The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand

There are some constants in life that you can cause you to breathe a little easier because you know they are there.. or they are coming.  Elin Hildebrand’s book releases are on of these constants.  She is consistently good in her writing, and consistent in putting out a book a year just as I am craving a little of that Nantucket sand between my toes.  ~Sheila

 

Harper Frost is that laid back girl next door with a beer chaser.   She has her own style and it is casual.  She doesn’t care what anyone thinks.  She tends to leap… and suffer the consequences later.  She is typically in between jobs and that is ok.

Tabitha Frost is dignified.  She wear only designer clothes and is much like her fashion icon mother, Eleanor Roxie Frost.  Appearance – is everything.  Tabitha’s teenage daughter Ainsley, begs to differ.  She is abrasive to her mother in full on teen rebellion…  what she needs, well what she needs is a dose of Harper – Tabitha’s identical twin.

The sisters, have lived on islands 11 miles apart yet have not connected in over a decade.  As their lives are splintering, the twins call a truce to see what they can do to fix things before it is all too late.  By switching places can they repair the damage done by lies, deception and gossip?  And is there any hope that what threw the sisters apart all those years ago can be repaired?

MMMMM  I love me some Hilderbrand.  Her books tend to be of the Nantucket persuasion which I love.  A little of knowing what you are going to get, at least setting wise… but there is so much more.

Harper and Tabitha are well-developed characters and I enjoyed this story line so much.  Hilderbrand does a nice job of fully developing the story lines of their worlds separately as well as together.  I love love LOVED Eleanor.  If you have not tried Elin Hilderbrand, I recommend highly that you do.  There are some delightful laugh out loud moments here, as well as a wonderful story of sibling rivalry, family secrets, and well.. basically a typical family trying to make it work.

SON by Jack Olsen


I admit, I have always been a bit fascinated with true crime.  That – I realize feels weird to say.  How to put this… the human mind is a fascinating thing, when you add in whatever makes psychopath’s do what they do… and usually justify it – I don’t even know what to say.  ~Sheila

 

Disclaimer…  I see as this year starts out my reviews have been ummmm… border line murderous?  Those of you who have read my reviews (or look at my review list) know better.  I read all over the board – just for some reason as I am catching up on reviews I see I have had a series in a row of these reads – not as dark as this one I am about to share with you.. but mystery dark all the same.  I assure you, lighter stuff is on the way 🙂  There have been some re-reads for book groups I am involved in such as Left Neglected (sooooo good), The Husbands Secret (ooh!), Big Little Lies (I will talk about this discussion soon), and Turtles All The Way Down for my book club that meets tonight).  See – they are coming 😉

SON.

I believe, if I recall correctly, I found SON while choosing audio on Audible.com.  I do, as I mentioned, enjoy (cringes at the word) the occasional true crime and SON’s synopsis of being an old crime and then rewritten with a new forward by another author.  That caught my attention.  Why rewrite a true crime? 

SON is about a serial raper in the Spokane Washington area in the 1980’s.  Fred Coe raped more women than can be actually known over a two year period.  He was described as handsome, kind, and a down to earth attitude that would not make you think twice about him (Bundy?).  He mainly watched bus lines or jogging trails for women alone.  The crazy think IMO – was he was not that good at it and I was mostly baffled by how long it took to capture him.

What do I mean?

Well, often his face was not covered.  He threatened the women of course to not tell or he would be back, and they did not.  Often – he could not perform.  He would ask the women if they enjoyed what he was doing, using vulgar language, etc…

A newspaper offered a reward for the rapists arrest – as it turns out, Gordon Coe, the editor of the newspaper took the calls that came in about the reward, only to later find out it was Fred Coe – Gordon’s son who was the rapist.

This book (I went with audio) was way longer than it needed to be.  The narration took a bit of getting used to, a monotone style voice that was used when they described the rapes and what the women said or what Fred said, grated at me for a large part of the audio as I felt it did not fit the scene.  The book is (IMO) over detailed, dragging out way longer than it needed to be.  I mainly kept listening as I was baffled by all that was said, that it took local law enforcement so long to capture him.  I had to know what finally happened.

As true crime goes, I would not recommend this one.  As mentioned, it was too drawn out for me, and while it held my attention, it was not something I could not wait to get back to. Unless you have connection to the Spokane area or the crimes themselves, I would say pass on this.

 

Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens


Yes, my Esken’s gush continues from yesterdays posting of The Heavens May Fall.  A brilliant writer who I have found to capture a bounty of talent within a binding.  Allen Esken’s never ceases to surprise me.

