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review 2017-11-05 22:53
Pretty Girls
Pretty Girls - Karin Slaughter,Kathleen Early

 

 

I almost knocked this down to two stars because of some fairly graphic depictions of sadistic torture and the implausibility of certain nefarious goings-on that involved a wide-ranging conspiracy of well-connected people being involved in something very disturbing and complicit in covering that thing up.

 

However--I kept wanting to move forward to find out how the story resolved, and I cared about the main characters.  Proceed with caution, though, especially if the first part of my opening sentence sounds like something you feel you need to avoid.

 

More than 20 years before, a 19-year-old college student named Julia Carroll disappeared.  Her case was never solved, and local law enforcement seemed to be satisfied with the assumption that she left of her own accord, to quietly begin a life in some other part of the world, without notifying her parents, sisters, or friends.

 

Julia's disappearance shattered her family.  Her father Sam became entirely focused on solving the case, while her mother Helen moved between checking out altogether and deciding that moving on was the only way to fulfill the needs of their surviving daughters, Lydia and Claire.  Lydia drifted into drug addiction, while Claire became a people pleaser, focused on being popular but not standing out too much.  Lydia has been estranged from Helen and Claire since she made an accusation about Claire's then-boyfriend (later husband), Paul Scott.

 

As the book opens, Claire has just had removed the ankle monitor she has had to wear following an assault charge and plea bargain.  She and Paul, a ridiculously successful architect, are meeting in a bar to celebrate, but after he is uncharacteristically late, they are attacked in an alley, where he has exhibited unfamiliar behavior, and they experience an attack that leaves Paul dying as Claire watches helplessly.

 

Soon after the incident, Claire begins to discover clues that Paul had another side she'd been unaware of, and which aligns with Lydia's accusations years before.  As she begins to rethink everything she thought she knew, she contacts Lydia, who has a teenage daughter of her own, and has turned her life around since her drug-using days.  Neither is initially sure they can trust the other, but soon their sibling loyalty is reestablished. 

 

What might Julia's disappearance have to do with the recent disappearance of 16-year-old Anna Kilpatrick?  Are there clues to be found in the journals that Sam Carroll left behind?  What secrets about Paul will the sisters uncover?

 

As suggested above, this book had me hooked on finding out what happens.  Although I started with the audiobook, I ended up switching to the Kindle version to progress faster.  I will say there is a twist I didn't see coming, and then I almost smacked myself on the head, because I've read enough thrillers where that kind of twist occurs.  But I won't say anything further about that (working to keep this spoiler-free).

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review 2017-10-27 10:50
Book Review - THE KITCHEN MISTRESS--Katherine’s Story—The Letter Series—Book 3 by Kathleen Shoop
The Kitchen Mistress (The Letter Series) (Volume 3) - kathleen shoop
Book Review - THE KITCHEN MISTRESS--Katherine’s Story—The Letter Series—Book 3 by Kathleen Shoop 'such an amazing historical and emotional series, the era, the characters, their struggles have been so captivating to follow'....
 
"I have waited so long for this book to release, it has been my most anticipated read of all the books I have. The Letter Series grabbed hold of me from the first book of this amazing historical and emotional series, the era, the characters, their struggles have been so captivating to follow. It's been quite a while since reading the previous book so I was delighted that the author had included past events to jog my memory and also great for anyone who hasn't yet read the book 1, although I urge you to do so as that is what started my love of this series and the amazing author, Kathleen Shoop.
 
After so much turmoil Jeanie and her children are together as a family should be, yet after another cruel blow they are left homeless in the town of Des Moines where past events are still held against them in many quarters. Living hand to mouth, desperate to find somewhere to live and be able to stay together, they find a glimmer of hope for better times in the shape of Miss Violet, who gives them jobs and a place to live. Jeanie tends to the gardens while Katherine becomes the kitchen mistress, and I could have sat and read about their daily chores all day long as the author brings them to life so vividly. Yet Katherine has a hidden talent, a talent that could save them all or reduce them to poverty yet again. When Miss Violet uncovers her secret Katherine feels the immense pressure of keeping the family together and will do anything she can to make it happen, she may have had to grown up very quickly but her young age still makes her vulnerable and unaware of the situations around her and the lies being told. Will her risk to save her family from further hardships be worth it or will it bring more heartache? Will they encounter even more despair as events unfold?
 
Absolutely unstoppable reading, The Letter Series has made such a connection with me, the characters, who now feel like family, warm my heart through their stories and their desperate times, my emotions were pulled as as I continue to want to keep them from harm after all they have been through. The author connects the reader to the past and brings the old era to life so vividly, it simply fascinates me, I didn't want to put it down, a never ending book is the only way to fulfill my needs!
 
Reading The Kitchen Mistress is like reading a film, the whole story is brought to life in the readers mind through Kathleen Shoop's magnificent writing, you are there in Des Moines watching the characters play out their scenes, feeling their emotions with them, gripped to find out more. A story filled with hope, love, despair and the power of never giving up, and I love every single moment with the Arthurs and am now desperately awaiting their next story."
 
Read more on the #book, series and author here...
 
Book Description
For every woman who’s had to choose between the secrets that protect her and the people she loves the most…
 
1892—Des Moines
 
Katherine Arthur and her family are back and it’s time to collect the money Mrs. Mellet left them in her will. The tidy sum will allow the family peace of mind and a future that’s stable and fulfilling. But when things don’t go exactly as planned, Katherine steps up to do more than her share. Hired as a kitchen mistress, her intuition (with the help of a mysterious recipe book), cooking prowess, and work ethic make her the perfect partner for the enigmatic, wealthy woman next door. Then Aleksey Zurchenko arrives.
 
