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review 2016-03-26 13:01
Thoughts: The Carriage House
The Carriage House - Carla Neggers

The Carriage House

by Carla Neggers

Book 1 of Carriage House


My TBR List -- March Winner!

See Other My TBR List Reviews @ Because Reading




From Wikipedia:

A carriage house, also called a remise or coach house, is an outbuilding which was originally built to house horse-drawn carriages and the related tack.

The blurb of this book had me thinking that it was about a haunted house.  After I started reading the book, I reread the blurb and realized that I might have been mistaken.  Aside from the "human skeleton in the dirt cellar," and the "rumors that the carriage house is haunted," there really was no other indication that The Carriage House  is a book about a haunted house.  Ah well.  Though I DID get curious about what a carriage house is because of the way it was being described as a farm and whatnot.  Thus, the Wiki definition above.

I admit, my research stopped there.  But I might look into it a bit more.  The idea of old, historic homes, whether for people or carriages, still intrigues me.

Moving right along...

The Carriage House  turned out to be an enjoyable, well-written, old-timey romance.  And it isn't too dated either, although there were a few quibbles I had here and there about the way people acted towards one another.  On the other hand, the romantic suspense part of the story was a little flimsy since there really wasn't much murder mystery to the murder crime.  From the beginning, you pretty much know who the human skeleton in the cellar belongs to, and the murderer is pretty obvious as well.

But some of the parts of the book DID give me a creepy vibe: the victim was given enough significance in the book to give some significant emotions, and some of the other characters were just kind of scary.  And a bit insane maybe.  But mainly creepy.

Kudos on the attempt to derail the reader's suspicion by throwing another possible suspect out there.  But seeing as how Andrew Thorne is the main male character, and this is a typical category romance (a la Harlequin Romances, after all), it wasn't like we didn't already know for a fact whether he had anything to do with the murder.  Of course, it also helps take suspicion off of a lot of people when the murderer pretty much admits the crime, even if not vocally.

A Mix of Story Summary and More of My Thoughts:
So the basic gist of The Carriage House  is that Tess Haviland did some work for an eccentric rich guy named Ike Grantham.  Ike Grantham is the most charming snake charmer to ever charm his charming way into the land of charming.  But after all that charm is no longer in front of you, you realize how much you resent the guy for charming you into agreeing to do things you otherwise wouldn't have done.  And somehow, that causes problems.

And so somehow he had managed to convince Tess that she would be very happy to take the old Thorne carriage house in Beacon-by-the-Sea, some fancy area overlooking a nice beach and ocean view, I think, as payment for the work she had done for him--something to do with graphic design.  So instead of real money, she goes for it.  To her, getting the new property for the price of her expertise is a bargain because she'd always wanted a large, old home in the middle of nowhere by cliffs and beaches with rumors of hauntings by an ancient ghost.  It reminds her of her mother, she says... the area, not the actual house itself.  And everyone else around her pretty much tells her that she's been swindled and wonders what the heck she'd been thinking.

Now, my own personal thoughts were conflicting, to be honest.  The romantic in me would absolutely love to receive a nice, old-fashioned home with so much rich history, overlooking beautiful scenery.  For one, it would be a nice, historically rich place to bask in; and things like that appeal to pretty much anyone.

The practical, logical part of me, however, says that Tess should have had the darn house inspected first before going for it.  It's an old house, an old building, and it hadn't been inhabited in a long time.  Yes, it's probably beautiful.  Yes, it's probably got all sorts of stories to tell.  Yes, it would be kind of cool to tell people you live in an historic landmark that might possibly be haunted.  Like I said, it's a romantic notion and people are nothing if not impractical about romantic notions.  It's attractive.

But it's also an old rundown house without proper upkeep maintenance or modern plumbing, and probably doesn't even have electricity.  I don't know, I wasn't really paying too much attention and I don't think we went into too much detail about the shortcomings of this carriage house aside from some broken windows, creaky wood boards, useless locks and doors, and maybe some broken stairwells.  I mean, Tess had to sleep in a makeshift cot on the floor of the front room.

Color me shallow, but I needz my modern plumbing!

Anyway, back to the book...

