2019 Book 6: THE BURNING ISLAND by Hester Young

The Burning Island (Charlie Cates #3) by Hester Young
ISBN: 9780399174025 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780698190795 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780525590941 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07CR3T912 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: February 12, 2019 
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons 

The newest haunting mystery from the beloved author of The Gates of Evangeline, featuring Charlie Cates, a headstrong heroine who must confront her unwanted supernatural gift and bring dark secrets to light if she ever wants to leave the Big Island . . .

Journalist Charlie Cates has always believed in facts, in what can be proved–her career depends on it. Which is why she has never truly accepted the supernatural visions that guide her to children in danger. After her work on a high-profile missing-child case brings unwanted fame, she reluctantly flees to the lush Big Island of Hawaii with her best friend, Rae. Determined to avoid her disturbing visions, Charlie begins writing what seems to be a harmless interview of a prominent volcanologist, Victor Nakagawa. But her hopes for a peaceful vacation are soon dashed by haunting dreams of a local girl who went missing six weeks earlier.

In the small and sleepy town of Kalo Valley, Charlie and Rae come to realize that even paradise has its ugly secrets, and the Nakagawa family is no exception. In order to find the missing teenager and stop a dangerous predator from striking again, Charlie is forced to embrace the gift she has always tried to conceal. Meanwhile, someone is watching her every move, and the closer Charlie gets to the truth, the more distant her chances of ever leaving the island alive.

With a deliciously eerie and fast-paced story told in vivid prose, all with an overlay of supernatural suspense, The Burning Island is a pulse-pounding mystery perfect for fans of Jennifer McMahon and Kate Atkinson.

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We were all introduced to Charlotte “Charlie” Cates in The Gates of Evangeline. (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it…again!). Since then, Charlie has relocated to the Southwest, enlarged her family, and continues to struggle with her paranormal or “psychic” gifts. The Burning Island begins with Charlie out with her fiancé, Noah Palmer, in an attempt to locate a missing boy. They find him just in the nick of time, but not before the local police scrutinize them closely in fear they may have had some part in the boy’s disappearance. It isn’t until Charlie’s fiancé unwittingly reveals that Charlie is psychic and her abilities led her to the boy’s location that the police begin to back off. It helps that their story is confirmed when the young boy wakes up from his ordeal and reveals that he wandered off after a disagreement with his parents and got lost in the desert. But now the public knows that Charlie has psychic abilities and their home is surrounded by media and their phones are bombarded with interview requests and calls for help by other parents. Fortunately, Charlie’s best friend Rae talks her into a “girls week” instead of their usual “girls weekend.” Then Charlie’s editor gives her a plum assignment in Hawaii making this a working vacation for Charlie and an opportunity to get paid whilst enjoying a tropical paradise. The job is to profile a local volcanologist that is also a triathlon competitor and winner. Little does Charlie know that this man’s daughter has been missing for more than six weeks and she may be leaving one taut and restrictive situation for another. Can she determine the truth about this missing Hawaiian teen in just one week? Can she do so without bringing undue attention and possible harm to herself and others?

As with the previous two books in this series, The Gates of Evangeline and The Shimmering Road, I found The Burning Island to be a fast-paced and engrossing read. I would have liked to get more of the family vibe with Charlie’s growing family (she’s had the baby and her newly discovered, much younger sister has been incorporated into the family), but it was nice to see the friendship dynamic between Charlie and Rae. Charlie is still a bit unhinged by her “gift” and isn’t quite sure how to deal with it, so it was also interesting to see her comfort level grow over the course of this book. There’s a lot more going on The Burning Island than just the case of a missing teenager, such as an isolated and possibly abused family residing next door to the inn Charlie’s staying at, the skewed family dynamics in the Nakagawa family, and more. Both Charlie and Rae have issues they need to deal with and trying to think about them and come to a possibly life-changing decision in just a week seems more than difficult to me. Can they do it? Possibly. Do they do it? Read the book to find out for yourself! Like I said, there’s a lot going on in this story and it’s part personal quest, part thriller, and part mystery with paranormal aspects. For those of you that have already read The Gates of Evangeline and The Shimmering Road I probably don’t have to recommend that you read The Burning Island, but I will anyway. For those of you that haven’t read The Gates of Evangeline and The Shimmering Road, I strongly encourage you to grab copies of both of those books, read them, and then grab a copy of The Burning Island to read. Seriously, this is a #mustread series. Happy reading!

