Tag: 4 stars

Before the Fall








The left is the US cover and the right is the UK cover. Most of the time I prefer the UK cover to the US cover! That is the case with Before the Fall.  It seems like I live in the wrong country when it comes to books!
Author: Noah Hawley
401 pages in Kindle

Published: May 31, 2016 (US) April 6, 2017 (UK)
Dates Read: March 27- April 13, 2017

My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon

On a foggy summer night, eleven people–ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter–depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs–the painter–and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul’s family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members–including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot–the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers’ intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

My Review

Before the Fall focuses on a private plane crash. There were eleven individuals on what ended up being a very short flight of only 16 minutes. All but one person on the flight, Scott Burroughs, are wealthy or well known. Only Scott and JJ, a four year old boy, survive the crash.

Before the Fall has a very strong opening! I was pulled in immediately with the plane crash and Scott and JJ trying to survive in the ocean at night. It is very intense and I like Noah Hawley’s writing style. I felt like I could see everything happening as I read Before the Fall.

There are two splices of time in the novel: Before and after the crash. There are multiple points of view (POV) in the story. If you follow my reviews then you know I love books with multiple POVs! Scott is the main focus in the POVs after the crash, and with good reason. He survived and many agencies including the NTSB want to know what happened. I never wanted to stop reading when the novel focused on Scott. We see all the emotions and feelings Scott goes through, and all of his experiences with the media that a plane crash survivor may go through, both positive and negative.

You also get a feel of what the investigations are like for plane crashes. It seems like Noah Hawley did his homework. I felt I learned something reading Before the Fall.

In the flashbacks before the plane crash we get to know each of the passengers, pilot, copilot, and flight attendant that did not survive. These were interesting as well and all are important as it all comes together for us to discover the cause of the crash. I found myself still interested in these stories, but not as intensely interested as I was in Scott and JJ’s stories after the crash.

What kept me from giving Before the Fall five stars is the ending. Yes, we find out the cause of the crash, but after all the buildup the ending was anticlimactic and not satisfying for me. With everything suspected throughout the novel, I was expecting something more than what we got which was a simple yet unexpected cause. I wish I could say more, but that would involve spoiling the ending.

Despite my disappointment in the ending, Before the Fall is recommended.

**Before the Fall had been on my TBR pile for a while and I happened across it on NetGalley as a ‘Read Now’. It said preferred for UK readers as it is a new release in the UK, but NetGalley still let me read it. Thank you for my copy NetGalley!

Blog Tour: In Farleigh Field

Today is my stop on a blog tour for In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen.

Author: Rhys Bowen
379 pages in Paperback

Published: March 1, 2017
Dates Read: February 2-24, 2017

My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Summary from Amazon:

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?
Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.

My Review:

Don’t let the length of the time it took me to read In Farleigh Field deter you from reading it. I have been battling kidney stones and at times did not feel like reading or was not able to read. There was nothing wrong with the book.

First, I have to say I loved the cover! I loved seeing Farleigh Place on the cover with the planes flying over it. It gives you an impression of what’s to come in the novel. Even though Farleigh Place is fictional, you have an idea of how huge the home is.

When you first open In Farleigh Field you see a Cast of Characters. When I saw that I wondered what I got myself into as it shows a large cast. Don’t let that list intimidate you, as it is not really necessary, though it did help me and I did reference it from time to time.

Farleigh Place is the main setting of In Farleigh Field with Lord Westerham and his family. Farleigh has become a headquarters for British soldiers. A deceased parachutist is found on the property by Alfie, who is staying with the gamekeeper, and Lord Westerham’s youngest daughter Phoebe. The parachutist is found in a soldier’s uniform but is almost immediately suspected to be a spy, and Ben Creswell is assigned to investigate. Ben is a family friend and MI5 operative. He is also in love with Pamela who is Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, but she loves Jeremy Prescott, whom Ben is also friends with. Who this soldier was and if he was actually a spy is the main mystery of the novel though it is not the sole story:

Unknown to her family, Pamela is working at Bletchley Park which is the central site for British code breakers. Second oldest daughter Margot is living in Paris with her lover Count Gaston de Varennes. She is studying fashion and finds herself stuck between freedom and the Gestapo.

The stories all come together at the end of the novel. The book focuses on the family drama and there is a love triangle involved. This is a character driven novel, so if you are looking for a lot of action this is not the book for you. There is some action throughout the novel, but not as much as I expected with the premise. The last few chapters are packed with action as Rhys Bowen worked towards the conclusion. I found myself reading those last few chapters with anticipation, wanting to know what was going to happen.

You really get to know the characters throughout the novel. I did find myself wanting more of Pamela with her work at Bletchley Park and more of Margot and her life in Paris. I also really liked Phoebe.

Historical Fiction is not a genre I read often, but I will read it if I find the premise of the book intriguing. I have started to read more of Historical Fiction these past few years thanks to my sister-in-law Arleigh. Her website is: http://historical-fiction.com which she has run for nearly 10 years now! I enjoyed reading In Farleigh Field. I find myself wanting to know what happens with these characters next!

In Farleigh Field is recommended.

**I received an e-arc  from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley and an arc via Little Bird Publicity. Thank you so much for my copies!

About the Author:

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of over thirty mystery novels. Her work includes the Molly Murphy mysteries, set in 1900s New York City, and the Royal Spyness novels, featuring a minor royal in 1930s England, as well as the Constable Evenas mysteries about a police constable in contemporary Wales. Rhys’s works have won fourteen awards to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and MacAvity awards. Her books have been translated into many languages, and she has fans from around the world, including the 12,000 who visit her Facebook page daily. She is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona.

Contact Rhys:


Where There’s Smoke

Author: Jodi Picoult
40 pages in Google Play Books

Published: May 19, 2014
Date Read: Febraury 26, 2017

My Rating: 4 Stars

Short Story Summary from Amazon:

Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts. Now, decades later, she’s an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have passed. Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts. When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring up a troubling controversy. And as she tries to undo the damage—to both her reputation and her show—Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.

My Review:

Where There’s Smoke is the short story introduction to Serenity Jones, a psychic. I found the premise interesting and saw it was just .99 on the Google Play Store, which is free money for me since I participate in the Google Rewards surveys. I always get books with the money I earn from the surveys.

Serenity also has two spirit guides who are entertaining to say the least. And temperamental too! Serenity has a war widow on her show who is hoping to speak to her husband. Things go wrong and Serenity doesn’t know what to do. Then she sees a politician on television whose child has gone missing, and she decides what to do next.

Serenity is also a character in the novel Leaving Time. I would be interested in reading that novel now, which is the point to a short story. Jodi did what she was intending in this case by writing this short story. This is the first I have read by Jodi Picoult although I have several of her novels. I own Mercy, My Sisters’ Keeper, Plain Truth, and will very soon own Small Great Things. I now plan to buy Leaving Time.

Have you read any of these? Which should I read first? Are there any others of hers you recommend? I have heard Nineteen Minutes is one to read.