Sunday 31 December 2017

2017 Reading Summary

I didn't reach my goal of 150 books this year, only getting to 145. As my husband says, too much time spent playing solitaire on my iPad. I definitely am changing that for the new year. However I've also been spending more time doing crafts such as needlework, so that has been taking some time as well.

Here's how I stand at the end of the year:

By type and genre: (note that some books may fall within more than one genre)
Fiction         124                  33 of these were part of a series
   Mystery/Thriller   43
   Historical Fiction  22
   Romance               19
   Fantasy                   8
   Science Fiction       3
   Short Stories           6
No westerns this year

Nonfiction     21
   Biography and Memoir  10
   Essays                              2
   Drama                              0
   Poetry                               0

By audience
Adult      117
Teen         13
Children   15

Translated works  7
French   4
German 2
Italian    1

50 of the books I read were by Canadian authors
Male authors                                   33
Female authors                             107
Multiple authors incl. both sexes     5

Physical book   127
Audiobook         17
ebook                   1

Library                     46
My own                    97    (77 of these left to other homes after I finished them)
Family borrow           2

I've had better years in terms of books read, and have been on a downward trend the last few years. Hopefully we'll go up again in 2018.

Wrap-Up of Gentle Spectrums 2017 Reading Challenge

I completed this challenge successfully.

This challenge ran from February 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018, but since I do it every year, I stop at the end of December.

The challenge has two parts,

A Limitless Hues
This part has the names of colours in book titles or the word colour or terms like iridescent, bright, light, hue, spectrum, rainbow, shade, etc. Terms that might be shades of a color like cherry or canary don't count with the colour itself

1. The White Princess by Philippa Gregory. Finished March 27.
2. Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves. Finished May 1
3. Purple Palette for Murder by R.J. Harlick. Finished October 21

B Gentle Subjects
This part has ten subject categories to match to book titles. Some will also allow content matches.

1. History
Historic people, content, places, symbols, and books set in 1967 or earlier.
The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure by Adam Williams. Finished February 4 (set in 1899-1902 China)
Sister of Mine by Sabra Waldfogel. Finished February 7 (set in 1852-1867, Georgia)
Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis. Finished February 13 (set in 1502-1503 Italy)
One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn. Finished February 28 (set in 1918-1919)
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans. Finished March 28 (set during WWII)
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers. Finished April 25 (set during the US Civil War and a few decades later)

2. Food
Food and drink, and words typically used to describe them like sweet or sour.
Cake or Death by Heather Mallick. Finished February 23
Egg Drop Dead by Laura Childs. Finished March 21
Princess Pistachio and Maurice the Magnificent by Marie-Louise Gay. Finished June 20
Cottage Cheese Thighs by Jenn Sadai. Finished July 6
Baby Cakes by Theo Heras. Finished September 24

3. Sky
Elements by day or night, astronomy, spiritual terms
Racing the Sun by Karina Halle. Finished March 6
Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves. Finished May 1
The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel. Finished November 13

4. Canadian
Titles do not need to match this category. Canadian authors and features do. A brief Canadian setting does not count. I didn't use all my Canadian books, but chose a few.
You Can Read by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann. Finished February 4 (Canadian author)
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman. Finished February 18 (Canadian author and setting)
A Murder for Max by John Lawrence Reynolds. Finished March 30 (Canadian author and setting)

5. Money, Valuable, Class
Monetary terms, gems, etc.
Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg. Finished February 5
Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon. Finished February 22

6. Music
Musical terms. Also books about music or musicians, or by musicians.
The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys. Finished March 19

7. Is the Third a Charm?
Titles associated with "three". A third volume, or your third book by an author. Include a comment as to whether the author is more appealing or less at this third book.
Three Jack Reacher Novellas by Lee Child. Finished April 4
The Twenty-Three by Linwood Barclay. Finished July 5 (third in trilogy)

8. Traditions, Practices, Celebrations
The Burial by Courtney Collins. Finished February 18
An Intimate Wilderness by Norman Hallendy. Finished April 8

9. All Critters
Boar Island by Nevada Barr. Finished March 1
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Finished March 15
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston. Finished March 29
A Cast of Vultures by Judith Flanders. Finished April 18
A Bed of Scorpions by Judith Flanders. Finished May 14
The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner, illustrated by Jonathan Lambert. Finished June 9
A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle. Finished July 14
Rusty Puppy by Joe R. Lansdale. Finished October 5

10. Clothing or Fashion
The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore. Finished December 4

European Reading Challenge Wrap-Up 2017

Well, I did far less European countries than I have in the past. Only the five necessary to complete this challenge.

Hosted by Rose City Reader, this challenge is one I like to do every year. It gets me reading books from or set in other countries and fulfills part of my love of travel in a vicarious way.

Here is the link for the challenge. I will be doing the Five Star challenge again, which requires me to read books from 5 European countries. The challenge host has the details for the challenge requirements.
Here is the link to my sign-up for it.

