Murder in the Afternoon

Murder in the Afternoon, by Frances Brody, is a quaint English countryside mystery teeming with sexism and classicism. Kate Shackleton is asked by her birth sister to come investigate her husbands disappearance. Immediately, Kate butts up against the local police who cannot understand how a woman could help them. Kate also must deal with that perception from her father and boyfriend, even though her instincts and her decisions further the investigation more than anything else.

Overall, an easy fun read.

Read December 2018

The Italian Teacher

Pinch Bavinsky lives his entire life in the shadow of his famous father, Bear Bavinksy. The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman, documents Pinch’s life from a young boy to his death, and how his desire to please his father dictates so many choices in his life. Bear is central to the story and to the lives of everyone in his large, extended family. His art, his life, his career is whats most important to him, and to extension everyone else. Pinch feels like a failure compared to his father and ends up living a shadow life but failing at that too.

This was a great read! Following Pinch following Bear through the art world and how artists are made or not by reputation more than skill sometimes. And Bear’s reputation is what he holds most dear in this world. In the end, Pinch’s final Fuck You to Bear is unbelievable and totally deserved.

Read December 2018

Bloodstains with Bronte

Bloodstains with Bronte is the second Katherine Bolger Hyde novel that I’ve read, and that she’s written. I like her style and quirkiness. I don’t think they’ll win any mystery awards, but they are well written with a homey feel.

Now Emily Cavanaugh has moved to the Oregon coast to remodel her inherited home into a writer’s retreat. In the process, a young man with predatory past ends up dead. Cavanaugh sees literary suspects and love interests everywhere.

Again I enjoyed the novel references throughout but there was some religious anti-LGBTQ  but love the person that I found a little questionable and hope that these characters grow enlightened in the next novel, or I may need to question my acceptance of small town quaint.

Quick, enjoyable read.

Read July 2018

Christopher’s Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger

Its been years since the original V.C. Andrews wrote this series and whoever is writing it now, seems to be writing for a much younger audience. Weirdly, I read most of the original series when I was in middle school, so maybe it never was as “mature” as I think it was. But this story has a terrible teen romance that somehow tries to mimic the incestual relationship of Cathy and Chris in Flowers in the Attic. Not something that’s particularly exciting to mimic. And the teen romance and drama was just, blah.

If I see another V.C. Andrews, hopefully I’ll remember this one and skip the next one. But I’ve been reading these books for almost 30 years, so there’s some sort of draw that I can’t seem to resist. Plus its so easy to read that it doesn’t take much out of me…

Read November 2018

The Historian

I love this novel by Elizabeth Kostova! I’ve read The Historian multiple times and I always enjoy the scholarly fictional approach to the search for Dracula. Kostova has her characters chasing each other and myths around Europe in different generations and different pairings, but its an exciting ride.

Once again a great, interesting read!

Read November 2018

The Burning Girl

I read Claire Messud’s The Burning Girl awhile ago, and it didn’t really stick with me. I liked it at the time and there’s a lot of good scenes with Julia and Cassie as they grow and grow apart from middle school to high school. Many of the scenes made me cringe thinking back on my own adolescence and loosing friendships over big and little things. But the end of the novel made me so sad about how people can hide things and even looking back, you can’t know for sure what was happening.

Read October 2018