Book Review – A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

madness.jpgBLURB: On the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, Golden Cove is more than just a town where people live. The adults are more than neighbors; the children, more than schoolmates.

That is until one fateful summer—and several vanished bodies—shatters the trust holding Golden Cove together. All that’s left are whispers behind closed doors, broken friendships, and a silent agreement not to look back. But they can’t run from the past forever.

Eight years later, a beautiful young woman disappears without a trace, and the residents of Golden Cove wonder if their home shelters something far more dangerous than an unforgiving landscape.

It’s not long before the dark past collides with the haunting present and deadly secrets come to light.

MY THOUGHTS: Nalini has been a must-buy for me for a while now, with the exception of her Archangel series. When she revealed that she was moving into a suspense genre, I was pumped to read it and pre-ordered as soon as it was available (note Nalini, I STILL hate a Tuesday release. Especially when I couldn’t take the day off. Please talk to your publishers about that one!).

Initially my thoughts were that the overall format was like a Nora Roberts suspense (thinking of 2016’s The Obsession) but there are solid reasons for picking this one up over a recent Nora. It’s well-crafted and the characters are more than one dimensional right from the start. I loved the pacing and flow, and at no point did I think this was either rushing me or wasting my time.

There’s several possibilities as to whom the killer is, and each one is very plausible. There’s other spooky stuff going on in the background – alcohol, abuse, lying – all the things you find in any community. I’ve read one review which was indignant that Singh didn’t re-phrase this book in “woke” terminology and had everyone learn from their mistakes – oh whatever. We all know someone who relies upon other’s view of themselves as gospel. We all know someone who has p*ssed their life away for whatever reason and is angry about it, but doesn’t change. We all know someone who relies on an artificial product (alcohol, drugs, shopping, gossip) to bleed away any pain they might have. We all know someone who focuses on a trait & choses partners based on that, be it physical or emotional. And that makes the characters real, IMO.

This gets a solid 4.5 stars from me & I’ll be buying copies for Christmas presents. Can’t get much better than that!

AUTHOR SITE: https://nalinisingh.blogspot.com/

Tourists in our own Island

My rotation plan has gone out the window- well, not entirely but there’s an edit. When we checked the referee’s draw on Thursday, neither Si nor B had been allocated games, so we decided to escape Auckland for the weekend (thanks Emma for feeding the fish!). We knew the weather wasn’t going to be sharp anywhere we went, but it’s all about the adventure. We don’t know how many more weekends we will be able to get away as a family of 5 (B plans on finding an apprenticeship for 2017) so we want to take advantage of the opportunities. Raven Queen is too unwieldy to do in the car (32ct dark fabric? ah no) so I picked up Afternoon in London. I needed a jump to get over my stitching hump with this one.

We booked in at a little cottage in Opua, in the Bay of Islands. It’s just before Paihia (too touristy) and it’s where the car ferry for Russell leaves from. Small, but we could see ourselves retiring there. They even have a Stitch & Bitch session! Sadly we did not win lotto so that dream will wait a while longer. Even in the gloom the view from up on the hill was engrossing and I spent time at the windows both mornings. My only complaint would be that the kitchen doesn’t face that view.

Saturday we were all up early so we jumped in the car, planning to get to the northern most tip of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. Mase wanted to be the first boy to have been at both top & bottom of the islands (he’s forgotten all about Stewart Island!) & goal achieved. We did stop wherever we felt the need – lots of junk shops & second hand bookstores. I found some haul too as well as a very thick bio on Mary Magdalene (amazon link here).

The Cape was a bit different from what Simon remembered as a teen. The parking lot is now well back from the lighthouse (a ten minute walk) and the entry has been all tourist-fied with piped in traditional Maori music and planned plantings. Never mind. Once you’re thru that, it’s raw and as it should be.

The lighthouse is smaller than I thought, much smaller than I remember Castlepoint being. Sadly it’s operated by remote computers now, but I could imagine the loneliness a keeper would have experienced. It’s so open and you can see where the two seas meet – Tasman on my left, Pacific on the right – and recall the Maori myth about this being the departing place for the spirits of the ancestors, as they made their way back to Hawaiki (better story here).

20160709_145257Being back at work is kind-of a letdown. I would much rather be back at the lighthouse.

and lastly – Mase reenacting the story of Jonah…

20160710_102353

WIP Wednesday

Confession: I have no stitching to show you. Nothing. Zip. Nada. Despite what I thought, I didn’t have the urge to stitch while we drove nor any downtime, so London looks exactly the same as it did last Wednesday.

But what I do have to show you is my favourite part of the trip. Despite family being all over the South Island, I’d never been to Moeraki and I leant (just a little) on Simon to stop.

Love it. In a lot of ways it reminded me of my Bethells, windswept and open (just more crowded). It was a good recharge-the-soul spot. I was told as a child that these were the floats on Maui’s fishing nets, but the below legend makes far more sense. In any case, I’ll be back.

This was written about them in 1966:

MOERAKI BOULDERS

The Moeraki Boulders are situated on Koekohe Beach at a place named Kumara, midway between Hampden and Moeraki townships in North Otago. Access to them is gained by a small one-way side road, 1 mile north along the main road from Hillgrove railway station. The boulders are grey-coloured septarian concretions, which have been eroded out by wave action from the cliffs of soft, black mudstone that back the beach. In places, partially exposed concretions can be seen in the cliffs. They originally formed on the sea floor when the mudstone was accumulating during the early Tertiary period some 60 million years ago. The largest concretions are traversed by cracks, filled by yellow calcite. In some the upper part is worn away; only a shell remains, looking like discarded segments of orange peel. The concretions weigh several tons and are up to 12 ft in circumference. Similar concretions are known on the north-facing foreshore of Shag Point, some 12 miles further south, but these are derived from older (upper Cretaceous) mudstone.

According to Maori legend, the origin of the boulders dates from the loss of the Arai-te-uru, one of the large sailing canoes that came from distant Hawaiki. On her quest south for the precious greenstone, the canoe was wrecked near Shag Point (Matakaea). The reef which today extends seawards is the canoe’s petrified hull, while close by, in the shape of a prominent rock, stands the petrified body of her commander. Strewn along the beach are the boulders which represent the eel baskets, calabashes, and kumaras washed ashore from the wreck. The name Moeraki (Moerangi) means “drowsy day”.

by Alexander Russell Mutch, B.SC., A.O.S.M., New Zealand Geological Survey, Dunedin.

So there’s a row, then a few separated out and more emerging from the cliffs. The outer surface really does look like concrete, but they are so different on the inside. I took a shot of Si next to the row – that one on his far right is the far left in the top shot. These things are massive (he’s 6ft).

Yep, I’m going back.