Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia, a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror, follows the experiences of a courageous socialite in 1950s Mexico who is drawn into the treacherous secrets of an isolated mansion. It is also the subject of the December 17th meeting of our horror book discussion group, Novel Scares. Register now to join us, via Zoom.
This week we have a collection of romance, horror, historical fiction, and much more for you to choose from. You can also find topics such as friendship, family life, and animal & nature… Enjoy!
Shadows in Death by J. D. Robb – Spotting an infamous assassin from Dublin among the onlookers at a Washington Square Park murder scene, Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband, Roarke, struggle to protect each other when they discover the killer is targeting them.
One by One by Ruth Ware – When an offsite company retreat is upended by an avalanche that strands them in a remote mountain chalet, eight coworkers are forced to set aside their corporate rankings and mutual distrust in order to survive.
The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves – Discovering a toddler in an abandoned vehicle near the run-down home where her estranged father grew up, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope approaches the property during a boisterous Christmas party before discovering the body of a woman outside.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman – Taken hostage by a failed bank robber while attending an open house, eight anxiety-prone strangers including a redemption-seeking bank director, two couples who would fix their marriages and a plucky octogenarian discover their unexpected common traits.
Robert B. Parker’s Fool’s Paradise by Mike Lupica – Surprised by the murder of a man he met the night before at an AA meeting, Paradise Police Chief Jesse Stone follows leads to one of the wealthiest families in town to identify the victim and his mysterious agenda.
A Question of Betrayal by Anne Perry – A sequel to Death in Focus finds daring young MI6 photographer Elena Standish embarking on a first mission in Mussolini’s Italy to rescue and uncover the truth about a former lover who betrayed her six years earlier.
Hanging Falls by Margaret Mizushima – Scouting for trail damage after a Timber Creek flood, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner, Robo, stumble on the body of a murder victim with ties to a bizarre religious cult, before an unexpected visit leads to astonishing revelations.
The Stone Wall by Beverly Lewis – A Lancaster County tour guide researches her Alzheimer’s patient grandmother’s Plain heritage and the story behind a mysterious stone wall while confronting a difficult choice about her growing feelings for a handsome Mennonite and a young Amish widower.
The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk – A father on the brink of uncovering his missing daughter’s fate and a talented Foley sound artist find themselves on a collision course with Hollywood’s violent underworld. By the best-selling author of Fight Club.
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons – Wanting to organize an assisted death on her own terms, a world-weary octogenarian forges an unexpected bond with an exuberant 10-year-old who drags her to tea parties, shopping sprees and other social excursions.
Monogamy by Sue Miller – Derailed by the sudden passing of her husband of 30 years, an artist on the brink of a gallery opening struggles to pick up the pieces of her life before discovering harrowing evidence of her husband’s affair.
Dear Ann by Bobbie Ann Mason – A woman facing a life crisis reflects on her past as a naïve graduate student who set aside her educational ambitions at the height of the Summer of Love to pursue an obsessive relationship.
What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez – A woman who is content to listen to the people she encounters talk about themselves is asked by one to do something extraordinary, in the new novel by the New York Times-best-selling, National Book Award-winning author of The Friend.
Call of the Raven by Wilbur A. Smith – An action-packed and gripping adventure by bestselling author, Wilbur Smith, about one man’s quest for revenge, the brutality of slavery in America and the imbalance between humans that can drive – or defeat – us.
Do you like to read the book before you watch the film or television adaptation? Or are you someone who doesn’t mind seeing the screen version and then reading the book? Or, perhaps you are one of those people who only does one or the other. I must admit, there have been times that I chose not to read a book because the movie was not that interesting to me (looking at you Divergent series).
We’ve got some great television and film adaptations to look forward to, and below are a few of my top picks for books you should read before their adaptations hit your screen.
