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review 2017-12-18 00:14
THE WIFE BETWEEN US BY: GREER HENDRICKS & SARAH PEKKANEN
The Wife Between Us - Greer Hendricks,Sarah Pekkanen
Well, I feel like the blurb totally called it. 
 
"When you read this book, you will make many assumptions."
 
 
 
I had a lot of assumptions at the beginning of this book, and only one thing turned out to be true. Which I kinda can't tell you, because it would spoil all the fun. I even heeded the warning like blurb. I went into this one totally suspicious of EVERYONE. In the end I think that actually made this whole story even more fun. I was juggling at least 4 different theories on what was ACTUALLY happening, and none of those was what it ended up being. This was one hell of a plot twist and I imagine it is going to knock a lot of socks off! It surely got me! 
 
 
Part one was a little slower going, but still interesting getting a thorough examination of the characters and a glimpse at their relationships. It painted a really full foundation in your mind that is inevitably rocked down to its core in part two. I feel like the full picture at the end of the book was much more comprehensive because of it. The last half of the book is unputdownable. Once everything starts to shift it is nearly impossible to put down until the very end. And the authors have more than one surprise up their sleeves in this tale, so this is the book that just keeps on giving. 
 
 
I really enjoyed The Wife Between Us, I hear it will be coming to the big screen too and I am looking forward to watching that when it comes out. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more from these authors. 
 
Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for an ARC of this book! 
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review 2017-12-17 16:47
Mississippi Blood
Mississippi Blood: A Novel (Natchez Burning) - Greg Iles

By: Greg Iles

Natchez Burning #3

ISBN: 9780062311153

Publisher:  William Morrow

Publication Date: 3/21/2017 

Format:  Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars +++

 

The 30 Best Books of 2017

EPIC! 10 stars — Secrets of Mississipi’s violent past and a KKK group called Double Eagles are revealed. At the heart, the big question: Who killed Viola Turner?

Natchez Burning The first installment in an epic trilogy that weaves crimes, lies, and secrets past and present into a mesmerizing thriller featuring Southern mayor and former prosecutor Penn Cage, whose quest for the truth sends him deep into his father’s past. Top Books of 2014 

The Bone Tree In this second volume, Penn is caught in the darkest maelstrom of his life, as he fights his way out of the war he unwittingly started with a violent offshoot of the KKK, the Double Eagles, and continues to hunt for the truth about dark deeds from the 1960s. Top Books of 2015 

MISSISSIPPI BLOOD The endgame is at hand for Penn, his family, and the enemies working to destroy them. Featuring a trial scene that Publishers Weekly calls “among the most exciting ever written in the genre,” this novel delivers the shocking resolution Greg Iles’s fans have eagerly awaited.Top Books of 2017

The King of Southern Fiction, Greg Iles returns with his highly anticipated Natchez Burning trilogy, with his finale: MISSISSIPPI BLOOD – where we pick up following the murder of Viola Turner and the high profile trial of Dr. Tom Cage. 

The Penn family is in crisis. Sins of the past still haunt the present. 

Greg Iles is a master Southern storyteller and no one can compare! Skillfully crafted, a brilliant mix of Southern, historic, crime thriller, suspense, and classic literary fiction at its finest. He uncovers the moral outrage of racism, corruption, and hatred which has been a part of our history and still exists today- years after the Civil Rights era. 

“Mississippi blood is different. It’s got some river in it. Delta soil, turpentine, asbestos, cotton poison. But there’s strength in it, too. Strength that’s been beaten but not broke.” ― Greg Iles, Mississippi Blood 

 


Picking up from The Bone Tree, the Mayor of Natchez, Mississippi, former Houston prosecutor, and novelist Penn Cage is still grieving the loss of his fiancée Caitlin Masters. He still wonders if ghosts exist. He spends time visiting graves. Henry Sexton is dead. Caitlin is dead. Annie’s mother is gone —cancer took her to her death. 

Presently, Penn is dealing with his dad’s upcoming murder trial. Local physician, Thomas J. Cage is being held in protective custody in Louisiana by the FBI for the murder of Viola Turner, his former black nurse, and mistress. He was not even allowed to attend Caitlin’s funeral. Penn has not spoken to his dad, Tom since Caitlin’s death. 

