THOUGHTS ON BOOKS (#7): The Death of Mrs. Westaway / The Summer That Made Us (Audiobook) / The Secrets She Keeps (Audiobook)


The Death of Mrs. Westaway
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

★ This was my 500th review posted on Goodreads! ★

First, I want to point out that stunning Gothic book cover: bleak foggy weather, black iron gate, and menacing magpies looming overhead… It fits this dark, atmospheric tale perfectly!

Harriet Westaway, who goes by Hal, ekes out a living as a tarot card reader on the pier in Brighton. Hal is alone in the world, and life is a struggle, especially during the off-season when clients are scarce.

Things are pretty bad for Hal, until one day she receives a letter telling her that she’s been named as a beneficiary in her grandmother’s will. However, the deceased Mrs. Westaway isn’t her grandmother – but does that really have to matter?

Hal thinks that maybe her years of reading tarot cards will help her pull off a grand deception and walk away with the inheritance money. So, she’s off to Mrs. Westaway’s creepy ramshackle estate and the dark secrets hidden there…

This was an eerie, suspenseful, and well-written Gothic mystery. I could definitely see influences from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (which I loved). I enjoyed trying to figure out how Hal’s puzzle piece fit in with this haunted family. The sinister atmosphere and delicious twists kept me glued to the pages.

Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


The Summer That Made Us
The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Robyn Carr’s books. She’s one of my favorite authors, so it was a joy being a part of her new family of characters in THE SUMMER THAT MADE US, even though these women were dealing with some major dysfunction!

The Hempstead sisters (who married two brothers) were once very close, and they spent every summer with their daughters (three each) at the family’s idyllic Minnesota lake house. Then during the summer of 1989, tragedy strikes. As a result, the family is torn apart; lives are turned upside down. It’s not until decades later that the women dare venture back to the lake house and attempt to make amends – some more willing than others.

THE SUMMER THAT MADE US is an emotional and complex family drama, with the characters dealing not only with their estrangement from each other, but also with difficult personal issues. The author did a beautiful job constructing this story, especially with so many voices. There were a couple of characters that I wished we’d heard more from, but overall I think the focus stayed where it needed to be. Fantastic summer read!

(Parts of this book I listened to on audio, and as always, Therese Plummer did a fabulous job of bringing Robyn Carr’s characters to life.)

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


The Secrets She Keeps
The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Agatha and Meghan, two women with very different lives, have one thing in common: they’re both pregnant with due dates close to each other. To Agatha, Meghan’s life seems perfect. Meghan already has two beautiful children, as well as a handsome and successful husband, while Agatha must get by on a grocery store clerk’s salary and a detached boyfriend. But, as so often’s the case, not everything is as it seems.

THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS is an absorbing psychological thriller, and the first book I’ve read by Michael Robotham. The story alternates between Agatha and Meghan’s points of view, and I was impressed with how well-developed their characters were, and how quickly I was wrapped up in their web of secrets and lies.

This book isn’t as twisty and fast paced as most thrillers. It’s more a suspense novel that makes you think about the characters, their actions, and what has brought them to this point in life. Victim or villain – who should we sympathize with?

Listening to this book on audio was an enjoyable experience. Lucy Price-Lewis gave distinct voices to Agatha, Meghan, and the cast of supporting characters.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.


“There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.” ― Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Book Review: THE HERO by Robyn Carr

TheHero
Series: Thunder Point, #3
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Released: August 27, 2013
Source: eBook review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★


With warmth and sensitivity, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr shows readers that falling in love can be the bravest act of all.

In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can’t be worse than what they’ve left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need.

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he’s not looking for anything else. Instead, he’s thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point’s high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he’s gentle and kind…just the kind of man who could heal Devon’s wounded heart.

Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it…and sometimes, you find a hero.


I am quickly growing to love the Thunder Point series as much as Virgin River. Really! Thunder Point is a refuge for those who need help, and the new face in town, Devon, has found the right place. I thought her scary situation was a nail-biter. Devon was a strong and smart young woman, and it just goes to show how someone’s life can spiral out of control, placing her in a dangerous position. While in Thunder Point, Devon hooks up with Spencer, a widower/single father, and while I don’t feel like their chemistry was a strong as previous couples, I do think they were good for each other. They’ve both been through A LOT, so it’s not surprising that there was hesitation between them at first. Overall, THE HERO was a suspenseful read and an enjoyable continuation of the Thunder Point series. 4 stars!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: THE NEWCOMER by Robyn Carr

Manually Released
Series: Thunder Point, #2
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Released: June 25, 2013
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★


With humor and insight, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr looks at letting go of the past-and knowing when you’ve found something worth building your future on

Single dad and Thunder Point’s deputy sheriff “Mac” McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he’s found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they’re feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can’t get enough of one another.

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac’s long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They’re wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure…but they are not going down without a fight.

Step into the world of Thunder Point, a little town on the Oregon coast where newcomers are welcomed, hearts are broken and mended, and the dramas of everyday life keep the locals laughing, crying and falling in love.


THE NEWCOMER is the final book I read in 2014, and with just a few hours before the new year starts, it’s my last review posted too! This is the second book in Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series, set in a small town on the Oregon coast. This book is not a typical romance that only focuses on the main couple, Mac and Gina. Instead, it’s the continuing saga of Thunder Point’s residents that began in book one.

This book was heavy on family drama, particularly with issues facing teenagers today. Talk about a heartrending, emotional roller coaster ride! I enjoy how Robin Carr’s writing style pulls me into the middle of things and makes me care so much about the characters. There was a lot going on in this book, but the story flowed smoothly and kept me hooked until the end. THE NEWCOMER was an enjoyable read for me, but be warned that romance does not take center stage, but it’s not glossed over either. Happy New Year!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.