Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

5456994F-34B9-4AC3-AA0E-73C66C5DE6A4This book is labled as a psychyological/thriller drama involving a host of characters to which I only slighted warmed. Is it wrong to let a character name put you off? Let me just start with that – one of the main characters, or I should say a supporting character – named Roan Fours.  Maybe it’s just me but Roan Fours sounds like a game or an intersection.  He was not a likeable or sympathic character.

The main character is a 17 year old girl named Saffyre Maddox who went through some heavy trama early in her life. Roan Fours was the young woman’s child psychologist when she was 10 years old, helping her get over self harming herself.  Three years of sessions and he stopped therapy. We follow 17 year old Saffyre along as she sits outside the Fours household, watching the comings and goings of Roan, his needy haunted and suspicious wife Cate and their two children Georgia and Josh.

The abandoned lot Saffyre sets up camp is next to an apartment building where 34 year old virgin Owen Pick (yes, he is described this way in the book) lives with his aunt. He and Saffyre exchange greeeings some days but otherwise they do not intersect in each other’s worlds.  Owen is looked upon as the “creepy guy” at work and by the neighbors on the street.

There are random attacks on women in the area, grabbed from behind and groped, some raped.  Thankfully there isn’t vivid detail of the attacks, just suspicion thrown around.  During all this Saffyre suddenly disappears.  I she hiding or dead? You will wonder if it’s creepy Owen or the son Josh or the misogynistic Harrison John who makes his appearance near the end of the book.

This was my least favorite of any book authored by Lisa Jewell and I had difficulty connecting to anyone.  No empathy from me on any of them…ok, maybe Saffyre’s uncle Aaron but he does not get a big part in the book.

Some food mentioned throughout and of course the curry grabbed my attention.

E3776A1D-18DC-4952-BEF2-FA9D07814289

Much thanks to NetGalley for the complimentary ARC copy of this book. I was not compensated for the review.  Just because I wasn’t thrilled with this book does not mean I wouldn’t read more by Lisa Jewell. The Family Upstairs was good and I enjoyed The House We Grew Up In as well as I Found You but…this one wasn’t for me.

This book is scheduled for publication October 2020.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

brifri

Ghost Signs by Frank Mastropolo

ghost

If you ever wondered about some old faded murals on buildings and the history behind them, this is a book that will interest you.

Ghost Signs is a  heaping helping of gorgeous old building signs and a history lesson about New York’s fledgling businesses.  It was interesting to read about Wall  Dog painters from the 1920 era when safety precautions took a backseat. I placed a link in for current painters called Wall Dogs.

There is a triangular marker embedded in the sidewalk to mark it as part of the Hess property estate.  In 1910 there was a five story building called the Voorhis, owned by David Hess. It was seized by the city as eminent domain to place a subway through the area.  During a review of surveys it was determined there was one triangular portion hat still belonged to the Hess Estate. This ,marker was placed to show it was never intended to for public purposes.

Did you know Gold Medal Flour was originally named Washburn Crosby’s Superlative Flour? In 1880 their first entry into an international millers’ competition won a gold medal.

gold

There are more stories to share but it’s fun reading, educational too, learning how immigrants started small businesses, some of which became international.

Publication date is November 28, 2019. non-Fiction and Travel genre.

Much thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy.

The Legacy of Mr. Jarvis by Jude Hayland

Jar

It’s been rehashed in the book descriptor but I have to outline the plot.  A young girl named Mary Foster is unexpectantly uprooted from her childhood home in London and moved to to a seaside home far away.  She comes home one day and the movers are packing things up.  Her parents didn’t give her any warning.  Imagine that….I would be extremely upset to lose my friends and suburban life without warning, that is from the point of view of a twelve year old.

The perspective jumps to Mary as an adult, taking care of her aging father and her mother who now has Alzheimer’s. Things her mother remembers sparks Mary to research her past a bit.  It’s funny how some things we don’t understand as a child make perfect sense when you are an adult.

It’s a point of reference from the grown up experiences and how we remember something that suddenly fits like a puzzle.  The “Oh, that’s what that meant!” kinda thing.

Without spoilers I can say the end leaves you to make up your own mind how life proceeds for Mary. Two clear and distinct choices are presented by Mary, taking her life in the direction she chooses.  Which one did she pick?  Hmmmm….The author depicts a normal group of characters with everyday flaws and problems.  

Much thanks to NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this book. I was not compensated for the review.  Would I read more by Jude Hayland?  Absolutely.

This book was published October 8, 2019.

Sharing with Joy for her British Isles Friday event.

My Yorkshire Great and Small by Peter Wright

We begin with an introduction to the Yorkshire Show in Harrogate, a  big agricultural event that’s been ongoing for over 150 years. Mr. Wright mentioned Amanda Owen, The Yorkshire Shepherdess, who attended and was a guest speaker. I’m a fan of her books as well.

What attracted me to the book was the setting and author being a veterinarian in the Dales. Peter Wright was a Vet trainee with Alf Wight and Donald Sinclair (James Herriot and Siegfried Farnon) something I didn’t know until I started reading this book. He also has a television show! The Yorkshire Vet is a program I was unaware of until I read this book and yes, it seems I am living under a rock some days when I discover an old show.

The observations and comparisons to present day and what life was like decades ago was also very interesting to me. Fishing is a pastime our author and his brother enjoyed very much.  The observation that many of the today’s youth don’t have that opportunity as they are living in cities and are so used to iPhone, Xboxes and that electronic distractions.

