The Searcher by Tana French

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Description

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

“One of the greatest crime novelists writing today” (Vox) weaves a masterful, atmospheric tale of suspense, asking what we sacrifice in our search for truth and justice, and what we risk if we don’t.

My Thoughts

I was late to the Tana French party, but I worked my way through most of her books during lockdown and am a fan. The Searcher is a bit of a departure, but a welcome one. As expected, the characters are well-developed and feel like friends by the end (at least, some of them do!). One of the things I love about French’s books is the weird twist somewhere in the story, and it’s here for sure.

French carefully develops a sensitive and somewhat endearing relationship here between Cal and Trey, juxtaposed against Cal’s relationship with his own child, now an adult. The tough, Chicago cop finds himself in a situation where all his cop training is put to use, but this time within the fragile world of Trey Reddy where he really cares about the outcome on Trey’s behalf.

French also nails the small-town-closes-ranks trope but writes the “bad guys” in a way that is matter-of-fact but also a bit…sentimental. Think Clint Eastwood saying “Get off my lawn!” then beating the crap out of a bunch of punks.

Tana French is, in my opinion, one of the best crime fiction novelists writing today. Fans will enjoy this one, but it will appeal to new readers as well.

Publication Date: November 2, 2021
Published By: Penguin Books
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

The Maid by Nita Prose


Description

A charmingly eccentric hotel maid discovers a guest murdered in his bed. Solving the mystery will turn her once orderly world upside down in this utterly original debut.

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

“Smart, riveting, and deliciously refreshing . . . a murder mystery with tremendous heart.”—Lisa Jewell, #1 New York Timesbestselling author of The Family Upstairs

My Thoughts

If you love well-crafted mysteries with a surprising end, this is your book for January. The character of Molly the Maid is one of the most original and endearing characters I’ve come across, and the cast of characters here is remarkable.

This isn’t just a mystery. It is a sensitive and heartwarming treatment of what it means to be different and how those things that make a person “different” also make them exceptionally human. The peek into the inner life of someone who interacts with the world differently than other people, someone who is considered “weird,” is handled with such compassion and matter-of-factness that the reader feels what it’s like to be Molly and comes away knowing that “weird” isn’t “bad.”

The surprise ending is a bit jarring but I think it could generate some great discussion among book clubs regarding Molly’s aversion to liars and cheaters expressed early in the book and how the story ends.

Nita Prose is an author to watch. Highly recommended.

Publication Date: January 4, 2022
Published By: Random House – Ballantine
Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy

The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova


Description

The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low, or why their matriarch won’t ever leave their home in Four Rivers—not for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed into a ceiba tree, leaving them with more questions than answers.

Seven years later, her gifts have manifested in different ways for Marimar, Rey, and Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings and powers. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea’s line. Determined to save what’s left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, her descendants travel to Ecuador—to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back.

Alternating between Orquídea’s past and her descendants’ present, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a “spellbinding tale, both timeless and fresh, that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. Prepare to fall in love” (Kim Liggett, New York Times bestselling author).

My Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher in August and was immediately drawn to the cover art, which is simply beautiful. I discovered that beauty was carried through to the text as soon as I began reading.

This is the story of a woman who began life as an unwanted child, a burden to her mother and an embarrassment to her stepfather, but beloved among the downtrodden in her village, who became the matriarch of a remarkable family. As a child, Orquidea wanted nothing more than to please her mother and take care of the people who needed help. She is portrayed as a resilient, clever child with a strong will who sees more to the world than most people. Cordova begins building the layers of Orquidea from the beginning, slowly moving towards the action that defines Orquidea’s adult life and the lives of her descendants.

Cordova has mastered the art of magical realism, blending magic with everyday life as naturally as a tree grows and gives life. The tree imagery runs through the story, beginning with Orquidea’s transformation into a ceiba tree, sacred to her people. It is believed that the souls of the dead ascend to the top of the trees to go to heaven. It was also a connection between all three worlds, the underworld, earth and heaven. Here, it is Orquidea, the matriarch, creating links between the past, the present, and the future.

The introduction of the fallen star reminded me of one of my very favorite books of 2020 – Quintessence by Jess Redman, a children’s book that used the fallen star imagery to remind us that we all have a light inside us and we just have to figure out how to ignite it. Orquidea understands that and does her best to help her descendants find their light. She uses the fallen star to wish her way into freedom.

