Emotion is a hypocritical being; it seeks the truth but can’t listen. // Olivia Kiernan, TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE
I chose to buy a Kindle digital copy of Olivia Kiernan's novel TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE because it was highly touted by the Irish Times Book Review. Simply put, I was underwhelmed. Kiernan's writing has been labeled akin to Tana French, but I didn't have the same visceral reaction to it as I often do to French's prose. But I did enjoy reading it. She did successfully ratchet up suspense throughout, but I wasn't sold by the ending. I wanted to be able to puzzle together the culprit, but I felt like I wasn't given the adequate information to do it myself. Frankie was a protagonist that grew on me as the book progressed, and I loved the setting. But those two things alone were not enough to sell me wholeheartedly on this detective novel.
I received this book from Amazon's First Reads program.
I very much loved this quirky new book by Meghan Scott Molin. I haven't been inclined to order any book for the past new First Reads, but this month THE FRAME-UP spoke to me. So glad it did.
In this modern detective novel, we follow MG, a writer for a comic book company, who inadvertently gets roped into solving a crime that seems cut out of the pages of her favorite comics. She teams up with the (cute) detective, and all of her geeky knowledge is put to the test in order to catch this devious culprit.
I found myself laughing out loud at some of Molin's references - from Doctor Who, Harry Potter, LOTR, and countless other fandoms, many of which went over my head. But those I caught, I delighted in. MG feels like a very real girl caught in a slightly unbelievable series of events. I recommend this book highly to those fans of detective stories, fandoms in general, or those who just want to lose themselves in some good ole fashioned fun.
Simone St. James has crafted a rich historical mystery (with ghostly elements) that also satisfies the suspense reader. THE BROKEN GIRLS tells two stories, one in 1950 and one in 2014 - both surrounding Idlewild Hall, a boarding school for troubled girls.
St. James has linked these two separate times beautifully; I was impressed by the through lines she was able to construct between the generations of women. AND I was blown away by the reveal after trying (and failing) to solve the mystery myself. The atmosphere of Idlewild Hall is not one that I will soon forget, nor will I forget the fortitude and strength of the young women St. James depicted.
I received this book via NetGalley - from Berkely Publishing Group - in exchange for an honest review.
It's not drizzle and daylight in my dream. It's inky black night and stars like ice-chips and a cold sliver of a moon. // Catriona McPherson, GO TO MY GRAVE
I've had an affinity for McPherson's writing for a while now, and so I jumped at the chance to read new writing from here. This novel was quite a trip. I immediately felt a kinship with Donna - she's attempting a new business venture in the Breakers, and AirBnB type of property, and wants this first booking to be everything it can be. But when the visitors realize they've been there before, and it was a traumatic ordeal, the secrets begin to tumble out. And then locked boxes arrive. And then the bloody animals. And then the body count begins...
I was WITH this book through 90% of it. The reveal was a bit far-fetched for me. I appreciated McPherson's ability to tie up loose ends, and show us the pieces that inexplicably fit together. But I did wish it wasn't such a leap. I still very much enjoyed the ride, and highly tout McPherson's writing and plotting skills, and setting this book in such a darkly picturesque locale.
I received this book courtesy of NetGalley, and Minotaur Books, in exchange for an honest review.
Another killer installment in the Cormoran Strike series.
I love returning to these characters, and this novel really digs into the relationship (sometimes lackthereof) between Strike and Robin. Her marital struggles, and his inability to commit frames their will-they-or-won't-they relationship throughout this novel.
I'm so into it.
Rowling's characters, no matter what the novel, are so viscerally real and flawed; they leap off the pages, and feel like they're simply people you know ... who also work as detectives.
This novel did drag at times, but overall I enjoyed it thoroughly. I feel v. connected to Robin's character - her marital struggles, her want for a life with Strike - whatever that means - and her love of detection.
I have high hopes for the next installment in this series. It feels like these two characters are at a tipping point - and I can't wait to see what will go down.
I've been an Agatha Christie fan for a long time, so I was interested in how Andrew Wilson would dramatize this very dramatic period of Christie's life. The afterword was fascinating to me - he evidently did a lot of research to aid in this novel of historical fiction.
Christie's brilliant mind was ever on display, and I loved her ability to reason her way out of every possible situation. The copious knowledge and employment of poisons is a Christie classic, and I was glad they were so central to the plot of this novel. I'm curious about the sequel, and how much fact from her life is included. Just curious enough to check it out.
I tried everything to get this book before the official publishing date. I knew it would be something I would love, and though I didn't accomplish getting it early, it was worth the wait. I was obsessed with THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER series, so I was hopeful about this one.
Megan Shepherd has created an entire world in this novel that I instantly dropped into. Anouk is a Beastie, destined to a life of servitude in a society ruled by Royals, Witches, Goblins, and Pretties. As it progresses, the reader learns more and more about the hierarchy of these individuals and that everything isn't necessarily as Anouk believes it to be. That journey is marred with gruesome deaths, ideology differences, and revelations on what constitutes a persons' moral grounding (or not).
I flew through this book, and was oh so upset when it ended. I wanted more. Finding out there will be a sequel is a comfort though. I hope it's hundreds of pages long. I want to thrive alongside Anouk for as long as she'll let me.
I took a jaunt up to Portland, Maine and visited The Great Lost Bar, an epic bar that makes a number of appearances in John Connolly's Charlie Parker series. Having read about the bar for years and years, it was a thrill to finally make it there. My bartender, Bird, was a literal hoot; she made my time there quite fun. I met some fellow Jerseyans, and had some excellent local beer, after a hot toddy, of course.
Delving into new cases with Hugo is always a treat. I was intrigued by the premise of this novel - Hugo meets an hot new artist whose sculpture medium is books. When she has an art exhibition, attended by Hugo and the US Ambassador, a gruesome murder is also on display for the spectators.
I enjoyed that Mark Pryor let us get to know the players before the murder occurred, including the victim, so I really was aggrieved by the crime. The only element of this book that I strongly disliked was having Tom so far away. His disparate storyline, I understand was necessary, but I missed the camaraderie between Tom and Hugo.
This installment undoubtedly set up future books with Hugo, and his Parisian adventures. I'm looking forward to the bookish crimes that lie ahead.
I received a digital copy from Edelweiss, and Seventh Street Books, in exchange for an honest review.
A disgraced architect, the extravagant and lively (backstage) world of theater, and London backstreets and taverns all merge in this immersive novel following the exploits of Douglas Layton.
I loved reading this meticulously detailed book, written by Charles Balfoure, as our protagonist attempts to start over after a horrid prison sentence. Maintaining his innocence, Layton returns to London under a different name, and attempts to solve the case he was convicted of.
Being a fan of historical fiction and mysteries, this was the perfect merger of genres for me. I recommend this novel for anyone interested in London, architecture, theater and/or mystery - quite the list.
I received this novel through Edelweiss - from Sourcebooks - in exchange for an honest review.