A Double Life by Flynn Berry. Now in paperback.

This is Flynn Berry’s second novel; it follows Under the Harrow. A Double Life is inspired by a true murder that was reportedly committed by Lord Lucan. Lord Lucan supposedly murdered his children’s nanny after he mistook the nanny for his wife. Lord Lucan was never seen again and nothing is definitvely known about what happened to him.. Lord Lucan’s wife died only recently, never saying anything more.

In this novel, Flynn Berry imagines what might have happened. She tells her story largely through the eyes of the daughter, imagining what life was like for her, her mother and her brother following the horrific murder. Flashbacks about the relationship of the protagonist’s parents and their friends add to the seeming veracity  of the story.

I found this book to be a page turner and finished it within a few days. There were some plot twists and some food for thought once the full story was told. Anyone out there who reads this, I will be interested in your take on the ending.

Note this is a fictional account and does not in all respects follow what happened to the family.

Thanks for this absorbing read NetGalley and the publisher!

#AdoubleLife #NetGalley

Find Some Joy (Averiss)

This picture book has gorgeous, emotive illustrations that reflect the mood of the main character, a little girl who wants to bring joy to her grandmother. She talks with her mother about her grandmother and then goes out to try to physically capture the things that bring her joy. Of course, these things cannot be boxed in; for example, laughter, sunlight, a ride on a swing, although Fern tries. Our protagonist talks to her grandmother about her adventures, cheers her up and the two go on to have joy-filled adventures of their own.

I liked this book very much overall. It acknowledges the grandmother’s seeming temporary depression and the way in which love lifts the spirits. The message is simple and appropriate for young children.

#Joy #NetGalley

For those interested in American History

The American Yawp
A Free and Online, Collaboratively Built American History Textbook

I am currently taking a class on post Civil War American history.  So far, we have discussed Reconstruction and The Gilded Age, along with populism and socialism, among many other topics.  The text that the professor has chosen is free and can be accessed as noted above.  This is a great text with clear writing, many visuals and primary sources on all topics. It shows history as it was; this does not feel like a sanitized text. During our current historical period, you may want to look to and understand the past.  If so, take a look at this textbook.  I am learning a lot from it.

Look at what’s coming

Lethal White (A Cormoran Strike Novel)Lethal White will be the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series by this author, aka J K Rowling.  I read and enjoyed the first three novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil.  My favorite was the first one though.  Strike is an appealing character with his handicap and imperfections; Robin is the perfect foil for him.  The books have recently been made into a TV series although I have not seen it.  I just pre-ordered the new book and am very excited about it.  I highly recommend putting it on your TBR pile if you enjoy mystery/suspense reads.

By the way, you probably all know this but Rowling published under a pseudonym wanting the books to be judged on their own merit.  She was outed though.

Whom can you trust? (Dark Tide Rising by Perry)

A new Anne Perry novel is always most welcome!  Dark Tide Rising is in the William Monk series, following last year’s excellent An Echo of Murder.  This new case hits very close to home for Monk, in terms of his feelings for Hester and, at work, where he fears that one of his men has betrayed the team.  Some plot…Monk works for the River Police where he is a Commander.  He is contacted when Kate Exeter is kidnapped and her husband wants assistance in releasing her once he has paid the (exorbitant) ransom.  He and Monk’s team accompany him to a very dank, dreary spot known as Jacob’s Island for the transfer.  But something goes very wrong…no spoilers, so I won’t say more.  It will be well worth your reading the book to find out for yourself.

In this novel, there is back story that will please long time readers of the series.  We learn much more about Monk’s second in command, Hooper, and watch him fall in love.  There is a trial with Oliver Rathbone defending and Inspector Runcorn also makes an appearance.  If you are new to the series, you will be able to catch up and know who’s who quickly.

Dark Tide Rising is another very good entry in an already strong series.  You will feel the iciness and fog on the Thames, care about the characters and await the resolution of the case.  Enjoy!

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher.

