Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

 

leopards

After six years in England, Rachel has returned to Kenya and the farm where she spent her childhood, but the beloved home she’d longed for is much changed. Her father’s new companion—a strange, intolerant woman—has taken over the household. The political climate in the country grows more unsettled by the day and is approaching the boiling point. And looming over them all is the threat of the Mau Mau, a secret society intent on uniting the native Kenyans and overthrowing the whites.

As Rachel struggles to find her place in her home and her country, she initiates a covert relationship, one that will demand from her a gross act of betrayal. One man knows her secret, and he has made it clear how she can buy his silence. But she knows something of her own, something she has never told anyone. And her knowledge brings her power.

 

Review

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh begins with Rachel’s return to Kenya. Rachel hasn’t been around since her mother died about six years before. Coming back, she quickly realizes that Kenya is not what it used to be. The country is undergoing some changes which have caused insecurity. The land is hostile and even more so when Rachel finds that her father has a new woman in his house.

I was really excited when I received an ARC of this book. I have read plenty of books set in colonial era. My favorite ones were by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o. I was curious about this story for various reasons. First of all, I haven’t read any books set in the period that are narrated from the POV of a settler. Secondly, the book mentions Mau Mau. The world has a negative perception about this rebel group. I know that they committed all sorts of atrocities against white settlers and their Kenyan supporters. However, for most Kenyans, the rebels are referred to as heroes. To date, we have monuments to celebrate and honor them such as the Dedan Kimathi statute at the heart of Nairobi. The British government was not going to give Kenya independence. Dialogue had failed and so the only way to get freedom was through an armed struggle and so young men went into the forests and planned their attacks, many sacrificed their lives for their countries. I was curious about the representation of the group in this book. Would the author demonize them or give the Mau Mau a fair representation? Lastly, one of the MCs in this book was Kikuyu. Honestly, that is something that I never imagined that I would ever see in an ARC. Kikuyu is one of the 42 ethnic groups in Kenya and that is my community.

As you can already tell, I had high expectations with this book. I loved the setting. I think the author did a fantastic job in portraying colonial Kenya. She described the setting in an accurate, vivid manner. The lack of roads was interesting to read about. It made me think about how we take things for granted. There was a time when a trip that now takes two hours used to take a day. I also liked the description of the wild in the ranches. Before the government established parks, animals used to roam free in Kenya and I liked how the author was able to bring that aspect into the story.  The author had also really researched Kenya. Most of the places that are mentioned in the book still exist like the Mathari mental hospital and the towns such as Nakuru, Mombasa and Nairobi.

The MC was a likeable character. I liked how Rachel was able to fit into the new environment. She got along well with the Kikuyus on the ranch. She adapted to the environment and this could be seen in little things that she did like fishing. On the other hand, I really disliked Sara. I can’t talk much about her but let me just say, she really got on my nerves. Her treatment of the Africans was terrible. It reminded me of all the ugly, racist stories that I have heard about the era. And if Sara was terrible, then Steven Lockhart was a disgusting human being. He made my skin crawl. There are other characters that stood out such as Michael, the Kikuyu who befriended Rachel. I liked his background story. Other minor characters that were memorable include Logan, Mungai, Njeri and Kihika. Rachel’s dad was one of the MCs though his presence was not felt as much as the others. In short, the characters were very well crafted.

Of course I have to mention the Mau Mau. This group was described as ruthless. They killed and forcefully administered oaths of loyalty. The group was a character in the book. What I liked about their representation was the fact that it was balanced and depicted reality. The book had characters in support and against the secret society. I also like that there were characters that supported the struggle but not everything that was done by the group. It made me smile when I saw references of Dedan Kimathi and Jomo Kenyatta. I just loved how realistic the story-line was.

This book was quite a joy to read. The author took me to the colonial era and made me reminiscent of stories of the past. It reminded me of my mother’s story about the night of independence when Kenya’s flag was raised on Mount Kenya. The author managed to tell the story in such a way that the era came alive. My only issue with the story was the use of local language. As a speaker of both Swahili and Kikuyu, some words and phrases felt off to me. For instance; some dogs were referred to as shenzis. That cracked me up. Shenzi is Swahili for idiot so I am not sure how that fits with dogs really but anyway, perhaps these were phrases that were used before my time. Shenzi though… lol.

Another thing that I really liked was the tension in the book. The book made me feel nervous. I was terrified of the imminent attack by the MauMau. With every news report, I wondered when it would happen and I feared for some of the characters. The tension kept me anxiously turning pages. I imagined the MauMau from the POV of the settlers and I was terrified.  This was a suspenseful, engaging read with very memorable characters. If you are interested in historical fiction set in Africa then I definitely recommend Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh.  Lovers of Kenyan literature will also enjoy it. If you read this book, let me know, I would love to discuss it with you.

WWW Wednesday #July 26

This meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words

To take part all you need to do is answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

So here’s my 3 W’s for the week.