My books:
1. Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis. Finished February 13 (Italy)
2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. Finished March 15 (France)
3. The White Princess by Philippa Gregory. Finished March 27 (England)
4. A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle. Finished July 14 (Ireland)
5. To the Back of Beyond by Peter Stamm. Finished September 18 (Switzerland)

Saving Montgomery Sole

Finished December 31
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki

This young adult novel has 16-year-old Montgomery Sole at the center. Monty, as she is known to her friends, lives in a small town in coastal California with her two moms, Jo and Kate and her little sister Tesla. Coming from Canada, Monty feels like a misfit in her school, that is until Thomas arrived. Thomas is a year older and a grade above her, but also a bit of a misfit. He is gay, and a thinker and drama enthusiast. The two formed a Mystery Club, which is not about mystery books, but about discussing things they don't understand, or that are mysterious. When new girl Naoki, also part Canadian arrives, she migrates to their group for all the right reasons and as the book opens, the three are fast friends.
There is the usual bullying behaviour by some of the cool guys and gals at school, led by Matt, for the guys, and Madison for the gals. Monty has a bit of a history with Matt, and the betrayal by him makes his actions more personal for her. When another new kid arrives, and Monty finds that his father is the infamous Reverend White, who preaches against the sins of homosexuality, she immediately takes against him.
Monty sees an ad on the internet for something called the Eye of Know and, since it is cheap, decides to order it. When it comes, it isn't what she expected, and she isn't really sure how to use it, but when she tries, it seems to have violent effects.
This is a story of friendship, of families, of the power of belief, and of things and people not always being what they seem.
I loved it.


Finished December 31
NewsPrints by Ru Xu

This teen graphic novel features a girl, Lavender Blue, who dresses as a boy to work as a newsboy and live at the newspaper's orphanage run by the mayor of Nautilene and his wife. The country they live in, Goswing, is in the tenth year of war against Grimmaea, and many men are away at war. Many others will never return.
As the book begins, Blue is running from a rival group of new deliverers, having trespassed on their turf. She gets away by climbing a fire escape and getting into an abandoned industrial building. There she meets a man who goes by the name of Jack and who seems to be a no-very-successful inventor working on some sort of device to attract birds. She becomes his apprentice, running errands and helping out wherever she can.
On a trip to the shipyards where he plans to meet the admiral in charge, Blue meets the admiral's daughter who has been working as a secretary, and also finds a boy who seems to be living on the edge, a boy who calls himself Crow. As Blue and Crow become friends, and she gradually gains his trust, she increasingly finds herself wanting to be her true self, and reveal her female identity.
This is an interesting story of sexual bias, set in a wartime situation. A story of having the freedom to be who one truly is, without having to hide parts of that, or do what others believe is right for us.

One Day It Happens

Finished December 31
One Day It Happens: Stories by Mary Lou Dickinson

I loved this collection of short stories. Some of the characters appear in more than one story, which is nice. I liked the range of stories here as well. There are stories showing compassion for others, compassion for oneself, and struggles with mental illness.
There are stories of illness and of menace, stories of celebration and of worry. The author gets inside her characters heads in a meaningful way, showing us thought processes, struggles for what to do next in their lives. Their are stories of friendships, of marriages breaking down, of lives starting anew.
I enjoyed all of them. Dickinson is a wonderful writer.

Last Lullaby

Finished December 26
Last Lullaby by Alice Walsh

A mystery set in a small town in Newfoundland, this novel features the main character of Lauren LaVallee, a lawyer who also teaches at the local college. Lauren is a single mom of a 4 year-old daughter, Bailey, having left Bailey's father when she became pregnant, knowing that a child didn't fit into his plans.
The college is widely known for its drama program, and attracts talent from outside the province. Lauren is friends with many of the other professors. One of them is Emma, head of the English department. Emma is also a single mom, with a daughter, Dylan, the same age as Bailey. Both women teach a young woman Jade, who seems to be struggling as a single mom. She hasn't been coming to class or meeting deadlines. They go together to have a talk with Jade. Jade's apartment seems a bit of a mess, but her daughter Cara seems well cared-for, and the two women offer support, but Jade seems too worried about her finances to pay attention.
Lauren is reminded of another friend of hers, Claire, who has recently had a baby, Ariel. Claire has been struggling with postpartum depression, and has delayed her return to work at the college, where she teaches in the drama department. Claire's husband Bram is a local doctor and busy with his practice. Claire's doctor Anya has been helpful, but Claire is still struggling. Lauren makes plans to go see Claire soon.
I liked the characters in the book. There is depth to them. Lauren has some things in her past she isn't proud of, and we gradually find that she isn't the only one with secrets.
Because it is a small town, people connect with each other in more than one way. A local police officer, Rebecca, is also a student in Lauren's legal class at college, and has a child in the same daycare as Bailey. A young man, Patrick, is doing a coop at the daycare, but also sometimes babysits for parents like Jade and Claire. He's nearly finished college and plans to start his own daycare. Two other college teachers, life partners, have just adopted a baby girl, but seem reluctant to have visitors or to bring the baby out for a baby shower. One of them also seems very friendly with Patrick.
When Claire wakes up one afternoon and discovers young Ariel dead, and the death seems to be homicide, Lauren takes the case, and believing in Claire's innocence, looks beyond the obvious, to the possible.
This was a very interesting mystery, and, while I guessed at some things, I didn't figure out others until the end.