So Tess decides to stay at the carriage house for a weekend in order to determine whether or not she’d like to keep the home or put it back on the market for sale.  After all, Ike very much turned over the entirety of ownership to her and she is very much legally the owner of this carriage house.  She can either have a nice, history-rich home to live in, or she can sell it and make a ton of money.  As it seems, everyone and their neighbors in this book seem to want to snatch the place right up if Tess were to sell it.

In staying the weekend at the carriage house, Tess inadvertently triggers a mountain of activity, especially after finding the human skeletal remains of a possible murder victim in her cellar… who then disappears after she keeps the incident a secret because she thinks she was hallucinating and isn’t sure of what she saw.  Now the local police and the media thinks she’s insane or trying to stir up trouble, and the real murderer thinks that Tess Haviland needs to be eliminated before she digs too much deeper.

Meanwhile, there’s a handsome next door neighbor with an adorable six year old princess to contend with.

Final Thoughts:
As I already stated, the murder mystery was pretty predictable from the start. Among all the discussion between characters about whom the skeletal remains belong to, if Tess even saw a human skeleton, or if the house is haunted at all, all fingers inadvertently point to all the answers quite obviously. It doesn’t take a start detective to know the entire story without reading the entire story. And so, in the end The Carriage House was more a romance than it was a murder mystery.

Although, I must say, that the atmosphere and the imagery of the book were quite excellently done. If any other books by Carla Neggers focuses more on the crime thriller parts and tweaks certain storytelling styles just right, I’m certain they’d be excellent murder mysteries to read.

I will definitely try to pick up another Carla Neggers book in the future.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge -- My TBR List -- March Winner!
Mount TBR Challenge

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/03/thoughts-carriage-house.html
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text 2016-03-12 14:45
My TBR List -- March TBR Winner!

My TBR List is a monthly meme hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading.

The basic gist of this activity is to have others help decide on which book out of three I'm selecting from my TBR pile I should read for the month via votes.  Posts for voting, the winning book, and the final book review will go up on Saturdays.

Click on the above links for more information.

See Other My TBR List Winning Book Announcements for March 2016



So according to the masses, the book I definitely need to read for this meme challenge is:



The Carriage House by Carla Neggers won with 7 out of 15 votes!



Last week, the books I had everyone vote on were:


Whirlpool by Elizabeth Lowell

Un Lun Dun by China Miéville

The Carriage House by Carla Neggers


And in case anyone was wondering, I had chosen to put a personal vote in for Whirlpool.  I've been wanting to read this book for some time now and had tried borrowing the audio book from the library once, but never really got around to starting it.  Whirlpool ended up being the runner-up, losing by one vote--it had been a pretty close race between the two.


Coming up next for the My TBR List scheduled posts will be:

  • Review of the winning book The Carriage House coming on the last Saturday this month: March 26.
  • April's My TBR List wherein I've decided on three books that will help me finish completed series I've only read one book from so far.


Thanks again to everyone for voting!




See Also: My TBR List -- March 2016 Voting



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text 2016-03-05 06:30
My TBR List -- March 2016 Voting

My TBR List is a monthly meme hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading.

The basic gist of this activity is to have others help decide on which book out of three I'm selecting from my TBR pile I should read for the month via votes.  Posts for voting, the winning book, and the final book review will go up on Saturdays.

Click on the above links for more information.

Join This Month's My TBR List -- March 2016



First of all, I have done something I should have done a long time ago:  I have disabled the Facebook comments section on my blog.  When I realized that I wasn't getting notifications whenever people commented through Facebook, I started googling and reading FAQs and discussions around BL and FB and finally found out that there's some sort of problem with the Facebook comments plugin... or something and that it is currently a work in progress.


If anyone else has any ideas, feel free to let me know.  Thanks in advance.


For anyone who is not a BL member and prefers commenting through the Facebook comments plugin, I apologize.  I just like to be able to know when someone comments on my posts so that I don't look like I'm deliberately ignoring people.  I found a comment from a blog post from months ago and felt kind of bad that I never saw it.



Anyway... moving along to the actual reason for this post now!