This is also a story about obsession and possession. It’s a familiar trope – a woman running from a man who wants to consume and control her. Here, Orquidea finds the power and courage to escape but not without consequences. She lives with those consequences for 40 years before finally confronting her fear and anger and breaking free of him and it forever.

There are so many things to love about this book, but what brings it all together is Cordova’s gorgeous prose. She has mastered description and dialog and every word and phrase is exactly as it should be to create magic. She is a writer to watch and I look forward to more of her work.

This is my “Best of 2021” pick, for sure. I’ll be recommending this for a long time to come.

Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Published by: Simon & Schuster, Atria Books
Thanks to the publisher for an advanced reading copy

Author Spotlight – Heather Weidner

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Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia. 

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of CabernetDeadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series. Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

You’re getting ready to release a new cozy mystery series that features “glamping.” What inspired you to write this series? What other books have you written? 

My husband does a lot of restoration projects (vintage cars, boats, and room remodels), so we watch a lot of renovation shows. We landed on one where a team refurbished vintage trailers, and I thought this would be a cool twist on a traditional campground. Jules Keene owns the Fern Valley Camping Resort full of posh trailers that she and her father saved from the scrapheap. It’s so much fun coming up with cool amenities for “glamorous camping.”

I write the Jules Keene series. This is the first. The next two are FILM CREWS AND RENDEZVOUS, and CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND CAT FIGHTS. I also write the Delanie Fitzgerald series. She’s a sassy PI from Central Virginia who gets into way more trouble than I do.

Describe a typical writing day for you. 

I still have a day gig in IT, so I try to write every day. I start at 5 AM, and I write until works starts at 7:30. Then I write during lunch, and if I didn’t hit my word count, then I’ll do some more in the evenings.

Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books? 

There are so many. My mystery habit started out with the Nancy Drew series and Agatha Christie. I’m still an English major at heart, so I love Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Austen, Hitchcock, and Dickinson, but I always gravitate back to mysteries and thrillers. My favorites are Lee Child, Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, S. A. Cosby, K. L. Murphy, Kellye Garrett, Ellen Byron, Laura Childs, Libby Klein, Sherry Harris, Louise Penny, Diane Kelly, and Bree Baker (to name just a few).

What things influence your writing?

I’m a C. K. (cop’s kid). I thought everyone talked about murder, mayhem, and crime at the dinner table. (I was shocked to find out that they didn’t.) One of my first jobs as a kid was to pick up the shell casings on the range after my dad practiced. He’s retired now after 46 years on the force, but he’s still my best resource. There are just some things that you don’t want to Google like, “hey dad, what’s a meth lab smell like” or “how long would a body stay submerged if I weighted it down with a cinderblock.”

I think the people around me are big influencers, too. They all have great stories to tell. I listen to dialogue, and I’m always jotting down ideas that often make it into a story.  

What do you want readers to experience when they read your work?

I would love for them to experience a fun story and be challenged by a mystery with a lot of possibilities. I also want them to see that it’s not always about the murder or the crime. It’s about justice and fair play winning in the end.  

What kind of research do you conduct for your books?

I actually do a lot of research for fiction. I want to make sure that things I mention are real or plausible. For VINTAGE TRAILERS AND BLACKMAILERS, I did a lot of research on classic campers and tiny houses. I am fascinated by both, and people have done some really creative things. Jules Keene decorates each trailer with a theme, so I do research to make sure my history and details are correct.

Describe a book that changed your life.

That’s a tough one because I learn something from every book. I like books that inspire me and that generate creative ideas. Going back to elementary school, I was fascinated with the Nancy Drew series. My friend and I raced through the whole collection at the school library and later at the public library that summer. Nancy was teen who was able to solve crimes that the adults couldn’t. She had great friends, a cool car, and the freedom to sleuth. I loved that she was a normal teenager, and that was inspiring to a little girl in the fifth grade.

If your books were to made into films, who do you see in the major roles? 

Jules has long red hair. I could see Chloe Grace Mortez, Florence Pugh, or Hayden Panettiere as my sleuth. Tyler Posey or Taylor Lautner could play Jake, and I see Kyra Sedgewick, Mary Steenburgen, or Helena Bonham Carter as Jules’s aunt, Roxanne.

