Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Food, Glorious, Food!

It's Tuesday again, which means it's once again time for my favorite weekly meme.  This week's topic has to do with food.  Who can't get behind that, amirite?  Technically, lists are supposed to be about Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned in Books, but I'm going to go ahead and give mine my own little twist.  Since I eschewed them last week, I'm going to feature book jackets this time around.  And not just any ole cover art, but the kind that makes your mouth water so much you just want to lean over and lick the picture right off the paper.  Yummmm ...  

Before we get to that, though, I want to encourage you to join in the TTT fun.  All you have to do is click on over to The Broke and the Bookish, read a few quick guidelines, make your own list, and join the party.  It's a great way to discover new book blogs and add exciting new reads to your TBR mountain chain.  C'mon, you know you want to!

Okay, here we go with Top Ten Drool-Worthy Foodie Book Covers

1.  The Wedding Bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch—I'm not a big honey fan, but this cover is scrumptious-looking!  The story sounds good, too.  It's about a woman who lets her queen honeybee choose where she's going to live next.  She ends up in New York City, where she brings together a group of neighboring misfits through the magic in her honey.

2.  The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert—This novel looks delicious all around.  It's a romance about a chef and the restaurant critic who's trying to ruin her career.  A case of mistaken identity leads to love, but can this new relationship survive once the truth comes out?

 3.  When In Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison—Cupcakes I can give or take, but frosting?  Can't resist it.  Especially if it's nice, thick buttercream yum.  So, yeah, I'm basically in love with this cover.  The story sounds cute and really similar to The Wedding Bees.

4.  The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and Cafe by Mary Simses—Jam isn't really my, well, jam, but I do love blueberries.  Also cafes because they smell delectable.  The title of this one also evokes warm memories of The Blueberry Cafe, a little place in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, that a fellow exchange student and I loved to visit because it reminded us of home.  Appropriate, since this novel is about a woman going home to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish.

 5.  The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi—Speaking of The Philippines, I ate the tastiest (also smelliest—I'm looking at you, durian) fruit there.  The mangoes were especially glorious.  This novel is about a young Indian woman who's returning to her homeland after seven years to break horrifying news to her very traditional parents—she's engaged to an American.  

 6.  The Girls' Guide to Love and Supper Clubs by Dana Bate—Again with the frosting!  Delish.  This novel, which is about a woman who launches an underground supper club, sounds fun, too.

 7.  Lion House Bakery—I love this cookbook, one in a series featuring recipes from the historic Lion House restaurant in Salt Lake City.  My favorite recipe is the one featured on the cover—crescent rolls.  They're unbelievably good.  My mother-in-law bakes the best ones I've ever tasted; even though I use the exact same Lion House recipe, mine never turn out as well. 

8.  Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee—Mmmm, chocolate.  As long as it's white or milk, I'm in.  The novel sounds intriguing as well.  It's about an overweight young woman who embarks on a journey to change her body and her life.

9.  Rhymes With Cupid by Anna Humphrey—I'm not going to add this anti-Valentine's Day romance to my TBR list, at least not for the story.  The ice cream sundae on the cover, though ...

10.  First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen—I've never read anything by Allen, but her book covers are all so pretty!  Maybe that's because lots of them feature food.  First Frost, a novel about sisters and their magical food concoctions, sounds engaging.

What do you think?  Do any of these covers make your tongue salivate and your stomach growl?  Have you read any of my picks?  What food-laden jacket art/books do you love?

Leave me a comment on this post and I'll gladly return the favor.  Happy TTT!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Before the Year Ends: A Belated Top Ten Tuesday List

I'm a little late to the TTT party this week, but I didn't want to miss out, so I'm doing it anyway.  I'm a rebel like that!  I'm not wild about the topic du jour (Fall book covers/themes), however.  I'm probably just bitter that everyone else gets to enjoy gorgeous Fall colors and crisp, cool weather while I'm melting in the Phoenix area.  Cue pity party.  At any rate, I'm going to go back to a list that I missed out on a few weeks ago (with a little twist):  Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading Before the End of the Year.

