Category: Review

Book Review: He Started It by Samantha Downing

He Started It
Author:
Samantha Downing

Published: July 21, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 19-29, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

Beth, Portia, and Eddie Morgan haven’t all been together in years. And for very good reasons—we’ll get to those later. But when their wealthy grandfather dies and leaves a cryptic final message in his wake, the siblings and their respective partners must come together for a cross-country road trip to fulfill his final wish and—more importantly—secure their inheritance.

But time with your family can be tough. It is for everyone.

It’s even harder when you’re all keeping secrets and trying to forget a memory—a missing person, an act of revenge, the man in the black truck who won’t stop following your car—and especially when at least one of you is a killer and there’s a body in the trunk. Just to name a few reasons.

But money is a powerful motivator. It is for everyone.

Jessica’s Review:

I recently listened to Downing’s debut novel My Lovely Wife and absolutely loved it, so much that right after finishing it I picked up the audiobook of He Started It.  I also enjoyed this one.

This is the road trip that you don’t ever want to go on: Estranged siblings who have not seen each other in years must come back together to earn their inheritance by taking a return road trip that they took with their grandfather when they were younger, and also complete his final wish.

Everything is not as it seems as ALL the characters have many secrets, some deadly.  And it appears they have a stalker that is following them across the country…. Or is it a stalker???

He Started It goes back and forth between the past and present: The past is the road trip taken when they were kids, and the present with the repeat road trip.  None of the characters are likeable and this family was very dysfunctional in the past and even more so now.  The novel did drag some for me but then when it got to the ending, I was blown away and totally not expecting things to happen in the way that they did.  The ending did make the parts that dragged on worth it for me

This is one that I do recommend, but definitely read Downing’s debut!!! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb

Daughters of the Lake
Author:
Wendy Webb
Published: November 1, 2018
317 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

After the end of her marriage, Kate Granger has retreated to her parents’ home on Lake Superior to pull herself together—only to discover the body of a murdered woman washed into the shallows. Tucked in the folds of the woman’s curiously vintage gown is an infant, as cold and at peace as its mother. No one can identify the woman. Except for Kate. She’s seen her before. In her dreams…

One hundred years ago, a love story ended in tragedy, its mysteries left unsolved. It’s time for the lake to give up its secrets. As each mystery unravels, it pulls Kate deeper into the eddy of a haunting folktale that has been handed down in whispers over generations. Now, it’s Kate’s turn to listen.

As the drowned woman reaches out from the grave, Kate reaches back. They must come together, if only in dreams, to right the sinister wrongs of the past.

Kim’s Review:

Ooh starting the year off right! This is my 2nd book of 2021 and I loved it! And that cover; take a second and revel in it.

I half guessed the mystery before it was all revealed so bonus, my smartness is intact. This story was great with lovable characters and a perfect setting. Wharton reminded me of those little New England towns and now I want to go visit. I do have a gay cousin but he’s way older than me and I haven’t talked to him in years; maybe I should call him. Kate was such a good protagonist and for someone who is inclined to dislike female characters, I actually liked her from the start. Her relationship with her cousin was so much fun! When they decided to research their family’s home while making it a bed and breakfast, I wanted to join them.

Addie’s story and the multiple timelines were engaging and not confusing in the least. Once I learned everyone’s names, I was good to go and I greatly enjoyed the history and mystery. This is a great book for those who like historical fiction or the paranormal. I felt fulfilled and satisfied with the ending and I would absolutely recommend this book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

[Top]

Book Review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X
Author: Alexis Schaitkin

Published: February 18, 2020
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 24- December 9, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men – employees at the resort – are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.

Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth – not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.

As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.

Jessica’s Review:

I am not really sure what to think of this one. It was not really good, but also not really bad, so I put it in the middle and give it three stars.  Though taking place before Natalie Holloway’s disappearance in Aruba, it was reminiscent of that story even though we don’t and most likely never will have answers to that case. 

Saint X deals with the disappearance/murder of Alison Thomas at 18 years of age on the last night of her family’s Caribbean vacation which includes her younger sister Claire at age seven.  Two native islanders are accused of Alison’s murder, but things eventually amount to nothing.

We then come to present day and Claire is all grown up. She still deals with her sister’s death even to this day and encounters one of the men who was accused of killing her sister.  Then this leads to a story of obsession on Claire’s part and reflecting on who she is and who her sister might have been. 

Saint X focuses on three people telling their story: Alison, Claire and Clive Richardson.  The three stories are blended together to get a whole picture. We also have interviews, audio diaries (yes, Claire gets to hear her own sister’s voice) and autopsy reports. 

I think why I have some issues with this one is that I was not connected to the characters, but was involved enough in the story to keep listening.  It did help me that there was a cast narration.  There are many themes dealt with throughout the novel including class, race, and privilege. Saint X gives you enough to keep you thinking. 

This one seems to be an average novel that may or may not be for you.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

[Top]