The case has drawn national attention. Dr. Cage is accused of murdering his former 65-year-old black nurse in the wake of a pact that would have required him to euthanize the terminally ill woman who had been his employee thirty-eight years earlier.

In the final stages of lung cancer, she had returned to Natchez to die from Chicago. Being Cage is white and Nurse Turner was black, also complicated matters. In addition, it was recently revealed she had a child (Lincoln Turner) by Dr. Cage in 1968 while he was married. She was a widow at the time after her husband had been killed in the Vietnam War. 

Assisted suicide? Or if administers the drugs, it is murder. A mercy killing? He was charged with first-degree murder.

However, what really happened that night? Did he administer drugs, or when he left, who came in next? Did Viola inject herself or something more sinister at play? A botched injection? A heart attack? An overdose or the wrong drug? So many questions and few answers. 

What about the Double Eagles? Are they to blame? They have a history. Viola’s family wants justice. Lincoln set the investigation in motion. Does he have his own agenda? 

There is John Kaiser of the FBI. Cage is being held in protective custody because he is a material witness in a major federal investigation and his life is in danger. He is being represented by African-American civil rights attorney Quentin Avery of Jefferson County, Mississippi, and Washington, DC. 

Dr. Cage is keeping quiet. Avery his African American attorney in a wheelchair cannot discuss his case with Penn. What does Snake have to do with Viola’s murder? A recording of that night? Who are they protecting? 

The civil rights era of the 1960s remains present. Viola Turner’s brother (a civil rights activist) was murdered by the Double Eagle in 1968. She was also raped repeatedly by the same group and the KKK. Upon returning to Natchez, this brought fear to the group. They want her dead. They had warned her. 

Penn’s family is still under attack by Snake Knox and Double Eagles and the FBI cannot be counted on to protect them even though they live surrounded by bodyguards. Penn is raising his 11-yr. old daughter, Annie and his mom is staying near the prison in a motel, so he brings in the babysitter, Mia who has worked with them previously. His mom wants him to forgive his Dad enough to visit him in prison. 

However, if his father had not hidden the truth of what inspired on the night Viola Turner died, Caitlin would never have become obsessed with Henry Sexton’s quest or picked up his torch after he martyred himself to save them, or followed a bloody trail to the abomination called The Bone Tree. She would be alive. They would be together in Edelweiss, their dream home with Annie and well on their way to a child together. 

Penn’s work is suffering, and he is questioning his own sanity. Who is Quinton trying to protect? His family has imploded. 

His father had two sons and one of them was doomed to be an orphan. The happiness of his childhood was bought with the pain of a black boy who had hurt no one. He had a brother and long after his father passes his blood will flow through both their veins.

. . . “A man who has known love and grief and understands that one is the price of the other.”

 



An upstanding physician and friend to many. A man, not perfect. Dr. Cage is self-destructing and has every puzzled. Penn’s half-brother, Lincoln Turner, is hell-bent on destroying the Cages. Race relations, violence, corruption, evil, and those with hatred. Even though Lincoln and Penn have the same blood running through them, they grew up differently. 

To Lincoln, he had nothing growing up and Penn had it all. They are opposites. When Penn was striving for a baseball championship, with a highly respected physician and mother, Lincoln was scrapping in the streets and running from the Chicago PD. His stepfather was in and out of prison or gambling away his wife’s salary. 

All along while Penn was moving from a successful legal career to an author of legal thrillers, Lincoln was slaving in a small firm, chasing small-time cases until he was finally busted for embezzling escrow funds from a client trust fund. Doing so in a desperate attempt to save his stepfather (which he thought was his father), from a long prison term and had his license suspended. 

Penn can only image Lincoln’s rage. Now his mother is dead, and he wants someone to pay. Justice. Payback. Lincoln is the living symbol of his father’s sin. Perhaps, his crime. After all, it was Lincoln who set in motion the murder investigation. And now Lincoln haunts his city, his family like some dark, retributive spirit. 

Yet, Penn is resilient. Family and friendships are important. He must find a way to help. He can only hope that Lincoln can free himself from the lies that shrouded his youth and become what Viola dreamed he would be. A man who embodies the best of both his parents. 

