The Inheritance by Elaine Jeremiah

The InheritanceThe Inheritance by Elaine Jeremiah

When Emma uses blackmail to force her father into giving her the inheritance owing to her early, it sets in motion a chain of events that will change the lives of her and her elder sister Kate forever. Although Emma and Kate have grown up on their father’s farm together, they each want two very different things. Emma is fed up with her boring, suffocating lifestyle and longs to break free. Kate by contrast is happy living and working for her father on the farm and can’t understand her sister’s urgency to leave.

With her inheritance, Emma is soon off to London with her wealthy friend Natalie. She begins to live a life of luxury whilst her sister Kate is left hard at work on the farm. But things are not all they seem. Before long Emma is finding that London life is not all roses, whilst Kate is forced to re-evaluate what it is she wants from life. And even though Kate and her father are living in the middle of nowhere, she discovers that a past relationship may pose a present danger to her.

ebook, 156 pages
Published August 27th
2013 by Elaine Jeremiah
The Inheritance
ASIN
B00ESLWOW4
edition language
English

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Score one for setting in this lovely book by Elaine Jeremiah. She did a beautiful job with her descriptions, making this book an easy one to fall into and not leave until the last page was read.

I enjoyed Kate’s story and the mystery that surrounded it, but I have to admit that my heart lie in Emma’s portion of this tale. The author did a brilliant job of blending the various story lines together and making this novel a joy to read. I particularly found myself fascinated by the story of Stephen. I could never quite figure out exactly what was happening with that part of the book until all was resolved. I like it when I can’t guess right.

This story begins after some startling and important events have already happened and offers the reader a chance to know well established characters that are both interesting and fully formed.

The dialogue is written well and the story has a nice pace that is not too rushed, yet not too slow either.

Overall this was an enjoyable book with a lot of excellent qualities to make me comfortable with recommending it. If you are looking for a charming book by a new author, this is one you should consider.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author, all opinions are my own.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing AmeliaReconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

In Reconstructing Amelia, the stunning debut novel from Kimberly McCreight, Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter–now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.

Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.

Fans of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl will find Reconstructing Amelia just as gripping and surprising.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is definitely one of the best novels I have read this year. This is somewhat of a difficult book to review, as there is so much I want to say, but I want to do so without spoilers.

First of all, if you are a mother, you will feel close to this book from the beginning. Kate’s search for answers about her daughter’s life and death are dramatic, engaging and heartbreaking. Kimberly McCreight is an emotional storyteller. Her characters are realistic, her story concise and her details all lined out to make for a reliably good novel.

There were times whilst reading this book that I found myself so enthralled with the world of Amelia, Sylvia and Kate that I forgot about my own reality. The way the author layered her story, with mystery, young love, hope and desperation and involved so many story lines without making any of it confusing or hard to believe was masterful.

The writing itself was strong and flawless and kept me interested in what was going to happen next all the way through. I was particularly impressed with the way Kate’s character was written. The realisations she had about her successes and failures as a parent were beautiful. Her determination to find out the truth never wavered, and I respected her a lot by the end of the novel.

The teenaged angst, and the mean-girl mentality was displayed in such a bold way, that it made me thankful once more that my children are home schooled. Watching the evolution of a girl into a young woman in this story was incredible. Kudos to the author for understanding what kids go through in this modern world. The involvement of social media and the new “tortures” of daily school life were handled very well.

If you are looking for a book that you won’t want to put down and that you will want to read again, this is one that I absolutely recommend. This review is based on a goodreads firstreads giveaway copy. All opinions are my own.

Journey to Rainbow Island by Christie Hsiao

Journey to Rainbow IslandNew York Times Bestseller

Yu-ning thinks her perfect life on Rainbow Island will never end—until a nasty dragon called the Obsidigon returns from beyond the grave. Now her beloved island is in flames, her best friend has been kidnapped, and the island’s Sacred Crystals have been stolen. To make matters worse, she must venture into the dark corners of the world to uncover secrets best ignored, find a weapon thought long destroyed, and recapture seven sacred stones—without being burned to a crisp by a very angry dragon.