I’m a Gen-Xer who loves pop culture, so the book does have some movie allusions. Jules’s name came from Demi Moore’s character in ST. ELMO’S FIRE, and Jake was named after Jake Ryan in SIXTEEN CANDLES.

What book do you think everyone should read? 

I think people should read everything they can get their hands on. Read lots of genres and different authors. Read different cultures and points of view. To be a good writer, I think you need to be well read. (And you can never have too many books.)

What book are you recommending right now? 

It’s always the book that I’m reading at the moment. There are so many good books out there. I’m reading the Louise Penny Gamache mysteries right now. I just finished THE NATURE OF THE BEAST. Next up is S. A. Cosby’s RAZORBLADE TEARS. I loved his first novel, BLACKTOP WASTELAND.

 Social Media Links

Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeatherWeidner1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherWeidnerAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heather_mystery_writer/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8121854.Heather_Weidner

Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/HeatherBWeidner/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-weidner-0064b233?trk=hp-identity-name

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/heather-weidner-d6430278-c5c9-4b10-b911-340828fc7003

Book Summary

There is nothing like finding a dead body, clad only in a red satin thong, on your property to jolt you from a quiet routine. Jules Keene, owner of the posh Fern Valley Camping Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is thrust into the world of the Dark Web when one of her guests, Ira Perkins, is found murdered in the woods near her vintage trailers. Jules quickly discovers that the man who claimed to be on a writing retreat was not what he seemed, and someone will go to any length to find what he left at her resort. Jules, along with her Jack Russell Terrier sidekick Bijou, has to put the rest of the missing pieces of a blackmailing scheme together before her business is ruined.

Jules’s resort, set in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains near Charlottesville in the quaint town of Fern Valley, offers guests a unique vacation in refurbished and upcycled vintage trailers. Hoping to expand her offerings, she partners with her maintenance/security guy to create a village of tiny houses, the latest home DIY craze, but a second murder of a reporter interrupts Jules’s expansion plans. Curiosity gets the best of her, and she steps up her sleuthing to find out what Ira Perkins was really up to and what he was really hiding at her resort.

Book Links

Apple Books: ‎Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers on Apple Books

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09GGBFWT5

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Vintage-Trailers-Blackmailers-Heather-Weidner/dp/1685120369

Barnes and Noble: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers by Heather Weidner, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)

BookBub: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers: A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery by Heather Weidner – BookBub

BookShop: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers a book by Heather Weidner (bookshop.org)

Booktopia: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers eBook by Heather Weidner | 9781685120375 | Booktopia

FNAC: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers – Dernier livre de Heather Weidner – Précommande & date de sortie | fnac

Goodreads: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers by Heather Weidner | Goodreads

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/vintage-trailers-and-blackmailers

Target: Vintage Trailers And Blackmailers – By Heather Weidner (paperback) : Target Thalia: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers von Heather Weidner – eBook | Thalia

Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day


Description

“Irresistible… a Golden Age homage, an elegantly constructed mystery that on every page reinforces the message that everyone counts.” –New York Times Book Review

From the award-winning author of The Day I Died and The Lucky One, a captivating suspense novel about nurses during World War II who come to Agatha Christie’s holiday estate to care for evacuated children, but when a body is discovered nearby, the idyllic setting becomes host to a deadly mystery.

Bridey Kelly has come to Greenway House—the beloved holiday home of Agatha Christie—in disgrace. A terrible mistake at St. Prisca’s Hospital in London has led to her dismissal as a nurse trainee, and her only chance for redemption is a position in the countryside caring for children evacuated to safety from the Blitz.

Greenway is a beautiful home full of riddles: wondrous curios not to be touched, restrictions on rooms not to be entered, and a generous library, filled with books about murder. The biggest mystery might be the other nurse, Gigi, who is like no one Bridey has ever met. Chasing ten young children through the winding paths of the estate grounds might have soothed Bridey’s anxieties and grief—if Greenway were not situated so near the English Channel and the rising aggressions of the war.