I'm trying to kill two birds with one stone with this month's My TBR List meme.  The three books I'm selecting will be books I intend to read this year anyway, but I couldn't quite decide which book to pick; and I also wanted to continue participating in the My TBR List meme each month.  It looks like it'd be quite a bit of fun if I decided to stick with it, and, again, it'll also help me satisfy my Bonus Blogging Goal for my 2016 Bookish Resolutions.


This month's My TBR List will be a March 2016 Reading Assignment edition; I've already my first three books to read for March for this challenge and need a fourth one, so I decided to have everyone help me choose from three other books I would like to read from my 2016 Reading Assignment list.  Because my own personal book draw revealed that I'm still indecisive as heck, I decided it might be a good idea to let someone else to choose one of these books for me.


Don't worry, either way, I will be reading all of these books at some time this year.  It's just a matter of when, and I'm at a standstill on which one I want to get to first.


Thank you in advance to everyone voting!



The Books

Again, I also went ahead and put in a personal vote for one of these books, so I'll get to see how majority turns out in comparison to my own personal vote.  Exciting!  :D



Whirlpool by Elizabeth Lowell


As a child, Laurel Swann barely knew her father.  Always an enigma, intriguing and inscrutable, he was an elusive shadow flitting in and out of her life.  Even now, years later, he remains a stranger to her.  Still, when a mysterious parcel arrives containing a priceless Fabergé egg, Laurel is certain it came from him.  But she doesn't realize that her father's gift has brought death and terror into her world...


Against her will, Laurel is being dragged down into a swirling vortex of betrayal and violence.  And there's nowhere to turn for help--except to Cruz Rowan, an ex-FBI agent and her father's sworn enemy.  A strong, secretive, and dangerous man, Cruz has his own agenda and is spinning his own webs.


And he is her last and only hope...



Un Lun Dun by China Miéville


What is Un Lun Dun?

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.



The Carriage House by Carla Neggers


Fun and a little hard work. That's all Tess Haviland has in mind when Ike Grantham pays her for her graphic design work on the run-down nineteenth-century carriage house on Boston's North Shore.

Then Ike disappears and Tess finds herself with much more than a simple weekend project to get her out of the city. It's not just the rumors that the carriage house is haunted—it's the neighbors: six-year-old Dolly Thorne, her reclusive babysitter, Harley Beckett…and especially Dolly's father, Andrew Thorne, who has his own ideas about why Tess has turned up next door.

But when Tess discovers a human skeleton in her dirt cellar, she begins to ask questions about the history of the carriage house, the untimely death of Andrew's wife…and Ike's disappearance. Questions a desperate killer wants to silence before the truth reveals that someone got away with murder.


Let's Vote!

For Booklikes members reading this in dashboard view, I don't know why the voting thingy doesn't show on dashboard view... at least it doesn't for me.  If you see it, then go ahead and put in your vote, otherwise, my voting form appears in blog view just fine...  So for everyone else reading this post, just ignore this little tangent.  >.<


Or I guess you could click here to generate the voting box on a different page.






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text 2016-01-24 03:00
Cider Brook By Carla Neggers $1.99
Cider Brook - Carla Neggers

When Samantha Bennett gets in trouble trying to solve a 300-year-old mystery in Knights Bridge, Massachusetts, she’s saved by firefighter Justin Sloan. Samantha and Justin share an intense past — and an irresistible attraction

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review 2015-10-11 16:51
Sain'ts Gate
Saint's Gate - Carla Neggers

Listened to this on audio and the narrator, Carol Monda,  was very good.


The mystery was interesting but the perp ended up having rather odd motivations.


The author does an execrable job of throwing suspicion on random people though.  The inclusion of & significance of Father Bracken, a new priest who looks like Bono and gets nosy about the case just made me scratch my head.  He was an ok character but why was he there?


Also, for FBI people who are supposed to be smart the two main characters made some rather stupid observations.  Like why would Emma being a bystander to a crime have negative repercussions to her being on an FBI team?  Another head scratcher. 


That isn't to say there wasn't some charm to the book and like I said the basic mystery was interesting.  I will probably follow up with the next one just to see what is next for Sharpe & Donovan.

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