The Family Plot by Megan Collins

The Family Plot by Megan Collins

Dahlia Lighthouse and her siblings had an unconventional childhood, to say the least. They were homeschooled and along with geography, they were taught about famous serial killers and their victims by their obsessed parents. The way they grew up, sheltered, surrounded by historical murders, has obviously affected how they live in the world off the island and how they relate to other people. And now three of the siblings, now adults, are back home. Dad's dead, but someone else's body is found in his grave - Andy, who they all thought ran away years ago. So the mystery is who killed Andy. Dahlia is desperate to find out what happened to her twin. I don't know if mystery is really the right word. Yes, we have some clues and an investigation, but the book is more about the oppressive atmosphere of the Lighthouse home, of the suspicion of the other islanders, of secrets and obsession and coping. The tone is dark and...
Read More
The Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton

The Bounty by Janet Evanovich and Steve Hamilton

I thoroughly enjoyed The Bounty. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a good book, but for me, it was a lot of fun. Yes, it's over the top. No, it's not realistic. Don't expect character growth or believable scenes. There's non-stop action, decent chemistry between Nick and Kate, practically unstoppable bad guys, and a whirlwind tour of Europe. I will say the blurb is misleading in a couple of things. First, Quentin did not teach Nick everything he knows, Nick wasn't actually aware of much of what his dad was up to. They are very similar though. Second, Kate and Jake get along just fine. They recognize each other's skills and stubbornness and work well together. The story's a treasure hunt, with iconic places and dangerous obstacles. Even though it's not a scam, Nick's talents definitely have their uses. The bad guys are off course always right on Kate and Nick's trail and, for various reasons, Kate can't count on any official...
Read More
Flourish by Martin E.P. Seligman

Flourish by Martin E.P. Seligman

In the last couple of months, I've been reading and learning about positive psychology and happiness in general. I did not get much out of Flourish. I sincerely doubt that on its own it helps many people flourish. The base idea is good, I think. The PERMA concept is what brought me to the book. Well-being, happiness, flourishing, whatever you want to call it, consists of 5 pieces: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement. But we learn very little about how to achieve flourishing. Mostly, Flourish is an over-view of what Dr. Seligman has achieved to date and what he hopes to achieve in the future. We learn about his work with the army, with a private school in Australia, with the people who pay a lot to join his Masters program. We learn that he thinks very highly of himself and his theories. We learn about the important people he's met and major positions he's held. What we don't get is...
Read More
Anatomy of a Scandal by Sara Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sara Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal is a very timely courtroom drama. Just a warning, there is going to be a minor spoiler here. I don't think I can help it. Handsome, charming James, a Junior Home Office Minister, is accused of rape by an ex-lover. Sophie is his wife who believes, at least at first,  that he could never have done such a heinous thing. Kate is the lawyer determined to prove him guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt- and she doesn't have any doubt. The story flowed well. It's not a nail-biting thriller, but it's tense and emotion-filled. We see James and Sophie in their college days, along with their friends. We know what they were like then and who they became. We learn that some things change, and others don't. It's a story that sucks you in, but I'm not sure I really enjoyed it. First, there's never any doubt for the reader about James guilt, just whether the jury will believe...
Read More

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

I admit it - I picked up Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore based mostly on the title and cover. I have trouble passing up mysteries centered in bookstores. While it was not really what I expected, I enjoyed it. I expected a lighter mystery, more cozy. While not gory or violent, this one is disturbing at times. Lydia is the only survivor of the night the Hammerman killed her friend and her friend's parents, but she hides this fact from everyone. She was a child at the time, but the Hammerman was never caught. Fast forward and now she's an adult, working at a bookstore, living with her boyfriend, who she has not told about her past. As the story opens, Lydia discovers one of the bookfrogs, Joey, has committed suicide in the book store. That would be devastating enough, but in his pocket he has a picture of Lydia as a child, with two of her friends, which is odd...
Read More

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Did you read the blurb above? It sounds really good, doesn't it? First off, i like house party murder mysteries, so the glass house in the middle of the woods with a small cast of characters appealed to me. Add an unreliable narrator and secrets of the past and it should have been a winner. Unfortunately, all the characters were annoying and juvenile and the big surprise wasn't that surprising. I didn't care about Nora and found her agreement to go to the party unlikely. Add in her obsession with a high school boyfriend character and she was just a pretty sad character who I didn't relate to or sympathize. Actually, I was hoping for a final twist that took into account her knowledge from crime writing, but no, she just puts herself in a dangerous position alone with the killer like so many amateur female detectives. Really, when will they learn to at least tell someone where they're going? I...
Read More