A tale for young readers who learn to share (The Bossy Pirate by Gurney)

This is a book for either a read-aloud or for a young reader to read independently.  It is a tale that shows the importance of sharing in a way that uses humor, real seagoing words and some great words coined by the author’s imagination.

Salty Jack runs his pirate ship from his bedroom.  The book’s illustrations vary between Salty Jack’s house and the imaginary high seas and treasure islands.  All goes well until a mermaid refuses to follow Salty Jack’s orders.  Seeing this, the other crew members mutiny.  Our captain learns from this experience and commands differently the next day.

This book encourages children to share.  They all have more fun together as a result.  It is a story that merits a spot in nursery school or kindergarten libraries.

Two book bargains that I purchased today (Feeney and Harper)

Sometimes I Lie: A NovelForce of Nature: A NovelThese both look like excellent summer reads for those who enjoy suspense.  I am looking forward to reading both of these and reporting back on them.  In the meanwhile, some others’ opinions below.  If you have read either of these, please let me know what you thought.

Force of Nature bristles with wit; it crackles with suspense; it radiates atmosphere. An astonishing book from an astonishing writer.”
—A.J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window

“Boldly plotted, tightly knotted–a provocative true-or-false thriller that deepens and darkens to its ink-black finale. Marvelous.” –AJ Finn, author of The Woman in the Window on Sometimes I lie

Charleston (Bell and Nicholson)

Calling all those who love the Stephen sisters, Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, along with their spouses and  many Bloomsbury friends, all prominent artists, writers and thinkers.  The group included Roger Fry, Maynard Keynes and Lytton Strachey, among others.

Fans of Bloomsbury life will enjoy a trip to Charleston, a unique home, which you can visit in this book.  Vanessa Bell lived at Charleston, while Virginia and Leonard Woolf had a house nearby.  Vanessa’s child Quentin Bell spent a great deal of time there when he was young as did his brother and sister.

Quentin and Quentin’s daughter, Virginia Nicholson, contribute their memories of Charleston to this lavishly illustrated book.  There are photographs of the house, reproductions of art work and so much more in this volume.  It is organized by room so you can spend time wherever you like and in the order that suits you.

This book is highly recommended.  It has a beautiful layout, gorgeous visuals and many enjoyable reminiscences.  Thanks for my visit NetGalley and the publisher!

#Charleston #NetGalley

The Glass Room (Ann Cleeves)

The Glass Room: A Vera Stanhope Mystery“I do love Vera!” —Val McDermid

“Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers! I relish learning more about Vera with each book.”—Louise Penny, New York Times Bestselling author of the Inspector Gamache series

I love Vera too!  I have seen the TV show which is available for streaming and have also been working my way through the books.  I reviewed The Seagull on this blog and gave it an excellent review.  (See Sept. 2017 entry, The Seagull Soars).  The Glass Room is an earlier novel, the fifth in the Vera Stanhope series.  This one centers on a writers’ retreat, the writer who runs it with her son and those who are there to either learn or teach.  Several murders and an attempted murder keep the plot lively.  The writers at the retreat are vividly portrayed and each has a backstory (of course!)  One of the writers/suspects is Vera’s neighbor which adds additional incentive to Vera to solve the case.  It is fun to read a mystery novelist’s take on writers, their preoccupations and their pretensions.  The Vera books can be read out of order.  Each time, the reader will enjoy spending time with Vera, her colleagues and the mystery itself.

A good bedtime story (The Night Dragon by Howarth)

Here is a picture book that will appeal to many children, especially  those who have felt different for any reason.  This short, whimsically illustrated, story is about Maud, who does not fit in with the other dragons but has one very loyal friend, a mouse.  All of the other dragons are more darkly colored; they breathe soot into the skies to bring on darkness.  However, when Maud needs to take on the job in an emergency situation, her breath matches her colorful appearance.  So now you know know why it looks so pretty at sunset…share this knowledge with a child in your life!

#TheNightDragon #NetGalley