Recently Finished

leopard at the door 2

 

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

This was a suspenseful, engaging read with very memorable characters. If you are interested in historical fiction set in Africa then I definitely recommend this book. Lovers of Kenyan literature will also enjoy it. If you read it, let me know, I would love to discuss it with you. You can read my review here.

 

STILL HOUSE LAKEThe Still House Lake by Rachel Caine

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

This was an impromptu ARC read. I read Yvo’s (It’s All About Books) review and was immediately intrigued. I read the book over the weekend and was definitely impressed. My review will be up on Friday.

 Currently Reading

muhindiMemoirs of a Muhindi: Fleeing East Africa to the West

In Memoirs of a Muhindi, Mansoor Ladha bears witness to what happens when nations turn against entire religious and ethnic groups. When, in 1972, Ugandan president Idi Amin expelled Africans of Indian descent from the country, he unleashed an intolerance that set off an exodus from the entire region. In Tanzania and Kenya, businesses were nationalized, properties taken, people harassed, and livelihoods upended. Mansoor Ladha, who was living in Nairobi at the time, had to decide whether to stay or leave. Canada became his new home–where he found considerable success, as did the rest of the Ismaili community–while East Africa never recovered from its fit of bigotry.

I really wanted to read this memoir. It is partly set in Kenya and tells stories of a history that I don’t know much about. However, I am having a difficulties with it. It’s hard to criticize a memoir, I mean that is someone’s life but I just can’t connect with this one as far as the writing and the stories themselves. I am also usually keen on representation especially of ethnicity. The representation of Africans (blacks) in this memoir is just off. For the most part, it is offending. Not sure whether to keep reading or just admit defeat at this point.

 

UnsubUnsub by Meg Gardiner

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

I am excited about this one. It has taken quite some time to get to it but I am glad that I finally get to read it. I plan to start reading it this week.

Reading Next

My next books are both historical fiction. One set in South Africa and the other in Indiana in the 1950s.

Lost History of StarsThe Lost History of Stars by David Boling

In turn-of-the-century South Africa, fourteen-year-old Lettie, her younger brother, and her mother are Dutch Afrikaner settlers who have been taken from their farm by British soldiers and are being held in a concentration camp. It is early in the Boer War, and Lettie’s father, grandfather, and brother are off fighting the British as thousands of Afrikaner women and children are detained. The camps are cramped and disease ridden; the threat of illness and starvation are ever present. Determined to dictate their own fate, Lettie and her family give each other strength and hope as they fight to survive amid increasingly dire conditions.

Brave and defiant, Lettie finds comfort in memories of stargazing with her grandfather, in her plan to be a writer, and in surprising new friendships that will both nourish and challenge her. A beautiful testament to love, family, and sheer force of will, The Lost History of Stars was inspired by Dave Boling’s grandfather’s own experience as a soldier during the Boer War. Lettie is a figure of abiding grace, and her story is richly drawn and impossible to forget

AlphonseAlphonse by Carl Sever

After twenty years of riding the rails, Alphonse has earned a reputation for being a kindhearted soul always ready to help. When he helps the Sadlers, a young couple seeking a better life in small-town 1950s Indiana, he doesn’t intend to stay. But stay he does, keeping a close eye on the Sadlers and their two young sons—and an even closer eye on the town’s new priest, Father Brennon. On the surface, Brennon seems perfect for the job—but Alphonse crossed paths with him years earlier in the railyard jungle, and he knows better. Brennon doesn’t recognize Alphonse, but Alphonse has never forgotten Brennon . . . or his crimes. So when Brennon assigns the Sadlers’ son, Francis, who is now thirteen, the thankless task of cleaning and maintaining the church’s bell tower—work that often continues into the night—Alphonse immediately grows suspicious. Soon, he discovers that his worst fears have come to pass, and he races to find a way to protect Francis and reveal the truth to the Sadler family.

So what are you reading? Let me know in the comments section.

Happy Reading!

 

 

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher

good thingsTwenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve to ever feel good again.

But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.

But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.

What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone-even a 100% bad person-deserve a chance to be good?

Review

I was expecting something different when I decided to get a copy of All the Good Things by Clare Fisher. Needless to say, this ended up being quite a surprise. I am not saying that it was bad; it was just different from what I would normally go for.

This is the story of Bethany who is currently incarcerated. However, this isn’t a story about life in prison. Instead, Beth has a counselor who challenged her to write down the story of her life and the god things that happened before the bad thing that got her arrested.

Beth tells different stories from her time in school to her first job and then motherhood. She has a lot of struggles that became clear from the first story. I can’t talk much about this without spoiling the book. However, her stories made me smile although most were really sad. Others were quite relatable like her first job at Odeon. This reminded me of my  first job at a clothing store next to the 20th Century cinema in Nairobi.

This is a quiet book. There are no shocking revelations, twists or drama. However, the writing and the pacing fits the story. Nevertheless, there was a little tension as I was curious about the bad thing that Beth did. I wanted to know why she was in prison and I was also tempted to just skip to the end and find out. I didn’t do that. Instead, I walked the journey with Beth and found out why she did what she did. This made it easy to sympathize with her and understand her character.

