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Book Reviews

Orson Scott Card – Homebody Book Review

I bought a house recently and never would I have thought that an audiobook of a novel written in 1998 about a house haunting would strike so true.

I didn’t read anything about the book prior to its purchase and as I went along, the story unfolded as a sweet, sometimes uplifting, sometimes saddening, tale of becoming.

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Book Reviews

Robin Cook – Genesis Book Review

New York Times best-selling author Robin Cook takes on the ripped-from-the-headlines topic of harnessing DNA from ancestry websites to catch a killer in this timely and explosive new medical thriller.

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Book Reviews

Neil Olson-The Black Painting Book Review

“A riveting psychological thriller, a serious dissection of a dysfunctional family and an exploration of the power of art to change lives.” —Associated Press
“A fast-paced psychological thriller with a fascinating set of characters. … A real page-turner.” -B.A. Shapiro, author of The Art Forger


An atmospheric literary mystery about an infamous painting rumored to be cursed—and the family torn apart by its disappearance.
There are four cousins in the Morse family: perfect Kenny, the preppy West Coast lawyer; James, the shy but brilliant medical student; his seductive, hard-drinking sister Audrey; and Teresa, youngest and most fragile, haunted by the fear that she has inherited the madness that possessed her father.


I love books dealing with art and I have to say, books dealing with art collectors are a strange lot. New York writer Neil Olson’s The Black Painting discusses a very spooky work by Francisco Goya that supposedly exerts powers that drive viewers bonkers — in this instance, various members of a wealthy East Coast family. “Black Painting” purportedly belongs to a series of gruesome works created by the Spanish genius near the end of his life.

  • The Black Paintings stand out in art history for their dark composition and themes.
  • The biggest mystery, though, is that Goya painted them directly onto the walls of his home and never told anybody about them.
  • By 1819, the painter Francisco Goya had been through quite a bit. He had witnessed the chaos of war when Napoleon invaded Spain and the chaos in Spain as its government bounced back and forth between a constitutional monarchy and an absolute monarchy. He had become deathly ill a number of times, occasionally fearing he was going mad. One of these illnesses had left him deaf. Increasingly bitter about humanity, afraid of death and madness, Goya withdrew into a villa outside of Madrid called la Quinta del Sordo, or the Deaf Man’s House.

Back to the book. Before its theft years earlier, the Goya painting had hung, shrouded, behind the desk of elderly collector Alfred Arthur Morse. When the four Morse cousins are unexpectedly summoned by their grandfather, they all show up: Kenny, the successful lawyer; James, the psychologically fragile medical student; Audrey, the wild divorcée; and Teresa, the shy art student subject to seizures. Complementing the cast are foggy pines, rocky cliffs, a crumbling estate and the ghost of a vanished painting.

 “Last night she dreamed of the house on Owl’s Point,” reads the first line, echoing Daphne du Maurier’s timeless thriller, Rebecca. “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Make way for strange happenings in a mansion on the sea, managed by a cold housekeeper with an agenda of her own.

Kenny tells Teresa about his meeting with their grandfather: “Go to the place that’s most private to you. Most humiliating. You know what I mean? That tender spot. That’s right where he would have put his finger.” Only Grandpa didn’t have the chance, since Teresa discovered his corpse when she arrived at Owl’s Point.

So, we have grandfather in the study, but who did it and why? If death came naturally, how to explain his horrified expression? Motives abound: money, family secrets, simmering hatreds. Luckily gloom takes a lighter turn with the arrival of P.I. Dave Webster, a latter-day Philip Marlowe. Hints that all will be resolved appear when Dave is hired to resume the poking around he began years before with the original theft. Get ready for a thrilling ride through the worlds of the unhappy rich, whose acquisitions can prove very dangerous indeed.

3/5

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Book Reviews

The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell Book Review

Ever since I finished reading David Mitchell’s Slade House I was pretty interested to see what was the book that preceded it. So I picked up The Bone Clocks and while I can’t say I personally liked it, it wasn’t bad either.

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Book Reviews

The Obsession – Nora Roberts Book Review

But where had her father gone?

He had secrets—she figured all adults did. Secrets they kept from everybody, secrets that made their eyes go hard if you asked the wrong question. Maybe he was an explorer, one who went through a magic door to another world.

9780349407784.jpgPublisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9780349407784
Number of pages: 544
Weight: 362 g
Dimensions: 197 x 128 x 34 mm

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.


He looked around, and for one terrible moment she feared he looked right at her. This man, she knew into her bones, would hurt her, would use hands and fists on her like the father who worked to provide security for his family never had. With a helpless whimper in her throat, she thought: Please, Daddy. Please.

As I was reading this book I could not shake off the feeling of dread creeping into me. Storms, odd sightings, skull-like figures, cold, cold bones and rusty hinges. This book was designed to creep people out while reading it.

I Loved That!

But where she imagined a puppy whimpering in his crate was a woman.

Her eyes were wide and shined like glass as tears streamed from them. She made terrible noises against the tape over her mouth. Scrapes and bruises left raw marks on her face and her throat. She wasn’t wearing any clothes, nothing at all, but didn’t try to cover herself.

