Spellbook of the Lost and Found

Spellbook of the Lost and Found is an interesting look at 2 sets of teenagers that are affected by a spell book that seems to have found them. Moira Fowley-Doyle’s chapters jump from character to character and at first I was annoyed since the thread of the story appears linear but not all at the same time. It took me awhile to warm to the characters, but once I did I loved the story. Olive, Rose, Rowan, Hazel and Ivy are the contemporary cast that are affected by the spell when so many of their things end up being lost. Bracelets, time, memories are all things that go missing.

Then diary entries from another set of characters start finding their way into their lives. As they try to piece everything together, the spellbook seems to find them and they dangerously cast the spell to find lost things in hopes that it will fix their lives. But with all magic, there are consequences.

At first the style of this novel bothered me since it was hard knowing how any of the characters knew or related to one another. But once the relationships became clearer, the story was fascinating and well told. Its a magical time of year and this was a great pre-Halloween read.

Read September 2017

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Dead and Breakfast

Kate Kingsbury’s Dead and Breakfast is a cute mystery set in a fictional town on the Oregon Coast. Melanie West and her spunky grandmother buy and are renovating an old house on the ocean that appears to be haunted. While removing wallpaper they come across a skeleton in a hidden chamber and their lives are put on hold. They cannot open their bed and breakfast until they’re allowed back into the crime scene and the small town police have bigger worries than a 10-plus year skeleton. So its up to the pair to find the killer so they don’t go broke before their opening day.

This was actually a cute, fun local read that I almost didn’t read because the cover is AWFUL! There’s a fake ghost and a weird cartoonish looking dog with the Inn in the background. The story deserves a better cover.

Read September 2017

The Lake House

In Kate Morton’s The Lake House, we meet members of the Edevane family 70 years after their baby brother mysteriously vanished. Sadie Sparrow is a detective on forced leave who’s staying with her grandfather on the Cornwall coast. The nearby Edevane family’s country estate piques her interested in its preserved derelict state. Family members have not returned to the estate since 1933 and the house, while wild on the exterior, seems to be a time capsule on the inside.

Along the way, we hear the history of many members of the Edevane family, including several who have died years ago. Guilt was a key component in many of the stories and it isn’t until the past is resurrected and the truth exposed can they once again feel free.

This was a well written mystery with many theories moving alongside each other until the truth is discovered, with many unexpected revelations after 70 years.

Great read!

Read September 2017

The Last Good Girl

In The Last Good Girl, Emily Shaprio disappears after a night at the college bar. Allison Leotta sets up the story really well with current chapters from the pov of the prosecutor Anna Curtis, as well as transcripts of vlogs that Emily did for a media class and transcripts from a disciplinary committee. The main suspect is Dylan Highsmith, a wealthy frat boy who had been accused of raping Emily months earlier.

As we follow Anna Curtis in her search for information about Emily’s past, Leotta shines the spotlight on how colleges hide the rape culture that is prevalent on this, and many other, college campus. Cover-ups, buy-offs, deflection, anything to help the young-man continue HIS education and not impact HIS future, especially if there’s a big enough donation.

Anna is desperate not to let the rapist win, to the point where its impacting her family and friends. There’s a nice twist at the end, but it really the social injustice within this novel that drew me into the story and kept reading.

Interesting, well-written read.

Read August 2017

Little Pretty Things

In Lori Rader-Day’s Little Pretty Things, we explore the high school friendship of Juliet and Maddy. While they were the closest friends in high school, Maddy came in first in every track race they ever ran together, until suddenly they stopped running and stopped being friends. 10 years have past since they’ve seen each other and we meet Juliet in a dumpy motel on the outskirts of their hometown. She dropped out of college when her father died and she seemed to have lost all her drive and ended up in this dead end job. When in walks Maddy, beautiful, wealthy, and makes Juliet question all of her life’s choices up to this point. She sees in Maddy what she could have had, and once again she’s in second place to Maddy.

Or is she? Maddy is found murdered at the motel and Juliet is intent of finding who killed her former best friend. Juliet ends up tangled in a web of deceit that makes her realize that coming in 2nd place might be the better spot to have ended up. The entire town’s facade is ripped off as Juliet and Courtney, an investigating officer and classmate of Juliet and Maddy’s, uncover abuse that the town has been living with for decades.

A compelling read and a cautionary tale for teenage girls looking to find their way in this world on their own.

Read July 2017

 

The Winter Foundlings

Holy hell, The Winter Foundlings is an addictive read. Kate Rhodes takes a horrible story of a child murderer and somehow makes it worse. In The Winter Foundlings, we follow Alice Quentin, a psychologist who transfers to the high-secutrity prison to study the treatment methods for the worst criminals, outside of London. While there, Alice is hoping to meet and study the treatment for Louis Kinsella, a child killer with no remorse, when back in London a child is found murdered in a way that matches Kinsella’s murders.

Quentin must remain impartial and clearheaded as she’s pulled into Kinsella’s world and manipulated by her own mentor and premier crime psychologist.

Rhodes tells the story of Quentin’s investigation interspersed with an abducted child who’s fighting for her life in whatever way she can. The details of the murders are horrific and hard to read, but Quentin’s devotion to them and finding their killer is hypnotizing.

There’s a similarity between this novel and Silence of the Lambs, not that I’ve read that recently, but the feel is the same with a male psychotic killer manipulating a woman investigating a current crime. There’s more of a copycat killer in this novel than in the other. But it doesn’t matter. This story feels so original and is so gripping, I can overlook the similarity.

Read July 2017

The Carrier

Sophie Hannah’s The Carrier tells the story of a man who confesses to a murder that none of the investigating officers think he committed. The murder undoubtably took place in the comatosed victims bedroom, and all the evidence backs up the confession. But why would the victim’s husband, a man who had left his wife until she went into the coma, confess to a murder that would send him to jail. The husband’s mistress-of-sorts from years ago gets mixed up when she meets the victims caretaker.

The novel is very detailed about all the different relationships the victim had and how the husband could have so many legitimate reasons to kill her, but yet nothing makes sense.

This wasn’t a quick read for me. I think the detail is very dense and required time in between readings to think about the plot. I can’t tell if this was a good thing or not. Overall, the book was enjoyable to read.

Read June 2017