Thursday, March 30, 2023

{I've Been Reading} A House With Good Bones


A House With Good Bones by T. Kingfisher 

"Vultures are extremely sensitive to the dead. Particularly when the dead are doing things they shouldn't be." 

The first thing Sam notices when she arrives at her mother's house is the vulture sitting on the mailbox. Instead of being spooked by it, she wonders what type of mites are breeding in the bird's feathers. She doesn't start to worry until she goes inside and realizes that her mother, a women who loves vibrant colors, has painted the walls white and rehung the portraits that they hid away in the attic after her grandmother's death. Her mother's entire personality has changed. This is the most entertaining haunted house story I've read in quite a while.  I enjoyed it, especially the unique protagonist, but some of the horror elements were described in a way that felt a bit silly.  

The Assistant by Amada Reynolds

This thriller is a very, very slow burn with an unusual structure. Most of  the book is made up of interviews with Gail,  a middle aged woman who conned her way into the position as Ris's assistant. We know from the beginning that she wants to ruin the younger woman's life, but aren't given any reasons why. Ris is self-absorbed, but that's about it. Gail is completely unlikeable. Whatever happened between the women happened before the first of the interviews so everything is over and done with before the book begins and we're reading about it from a distance. The interviews alternate with vague emails from the interviewer to someone else and diary entries written by the woman Ris's husband is having an affair with. It takes a lot of patience to get to the reveal, but the writing is good.  

Curds of Prey by Korina Moss

The elegant bridal shower that Willa has created an elaborate cheese board for is abruptly cancelled after the groom-to-be is found dead in the stables. It turns out that Roman, who Willa has started to see as boyfriend material, was once involved with the bride-to-be....and he's a suspect. I love this series. The writing and characters are great. I wish that the adult characters who were upset about their relationships would have had a conversation with each other instead of sulking alone. I've never made a recipe from the back of a cozy mystery, although I've been tempted many times before. This book had me hoping that Willa's creations would be included and I can't wait to try all of them! 

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

Thursday, March 16, 2023

{I've Been Reading} The Loch


The Loch by Fran Dorricott 

After rain spoils their camping trip, three friends find  themselves staying in a rental house at the edge of Loch Aven. The last signatures in the guest book are from before they were born. The local residents of the small town aren't welcoming. Michaela, who made the arrangements for their trip, says she has a surprise for Eleanor, dropping some vague hints about a podcast she'd listened to. Then Michaela vanishes. The premise had me intrigued, but the plot moves very slowly and it feels like it would be almost impossible not to guess where things are going to end up. There was a small twist I didn't expect, but the important details are mentioned over and over again. 

The Last Wife by J A Baker

This one sounded right up my alley. Fiona and her husband move to Winters End, a small island where they can hide from what they did. The locals are unwelcoming and it's not long before she realizes that there are almost no women in the small town. The local cemetery is filled with gravestones, most of them recent. It's an atmospheric, slow burn that held me interest most of the way through. The revelations -- both of the awful thing Fiona did and of what happened to the local women left me a bit underwhelmed.  It's a solid read, but nothing unique. 

Eve in Overdrive by Faith Gardner 

A journalist picks up her new luxury car. There's just one problem -- the columns that earned the money that paid for her solar powered, self-driven vehicle really made some people angry. The engineer who programmed her car is one of those people. I loved this novella. It's a fast paced psychological thriller that plunges the reader almost immediately into the action and I read it straight through, hoping that somehow Eve was going to escape the nightmarish situation. There are other, longer, thrillers by this author, set in the same universe. I'll be downloading those as soon as I get the chance!

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

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

{I've Been Reading} A Sinister Revenge


Did you know that "she sells sea shells by the sea shore" refers to an actual historical figure, Mary Anning? (Or maybe that's just folklore. Either way, the woman's history is fascinating) And did you know that on New Year's Eve  1853, a group of scientists held a dinner parts in a life size model of an iguanodon?


A Sinister Revenge by Deanna Raybourn

I spent a chunk of time looking up the historical details from this book. I already love the characters and the setting and the mysteries and those historic details gave me an extra appreciation for the time and place where Veronica and Stoker live. I sometimes spend more time thinking about what they didn't have in the past than realizing how many amazing things they DID have. 

This time, Stoker's brother Tiberius has asked for their help. Friends from his younger days, members of a group that described themselves as The Seven Sinners, are dying. The obituaries that he's received in the mail make him suspect foul play, and that he may be the next target. Their investigation takes place at the family estate, which means we get to learn more about Stoker's childhood and his relationships with his brothers. 

If you haven't heard of wolpertingers, look them up. They're like jackalopes, but better! 

Things We Do in the Dark by Jennifer Hilier

Paris Peralta is found in her bathroom, covered in blood, holding a straight razor over the body of her much older, much richer husband, unable to explain what happened to him. The media circus is immediate. She didn't kill her beloved husband, but this isn't the first murder she's been involved in. 

I was immediately pulled into this fast paced thriller. I wanted so badly for Paris's husband not to be dead. I know, there wouldn't be a book if he wasn't, but the author's descriptions of their relationship had me wanting to know more about him and their backstory. There's a little of that, but the main focus is on the woman Paris was before she married a famous comedian and the events she thought she'd finally left behind her. Once I started reading, I couldn't put this book down. 

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


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