A brand new HBO series just launched based on this awesome book by Matt Ruff. I really enjoyed the book, a smart mash-up of historical fiction, Lovecraftian horror, and sci-fi fantasy elements. Readers follow a series of of inter-connected stories about an extended African American family in the 1950s, mostly taking place in Chicago, and their dangerous encounters with the supernatural (sorcerers, inter-dimensional portals, a haunted house) and the terrible, rampant racism they constantly faced during the Jim Crow era.
The film adaptation of this book is slated to hit Netflix September 16th so you have plenty of time to pick up this book (which is what I plan to do as I haven’t read it yet!). Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s, including a husband and wife team of serials killers and a disturbed war veteran. The book, Pollock’s first novel, was described as “violence-soaked” from it’s first pages by The New York Times Book Review, so be prepared for a dark and disturbing read.
This newly published horror thriller has already been put into development by Hulu according to recent news. The drama series will be based on Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s bestselling novel, and produced by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos’ Milojo Productions and ABC Signature. Set in 1950s Mexico, Mexican Gothic follows glamorous and young socialite Noemí from her home in Mexico City to the dismal grounds of High Place, a gloomy English manor styled estate in the Mexican countryside. She is there to check in on her newlywed cousin after receiving a frantic letter begging for someone to save her. What will she discover about this odd family and strange house?
Are there any big or small screen adaptations that you are really excited about this year? Share in the comments!
I recently finished Stephen Graham Jones’ latest novel, The Only Good Indians, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The book is amazing, and unlike anything I’ve read. Teetering along a fine line between literary horror (yes, there is some disagreement as to whether that exists but I strongly support the notion that it does), a straight-up revenge story, and multi-faceted narratives of various Native American experiences, it delivers some serious gore alongside real emotional pain. It’s wildly atmospheric and to put it plainly, weird. Weird in the very best way, of course.
The revenge plot centers on four Native American men getting their just deserts after disrespecting the sacredness of an elk herd while hunting on elder tribal lands. The group’s excessive spray of bullets decimates an elk herd that includes a pregnant elk, who struggles with every thing she has to survive for her calf. She succumbs to her wounds and the Blackfeet reservation’s game warden discovers their trespass which results in them being forced to leave all the elk meat behind, except for the cow who fought so hard. The four pals are banned from hunting on the reservation for ten years as further punishment, but their real punishment arrives years later.
Without spoiling too much of the story, because there are indeed some surprising twists and turns, I can say this moment of carelessness and disregard results in very serious repercussions for the four men, their friends and family, and even their pets. In the beginning readers increasingly question what is real and what is being told to us by an unreliable narrator. Eventually, through a very clever shift in perspective, readers see the truth of what is happening and the story really picks up speed as we hurtle towards a conclusion.
The Only Good Indians is a stellar example of how horror can also be literary, as Jones has crafted a deeply felt look at cycles of violence, identity and the price of breaking away from tradition, and perhaps most surprisingly, the power of forgiveness and hope. I can’t promise it will all make sense in a neat, tidy way in the end but it doesn’t really need to honestly. A #ownvoices title that is highly recommended reading for fans of horror, literary fiction, strong character writing, and twisty plots.
Trigger warning: When I say there is gore in this, I am not exaggerating. It does include some brutal ends for specifically dogs. I assure you, the book overall is worth reading and you can breeze past some of the grisly paragraphs if need be.
The Only Good Indians is the November selection for Novel Scares book club, my book club devoted to all things horror. Please join us for a lively discussion on Zoom November 12th @ 7 pm! Registration for fall programs begins September 1st and you can register for Novel Scares here. This program is also part of the county wide One Community Reads, taking place now through September, inviting you to read and reflect about race, injustice, history, and a better future.
Happy reading and stay safe!
In this weeks picks, there are many varieties, such as romance, horror, mystery, and so much more to choose from! Here are some books that may peak your interest!
Hideaway by Nora Roberts – A family ranch in Big Sur country and a legacy of Hollywood royalty set the stage for Nora Roberts’ emotional new suspense novel.
