Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Night Drop by Michael W. Sherer

Blake Sanders has not put the pieces of his life together quite like it was before. He has lost his only son Cole and he is now divorced. Molly and he maintain a cordial relationship but when she is abducted from her high profile law firm, Blake steps in as the person who will maintain contact with the kidnappers.

The kidnapping seems a run of the mill one - the demand for money with detailed, convoluted instructions on how and where the money is to be placed and delivered. Following the instructions to the letter but giving his own twist to the tale, Blake is determined to find the identity of who has kidnapped Molly because both the FBI and the law firm have not clue as to why Molly was abducted.

Slowly emerging from the very complicated background is an international Middle Eastern (and a Bangladeshi) group intent on creating mayhem in America Al Quaeda style. Using a system of trained dolphins and blackmailing a former Navy Seal into helping them, they use the dolphins to retrieve canisters of nuclear material which they intend to use to pulverize American cities. 

Getting Naval intelligence into the act Blake and Reyna realize that their goal is not just freeing Molly if it is at all possible but also to prevent another huge attack on Seattle. 

Starting slow but building up the heat as it went on this was a good thriller. I did not much care for the racial profiling of Muslims - it seemed a bit trite but other than that a good read.

This was a book from Netgalley courtesy of Cutter Press.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich

Another family story involving a dying mother and her three daughters. 

The story when it opens seems very dreary. All three girls have left home as quickly as possible. They couldn't wait to get out of home - a drunkard, abusive father and a mother who was not interested in the nurturing part of motherhood and who only sought escape from the misery of her marriage. 

At this point I almost gave up. The book seemed so weighted down with sadness and was very heavy with so much guilt and sorrow even thirty years later. Fast forward and we have the three girls married but with severe emotional problems of their own. This was the part that I felt that it was overloaded with emotion.

Going on, all three girls return home as their mother has gone into a diabetic coma and they have to decide her future. Coming together is not easy, communicating is even harder. Each one is antagonistic of the other - one believing that the other is very rich, the other thinking she is obese and ugly and so on. The good thing is that they look back on their lives and though they realize the huge shortcomings in their childhood, they also remember the good things that their mother tried to provide for them and gradually they each open up to each other.

Lots of pitfalls in the process of getting together but they do come back together as a family - as an extended family with in laws and children as well.

Not an easy read but an eye opener about families!

Thanks to Netgalley BQB Publishing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mailbox Monday/It's Monday! What are you reading?

Good things in my Mailbox!



Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Read two books over the week end (reviews due). Reading one which is an absolutely new genre for me. I picked it because of the title but did not know it was about vampires and the like!!!! three quarters of the way through.

Late to the meme as just returned to Colombo after a very circuitous tour!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stella by Susan Wuthrich

Jemima gets the shock of her life when she gets a very official letter from Immigration asking her to contact them when she applies for a passport. Apparently,  her birth certificate is a forgery, there is no proof that her father was born in the UK and hence she is looked at with suspicion.

Jemima's mother has passed away and it is only her grandmother, old and frail who may be able to help Jemima to put the pieces of her life together. Unravelling it a piece at a time, Jemima comes across a puzzle spread over South Africa, New Zealand and Britain and a conspiracy on the part of several people who have kept the pieces so well hidden that it takes a lot of detective work for Jemima to find out that not only was her father not who he said he was, she has a sister, a host of relations plus the fact that she is classified as "colored" in apartheid South Africa.

Set in an era towards the end of WWII, with South Africa being at its nastiest on the apartheid question, the problems of mixed race are very clearly and bluntly described and it is horrifying. The effects of the regime which did its best to keep to a "whites only" policy were horrible and how the rest of the world despite the sanctions, just seemed to look the other way is significant. So many issues facing everyone that one tends to ignore some of them and pretend they do not even exist. 

Family sagas are for me, particularly interesting. Coming from a very small unit, I love these large extended families with strong familial connections and bonds.  This was one of those stories which held me enthralled right to the end. Each character was wonderful, some of them disgusting but still all connected to each other and part of the main story.

Would highly recommend this book to all lovers of a good story, well written. Never mind the family saga and the historical background.