The story is narrated through Beth’s PoV. Each chapter has a title. For example, ‘Flirting on Orange Wednesday’, ‘falling asleep with your legs tangled up with someone else’s…’ The titles make sense when you read the chapter. In addition, the chapters begin with Beth’s current life and then go back to an event in her past. I think that the structure worked out perfectly for the book.

Beth’s story is about self-discovery. It allows readers to also get to know her. I don’t think that I would have felt the way I did about her given the nature of her crime. However, understanding her made it easier to sympathize with her. This book is thought-provoking. Beth’s journey made me think about my own life. It also made me think about people serving time and how easy it is to judge them without knowing their story.  In the end, this was a deeply, moving story that I enjoyed reading.

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

little monstersKacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them. Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

Review

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas starts with the story of Kacey, Bailey and Jade. The three are friends. Kacey is the new girl in town and the other two girls took her in and welcomed her into their circle. The story begins at an odd evening that I wasn’t quite sure what to think about until I got to the end of the book. However, right from the start, I was hooked to the story. There was something unsettling about the events taking place. I didn’t know who to trust and just kept feeling that something sinister was going on. This made it very hard to put down the book until I got to the end.

The missing girl is at the center of the story. An investigation is ongoing and its hard to guess exactly what happened to Bailey. The evidence seems a bit all over(random) hence making everyone a suspect. In addition, there is a diary by Bailey. This diary holds what seems to be the most important clues of the mystery. It surprised me because I assumed that it would just be musings of a teenage girl. However, through the pages, shocking secrets are revealed.

This is a book about secrets and obsession. It is compared to Pretty Little Liars and it is easy to see why. Readers get totally immersed into the world of teenage girls and their secret lives. There are  usual issues with school, boys and parents.  There are also forbidden parties and girls sneaking out of home in the middle of the night. However, with these teens, the lies are bigger. There is a lot of scheming behind the scenes.

An interesting setting is one of the key aspects that makes me enjoy a book. In this case, it was brilliant. The story is set in the kind of town shrouded in secrets and best of all, urban legends. There are people who believe that there is a lady haunting an old barn. This isn’t a supernatural story but I liked the urban legend and how it added to the mystery of the story.

This ended up being a quick, fun read. There are sessions of the book that felt a bit slow since nothing much was happening but the writing kept me going. Kara has a way of pulling you into the story and making you feel like you are part of it. I wasn’t able to totally guess the ending so that is something else that I liked. If you enjoy YA mysteries then this is definitely a book for you.

WWW Wednesday #June 21st

This meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words

To take part all you need to do is answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

So here’s my 3 W’s for the week.

Recently Finished

Part of SilencePart of the Silence by Debbie Howells

When they find Evie Sherman, battered and left for dead in a maize field, the young woman has no recollection of who she is. After three days in a hospital bed, the fog in her head begins to lift, and she remembers two names: her own, and that of her three-year-old daughter, Angel. Evie is convinced that Angel is in grave danger. But the police can find no evidence of the girl’s existence.

It’s clear that Evie is having some kind of mental breakdown—or is it? Even in the depths of her amnesiac darkness, Evie knows her daughter’s voice, her chameleon eyes, every precious hair on her head. So how can she be losing her mind?

As Evie’s grasp on reality slips away, she finds herself haunted by the same three-word warning, which she hears over and over: Trust no one. But whom is she being warned against? The police? The doctors and nurses? Or the mysterious figure who’s been watching her, who knows all her secrets, has a hidden agenda—and perhaps their own twisted version of reality.

I didn’t like this book as much I thought I would. Here is my full review.

Justice DelayedJustice Delayed by Marti Green

The brutal murder of sixteen-year-old Kelly Braden sends shock waves through a community—and an intellectually disabled man to jail. The only witness to Kelly’s murder is the five-year-old cousin she was babysitting. The young girl names their neighbor, Jack Osgood, as the bat-wielding criminal. Two decades later, Osgood faces execution.

Defense Attorney Dani Trumball and her partner, investigator Tommy Noorland, are summoned to the Georgia prison where Osgood is on death row. With no friends or family of his own, there is no one left to believe Jack didn’t kill Kelly but Dani and her Help Innocent Prisoners Project. With a mentally disabled son of her own, defending Osgood could be her most heartrending case yet.

While fighting a system that blocks her attempts to overturn his conviction, Dani must race to identify the real killer before Osgood’s time runs out—and the murderer strikes again.

It has been a while since I read a legal thriller. I really enjoyed this one. You can read my review here.

Currently Reading

Two SistersTwo Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson

They told us he had been missing for nearly two days that he probably drowned. They told us a lie.

Megan was ten years old when her older brother, Zac, went missing among the cliffs, caves and beaches that surround the small seaside town of Whitecliff.

A decade later and a car crash has claimed the lives of her parents.

Megan and her younger sister Chloe return to Whitecliff one summer for the first time since their brother’s disappearance. Megan says it’s to get her parents’ affairs in order. There are boxes to pack, junk to clear, a rundown cottage to sell. But that’s not the real reason.