A Week at the Shore by Barbara Delinsky- The author presents a captivating new novel about a woman whose unexpected reunion with her estranged family forces her to confront a devastating past.
The Friendship List by Susan Mallery – Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever. They discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos.
If It Bleeds by Stephen King – A collection of four novellas includes the title story in which Holly Gibney of the Bill Hodges trilogy and “The Outsider” struggles to face her fears and another possible outsider.
The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews – Volunteering at her grandmother’s craft-center Renaissance Faire, Meg is challenged to prove the innocence of her grandfather when he is wrongly accused of murdering a fairgrounds performer who was suspected of mistreating a rare falcon.
Sucker Punch by Laurell K. Hamilton – When a young wereleopard is scheduled for execution for the brutal murder of his uncle, Anita Blake navigates escalating pressure from the local authorities and family demands for justice in the face of evidence that does not quite add up.
True Story by Kate Reed Petty – Haunted by the roles they played in covering up the sexual assault and attempted suicide of a student 15 years earlier, reclusive ghostwriter Alice and her former schoolmate, Nick, explore memories from different viewpoints that eventually reveal what really happened.
In Case of Emergency by E. G. Scott – Managing a painful career setback with the help of an online support group and a secret boyfriend who goes mysteriously missing, a neuroscientist is declared a person of interest when she is asked to identify the body of a stranger.
The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter – Investigating a brutal murder that eerily resembles another from years earlier, Will Trent reopens the case of a possibly wrongly convicted prisoner before teaming up with medical examiner Sara Linton to hunt down the true killer.
The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne – Living in self-imposed exile in a psychiatric facility where she is tortured by fractured memories of her parents’ murder, Rachel uncovers maternal secrets and an unspeakable act of evil that unveils the true nature of her bond with her sister.
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis – A New York Public Library superintendent’s wife reevaluates her priorities upon joining a woman’s suffrage group in 1913, decades before her granddaughter’s efforts to save an exhibit expose tragic family secrets. By the best-selling author of The Chelsea Girls.
The Night Swim by Megan Goldin – In this new thriller from the author of The Escape Room, a podcast host covering a controversial trial in a small town becomes obsessed with a brutal crime that took place there years before.
Brontë’s Mistress by Finola Austin – A meticulously researched debut by the award-winning “Secret Victorianist” blogger follows the scandalous 1843 love affair between a grieving Lydia Robinson of Thorp Green Hall and her son’s erratically unconventional tutor, Branwell Brontë.
The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz – An Ivy League overachiever accepts a job at a prestigious Manhattan law firm where the dynamics of workplace sexism force her to choose between her career and doing what is right. A first novel.
The Palace by Christopher Reich – When a man to whom he owes his life reaches out from prison, international spy Simon Riske recruits a daring investigative reporter and a rogue Mossad agent to thwart an international conspiracy targeting major European cities.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson – The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns identifies the qualifying characteristics of historical caste systems to reveal how a rigid hierarchy of human rankings, enforced by religious views, heritage and stigma, impact everyday American lives.
Live Free or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink by Sean Hannity – The Fox News host and best-selling author of Conservative Victory argues that the leftist radicalism that he believes undermined American democracy in the 1960s must be purposefully fought again during the 2020 election to prevent progressive changes.
True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump by Jeffrey Toobin – The CNN chief legal analyst and best-selling author of American Heiress presents a behind-the-scenes account of the Mueller investigation to explain how in spite of associate convictions and an impeachment, Donald Trump has survived to run for reelection.
A Furious Sky: The Five-hundred-year History of America’s Hurricanes by Eric Jay Dolin – A best-selling author tells the history of America itself through its 500-year battle with the fury of hurricanes.
The Finisher by Peter Lovesey – Tasked with crowd control during the Other Half, Bath’s springtime half marathon, Detective Peter Diamond catches sight of a violent criminal he put away years ago and believes he may be responsible for a runner not crossing the finish line.