The book was a free download from Netgalley through Troubador Publishing.Limited.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Art Restorer - Julian Sanchez

The story covers a number of places all of differing interests - language and culture so this adds another dimension to an already intriguing story.

Enrique is a very successful writer, living in Manhattan. He travels after a number of years to San Sebastian to attend the opening of a new museum and to meet his ex wife. During his time there he also meets up with Craig and strikes up a brief acquaintance with him.  Craig is there in connection with the restoration of Sert's paintings of world renown. Shortly afterwards Craig meets with an untimely death by drowning. Bety Enrique's ex wife has misgivings about the death. She has got very close to Craig whilst he was working at the Museum. She also knows that he was an excellent swimmer and has even swum for the US in the Olympics. She cannot accept that his death is an accident.

Enrique returns home and starts work on his new novel. Immersed in an emerging story, he looks at his mail only much later and discovers that Craig has posted him a notebook detailing all the intricacies of his restoration work at San Sebastian. Some of his notes are cryptic but it is then that Enrique realizes that there is a story behind Craig's death which has to be unravelled.

Covering several countries and several leading families and going back to the German occupation of France and the final push in Paris we have a story of oppression and the way Nazis in France accumulated wealth and stole art work in a huge way to provide for their futures which were so uncertain in the face of impending defeat.  That story also intertwined with the story of Craig - and his own personal life before coming to San Sebastian are the two strands of the Art Restorer coming together to create the novel that Enrique finally ends up writing.

Keeping one on the edge, this was a page turner. I finished it as soon as I decently could, avoiding all work wherever I could till I completed the book!

I downloaded this book to my Kindle from Netgalley (Open Road Integrated Media).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Falcon and the Sparrow - M L Tyndall

The Falcon and the Sparrow

The author is well known for "pirate romance" (didn't know that term so I do need some education I think). This was romance of course set in Napoleonic France and Britain. Shades of spies, lots of drama, heartbreak and then love reigns supreme at the end.

Dominique comes as a Governess to Admiral Randall's house to look after and nurture his motherless little boy. Dominique herself is a daughter of an Admiral but has the disadvantage of a French mother leaving her open to speculation that she could be a French spy. Randall himself feels that he is being set up and that someone is spying on him, trying to obtain important papers which will be vital for a naval battle between England and France. He however suspects Sebastian, his butler and never imagines that Dominique could be part of a plot.

We have scheming women in the form of his sister Mrs Barton and the Lady Irene who detest Dominique from the word go, Dominique also has to face the vulnerability of her charge William whom she has fallen in love with and her growing attraction to the Master of the household despite all her orders to the contrary to get hold of those vital papers and return to France. Those papers are the only security to get the release of her brother from the clutches of Lucien Bonaparte. 

A very convoluted romance and drama which ends well. This improbable romance is good for some light hearted entertainment. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

The End of Everything

This was a win from Stacy's Books.

This coming of age story was a bit sad as well. It is also a story of a crime. Lizzie and Evie are neighbouring 13 year old kids. They live in each others pockets and seemingly know the other person even better than they know themselves. But it is only seemingly so. One day Evie disappears and by a series of deductions it is decided it is an abduction and kidnapping and everyone including the police know who the kidnapper is.

This was where the story gets a bit different. The girls abduction and disappearance is the highlight and only talk in this small town and everyone is desperate to find both the missing girl and the man who abducted her. It is only Lizzie to whom the police can turn to for even small pieces of the missing puzzle to try to track them down.  Over the period of nineteen days it then also dawns on Lizzie that the story is not one of abduction but that Evie may have gone by her own free will but Lizzie's hands are tied as to how this could ever be told.

The secrets in each family gets exposed one by one. Some of them will remain hidden again, not acknowledged by anyone and life will never seem the same for either girl. When Evie returns (assumption being that she escaped, but Lizzie knows that she was allowed to leave), the situation becomes bizarre between the two. There seems to be a boundary which Lizzie cannot cross and Evie seems to have grown up and away from Lizzie in immeasurable ways.

A simple telling of a story that happens all the time. This time the return of Evie was a happy ending for her family, and for the authorities,  though not necessarily for Evie herself.  Disturbing that thirteen year olds are no longer kids and that such powerful emotions can instigate events that could turn catastrophic.