There was always an aura of mystery around Agatha Christie but never as much as when she disappeared into thin air. Marie Benedict gives us a glimpse into what may have happened and insight into her life and marriage. She was raised to be a stoic British wife who put her husband and then children before her own needs. When she wanted to write it was treated as a whim and even when she brought in quite an income and success, it was still dismissed by her husband. When she goes missing her husband is cool and unconcerned but he becomes more agitated when his little secret might not stay a secret. Her car is found abandoned with her belongings inside at a remote spot known for suicides and still her husband doesn't think they will look at him. The chapters alternate between her early years and then up to her disappearance. Yet another historical tale that shares the behind the scenes look at a brilliant and largely unknown woman. It is as if Ms. Benedict summoned Ms. Christie from the great beyond to lay the clues and we get to solve her mystery. 4 1/2 stars
A twisty thriller debut filled with unreliable witnesses, missing bodies and a lot of wrongdoing for good reasons. Lila knows that her missing husband isn't just missing but dead. She should know because she killed him and placed his body along with his car where it would be found. One problem - he wasn't there when the police found the car. The police detective's are already busy trying to find a number of missing young women. Lila knows something about that and decided to take action. There are no boy scouts in this story. No one can be trusted. No one is innocent. No one in the town has any idea what has been going on right under their nose. This will appeal to thriller lovers especially those that enjoy women getting revenge. 3 1/2 stars
Post WWII and as Billie comes home to Australia minus her dashing corespondent husband, billie takes up her late father's private eye practice. This new case isn't the standard cheating husband but a missing teen and she and her assistant Sam may be up to her ermine and jewels in danger. Car chases, late nights, good champagne and plenty of thugs make this a classic detective noir a la Mickey Spillane but from a spunky woman's point of view. I am looking forward to further adventures of Billie Walker. 4 stars
This is the latest installment in the Invisible Library series. Our trustworthy spy librarian is back in the danger zone with her new assistant (a very young Fae). Along with Irene on this mission is her lover Kai (a dragon) and old friend Inspector Vale. They are in the middle of a dastardly plot involving reanimating Fae and must get around some near- miss assassination plots which may or may not involve someone who is dead. They are also in the middle of some very fragile peace agreements between the mythical powers that be. I love these clever tales which have the feel of a good Victorian mystery but with the addition of supernatural creatures and a spunky librarian. Anyone who enjoys a take charge female lead, unusual sidekicks and a touch of fantasy will enjoy this series. 4 stars
Now, here is my list of top ten for 2020 and a bonus title in no order.
THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY by Matt Haig (fantasy)
THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E. Schwab (fantasy)
THE NEW WILDERNESS by Diane Cook (post-apocalyptic)
THE STONE GIRL by Dirk Wittenborn (mystery)
MY DARK VANESSA by Kate Elizabeth Russell (social issues)
VALENTINE by Elizabeth Wetmore (social issues)
PLAIN BAD HEROINES by Emily M. Danforth (fantasy/horror)
A BURNING by Megha Majumdar (social issues)
MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno Garcia (fantasy/horror)
MISS BENSON'S BEETLE by Rachel Joyce (historical fic)
HENCH by Natalie Zina Walschots (fantasy)
There are so many more I could have added.
A cross between A Tale of Two Cities and Narnia, this unusual tale begins with Dhikilo attending her old history teacher's funeral and the disappearance that day of the letter "D". She has been tasked with traveling to the mystical world of Liminus along with the teacher's labrador who is really a sphinx and stopping the evil tyrant Gamp from stealing any more letters. As soon as the journey begins we are introduced to a parade of new creatures, some who welcome the girl and her og and some who attack them. It is a story full of magic, morals and mystery and you will become immersed in this new world quickly. This book is one of those that is hard to classify as a kid's book, adult fairy tale or family read. I was left with some questions as to how the two worlds were connected and why no one else seemed to notice or care about the missing "D" from speech and signage but it did not hamper my enjoyment. 4 stars
How does a single mom of six raise her children to be independent and confident individuals with a sense of purpose and pride? It takes an incredible amount of energy and equal parts family team building with individual attention and most of all - love. Kelly Rippon knew that she was in 100% to help her son Adam achieve his goals of becoming an Olympic figure skater but she did not count on needing to be available 24/7 for his other five siblings. Since she was newly divorced that left little time for herself but she realized early on that in helping her kids become confident and successful that she would gain that same success and confidence. Each chapter highlights the type of influence that a parent has on their child including - perspective, confidence, accountability, optimism and empathy. Kelly Rippon speaks from the heart and offers advice that any parent can try in their own household. It is easy to see why she has such a huge following and has been influential to a wide audience - she radiates positivity. 4 stars
Greer Macallister has a delicious way of presenting her main character in tasty little bites of information that we can't entirely trust but we want to. Virginia led expeditions through the treacherous West to California. She was tough but had a great partner until he died in an accident. Now, she is summoned by a wealthy woman on the East coast to lead a group of women to the Arctic in search of a missing explorer (their patron's husband) and his ships. She is not very forthcoming about why she choose Virginia nor the women who have already been chosen to accompany her and she insists that her involvement remain anonymous. Every other chapter pivots from Virginia's past to the courtroom where she is on trial for murder. Only a handful came back and as we learn more of the expedition you are kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It has an ending that you won't see coming which is another one of the author's gifts. These fascinating women are based on a montage of true events that make for one incredible historic mystery. Fans of unreliable female narrators, historical mystery and Macallister's other books will find this irresistible. 4 stars
Beth Rivers is a survivor who has run away to remote Alaska after a deranged madman kidnapped her. She refuses to live in fear but he is still out there and that is why only the local police chief as well as the police detective and her mom at home know who and where she is. Beth is starting to make friends in Alaska and is making friends when a frozen body is found and two young girls find their way to her place. Suddenly her mystery writing skills and police upbringing has her knee deep in danger again. Bodies turning up, little or no cell phone service, miles of remote landscape in bone chilling weather and a madman searching for you would be enough to make any sane woman get out.
A enjoyable sequel to the first book with the same nail biting encounters in the wild and stories that mix high tension in a small town that loves to keep secrets. You get enough of the background to make this a standalone read but it will mean much more to you if you read the first book. A great pick for readers of outdoor thrillers with ramped up adventure and small town drama. 4 stars
You have an old whaling town in New York that is currently being overrun by wealthy buyers from the city. People who have lived in Hudson for generations are losing their businesses and homes as well as their past. Antique shops and trendy restaurants have replaced butcher shops and dive bars. You also have three friends who have been reunited and form a love triangle - Dom and his wife Attalah and newly returned from New York City, Ronan. Attalah and Ronan want to take back the town and they begin a hate campaign. Dom, a cop, chooses to look the other way until things get really ugly.
It is a love story of friendships, lovers and flawed families. It is a story of power and hate and how a little spark can burn a whole town down. It is also a ghost story of towns the way they were, of childhood friendships and lovers that have changed and great flying whales in the sky. This will appeal to readers who want solid characters caught in unusual positions and don't mind a glimpse into a fuzzy reality. 4 stars
I love to read good books and share the new books that are available and those that are coming soon