Friday 29 December 2017

One of Us Is Lying

Finished December 22
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

This teen novel begins with five high school students held for detention for having their phones in class. The odd thing is that all of them had the phones planted on them. Their own phones were in their lockers as they were supposed to be. When one of them collapses after drinking a glass of water, showing the symptoms of anaphylactic shock, the rest react in different ways. Some remain calm and some panic, not knowing what to do. The young man, Simon, dies as a result of the situation and many odd circumstances lead to a murder inquiry.
Simon had many enemies, mostly from his writing and publishing an online and print gossip newsletter. The history of the newsletter is that most of the gossip turns out to be true. There have been rumours that he was about to publish revealing stories about each of the four students in detention with him. And how is it that all of the Epi-Pens in the school nurse's office are missing?
As we get to know the four students, we find that they are all hiding something.
Bronwyn is an A student, with plans to follow in her parents' footsteps with a Yale education. She is very close to her younger sister, who has had health issues. Her drive to please her parents is strong, but would she compromise herself to succeed?
Addy is a popular girl, a winner of beauty pageants, and girlfriend of one of the most popular boys in school. Addy's mother is divorced and struggling to keep her much younger boyfriend. Her older sister's marriage is having issues, and Addy sometimes feels her life is not her own due to her controlling boyfriend. Does she ever rebel against this control?
Cooper is a star baseball player, whose game has improved significantly lately. There is lots of interest from scouts, and he is at a critical moment that will determine his future. What would he sacrifice to ensure that future?
Nate is a young offender. His father is a barely functioning alcoholic and his mother isn't in the picture. Nate must find money to keep his home and stay out of trouble with the law under his probation. But someone needs to pay for necessities and how can Nate do that?
Lots of motives, lots of secrets, lots of lies and misleading clues. A story that will keep you guessing.

Merry and Bright

Finished December 20
Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber

This light romance set around Christmas follows other similar books by the author. Here we have college student Merry Knight who has taken a year off college to work for the money she needs to continue. She is working for a consulting company, Matterson Consulting, primarily on a big project that are working on for Boeing. This is an important project and its success could lead to more work with the company. She is nearly done her contract, which goes until the end of the year.
Merry lives at home with her parents and her younger brother Patrick, who has Down's syndrome. She has a good relationship with all her family, and her mom and Patrick decide to sign her up for a online dating site. They know that what's inside is what is important, so to fend off men attracted by her beauty, they use a picture of the family dog, a golden named Bogie.
Jayson Bright has had a difficult life up to now. Not in the financial sense, he has plenty of money, but in the caring and emotional sense. His parents divorced when he was young and took little interest in him. He is close to his cousin Cooper, and a visit from this cousin makes him realize he has been pouring all his time and energy into the project at his uncle's consulting firm, knowing that if he is successful, this will seal the deal for him to take over the company as his uncle retires. When he looks on the dating site his cousin used, he is surprised to see a local woman whose picture is a dog. It reminds him of his childhood dog Rocky, and on impulse he puts up a profile using Rocky's picture.
Jayson's worry over the project and driving energy have led him to be brusque in the office and he's had a couple of run-ins lately with a young woman in the data office. Of course she hasn't taken well to his attitude, but is a dedicated worker.
And thus the stage is set for a online romance between two people who know each superficially, but not really.

Thursday 28 December 2017

The Ghost Orchard

Finished December 15
The Ghost Orchard: The Hidden History of the Apple in North America by Helen Humphreys

This book begins with the author discovering a single apple tree near an abandoned cabin. The apple she eats is delicious and she manages to identify it as a White Winter Pearmain. This leads her to research the history of apple orchards on our continent. The book has five chapters. The first is titled the Indian Orchard, and Humphreys shows how native settlements often had orchards as an integral part of their settled communities. She finds traces of these through place names, histories, and folklore. The second chapter titled Ann Jessop looks at an historical figure in the United States and her work to bring apple varieties from Europe to North America. Humphreys traces the apples she grew, and the places they were grown.
The third chapter looks at the enormous project of the USDA Watercolour Artists as they were hired to record, through detailed painting the apples found across the continent. The book also contains colour plates of these paintings. Humphreys looks at several of the artists who did this work, and gives a picture of the breadth of the project and the type of people working on it.
The fourth chapter looks at Robert Frost and his ties throughout his life to apples and the orchards they grow in. From owning several orchards, both commercial and personal, to friendships formed around these landscapes, and the poems that he wrote that referenced them, Humphreys shows how the apple orchard was a key element of Frost's life.
The last chapter is The Ghost Orchard, where Humphreys looks for traces of historical orchards that no longer exist, detailing her search for several of them.
The book also includes a fictional, imagined discovery of the apple that started this book, and a glossary of all the apples that once existed in North America, but are no lost to us.
A fascinating read.