If you want to join in the TTT fun, it's not too late.  Click on over to The Broke and the Bookish, read up on the TTT rules, make a list of your own, and have a jolly old time hopping around the book blogosphere.  It's a great way to find new book blogs to love.  The last thing on Earth I need is more titles on my TBR pile mountain mountain chain, but I still love getting recs from TTT lists.  Bring 'em on.

Here we go with the Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to Reading Before the End of the Year:

 1.  The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah—I loved The Nightingale, so I've been anxiously awaiting a new novel from Hannah.  There's not a lot of info on this one, but apparently it's about a family struggling to survive in Alaska.  I'm down with that.  (Even though this one doesn't come out until February 2018, I'm hoping to get an ARC to read this year.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.)

 2.  The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis—My book club chose this book for our October read.  Even though it's one of my husband's all-time favorite books, I haven't read it yet.  We saw the play on Valentine's Day a few years ago, which sounds like the ultimate irony.  In actuality, The Great Divorce has nothing to do with romance—it's an allegorical tale about heaven and hell, good and evil, etc.

 3.  You May Already Be a Winner by Ann Dee Ellis—I enjoyed Ellis' The End or Something Like That, so I'm interested to see what she does with this MG novel about a girl's plan to win a million dollars in order to save her family from their depressing trailer park existence.

 4.  Murder On the Orient Express by Agatha Christie—With the movie coming out soon, everyone wants to read this one (as evidenced by the fact that there's a looonnnggg wait list for it at the library).  I first read And Then There Were None years ago, so it's definitely time for me to try another classic Christie mystery.

 5.  Caroline by Sarah Miller—I was a raging Little House on the Prairie fan as a child.  It's been that long since I've read the series; I'd like to re-read it soon, then move on to this novel written from Mrs. Ingalls' perspective.

 6.  Reading People by Anne Bogel—Another thing I was obsessed with as a kid was those personality quizzes you could always find in teen magazines.  Reading People goes beyond those to discuss how personality shapes everything we do.  Sounds fun!

 7.  The Emperor's Ostrich by Julie Berry—I'm a big Berry fan, so I'm excited to read her new MG novel about a young dairymaid who sets off in search of her lost cow with a magical map to guide her way.

 8.  Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence—I adore books about books, so this one sounds right up my alley.  It's a collection of love and break-up letters written by a librarian to the tomes she loves and loathes.

 9.  Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan—This novel about a woman who's on a quest to understand the life of her missing father has been getting a lot of buzz.  I'll be interested to see if it deserves it or not.

10.  Healing Your Family History by Rebecca Linder Hintze—I'm so Mormon that another thing I'm totally obsessed with is genealogy.  Lately, I've been able to help other people research their own family trees.  Listening to their stories has made me absolutely fascinated with how all of us are influenced by our family histories.  My husband keeps recommending this book, which talks about how to break free from destructive familial patterns, to everyone he knows. 

So, there you have it.  I'm hoping to read 77 more books this year to hit my goal of 200 and these are just ten that are on my list.  What else should I read before 2017 disappears?  What titles are you still hoping to read this year?  Leave me a comment and I'll gladly return the favor.

Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!

Saturday, October 07, 2017

WWII Circus Novel An Atmospheric, Not-to-Be-Missed Masterpiece

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Kicked out of her home in Holland after becoming pregnant with the child of a Nazi soldier, 16-year-old Noa Weil is forced to seek shelter elsewhere.  Aching from the loss of her baby, who was taken by the Nazis, she's bereft and adrift.  She sleeps in the German train station where she cleans to make enough money to live.  Noa's only goal is to to keep well under the radar, drawing no attention to herself whatsoever.  So, when she comes upon an unsupervised boxcar full of Jewish infants headed for a concentration camp, she hesitates.  But only for a moment.  Determined to save at least one baby, she snatches a child and runs.  

On the brink of death after trudging through the brutal winter countryside, Noa finds shelter with a German circus.  To fool the Nazis, she will have to blend in with the family of performers.  Although she has little experience, she's to undergo rigorous training as an aerialist.  