Can the two brothers join forces and work together to solve this horrible wrong, to find the truth and attain justice for both father and mother? Time is running out for Dr. Cage. Unless Penn is successful at exposing the past to exonerate his father, his family will be destroyed. 

“ . . .Right meant more than might; that being faithful and good meant more than being rich; that honor superseded all.” 

Readers are introduced to a new character, Serenity Butler,(love her), a famous writer (light-skinned African American), and former army officer who steps in to tackle the Double Eagles. The beautiful and talented writer in Atlanta, from Mississippi originally. He cannot trust anyone, even his mother. However, he joins up with a young black author and former soldier named who has come to Natchez to write about Dr. Cage’s case. She may be his best ally. To help expose the dark secrets. 

Formed in the 1960s, the group’s mission is terrorizing and murdering African-Americans, and they are still at it today. The Double Eagles have reasons to want Viola Turner dead, and if their involvement can be proved, it will save Tom. Penn has to find a way. 

Heartwrenching, raw, emotional, complex, intelligent – Penn Cage desperately wants to believe in his father, the family martyr. The decisions his dad makes have terrible consequences for the entire family. Penn is tested. He wants to believe in truth and justice, but his beliefs and values are threatened and shaken to the core. 

No one can rest until the last of the Knoxes have been jailed, and the Double Eagles smashed for all time. 

Rich in Southern history, –From crusading journalists, racism, half-brothers, old lovers, old grudges, corruption, blacks-whites, fathers/sons, sons/mothers, strong family ties, protecting others, revenge, power, justice, and survival – Iles is at the top of his game with this extraordinary trilogy. 

Superb character development, action-packed with page-turning suspense —bringing the saga to a satisfying conclusion. While at the same time exposing the ugliness, cruelty and shameful episodes of our past. Unfortunately, not only does it exist in the American South - it is widespread. 

In 2011 the author was badly injured in an automobile accident and almost died, losing his right leg below the knee. Afterwards, he chose to go deeper with the story about family, race, prejudice, and secrets. His work is commendable! 

Of course, we fans are delighted with the news: Sony Pictures TV is developing a cable series based on the books, with producers Tobey Maguire and David Hudgins (a Dallas native) and director John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side”) attached. Can't wait! Let's hope they film it where it all took place, due to the author being an expert. Would not have the same impact, filmed elsewhere. 

If you have reviewed Iles' website you know (house/office) property is for rent in Mississippi, due to the steps. One of these days, my wish is to visit and experience the journey, while touring the places and landmarks in the book. Enjoyed reviewing The Map. 

“Mississippi Blood” is the capstone to what could legitimately be called a magnum opus. Iles has emerged from an excruciating ordeal to create a superb entertainment that is a work of power, distinction and high seriousness. These are angry novels, filled with a sense of deeply-considered moral outrage. They are also prime examples of what the thriller— and other forms of “genre” fiction — can accomplish when pushed beyond traditional limits. 

Often grim and frequently horrifying, these Natchez Burning novels set their larger historical concerns against the credibly detailed backdrop of a family in crisis. As the Cage family endures its own trial by fire, Iles shows us both the weaknesses and strength of people tested by extreme circumstances and by secrets and lies that have festered for too long. In successfully illuminating both the inner life of a family in peril and “the troubled borderland between black and white,” he has created something memorable and true.” – Washington Post



Well said. 

As always, with Greg Iles books in this series, you need to experience MISSISSIPPI BLOOD in all formats. The audiobook is a must (narrated by Scott Brick) for an amazing performance (have listened several times). Then of course, you "must" purchase the Kindle format in order to highlight the beautiful lyrics; and last but not least, the print copy is a given, to add to your personal library collection. 

USA Today: Greg Iles has his first-ever No. 1 USA TODAY best seller with Mississippi Blood the final book in his searing Natchez Burning trilogy. 

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/08/Mississippi-Blood
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review 2017-12-17 13:33
character assassination
THE SMALLEST CREATURES: A heartbreaking and heartwarming tour de force - Dan McNay

This is a character-driven book that packs a hard punch.

 

The story is about a young man who helps an older woman make a road trip from New Orleans to Nashville.

 

Once underway we begin to understand the young man, and why he is disillusioned and lost. He is strangely drawn to the family he is helping, but doesn't quite see the danger he is in.

