In a boarded up house at the end of a remote little street houses some interesting occupants and this story is told from their point of view. There is Ted (a recluse), Lauren (Ted's daughter), Dee (sister of a little girl who went missing years ago) and my favorite Olivia (a bible quoting cat). As the story progresses you think you know what is going on (but you don't) to an ending you've sure you've read before (but you haven't). To say more would spoil the whole thing. It is wonderfully dark, eerie, scary and really twisted and it is easy to see why Stephen King finds it remarkable. A LibraryReads pick. 4 stars
Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher
A debut that brings to mind the mystical , romantic and dangerous adventure found in A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, books by Alice Hoffman and Paula Brackston with a dose of Mean Girls thrown in. Persephone is lost - an orphan who never stays in the same home, place, relationship or job for long because she knows at some point they will look into her eyes and run the other way or harm themselves. As you can imagine, it makes it really hard to date. She takes up a friend's offer to visit a faraway island and falls down the rabbit hole. She begins to understand her connection not only to the island but the inhabitants and her own history. Good old fashioned spell casting, curse breaking, world jumping, herbal teas to cure it all plus a wondrous library - this story has something magical to suit every taste. A great crossover for young adults as well. 4 stars
The Ex-Hex by Erin Sterling
Magical RomCom that pits a failed relationship against a curse and angry witches. Vivi lives in a magical little town where she teaches at the college and quietly practices magic. She is a good witch except for the night her boyfriend announced that there was the other girl back home and she cursed him with every awful thing she could think of. Nine years have passed and Rhys must come back to the college that his ancestors founded to strengthen the ley lines that boost the magic connection. Something is really wrong with the connection and his magic. The only connection that is still very electrified is the one he has with Vivi. Time is running out and only days to solve the magical mystery. Witches, curses, haunted libraries fill the pages along with some very witty writing and characters you want to see win. This is the perfect "stay home by the fire and read" book. For fans of DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY and even the zany world of Charlaine Harris and Sookie Stackhouse will love this. 4 stars
The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik
This is the second in a series that features a school of magic where if you aren't careful you won't survive. El and her protective hero boyfriend Orion are in over their heads when they try to get ready for finals which in this school could mean your final breath. Lots of gross mals , strange creatures and a wide variety of students means this is scary fun for all. I would recommend reading the first book to get the whole background of El and Orion's relationship but you could read this by itself and still enjoy it. Fun for fantasy loving adults and young adults. 4 stars
Anthony Bourdain was a creative genius which usually comes with a dramatic presence, explosive personality, perfectionism and high energy. He fit most of that persona and was able to contribute to a multitude of projects over his lifetime. This book is based on interviews organized by his friend and long time co-writer. Tony is well represented by family, friends and people he worked closely with covering a variety of personal memories and a variety of venues. If you are a fan or wonder what drove his relentless energy - this is a great choice and companion read to his other books. 3 stars
This is the second book in the Thursday Murder Club series and it is easy to see why it appeals to so many readers. The characters are sharp and all have interesting back stories some which explain their fascination with murders and others, their somewhat shady past. The wit and writing is smart with just enough clues to get you hooked but not enough for you to solve the whole thing in a few chapters.
Elizabeth is reunited with someone she killed off but is now back in her life trying to save his own. Murder and missing diamonds are more than enough to get the gang eager to join in the hunt and avenge pain inflicted on one of their own. This series has all the lovable characters and banter of the Louise Penny Inspector Ganache series with the level of mystery and violence to satisfy crime lovers. 4 stars
Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo
Andrew travels to begin a graduate study program at Vanderbilt and his best friend since childhood just like they had planned except for one little hitch. Eddie had pushed off Andrew's arrival date and without any warning committed suicide. Andrew needs answers and he doesn't believe Eddie would have taken his own life. There is a restless spirit that needs Andrew to find those answers as well. As Andrew questions people who were close to Eddie and adapts to the lifestyle of Eddie's last months he falls deeper into the supernatural rabbit hole. Classic gothic horror full of untapped longing, dangerous dark summer nights, unkept promises and goosebumps galore. It starts slow like a humid summer night and ends like a fresh batch of moonshine - drugs, drinks, drag racing and danger. Readers of THE BLADE BETWEEN, THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS and WHEN THE RECKONING COMES will appreciate this relationship deep dive/ horror debut. 4 stars
The Stolen Lady by Laura Morelli
Dual timelines - one in Florence where Leonardo DaVinci will begin his masterpiece of a noblewoman and the second is in the beginning of the war and how officials at the Louvre worked to quickly move most of its priceless treasures to hidden locations away from the Nazi invasion. Anne is working as a typist but is asked to accompany museum officials as they catalogue and move countless treasures including the staff favorite - the Mona Lisa. Anne quickly becomes much more to the group and will do anything it takes to keep this painting and others out of Nazi hands putting herself in great danger.
Bettina is Lisa's maid who has been with her since birth and will do anything to protect her and her half finished portrait from harm. The last narrative is from Master DaVinci himself where we get a glimpse of his triumphs, failures and attempts at dodging unfinished commissions and political havoc. Historically accurate and informative as well as entertaining, this story will appeal to art lovers and WWII readers alike. 4 stars
This is a most unusual book in that there is an air of the paranormal but mostly it is a character driven story of family, community and grief. Benny loses his beloved father as a young teen and begins to hear voices from ghosts but mainly from objects around him. At the same time his overprotective mother begins to pull inward and becomes a hoarder. With the library as the communal hub, Benny finds another kind of family in the street people who gather there and the caring library staff. There are passages of pure poetry and even the complicated voices of Benny's book blend seamlessly into the story. Family, coming of age and grief are all major themes as well as being an advocate for libraries and mental illness. Readers of light fantasy with an emphasis on strong character development with love this book.
4 1/2 stars
A small town sheriff up for re election and dealing with his wife's illness and their daughter's loss of a baby is given added problems when he is confronted with a murder. Some in town believe the victim was part of a drug deal gone wrong, some think he was in the wrong place that night but it is certain that Sheriff Barnes has much on his plate. Southern small town relationships good and bad, racial tension and authentic characters you will fall for. Readers looking for character driven stories as well as those who want a crime story will be well taken care of here. 4 stars
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Fantasy / Sci-Fi
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