Astrid Sorrell, a master aerialist who's hiding her own secrets, wants nothing to do with the ludicrous scheme to turn Noa into a circus performer.  The only thing Astrid needs less than a bumbling student is a rival who's younger, prettier, and surprisingly successful at her new job.

When the circus attracts the most unwelcome attention of local Nazi soldiers, however, the women will have to band together to save themselves and those they love.  

I'm a longtime fan of Pam Jenoff's WWII novels.  The author—a lawyer who has worked for both the Pentagon and the State Department—is a Holocaust expert who infuses her stories with vivid historical detail; tense, engaging plot lines; and heroines who are sympathetic yet strong.  Her newest, The Orphan's Tale, is a haunting, character-driven novel that drew me in from the first word, keeping me utterly spellbound until the last.  It's sad, but memorable and undeniably compelling.  If you're a fan of well-written WWII fiction, as I definitely am, you will not want to miss this absorbing story.  Just be sure to clear your calendar because once you start, you won't be able to put this one down.

(Readalikes:  It's billed as The Nightingale [by Kristin Hannah] meets Water For Elephants [by Sara Gruen] and I think that's pretty apt.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence, mild sexual content, and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff at Costco with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.)

Friday, October 06, 2017

The Knowing a Surprising, Smashing Sequel

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note:  Although this review will not contain spoilers for The Knowing, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, The Forgetting.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.

As one of the Knowing—evolutionary wonders who possess perfect memories—Samara Archiva enjoys a privileged life underground.  Safe from the dangers of Outside, she's cloistered with others like her.  Focused on preserving and strengthening their special community, the Knowing learn to cache their memories, mastering the constant onslaught of emotions that comes with such a "gift" as theirs.  Cold, logical decisions rule underground.  Anyone who can't—or won't—comply leaves.  One way or another.

Sam has never been able to cache as well as the others.  Tortured by her memories, the 18-year-old wants only one thing—to Forget.  Barring that, she longs to be useful, to use what she Knows to Do something valuable.  As a physician-in-training, she has skills that can help the vulnerable people Outside.  Doing so, however, is strictly forbidden.  If the Council catches her sneaking off on her mercy missions—just one of her rebellions—Sam is as good as dead.  When she realizes exactly how much danger she's in, she knows she must flee, must find the Cursed City of Canaan and Forget everything.  It's the only way to save herself and those she loves.

On a long-term anthropological mission to find the lost civilization of Canaan, Beckett Rodriguez gets a whole lot more than he bargains for when he comes upon Samara Archiva in a dark cavern.  The 18-year-old Texan wants to help the desperate woman, but he has his own orders to obey.  Does Beck dare to risk both his life and mission to save a strange, intriguing girl he's just met?  Especially when his own worldview is being shattered with every second he spends in Sam's company?  With enemies on every side, the two must unite to piece together the truths of their very different worlds ...

For me, 2017 started off on a lovely reading high thanks to a gem of a book called The Forgetting.  The first in a YA trilogy by Sharon Cameron, it's a beautiful, compelling novel about the power of memory.  Its follow-up, The Knowing, takes the story in an unexpected direction, expanding the world Cameron introduced in The Forgetting.  With fresh characters, a unique setting, and a different (but complementary) plot, it rises above any second-book syndrome, taking the series in a compelling new direction.  Packed with action, it provides an exciting, engrossing reading experience.  Lest you think it's all adrenaline all the time, The Knowing also offers some fascinating explorations of pain, emotion, memory, all part of what makes us human.  In short, it's a great, clean read that will appeal to a variety of readers. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

(Readalikes:  The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Knowing from the generous folks at Scholastic via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Cash's Second a Tense, Gritty Page Turner

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Although they're not technically orphans, 12-year-old Easter Quillby and her little sister, Ruby, might as well be parent-less.  Their mother is dead and they haven't seen their good-for-nothing father in years.  When Wade Chesterfield shows up out of the blue with plans to break the girls out of their group foster home, Easter is shocked.  She barely knows her dad and isn't sure it's a great idea to ride off into the sunset with him.  Not that she really has a choice.