Can you believe that we are more than halfway through 2020?! I know I surely cannot. Little did we know in January how very different this year would look compared to years past, and really March to now have been a bit of a foggy blur. Not only does my handy dandy planner help me with my to-do lists now more than ever, it also helps me remember what day it is (which was not so much of an issue pre-2020).
One thing that remains constant though is the joy of reading. Despite whatever madness might be occurring, I can always find a comfy perch somewhere and escape into a book for a few hours. Books have been a reassuring friend to me these past five months and I hope you have been able to curl up with a fabulous book as well.
Below you’ll find some of my most favorite books I’ve read so far this year!
Miller’s novel is absolutely amazing. Circe is a beautifully written, smart, feminist tale that takes readers into the world of Greek mythology but with an entirely new vantage point. Circe is the daughter of Helios, god of sun and mightiest of the Titans. She is strange, empathetic, and viewed as weak by her family and peers, turning to mortals for friendship and comfort. Eventually she discovers she holds the power of witchcraft, particularly the power of transformation, and is subsequently banished to live in exile on a remote island. Here is where she truly finds herself and her power. This complex story has it all- complicated heroines, magic, monsters, romance, tragedy, and adventure. It is also very much a story about families and finding our own paths independent of our familial bonds. I wept at the ending not only because of how perfect it was, but because I could have easily read another 300 pages of this masterpiece.
I’ve written about my fangirl love for Jeff VanderMeer’s work on this blog before, but this is perhaps my most favorite book of his to date. It is also the one that ripped my heart out. It is an exploration of the beauty of humanity, conversely also about the cruelty humanity is capable of, and the endurance of love- all packed into under 100 pages. Readers will be mostly lost if they haven’t read any of the other Borne stories (Borne; Dead Astronauts) so I would highly recommend picking up at least one of those before diving into The Strange Bird. Here we follow a new character- a biotech bird mixed of human, avian, and other creature’s genetic material, known only as the Strange Bird. Following her escape from the lab that made her, she is plagued by mysterious dreams, drawn by some invisible beacon inside her to a faraway location. A difficult and gorgeous story that will stay with you long after you close the cover.
Perhaps my favorite spooky book so far this year (and you know I love spooky books!). An eerie and atmospheric horror story of women and witchcraft, that also reads as a psychological thriller. The story is set in colonial New England and follows a young woman who is lost in the woods while picking berries for her family- or did she leave her family on purpose? Much is unclear about her circumstances. Eventually she runs into a helpful older woman in the woods, who leads her to yet another mysterious and generous woman with a cozy cabin and plenty of food. Quickly it is made clear that all is not what it seems in this forest and these women may not truly be trying to help her return home. Elements of classic fairy tales and folklore, combined with an unreliable narrator and surreal, dreamlike moments unfold into a disturbing story that I could not put down.
I wasn’t sure I liked this book until I was more than halfway through it, but I’m glad I kept reading, because it turned out that I actually loved it. The writing is extraordinary and what kept me turning the pages, but I wasn’t confident this tale of wealth, white-collar financial crimes, and ghosts would all come together and hit me with the emotional impact I expect of a book. Well, The Glass Hotel delivers and in many unexpected ways. The story looks at multiple characters, but begins and ends with Vincent, a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass palace on a remote island in British Columbia. Readers travel to Manhattan, a container ship, the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, and back, as we follow the connecting threads of one devastating Ponzi scheme and the various people it’s long tendrils dragged down with it.
This book is tricky- it wants you to think it is one story, but it twists and turns into another story and then yet another story. It is difficult to share why it is so captivating and amazing without spoiling too much of the plot, but I can say the early parts of the book introduce you to two particularly irritating white hipster men. They have an obsession with “real” music which essentially means any music that is from black culture and eventually this morphs into a hyper-focused interest in blues from the pre-war era for one of them. There are some seriously funny but bothersome passages discussing audiophile interests, vinyl collecting, and expectations of “real” musicians. I assure you, it is worth it to keep reading through the annoying narrator. The story really goes off the rails maybe halfway through and takes readers on a a new narrative that shifts our sense of reality and time, eventually ending with a note of satisfying and thought-provoking vengeance. Alternatively, this is also a story about white privilege, appropriation of black culture (especially music) in America, white wealth created from the exploitation of black bodies, the industrial prison system, and many more deep seated themes.
