awards presented to works of literature.  The writing is glorious and I look forward to reading more work from this author.

I received this book from http://www.bloggingforbooks.org/ in exchange for an honest review.

More info:  http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/228128/the-world-before-us-by-aislinn-hunter/

Author Bio:  http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/177228/aislinn-hunter/