As the Quillby sisters' ad litem guardian, ex-cop Brady Weller is naturally concerned about the girls' disappearance.  It's even more worrisome that they're with Wade, who Brady discovers has recently been involved in a multi-million dollar robbery.  Brady's not the only one on their tail.  A bouncer with a score to settle, Robert Pruitt is also tracking Wade.  With both men hunting him, it won't be long before his freedom ends—one way or another.  Will two frightened little girls get caught in the crossfire?  Or will Wade's dream of starting over actually come to fruition?  What would be best for Easter and Ruby?  Will they live long enough to find out? 

This Dark Road to Mercy, Wiley Cash's second novel, tells a tense, gritty story that will keep you turning pages until you get to its surprisingly hopeful end.  Although none of the adults in this tale are particularly likable, the Quillby girls are certainly sympathetic characters.  Overall, their tale is a sad, depressing one.  It has a satisfying, redeeming conclusion, however.  In the end, I didn't love this one, but I liked it well enough.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a little bit of The Talented Ribkins by Ladee Hubbard)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, and depictions/mention of illegal drug use 

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Satisfying Christian Romance Big on History, Light on Preaching

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Romance is the last thing on the mind of 25-year-old Alexandra Jamison.  Still reeling from the train accident that killed her fiancĂ© one year ago, she's searching for a way to honor her intended's dream of making a difference in the world.  That certainly won't happen if she's wed to a stuffy Southern gentleman with old-fashioned notions about a woman's place.  Which is the exact situation her father is trying to broker for her.  Now that Alexandra's unsuitable intended is out of the way, he'll unite her with a mature aristocrat, the wealthier the better.  Love has no place in his ambitious plans.

Alexandra refuses to accept a future so dismal, a decision that leads to her expulsion from the family home.  Her new job as a teacher at Fisk University, a local school for freedmen, only infuriates her father more.  Unless she kowtows to his wishes, she'll be cut off from everything she's ever known—money, privilege, comfort, and her elevated place in Nashville society.  Is making a difference really worth the risk?

Sylas Rutledge is a man well acquainted with risk, but unaccustomed to the rules of Southern society.  As the owner of the Northeast Rail Line, the 31-year-old has traveled to Nashville from his home in Colorado Territory to arrange a lucrative business deal.  He's also determined to clear his father's name.  The engineer who's been accused of causing the accident that killed Alexandra's fiancĂ© and numerous others, Sy's dad's reputation has been unduly soiled.  At least that's what Sy believes.

When Alexandra and Sy meet, sparks instantly start to fly.  As they help each other work toward impossible goals, they become closer and closer.  But what will happen when Sy finally tells Alexandra who he is and what he's really doing in Nashville?  Will their budding romance end before it gets a chance to really begin?

To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander tells an engaging story set against a rich historical backdrop.  I knew nothing about certain places and events—like Fisk University; Belle Meade Plantation; the Jubilee Singers; and the real train accident that occurred near Dutchman's Curve in 1918, killing more than 100 people—until I read this novel.  These kinds of details made the setting of To Wager Her Heart come alive for me.  Alexandra and Sy are both sympathetic characters, which makes it easy to root for their success.  They're not the most complex or well-developed story people in the world, but they felt real enough to keep me interested.  Although the novel is predictable, with not enough tension standing in the way of the couple's Happily Ever After (despite its lengthy 351 pages), To Wager Her Heart feels satisfying.  It's not super original, but it is a clean, enjoyable, setting-rich Christian romance that never feels too preachy.  Overall, I enjoyed it and am definitely planning to read the rest of the books in the Belle Meade Plantation series (which consists of interconnected stories, not sequels per se). 