Megan has come to confront her family’s past after receiving a postcard on the day of her parents’ funeral. It had a photograph of Whitecliff on the front and a single letter on the back.‘Z’ is all it read.Z for Zac.

It is still too early to say whether I will like this or not though it does look quite promising.

Reading Next

Udala TreesUnder The Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie.

 

This is my Book Club’s book of the month. The review is in early July so I was planning to read it closer to the date. However, most members of the book club have already finished reading it and they really want to discuss it. They have already started dropping hints and since I am terrified of spoilers, I HAVE to read this sooner than planned.  I am really excited about it though since it covers themes that are not very common in African Literature. I can’t wait to read it and also find out what  others think about the book.

So what are you reading? Let me know in the comments section.

Happy Reading!

Part of The Silence by Debbie Howells

Part of SilenceWhen they find Evie Sherman, battered and left for dead in a maize field, the young woman has no recollection of who she is. After three days in a hospital bed, the fog in her head begins to lift, and she remembers two names: her own, and that of her three-year-old daughter, Angel. Evie is convinced that Angel is in grave danger. But the police can find no evidence of the girl’s existence.

It’s clear that Evie is having some kind of mental breakdown–or is it? Even in the depths of her amnesiac darkness, Evie knows her daughter’s voice, her chameleon eyes, every precious hair on her head. So how can she be losing her mind?
As Evie’s grasp on reality slips away, she finds herself haunted by the same three-word warning, which she hears over and over: Trust no one. But whom is she being warned against? The police? The doctors and nurses? Or the mysterious figure who’s been watching her, who knows all her secrets, has a hidden agenda–and perhaps their own twisted version of reality.

Review

Evie wakes up from a coma asking for her daughter. She was attacked and doesn’t remember much apart from the fact that she had a little girl. However, nobody else has seen the girl. In addition, Evie’s home is devoid of any proof that a girl ever lived there. Nonetheless, detectives cannot ignore her claims and so they start investigating and looking for the girl. Soon, the case becomes even more complicated when they discover details about Evie’s real identity and life before the attack. It gets more complex when another murder occurs.

The story is told through alternating POVs. Charlotte is the only one who recognizes Evie and so she comes in to help with the investigation. I can’t say much about her without spoiling the book but I kept wondering whether she was genuine or not. Jack is one of the detective working on the case. His character is simply endearing and I enjoyed reading his narrations. I also liked Evie and sympathized with her. She was an unreliable narrator due to her amnesia and sometimes her memories seemed all jumbled up but it was hard not to feel sorry for her. There was another narration that started from the past all the way to the present. This narrator provided details that helped connect the dots especially about the relationships between characters and their backgrounds.

Throughout the book, I had doubts about Evie. How was it possible that she had a daughter that nobody knew about? There was no evidence of the little girl at all. I kept wondering about her attack. I couldn’t wait to find out what her memory would eventually reveal. At the same time, there were other things happening around the story, a second murder and suspicious people all around heightened the tension in the story.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would. I liked it but I didn’t love it.  I can’t really pinpoint why. Something just didn’t quite fit. I don’t know if it is because some sections felt slower than I would have liked them to be. Perhaps it was because I was able to guess the villain quite early in the book. At the end of the book, I just fell like a connection was missing hence my uncertainty about the book. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the author’s previous book Beauty at the End (which I reviewed here). So I will definitely look out for her next title.

New books that I can’t wait to read in June

There a number of books set to be released in June that I am pretty excited about. I decided to share them with y’all to find out whether you have read/heard about them. So here goes…

Part of SilencePart of the Silence by Debbie Howells

When they find Evie Sherman, battered and left for dead in a maize field, the young woman has no recollection of who she is. After three days in a hospital bed, the fog in her head begins to lift, and she remembers two names: her own, and that of her three-year-old daughter, Angel. Evie is convinced that Angel is in grave danger. But the police can find no evidence of the girl’s existence.

As Evie’s grasp on reality slips away, she finds herself haunted by the same three-word warning, which she hears over and over: Trust no one. But whom is she being warned against? The police? The doctors and nurses? Or the mysterious figure who’s been watching her, who knows all her secrets, has a hidden agenda—and perhaps their own twisted version of reality.

I read Debbie Howell’s debut, Beauty of the End last year which I absolutely loved. I really like the sound of her new book.

 

4th MonkeyThe Fourth Monkey by J.D Barker

 For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive. 
 
As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.
 
With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller. 

I first heard about this book from Renee (its book talk). I tried to get it from NetGalley but was unsuccessful. The second time I came across the book was on the Breathing Through Pages blog. It is here that I learned about submitting requests directly to the publisher/author and I finally got the book. Needless to say, my expectations about this one are quite high.

 

Lesley Welsh.pngThe Serial Killer’s Daughter by Lesley Welsh

Suzanne’s life changes forever the day she receives a visit from Rose Anderson, the woman who has been living with her estranged father, Don.

Don is dead, but Rose wants Suzanne to have his possessions – including a series of intimate diaries and a mysterious collection of photographs of women. 

