The Balmoral Incident

Alanna Knight’s The Balmoral Incident gives insight into a royal getaway with the royal physician and his sister, Rose McQuinn. While traveling with the King gives Rose luxuries she’s not accustomed to, it also leads to several unexpected deaths which Rose cannot help but investigate. With a side detour into the feminist movement of 1905 Scotland, that was mostly a ploy to continue to storyline.

While I enjoyed reading this book, the ending was left hanging for me. It’s probably what would have happened in real life, but this is fiction and someone should have been punished.

Read March 2017.

Whispers in the Mist

Lisa Alber writes about a quaint little village on the Irish coast that has an annual Matchmaker festival where the town is inundated with romantics looking for love and so many others taking advantage of the festive occasion. When the grey skies start rolling in, the myth of Grey Man starts scaring the children and when a stranger shows up dead, it begins to scare the adults as well. Whispers in the Mist was a great read with so many unique characters who all have history with one another, as happens in small towns.

The clues left along the way seem to cloud the story even more, but the ending was suspenseful and unexpected.

Enjoyable read. March 2017.

Among the Wicked

In Among the Wicked, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder needs to infiltrate a strict Amish community in upstate New York. Having been raised Amish, Burkholder knows how to befriend and investigate members of this exclusive group after a young girl dies mysteriously.

Linda Castillo weaves an incredible story in Among the Wicked. Her characters have to simultaneously live in multiple worlds and portray very different traits depending on whom they are talking with. Kate Burkholder is just one of many people living in different worlds and its up to her to find out about the secrets everyone is hiding.

This was a great glimpse of Amish life mixed with some cult-like traits of their leader. Great conclusion to this novel with unexpected twists.

Read February 2017

Code Grey

Clea Simon’s Code Grey started odd and didn’t get any better. Dulcie Swartz is a grad student trying to work on her thesis over spring break while the campus is empty. Unfortunately the school’s renovation and the death of a former student of the university has her trying to figure out a decades old case of missing books. In the process, Dulcie talks to her cat, and it responds, and she sees signs and visions from her dead cat. This was a bit too eccentric for my mystery loving habit and I was turned off by it. Also, when Dulcie’s boyfriend, who went home for the week, scolds her for walking around by herself at night, the feminist in me was triggered and I questioned every interaction afterward, never veering from my anti-boyfriend stance.

I thought Code Grey would be a different type of mystery. It was, but not in a way I enjoyed.

Read February 2017

A Great Reckoning

I love Louise Penny. I think her characters have a sophistication and wit that I love reading. In A Great Reckoning, Gamache, no longer Chief Inspector, takes on the Surete Academy with the hopes of ridding it of the bad apples that had been graduating rotten officers for the last several years. He makes so many changes and creates such chaos that the existing students don’t trust his motives, while the new students are being indoctrinated into the new and old ways simultaneously.

And then a professor of the old ways is found murdered in his room. Many secrets are exposed while Gamache has to sit aside and let others run the investigation. In order to protect a group of students, Gamache squirrels them away to Three Pines to solve a lesser mystery of a map hidden in the bistro’s walls.

Penny is able to tell a story from two perspectives as the students begin to learn who their new Commander Gamache is and what he stands for.

Great read!!

Read February 2017

How to be a Woman

How to be a Woman is part memoir and part feminist educational material. Caitlan Moran is a British journalist and she uses this memoir to explore her relationship with her own womanhood and help define feminism for woman who may be uncomfortable with that term. She sums it up basically saying if you have a vagina and want to  be in charge of it, you’re a feminist! I can’t disagree but was surprised that it took this comedic look at feminism to admit that they were feminists. A little disappointing in some friends, but at least they learned.

Anyway, this was a funny look at all things woman: from waxing, periods, pregnancy, how society views women, aging, and so much more.

I was amused throughout the book and thought Moran’s personal history was worthy of a book by itself. Her relationship with her sister cracked me up!

Great read!!

Read February 2017

Finding Me – A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings

Michelle Knight survived the unimaginable. She was held captive by a lunatic for over 10 years in deplorable conditions. In Finding Me, she tells her story of survival from childhood abuse, kidnapping, rape, beatings, abortions, and so much more. Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus were held captive by Ariel Castro in a normal neighborhood where family members and band mates came and went from the same home.

This is a disturbing story for so many reasons, most of which is how alone Michelle is. She came from a large dysfunctional family and when kidnapped spent years chained to the same bed as another person, and now that she’s out, she’s utterly alone. How can anyone cope with what she endured? How can anyone trust? Michelle had very few good things happen in her life that it seems amazing that she’s functioning at all, yet she seems ok. She’s not nearly as resentful as I think she should be. She has a childlike quality to her writing and stories, which makes some of the horrific things weirdly easier and harder to read. This is not someone with a depth of knowledge of the world and yet she knows how horrible people can be and still walks one.

Interesting read. I wouldn’t recommend due to the highly disturbing contents of her life, but I hope writing this book helped her.

Read January 2017