Violet Pendergrass is a well-heeled, progressive woman with half a fortune in one hand and a plan for enduring prosperity in the other. Resourceful, shrewd, and tough, Violet doesn’t realize her one and only weakness leaves her vulnerable as she attempts to solidify her independence. She sees unparalleled value in Katherine’s gifts and does her best to keep the girl close, to keep her true work secret from her mother and the world.
 
Katherine’s loyalties to her mother and Violet grow strained and soon her commitment to both frays even further as her feelings for Aleksey grow. Katherine must decide if pursuing her work with the formidable Violet and protecting her family are more important than following love. Can she do it all? Love, hope, joy, secrets buried in walls and hearts; all are threatened by those who claim to care about the Arthurs. Can Katherine separate what’s right and true from what it takes to survive? Are they even different things?
 
The Last Letter Series of novels by Kathleen Shoop is set in the Midwest of America in the late 19th and early 20th century. Shoop takes readers on an emotional journey through love, loss and redemption. Inspired by family letters, the novels pull from historical events and places and feature the life and times of the fictional Arthur family as they make their way in the world.
Source: beckvalleybooks.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/book-review-kitchen-mistress-katherines.html
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text 2017-10-24 03:03
Reading progress update: I've read 60%.
Alex Finch: Monster Hunter: The Monster Files, Book 1 - Cate Dean,Kathleen Burns Kingsbury,Susan Walsh Sanderson

Great audio filled with excellent monster hunter stories, mysterious and scary :D Perfect for my long drive to Dallas last weekend

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review 2017-10-16 20:30
THE KITCHEN MISTRESS--Katherine’s Story—The Letter Series by Kathleen Shoop
The Kitchen Mistress (The Letter Series) (Volume 3) - kathleen shoop

❃ ✣ ✤ ✥ Historical fiction at it's best! ✥ ✤ ✣ ❃
THE KITCHEN MISTRESS--Katherine’s Story—The Letter Series by Kathleen Shoop
For every woman who’s had to choose between the secrets that protect her and the people she loves the most, 1892—Des Moines....

"This book was written so well, so realistic that you feel the emotions of the characters, and emotions for the characters. This family stood proud even during these times when everything seemed to be against them. They were surviving, no matter what. The characters will remain in your heart and mind for some time." Books, Reviews, etc

"Reading The Kitchen Mistress is like reading a film, the whole story is brought to life in the readers mind through Kathleen Shoop's magnificent writing, you are there in Des Moines watching the characters play out their scenes, feeling their emotions with them, gripped to find out more. A story filled with hope, love, despair and the power of never giving up." Beck Valley Books

"Katherine Shoop is a talented writer who takes you on a journey in time and through personal trials and tribulations in The Kitchen Mistress. Each relationship she has pulls Katherine in a different direction. How does she decide which is the right direction?" reviews Nicki's Nook

Read more on the #book, series and author here...
https://beckvalleybooks.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/the-kitchen-mistress-katherines.html 

For every woman who’s had to choose between the secrets that protect her and the people she loves the most…

1892—Des Moines

Katherine Arthur and her family are back and it’s time to collect the money Mrs. Mellet left them in her will. The tidy sum will allow the family peace of mind and a future that’s stable and fulfilling. But when things don’t go exactly as planned, Katherine steps up to do more than her share. Hired as a kitchen mistress, her intuition (with the help of a mysterious recipe book), cooking prowess, and work ethic make her the perfect partner for the enigmatic, wealthy woman next door. Then Aleksey Zurchenko arrives.

Violet Pendergrass is a well-heeled, progressive woman with half a fortune in one hand and a plan for enduring prosperity in the other. Resourceful, shrewd, and tough, Violet doesn’t realize her one and only weakness leaves her vulnerable as she attempts to solidify her independence. She sees unparalleled value in Katherine’s gifts and does her best to keep the girl close, to keep her true work secret from her mother and the world.

Katherine’s loyalties to her mother and Violet grow strained and soon her commitment to both frays even further as her feelings for Aleksey grow. Katherine must decide if pursuing her work with the formidable Violet and protecting her family are more important than following love. Can she do it all? Love, hope, joy, secrets buried in walls and hearts; all are threatened by those who claim to care about the Arthurs. Can Katherine separate what’s right and true from what it takes to survive? Are they even different things? 

The Last Letter Series of novels by Kathleen Shoop is set in the Midwest of America in the late 19th and early 20th century. Shoop takes readers on an emotional journey through love, loss and redemption. Inspired by family letters, the novels pull from historical events and places and feature the life and times of the fictional Arthur family as they make their way in the world.

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review 2017-10-02 13:48
Wilde Lake ★★★★★
Wilde Lake - Kathleen Mcinerney,Laura Lippman,Nicole Poole

The books I enjoy best are those that work on several levels, and Wilde Lake met that standard for me. As a mystery, it kept me interested and engaged, dribbling out the clues for the reader to grasp at for guessing at the ending, and with a satisfying ending that tied all the threads together. The main characters – and even some of the peripheral characters – were realistically nuanced, with none being truly likeable. But a significant part of the fun was the sense of place. I was fascinated by the origins and evolution of Columbia, Maryland, which was so strongly evoked by the author that it seemed almost its own character.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. Excellent performance by Kathleen McInerney, who created two consistent narrator voices and personas, which made following the unusual storytelling device of main character (1st person) past and (3rd person) present much less confusing to follow on audio than it might have been.

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