Disclaimer:  I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Burning Island

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2017 Book #45: THE SHIMMERING ROAD by Hester Young

The Shimmering Road (Charlie Cates #2) by Hester Young 
ISBN: 9780399174018 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780698190788 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781524703042 (audiobook)

ASIN: B01HCGYY6K (Kindle edition)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons 
Publication Date: February 14, 2017

A pulse-pounding mystery from the author of The Gates of Evangeline featuring Charlotte “Charlie” Cates, an unforgettable heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her…

When soon-to-be mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to have recurring dreams about harm coming to her unborn daughter, she knows these are not the nightmares of an anxious mom-to-be. They are the result of her mysterious gift. But before she can decipher what these dreams might mean, Charlie learns that the mother who abandoned her when she was a toddler is the victim of a double murder in Arizona. The other victim Jasmine, a half-sister Charlie never knew she had has left behind a child, a little girl who speaks to Charlie in her dreams and was present on the night of the murders. Convinced that she must help her orphaned niece, Charlie travels to Tucson, Arizona, where she must confront her painful ties to her mother and delve into her sister’s shadowy past.

To untangle the web of secrets that will reveal the truth of her nightmares, Charlie can no longer avoid her family s checkered history. Who is in the racy photos that turned up in Jasmine s apartment? Where is her niece’s father, whom Jasmine was rumored to have been seeing again on the sly? Was her mother’s charity work in Mexico really as selfless as it seemed? And most important of all, what did her niece really witness on the night of the murders?

The search for answers leads Charlie across the Mexican border, from the resort town of Rocky Point to the border town of Nogales, and elucidates the meaning of her dreams in most unexpected ways. Ultimately, to protect her niece and her unborn child, Charlie must battle not just evil but the forces of nature, in one final terrifying encounter in the Tucson desert.

A thrilling mystery that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist that is unputdownable. If you love Kate Atkinson and Alice Sebold, you should not miss Hester Young.

At the end of The Gates of Evangeline (a highly recommended read), Charlotte “Charlie” Cates is pregnant by her new lover, Noah Palmer. Their relationship seemed doomed from the start since Charlie lived in Connecticut and worked in New York and Noah lived and worked in Texas. Fortunately, they are in love and committed to working on their relationship and looking forward to their growing family. Charlie has moved to Texas and is really trying to make things work, but she feels as if she’s living in the shadows of Noah’s former life with his ex-wife. Just as things are about to come to a head in Texas, Charlie receives a phone call informing her that her long-estranged mother and a half-sister she never knew about have been murdered in Arizona. If that’s not troubling enough, Charlie seems to be the only living family member left for her half-sister’s daughter, Michaela or Micky. After traveling to Arizona, Noah becomes enamored with the idea of adopting Micky and adding another child to their little family. Charlie isn’t quite sure if she’s ready to make that step, but with no other alternatives available they stay in town for awhile. Charlie and Noah try to learn as much as possible about Charlie’s mother, Donna, and her half-sister, Jasmine. Is it possible that Jasmine’s past was the reason for her and her mother’s murder? How does Donna’s job assisting poverty-stricken and troubled women in Nogales, Mexico tie into her murder, if at all? The more Charlie and Noah learn the more questions they have and these questions raise even more doubts and fears than ever before. Can they find the answers before another murder takes place?

If you read my review in 2015 for The Gates of Evangeline, you probably recall that I loved that book (this was one of my favorite reads for that year). If you haven’t read it, trust me, run out and grab a copy to read as soon as possible. The Shimmering Road is the second book in the Charlie Cates trilogy and pretty much takes off where The Gates of Evangeline ended. I found The Shimmering Road to be a fast-paced and engaging read. I enjoyed learning more about Charlie and witnessing her growing relationship with Noah. There are a lot of issues raised in The Shimmering Road, including abject poverty, drug abuse, childhood prostitution, politics, murder, family drama, mystery, a bit of romance, the paranormal, and more. There are good guys, bad guys, and not-so-bad guys, but it’s not always easy to tell who’s who and that alone kept me guessing until the bitter end. Ms. Young provides plenty of twists and turns in the story to keep the reader off-balance and wondering just what is going on, and I’ve got to say, I love that in a story. I loved the characters, the settings, and the action not to mention the storylines. So now, yes you guessed it, I’ve got to recommend that you grab a copy of The Shimmering Road to read immediately after you read your new copy of The Gates of Evangeline. Seriously, this is a good series and one you don’t want to miss. I’m looking forward to book three in this series and just may bide my time with a reread of both books (yes, they are just that good).

Disclaimer: I received a free digital advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Shimmering Road

The Shimmering Road