Blog Tour for Fay Keenan’s Springtime at the Cider Kitchen

Check out some of our other Book Blogger friends and get their take on Ms.Keenan’s newest book!

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NEED TO KNOW by Karen Cleveland

Need to Know

In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.

What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?

Who can she trust? Not a soul!

From the outside they look like your average family. Parents who love each other, their children and their jobs. Juggling life much as we all do. And they are. Or they were. Or is it all just an illusion?

I think what makes this such a good thriller is that not only is the premise possible but it is actually probable! Russian sleeper cells, the Feds, the CIA, the entire story is taut with suspense.

How far would you go to protect your family unit? To keep the illusion alive?

My issue with the book is how did someone who is a counterterrorism analyst for the CIA be so oblivious to her own personal life? From the beginning she seems disconnected from her children, and she keeps saying how much she wants to quit work and stay at home with them, but she is so easily manipulated by her husband that in the end all I could say was “I knew it.” I’m sure this will make a great movie, it is written very much like one.

Netgalley/Random House   January 23, 2018

The Black Painting by Neil Olson

The Black Painting

A literary mystery about an old-money East Coast family facing the suspicious death of its patriarch, and the unsolved theft of a Goya painting rumored to be cursed.

There were four cousins in the Morse family: Kenny, the West Coast lawyer; James, the medical student; his seductive, hard-drinking sister Audrey; and Teresa, the youngest.

Summoned by their grandfather to his mansion, none of them had visited the family estate since a prized painting disappeared: a self-portrait by Goya, rumored to cause madness or death. Afterwards, the family split amidst accusations and suspicions.

Any hope that their grandfather planned to make amends evaporates when Teresa arrives finding him dead, his gaze upon the spot where the painting once hung. Teresa hopes to find the reasons behind her grandfather’s death and the painting’s loss, but to do so she must uncover ugly family secrets, and confront those who would keep them hidden.

Image result for the black paintings by goya

There is no doubt that Goya’s paintings are disturbing. And this mysterious and suspenseful book  was just as disturbing.

15 years after the theft of the supposedly cursed painting, the four cousins are summoned back to the house of their grandfather. When Teresa and Audrey arrive they find the man dead. His face a frozen mask of horror and fear.

Questions fly as they find out the boys had already met with the grandfather and now not only is the man dead, but his housekeeper is missing.

When the entire family descends on the manor we quickly see that they are a cursed bunch. Whether the painting actually was possessed by a demon or whether the fear was instilled deliberately these were some very messed up characters!

Teresa, who has some mysterious illness that we never found out exactly what it was, was probably the only innocent in the bunch however I felt the characters weren’t developed to the point that we knew or cared about any of them.

In the end it appeared greed was the motive for everyone’s actions and whether they were all stark raving mad to begin with or became that way later isn’t clear.

The tale is a fine idea, but the character development I felt was lacking.

Netgalley/Hanover    Release January 09, 2018

THE DEAL OF A LIFETIME by Fredrik Backman

The Deal of a Lifetime

“Maybe you will find this to be a strange story, I don’t know…Anyway, this is the story. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
With love, 
Fredrik Backman”

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown delivers an insightful and poignant holiday novella about a man who sacrificed his family in the single-minded pursuit of success and the courageous little girl fighting for her life who crosses his path.

It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.

One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…

Written with Fredrik Backman’s signature humor, compassion, and “knack for weaving tales that are believable and fanciful” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our only legacy is how we share that gift with those we love

Yes, Mr. Backman, I did indeed think this was a strange novella. Tiny story. It was so sad and ambiguous in the end, it could have gone many ways.

While I love his other works, this one, I would probably check out of the library before buying it.

xx Patricia

Netflix, Tea, and a Good Book!

While I’m spending the next few days having surgery and healing, at least I have some great books to read. This is the one I’m currently reading. And since I just received an email from Amazon telling me my new Fire Tablet will be here tomorrow I will have plenty to keep me busy and keep my hands off my face.

I’m back to sticking post-it notes on every surface, reminding me to not touch my eye. Or my face. Just consider everything above the neck to be off-limits. I’m nervous and scared and anxious all at once. I’m not afraid of the surgery, I have the best surgeon in the country, I hate being put to sleep. I am not comfortable being naked on a table with 5 men in the room and me dead to the world. It’s just creepy. At least I’m nice and tan.

No food or drink after midnight is fine by me. I’m not doing anything at that time of night except sleeping. Not even my morning cup of tea! As the nurse said,” You may brush your teeth, but spit don’t swallow!”  Uh, yeah, I learned that a long time ago, but okay.

Wishing you a wonderful Monday! And drink something good for me!

xx Patricia

Honoring Our Veterans Today

Thank you to all the Vets out there. From the Revolution to this week, my family is serving the military in all branches.

I’m especially proud of my cousin Krissy, the one in front of the helicopter she flies along with the big planes. To all of you a big thank you and I’m proud to be from a family that served the real America.

xx much love

Ghost on the Case: A Bailey Ruth Ghost Novel by Carolyn Hart

Ghost on the Case (Bailey Ruth #8)

Bailey Ruth Raeburn is back, racing against the Heavenly clock in an all-new mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Times Two.

Bailey Ruth finds herself comforting a distraught sister when she’s sent to Adelaide, Oklahoma, on her latest mission. Susan Gilbert receives a $100,000 ransom demand for her younger sibling. When the caller wants Susan to pay a visit to her wealthy boss and take the cash from his safe, Bailey Ruth follows Susan to the home. But she finds herself in a quandary, knowing that robbery is hardly a Heavenly pursuit.

While Susan waits to hear back from the kidnappers, Bailey Ruth attempts to piece together how the criminals targeted Susan and how they know about her boss’s money. At a luncheon the previous week, Susan’s boss asked her to open the safe so all the attendees knew it was filled with cash. Could one of the rich man’s closest confidants be behind the abduction?

Bailey Ruth is positive she can use her detective skills to figure out which luncheon guest arranged the kidnapping. But an unexpected twist in the case soon has Bailey Ruth seeking a murderer who has plans to send more victims to the great beyond…

Bailey Ruth is back! As an emissary from the Good Intentions Department of Heaven, Bailey Ruth is assigned Susan’s case. And quite the mystery this is. As Bailey tries very hard ( okay maybe not too hard) to stay behind the scenes and not appear to anyone, she tries to gather clues and facts about everyone who was at the luncheon and if they had a motive to murder!

Bailey Ruth is just a fun character. Even when she has trouble with remembering the precepts of her office. It’s just a fun read.

I also noticed on this same day last year I reviewed the 7th book in this series! This is the 8th.

Out Now!    xx Patricia