Have you read any of my favorites? What are some of your favorites that you have read in the past six months? Share with me in the comments!
We have some new releases picked out for you to dive in for the following week. There is more adventure, detective, romance, suspense and true crime for you to enjoy!
Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis – The co-creator of the It’s Lit! web series presents the alternate-history tale of a woman who becomes an interpreter for an unknown being when her estranged whistle-blower father launches a media frenzy about a first-contact cover-up.
Quantum Shadows by L. E. Modesitt – On a world called Heaven, Conwyn, known as the Shadow of the Raven, contains the collective memory of humanity’s Falls from Grace and discovers that another Fall may happen and if he doesn’t stop it, mankind will not survive.
The Sin in the Steel by Ryan Van Loan – In a debut fantasy set in a world of dead gods, pirates and shapeshifting mages, a brilliant former street youth-turned-detective and her ex-soldier partner investigate the activities of a pirate queen to expose societal corruption.
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson – Observing a life of strict submission to minimize discrimination for her mixed heritage, Immanuelle discovers dark truths about her community’s church and her late mother’s secret relationship with the spirits of four witches.
Near Dark by Brad Thor – A latest entry in the best-selling series that includes such award-winners as Backlash, Spymaster and The Last Patriot continues the high-suspense adventures of elite military operative and intelligence agent, Scot Harvath.
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue – A novel set in 1918 Dublin offers a three-day look at a maternity ward during the height of the Great Flu pandemic. By the best-selling author of Room.
The Answer Is: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek – Longtime Jeopardy! host and television icon Alex Trebek reflects on his life and career.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – The award-winning author of I Am, I Am, I Am presents the evocative story of a young Shakespeare’s marriage to a talented herbalist before the ravaging death of their 11-year-old son shapes the production of his greatest play.
The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsession with the Unexplained by Colin Dickey – The co-editor of The Morbid Anatomy Anthology and author of Ghostland examines the world’s most persistent unexplained phenomena, from Atlantis and alien encounters to Flat Earth and the Loch Ness monster, to explore their origins and historical endurance.
The Daughters of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase – Moving to 1970 Foxcote Manor when their London home burns down, a woman and her children take in an abandoned baby girl who is forced to investigate a murder and her own origin story 40 years later.
Decoding Your Cat: The Ultimate Experts Explain Common Cat Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones – American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Ed by Meghan E. Herron, Debra F. Horwitz & Carlo Siracusa – Providing in-depth coverage of the underlying reasons for problematic feline behavior, a guide to promoting a cat’s physical and psychological health shares science-based anecdotes to explain how cats relate to the world and their environment.
Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel – Envied for her close relationship with a famous music artist and Julliard classmate, a successful chamber group founder finds her summer plans riotously upended by sudden family upheavals, including her elderly father’s marriage.
Perfect Father, The: The True Story of Chris Watts, His All-American Family, and a Shocking Murder by John Glatt – Documents the August 2018 murders of Shanaan Watts and her young daughters, describing how viewers watched her husband’s televised plea for help less than 24 hours before he confessed to killing his family.
Baseless: My Search for Secrets in the Ruins of the Freedom of Information Act by Nicholson Baker – The National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of The Mezzanine presents a deeply researched assessment of the Freedom of Information Act that reveals how deliberate obstructions, from extensive wait times to copious redactions, conceal government corruption and human-rights violations.
The Vanishing Sky by L. Annette Binder – A mother in a rural 1945 German community protects her traumatized soldier son from her husband’s escalating nationalism, while her younger son flees the Hitler Youth to embark on a perilous journey home.
