REVIEW: THE LAKE SEASON, BY HANNAH MCKINNON

23483731

 

 

As the older, responsible sister, Iris Standish has had a good run. A lovely home in suburban Boston, Massachusetts, three healthy children, and a part-time career as a literary agent. Yes, her oldest, Sadie, is now a teen and pretty sulky and occasionally rude, but the younger two are still lovely.Suddenly, Iris’s husband Paul tells her that he wants a separation. And in a flash, her world begins to unravel. She forgets things, her house becomes a mess around her, and her children are looking at her strangely.

Her sister Leah’s postcard with the cryptic message “Please come” couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

Off she goes to the family home in Hampstead, New Hampshire…her children are at camp and she wants to get away from Paul’s disapproving, critical presence.

But home is not what she expected, and Leah is glowing, announcing her upcoming wedding preparations as the reason she needs her sister. While Iris is feeling unneeded at her own home, she is feeling even more like an outsider here as Leah, of the irresponsible past and the mood swings, overshadows her and makes her feel like a sore thumb. And then draws her needlessly into the wedding preparations, while she flits off to do whatever she desires.

Then Iris sees an old high school friend, Cooper Woods, the handsome guy she never had, and he asks her to help him with the barn restoration he is doing at her parents’ place. She feels needed again. But then Leah inserts herself once more, as if she must take up all the air in the room. In spite of it all, something begins to develop between Iris and Cooper. Can it continue? Will she finally move on?

“The Lake Season” grabbed hold of me and kept me turning pages, feeling a wide range of emotions, from enjoying the beautiful settings to annoyance and frustration with Leah’s behavior. Sibling rivalry takes a dramatic turn, and before long, Iris will discover the well-kept family secrets about Leah.

In the middle of all that unfolds around her, Iris begins to find herself again. Who she once was, and who she will become. A delightful read that earned 4.5 stars.

WEEKEND INTERIORS & THOUGHTS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Good morning, readers!  I have been writing about my interior world changes for a while, now, and I’m sure you have gathered that it is all a “work in progress.”

Today brought a few more changes.  In the photo (above), you can see a couple of shelves that are minus a few books.

Here is where they ended up…one of the shelves I emptied a few weeks ago is in the garage, and I put it to use as a stop-over place for the donations.  Later I will take them to the library…once I have more books.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The bins I have been filling with some of my collectibles are starting to stack up nicely on my garage shelves.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

More….

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

***

Since today is Sunday, I am getting ready to settle in and binge on Netflix.  I am on Season III of Breaking Bad.  Last weekend, I finished all 13 episodes of Grace and Frankie, which I loved and wrote about in Weekend Potpourri: More Tidbits About My Obsessions.

I also started reading The Lake Season, by Hannah McKinnon, and I know I will curl up with that one later today. (Will be released June 2.  I got this copy from NetGalley)

 

 

23483731

 

***

So it looks like a great weekend for me…what about you?  Are you planning events?  Getaways?

***

REVIEW: BLACK-EYED SUSANS, BY JULIA HEABERLIN

index

 

 

What would your life be like after a traumatic event, in which you were found in a field with the remains of other girls, covered in Black-Eyed Susans? Would you find it hard to remember what happened?

Tessie (Tessa) Cartwright is that one remaining survivor, and for a while afterwards, she has lost her vision, and not just her memory. But the vision returns, even though the memories are still missing.

The grown-up Tessa has a teenaged daughter, Charlie, aged fourteen, and she is determined to protect the life she has. But will the newest efforts by the attorneys allow her to do this? The convicted killer, Terrell Darcy Goodman, may not actually be the killer. Efforts abound to find evidence to free him. Tessa herself is beginning to wonder, since someone is planting Black-Eyed Susans beneath her window…and leaving strange notes.

Narrated in the POV of young Tessie, from 1995, and present day Tessa, the story carries us along, feeding us bits and pieces of moments that will surely keep us guessing.

Why has her best friend Lydia, from her teenaged years, gone missing? Has something happened to her? More and more red herrings crop up, making us wonder about everything we thought we knew. Toward the end, the story switches into Lydia’s POV, creating more doubt in the reader’s mind.

Set in Texas, with Tessa living in a bungalow in Fort Worth, we can see and feel the world around her as she struggles to move on, while trying to recapture the past. And all the while, what we believed about friends and trusted ones is lying in wait, ready to strike at just the right and convenient time. A riveting tale that I could not stop reading, “Black-Eyed Susans” earned five stars…and was unforgettable.

REVIEW: LITTLE BLACK LIES, BY SANDRA BLOCK

91yXUBbGgRL._SL1500_

 

 

After finishing medical school at Yale, along with her internship, Zoe Goldman has returned to her hometown of Buffalo for her psychiatry residency. But coming home has brought some baggage with it.

Years ago, Zoe lost her birth mother in a fire, and has some physical and emotional scarring from the traumatic episode. In addition, Zoe has ADHD and some issues with compulsivity. She struggles with these issues, along with how coming home has caused old feelings to resurface. And now the nightmares have begun again.