 

Something of a loose cannon, the woman begins to get under the young man's skin. And lacking the wherewithal to deal with it, tension mounts to an explosive conclusion.

 

The prose is a times very poetic, the book is atmospheric and the drama very exciting.

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review 2017-12-17 08:58
Origin by Dan Brown
Origin - Dan Brown

Professor Robert Langdon is invited to the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao to a presentation by one of his former students, futurist Edmond Kirsch. Kirsch's presentation is supposed to be revolutionary, presenting the answer to humankind's two oldest and most intriguing questions;Where do we come from? and Where are we going?

But before Kirsch can launch the gist of it, he's killed by a bullet to the brain. Someone doesn't want his findings to be made public, but Langdon is prepared to do anything to thwart their plans. Even go on a run with the future queen of Spain, be accused of kidnapping, and dodge an assassin from a Catholic sect...


Whenever I pick up a book categorized as a thriller I expect to be thrilled. Dan Brown has been failing at that in the last three installments in this series, with this last one being the absolute worst of the bunch.

Instead of mysterious, suspenseful and thrilling, I got boring, dull and plodding. It started off slow, slightly hurried up along the plot, yet never really picking up pace to even get to the level of "interesting" with its nonlinear narrative jumping backward, forward and sometimes even sideways in time resulting in severe loss of momentum at most inopportune times.
It was unnecessarily overcomplicated and filled with redundancy and unnecessary side-plots (that ended up not leading anywhere and/or didn't provide the "oomph" the author probably wanted), until the main story arc got lost in the twists, turns and spirals (pun utterly intended) provided by the fillers and ballast of the rest of it.

In the end, the final revelations of Kirsch's discovery and who was really behind his televised murder and why, came at a point where I wasn't excited about what happens next, but eager for it all to end.
The real "murderer" was no surprise, since I expected something along those lines; everything was set up too nicely for it not to happen the way it did. And the revelation about our origin and destiny certainly didn't inspire the awe and internal debate that was supposed to, I guess. It wasn't anything new—not the past and certainly not the future.

So what was this book really about? Why was it really written? It didn't bring anything new to the table, it wasn't intriguing, it wasn't thrilling. It also didn't adhere to the canon established in Inferno if the conversation about babies between the future kind and queen of Spain was any indication.
Was it really just for the money?

If it was, that's even more disappointing.

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review 2017-12-15 19:16
Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
Best Day Ever: A Psychological Thriller - Kaira Rouda,Graham Halstead,Amy McFadden
Paul and Mia have been married for ten years and have the perfect life. If you’re on the outside looking in, that is. From the inside, things aren’t looking so great.

The bulk of the story is told by Paul who is a complete dick on the level of Joe from YOU by Caroline Kepnes (haven’t read YOU? You must, it’s awesome). Paul thinks ugly thoughts about women who don’t fit into his narrow view of beauty and he treats his wife like some sort of totally dependent on him 50’s housewife. The two are currently on their way to their second home for what Paul repeatedly declares “The Best Day Ever”. It turns out to be anything but as little things are eventually revealed that lead you to believe something is very wrong with this marriage. 

I have a soft-spot for these kinds of books which is why I keep picking them up but this one won’t go down as one of my favorites because I hated Paul. Not in an I love to hate you sort of way like Joe up there. No, it was simply hate. Paul is a completely despicable character. I can get behind that kind of character if they make me laugh or keep me amused but Paul is not funny and never, ever amusing. He is slimy, narcissistic and completely unredeemable. We spend nearly the entire book in his head so everything is viewed through his shitty eyes. The writing is engaging, I cannot lie, but also very enraging. I also saw most of the reveals coming from the get-go and not a one of them came as a surprise. Maybe I’ve read too many of these books but I really don’t think so. Perhaps I’m just becoming really smart with figuring these things out but, nah, I don’t think that’s it either. It fizzles out with an unnecessary epilogue that I wish hadn’t been there and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

On the plus side, narrator Graham Halstead is pretty good. His voice fits Paul perfectly. If you’re going to read this I recommend listening to the audio. That way you can do other things while listening and you won’t have wasted too much of your precious reading time with this same-old, same-old story.

 
 

 

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