To Suzanne’s shock, one of the photos is of her friend Sophie, who died ten years ago in an unexplained and devastating fire.But Don only met Sophie once, on an unsettling visit he paid Suzanne just days before Sophie’s death… So why did he have a picture of her?

Unable to let Sophie’s memory alone, Suzanne begins to dig into her father’s life. What horrors is she about to unearth in his journals? And who is it that’s out there, watching her every move?

 This book will be published by Bookouture (my favorite publisher). I like the sound of the book. Sad to hear that the author died last month though.

 

LiarLiar by K.L Slater

Single dad Ben is doing his best to raise his children alone, with the help of his devoted mother Judi. Life isn’t easy, but Judi’s family means everything to her and together, they manage. 

Then Ben meets Amber. Everyone thinks this is a perfect match for Ben but Judi isn’t sure … there’s just something about Amber that doesn’t add up.

Ben can’t see why his mother dislikes his new girlfriend. And Amber doesn’t want Judi anywhere near her new family. Amber just wants Ben and the children. 

The further Judi delves into Amber’s personal life, the closer she gets to shocking secrets that could change everything. And Judi must make a decision that could lead to the most disastrous consequences.

I have read all books by K.L Slater. Blink is one of my favorite thrillers and I can’t wait to see what Liar has to offer.

 

 

Two SistersTwo Sisters by Kerry Wilkinson

They told us he had been missing for nearly two days, that he probably drowned. They told us a lie.

Megan was ten years old when her older brother, Zac, went missing among the cliffs, caves and beaches that surround the small seaside town of Whitecliff. 

A decade later and a car crash has claimed the lives of her parents.

Megan and her younger sister Chloe return to Whitecliff one summer for the first time since their brother’s disappearance. Megan says it’s to get her parents’ affairs in order. There are boxes to pack, junk to clear, a rundown cottage to sell. But that’s not the real reason

Megan has come to confront her family’s past after receiving a postcard on the day of her parents’ funeral. It had a photograph of Whitecliff on the front and a single letter on the back.

‘Z’ is all it read. Z  for Zac.

I recently read Wilkinson’s 10 birthdays which was an issue-based YA. I dint know that the author also writes other genres. I like the missing persons theme in thrillers so I can’t wait to see how this goes.

 

Unsub.pngUnsub by Meg Gardiner

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

I first heard about this book from Renee (It’s Book Talk). After reading the description, I just knew that I had to get it. The title reminds me of one of my favorite TV shows, criminal minds where I first heard the term being used.

 

A Daughter's CourageA Mother’s Courage by Renita D’Silva

When a passionate love affair threatens to leave Lucyin disgrace, she chooses a respectable marriage over a life of shame. With her husband, coffee plantation owner James, she travels to her new home in India, leaving her troubled past behind her. 

Everything in India is new to Lucy, from the jewel-coloured fabrics to the exotic spices. When her path crosses that of Gowri, a young woman who tends the temple on the plantation’s edge, Lucy is curious to find out more about her, and the events that lead her to live in isolation from her family… 

Now. With her career in shatters and her heart broken by the man she thought was her future, Kayva flees from bustling Mumbai to her hometown. A crumbling temple has been discovered in a village nearby, along with letters detailing its tragic history – desperate pleas from a young woman called Gowri. 

As Kavya learns of Gowri and Lucy’s painful story, she begins to understand the terrible sacrifices that were made and the decision the two women took that changed their lives forever. Can the secrets of the past help Kavya to rebuild her life? 

This book will be published on the last day of May so it is not really a June release. However, I will read it in June so it still makes the list. I love books set in India. I also like the time period that the story is set in(1929). Looking forward to reading this one.

So, have you already read any of these books? Are any of them on your June TBR? Let me know if there are any June releases that you are excited about.

Happy Friday!

Showers of ARCS (Thrillers Edition)

This is my second list of ARCs. In case you missed my post  yesterday, you can find a list of the historical, literary and women’s fiction ARCs that I have here. Thrillers are my favorite genre and I have a couple of ARCs in this genre which all sound quite interesting. This is what my NetGalley shelf looks like:

Last BreathLast Breath by Robert Bryndza

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim. When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case. 

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery. 

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist? Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

Sleep TightSleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell

Close your eyes … Just pray you don’t wake up. A killer stalks the streets of East London. All over the area, murdered young women are discovered, their bodies posed into a sickening recreation of fairytale princesses.

Detective Ruby Preston is determined to hunt down a disturbed individual who is using the women to realise his dark fantasies. But when body parts are found at the home of her lover, Nathan Crosby, Ruby is torn between her job and her heart.
 Convinced that he is being framed, Ruby must catch the killer before Nathan becomes the number one suspect. But as more victims are found, it becomes harder to prove his innocence.

As Ruby starts to close in on the twisted individual, can she stop him before he strikes again? And how well does she really know the man she loves?

Justice DelayedJustice Delayed by Marti Green

The brutal murder of sixteen-year-old Kelly Braden sends shock waves through a community—and an intellectually disabled man to jail. The only witness to Kelly’s murder is the five-year-old cousin she was babysitting. The young girl names their neighbor, Jack Osgood, as the bat-wielding criminal. Two decades later, Osgood faces execution.