When a body washes ashore near the estate, Bridey is horrified to realize this is not a victim of war, but of a brutal killing. As the local villagers look among themselves, Bridey and Gigi discover they each harbor dangerous secrets about what has led them to Greenway. With a mystery writer’s home as their unsettling backdrop, the young women must unravel the truth before their safe haven becomes a place of death . . .

My Thoughts

There have been a slew of mysteries published in last few years that feature Agatha Christie as a character in a real-life mystery. I’m beginning to think the trope is played out.

Here we have the story of two “nurses” engaged to care for ‘vacs – children evacuated from London during World War II. In this case, the children and their minders are sent to Greenway, the home of Max and Agatha Mallowan (Christie).

We know from the start that one of the “Bridget Kelly’s” is pretending to be a nurse, but hey, why not make the other Bridget Kelly also a faker? And let’s not make either one of them sympathetic. So begins one of the oddest stories I’ve read in a long time. I found the whole thing kind of muddled. General reviews have been good, so I may have to go back and re-read this one in a few months to see what I missed.

Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Published By: William Morrow
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Luminous by Mara Rutherford


Description

“Wonderfully lush and enthralling.” —Erin A. Craig, New York Times bestselling author of House of Salt and Sorrows

From the author of Crown of Coral and Pearl comes an immersive new fantasy about a witch who must learn to harness her power—or risk losing her loved ones forever.

Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king’s warlock, Darius, who uses mages’ magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn’t take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora’s childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius’s visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to.

To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she’ll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos—and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him.

“A beautiful, enchanting tale of a young woman coming into her own powers. Luminous shines as brightly as its heroine.” —Joan He, New York Times bestselling author of The Ones We’re Meant to Find

“Shining prose, radiant characters, and a love story that burns bright.” —Elly Blake, New York Times bestselling author of the Frostblood Saga

My Thoughts

This captivating tale of a young girl discovering her own power falls somewhere between A Court of Thorn & Roses and MarcyKate Connolly’s Shadow Weaver, meaning it will appeal to advanced middle grade readers as well as to teens and adults who enjoy fantasy.

The story is familiar – a young girl must hide her powers to keep herself and her family safe, but in Rutherford’s hands readers are treated to some first class world-building and character development. Rutherford draws inspiration from multiple places – e.g. the use of three sisters, the weaving of fate from Greek mythology, even The Nothing from Neverending Story which is how I interpreted Darius – but the story she creates in wholly hers and it’s one of the best things I’ve read lately. While the main character Liora was charming and brave, I was utterly captivated by the character of Margana and thought her fate, while unexpected, was well-done.

Highly Recommended.

Publication Date: October 5, 2021
Published by: Inkyard Press
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo


Description

A 2021 People Magazine Best Books of Fall Winner!

From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall comes a fantastical meditation on fate, love, and the power of words to spell the world.

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all—for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.

And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories—powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves—ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead. But Beatryce knows that, should she lose her way, those who love her—a wild-eyed monk, a man who had once been king, a boy with a terrible sword, and a goat with a head as hard as stone—will never give up searching for her, and to know this is to know everything. With its timeless themes, unforgettable cast, and magical medieval setting, Kate DiCamillo’s lyrical tale, paired with resonant black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, is a true collaboration between masters.

My Thoughts

Kate DiCamillo just keeps on writing perfect books. The Beatryce Prophecy is storytelling at it finest, with endearing characters and a compelling, folktale-like story led by a remarkable and memorable trio of characters. However, if you count the goat, it’s really a group of four!

All the elements of a story are here – characters that leap off the page; a well-constructed plot that keeps the reader turning pages; a setting defined by vivid description; and a tension that grips you by the hands and pulls you along to the very satisfying conclusion.

This would make a lovely classroom read-aloud that could be used to spark discussion on a number of topics, including equity in education.

Highly recommended.

Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Published By: Candlewick Press
Thanks to Edelweiss+ for the review copy

Beasts and Beauty by Soman Chainani


Description

You think you know these stories, don’t you?

You are wrong. 

You don’t know them at all.

Twelve tales, twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts. Each twists like a spindle to reveal truths full of warning and triumph, truths that free hearts long kept tame, truths that explore life . . . and death.

A prince has a surprising awakening . . .                           

A beauty fights like a beast . . .

A boy refuses to become prey . . .

