Tuesday, October 06, 2020

{I've Been Reading} Dear Child

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann

A woman escapes a windowless cabin in the woods and is hit by a car as she tries to find help. When the ambulance arrives, the woman's daughter identifies her as Lena. Her basic appearance matches a woman who has been missing for fourteen years. Even the scar on her face matches, but when Lena's grieving parents see her at the hospital, they realize that this isn't their daughter.

The first few pages had me worried that this was just another version of Room. Stick with it, because it's not that at all. This is so much else going on here, but it takes a while for that to sink in. The story is told by the woman who escaped the cabin, and the daughter, and Lena's father. The details don't add up at first, but it's always clear which character's head the reader is in and whether it's in the past or the present and the more things start to click together and make sense, the more chilling the story gets. I absolutely loved this one and can't recommend it enough.


Before She Was Helen By Caroline Cooney

I remember loving Caroline B. Cooney's young adult books when they came out years ago, so I eagerly picked up this one. Only a few pages in, I found myself disliking the protagonist. It's not that she's old...it's that she reminds the reader over and over how incapable and ditzy she is and she immediately makes bad decisions that kick off the entire plot. How could someone who had protected herself so carefully for fifty years have such poor judgment?  At one point she muses that maybe she used to be smarter and more capable and is starting to slip. Maybe that's it. In the chapters that describe her past, I really found myself liking her younger self. The plot rambles all over the place, from the very interesting past to the bewildering present. I counted at least a dozen characters, most with chapters from their own viewpoint. They were easy enough to keep straight, but the sheer number of people involved in the plot kept it bouncing all over the place.


The Body From the Past by Judi Lynn 

The latest fixer-upper that Jazzie, her husband, and her cousin have purchased comes with a locked room that the former owner never bothered to force her way into. If there's anything I question about the plot it's how someone could live in a house with a sealed bedroom and no curiosity about what's inside. Jazzi, of course, is brimming with curiosity and a little wary of what might be lurking behind that door. The room turns out to be a dusty shrine to a teenager who died years earlier and her family wants nothing to do with any of the girls mementos or diaries. Jazzi can't bear to toss it all into the dumpster so she takes it home and begins reading, quickly discovering that the teenager's murder was never solved. I really enjoy this series and its cast of characters. They're fun to spend time with and the mystery was intriguing, but huge chunks of the book are spent on feeding the pets and showering the mundane details of everyday life. 

The Temp by Michelle Francis 

Carrie and her husband, Adrian, seem to have it all, successful careers in television production, awards, a great marriage. But when she finds out that she's pregnant, Carrie wants more. She wants a baby. What she quickly discovers that she doesn't want is Emma, the temp filling in her position while she's away from the office. While Carrie struggles to balance her newborn and her job, Emma is effortlessly stepping into Carrie's shoes and getting close to her boss and her husband. And it's becoming more and more obvious that Adrian isn't going to embrace his new role as a father. The tension that permeates their relationship since Rory's birth keep the two of them from comparing notes and realizing that Emma is too good to be true. I much prefer that to books where the characters just never bother to hand a conversation. The story moves slowly until the plot finally starts to twist and things quickly escalate and the ending is....well, it's an ending. I'm not sure it fit with the rest of the book or was remotely plausible. It definitely didn't go where I thought it was going.  

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 

Friday, October 02, 2020

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {10/2/2020}

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules:  Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

{I've Been Reading} The Nesting

The Nesting by C. J. Cooke

Lexi Ellis, a young woman with no place left to go and no one left to turn to, impulsively steals another young woman's resume and applies for a job as a nanny. She'll be living in an isolated house in Norway, taking care of a widower's two daughters while he builds a high concept house hanging from a steep cliff.  She knows that what she is doing is a bad idea, but she's immediately drawn to the two little girls who recently lost their mother. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Haunted houses always appeal to me and there are some chilling scenes with muddy animals prints in the house and  an apparition one of the girls describes as "the sad lady." It includes an intriguing mix of environmentalism and folklore, along with the fact that Lexi is trying to determine whether what she sees is supernatural or a hallucination brought on by her mental illness. She's a likable character who took the job out of desperation and is doing her best to be a good nanny to the children. I did have a hard time accepting the author's description of  the young children and the rigid academic schedule they're supposed  to be keeping, to the point that I had  to stop and look up whether 9 month olds can drink almond milk. (It's not recommended.)

Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

{I've Been Reading} You Are Invited

One by One by Ruth Ware 

Eight employees of a hot new tech start up gather for a retreat in a luxurious ski chalet. There's tension in the group even before they become stranded on the mountainside and an avalanche partially buries the building -- then members of the team begin to die. This book was chilling, partially from the suspenseful plot and partially from the vivid descriptions of the snow and ice. I don't understand the appeal of Snoop, the app that they all work for, but I really enjoyed the mystery and the way the author conveyed information about the company through the housekeeper. I learned about the company and its employees along with her, instead of in huge chunks of backstory. The ending had me racing through to the end, anxious to know what would happen to the remaining characters. I haven't read many of Ruth Ware's books but I'll definitely be tracking them down as soon as I get the chance. 


You Are Invited by Sarah A. Denzil 

Five influencers have been chosen to travel to a Transylvanian monastery to participate in The Event, a highly publicized month long livestream. Before she even arrives at the building, Cath's driver tries to warn her away from the place. Terrible events have happened there in the past and as soon as the streaming starts, unsettling things begin to happen. Cath's medication goes missing. Viewers report seeing shadowy figures on the streams. One anonymous follower offers a million dollars to whichever participant is willing to murder one of his or her companions. 

I had high hopes for this one, but the plot is slow, mildly entertaining, and definitely not scary.

The Corpse Who Knew Too Much by Debra Sennefelder 

The latest food blogger mystery has Hope teaching a blogging class and exploring the world of podcasts, especially the true crime podcast created by one of her childhood friends. After building an audience, Devon has returned to her hometown to cover the unsolved disappearance of her own mother. Not long after she asks Hope for help, Devin is found murdered, all of her carefully compiled notes missing. I enjoy this series, which focuses almost as much on Hope's daily life as a food blogger as it does on the mystery in each book. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. This post contains affiliate links. 



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