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.
A lovely mix between a textbook, and a novel. Margalit Fox lays out the case of Oscar Slater, a Jewish man convicted of a murder he most certainly did not commit. Conan Doyle, through his own deductions and attentiveness to the details of the case, assumed Slater's cause, and was instrumental in getting his sentence commuted (albeit years and years later). I enjoyed Fox's conversational tone amidst lots of evidence and technical vocabulary.
I recommend this book highly for any true crime fans, or Conan Doyle / Sherlock aficionados.
I anticipated reading this book for a long time, so the hype might have overshadowed the book for me a bit. There's a lot to love: Knecht's language is so sparse yet descriptive. I felt like I was at the coffee shops and offices alongside Vera. This novel is very specific in time and place; I loved learning about the politics of the era, and the importance of surveillance and counter surveillance. I applaud Vera's unerring perseverance, unapologetic pluck, and believe in herself. This book is not a traditional spy novel - it's a slow burn, female driven intriguing novel.
I want to disappear into Tahereh Mafi's writing. She is an amazingly astute storyteller, and creates worlds in her novels that are transformative, informative and beautiful. WHICHWOOD is no different.
Having devoured FURTHERMORE, I had to read the sequel, and didn't expect such a disparate novel. Though they involve many of the same characters, Whichwood is a completely different place, and so this novel feels oh so different.
We meet Laylee, a girl with a burdensome job of caring for the city's dead all alone. Alice and Oliver must fulfill Alice's Surrender, and help her - of which, Laylee wants no part.
Mafi's engagement with the reader, and use of witty footnotes and explanations, only serve her ability to paint this ghoulish world in which one (oddly) feels like they belong.
I cannot recommend this work of Mafi's enough. I can't quite capture what it does to me, but I love reading her words. You will too.
I didn't have the highest expectations for this book, but having read some positive reviews I decided to give it a chance. I'm SO glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this YA novel, and I'm not quite sure why I haven't heard of Lily Anderson before now.
This novel was the perfect intersection of 90s rom-com, zombie apocalypse, and a Sherlock Holmes mystery... !!
Anderson's voice is pitch-perfect detailing the lives of Mila, a self-proclaimed Latina witch, her best friend Riley, and their fellow classmates, including Riley's dreamy brother Xander. I found myself forgoing other life duties to continue reading this sarcastically laugh-out-loud novel that managed to humanize these larger-than-life characters. And the romance was oh so painfully real.
The cover art is beautiful. The allusions to Harry Potter and Hocus Pocus were priceless. Mila's POC POV is important. And it's candid talk about teenage life is spot on.
PLUS you can never go wrong starting a book with a Sondheim quote... C'mon!
I can't recommend this book highly enough. I will be thinking about it for a good long while to come.
I’m judicious with 5 star (beer in my case) ratings, but this was a no brainer.
Lyndsay Faye has written a meticulously researched, intriguing, heart-wrenching novel that doesn’t shy away from our country’s difficult past. Narrated by “Nobody,” a grifter who can tailor her person to the situation/society group, we’re brought along on her (bullet-induced) flight from the Mafia-ridden streets of Harlem out to the unfettered frontier land of Portland, Oregon. When a young boy goes missing from her refuge at the all-black Paragon Hotel, Nobody is thrust into a battle between the races, a fight for what she believes in, and a struggle to escape the horrors of her past.
I straight up devoured this novel. Faye’s character development in this novel is effortless, and Blossom and Nobody are women that I lived with while reading this book. The incorporation of horrifying real-life quotations from documents, newspapers and people of the time consistently remind readers that everything on these fictional pages are grounded in the very real, very visceral past of our country.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Can not wait to give copies to this historical fiction fans in my life.
I received this book from NetGalley - courtesy of Penguin Random House - in exchange for an honest review.
I love love loved this book.
I chose it on a whim - the book art and synopsis seemed up my alley - and I'm thrilled that I picked it up!
Hamish is the ultimate anti-hero. I loved that he was brave enough to relocate to Boston, but couldn't see how much of what he was doing was so strong. Having a panic disorder and anxiety myself, I related with Hamish so much in this book, and applaud Rachel McMillan for having a protagonist with sometimes crippling, very real, anxiety issues. Reggie is another (v. progressive) character that should be acknowledged for her strength - defying her family, ignoring her "life plan" and embarking on a new journey in a new town.
The titular murder doesn't happen until more than 50% of the way through the book, but that isn't a complaint. I felt transported to Boston through McMillan's language, and wanted every detail of Hamish and Reggie's lives. And once the murder occurs, things REALLY begin to snowball.
I look forward to the next adventure with these two, and hope that it illuminates new corners and new people of Boston.
MISTER TENDER’S GIRL is a book I won’t soon forget. Carter Wilson has crafted a focal character in Mister Tender that is alluring yet spurs horrific action in the people he interacts with.
Alice, a London native, now living under a different name in America. She suffered a terrible attack at the hands of twin girls - classmates of hers - in the name of serving Mister Tender. Alice’s life in New Hampshire has been carefully constructed, from her coffee shop job to her limited interactions with her family. When she receives some indications that her past has somehow caught up with her Alice is devastated, and understandably afraid for her life. Again.
I love the twists and turns that Wilson orchestrated, and I applaud his ability to ground all of these characters in very real ways. This is one novel that undoubtedly deserves all the hype surrounding it.