I found the story about finding centuries old coins fascinating.  A pair of brothers were digging up a piece of their farmland, leveling it off when they discovered a broken ceramic jug and coins.  It’s a great story and fabulous discovery.  After these old treasures were dug up  they ended up in a museum.  This is after a court decision.  If I am ever visiting near York’s Castle Museum I will certainly want to view the display of coins and old papers.

Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. Publication date is January 17, 2020. If you enjoy reading about veterinarians, Yorkshire or loved the James Herriot stories you will like this book.

Sharing with Joy for her British Isles Friday event.

 

Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor

beyond The book description appealed to me with elements of time travel, a war setting and being compared to Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, lovers of Kate Morton and Ken Follett.  It’s not the blockbuster book I thought it may be in comparison with the aforementioned illustrious authors.

That being said, I didn’t put it down and I did enjoy the story line.  We have Louisa Casson in the year 2017, grieving the loss of her grandmother, basically her only family.  She falls near a cliff in South Downs and is immediately suspected of suicidal tendencies.

Louisa is “voluntarily” committed to Coldbrook Hall, a mental institution where conditions are beyond horrific.  Some of the descriptions put me in mind of the book Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly where mental health facilities are a focus.  The appalling treatment of patients who genuinely suffer from a mental health issue was sad to read.  Long story short on Louisa – she wanders about into an old section of the “hospital” that is set for demolition and meets a soldier from WW I.

Enter 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett who is recovering in the same hospital, except it’s 1916 and Coldbrook Hall is a military hospital. I suppose this is where the Outlander comparison comes from. The descriptions of battlefields and the lack of cleanliness and knowledge about germs from WW I was very well written.  No sugar coating on those chapters.  Well done there.

Most of the setting is in England but there are chapters in France as well.

I’m a sucker for time travel books so if that’s not your thing, you may not like this book.  It’s an interesting mixture of historical fiction, mystery and romance.  I’m not much of romance reader but I certainly don’t mind the romantic interest to arise in the story line.  I just don’t want it to be the main focus.

Much thanks to Netgalley. This book was published June 25, 2019. Opinions are mine and I was not compensated.   More about Catherine Taylor HERE.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

BriFri

The Family Upstairs & To the Lions

I was a little behind in my reading last month but I am getting back on track with two selections I received from NetGalley.

the-family-upstairs-9781501190100_lgFirst off – why have I not been reading Lisa Jewell’s novels before this?!  I couldn’t put this book down.

Libby Jones knows she was adopted and also knows there was some controversy about her past and her birth parents. At the age of 25 she knows all will be revealed as she receives she long awaited letter and “inheritance.”  Here is a blurb from the book description so you have the setup:

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

What a setup.  I was intrigued from the beginning and found myself surprised by revelations in the book. The main setting is London but you have scenes in France as well. The story is told from different perspectives.  Libby’s brother Henry narrates the past story line and we get an inside view of the crazy scenarios in his childhood home.  In the Libby chapters you’ll read about her search for the older siblings, Henry and Lucy, as well as researching information on her socialite mother and well-to-do father, Martina and Henry Lamb.  At the end of each chapter I would want to continue with Libby’s search, yet when young Henry narrated I didn’t want that to end.

This book is categorized under adult fiction, mystery and thrillers. A+

Lisa Jewell is a British author of popular fiction. Her books include Ralph’s Party, Thirtynothing, After The Party, a sequel to Ralph’s Party, and most recently The House We Grew Up In, The Girls in the Garden, and Then She Was Gone

Publication date is November 5, 2019.  Much thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book.  I was not compensated for a review, opinions are mine.

lions To The Lions. The premise of this story grabbed my attention but once I started reading it I found myself distracted.   Casey Benedict is a reporter.  She overhears a conversation in a London nightclub that leads her to the story of a lifetime.

In the beginning setup we meet  Casey’s boss and man oh man, he drops the F bomb more times than I could count.  A few times gives you the flavor of the man and his personality but after a while, what a turn off.

As the big story unfolds I found it very disturbing.  I don’t want to give spoilers but let me say, if you are bothered by what’s happening to immigrants in the USA, this plot won’t be appealing. At all.

This book is under the mystery and thriller category, my favorite genre however this is too disturbing for me with our current political situation.  I don’t bring politics into my blog and what happens in the book is NOT a scenario that is happening here but…..I didn’t like this at all.

Holly Watt is an author and journalist.  I will say a talented writer as she had me emotions stirred, this book just wasn’t for me.

Publication date is September 3, 2019.  Much thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book.  I was not compensated for a review, opinions are mine.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

BriFri

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

oneThis mystery is good summer beach read with enough edge to be interesting but not too graphic. Three wealthy couples and friends rent a beach house and go on vacation. All of these people have secrets – some about business, domestic abuse, infidelity and insecurities.

There are quite a few characters introduced quickly so I had a hard time keeping track of which were couples at first.  A side story is about an eighteen-year old au pair who may have been drugged at a party.  The same detective investigating this case ends up involved with the wealthy folks when one is found dead.  This turns into a murder investigation.

I see from some reviews that people who like this author thought this wasn’t her best book but this is my first experience with Cate Holahan.  I would read more books authored by Holahan based one this quick read.  She kept me guessing about the murderer and I would change my mind a few times before the end.  Nice plotting.

It’s not a foodie book but there was a nice dinner at the beach house with fruit salad, roasted halibut, baby potatoes and grilled corn. California Chardonnays and white burgundy wines.

Publication date was July 19, 2019 and I was kindly given an advanced copy by Netgalley.  Opinions are mine and I was not compensated for my review.

Sharing with Heather for her July Foodies Read event.

NetGalley2019 Foodies Read