(Readalikes:  other novels in the Belle Meade Plantation series by Tamera Alexander, including To Whisper Her Name and To Win Her Favor)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of To Wager Her Heart from the generous folks at Zondervan via those at TLC Book Tours.  Thank you!
Want more opinions on To Wager Her Heart?  Follow along on the book's blog tour:

Monday, August 28th: Reviews from the Heart
Wednesday, August 30th: Splashes of Joy
Friday, September 1st: Books a la Mode – excerpt
Monday, September 4th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, September 5th: Empowermoms
Friday, September 8th: For Him and My Family
Monday, September 11th: Books and Spoons – excerpt
Tuesday, September 12th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Thursday, September 14th: Jathan & Heather
Friday, September 15th: Art @ Home
Monday, September 18th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Tuesday, September 19th: A Holland Reads
Wednesday, September 20th: Reading is My SuperPower
Friday, September 22nd: Just One More Chapter – excerpt
Tuesday, September 26th: Write Read Life
Wednesday, September 27th: Laura’s Reviews

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Literary Twins

My Tuesday is shaping up to be a busy one, but I didn't want to miss out on participating in my favorite weekly blogging event.  Top Ten Tuesday is always a lot of fun.  It's a great way to find new blogs, revisit old favorites, and get lots of great reading recommendations.  Who cares if your TBR list is already miles long?  If you want to participate (and you SO do), go on over to The Broke and the Bookish and read up on how the meme works.  Then make your own list and have a good time checking out other lists around the book blogosphere!

Today's topic is: Top Ten Books With __________ Characters.  I decided to fill in the blank with "Twin."  My mother is an identical twin; maybe that's why I've always been fascinated with twins.  Whatever the reason, I read a lot of books with such characters, so here's a list of the first ten that came to mind.

Top Ten Books With Characters Who Are Twins/Multiples

1.  The Shining by Stephen King—In honor of Halloween, I had to include one of the most iconic—not to mention creepiest—literary/movie twins of all time.  Redrum!

2.  Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling—On to the most lovable literary twins, Fred and George Weasley.  It's impossible not to be charmed by these mischief-loving brothers.

3.  The Bobbsey Twins series by Laura Lee Hope—I adored these books as a child!

4.  Sweet Valley High series by Francine Pascal—Here's another blast from the past.  I inhaled these silly high school stories about Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, twins who are identical but have very different personalities.  Their various dramas kept me thoroughly engrossed as a young reader.

5.  Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark—I haven't read much MHC in recent years, but I used to be a mega fan.  In fact, this book is one of the first I reviewed after starting this blog.  It's about a couple whose 3-year-old twin girls are kidnapped from their home.  The story is a mystery/thriller about the race to find and save the children.

6.  How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny—I love the Armand Gamache series and this book, the ninth installment, is my favorite so far.  The story revolves around the puzzling murder of a mysterious woman.  The victim and her siblings are based on a real group of multiples who were cruelly exploited by their parents.  It's an engrossing mystery that asks some important questions.

7.  In the Woods by Tana French—The Irish writer's debut mystery/thriller features a young murder victim who is a twin.  French's books are always can't-look-away compelling.

8.  The Distant Hours by Kate Morton—Like most (all?) of Morton's novels, this one features a crumbling old house and the eccentric people who live there.  In this case, it's a pair of spinster twins.  Morton's books are always great reads.

9.  The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne—This shivery psychological thriller is about a couple grieving after the death of one of their identical twins.  When the surviving daughter claims she's her dead sister, things start to get a little strange ...

10.  Untwine by Edwidge Danticat—I haven't actually read this one yet, but it sounds excellent.  It concerns a teen girl who wakes up in a hospital after an accident and has no idea what has happened to her parents or her twin sister.  

There you have it.  Have you read any of these?  Which awesome twin books am I missing?  Who are your favorite literary twins/multiples?  Leave me a comment and I'll gladly return the favor.

Happy TTT!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Beyond the Books: Mo' MoTab (& Friends), Please!

If you're a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you're no doubt looking forward to this weekend.  Twice a year, the LDS Church holds a General Conference, which takes place in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and is broadcast all over the world.  My family loves going to church in our pajamas (we watch Conference on our t.v. at home), eating traditional foods (French toast for breakfast is a Conference must), and, most of all, listening to inspired counsel from our Church leaders (glorious!).  I always come away from the experience feeling closer to my family and to God.

Of course, Conference wouldn't be Conference without the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  In between the talks, the 360-person, all-volunteer singing group performs songs of faith and devotion, which always bring a special spirit to the proceedings.

