FRENCH COAST by Anita Hughes

french coast

Courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin

I have been reading a lot but not making the time to sit down and write.  But after flying through this delicious read by Anita Hughes, I felt like I had to share the warmth, class, and love found in French Coast.  I would love for my next big trip to be to the Cote d’Azur and this book transported me to Cannes. When I started this blog, I wanted to provide recommendations for different types of readers like The Ambitious Reader, The Happy-Go-Lucky Reader, and The Escape Artist.  This book delivers for both The Happy-Go-Lucky Reader and The Escape Artist.  Besides the sexy love scenes, designer duds, and pristine locale, French Coast also tells intricate stories of the resiliency of love and their surprising intersections.

 

Five Reasons to Read:

  1.  Anita Hughes knows the way to a girls’ heart–Vogue, Givenchy, and Moet & Chandon.  When Vogue features editor Serena Woods goes to Cannes to interview former French Vogue editor Yvette Renault you’re in for all things fashion and French.
  2. Serena is surrounded by beauty while things keep falling apart for her, but she is always looking out for her new friend Zoe, daughter of an Australian fashion magnate, and putting others first.
  3. As Serena interviews Yvette, we’re propelled back into the sixties when Yvette was a young mother in an unhappy marriage.  Her story is told with gritting honesty and poise.
  4. If you like a sexy beach read, you can’t go wrong with this book. But it has enough intrigue to keep you from getting bored.
  5. When the prose gets repetitive, Hughes digs deeper and provides more drama, more decisions for Serena, and more secrets are revealed.

Keep reading…

A DARK AND TWISTED TIDE by Sharon Bolton

a dark and twisted tide

Courtesy of Macmillan

One of the best things about mysteries, in my opinion, is how they immerse you in the thick of a plot and pull you along.  All the details come together to reveal the stark reality, however gruesome it may be.  Sharon Bolton’s novel A Dark and Twisted Tide follows Lacey Flint, former London detective who rejoins the police force on the marine unit.  She is living in a boat on the river Thames and swimming in the river every morning, a dangerous and thrilling pastime.  The river is a powerful force and when Lacey finds a body in the water the question becomes: Was it purely a coincidence that a body comes floating towards Lacey or did someone want Lacey to find the decomposing body?

 

5 Reasons to Read:

  1. Lacey is a classic loner  with few friends, but people are drawn to her–even killers–and you will be too.
  2. The Thames is a charismatic and deadly character in this Lacey Flint installment–its dark waters are the perfect backdrop.
  3. Although all written in the third person, Bolton tells the story from the perspective of Lacey, Detective Inspector Dana Tulloch, and other more mysterious points of view like The Killer, The Swimmer, and Nadia and Pari, two women far from home. This allows for Bolton to reveal a wide range of details and events in a complex, but systematic way.
  4. Bolton’s prose is at times unhurried and expressive, at other times swift and vigorous, much like the tides.  Either way, you’ll be swept away by her writing.
  5. This is a book to savor and reread–even once the murderer is revealed you’ll want to go back and unravel the intricacies of the story.

Keep reading…

THE POCKET WIFE by Susan Crawford

pocket wife

Courtesy of William Morrow

I have reviewed a few suspenseful books here on Skyline Book Reviews, but they have all ended up being very different.  There was Crooked River about two young girls whose father is accused of murder.  Also, Big Little Lies about a death at a elementary school fundraiser in Australia.  And Tina Seskis’ One Step Too Far told the story of Emily who leaves her old life behind only to be propelled back into it after a tragic death.  Susan Crawford’s cerebral debut, The Pocket Wife, involves a murder in a suburb of Paterson, NJ and is no exception.

 

 

 

The siren is inside her ears, inside the car.  It screams and pries inside her brain.  She opens the car door and steps outside. She’s forgotten her shoes, but she can’t feel the pavement.  She’s so light her feet are barely touching down.  She looks out at the cars toward the Hudson, and it shimmers, it hums, it sings, eclipsing the sound of the siren with its lovely, lilting song.

 

5 Reasons to Read:

  1. Crawford’s main character, Dana Catrall, is captivating during her descent into a mental breakdown in the wake of the violent death of her neighbor.
  2. The detective investigating the murder, Jack Moss, is not typical law enforcement–his dedication to his job, his desire to help Dana, and the guilt motivating him to protect his son is very real and multi-faceted.
  3. Crawford’s lyrical and phenic writing delves into Dana’s psyche as she discovers clues that push her closer to the edge.
  4. Clues are pieced together while Detective Moss investigates and Dana racks her memory until ultimately the truth settles to the surface amidst a storm of lies.
  5. This murder mystery won’t disappoint when it comes to suspense and unexpected outcomes.

Keep Reading…

ONE STEP TOO FAR by Tina Seskis

one step too far

Courtesy of William Morrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you been searching for a story that is unsettling yet too gripping to put down since Gone Girl? Us too. Tina Seskis’ debut, originally published independently as an e-book in the UK, is what you’re looking for.