With the help of her master teacher, Metatron, Yu-ning embarks on a dangerous journey to overcome not only the darkness attacking her home, but also the scars of sadness that mark her own heart. And while most people just see a normal kid, Metatron—and a few other unlikely allies—pledge their lives to the dark-eyed little girl with a magic bow and a crooked grin.Journey to Rainbow Island by Christie Hsiao

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the beginning I was on the fence a bit about this book. There are some truly beautiful passages, even within the first couple of chapters, but I didn’t feel that I got to know much about the main character immediately. This prevented me from being able to care about her early on in the story.

As things went on, I found I was surprised by how lighthearted this story is. There is darkness to be fought, but the overall sense of love and peace and equality does not ever fully leave the reader. I thought this was a nice change, especially in fantasy.

This book is a difficult one to place in an age appropriate category. It seems too young and not complicated enough for many adult readers, but a bit longer and deals with deeper subjects than one would expect for a very young audience. I think it will depend on the maturity of the reader and their dedication to the act of reading to decide how they will feel about this work.

Here’s what I really liked:

This author has a strong talent for world building. Her land is filled with magic and wonderful description that puts the reader right there in the scene. She is also very creative and I liked the way she passed from subject to subject with a smooth flow of words and actions.

The book is never boring and the dialogue keeps the reader engaged and understanding the thought processes of the various characters.

There is a lot of emotion in this work and the views of the author on serenity, human relationships and peace are clear in her writing. I enjoyed the interaction between the characters and appreciated the time she spent in creating them. I would have liked to have seen more personal thoughts and history on the main character.

Would I recommend this book? Yes–to certain audiences as mentioned above. I would encourage parents to give this book a read with their children. There will be a lot to provoke discussion as you read.

Overall I thought this was a well-written work with many interesting factors. I like this author’s writing-style and look forward to more of her works.

This review is based on a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Dark Surrender by Erica Ridley

Dark SurrenderDark Surrender by Erica Ridley

TRAPPED IN DARKNESS . . .

Violet Whitechapel committed an unspeakable crime to save a child. To escape the hangman’s noose, she takes refuge in a crumbling abbey with secrets darker than her own. When its master offers her a temporary post, Violet cannot say no. Just as she begins to see him in a new light, her past catches up to her and endangers them all.

THEIR PASSION BURNS BRIGHT . . .

Alistair Waldegrave keeps his daughter imprisoned in the black heart of his Gothic abbey. As he searches for a cure to the disease the villagers call demonic, his new governess brings much needed light into their lives. But how can the passion between them survive the darkness encroaching from outside their sheltered walls?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Dark Surrender” by Erica Ridley is another fine example of this author’s ability to create stories that stay with the reader. Her books are atmospheric and ripe with chemistry and tension between her characters.

What first caught my attention about this novel was the way the characters were introduced using a bit of mystery and intrigue. I was immediately taken with the main character and the recalling of her past that began to emerge as the story progressed.

The dialogue was well handled in this novel, seeming appropriate for the setting and the tie period. The dark and Gothic feel of this book was not as strong as expected, but I thought it worked for the individual story.

I did contemplate whether or not the main character would have become taken with her mysterious love interest so soon when she’d previously been treated so unfairly by men, but in the end that didn’t make much difference to the overall story.

There were a few unexpected plot twists and a lot of tense moments that made for good reading. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a bit darker and more complex romance.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Murder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

Murder at Honeychurch Hall: A MysteryMurder at Honeychurch Hall: A Mystery by Hannah Dennison

In Murder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison, former TV celebrity host Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house, on an isolated country estate, Honeychurch Hall, several hundred miles from London. When Kat arrives at the house, she discovers that Iris has yet another surprise in store. Iris has been writing in secret for years and reluctantly reveals that she’s actually Krystalle Storm, the famous bestselling author of steamy bodice-rippers. The gentry upstairs and those below stairs at Honeychurch Hall regard the newcomers with suspicion and distrust. When the nanny goes missing, the loyal housekeeper ends up dead, and Iris is accused of the murder, Kat realizes she hardly knows her mother at all and wonders if she is—indeed—guilty. Although the six hundred year old estate has endured wars, corruption and Royal favors, it’s the scandals, secrets and lies of the last few decades that must remain buried at all costs.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Murder at Honeychurch Hall, is a cute, quirky and fun mystery with vibrant characters and a lot to love.