The Party

Finished December 9
The Party by Robyn Harding

This book takes inside a family faced with a crisis. Jeff and Kim and their two teenage children live in a upscale San Francisco neighborhood. Jeff is a tech executive and Kim has been slowly getting back into the PR career she stepped away from when they had children. Their oldest child Hannah is turning sixteen, and they've given her permission to have a few friends over to celebrate. When things go horribly wrong and one of the girls is badly injured, we begin to learn what's under the perfect facade that others see.
From Jeff's flirtation with microdosing to Kim's flirtation with another man, the relationship between these two parents isn't as good as it seems. And Hannah is facing social choices at school as she tries to be accepted by the more popular crowd.
Everyone has secrets, secrets that are only gradually revealed as the facade unravels.
An interesting look at moral lapses, betrayals small and large, and the negative effects of peer pressure.

Monday 18 December 2017

Timo Goes Camping

Finished December 7
Timo Goes Camping by Victoria Allenby, illustrated by Dean Griffiths

This delightful chapter book is due to be released in March 2018, plenty of time before camping season here in Canada kicks in. The characters in the book are young animals who've never been on a camping trip before. Their reactions to the suggestion of camping, and to the actual experience show their personalities across a range that young readers will be able to compare to their own friends and family. Suki, the squirrel is the one with the idea of going camping and her optimism, eagerness to try new experiences and spontaneity show in the suggestion and her subsequent actions. Bogs, the toad, is enticed by his anticipated role as entertainer, while Hedgewick the hedgehog is flattered to be chosen as camp chef. Rae, a young badger is assigned the role of engineer. Time, the young rabbit was concerned about everyone's lack of camping experience, and tries to make a list to help, but doesn't know where to start.
He's a smart young bunny, and goes to his local library to find the information he needs. Once he identifies a useful book, he makes notes on the different tasks associated with camping to ensure he remembers and understands.
When the trip begins, Timo immediately finds his knowledge useful, helping tie the frying pan to Hedgewick's pack with the knots he learned about. As the trip progresses, Timo's knowledge continues to come in handy. There is much teasing from Suki about the mistakes made along the way, and even about Timo's book-learning until Timo gathers the courage to discuss how teasing can hurt people's feelings. I liked the opportunity taken for this discussion and the way it came up naturally through the plot. I liked the topic of a typical Canadian pastime such as camping.
Of course, the thing I loved most about this book was how even Suki agreed by the end that every adventure needs a librarian.
This is a good book for kids to introduce the idea of camping and some of the activities involved in such an adventure, the importance of not going into an adventure without some knowledge and preparation, and about ensuring that teasing doesn't become hurtful. The illustrations are lovely, bringing the animals to life, along with their environment.

Sunday 10 December 2017

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

Finished December 5
Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford, read by Emily Woo Zeller

This historical novel takes us first to China, and then to Seattle in the early twentieth century. Both these are memories of Ernest Young's decades later, as one of his daughters, a reporter, digs into the past for stories on the upcoming world's fair of 1962. Ernest is living in a small apartment in Chinatown, with his ailing wife Grace living with his journalist daughter. She's been having memory issues, and outbursts, and it has been thought best to leave her there.
Ernest remembers his last moments with his mother and what happened to his baby sister. It was then his journey to the west began. First there was a days long walk with other young Chinese children and youths. Then a voyage by ship. Ernest remembers the other passengers, the spartan quarters and and a few of the men on the ship that they interacted with. He was lucky to survive.
The book then takes us to 1909, when Ernest has been a charitable case by a local female dogooder. When he finds enough courage to challenge her idea of his future, she changes her mind, and uses him as a fund-raising raffle prize. This throws him into a new world, one that is more freeing, but also limited. He is won by the madam of a high-class brothel, to the consternation of his dogooder. Other than the piano player, who lives elsewhere, Ernest is the only male in the house, and becomes an object of affection by the upstairs girls, and a companion to one of the servants near his own age, Fahn. He also connects with the madam's young daughter Maisie, and the three hang out together, explore portions of the town, and on one eventful evening go to the fair.
As Ernest looks back at this time in his life, he recognizes that he loved both girls, for different reasons, and in different ways, but, in the end, could only commit to one.
As the memories continue to come, and Ernest deals with the events of the present, Grace begins to improve and begins to share her own memories. Ernest has been trying to protect her, and the shared history that may not be what she really wants shared, but again, he finds that fate has taken things into her own hands.
This is a fascinating story, based on a newspaper article the author came across of a baby being auctioned off at the fair. Ford looked at other real historical events such as the drive for suffrage and against alcohol and other vices, and used them to tie the story together. I loved it.