Defense Attorney Dani Trumball and her partner, investigator Tommy Noorland, are summoned to the Georgia prison where Osgood is on death row. With no friends or family of his own, there is no one left to believe Jack didn’t kill Kelly but Dani and her Help Innocent Prisoners Project. With a mentally disabled son of her own, defending Osgood could be her most heartrending case yet.

While fighting a system that blocks her attempts to overturn his conviction, Dani must race to identify the real killer before Osgood’s time runs out—and the murderer strikes again.

 

Lie To MeLie to Me by Jess Ryder

Three minutes. That’s all it takes for Meredith’s entire world to fall apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother she’s never known. Meredith can’t believe what her eyes have seen. Yet what if her memory has locked away the painful reality of her childhood? Can there be any truth in the strange and dangerous story her mother forced her to tell on camera? 

The search for answers leads Meredith to Darkwater Pool, the scene of the murder of a young woman, Cara, over 30 years ago. What could possibly be the link between her mother and the victim? To find the truth Meredith must search through a past that is not her own. The problem is, she’s not the only one looking…

 

Traitor in the family

Traitor in the Family by Nicholas Searle

‘While her husband prepared to murder a young man he had never met, Bridget O’Neill completed her packing for Christmas with her in-laws.’

Francis O’Neill is a terrorist, trained to kill for his cause. Bridget is his wife, expected to be loyal and stand by her husband. She has learned not to hope for much more, until the day she glimpses, for the first time, the chance of a new life. A life without violence, without secrets, and without knocks on the door in the dead of night. A life without her husband. But what if freedom for Bridget means grave danger for Francis?

 

killer on the wallThe Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh

The first body comes as a shock. The second brings horror. The third signals the beginning of a nightmare

When fifteen-year-old Isla Bell finds three bodies propped against Hadrian’s Wall, her whole world falls apart. In such a close-knit community, everyone knows the victims, and the man who did it.

Twenty years on and Isla has dedicated her life to forensic psychology; studying the brains of serial killers, and even coming face to face with the convicted murderer who turned her world upside down. She is safe after all, with him behind bars.

Then another body appears against the Wall. And another. As the nightmare returns and the body count rises, everyone in town is a suspect. Who is the Killer on the Wall?

 

Hush Little Baby

Harsh Little Baby by Joana Barnard

When baby Oliver breaks his arm, no-one can (or will) say how it happened. His mother is exhausted. His father is angry. His older sister is resentful. And they all have something to hide.

 

one perfect LieOne Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

On paper, Chris Brennan looks perfect. He’s applying for a job as a high school government teacher, he’s ready to step in as an assistant baseball coach, and his references are impeccable.But everything about Chris Brennan is a lie.

 Susan Sematov is proud of her son Raz, a high school pitcher so athletically talented that he’s being recruited for a full-ride scholarship to a Division I college, with a future in major-league baseball.  But Raz’s father died only a few months ago, leaving her son in a vulnerable place where any new father figure might influence him for good, or evil. Heather Larkin is a struggling single mother who lives for her son Justin’s baseball games.  But Justin is shy, and Heather fears he is being lured down a dark path by one of his teammates, a young man from an affluent family whose fun-loving manner might possibly conceal his violent plans.

 Mindy Kostis succumbs to the pressure of being a surgeon’s wife by filling her days with social events and too many gin and tonics. But she doesn’t know that her husband and her son, Evan, are keeping secrets from her – secrets that might destroy all of them. At the center of all of them is Chris Brennan. Why is he there? What does he want? And what is he willing to do to get it?

Darkest LiesThe Darkest Lies by Copperthwaite

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk? 

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A Criminal DefenseA Criminal Defense by William L. Myers Jr.

Losing the trial of his life could mean losing everything.

When a young reporter is found dead and a prominent Philadelphia businessman is accused of her murder, Mick McFarland finds himself involved in the case of his life. The defendant, David Hanson, is Mick’s best friend, and the victim, a TV news reporter, had reached out to Mick for legal help only hours before her death.

Mick’s played both sides of Philadelphia’s courtrooms. As a top-shelf defense attorney and former prosecutor, he knows all the tricks of the trade. And he’ll need every one of them to win.

But as the trial progresses, he’s disturbed by developments that confirm his deepest fears. This trial, one that already hits too close to home, may jeopardize his firm, his family—everything. Now Mick’s only way out is to mastermind the most brilliant defense he’s ever spun, one that may cross every legal and moral boundary.

NetGalley Shelf

Haunted hotel

So there you have it. One evening in March, I was staying at a hotel that had free Wi-Fi  and I spent the evening browsing the NetGalley titles. 2 hours later, I had submitted almost 20 new requests. If you ask me, I think it’s the hotel room. There was a vybe to it, flickering light, comfortable bed with very white bedding… obviously it was haunted, perhaps by the ghost of ARCs? So yeah, it is not me. It’s the hotel room. So be careful when you stay at hotels.