Couldn’t, couldn’t cover herself. Her hands were tied with rope—bloodied from the raw wounds on her wrists—and the rope was tied to a metal post behind the old mattress she lay on. Her legs were tied, too, at the ankles and spread wide.

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I’ve read some crappy books last year from Nora Roberts and I have no idea what I was hoping for with this one but let me just say that it was awesome. Truly terrifying and absolutely shocking, I read the whole lot over a weekend and when I was done, I could not help but think that maybe, just maybe, Nora Roberts can still write.

“Ashley said she thought she’d been down there for a day or two. There was more rope down there, and pictures. There were pictures on the wall of other women, tied up like she was. Worse than she was. I think some of them were dead. I think they were dead. I’m going to be sick.”

The Story

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defences failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.


The Good Parts:

  • First half of the book (when Naomi was 12) was really well written (5/5 stars)

The Bad Parts:

  • Naomi’s adult career seems to take a lot of space in the second half of the book, really going into detail about interior design and shopping. Not a fan of that section (that’s more than half)
  • Rooms, plans and furniture descriptions. Renovations ideas. Construction work. Furniture descriptions of the friend’s house. New ideas. Colors. Patterns. More furniture ideas.
  • The love interest is a bit of an A-hole and verbally abusive. Not sure if she picked him due to her past trauma and her needing someone to tell her what to do in the same way her mother needed her dad to tell her what to do.
  • The most anticlimactic kiss ever. He just puts his lips on the heroine out of the blue. No chemistry. No anticipation. No passion. The dialogue continues as if the kiss didn’t happen.
  • The mother is a bit of a depressive mess who keeps going back to the killer husband in jail until he serves her the divorce papers. I mean what woman does that? Presented with irrefutable evidence that your hubby is a serial killer – wilfully keeping your eyes closed and listening to abuse.
  • The killer in the second half of the book was – SPOILER – a friend from highschool that felt slighted she didn’t tell him that she was the daughter of a serial killer and then would not share her side of the story with him to be published in the school newspaper. He did pick a bad time to ask too – at her mother’s funeral. Ummm… ok?

“He was in the house. He was going to shoot the dog. I couldn’t let him shoot the dog. He . . . the gun. He has a gun.”

“Not anymore. Don’t worry about him. Broke his nose for you,” Xander murmured, laying his brow to hers.

“High school nerd.” “What?” “Chaffins. Anson Chaffins. Tell Mason,” she said, and slid away.

That was really, really, really bad villaining here. I mean weak as hell.

Just a smart, nerdy kid who’d gone to a school dance with her, who’d put a couple clumsy moves on her, easily brushed off. And a monster, all along.

I would say read the first 30 pages and the last 10 pages and you’ll have a lovely night in. I would also thank Mrs. Roberts for another book that will burn so brightly in my bonfire night due to the 370 pages of interior design crap that pad this mess (my copy had 418 pages).

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Book Reviews

Anitita Augustopoulos-Jucan – Al doilea adevar (The second truth)

Published in 1978, this pocket sized book was in my parent’s collection. Looking to clean up their bookcases, I had a read to decide if it’s a keeper or a burn-pile candidate. Set in the lovely Romanian county of Bucuresti in the height of its post-bellic boom, the story follows the investigative trail that the militia had to go through in order to solve a most interesting murder.

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Book Reviews

Constantin Chirita – Ingerul Alb (The white angel)

Ingerul alb (The White Angel) is the third of a series of 3 detective novels, comprising the “White trilogy” (aka Trilogia in alb). The novels were initially published separately, between 1964-1969.

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Book Reviews

Resurrection Row – Anne Perry Book Review

n49986 Yet again I have picked up a book in a series mid-way through. (This is the fourth book in the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series)

It was the most incredible thing: a corpse driving an empty hansom cab through the foggy streets of a London evening. And it wasn’t just any corpse but the body of a peer of the realm. This was sheer lunacy. Who on earth would want to unearth a decently buried old chap like Lord Augustus Fitzroy-Hammond? The doctor insisted that his death had been natural. But there was nothing natural about this as far as the police were concerned. Inspector Pitt was determined to reveal the truth, but even he was unprepared for the horrors of greed and exploitation that lay in store.

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Book Reviews

Kelsey Rae Dimberg-Girl in the Rearview Mirror

Finn Hunt is the nanny for 4 year old Amabel, the daughter of Philip and Marina Martin. Philip’s father is a senator in Arizona, and the hope is one day Philip will be able to slide in and take his seat once his father decides to step down. Despite being the hired help, Finn feels like she is a part of the family and gets caught up in their wealthy and glamorous world. She soon finds herself in the middle of something that could bring down this political first family. She also needs to worry about her own past suddenly resurfacing.

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Stephen King

End of Watch (The Bill Hodges Trilogy Book 3) – Stephen King

It seemed to him that whoever thought that one up really got hold of something, because it was darker than a woodchuck’s asshole this morning, and dawn wasn’t far away.

You gotta give it to Mr. King. He can definitely write a good horror novel. If you have liked these lovely books involving Finders Keepers, you might have run across “End of Watch” – the last story involving Bill Hodges before he finds his untimely death.

Mr. Mercedes * Stephen King

Finders Keepers * Stephen King Book Review

Stephen King – The Outsider (Finders Keepers)