The Greatcoat

Finished December 4
The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore

This ghost story takes place in a Yorkshire town in 1952. Isabel Carey and her husband Philip have just moved there as Philip, a new doctor has joined the medical practice there. Isabel finds the rooms Philip rented stark and cold, and feels that the landlady, who lives upstairs, is watching her. Looking for extra blankets to help with the cold nights, Isabel discovers an old army greatcoat in an upper cupboard, and puts in on the bed. One night she hears knocking and sees a man's face at the window, which frightens her, but she gradually finds that she gains awareness of the man's identity and begins to discover that she has memories that belong to someone else.
As Isabel begins to interact with the man, Alec, she also becomes aware of who holds his ghost to this world, and why.
This is a story of connection beyond life, of lives unfulfilled, and of the tragedy of war.
Very engaging.

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Fate of Flames

Finished December 3
The Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

This teen novel begins as an attack begins on New York City. The attack is by phantoms, creatures that take on all kinds of ghastly shapes and seem to have unearthly powers. Anywhere people live there is protection usually through some kind of electromagnetic field, and of course New York City is no exception. But there have been cases, where the protection suddenly fails and an attack begins unexpectedly, with many victims. The authorities don't understand why or how this happens. An organization called The Sect trains people to fight against these phantoms, and they have some success, but the real skill in fighting them is by a small group of young females called Effigies. Only four Effigies exist at any one time, and they usually take on their power in their teens and don't often live past their twenties. Maia and her twin sister June were huge fans of the Effigies, but there was a terrible accident and June and Maia's parents died in a fire. Maia now lives with her uncle Nathan, who works for the government in New York City. Maia is holding a secret. Just a day or two earlier, she had awakened in the night to feel a change coming over her. She is the newest Effigy, taking the place of the skilled and strong Natalya, a Russian woman with considerable power. Maia has no idea what to do as the attack begins, but feels that hiding with her classmates is not an option. She should be doing something. As she sees a young girl in peril, she goes to her aid, only to witness the arrival of another strong Effigy, Belle, to fight the phantom nearing them.
Maia realizes she is no match for the foes she is up against, and can't bring herself to tell her uncle that he may lose the one family member that he has left. As Maia is identified by the authorities in her new role, and taken for training, she is also exposed to a mysterious young man named Saul, who seems to be the source of the attacks.
This is the first in a trilogy of books that introduces a new fantastical foe in our world. The strong female characters will appeal to female readers, and there is an element of romance present as well. An interesting premise.

The Scribe of Siena

Finished November 29
The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

The book centers on neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato. Beatrice's mother died given birth to her, along with her twin sister. She was raised by her brother Benjamin, who was 17 at the time. He did a fantastic job, and the two remained extremely close. Benjamin was an historian, but also a scientist, and he was researching the Black Death and why it took a greater toll on Siena than any other area in Italy. Beatrice was already planning to take some much needed vacation and visit him in Siena, when he died suddenly. She is determined to continue his research in honour of him. When she gets to Siena, she finds herself finding a place for herself there. When not buried in research, she explores the city and makes friends with a neighbouring family. When she comes across the diary of a painter who lived in the same time period as the outbreak of the Black Death, fresco artist Gabriele Accorsi, she is drawn to his words, and when she finds one of his paintings that contains an image of a woman with her own face, she is struck by the connection. As her immersion in the past becomes stronger, she finds herself suddenly transported to the Siena of 1347, and extremely grateful for the skills in language and history that she learned thanks to Benjamin.
As she makes a place for herself in this foreign world, she continues her brother's research as best she can, meeting some of the players in the books she's been studying. Meeting Gabriele Accorsi himself is almost more than she can believe, and as she finds a real life connection with this strong-willed but gentle man, she also finds that her life and actions are not always within her control.
For those who love time travel and romance, with a touch of intrigue, this book is a winner. Highly recommended for readers who loved The Outlander and Discovery of Witches. I could hardly put it down.
Like Discovery of Witches, the author knows her history and uses real life historical characters and events to bring the story to life.