I enjoyed this book from the beginning. The main character is funny, blunt and draws you into the story right away. I liked that this book did not take long to get into the mystery portion of the story and stayed with the original purpose throughout.

There are enough characters and side stories that the mystery was not easily solvable and the story never got boring or made me lose interest. I was excited that the author stayed consistent with her character’s personalities, but that she allowed them to make decisions one would not expect.

As the story progressed, more information was slowly revealed, building the original mystery and adding to the feeling of tension in the book. The ending was also unexpected and I was pleased with the way it turned out.

I really liked this book and look forward to reading more from this author.

This review is based on a digital ARC. All opinions are my own.

Dawn at Last by Lawrence Grodecki

Dawn at LastDawn at Last by Lawrence Grodecki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dawn at Last by Lawrence Grodecki is an unusual novel. This is not a bad thing. The book stood out in the crowd of other books for just this reason. This author has a reflective quality to his writing. You can read a passage one way and take it in and then go back later and reread it again and find totally new meaning in it.

The characters were alive, vibrant and fully realised. Never once during this story did I stop to question what the author was thinking or why he chose to take a character in the direction he did. I really enjoyed getting to know Donna in particular. I found that she was a deep and emotional character that kept me wanting to find out why she reacted to situations as she did. The more I learned about her, the more I felt a kinship with her. I was sad to see this book end, as it was the kind of book that you want to keep reading so you can stay with the people you have come to care for.

This is not a fast paced book, but it has a kind of symmetrical flow where one scene bleeds into the next carefully and keeps you wanting to come back for more. Above all, this is a story of love and redemption. Love for other people, love for yourself and love of life. Each sentence had a purpose and added something valuable to the story.

Watching as the characters came to realisations about themselves and one another was great, but really feeling the depth of their emotional connections was phenomenal. Lawrence Grodecki has something in his corner than many other authors don’t—he writes from the heart and incorporates much of himself into the creation of his characters.

This book was long enough to enjoy over a weekend, but not so long that the characters began seeming overbearing or pointless. The writing was solid and the dialogue was interesting and kept moving in a progressive manner. I had a lot of fun reading this book, shed a few tears, and thought a lot about life and the chances we have to correct wrongs and make decisions. What more could you ask from a book?

If you have not read Dawn At Last, I encourage you to take some time to do so. I recommend it.

View all my reviews

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose

The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of SuspenseThe Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense by M.J. Rose

From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.

But it’s René other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.

Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There were many things about this book that made me really like it. Jac was a very well drawn character with a compassionate nature and an interesting background. From the beginning, her compassion for those she cared about made me feel close to her and want to keep learning more about her life.

That being said, this book was not as historical as I expected after reading the blurb. There is a lot of historical reference in it, and it does bounce back and forth between time periods, but much of the story is a romance set in the present day. This did not make me unhappy with the overall story, but it was much different than what I had expected. I liked the chemistry between the main character and her love interest and enjoyed the settings in this story as well.

I was impressed by how fluid the writing was much of the time, although I did feel the story changed course and lagged a bit in some spots. It was never boring, but on occasion I thought there was some overkill going on with all of the descriptions.

If you are a dedicated fan of historical/contemporary cross overs, this would be a good book to add to your personal collection. I am happy I had the chance to read it, even if it wasn’t what I had thought.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher and provided by Netgalley.

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Lost LakeLost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a novel about heartbroken people finding hope at a magical place in Georgia called Lost Lake.

Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn’t believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake’s owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake’s magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lost Lake is another emotional and family-driven read from author Sarah Addison Allen. When I first began reading this book, I didn’t really make an immediate connection. There were quite a few characters introduced early on in the story and I had trouble following who they were and what part they played in the story, but after a few chapters, I settled in to the book and began to see how everything worked.

One of the things that makes me return to read this author again is her ability to build strong bonds between her characters. You know when you read one of Sarah’s books that you will get a comprehensive picture of the main character’s life and their experiences. The friendships and family relationship she builds are so real and so physical that you can easily relate to them. I often thought during this “I’ve felt that way before,” or, “I know how that is.”

This book has lots of good humour and excellent quotes in it. The story kept pace well and by the end, I knew this was a book that I would buy in paper format to add to my collection of treasured books.

