Rainy Day Sisters:A Hartley by the Sea Novel

I was at Barnes and Noble today and picked this one up totally on impulse.  Haven’t heard of the author or read anything about the book.  I read the first few pages and got drawn in and had to buy it.  The story revolves around Juliet and Lucy, two estranged sisters, who are reunited after Lucy’s life turns into a train wreck at the hands of their mother, Fiona.

Lucy joins Juliet in Cumbria at her B&B and soon makes herself a member of the community.  There are romances and romances to come hinted at in places.  There is drama in form of the sisters’ rocky relationship and Fiona’s drama queen actions.  I really enjoyed the story and the plot and how the chapters alternated between the sisters.  I loved the Cumbria setting.  It was well developed and gave me a true sense of place.  Most of all I liked the ending resoluion between the girsl and their mother.  It was so much more realistic and satisfying than the typical ending of life long issues found in women’s fiction.  I don’t want to say more and give spoilers, just that I am looking forward to more books in this series.

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Ruling Passion & Raven Black

Finished Ruling Passion and Raven Black last night after a bout with early rising insomnia.  I really enjoyed both of these.  Raven Black is set in the Shetlands and is a moody atmospheric type thriller that I really like.  The characters are interesting and well fleshed out.  The sense of place is done really well and you feel both the isolation of the location and the claustrophobic closeness of everyone knowing each other and their families for generations.  I had read this years ago but reread it now because it is the monthly read at the Kindle English Mystery Book Club on Goodreads.  If you haven’t read anything by Ann Cleeves, I would highly recommend any of her books.

Ruling Passion is book 3 in the Dalziel and Pascoe series which was made into a TV series.  I am reading through these after watching the whole series (and being dumbfounded at how it ended).  The books are very entertaining and well written.  The mystery is well crafted and even though I remembered the episode I still enjoyed the book. Love the characters of Dalziel and Pascoe both and the interplay between them.  A good number of clues and twists and connections between all the suspects.  Ellie is more likeable in the books than she was on the TV show, but this is only book 3 so I will have to see what happens.  Great police procedural read.

Service of All the Dead & He Who Fears The Wolf

 

Two very different mystery reads.

Service of All the Dead, is an Inspector Morse novel and as such it is more dialog heavy and involves intricate plotting.  In this particular episode, the plot is very confusing and you have to follow closely to avoid getting confused.  Morse doesn’t get everything right but he  has the main idea.  There are lots of leads and characters so it is definitely a denser read than the Karin Fossum book.  Not my favorite so far of the Morse books but still quite enjoyable.

He Who Fears the Wolf involves a murdered farmer, an escaped mental patient, a bank robber and an escaped juvenile delinquent.  Through some unbelievable coincidences, the three, the bank robber and the two escapees end up together in the woods awaiting capture.  This was an okay read, however with no really likeable characters or mystery to solve, it was not that engaging for me.  There is a side plot involving Inspector Sejer but that really didn’t fix the book for me.  I did really enjoy the second book in this series so perhaps this one is just a miss for me.

Cold Kill by Neil White

Just finished this kindle book, which is this month’s bargain book read for the Kindle English Mystery Book Club.

This is the fifth in a series with protagonists Jack Garrett and Laura McGanity.  I ended up really enjoying this one with its seemingly so different protagonists.  Jack is a journalist and Laura is a DS and they are romantically involved, in fact engaged to be married.  The mystery surrounds some brutal sex crimes/killings that appear to be committed by the same culprit.  The story gets more involved once it is revealed that the second victim is the daughter of a notorious criminal.  As the story progresses, we get glimpses into the killers mind, into Jack and Laura’s life, and in to the police investigations.

At first I had difficulty getting fully engaged with the story, but I chalk that up to the fact that I have not read the previous books in the series.  Just over the half way mark, the story really started to come together for me.  The pacing was good and kept me turning the pages.  I would recommend this one, but I think you would do better to read the series from the beginning.

Faithful Unto Death & Leave the Grave Green

   I picked up this at the library, as I am close to finishing the Chief Inspector Barnaby series, in books anyway.  The TV show, Midsomer Murders is much longer.  I vaguely remember the episode based off of this book but that didn’t detract from reading the book at all.

 Chief Inspector Barnaby and his sidekick Troy have a good working relationship, even if Troy gets fustrated at times.  The mystery revolves around a missing woman with a husband who is acting in a peculiar manner and gives a reason for his wife’s absence that doesn’t seem right.  A death occures and C.I. Barnaby finds himself and Troy, in the middle of what had begun as a missing persons case but had evolved into murder? suicide?  An extremely manipulative antagonist leads the reader through red herrings and mis cues  until Barnaby solves the entire case.  Well written and engaging, this is a series well worth reading even if you have watched the TV show.

 This is the third book in the Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James series.  In this book, a young man dies in a way very similar to his wife’s brother.  The family has secrets and they seem to be hindering the investigation, so it is up to Duncan and Gemma to figure out what is going on and how it is impacting today.  Themes of love, regret, denial and betrayal are woven into the mystery.  In this book, we also see a progression in Duncan and Gemma’s relationship and partnership.  I enjoyed both the mystery and the development in the main characters here.  Good, solid mystery read.

The Luckiest Girl Alive

I have been on the list at the library for this one for a while due to all the hype and it finally was my turn.  First, this was another book hyped as the next Gone Girl ((insert sigh here)).  I would say that comparing it to Gone Girl, The Luckiest Girl Alive comes out sorely lacking.  Some points, why I feel this way:

  1. An even more unlikeable protagonist with a really annoying spelling of her name that made me clench my teeth every time I read it.
  2. Random time shifts.
  3. Highly emotional topics (eating disorder, rape, bullying, teen gun violence, grooming of adolscent) treated in such a way that they are minimalized.  Total lack of emotion.
  4. Boring, just boring.  Given the topic this should, at the very least, be engaging, but alas no.
  5. Entirely too much focus on fashion and the disection of everyone’s outfits complete with name dropping of famous brands/designers.

I’ll be returning this one to the library quickly for the next reader as there are still people on the list, I hope they enjoy it more than I did.

Two Mystery Reads

 

These are two library books that I have read in the last week.  Well Schooled in Murder is an Inspector Lynley mystery. This mystery takes place at an exclusive boarding school and involves a young boy, who was tortured and then murdered with his body left in a graveyard.  The mystery pulls together several suspects and story lines.  There are quite a few red herrings and if I had not seen the TV show I would have been very in the dark over who was the killer.

This book also has storylines involving Lynley’s friend St. James and Barbara Havers.  The characters are one of the features of Elizabeth George’s boks that make them so engaging.  It is very easy to get drawn into Lynley’s world and circle of friends and associates.  A good read in this well known series.

How To Cook A Tart was a recommendation for me on Goodreads and I picked it up at my library.  This involves the murder of a husband’s mistress and a bunch of misunderstandings and bad assumptions that surround it.  It seems that this is supposed to be a comedic take on murder, but the comedy fell flat for me.  I just didn’t find it that funny.