Thursday 30 November 2017

My Husband's Wife

Finished November 20
My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry

This suspense novel begins just after the honeymoon of Lily and Ed. The marriage offers Lily the chance to make a fresh start, but the honeymoon hasn't gone all that well, and the presence of Ed's ex-girlfriend in his life doesn't help. Lily is given the chance of a murder appeal case at her law firm, and she makes a connection with the defendant Joe despite herself. As the case eats up more and more of her time, the stress on her marriage increases.
Meanwhile, the neighbour across the hall begins to call on Lily and Ed for help in looking after her young daughter Carla. Carla is a smart girl, but English is not her first language, and she is a misfit at school. Her desires for things that her mother cannot afford don't help, and she is often an impediment when her mother's boyfriend Larry comes to call.
Ed is an aspiring artist, unfulfilled by his design job at work. He finds Carla a willing model and begins to sketch her whenever she comes over.
The conclusion of the legal case leads to a lot of emotion and changes in the lives of all the characters. Carla is uprooted yet again, and Lily's marriage undergoes more pressure.
The book then jumps more than a decade into the future, when Carla comes back into Lily and Ed's lives, and brings all the issues from the past up again. Ed is delighted and thinking that Carla's presence will bring a needed uplift to his artistic career, while Lily is wary,
This book has many secrets, revealed at various points in the novel, each having an effect on the characters. A book of surprises, yet not as compelling as others I've read.
I always find that in books where I can't connect to the characters, I don't enjoy the story as much, and that was the case here as well. Each character had a flaw of some sort that pushed me away.

Wednesday 29 November 2017

You Should Have Left

Finished November 15
You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann, translated from the German by Ross Benjamin

I picked up this short novel, intrigued by the title, but it turned out to be quite a surprise. The narrator of the story is a writer, struggling with a new play. He is beginning a vacation in the mountains with his wife Susanna, an actress, and their four-year-old daughter Esther. While away, he is also supposed to be working on his new play, and his agent Schmidt calls periodically to check in.
The characters in his new play and scenes that he is writing are here in the book too, and sometimes these characters seem to get placed into the settings that he finds himself in.
As the book progresses, the unnamed narrator seems to sense that the house they are renting has oddities to it, and as a reader, you aren't sure what is happening, whether the odd things that begin to become more and more prevalent are real, are imagined, a manifestation of a mental illness or some sort of psychological horror.
At one point, he begins to hear a voice telling him that he should have left this place, hence the book's title. A very captivating and unsettling read.

The Glass Universe

Finished November 13
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel, read by Cassandra Campbell

This fascinating look at the history of astronomy takes us from the late nineteenth century through to the mid-twentieth century. It is centered around the Harvard University and the women who worked and volunteered there, but also around the men who hired, worked with, promoted, supported, and cared about these women.
The first women at the observatory were family members of the male astronomers, many of whom took on volunteer roles as computers, interpreting the observations of the male astronomers. As photography advanced to allow the capture of the night skies, the role of women included observation of these photographs. The library of glass photography plates is the origin for the title of this book. Anna Palmer Draper, widow of one of the earliest photographers of the stars wanted to continue his life's work, and she donated money to the observatory to continue this work.
One of the earliest female employees was Williamina Fleming, a Scottish woman who had worked as a maid in the home of the director of the observatory, and who took on the role of curator of the glass plates of photographs of the stars. Fleming also observed these photographs and identified over three hundred variable stars (stars whose intensity changes in regular or irregular cycles) and ten novae. She was followed by women who were some of the first graduates of colleges such as Smith and Vassar and, later, by post-graduate students, research fellows, working astronomers, and professors.
Annie Jump Cannon, a college graduate, looked at the previous work and designed a classification system for the stars that is still used today. She and others made important breakthroughs in learning about the chemical make-up of stars and used features of starlight to measure distances in space.
Dr. Cecelia Helena Payne became the first female professor of astronomy at Harvard, and the first female department chair at the university.
Two directors, Edward Pickering who was director from 1877 to 1919, and Howard Shapley, director from 1922 to 1951 were key to valuing the work of these women, promoting them, supporting their work, and giving them credit for their achievements.
I learned so much about astronomy that I didn't know, thanks to Sobel's wonderful explanations of the various key discoveries. I also found the women very interesting. The book is about astronomy and the work these people did, the discoveries they made, and the contributions of their work worldwide. It is not about the personal lives of the various players, other than mentioning facts of children, spouses, and living arrangements. But for me, that was fine. Each of these women would merit a biography of their own as separate books. The reading of the book by Campbell was captivating, and I found even the appendices of the timeline, short biographies, and glossary worth listening to.
This was a story that needed to be told, and Sobel did a fantastic job.

Sunday 26 November 2017

A Clubbable Woman

Finished November 10
A Clubbable Woman by Reginald Hill

The book is the first one in the mystery series I've read a few of, and quite enjoyed. Set in the sixties, and first published in 1970, this one shows the gradually developing relationship between ex-rugby player, rough around the edges Dalziel and university-educated, perceptive Pascoe. As the book opens a rugby match is going on and one of the players Connon has been dealt a head injury. He steps out of the game and, after changing, goes to the clubhouse, where the other players catch him up after the game. His head injury continues to act up and trouble him throughout the book, in a classic example of what we now recognize as concussion. When Connon goes home, a neighbour sees him opening the gates, and stops to talk to him, and Connon finds his wife has eaten without him, and, feeling sick he goes up to lie down. When he comes down again he finds his wife dead.
As we get to know the other rugby players, their wives, and children, as well as Connon's neighbours, we find lots of secrets, resentments, and suspicions. Connon's wife is gradually revealed as a woman not beloved by many.
The interactions, socially and privately, are definitely of their time, but there are some good strong female characters here as well. It gave me insight into the series that I didn't have before.

