Hanging Mary by Susan Higgenbotham
This is the story of Mary Surratt who ran the boarding house where the men, including her son, were involved in the assassination of President Lincoln. The story is told from Mary, her daughter Anna and a young woman who was a boarder in the house. The voices are very different but it is from Mary that we learn the most. She was left in debt and needed to make money in Washington D.C. which did not suffer people who were sympathetic with the South. Her son, whom she doted on, was a Southern sympathizer and hated the President for keeping us in a war so she turned a blind eye to what was going on. Her daughter was in love with the charismatic actor Booth and hated the President. Was Mary in on the plot? You are the judge, but her punishment was considered harsh by many there. It is an interesting perspective on what the political climate was like and life for a single woman in a Northern city fighting a war that they felt was not of their choosing. For fans of "Mrs. LIncoln's Dressmaker".
A man comes home to find his wife murdered and his young daughter left all day with the body. Then comes the back story. The young couple buys a farmhouse that has been foreclosed after the owners have died and their sons gone to live with an uncle. The boys come to help out with the house and grow to like the wife and her daughter. The husband, not so much. We get a history of the house which is violent and sad much like the childhood of the boys who grew up there and the woman who will be isolated there. There is bitterness, there is jealousy, but there is also a tender relationship between Catherine and the boys. The small town can't hide a secret for very long and will never forget its history. It is up to the humans to make it right. Fast paced beginning that dives headfirst into a tragedy. My only criticism is that the ending is a bit too perfect.
Morning Star by Pierce Brown
The conclusion to the "Red Rising" trilogy (tears because it is ending) is just as action packed and full of surprises as the first book. Futuristic space world mixed with ancient warrior Roman and Scandinavian Gods where an elaborate class system is under attack. Those who start on the bottom will always want to take down those on top but now Darrow must decide where his loyalties lie. He is cast as the Savior for the low colors but struggles going against the people he has grown to admire and fought battles with.
Wonderful rich characters, blow by blow battles scenes delivered with razor-sharp wit keep you off balance, out of breath and racing through the book to the conclusion. Ready for the movie? It will be epic. This series is for adults but teens will devour it.
Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
Creepy gothic thriller that weaves two families, one old estate and a secret that has been kept for too long. Black Rabbit Hall was once a thriving country estate in Cornwall - the sea looming, the woods beckoning the adventurous and the house itself alive with creaks and groans until Amber's mother met her death in a tragic accident. Amber, a twin and the oldest girl, does her best to keep her siblings and father from falling apart but then their father remarries and sends the Alton family spiraling downward.
Fast forward to Lorna and Jon looking for a wedding venue. Lorna finds a deep pull towards Black Rabbit Hall even though it is now in disrepair and in no way ready for a wedding not to mention the creepy Mrs. Alton who is a little too desperate for a check. Eve Chase does a wonderful job of plunking us on the Cornish coast. We can feel the sea spray, and see every inch of the delightful old country estate down to the grandfather clock that refuses to run on time. For anyone who has ever gone back to revisit a house you once lived in years later and appreciate the ghosts you found there - this is your book.
Yasmin and her deaf ten year old daughter are expecting to be greeted at the airport by her naturalist husband only to find that there had been a catastrophic accident and he had been killed. Unwilling to believe that her husband is dead,they set out in the Alaskan wilderness with a storm approaching to find him. Yasmin knows she is putting Ruby at risk by driving a semi into the wilderness but she and Ruby both believe he is still alive. What she doesn't count on is the strange blue headlights that have been following her along the very deserted icy highway.
The story is told from both the mom and daughter's point of view with Ruby's story mainly told through a blog that she had hoped to co-write with her dad. It pulls at your heartstrings and you get a keen understanding of how life is for a young deaf person. She translates sounds into feelings and words so beautifully it makes you appreciate all the sounds in silence. Edge of the seat thriller that mixes heartfelt sediment about being deaf and using your words.
When Kache's parents and brother are killed in a plane crash leaving him to be raised by his aunt and grandmother, he has survivor's remorse and runs away to Austin to deal with it. Fast forward years later and he is back in Alaska to lick his wounds after a failed relationship and job loss. What he finds in the old family cabin in the woods is not what he expected - a young woman who is running from her past as well. She was a member of a Russian old religious sect and wants to remain hidden away from this new world that Kache is introducing her too. Kache and Nadia will learn from each other - trust, love and forgiveness. The portrait of Alaska that the author paints is harsh but not stark, severe but gentle with the climate unforgiving but not the people. This is the perfect winter read cuddled in a lap robe with a hot toddy and a cat in your lap.
Two young people misunderstood by their families and bullied at their private school. One is an inventor and someday his inventions will work, the other believes herself a witch and is able to converse with animals. Fast forward years later and they are back in each other's lives but he is trying to take out the world and she is trying to preserve it with magic. A little fantasy and a little reality, one could make the case for this is what happens when we bully smart socially awkward kids. Reminiscent of "The Magicians" with secret clubs, magic and the threat of what is to come.
Two second tier rock stars operate a make shift time travel business that lets you go back in time and witness rock concerts you missed the first time around. The problems start when one of them goes back to what he thinks is 1980 to prevent John Lennon's assassination but he ends up in 980 Manhattan. To get his partner back will take more knowledge than Karl possesses so he goes in search of a physicist from Northwestern who has issues of her own. Some interesting wormholes appear out of nowhere and emotions complicate things but basically it is a look at love, what if and time travel. In trying to help you have to make the decision They all forget the basic rules of time travel - don't talk, don't touch and don't bring anything back.
A man comes home to find his wife murdered and his young daughter left all day with the body. Then comes the back story. A young couple buys a farmhouse that has been foreclosed after the owners have died and their sons gone to live with an uncle. The boys come to help out with the house and grow to like the wife and her daughter. The husband, not so much. We get a history of the house which is violent and sad much like the childhood of the boys who grow up there and the woman who will be isolated there. There is bitterness, there is jealousy but there is also a tender relationship between Catherine and the boys. The small town can't hide a secret for very long and will never forget it's history. It is up to the humans to make it right. Fast paced beginning that dives headfirst into a tragedy. My only criticism is that the ending is a bit too perfect.
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