5 reasons to read:

1. Emily abandons her life in Manchester, England in the face of a horrific secret and becomes Cat, a London ad exec with a penchant for cocaine, champagne, and shop-lifting–Hello, London!
2.  Sounds melodramatic, you say? Seskis is skilled at rooting the story in the very real struggles of family life, jealousy, betrayal, and grief with characters to support a drama-filled plot.
3. Seskis delves into the lives of Emily/Cat, her twin sister Caroline, her parents Frances and Andrew, and Ben, the brokenhearted husband Emily leaves behind–recounting pivotal moments that propel the story.
4. We won’t give it away, but there is a heart-wrenching twist even we predicted wrong (and that’s saying a lot).
5. Seskis’ ability to zoom in on details and properly pull back when needed comes through to bring together a wonderfully unnerving story.

Keep Reading…

BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty

We got this ARC at BEA this year.

We got this ARC at BEA this year.

It is even signed! Want my copy? Let me know in a comment!

Signed! Want my copy? Comment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At long last here is our follow-up to the recommendations about marriage and motherhood.  Interestingly, many of the same themes are paramount in Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. Betrayal, violence, secrets, and the constant pressures women face as mothers, wives, and in their relationships with each other.

5 reasons to read:
1. Moriarty writes about suburban life in Australia and the struggles modern mothers face.
2. Except for a few g’day mate’s this novel could take place in any American town and US readers will have no trouble relating to the gossipy drama.
3. Moriarty’s characters are multidimensional–sure they worry about which designer stilettos to wear to “Kiss-and-Drop/Pickup”, but they are also fiercely protective of their friends and, most importantly, their children.
4. Murder at a school fundraiser is the outcome the plot is propelling towards, but the conclusion is one you won’t expect.
5. Some very gritty topics are addressed in a realistic way such as bullying and domestic violence. Keep reading…

What’s new: CROOKED RIVER by Valerie Geary

crooked river

Courtesy of William Morrow

This fall, we’re bringing to you our recs for the latest debuts  If you’re looking to take a foray into literary fiction this pick is tender, suspenseful, and crisply imagined. You’ll have no trouble getting into it, but here’s our advice: Read this book with the lights on and if you’re reading on the subway be careful because this is “miss-your-stop” good.

“The stars are so much brighter when you’re dead.  The dark, so much darker. The trees are whispering, but I do not feel any wind.  I want to feel the wind.”

 

 

5 reasons to read:

1. This book is so many things–a ghost story, family story, murder mystery–but mostly it is just plain masterful the way a river is strong and steady.
2. Told from sisters Sam and Ollie’s points of view, your heart will literally be racing by the end and tears may or may not be streaming down your face (guilty as charged).
3. The small town of Terrebonne, Oregon is the perfect backdrop for this story, with the distinctive river where Sam and Ollie find a dead body, the quiet meadow where their father lives in a teepee and keeps bees, and the town itself that seems to hold secrets for Sam and Ollie to uncover.
4. Geary’s debut novel is rhythmic, gripping, and raw. Just try to put it down.
5. This literary ghost story reminds us of The Lovely Bones or Beloved where the supernatural elements of the book are crucial to the story and propel the plot. Keep reading…

Fall Reads: The Escape Artist

Paris, La tour Eiffel

Paris, La tour Eiffel

Although you may not be heading back to school this fall, it doesn’t mean you can’t hit the books. But figuring out what to read can be easier said than done. So what kind of reader are you? An escape artist, looking to leave the city behind every chance you get? Are you happy-go-lucky and looking for a fun, easy read? Or are you an ambitious go-getter in work, life, love, and reading? Fall is the perfect time to cozy up by the fire and get back to the books!

The Escape Artist

Who you are: You love New York but your wanderlust keeps you dreaming of your next vacation a world away. Jet-setting for you is going climbing in Tanzania, boating in Monaco, exploring in Argentina.  When you are stuck on the subway or taking a lunch break you want to be reading something that will transport you to another city, another world, or another time.

Our rec: Murder Below Montparnasse: An Aimée Leduc investigation set in Paris by Cara Black

5 reasons to read:
1. Aimée Leduc is the perfect private investigator to to usurp Nancy Drew.
2. You’ll want to imitate Aimée Leduc’s French style: Chanel No. 5, a Hermés scarf, a leather jacket, and Converse.
3. Zipping around Paris on her Vespa, the Montparnasse will come alive in this crime thriller.
4. What’s more transporting than Paris?
5. 14 books in the series means you can experience all the arrondissements without leaving New York.

The Long View: Aimée Leduc is a private investigator keeping up the family business at Leduc Detective in Paris, France. She primarily works alone except for her partner Remi who has recently left to accept a job in Silicon Valley, leaving Aimée and hacker Saj to man the office. When Yuri Volodin, an old Russian man, hires Aimée to find his Modigliani painting she never guesses that Yuri will know something of her missing mother.  As Aimée becomes more entangled in the art world and the Soviet secrets surrounding the painting,  she realizes how dangerous the situation is.  Not to mention her personal life is pretty messy: she spots her flic boyfriend, Melac, with another woman, a female Russian bodyguard has the hots for her, and things are complicated with an art investigator named Dombasle. Plus, there is her dog, Miles Davis, to worry about. This jam-packed crime novel will leave you ready to explore all the arrondissements even if only through Cara Black’s series.

The deets: 
SoHo Press
321 pages
January 2013
Order Murder Below Montparnasse (An Aimée Leduc Investigation)