How will Zoe manage her patient load while dealing with her own issues? Why is her adoptive mother, now suffering from dementia, hiding things from her? Was everything she was told a lie, or has her mother “forgotten” the facts due to her memory issues?

Little Black Lies is a page-turner that I couldn’t put down. I loved the mix of Zoe’s personal life with the issues of her patients. Why has one particular patient, Sofia Vallano, who incidentally killed her own mother when she was fourteen, started showing up in Zoe’s nightmares? Can Zoe find the answers to her own nebulous past? Will she discover the truth behind the lies? And when, in one horrifying moment, she does learn it all, will she survive it?

Finding the answers can be life-changing. There are still too many unanswered questions, Zoe realizes, and what is the truth? What are the lies? I liked this summation Zoe made: “Maybe the truth is this: There is no truth.”

A great story for those who enjoy suspense, mixed in with family issues. 5.0 stars.

FROM THE INTERIOR: WAITING ON “EVIL NEVER DIES”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

I am addicted to T. R. Ragan’s Lizzy Gardner series, with its gutsy heroine.  I also love the setting in Sacramento, CA, where I lived for several years.  Evil Never Dies is Book #6 in the series.  Release  Date:  8/4/15.

 

 

91fYIsKWsGL._SL1500_

 

Private investigator Lizzy Gardner believed in law and order once. But after losing a loved one to a killer and watching too many vicious predators game the system and walk free, she’s traded flawed justice for perfect vengeance.

Together with her tough and trusted assistants, Lizzy is tracking down a list of Sacramento’s worst offenders and dealing out the payback they deserve. But she may be lethally outmatched by a new criminal, a murderer the papers have dubbed the Sacramento Strangler. This ritualistic serial killer is dropping corpses and cryptic clues at a shocking rate—and he’s growing bolder and bloodier the longer he’s at large.

In the suspenseful finale to the Lizzy Gardner series, bestselling author T.R. Ragan’s gutsy heroine lashes out against the relentless onslaught of evil as she desperately fights to hang on to her own humanity.

***

I still have some of the earlier books to finish, but I want to add this one as soon as possible.   What are you eagerly anticipating?

***

MY INTERIOR WORLD: THE FINAL PHASE?

a cup of joe on a Sunday

Good morning!  I might be entering the final phase of my journey of purging and rearranging.  Or not.

A final piece of the recent plan took me back into the bedroom, where I had removed one shelf, rearranged another with the leftovers from the now empty hallway shelves….and then:  voila!  I wanted to add a final touch.

The bedroom bookcase that remained untouched had a little shelf with DVDs next to it, below:

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

This week, I moved that little step-stool shelf next to another shelf, below, and it works better, as it is next to the TV/DVD player:

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

And here is the now rearranged space next to the bookshelf.  Next I will probably want to clear out those baskets of magazines on the floor…LOL.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Once you start purging, rearranging, etc., there is really no end in sight.  Do you find this to be true in your life?

***

Meanwhile, I had a nice relaxing weekend, with dinner at Red Lobster with my daughter and grandson.

 

red lobster

How was your weekend?

***

 

REVIEW: EAT THE DOCUMENT, BY DANA SPIOTTA

814bD5c-rfL._SL1500_

 

 

The 1970s were a pivotal time for those in my generation, so I was drawn to Eat the Document: A Novel. I participated in my share of protests against the Vietnam War and the tragedy of Kent State.

From the synopsis, we learn: “In the heyday of the 1970s underground, Bobby DeSoto and Mary Whittaker — passionate, idealistic, and in love — design a series of radical protests against the Vietnam War. When one action goes wrong, the course of their lives is forever changed. The two must erase their past, forge new identities, and never see each other again.”

As the story opens, Mary has put five states between herself and what happened. She is using the name “Caroline,” and it is obviously an informal kind of name change, as we will discover later how she makes the change more permanent. And what that kind of change feels like…as if her life, as she knew it, is now definitely over.

The story sweeps back and forth between the 1970s and 80s and into the 1990s, and we see some similarities between the protests back then and those in the later era. The story spotlights some characters living in Seattle, like Nash, who manages a bookstore called Prairie Fire Books, and the store owner, Henry, who seems to have some dark urges governing his days and nights.

We focus a bit on Jason, the 15-year-old son of the newly recreated Louise (who was once Mary, then Caroline, and a few other reinvented selves). From Jason’s point of view, we see that he is struggling with what he feels are secrets his mother is keeping. He senses something.

Will Jason discover Mary’s past? Will Nash and Mary connect at some point? Who is Nash? Mary/Louise’s movements through the 1970s and onward have brought her to Washington, closer to what is happening in Seattle.

As the past converges on the present, we can look back and feel the flavors of the times as they were changing…and appreciate how, in the present, there is still something of the past that lingers. A captivating read that kept my interest, except for a few chapters that introduced some of the 1990s characters. 4.0 stars.