Shallow End

Finished November 8
Shallow End by Brenda Chapman

This is a mystery novel, part of a series featuring Stonechild and Rouleau, but the first I've read. Taking place in Kingston, Ontario, the book starts as a woman is getting released from prison. She's spent four years in jail after being convicted as a child predator. Jane Thompson had been a teacher, and was accused by one of her students, one that she'd been spending extra time helping. Throughout the trial, she insisted on her innocence, but more recently she made an admittance of guilt. Her husband, Adam, divorced her while she was in jail, and has been keeping their children, Ben and Olivia, away from her, despite her being approved for visits with them. She's got a small apartment and a part-time job, but seems to be living in a kind of limbo. A month after she has got out, the student who accused her, Devon Eton, is found dead on a beach. He's been murdered, and Jane immediately becomes a suspect.
Jane's ex-husband has a new woman living with him, a student teacher that he'd been having an affair with before Jane went to jail. Naomi is young, jealous of Jane, and insecure enough to snoop on Adam when he isn't with her.
We also see into the lives of the police investigating the case. Rouleau is in charge of major crimes, and still mourning the death of his wife. He assigns Kala Stonechild, a female native officer with a history of drug abuse, and Paul Gundersund, who's been separated from his wife for a while and is now considering a divorce. Kala has made a new start, although her past has meant that the niece she was caring for was taken from her and placed in foster care, something she is fighting to change. Paul's wife Fiona, is a local coroner, and is fighting to keep her marriage from ending. Other police officers include Woodhouse, an older male officer who resents Kala and who is often abusive to those he works with. Bennett is a younger officer, recently recovered from a gunshot wound, and eager to get back to work. Another character with a meaningful role here is local reporter Marci Stokes, who tried to make it in a bigger city, but is now back and working to regain her reputation for good reporting. As she tries to approach various players in this story, she also finds herself trying to do the right thing, especially for those who are vulnerable.
A great read.

Embroider Your Life

Finished November 6
Embroider Your Life: Techniques + Motifs + Inspiration by Nathalie Mornu

This lovely book was one I borrowed first from my library, and then went out and bought my own copy. It is laid out beautifully, and begins with a section showing a graphic look at materials, tools, and techniques. It covers floss and thread, hoops, fabric, and other tools such as needles, scissors, markers, and stabilizers. Then it gives a great guide to getting started, including putting the fabric in a hoop, basting, and transferring motifs.It describes how to work with floss, and starting, carrying, and ending threads.It gives graphic step-by-step instructions on basic stitches: running stitch, back stitch, split stitch, chain stitch, stem stitch, whipped back stitch, couching, satin stitch, seed stitch, french knots, herringbone stitch, fly stitch, and lazy daisy. Each is shown with multiple thread types. When it discusses the use of patches, it also covers blanket stitch. It has a section on various ways to display finished pieces.
The next four sections include ideas for embroidering that bring it into everyday life in a refreshing way. Each section is themed.
The first is Communications, and includes numbers, words, symbols, monograms, and holiday motifs. It also includes a section on stitching on paper.
The second is the Natural World and includes aquatic life, woodland creatures, insects, feathers, plants, leaves, cactus, flowers, seed heads, weather, the night sky, and people. It also includes a section on shadow work (like stitching all around a motif).
The third section is Designed World, and includes keys, retro motifs, visual aids (lenses of all types), sewing, gems, architecture, and maps. It includes a section on stitching a house motif.
The last section is Patterns and includes radials, deco, geometric, line art, simple and complex borders, arrows, frames and wreaths, and folkloric motifs. It has a section on Sashiko.
With the heavily illustrated ideas and instructions, this book is indeed an inspiration to both experienced stitchers and beginners. Highly recommended.

Wednesday 22 November 2017

All Is Not Forgotten

Finished November 5
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker, read by Dylan Baker

This suspense novel takes place in a small affluent town in Connecticut. Jenny Kramer has finally been asked to house party by a boy from school, and she is excited, but when she gets there, he is with another girl. As Jenny drinks too much to drown her feelings, she also makes herself vulnerable, and the resulting assault on her changes many lives.
When Jenny is found and taken to the hospital, her parents agree to a controversial drug that will erase her memories of this night. But while her mind may have forgotten, her body has not, and the outcome is Jenny struggling to find a home for the feelings she has. Jenny's mother has an outwardly perfect life, but is an illusion and as she struggles to hold on to it, to think that everything is back to normal, she finds that it isn't, and she can't deny her past or her true imperfect self any longer. Jenny's dad becomes focused on finding the person who assaulted her daughter, and he spends every minute he can at it, instead of spending time with the family he cares so much about.
The narrator that is telling the story is an unknown at first, and as we come to know who he is, and come to know his connection to the case, professionally and personally, what we know changes, and the story changes.
An interesting novel, but perhaps because of the narrator role, not one I felt as connected to as some other recent suspense reads.

