House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

House of EchoesHouse of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
My rating: 4 of 5 Tophats

Depressive former-banker mother, passive-aggressive novelist father, Charlie the odd child who get’s a “tightening” when something bad is about to happen and the baby, Bub, move to upstate New York to refurbish the run down family estate after Charlie is bullied at his former New York school. Fundamentalist religious sect welcomes them, integrates them, and then demands adherence to their religious laws. Hilarity does not ensue.

To me this is somewhat of a mashup between Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon and The Shining by Stephen King. Duffy moves the action along and throws in some intriguing plot twists. This one kept me up past my bedtime reading and then kept me awake long after I went to bed. Super satisfying read.

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The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

The House We Grew Up InThe House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Hoarding, suicide, family secrets this one has it all and a little bit more.

The Bird family has so many secrets that no one can know about and one of the largest is that Mama Bird is a full-blown hoarder complete with newspaper paths. There is one tiny area that contains a recliner where she sleeps, eats, lives, and corresponds with an online lover. But what does all this clutter really cover up? And why is Rhys’ room just as he left it when he killed himself? This is a fantastic book about a family creating it’s own tragedy in their own very special way. The last paragraph will leave you gasping as this book ends exactly the way it should!

Well worth the read!

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Virgin by Radhika Sanghani

VirginVirgin by Radhika Sanghani

Twenty something virgin trying to lose her V card.

V as in virginity.

Fun, lighthearted book that I probably was not the target audience for. But as I will read the occasional book that is out of genre such as Western, I’ll also read anything that looks to be interesting. Radhika Sanghani’s book has some definite laugh out loud moments and others that are cringe worthy compelling. In the end she gets exactly what she’s looking for and what she’s been trying to avoid.

Virgin was provided by Berkley Publishing Group on NetGalley in return for an unbiased review.

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The Butcher by Jennifer Hillier

Serial killing…it runs in the blood.

This review is hard to write as everything I start to say gives away part of the plot.

What I can say is that this is one of those books that I didn’t want to put down.  You’ve got a douchey annoying protagonist with a temper and a generally bad personality.  You’ve got Matt’s hunky best friend to add romantic interest with Matt’s girlfriend Sam.  Then you have one of the creepiest characters I’ve met in a long time and that would be Edward Shank, Matt’s grandfather.  It’s a great read that you will be sorry to see finish.

The Butcher was provided by Simon and Schuster on NetGalley for an unbiased review.

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Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith

Examination of reverse slavery in fictional modern day America.

Mr. Smith can write a good story.  The action is fast paced if sometimes a little implausible, i.e. almost everyone seems to be smoking hot which is OK for the fantasy factor in a book.  The basic story is Martin Grey, civil rights lawyer, beats notorious lawyer Damon Darrel in a hotly contested trial.

This sets up the book for Damon to befriend Martin and eventually initiate him into the manor at Forty Acres, a place of reverse slavery where black men are the masters and whites are the slaves.  This is a great setup that allows the book to progress.

Yes there are some inconsistencies but a little suspension of disbelief about how Martin is able to come out on top without being killed and you’ve got a great read.

The ending will make you realize you’ve forgotten to breathe for a few minutes.

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A Swollen Red Sun by Matthew McBride

Unrelenting, unapologetic violence set against a backdrop of rural meth and country justice.

A Swollen Red Sun details what happens when the law finds $50,000 in cash in a cat s*** filled litter box. This story is tightly written and incredibly well crafted. It also reminds one why you never, never, ever want to get caught up in a world where you are the hunter and the hunted.

Excellent sub-plots about maladjusted “love” put this at the top of my favorite summer reads for 2014.

 

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Full Contact: The Collection by Daniel Kucan

Daniel Kucan is a master story teller.  He has taken a violent world and filled it with poetry, nuance, and style.  The story follow’s Zach, a MMA champion, not only as he goes from place to place but also as he navigates the interior of your heart and haunts your psyche.  The stories are brutal and yet touching.  Cold and filled with heat.  Heartless and full of joy and love.  I laughed and at times I must have gotten a little dust in my eyes as I found them watering up.  I read this book over a month ago and I’m finding that I still think about it from time to time.  No matter what genre you usually read, I would highly recommend this book.

I received this book for an impartial review from the author.

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