The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Katarina Bivald’s The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a sweet tale of a Swedish bookworm, Sara, and her penpal Amy from Broken Wheel, Iowa. When Amy invites Sara to spend a holiday at her home in her small-town, she described a once thriving town on decline. When Sara arrives, not only is the small town at deaths door, but Amy has passed through. Unaware of Amy’s death, Sara now finds herself the guest of the whole town, not that there’s much to see.

Trying to repay all the kindness, Sara starts a store with all Amy’s books. She cannot officially work and does it all for free. This seems to start a rivalry with the next, more lively town over, and Broken Wheel starts to come back to life. Sara’s visa will be ending soon, so the town comes up with a plan to keep Sara there.

A cute, fun read.

Read October 2016.


Carthage, by Joyce Carol Oates, is a crazy story of a seemingly perfect, public family gone awry. When the oldest daughter’s engagement to a PTSD stricken Iraqi veteran ends, it seems like the family will be able to recover. Until the younger daughter goes missing.

She was last seen with the ex-fiance who was later found drunk in his car and blood stains in the passenger seat. Due to his heavy medication and his use of alcohol, he remembers nothing of the last evening. The whole search for the daughter and the conviction of the vet tears the family apart.

It seems like a sad family ending but we’re only halfway through the book. The twist is sad and strange and changes the whole perception of the perfect family.

Great, slow read.

Read October 2016

Snow Woman

Leena Lehtolainen’s Snow Woman is centered on a FinnishDetective Maria Kallio’s investigation of a possible murder at a feminist retreat center. Many misogynistic stories are told through the possible suspects who are staying at the retreat center. Child abuse, religious oppression, rape, statutory rape, amongst others. Kallio is an interesting choice as a detective and I really enjoyed seeing how a woman police officer would handle early pregnancy while working such a demanding job.

The ending was unexpected but well set up. Good read.

Read October 2016

The Man Who Smiled

The Man Who Smiled, by Henning Mankell, has Detective Chief Inspector Kurt Wallander recovering on the coast of Finland. He spent much of the last few months depressed about shooting a man during a police investigation. So depressed that he wasn;t able to help a friend who asked him to look into his father’s death. When this friend turns up murdered a few weeks later, Wallander cannot help but investigate. This tragedy brings Wallander back to what he does best.

This novel really shows the dark, brooding side of Wallander that we catch glimpses of in other novels. He cannot take no for an answer and pushed hard to uncover facts other colleagues have missed.

Great read.

Read September 2016.

Bury Your Dead

Bury Your Dead is one of Louise Penny’s best Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries. It resolved a wrongful conviction from The Brutal Telling, tells some history of Quebec City’s founding, a current murder in the small community of English speakers that remain in Quebec City, and the results of a police raid that left the Chief Inspector as well as Inspector Beauvoir are seriously injured.

So many great stories within this novel. Each told as if it was the most important. And so much in this novel sets up future story lines. Fantastic read!

Read September 2016.

A Banquet of Consequences

Elizabeth George’s A Banquet of Consequences deals with a family led by matriarch Caroline Goldacre. Inspector Lynley is talked into investigating a suspicious death by his partner Barbara  Havers, who is currently on probation for some non-orthodox investigation methods.

Clare Abbott is a well-renowned feminist writing making the literary circuit when she is found dead in her hotel room. Her assistant, Caroline Goldacre, had access to the room and was heard arguing with her the night before her body was found. Clare’s editor, Rory Stratham, also a dear friend of Clare, convinces Havers that the death is not natural and a second autopsy is requested.

George delves into Caroline’s family history which is filled with tragedy and lies. Caroline’s relationship with her sons, one now deceased, and the women in their lives is bizarre and unnerving. Could she be lying now to cover up a murder, or is lying so second nature to her that its hard to tell the truth from lies anymore. Havers and Lynley investigate to find whatever truth they’re able to find.

The truth is more horrific than what I originally thought and the ending is superb. Not what I expected, for sure.

Great novel!

Read September 2016

A Market for Murder

Another Rebecca Tope novel that shows a charming English countryside’s murderous side. A precursor to A Grave in the Cotswolds, we learn a little more about the Slocombe family and how Karen is injured. They live in a small world that is trying to live simply. Farmers Markets, non-consumerists, non-GMO’s, simple burials are all topics normal in their world. Until a bomb goes off at a big grocery store. Is it the naturalists against the big corporation, or is their dissent in the happy little bubble that the Slocombe’s and their friends live in.

A easy, quick read allowed me another glimpse into a quaint world tainted by murder.

Read September 2016.