A path to happiness is lost. . . . then found again. 

New York Times bestselling author Soman Chainani respins old stories into fresh fairy tales for a new era and creates a world like no other. These stories know you. They understand you. They reflect you. They are tales for our times. So read on, if you dare.

My Thoughts

I’ve read a lot of fairy tales retold and reimagined, but nothing – nothing! – like this. Chainani completely disrupts the old tales and rewrites them ferociously for all those readers who never once saw themselves in those stories.

There is power here – power of women and girls, power of color, power of sex – all woven together into a dark and delicious fist raised to the traditional, exclusionary tales.

Little girls with onyx skin and springy curls will see themselves here, as will beautiful boys who prefer red-haired thieves to brittle wives.

There is anger here, but there’s also righteousness. These are tales for our time.

Highly Recommended.

Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Published By: Harper Collins Childrens Books
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

Baking with Dorie by Dorie Greenspan


Description

From James Beard Award-winning and NYT best-selling author Dorie Greenspan, a baking book of more than 150 exciting recipes

Say “Dorie Greenspan” and think baking. The renowned author of thirteen cookbooks and winner of five James Beard and two IACP awards offers a collection that celebrates the sweet, the savory, and the simple. Every recipe is signature Dorie: easy—beginners can ace every technique in this book—and accessible, made with everyday ingredients. Are there surprises? Of course! You’ll find ingenious twists like Berry Biscuits. Footlong cheese sticks made with cream puff dough. Apple pie with browned butter spiced like warm mulled cider. A s’mores ice cream cake with velvety chocolate sauce, salty peanuts, and toasted marshmallows. It’s a book of simple yet sophisticated baking. The chapters are classic: Breakfast Stuff • Cakes • Cookies • Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and Crisps • Two Perfect Little Pastries • Salty Side Up. The recipes are unexpected. And there are “Sweethearts” throughout, mini collections of Dorie’s all-time favorites. Don’t miss the meringue Little Marvels or the Double-Decker Caramel Cake. Like all of Dorie’s recipes, they lend themselves to being remade, refashioned, and riffed on.

My Thoughts

There seem to be a lot of baking books coming out this year. Fortunately, Dorie Greenspan never disappoints. My kids gave me one of her baking books for Christmas a few years ago and it’s one of the first books I turn to when I need a solid, reliable recipe for a delicious treat.

I enjoy Greenspan’s books because she writes in a way that gives the reader confidence to try these recipes. She includes all the information you need to replicate the luscious treats pictured throughout the book so even beginning bakers can be successful. Little touches like “don’t worry of the batter looks curdled – it will even out” lend a certain sense of comfort to bakers following her recipes. Her descriptions of what the dough or batter is supposed to look like provides a sense of safety and calm for less experienced bakers.

Here, Greenspan offers fresh takes on some familiar recipes, as well as plenty of new and creative baking ideas. I’ve stopped using Pinterest and food blogs for recipes because they invariably suck. We are lucky that bakers like Greenspan, her peers, and her publishers continue to provide cookbooks full of well-tested recipes that you pretty much can’t screw up as long as you follow the instructions. Any baker worth her rolling pin will want to take a look at this.

Recommended.

Publication Date: October 19, 2021
Published By: Mariner Books
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

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Description

“The buzz…is real. I’ve read it and was blown away. It’s a true nerve-shredder that keeps its mind-blowing secrets to the very end.” —Stephen King

Catriona Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street is a shocking and immersive read perfect for fans of Gone Girl and The Haunting of Hill House.

“The new face of literary dark fiction.” —Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street at the edge of the wild Washington woods lives a family of three.

A teenage girl who isn’t allowed outside, not after last time.
A man who drinks alone in front of his TV, trying to ignore the gaps in his memory.
And a house cat who loves napping and reading the Bible.

An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.

My Thoughts

This book had me absolutely engrossed from the very first chapter. The author builds nerve-jangling suspense while unrolling an intricate and oh-so-horrifying plot revolving around a man who is living a real nightmare. The blend of horror, fantasy, and mystery creates an atmosphere that I haven’t felt since reading Stephen King’s The Shining or Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House..

Fans of tightly plotted, intricate psychological suspense will thoroughly enjoy this one.

Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Published By: Macmillan/Tor/Forge
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy