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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

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38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

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25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

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9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

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6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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23 / 100 books. 23% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

61 / 165 books. 37% done!
Friday, February 02, 2018

Colorful Debut an Intriguing Start to Traditional Historical Mystery Series

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

By helping families discover the fates of soldiers lost during World War I, 31-year-old Kate Shackleton has become known as a skilled people finder.  The only soldier she can't locate is her own husband, who is missing, presumed dead.  If she can't find closure for herself, at least Kate can use her detecting skills to help others.

Naturally, Kate is eager to help an old colleague who comes to her for aid.  Tabitha Braithwaite, who will soon be getting married, desperately wants her father to walk her down the aisle.  The only problem is he's been missing since 1916, almost a decade.  A wealthy mill owner, Joshua Braithwaite was devastated and suicidal after the loss of his soldier son.  Did his reduced mental state cause him to wander off to his death?  Did the ladies man simply run off with a lover?  Or did something more sinister happen?  It's up to Kate to find out what secrets lie beneath the prosaic veneer of Braithwaite's quiet Yorkshire village.  

I'm always up for a well-written traditional mystery.  Dying in the Wool, the first installment in Frances Brody's Kate Shackleton series, fits the bill quite nicely.  Kate is an admirable hero—she's smart, independent, and brave.  The mystery she's attempting to solve is intriguing, with enough twists to keep the reader guessing.  With an emphasis on the tiny village of Bridgestead, the novel brims with local color and personality, which adds a fun element to the story.  While the book gets slow in places, all in all I enjoyed it and will definitely continue on with the series.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd, and mysteries by Agatha Christie)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find 

Taut, Twisty Psychological Thriller a Satisfying Page-Turner

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When journalist Leah Stevens refuses to name an important source, she finds herself without a job.  At loose ends, she decides to leave Boston and start over somewhere else.  A chance encounter with Emmy Grey, an old roommate who is on the run from a violent ex-boyfriend, ignites a brilliant idea—Leah and Emmy can relocate together to rural Pennsylvania.  There, they can start new lives in a place where no one knows either of them.  

Almost as soon as the women arrive in Pennsylvania the plan begins to go awry.  When Emmy disappears and people start turning up dead, Leah scrabbles to figure out what in the world is going on.  No matter how completely she describes Emmy, the local police can't find any trace of Leah's roommate.  It's like she never existed at all.  Desperate to prove Emmy's existence, thereby clearing her own name and showing Detective Kyle Donahue that she's not crazy, Leah launches her own investigation.  As she digs into Emmy's past, she's forced to confront surprising truths about her friend and about herself.  With her own neck on the line, Leah must untangle a sordid web before hers is the next body being pulled from the lake.

I love me a psychological thriller that keeps me constantly off-balance.  The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda certainly did.  The chilling, atmospheric tale kept me guessing throughout its many twists and turns.  So compelling is this novel that I simply couldn't read it fast enough.  I sped through it in one day, desperate to find out what was going to happen.  If you're into the psychological thrillers that are all the rage these days (and I totally am), you'll likely eat this one up.  Although it gets confusing at times, overall The Perfect Stranger is a satisfying page-turner that will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.  I loved it.

(Readalikes:  I can't think of any specific titles.  You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

One A Spare, Striking YA Novel About Two Unique Girls and One Terrifying Choice

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Unlike most people, 16-year-old Grace has never been alone.  Literally.  Never.  Not when she sleeps, not when she cries, not when she goes to the bathroom.  As a conjoined twin, she is never—ever—by herself.  Although Grace and her sister Tippi have separate hearts and heads and two arms each, along with very distinct personalities, they're attached at the stomach.  They've learned to get along as a team and mostly, they're happy to be two, but also one.

As Grace and Tippi make the transition from being homeschooled to attending a private high school, their lives start to change.  Navigating the treacherous waters of high school is its own beast, but the girls are also dealing with an anorexic older sister, an overworked mother, and an unemployed father who's drinking too much.  Not to mention Grace's attraction to a new friend.  As if that weren't enough, Grace's body starts to rebel, causing the girls to make an impossible choice that could change —or end—both their lives forever.

Written in verse, One by Sarah Crossan is a spare, striking novel that is as raw as it is powerful.  Although every word in the story is purposeful, that doesn't stop the tale from being rich and engrossing.  It's an impacting novel that teaches important lessons about love, acceptance, sacrifice, and the strength of a sister's love.  Because of its format, you can read this one quickly, but it won't let go of you quite that fast.  An impacting little book, One is a fascinating portrait of two unique girls who have to make one terrifying decision—together.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a half dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives) and depictions of underage drinking and illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Atmospheric Historical Mystery Just Okay

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As the daughter of the coroner of Dublin's North Wards, 18-year-old Abigail Lawless has had an unconventional upbringing.  She's grown up surrounded by the tools of her father's trade.  He, in turn, has encouraged Abigail's curious mind and interest in his work, despite society's view of what is and is not appropriate for a young woman in the early 19th Century.  

Abigail's interest is piqued by the death of Emilie Casey, who works as a nursemaid for the wealthy Nesham family, and her newborn son.  Although Emilie's death is ruled a suicide, Abigail isn't convinced.  Determined to know the truth, the coroner's daughter starts digging.  Her investigation catches the interest of some powerful parties, including the leader of The Brethren, a strict religious sect.  The closer Abigail gets to finding the real answers, the more dangerous her obsession becomes.  Can she figure out what really happened to Emilie and her infant?  Or will Abigail end up the next woman dead of an apparent suicide?

The Coroner's Daughter by Irish author Andrew Hughes is an atmospheric mystery that's engrossing overall.  It stars a likable heroine, about whom I would gladly read more.  The novel's plot is a bit loosey-goosey.  It gets overly long in places, making for dull spots, and not all the ends are tied up by the finale.  The tale also gets predictable, although to be fair I did not guess the identity of the criminal mastermind.  In the end, I found The Coroner's Daughter to be just an okay read for me.


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and blood/gore

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
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