She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man’s World by Jennifer Palmieri – An empowering guide to feminism by the best-selling author of Dear Madam President outlines a blueprint for activism while sharing lessons from her personal choice to live on her own terms instead of embracing toxic patriarchal norms.
Drone Strike by Nicholas Irving & A. J. Tata – Nicholas Irving’s Reaper: Drone Strike is the next book in the explosive thriller series by the former special operations sniper and New York Times bestselling author of The Reaper.
Lights Out: Pride, Delusion, and the Fall of General Electric by Thomas Gryta & Ted Mann – How could General Electric perhaps Americas most iconic corporation suffer such a swift and sudden fall from grace? This is the definitive history of General Electrics epic decline, as told by the two Wall Street Journal reporters who covered its fall.
How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson – From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson comes the story of a mother-daughter journey to rediscover the past before it disappears forever. Heartrending at times and laugh-out-loud funny at others, How Lulu Lost Her Mind is the book for everyone and their mother.
Paris is Always a Good Idea by Jenn McKinlay – One of Popsugars Best New Books for Summer 2020. A thirty-year-old woman retraces her gap year through Ireland, France, and Italy to find love&;and herself&;in this hilarious and heartfelt novel. From the start of her journey nothing goes as planned, but as Chelsea reconnects with her old self, she also finds love int he very last place she expected.
So it appears that I have been pretty stingy with the 5 star ratings so far this year. Here are the final titles that have been outstanding reads for me so far this year.
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis: This brutal survival story is not for the squeamish! Ashley always felt right at home in the deep woods of the Smoky Mountains, so she was looking forward to what was supposed to be a fun night of camping and drinking. But, after finding her boyfriend with another girl, she storms off in a drunken rage. She takes a hard fall, but she’s too mad to worry. It’s not until she wakes up the next morning that she realizes she is alone, far from the trail, and injured. It’s a race against time, and the infection creeping up her leg, to get herself to safety. I am huge Mindy McGinnis fan and can’t wait to read what she offers next.
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert: Marva Sheridan has been waiting to be old enough to vote for as long as she could remember. One election day she was the first in line at her polling spot. As she’s heading out to go to school she overhears a guy her age insisting he was registered, despite his name not being on the rolls. Marva steps in to intervene, and sets off a chain of events she never anticipated. She and Duke, the guy from the voting spot, set off to set the record straight and enable Duke to cast his first vote. The more time they spend together the more they learn about each and the more they learn the more they like each other.
The Voting Booth hits many hot button topics in the news-voter suppression, gun violence, police brutality-in one delightful, whirlwind tale. I have read everything Brandy Colbert has written and she never disappoints. This is a must read!
Slay by Brittney Morris: You don’t have to be a gamer to appreciate the fact that 17-year old programmer Kiera is a genius. Kiera Johnson is one of just a few black kids at her school, but after school she joins thousands of black gamers in the multi-player online role playing game called SLAY. What no one knows is that she is creator. She goes to great lengths to protect her identity, but when a murder IRL is connected to the game and a troll infiltrates the world of SLAY, Kiera’s safe and beloved world is in danger. Can she protect her creation and her identity? This is not my go-to type of book as I have not interest in online games, but I am so glad I picked this one up. Great characters and a thoughtful look at the need for black people to have safe spaces just for themselves.
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei: Pair this nonfiction autobiography of the author’s childhood experience in Japanese internment camps with the Kiku Hughes’s fictionalized account of her grandparents’ experiences. Takei’s story is a harsh reminder that internment camps were part of our country’s RECENT past. There are people living today who were imprisoned for being Japanese and Japanese-American.
My last three 5 star reviews are parts of series.
The Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland: This sequel to Dread Nation picks up the story of Jane McKeene, a badass restless dead hunter, as she ventures West towards California. This alternate history duology takes place after the Civil War, when soldiers because rising from the dead and government decided that form slaves and black girls were the perfect people to battle the undead. It’s a wild ride!
