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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (4)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine
- Maryland (1)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (1)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (6)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas (2)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (3)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming (1)
- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


7 / 25 books. 28% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


34 / 50 books. 68% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


40 / 52 books. 77% done!
Saturday, December 24, 2016

Scottish Mystery Series Comes to a Fitting Finale

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for The Chessmen, it may inadvertently spoil plot surprises from the first two books in the Lewis trilogy.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Having left behind his life as an Edinburgh detective, Fin MacLeod is living on Lewis, the Outer Hebridean island of his birth.  While restoring his parents' croft in Crobost, he takes a job as a security officer at the Red River Estate.  It's while chasing poachers there that Fin encounters a blast from his past.  A childhood friend of Fin's, Whistler Macaskill is still as mercurial and unpredictable as ever.  It's while reconnecting that the two witness a bog burst, a rare natural phenomenon that results in the rapid draining of a loch.  When the water disappears, the men are shocked by what remains; stuck in the mud is a small airplane which is immediately familiar to both of them.

Fin and Whistler are not surprised to find the remains of their former friend and band mate inside the aircraft.  A seventeen-year-old mystery has just been solved.  But how exactly did Roddy Mackenzie die?  And why is Whistler being so cagey?  What does he know about the events that led to Roddy's death?  As Fin digs into the past to find answers, he discovers startling truths about his friends and about himself.    

The Chessmen, the last book in Peter May's Lewis trilogy, offers another compelling mystery set against the bleak backdrop of the Outer Hebrideans.  With interesting characters, a twisty plot, and an atmospheric setting, it's a fitting finale to the series.  I'm sad, though, that the series is over as I feel there's still a lot to learn about all of May's story people.  I guess it's good to keep readers wanting more?  Maybe?  

(Readalikes:  The Blackhouse and The Lewis Man by Peter May)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, blood/gore, and depictions of underage drinking and illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Second Installment in Scottish Murder Mystery Series Deeper, More Meaningful Than Its Fellows

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for The Lewis Man, it may inadvertently ruin plot surprises from its predecessor, The Blackhouse.  As always, I recommend reading a series in order.)

After returning to Crobost—a small village on the Outer Hebridean island of his birth—to investigate a murder, Fin MacLeod is back for good.  Leaving behind a broken marriage and his position as a detective in the Edinburgh police force, he's focusing on rebuilding his family's abandoned croft.  Marsaili, the woman Fin has loved since childhood, is a recent widow; their son a new father; Fin longs for connection with them all.  

With so much on his plate already, the last thing Fin expects to grapple with is a suspicious death.  When a body is recovered from a Lewis peat bog, the former detective is called in to help with the investigation.  The only clue to the corpse's identity is an Elvis tattoo and a DNA match to Marsaili's father.  Suffering from dementia, Tormod Macdonald can't give Fin a straight answer about the body.  It's up to Fin and Marsaili to delve into the old man's past in order to solve a cold case, one that will bring some hot new trouble down on them all. 

Taking place on the same island as The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man—the second book in Peter May's trilogy set in the Outer Hebrides—brings back the broody landscape, tight community, and intriguing characters that made The Blackhouse such a compelling novel.  Because of Fin's switch from cop to crofter, this second book isn't so much a police procedural as a complex study of the human psyche, both good and bad.  It delves more into the characters' hearts, minds, and souls.  Which isn't to say it doesn't have an engrossing plot.  It does.  These things, plus the story's focus on redemption, forgiveness, and overcoming the plagues of past generations, makes it a deeper, more meaningful novel than The Blackhouse.  Although I enjoyed this whole series, The Lewis Man is, by far, my favorite installment.

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of The Blackhouse and The Chessmen by Peter May)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, blood/gore, sexual content, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
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<i>Reading</i>
The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

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Glass Houses by Louise Penny



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