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BEST FRIENDS FOREVER: A Psychological Thriller ~Margot Hunt

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is indeed about a friendship that has developed over a number of years between two very different individuals. Kat Grant is a wealthy socialite who owns an art gallery in South Florida and Alice Campbell is a logic professor/mathematician who is currently a stay at home mother. The women met regularly and shore each other up over a series of crises and wine.

Howard Grant, Kat’s financier husband, is the biggest problem as of late that the women are figuring out, and it is becoming quite major. Howard is a bully, violent, a drunk, and having an affair.  Kat does not have a pre-nuptial agreement and she does not want her husband to get her money.  Alice’s husband has lost his job and is trying to start his own firm.   Lots of tension mounting in each household, and then Howard falls from the balcony to his death.   Kat goes silent.  Alice works at figuring out what has happened.

It is very hard to put down BEST FRIENDS FOREVER as you are gripped in suspense and wanting to know the answers.  Are Alice’s children in jeopardy?  How will it evolve and come to a resolution?

I very much get caught up in this kind of story and I had a hard time figuring out what was happening and I had to figure out the depth of the truth as one of the characters began to figure it out.   This is often how counseling appointments go in my past.  The client keeps revealing little truths each session and then wow, one gets the whole picture and then the work begins to make change.  There is always lying, omission and truth as people are quite complex and have interesting journeys to arrive to the present point.

This book will be very popular I am certain and I believe it will be on a few folk’s wish list.   I know that one member of my book group will be racing to read this one right away.   Oh My!  It is hard to understand what one person will do to another and yet compelling to figure it out.   I thought this was a good read, but not several in a row please, I need to catch my breath.

Margot Hunt is the pseudonym of a bestselling writer of twelve previous novels. Her work has been praised by Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is her first psychological thriller.

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The Forever Man
The Shock Doctrine

THE SILENT FOUNTAIN: A Mystery Novel ~Victoria Fox

Monday, November 6th, 2017

THE SILENT FOUNTAIN tells its tale during two time periods and surrounding one main character through the unraveling of secrets to come to the final resolution of all the mysteries.   There is a darkness to the story.

Hollywood, 1978
Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti—and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister and learns that her new husband’s past holds dark secrets…

Tuscany, Present day
Lucy Whittaker needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Strange sounds come from the attic. The owner of the house will never meet her in person.

The fountain in the courtyard is silent—but has never run dry. Across the decades, Vivien and Lucy find themselves trapped in the idyllic Italian villa. And if they are ever to truly escape its walls, they must first unearth its secrets…

Each of the two women’s stories begins with confusion about what is happening in their lives and how this problem came into being.   The reader then needs to read the interspersed backstories to finally figure out how the tragedies of their lives were played out into the contemporary situation.  They each had tough lives and hard luck experiences to get them to their current contact with each other.  The reader learns a lot about love, abuse and death to work up to the ending release and the complete overview of the story and the resolutions.

Most of my book group loves this kind of wound up formal mystery, but we have 2 members who will not read them after the first 25 pages if the confusion remains.  So this book will not be for everyone.   I had much of the story figured out and found reading the Hollywood sections of the story as though it was a segment on The Carol Burnett Show gave me more interest in the read.   There is a lot of darkness in the story and mental illness is exposed and exploited in the plot.

The story is almost more a puzzle to be pieced together and explored as to which piece fits where to bring together the whole.  There is not a great deal of great Italian Cooking in the novel either nor is the countryside expounded upon.  There is intensity.

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Victoria Fox is a bestselling author in the UK. She used to work in publishing and is now the author of six novels. The Silent Fountain is her breakout novel in North America. She divides her time between Bristol and London.

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LIE TO ME: A Domestic Noir Novel ~J. T. Ellison

Monday, September 25th, 2017

“LIE TO ME is Domestic noir at its best. Readers will devour this stunning page-turner about the disintegration of a marriage as grief, jealousy, betrayal and murder destroy the façade of the perfect literary couple.  New York Times bestselling author J.T. Ellison takes her exceptional writing to a new level with this breakout novel”(Cover)

LIE TO ME is a seductive story about a marriage and all the lies and omissions that are overwhelming Sutton and Nathan Montclair’s lives.  They are writers and they are the beautiful people and everyone believes them to be wealthy and perfect.  After the death of their 4-month-old son, SIDS, the couple begins to experience a love/hate relationship and the neighbors call in some domestic violence reports. Oh! Oh! It looks like Sutton made the calls.  Now a blogger has started attacking Sutton’s latest book and the rants and discussions on his blog have gotten her current contract cancelled.  Nathan has severe writer’s block and his agent is demanding more material.   $50,000 has been moved out of their accounts.  What is going on?

Sutton decides to disappear and take a time out and Nathan thinks something has happened to her and is harassed and finally arrested for the possible murder of his wife.   The path to answers is so twisted and is spinning out of control and the couple can feel the love and the confusion right to their core.

The writing in this story is amazing and all the t’s are crossed and all the i’s dotted and the pace is astounding.  The reader is caught in the story and webbed in place and I dare someone to put the book down and not read it to the last page.  Folks who thought GONE GIRL was fabulous will like this story to the max.  As I said it is so well written and driven.

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“New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI” with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning show, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband. “

I need to confess.  I truly do not like reading these kinds of dark stories.  I like a good mystery and this was certainly a good mystery, and yet, I feel as though so many awful things happen to people that we do not need more of this horrid stuff to read.  I tried to set aside the book everyday and truly had to force myself to read it cover to cover.  I was relieved when I got to the conclusion.  I could not read this book before bedtime, as I would end up trying to resolve the story in my sleep.  I just cannot watch horror movies and “the world is ending” scary stories.  I agreed to read this story for TLC Book Tours, I believe it will be a best seller and I do know one person in my book group that I want to give my copy.  I am thankful I am done with it.

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PURITY: A Political Novel ~Jonathan Franzen

Monday, July 10th, 2017

PURITY is a marvelous story by Jonathan Franzen and it was on my holiday wish list in 2015.  It had already been out for a while, but with my reading schedule it was the first time I could clear a space to savor this read.   I like Franzen’s entire writing list and have read them even before one became an Oprah selection.  They are dense reads with great detail and the development of the characters is outstanding; one is certain that they know the individuals.  When you mix in the personal look at history that the characters share with the reader, the books become a truth to build perspective upon and enjoy.

PURITY was not an exception to the writer’s rule and it took me a full 18 hours to get from cover to cover and I had to put it aside several times to find enough time to truly understand the story and the lessons about life and political reality.  The story line is such amazing separate pieces that resolve into an integration of the character’s lives and a remarkable conclusion.   There was an incredible amount of sexual tension to the story as if sexuality was the subtext of the wholeness of the story.

Pip is the first focus and she wanders through the maze of other’s lives until she connects all the folks into a reunion that shines the love through the timeline and allows for it to manifest in a healthy manner.  She is a computer expert in a demeaning job saddled with $130,000 of education loans.  Her mother is “weird” and lives in a cabin in rural California and works as a grocery store checker.  Pip is learning about people, work, and how to get along with others – maybe?    She is also the focus of political intrigue and lessons, which match up with her self-protection, sarcasm, and ability to discern what is real. Pip does not know who she is or her roots.

Andreas is the political operative and the founder of an organization that is similar to WikiLeaks – ‘The Sunlight Project’.  He grew up with his parents a part of the Communist regime in East Berlin and yet for most of his youth he led a life of privilege and wealth.  He is well detailed and he starts his own revolution by speaking out at University and working against the grain.  He is there for the falling of the ‘Wall’ and he continually tries to ‘help’ people, particularly teenage girls, as a counselor at the mission church where he lives and hides.  He ends up developing a secret community of hackers and ‘truth tellers’ in a remote location in Bolivia.

The reader is pulled into the extraordinary wealth of a family in the Midwest of the USA.  The daughter is rebelling and trying to escape the life of the rich and yet her mental health is not so stable.  She is rebellious and a ‘hippie’ protestor/artist in her youth and she also becomes an exile as she hides from her family and takes on the role of being poverty.

Each section of the book, I had to read without putting the book down it was so compelling and detailed and fascinating.  One needs to wonder what the rebellion of youth will bring us and how we will live out our values within the confines of the life we are living.  How do we escape the political ramifications of our circumstances and be in touch with our values?  What do we reveal about ourselves and how is it that we learn to achieve our destiny to arrive at our own home; find the love we need?     Whew!  PURITY is the perfect length and yet still can take our breath away.

As always Franzen does not disappoint making the mind work with good story telling skill and focus.    A noteworthy read- PURITY

Author:

Jonathan Franzen is the author of four other novels, most recently FREEDOM and THE CORRECTIONS, and five works of nonfiction and translation, including FARTHER AWAY and THE KRAUS PROJECT, all published by FSG.  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the German Akademie de Kunste, and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

“Purity is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has imagined a world of vividly original characters–Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers–and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes. Purity is the most daring and penetrating book yet by one of the major writers of our time.”(Cover)

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