The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson: This is the third and final book in the Truly Devious series. It is a completely satisfying end to the story of Ellingham Academy. Fans of true crime and My Favorite Murder will recognize the cases of hiding people Stevie mentions. Fans of Agatha Christie will appreciate the many nods to the queen of mystery stories. I can’t to see what Maureen Johnson has in store for us next!
The King of Crows by Libba Bray: This is the final book in the super creepy Diviners series. I was not expecting the tears at the end of this one. This final book in the series is a scathing commentary on our past wrongs and evils, a cautionary tale as our current political environment has shockingly repeating some of these wrongs, and also a hopeful and stirring love letter to true American patriotism. As I was having these thoughts I kept wondering if I was reading too much in to it, but the author’s note, which I recommend NOT skipping, confirmed that I was not. Oh, and there was a really awesome story about ghosts and monsters and people with powers and love and romance and running away to join the circus. Truly a masterpiece.
That’s all for my 5 star reads of 2020, but I have plenty of amazing 4 star titles to share in future posts. Stay tuned.
This week we have a collection of autobiography, horror, historical fiction, and much more for you to choose from. You can also find topics such as friendship, family life, and political science… Enjoy!
Filthy Beasts: A Memoir by Kirkland Hamill – A writer for Salon and The Advocate reflects on how his newly divorced mother moved her family to her native Bermuda, leaving him and his young brothers home to fend for themselves while she chased nightlife and suitors.
Miracle Country: A Memoir by Kendra Atleework – Describes how the author’s thriving childhood in the natural desert landscape of the Eastern Sierra Nevada was upended by her mother’s tragic early death and how the region of her youth has been ravaged by climate change.
When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for the Wrongly Convicted by Jim McCloskey with Philip Lerman. Foreword by John Grisham – The founder of the Centurion Ministries, the first American organization dedicated to freeing the wrongly imprisoned, describes his life-changing advocacy of an innocent convict and his establishment of a movement that has freed dozens of victims.
Other People’s Pets by R. L. Maizes – Abandoned by her mother and thief father, a woman who empathically relates more to animals than people drops out of veterinary school and turns burglar, targeting houses where ailing pets can benefit from her care.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones – A novel that blends classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives.
Peace Talks by Jim Butcher – Joining the White Council’s security team to help facilitate peace among hostile supernatural nations, wizard Harry Dresden is confronted by manipulative political forces that threaten all of Chicago. By the best-selling author of the Codex Alera series.
Queen of Storms by Raymond E. Feist – Posing as innkeepers and awaiting instructions from their Kingdom of Night masters, Hatushaly and Hava are assassins from the mysterious island of Coaltachin and are called to arms when the Greater Realms of Tembria are threatened.
The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal – When political divides, riots and sabotage compromise the Earth’s response to the Meteor strike, Elma departs for a fledgling Mars colony before the challenges of interplanetary pioneer life are further complicated by her husband’s presidential campaign.
Age of Consent by Amanda Brainerd – Forging a deep friendship in spite of disparate backgrounds, two 1980s boarding school students join a friend for the summer in a New York City apartment, where they are affected by sexual relationships with powerful older men.
The Order by Daniel Silva – The award-winning author of The New Girl and The Other Woman presents a latest high-action thriller that pits enigmatic art restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon against an international threat that tests the limits of his skills.
A Walk Along The Beach by Debbie Macomber – Two sisters must learn from each other&;s strengths and trust in the redeeming power of love in a touching new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.
The Revelators by Ace Atkins – Struggling to recover after an attempt on his life, Sheriff Quinn Colson resolves to track down his would-be killers, only to find his efforts stymied by an interim sheriff who has been appointed by a corrupt governor.
Demagogue by Larry Tye – The definitive biography of the most dangerous demagogue in American history, based on first-ever review of his personal and professional papers, medical and military records, and recently unsealed transcripts of his closed-door Congressional hearings.
Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman – The feminist hosts of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast argue that close friendship is the most influential and important relationship a human life can have, sharing strategies for creating fulfilling, long-term relationships with friends.