And now… My NetGalley shelf is a bit out of control now. I have 30 ARCs and I am down to 75% feedback ratio. This means that my personal TBR is suffering so I have set a few goals for myself. I will not request anything until I get down to 19 books.  In the meantime, I hope to enjoy the books that I have. They do sound like interesting reads so will see how it goes.

Showers of ARCS (Historical, Literary and Women’s Fiction Edition)

I have been reading thrillers for a while now. In March, I read a historical fiction novel set during WWWII and I fell in love with the genre. If you haven’t read my review of Sandy Taylor’s When We Danced at the End of the Pier, you can find it here. That book motivated me to get more ARCs from different genres and take a short break from thrillers. I still have a couple of thrillers but I am really excited about the following new additions:

An Extraordinary UnionAn Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

As the Civil War rages between the states, a courageous pair of spies plunge fearlessly into a maelstrom of ignorance, deceit, and danger, combining their unique skills to alter the course of history and break the chains of the past . . .

Elle Burns is a former slave with a passion for justice and an eidetic memory. Trading in her life of freedom in Massachusetts, she returns to the indignity of slavery in the South—to spy for the Union Army.

Malcolm McCall is a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service. Subterfuge is his calling, but he’s facing his deadliest mission yet—risking his life to infiltrate a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

Two undercover agents who share a common cause—and an undeniable attraction—Malcolm and Elle join forces when they discover a plot that could turn the tide of the war in the Confederacy’s favor. Caught in a tightening web of wartime intrigue, and fighting a fiery and forbidden love, Malcolm and Elle must make their boldest move to preserve the Union at any cost—even if it means losing each other . . .

 

Nazi's DaughterThe Nazi’s Daughter by Tim Murgatroyd

The Netherlands, Spring 1943. When her glittering career as a ballerina is cut short by a dancing injury, Elise Van Thooft-Noman, rebellious daughter of a powerful Dutch Nazi, flees to an isolated island off the coast of Holland. Here she meets Pieter Goedhart, reluctant village schoolmaster and Resistance fighter. A dangerous affair is kindled between them. Meanwhile Elise’s Nazi family and the terrifying brutality of war are closing in, threatening to destroy all she holds dear…

New York, September 2008. Uncomfortably overweight, single and scraping thirty, Jenni Malarkey is summoned to a mysterious party to celebrate her estranged grandmother’s glamorous life. Her journey through Elise’s secret history will force her to confront a legacy of guilt and shame…

Past and present intersect, as unlikely hearts connect to seek love and redemption, in this haunting time-shift novel set in wartime Holland and contemporary New York.

 

A Negro and an Ofay.pngA Negro and an Ofay by Danny Gardner

In 1952, after a year on the run, disgraced Chicago Police Officer Elliot Caprice wakes up in a jailhouse in St. Louis. His friends from his hometown secure his release and he returns to find the family farm in foreclosure and the man who raised him dying in a flophouse. Desperate for money, he accepts a straight job as a process server and eventually crosses paths with a powerful family from Chicago’s North Shore. A captain of industry is dead, the key to his estate disappeared with the chauffeur, and soon Elliot is in up to his neck. The mixed-race son of Illinois farm country must return to the Windy City with the Chicago Police on his heels and the Syndicate at his throat. Good thing he’s had a lifetime of playing both sides to the middle.

 

The Girl from TyneThe Girl from Tyne by Melody Sachs

When ballroom dancer Alice Rooney seduces Jack Wood, he soon finds himself in a volatile marriage. Yet from the moment he meets his baby daughter, he knows he will do anything to make her happy.

But at the start of WWII Jack is drafted by the Air Force, and little Lizzie is left with her mother. Damaged and troubled, Alice grows increasingly unstable and Lizzie finds herself the focus of her mother’s frustration and anger. It’s only when Lizzie arrives at Madame Bella’s Academy for the Theatrical Arts that she blossoms.

Will she escape her mother’s clutches and can her dream of a glittering theatrical future ever come true?

 

Linden HillsLinden Hill by Gloria Naylor

For its wealthy African American residents, the exclusive neighborhood of Linden Hills is a symbol of “making it.” The ultimate achievement: a home on prestigious Tupelo Drive. Making your way downhill to Tupelo is irrefutable proof of your worth. But the farther down the hill you go, the emptier you become . . .
 
Using the descent of Dante’s Inferno as a model, this bold, haunting novel follows two young men as they attempt to find work amid the circles of the well-off community. Exploring a microcosm of race and social class, author Gloria Naylor reveals the true cost of success for the lost souls of Linden Hills—an existence trapped in a nightmare of their own making

 

Lost History of StarsThe Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling

In turn-of-the-century South Africa, fourteen-year-old Lettie, her younger brother, and her mother are Dutch Afrikaner settlers who have been taken from their farm by British soldiers and are being held in a concentration camp. It is early in the Boer War, and Lettie’s father, grandfather, and brother are off fighting the British as thousands of Afrikaner women and children are detained. The camps are cramped and disease ridden; the threat of illness and starvation are ever present. Determined to dictate their own fate, Lettie and her family give each other strength and hope as they fight to survive amid increasingly dire conditions.