~Sheila

 

Detective Max Rupert has never come to terms with his wife’s death, the result of a hit and run.  When evidence is found that proves Max’s suspicions, that her death was no accident but cold-blooded murder,  Max falls into a world of grief and despair and an unquenchable desire to seek revenge on those involved.

As Max follows the clues he becomes more consumed to the point of not carrying what his decisions going forward could mean for himself.  When his obsessive need for revenge brings him to a cold and frozen lake on the far outstretches of Minnesota somewhere where his actions may never be brought to light, Max steps over a line that he himself had convicted many people for less.

Whoa and whoa.  Seriously whoa.  This book, and its nature really starts in Heavens May Fall as you learn more about Max’s growing obsession with his dead wife.  As heaven’s May Fall comes to a close, facts (bread crumbs) are dropped into the reader’s mind that all that surrounds Jenni Rupert’s death is not as it was to seem.  Deep Dark Descending really is all about what Max does with this new-found knowledge that his friend Boady placed in his care.

Deep Dark Descending is dark, however I will say understandably so.  If you follow Max’s love for his wife and her untimely death as well as other factors that are revealed in this book, you can indeed follow Max down the spiral rabbit hole of Deep Dark Descending.

For myself, I am fascinated with what Allen Esken’s brings into a book.  Knowing his background as an attorney makes it all the more fascinating for me as I imagine he is pulling from his own experiences and then adding his own spin to what happens when someone is pushed right to their breaking point.

I devoured Deep Dark Descending on audio, listening every chance I had to know what would happen as Max uncovers hard truths and makes even harder decisions of what to do with these truths now that they are fully revealed.

The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskens


Allen Eskens is a Minnesota gem.  His works are drawing attention all over and he is not only a best seller but has won many awards for his writing.  I am thrilled to have met him in New York at the Book Expo and he and his lovely wife attended Wine and Words in 2016.  He is an author I watch to see what he will put to paper next.  His first book, The Life We Bury was a delight to review with The Bookies.

~Sheila

Boady Sanden has happily enjoyed his retirement, that is until his friend Ben Pruitt shows up on his doorstep broken and grieving announcing that his wife, Jennavieve has just been murdered and he, Ben, is considered a suspect.  Boady, who still carries guilt over an innocent client from years ago feels this may be his chance to lift the burden a little and agrees to come out of retirement and represent Ben.

Detective Max Rupert is friends with Boady but does not share in Boady’s strong belief that Ben is innocent.  Max, carrying the weight on his own wife’s murder 4 years earlier, finds that Ben’s situation is stirring things in him that have never been resolved.

In a case that has friends on opposite ends of the court room, Boady and Max agree to disagree as both men work to unravel the mystery surrounding Jennavieve’s untimely death.  What will be the final verdict for all involved?

As I mentioned, you don’t have to sell me on an Allen Eskens book.  Lets just say, you had me at Esken’s.  I listened to this one on audio while painting my office recently and the story line, smooth narration by R. C. Bray (Narrator),‎ David Colacci (Narrator),‎ Amy McFadden (Narrator) was the perfect mix.  Nothing makes a project go by smoother than great audio.

I loved it.  The twists the turns had me all the way through… just when I thought I knew.. BAH.  I knew nothing.

Note:  You meet Boady and Max in The Life We Bury, although you do not need to have read The Life We Bury to dig into this read.  In fact for myself, I had forgotten that I had met these two men in a previous book with over a year for me between the reads.  I do however recommend you read this one before you read Esken’s next book, The Deep Dark Descending. 

In DDD, you really follow Max Rupert down a rabbit hole and I feel you need The Heavens May Fall to grasp where Max is at.  I have two friends (well I have a few more but this scenario is about two of them…) one read them as I suggested here and LOVED Deep Dark Descending. The one who read Deep Dark Descending without reading this one first found it to be dark, and did not fully grasp how Max Rupert came to be where he is in that book. 

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham (Audiobook Review)


If you have read this blog for any amount of time you probably know I adore all things Gulmore Girls.  When I noticed that Lauren Graham had an audio out – narrated by HER, well… just try to stop me from listening.  ;P

`Sheila

From growing up to failed attempts at dating  (tall is not always awesome), Lauren shares it all.  When you look at her today and who roles she plays on TV you see a confident fun woman, that honestly I would love to go have coffee with and call her friend (hint hint!!!)  Yet listening to this audio you will find out that as often is the case, looks can be deceiving.

Of course I listened to hear all the inside scoops on Gilmore Girls… what is was like to work with the amazing Alexis and how crazy was that cast and Stars Hollow (although not so secretly I wish I lived there).

