Summary: On a flight from London to Boston, Ted meets a young woman named Lily. As they talk Ted begins to discuss his marriage which he feels is not as happy as he hoped. He suspects his wife of having an affair and he lets slip that he would like to kill his wife. But rather than being turned off by the talk of murder, Lily offers to help Ted with the task. Once back in Boston the two conspirators continue to meet and discuss the details of Ted’s wife’s murder. However, there is more to Lily than Ted ever could have imagined. Including her own experience in the art of murder.
My Thoughts: This book was one twist after another. I was shocked so many times that I thought there was nothing else that could be revealed but I was wrong! I have read several of Swanson’s books but this one is his best. At the beginning it seemed to be following the plot lines of Strangers on a Train but that went out the window pretty quickly.
Even though Lily has such a dark past and did some rather dastardly things I really liked her. Her chapters were always my favorite because of how twisted her thoughts were. She was able to think herself out of situations and justify any of her actions. Her character was truly scary but easily the best part of the book.
I have wanted to read this for years but never got around to it. But when I saw and requested the next book on Netgalley, it moved up the list. And I am so glad I picked it up. I sped through it. I loved the narrators and the pacing of the novel. If I was reading it I can see it easily being a book I could have finished in a day. It was that good!
FYI:The Kind Worth Saving is coming out in March 2023.
My reading tastes tend to be pretty straightforward. I read non-fiction history, classic British mysteries and science fiction fantasy. I don’t read quite as much sci-fi/fantasy as I used to, but L. E. Modesitt remains one of my favorite authors.
Isolate is the first book in his newest series. It is set in a steampunk world with steamers (steam powered automobiles) and the beginnings of an industrial age. There are empaths who can detect emotions in others and use their feelings to protect or attack, susceptibles who are particularly able to be influenced by empaths, and isolates who are immune to empaths. While not devoid of action, much of the writing focuses around political intrigue and an exploration of issues that face society and government. I definitely enjoy the world building and the exploration of character that Modesitt portrays in this book. This is definitely a book I would recommend for those who enjoy reading intricate fantasy novels.
This is probably my favorite album of all time. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I have always been a huge fan of the pop punk scene. This album started all of that for me. At the time, it was the highest grossing indie album ever, though I had no idea of that. I enjoyed that they sang about real life events but didn’t take themselves too seriously. It has quite a bit of strong language; I remember playing this cassette on the stereo in my room and having to turn it down whenever there was an extended bout of swearing. I don’t listen to The Offspring quite as much as I used to (I have two children with me much of the time), but they definitely remain a favorite.
Available to stream here or any music streaming services.
Hobby: Home Brewing
I really enjoy tasting craft beer and am a huge fan of Central Standard Brewing. However, there is a lot to be said for making something yourself, which is what got me into home brewing. I started simply about 10 years ago as an extract brewer with kits that I purchased online. Extract brewing involves taking a malt syrup extract or powder, boiling it with 3 or so gallons of water on your stove while adding hops and then putting it into a vessel to ferment. When it is done fermenting, you add some sugar and bottle it up. In 4 to 6 weeks you have beer.
I made some good beer this way, but when you are a home brewer you are always looking to up your game. At the start of the pandemic and unable to visit many of our favorite places, my friend and I decided to recommit to home brewing. He has an all grain system in his garage, so we started brewing exclusively on that. We began to develop our own recipes and have produced some excellent beer. While brewing does require a high level of cleanliness and precision, it is definitely a rewarding hobby. It’s a lot of fun to share a beer with your friends and hear, “You brewed this? It’s really good!”
TV Show: Castle
Growing up, I used to watch a show called Murder She Wrote with my mother. We both enjoyed its lighthearted nature and trying to figure out the killer before the reveal.
Fast forward twenty or so years, and my wife introduced me to a show called Castle. Just like Murder She Wrote, it features a mystery writer who solves murders when the police appear to be baffled. The two leads, Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, have great chemistry that makes the show fun to watch. I enjoy the witty repartee and discovering who the killer is. True, it’s a bit more intense than Murder She Wrote, but it’s still a fun show. Like many long running TV series, I would definitely saw that the first three seasons are the best, though the series remains fun throughout.
“The dead don’t walk. Except, sometimes, when they do.”- T. Kingfisher, What Moves the Dead
What Moves the Dead is Kingfisher’s retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania. What is found is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious madness of nerves. Aided by an impressive British mycologist, and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.
This book was vividly gothic, matching Poe’s style well. The characters were extremely well defined and interesting. Alex Easton was the perfect protagonist to take us on this journey; witty and curious yet clear-headed and skeptical. Kingfisher goes into great detail right from the start on the bleak surroundings of the House of Usher.
More than once while reading this, I cringed at the gross smells and visuals described. The idea of a damp, fungus-infected manor is horrible on its own, but to add in the bizarre behaviors of the Ushers, would be enough to make me run for the hills! This is a quick spooky read, and I look forward to checking out more from this author.
First line: Lucrezia is taking her seat at the long dining table, which is polished to a watery gleam and spread with dishes, inverted cups, a woven circlet of fir.
Summary: Lucrezia de’ Medici is the third daughter of the grand duke of Florence. She has always been considered a little different than her siblings. Her family has given her freedom but also the same learning as her brothers. After the death of her sister she is suddenly pushed into a betrothal with her sister’s fiancé, the duke of Ferrara. Even though she fears this marriage she is a dutiful daughter. At first things seem to be going well with her husband but as time passes without an heir she starts to worry that something sinister is brewing in the duke’s mind.
My Thoughts: This book was beautifully written. I love O’Farrell’s style. It is almost poetic in the way it flows. For some it may not be their style and seem rather slow but I found it perfect for the period and subject.
Very little is known about the events of Lucrezia’s life but O’Farrell does a wonderful job of filling out the story and the characters. The narrative flashes back and forth between her childhood and the time of her marriage. I found the scenes with her husband to be dark and sinister. She is worried he is trying to kill her but she continues to question her feelings. As a reader I could feel the tension as she tried to decide how to handle her precarious situation.
If you loved Hamnet then I believe you will find this one just as intriguing. It has the same feeling of dread approaching with the same lyrical writing. I would highly recommend it be savored with a glass of wine on a crisp fall day.
“It was like someone let all the air back into my life when I had no idea I was even suffocating.” ― Colleen Hoover, Layla
When Leeds met Layla, he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. To put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the now abandoned bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. Items start moving on their own, and strange occurrences happen around the house.
Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—an unexpected guest at the house. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers conflicts with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to choose between them because he cannot help them both. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental to all of them.
Once I got about halfway through the book, I could not put it down! This book is great for anyone who enjoys a little paranormal activity and suspense, especially in their October reads! Leeds might not be the most morally sound character, but this book might even make you question what the right thing to do is.
I am so excited to finally be on the Colleen Hoover bandwagon! I have heard so many good things about her writing. With a little research, I found a few common factors in her writing. Her stories are usually about a relationship with a partner who has major red flags. From other reviews I have read on her books, a lot of people find these relationships upsetting to read about. With that, I suggest checking the content of each book before you start it. I went into this book with no expectations, and I really liked it!