If you are looking for something wonderful to read, you can’t go wrong with Lost Lake.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher as part of the Shereads.org blogging network. All opinions are my own.

This is the Shereads.org monthly selection. To find out more about she reads and all the wonderful things they do for women’s literacy and the reading community, please check out this link: Shereads.org

Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens

Kate Walden DirectsKate Walden Directs by Julie Mata

Night of the Zombie Chickens is supposed to be Kate Walden’s breakout film. But her supporting actresses-her mother’s prize organic hens-are high maintenance, to say the least. Thank goodness Kate’s best friend Alyssa is the star. She’s great at screaming and even better at killing zombies in creative ways.

But when Alyssa turns into a real-life soulless zombie and ditches Kate for the most popular girl in seventh grade, Kate suddenly finds herself both friendless and starless. Now, thanks to Alyssa’s new crowd, Kate is the butt of every joke at school and consigned to the loser table at lunch.

If movies have taught Kate anything, it’s that the good guy can always win-with the right script. And her fellow social outcasts may be the key to her own happy ending. Kate hatches the perfect revenge plot against her former best friend, but even though her screenplay is foolproof, Kate soon realizes that nothing-in filmmaking or in life-ever goes exactly as planned. Especially when there are diabolical hens out to get you.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Juli Mata has a clear understanding of what it is like to be a pre-teen and the pressures that kids feel when trying to establish their place in the social order. This book is fun to read, silly at times, but also has a lot of truth in it.

Throughout this story, I felt sorry for Kate for the situations she found herself in, even when she wasn’t being very nice. She is a character that it is easy to feel sympathy for. I thought the author did a brilliant job of making her background seem realistic and colourful and the secondary characters were equally as well drawn.

For the younger kids who read this, there may be a couple of more adult themes they don’t understand yet, but nothing extreme that they shouldn’t be reading.

Between the zombie chickens and the Kate-caused mayhem, there is never a dull moment in this book. There are some valuable lessons here and I think even parents would have fun reading this with their child.

Overall, this one was a winner earning four out of five stars.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher and provided by Netgalley.

Shoreline Drive by Lily Everett

Shoreline Drive (Sanctuary Island, #2)Shoreline Drive by Lily Everett

Dr. Ben Faulkner is a veterinarian on warm, welcoming Sanctuary Island, a tiny refuge for wild horses tucked off the Atlantic coast. Though he’s dedicated his life to healing animals and rescuing the ones no one wants, Ben is nursing deep wounds of his own. After tragedy tore his family apart, he gave up his dreams of finding happiness long ago…until Merry Preston arrives on the island. Vivacious, friendly, and instantly loveable, Merry is everything Ben is not. She’s also nine months pregnant and attempting to carve out a new life for herself and her unborn child.

Though Ben tries to keep his distance, when a raging storm cuts them off from the mainland, he’s forced to help bring her new baby into the world. It’s a harrowing experience that leaves him with one great certainty: I want these two to be my family. Seeing his opportunity, he makes a dramatic proposal to the young mother: a marriage of convenience. If Merry marries him, he’ll draw up a contract naming her son as his heir and promising to provide for them both. But as they’ll learn, love is more than a business proposition…and it’ll take all the magic hidden in Sanctuary Island to turn Ben’s proposal into something real and lasting.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Shoreline Drive is the kind of novel that keeps you engaged from start to finish. When you first meet the characters, you know that they are warm and ready to embrace the reader and invite you into their lives.

From the beginning I was whisked away by this author’s writing style. Her words flow easily into the mind and allow you to fall into the story without hangups or missteps. I liked the descriptions she used of the island and of the horses, as well as the detail she put into the creation of her characters. The setting was beautiful and at certain points in the novel, I felt like I was right there with the characters.

This was my first book by Lily Everett, but I would be happy to return to this series and learn more about the lives of the characters. It was somewhat reminiscent to me of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series in the regard that the families are all interconnected and one event creates another within the small town atmosphere.

I would have to say that Ben was my favourite character out of them all.He is the perfect lead for a contemporary romance, strong when he needs to be, silent and observant and the kind of man that you want to capture the heart of the female lead. I didn’t love Sam, but perhaps that will change in future books.

Overall this was a very pleasant read and one I am happy that I didn’t miss.