Lauren shared much about life, advice, and yes, Gilmore Girls original and Gil More Girls the special that came on Netflix recently and how that came to be.  Most of this I loved… some of it droned on that while I could listen to Lauren Graham’s fast talk all day…  maybe not all day about re watching episodes or diet advice…  some felt like filler when I think there could have been more about Gilmore Girls (yes yes I am bias)

Over all?  Liked  to the point of loved but not quite.  I am of course glad I listened to it, as I did walk with away with some fun facts and of course found her narration on her own book – fantastic.  That’s the way is should be.

For Gilmore Girls Fans… a must.

Did you know June is audio book month?  If you do decide you want to listen to this book…

please do just that – LISTEN to it… there is something pretty amazing

about Lauren Graham talking to you about Gilmore Girls and although I am sure the book is good…

come on people this one needs to be on audio. 

 

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris (Bookies Book Club Review) Audiobook review


A Bookies Book Club read and one I was glad I had an opportunity to explore….creepy good. 
~Sheila

 

Jack and Grace are the couple to envy.  Jack is handsome and attentive, has money, a good job, and charm… every girls dream in a guy…  he is contemplative to Graces beauty and shyness. 

But what happens behind closed doors?  Why is it that Grace never has her friends over that she used to hang out with all the time?  Why is that every time she is asked to go out to lunch she says yes, yet cancels hours before actually going?  And why is it the few places that you do see Grace, Jack is always there?  Always.   And Grace is looking thinner and thinner every time she is seen….

OOH yeah…  This was our Bookies Book Club pick for April.  The synopsis of this one made this book an easy win for our vote and we were not disappointment.  There is much that goes on in Behind Closed Doors and soooooo appropriately named.

Admittedly, I struggled a bit with Grace, it is no secret that I like to read about strong independent women and some of Graces choices (or lack there of)made me grit my teeth. The longer she stayed in the situation, the more power it seemed that Jack gained.  Of course on the flip of this – if Grace had been stronger…we would not have had this book.

Our book club had a good discussion over this book and the overall rating came in around a 3.75 out of 5.  For the most part the book was enjoyed.

Of course, we always need to get in to the book so here is our pictures from our review…

Recommended for book clubs because there is great discussion topics such as abuse, awareness, self-esteem….

Did you know that June is Audio book month?
I enjoyed this book on audio and loved the smooth narration by Georgia Maguire.

 

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Safe From The Sea by Peter Geye (audio book review) Bookies Book Club Read

First up…. I love Peter Geye.  He is genuine and funny and writes a pretty great story as well…  I hope you will indulge me here as I tell you about this one, and I do hope you pick up one of his books sometime soon.
~Sheila

When Noah returns home to the North Shores of Minnesota to be with his dying father, he has much apprehension.  After all Olaf, has been fairly estranged from his son for many years and an absent father since the since the ship he was on sunk and Olaf was one of the few survivors while his shipmates lost their lives to the harshness that can be Lake Superior.  Noah now married and trying to have a child with his wife, struggles with the decision to go and be with his father while at the same time, how can he not?

What Noah learns about his father, and the shipwreck changes Noah’s whole misconception of his father.  The time they spend together as Olaf shares what really happened that cold stormy night all those years ago, the first time he had ever shared the whole story with anyone.  As Olaf’s story unfolds, Noah comes to realize that one does not fully survive such a tragedy, and there is much more to his father then he had ever known…

My book club The Bookies, chose this as our June read.  Author Peter Geye is one of our Wine and Words authors coming this fall, and he was one of our authors in 2015 as well.  I was excited we chose this book to read as I had yet to read it.  Due to a busy June, I chose to listen to it on audio and I was so glad I did. Narrator David Aaron Baker lent the right voice to this book, while gardening, I was easily immersed into the lull of his voice as he brought forth the story of Noah and Olaf…

The Bookies enjoyed Safe From The Sea.  It was interesting as going in, for some reason I had my head wrapped around that this was going to be a “guy” book… meaning more appealing to men as it centered around a male protagonist, boats,and fishing.  I can tell you, I was wrong.  This book weaves a story of family, and tragedy, and coming to terms with what was and what is and what will be.  Well played Peter, well played.

The discussion was centered around family and around the setting as we all are familiar with the North Shore setting, the beauty of it and the dangers of Lake Superior.

Over all the book rated a fairly solid 4 our of 5 from the Bookies as a whole.

 

Did you know that June is Audiobook Month?
Be sure and try this book on audio –

recommended by Book Journey.