Brave and defiant, Lettie finds comfort in memories of stargazing with her grandfather, in her plan to be a writer, and in surprising new friendships that will both nourish and challenge her. A beautiful testament to love, family, and sheer force of will, The Lost History of Stars was inspired by Dave Boling’s grandfather’s own experience as a soldier during the Boer War. Lettie is a figure of abiding grace, and her story is richly drawn and impossible to forget

 

AlphonseAlphonse by Carl Sever

 After twenty years of riding the rails, Alphonse has earned a reputation for being a kindhearted soul always ready to help. When he helps the Sadlers, a young couple seeking a better life in small-town 1950s Indiana, he doesn’t intend to stay. But stay he does, keeping a close eye on the Sadlers and their two young sons—and an even closer eye on the town’s new priest, Father Brennon. On the surface, Brennon seems perfect for the job—but Alphonse crossed paths with him years earlier in the railyard jungle, and he knows better. Brennon doesn’t recognize Alphonse, but Alphonse has never forgotten Brennon . . . or his crimes. So when Brennon assigns the Sadlers’ son, Francis, who is now thirteen, the thankless task of cleaning and maintaining the church’s bell tower—work that often continues into the night—Alphonse immediately grows suspicious. Soon, he discovers that his worst fears have come to pass, and he races to find a way to protect Francis and reveal the truth to the Sadler family.

 

Teacher's Secret

 

Teacher’s Secret by Suzanne Leal

Things aren’t always as they seem…

A small town can be a refuge, but while its secrets are held, it’s hard to know who to trust and what to believe.The Teacher’s Secret is a tender and compelling story of scandal, rumour and dislocation, and the search for grace and dignity in the midst of dishonour and humiliation.

 

Have you read any of these books? Do you like historical fiction? Let me know. Have a fab weekend!

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi

normal-tuesdayIt’s just a normal Tuesday for sixteen-year-old Kai, until suddenly it’s anything but. She’s received a letter from her beloved older sister, Jen, a letter that begins, My very bestest sister, Kai, if you are reading this, I am already gone. From that moment on, Kai’s life will never be the same, as she is forced to deal with the shock and horror of losing Jen to suicide. Consumed with grief, Kai looks for answers, lashes out at people who love her and eventually turns to excessive drinking and drugs, all with disastrous results and no relief from her suffering. Struggling with their own sorrow, Kai’s parents realize she needs more help than they can give, and they enroll her in the Tree House, a ?grief camp? for children. Though reluctant to go, once she’s there, Kai finally finds others who truly understand her loss. No longer alone, she’s able to begin dealing with her pain. And to see light at the end of the dark tunnel.

Kim Turrisi’s beautiful, wrenching young-adult novel sheds a much-needed light on the subjects of mental illness and suicide. Using the unique idea of a grief camp, Turrisi lays out a process for healing and moving forward for readers who have been touched by loss. But this book’s appeal reaches beyond that. With combined elements of tragedy and romance, compellingly told in Kai’s authentic voice, this ultimately hopeful story will be an unputdownable read for any teen.

Review

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turissi starts on a normal day before Kai’s world is shattered by her sister’s suicide. The book takes us through all the motions from when Kai found the suicide note to her finding the body. It started off an emotional read and went on this way for most part of the book. What I found interesting is that the author did not just gloss over the details of the death. There were details about the funeral as we saw the family making decisions about the clothes for the deceased and the kind of coffin to pick.  It was easy to connect with their characters and get to understand how each one of them was dealing with the grief.

This book has quite heavy themes of suicide and mental health issues. It gives an in depth look of the victims. In this case, I was surprised by the methodically way that Jen planned her death yet her family had no clue that she was even depressed. It made me wonder about how many times people around us hide their pain so well that we don’t know what they are going through until it is too late. The book focuses on the grief of those left behind, the suicide survivors. The different emotions that the family went through from denial, pain, anger to guilt.

I already mentioned just how heavy this book is but it actually got heavier as the story progressed. Kai ends up in a grief camp and is surrounded by teens and even younger kids dealing with grief. In her group, we meet people who have lost loved ones. There is a kid who lost her grandmother, another who lost his dad in Afghanistan, a twin who lost his brother in an accident…there is so much pain all around. However, through the pages, we also get to experience the character’s healing as they deal with their pain.

Just like in the first chapters where the author gave details about Jen’s death and her funeral, readers also get details about the grief counseling. We get to learn the exercises that the teens had to take and how this helped them. This helps in understanding their personal journeys There is a bit of romance that blossoms at the camp which was great to read about in the midst of all the sadness.

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turissi is an issue-oriented YA that covers themes of death and mental health issues. Other themes that come up in the story include; substance abuse, family, friendship and healing. This is the kind of book that will break you and then fix you up again.  If you want to get an understanding on issues of grief, suicide and coping then I definitely recommend this book. I also think that readers who like issue-oriented YA books may like this book.

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi will be published on May 2, 2017 by Kids Can Press, thanks to them and net galley for an arc