While watching the choir on t.v. is powerful, it's nothing compared to seeing the group perform live.  If you happen to be in Salt Lake City, you can catch free performances every Sunday during the taping of the Music and the Spoken Word program.  Weekly rehearsals are also free and open to the public.  There are additional concerts throughout the year.  Information about all of these events can be found on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's website.

Even if you can't catch MoTab live, you can still listen to its music.  Check out the commercial-free, 24/7 music stream at the Mormon Channel, for instance.  You can also find CDs at Amazon, Deseret Book, and other retailers.

If you love the choir's rich, inspiring music, you'll definitely want to check out its newest CD, Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Friends.  The album features eleven tracks from the choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square, seven of which are from standout concert performances over the last 15 years; the other four were created specifically for this CD.  Each song stars a guest artist or two, from Yo-Yo Ma to James Taylor to Angela Lansbury to Santino Fontana.  The tracks range from African-American spirituals to songs from popular movies to old favorites like How Can I Keep From Singing?  It's a soothing, sometimes rousing collection that can be enjoyed by listeners of all ages.  Seriously!  My favorite track on the album is "Through Heaven's Eyes" (from The Prince of Egypt), which happens to be the movie song my 8-year-old sings most.

Released in May, the album quickly reached No. 1 on Billboard's Classical Crossover Chart, the 12th time that a Mormon Tabernacle Choir album has done so.  It also earned the No. 2 spot on the Classical Overall chart.  

If you've got a MoTab lover on your Christmas list this year, definitely pick up one of these babies.  Also, keep in mind that Deseret Book stores across the nation will be hosting Ladies Night on Saturday, September 30.  Almost everything in the store will be 20% off, making it a perfect night to get a Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Friends CD of your very own.

*To the FTC, with love:  I received a free Mormon Tabernacle Choir & Friends CD in exchange for an honest review from the generous folks at Deseret Book.  Thank you!     

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Final Installment a Fitting End to Compelling Teen Mystery Trilogy

(Image from Barnes & Noble

Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Hide and Seek, it may inadvertently spoil plot surprises from previous Jess Tennant mysteries.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.

Jess Tennant wasn't thrilled when her mom dragged her away from London to live in tiny Port Sentinel, but the seaside village has definitely grown on her.  She enjoys living with family at Sandhayes, flirting with her hot next door neighbor, and working at the town's dusty thrift shop.  Having gotten herself entangled in some town mysteries over the year since she's lived in Port Sentinel, Jess is known as a bit of a troublemaker.  But, really, she's just an ordinary kid trying to survive high school.

When 16-year-old Gilly Poynter disappears one winter day, Jess can't stop herself from worrying.  She didn't know her classmate well, but she's certain the girl has come to some kind of harm.  If the police won't do something about the missing teen, Jess will.  Even if it means putting herself in harm's way.  Although she's warned away from her amateur investigation, Jess refuses to give up.  She will get answers.

In the meantime, Jess has plenty of other problems.  There's her stepfather's sudden reappearance; her "forbidden" relationship with Will; and the constant friction between her and the police inspector, who also happens to be Will's father.  Can Jess sort out all her personal problems?  Will she uncover the truth about Gilly's disappearance?  With so much on her plate, the last thing she wants to worry about is her personal safety—but that's becoming an increasing concern.  The more she sticks her nose where it doesn't belong, the more danger stalks her every move ...

I've enjoyed all the books in the Jess Tennant trilogy by Irish crime writer Jane CaseyHide and Seek, the final installment, is no exception.  The story moves along at a swift pace, with plenty of twists to keep the reader guessing.  Jess is an engaging heroine—smart, brave, and self-deprecating.  The teens in this series are unrealistically unsupervised and world-weary, but that's about my only complaint with these books.  Otherwise, I've really enjoyed the whole series.  Although Casey's adult books get fairly graphic, her YA mysteries are much easier to stomach.  If you're up for a tense, twisty teen mystery, I'd definitely recommend this trilogy.  Here's hoping Casey pens more books for younger readers!

(Readalikes:  How to Fall and Bet Your Life by Jane Casey; also reminds me a little of the Northwoods Mystery series [Enchantment Lake; The Clue in the Trees] by Margi Preus)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
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