THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER by Karen Dionne


Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★★★


Praised by Lee Child and Karin Slaughter, and sure to thrill fans of The Girl on the Train and The Widow, The Marsh King’s Daughter is mesmerizing psychological suspense, the story of a woman who must risk everything to hunt down the dangerous man who shaped her past and threatens to steal her future: her father.

At last, Helena Pelletier has the life she deserves. A loving husband, two beautiful daughters, a business that fills her days. Then she catches an emergency news announcement and realizes she was a fool to think she could ever leave her worst days behind her.

Helena has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. No electricity, no heat, no running water, not a single human beyond the three of them. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature — fishing, tracking, hunting. And despite her father’s odd temperament and sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too…until she learned precisely how savage a person he could be.

More than twenty years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marshland he knows better than anyone else in the world. The police commence a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King— because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.


Wow, wow, wow. I was riveted by this book, completely glued to the pages! THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER was more than just gripping psychological suspense; it was also a compelling blend of literary fiction and unique coming of age story.

This book tells the unusual life story of Helena Pelletier. She’s a wife, mother, and small business owner, but at one time her life was very strange, and growing up she didn’t realize it. The father whom she adored was actually a monster, a cruel psychopath who kidnapped her mother when she was a teenager. The three of them lived in an isolated cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, completely cutoff from the rest of the world, until Helena was twelve years old. Now, after spending many years in prison, her father has escaped, and the only person cunning and skilled enough to track such as man is Helena herself.

Helena’s story alternates between the present as she hunts for her father, and the past when they lived alone in the marshlands. Moving between the two time periods bumped up the suspense. I was equally fascinated by both! As the reader, you already know that Helena will be separated from her father, but how? What was their life like before she knew the truth? What was it like for Helena to join the “real world,” and eventually be compelled to hunt him after his escape? My need for these answers made this a read-in-one-sitting situation!

THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER is a beautifully written book and a nail-biter at the same time. I loved it. Helena, her mother, and their haunting story will stick with me for a long time. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

June Is Audiobook Month (JIAM) Blog Tour #loveaudiobooks @Audiobook_Comm

Greetings! Welcome to my stop on the June Is Audiobook Month (JIAM) Blog Tour, organized by the Audio Publishers Association. Click HERE for a list of all participating blogs!

I started listening to audiobooks about 4½ years ago, and it was my blog buddy Felicia (The Geeky Blogger) who got me hooked on the format. I was hesitant at first, but then realized that audiobooks would let me read and do necessary non-reading things at the same time. Win-win! Yard work isn’t so bad when I can listen to a great book.

I’m an eclectic reader – or listener, as the case may be – so I’ve chosen a recommendation from a few of my favorite fiction genres. The samples below are linked to Audiobook.com.


PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

YOU by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Play Sample

Why? YOU was a well written novel, unique, suspenseful, and full of pop culture references – I’ll forever associate YOU with IKEA – however, the BIG reason I enjoyed this book so much was the audio performance by Santino Fontana. His narration was brilliant, probably my all-time favorite on audiobook. Joe’s character was a total and complete sociopath, but dang it, Santino Fontana made me sympathize with Joe, even *gasp* love him in a crazy sort of way. He WAS Joe. Amazing… and chilling! Bonus: You can get a second helping of Joe in the sequel, HIDDEN BODIES.

WOMEN’S FICTION

THE SOUND OF GLASS by Karen White
Narrators: Therese Plummer, Susan Bennett
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Why? This was the first book I read by Karen White, and I was wowed! THE SOUND OF GLASS is a remarkable, character-driven story of mystery, family secrets, loss, second chances, and letting go. Narrators Therese Plummer and Susan Bennett did a wonderful job capturing the characters’ personalities, including stubborn Merritt, sugary sweet Loralee, and stoic Edith. This Southern family drama makes a perfect summer read.

MYSTERY

HE’S GONE by Deb Caletti
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Play Sample

Why? HE’S GONE is an intriguing blend of suspense and women’s fiction, with a puzzling mystery and emotional backstory to keep readers hooked. The story moves back and forth between the main character, Dani Keller, searching for clues to her missing husband’s whereabouts, and Dani’s introspective look at her life and what’s brought her to this point in time. Cassandra Campbell is one of my favorite narrators, and she was perfect as Dani Keller’s voice, capturing her personality and predicament very well.

HISTORICAL FICTION

MY NOTORIOUS LIFE by Kate Manning
Narrator: Terry Donnelly
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Why? The audiobook of Kate Manning’s MY NOTORIOUS LIFE was amazing. The notorious life in question is that of Axie Muldoon, a poor orphan who became a wealthy female physician and midwife in 19th century New York City. Axie’s character was inspired by the real life story of Madame Restell, a controversial family planning provider in the 1800s. This epic tale was brilliantly narrated by Terry Donnelly, who I believe was channeling Axie as she read her memoirs. Ms. Donnelly’s performance truly captured Axie’s passion and courage.

GOTHIC FICTION

JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye
Narrator: Susie Riddell
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Why? Like me, the character Jane Steele is a huge fan of JANE EYRE, and in many ways her life mirrors that of her favorite character. Only, Miss Steele is a wee bit of a sociopath, but in the best way possible! When she sees an injustice, she handles it in her own vigilante way. Retellings of classics can be tricky, but this one was clever and captivating, and I loved it. Narrator Susie Riddell’s performance made this an entertaining listen. The book was full of many characters with different accents, and she brought each of the players to life. I enjoyed every minute.

LITERARY FICTION

THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker
Narrator: Alice Walker
Play Sample

Why? What can I say about THE COLOR PURPLE? Wow. It’s the ultimate story of survival, even when everything in life is stacked against you. When Celie tells her sister Nettie to write, and Nettie responds “Nothing but death can keep me from it!” well, that’s when the tears start flowing. I’ve loved this book for 25 years, and just recently did I get a chance to listen to it on audio. It’s narrated by the author herself, Alice Walker, and her voice was perfect for Celie. I enjoyed it so much, and I think everyone should give this book a read or listen. Powerful!


Thanks so much for stopping by today! Have you listened to any of these audiobooks or narrators? What did you think? Any recommendations for me?

Before you go, please check out my social links below, and remember to visit the other JIAM Blog Tour participants throughout the month. Happy listening!

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin


THE SUNSHINE SISTERS by Jane Green


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★


The New York Times bestselling author of Falling presents a warm, wise, and wonderfully vivid novel about a mother who asks her three estranged daughters to come home to help her end her life.

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London—and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all…


Ronni Sunshine was a famous B-list actress back in the day. For Ronni, being the center of attention came first, and the needs of her three daughters came last. As the years went by, the girls – Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy – became estranged from their narcissistic and often cruel mother, and unfortunately each other, too. Now Ronni is suffering from a terminal illness, and her last wishes are to reunite her daughters and make amends before it’s too late.

The bright beachy cover of this book is a bit misleading. The story of the dysfunctional Sunshine family is pretty sad. The girls’ lack of motherly affection in childhood shaped the troubled adults they became – one distant, one lacking self worth, and one spoiled and selfish. None of the characters where particularly likable, however, it’s certainly understandable why they turned out the way they did.

This is my first Jane Green book, and I’m left with mixed feelings about it. The characters felt genuine, however some of the situations weren’t realistic or were just too convenient. I did enjoy the author’s storytelling, and though the subject matter was sad, the book was a quick and easy read. I especially enjoyed the bucolic Connecticut setting of Nell’s farm.

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