Thursday, June 30, 2022

{I've Been Reading} The Bayou Book Thief

The Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron

Ricki James has returned to her birthplace, New Orleans, to start a new life and open a gift shop in a local museum.  The collaboration is perfect. Her stock of vintage cookbooks and kitchenware is just what the museum visitors find themselves wanting. Things are going splendidly, until she opens a box that should be filled with donated books but actually holds the body of a particularly unpleasant tour guide. I loved everything about this one -- the mystery, the characters, the setting... It couldn't be more different from my day to day life and that's what made it such a pleasant escape. 

Murder is no Picnic by Amy Pershing

Have I mentioned  how much I love the Cape Cod Foodie mystery series? I didn't warm up to Samantha until partway through the first book, but now I can't get enough of her and her pets and her extended family. This time, Samantha is invited to make blueberry buckle with a famous cookbook author, Clara Foster. She can barely contain her enthusiasm as they're filming the video for her Cape Cod Foodie series...and then she's crushed when Clara dies in a house fire that same night. (As a reader, I was almost as sad. Clara was such a neat character!) The circumstances of the fire just don't make sense, and Samantha finds herself helping in the investigation. There are also some complications in her personal life, making this an enjoyable read  I couldn't put down. 

Make Me Disappear by Jessica Payne 

Noelle has already realized that her anesthesiologist fiance isn't as perfect as he seems. Then she learns that his previous girlfriend disappeared without a trace  and begins to plan her own escape. This Kindle Unlimited title is fast paced and twists and turns in all sorts of directions, some more implausible than others. It was a fun read just to see what was going to happen in the end.  


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

Thursday, June 23, 2022

{I've Been Reading} Unmask Alice

by Rick Emerson 

I read Go Ask Alice in seventh grade, back when you had to have a note from a parent giving you permission to check it out from the school library. Mom had encouraged me to read it and warned me about the worst scene. The part that spooked her wasn't mentioned in Unmask Alice and I don't even remember the scenes that Rick Emerson describes. I read  a stack of other "teen problem novels" during that time period and there were others that had more of an emotional impact on me. 

I didn't find out that Alice was a hoax until a few years back. To be honest, I'd never thought too hard about whether the diary was real or not. My childhood was full of cautionary tales, most of them definitely not true. Alice was just another one of many stories. I never read Jay's Journal, but I've got vivid memories of the Satanic Panic. 

Unmask Alice looks at Beatrice Sparks and her hoaxes through the eyes of 2022 and as frustrated as I got by some of the author's descriptions (at one point he describes the letters to the editor page in the newspaper as "a prehistoric comments section") I couldn't put it down. I kept imagining the author as someone very young. 

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

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

{I've Been Reading} Black Tide

Black Tide by KC Jones

This is the perfect book for readers in the mood for a creepy creature feature. After meeting over the fence and sharing a bottle of champagne, two strangers become trapped on an isolated stretch of coastline. Something happened the night before and the world has changed. Things are shrieking in the dunes that separate them from the road. The tide is coming in. The book gets off to a slow start but when things started to really happen it had me holding my breath and crossing my fingers for the characters. 

The Safe House by Louise Mumford 

Esther can barely remember life before she came to the house with her mother. For sixteen years, the two of them have lived in the bunker under the hillside, sheltered from the dangers of the outside world. They are safe there, following daily checklists to maintain the structure that protects them.  Once a year, Mother makes the dangerous journey to the city to replenish their supplies. She wears a mask and protective clothing to shield herself from the dangerous pollution of the outside world. It's too risky for Esther to join her, even though Esther is an adult and desperately wants to see what's out there. Mother leaves. Esther remains in the house with her list of chores. And then a man appears outside, calling her name and asking her to open the door. Telling her that the world outside is still there, still safe. 

The premise intrigued me, but it didn't hold my interest for the second half of the book. I wound up setting it aside for more than a week before finally picking it up and finishing it. 

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


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