Wednesday 1 November 2017


Finished October 31
Hinterland by Caroline Brothers

As the book opens, Aryan, his little brother Kabir, and a number of other refugees are crossing a river from Turkey to Greece in the middle of the night. Aryan and Kabir are from Afghanistan, fleeing to Iran with their mother when one of their older brothers and their father are killed. Now the two boys are on their own, with a plan to get to London, where they believe people are good and human rights are strong, and they will be able to go to school and have a future. Their mantra as they travel is the recitation of capital cities on their route: Kabul-Tehran-Istanbul-Athens-Rome-Paris-London.
Aryan is protective of Kabir, and has befriended another Afghan refugee Hamid, who seems more knowledgeable. But circumstances soon separate the brothers from Hamid, and they are on their own again.
As they move along their route, sometimes stalling for long periods of time and other times moving quickly, the boys meet people who are helpful and people who take advantage of them. They undergo many difficult situations, but never lose sight of their goal.
The author worked as a journalist and saw many of the places the boys cross through herself, talking to refugees, and those trying to help them, and learning of their stories. Many of those stories inform this book, and the truth of those experiences bring this book to life. You can imagine these boys being real, as so many children are undergoing similar experiences.
The book includes an interview with the author and information for further reading on this subject.
A very captivating and worthwhile read.

Heart of the Matter

Finished October 24
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

This novel centers on Tessa Russo and Valerie Anderson. Tessa quit her tenure-track position to stay home and have children. She and Nick now have Ruby, four, and Frank, two. When Tessa made her decision, her mother decreed it was a mistake, that it would create a chasm between her a Nick, opening an opportunity for him to stray for a more interesting woman. Tessa held her tongue from reminding her mother that her parent's divorce came after her mother started back to work. Tessa and Nick have a very close relationship and his job as a plastic surgeon is a demanding one. Her being home provides stability. As the book begins, the couple are out for dinner on their anniversary when Nick gets paged. He is needed at the hospital, and their evening together ends.
Valerie is a single mom to a six-year-old boy, Charlie. At the urging of her brother, Valerie reluctantly agrees that Charlie can go to a sleepover birthday party at the house of a classmate. Her evening of relaxation is abruptly interrupted when Charlie falls into a fire while roasting marshmallows, and is rushed to the hospital.
Nick is the doctor assigned to Charlie's case, and he takes a personal interest in the young boy.
The viewpoint switches back and forth between Tessa and Valerie as their worlds come together and their each deal with something they never imagined for themselves.
The two female characters here are deeply drawn and we see their inner thoughts and struggles to make decisions as the plot unfolds. I enjoyed the read.

Follow Me Down

Finished October 22
Follow Me Down by Julie Hearn

This novel has been sitting on my shelves for a while and it came to the top of a pile when I was doing some reorganizing. The story takes place in East London, where twelve-year-old Tom and his mother have come to visit his grandmother. Tom's been here once before, nearly ten years ago, but he has some memories from that time. One of the things that he remembers is the dark basement and a crack across it, a crack that widens and that allows him to jump it to another time. He remembers a fairy girl named Astra. And now she is calling to him again.
This time when Tom reenters that world, he is nearly a teenager, and mature for his age. He recognizes that Astra is in danger and tries to think of a way to save her. There is a lot going on that Tom doesn't understand, but what he does understand makes him fearful for Astra and his other new friends.
Back in his own time, Tom observes the discomfort between his mother and grandmother. His mother has recently survived a bout with breast cancer and his grandmother seems to be of the school where such things are not discussed. Tom cares deeply for his mother, and knows her regimen and diet, and tries to do what he can to support her. He doesn't want to be here in London and he thinks his mother is facing a losing battle in trying to connect more deeply with his grandmother, but as Tom becomes more involved in Astra's situation, he finds himself needing to stay to see his plan through.
A tale of history and magic, of greed and exploitation, of people just trying to survive despite physical handicaps they have no control over. A fascinating read.

Purple Palette for Murder

Finished October 21
Purple Palette for Murder by R.J. Harlick

This novel is part of a series featuring Meg Harris, a woman dealing with her own significant issues as she also finds herself being drawn into troubling situations. This is the eighth book in the series, but the first that I've read. The books often take place in the further reaches of our country from Baffin Island to Haida Gwaii. This one takes place mostly in and around Yellowknife.
Meg's stepdaughter Teht'aa has recently got a job with the CBC in Yellowknife, which is also near the reserve that she grew up on as a Dene. Her father wasn't aware of her until fairly recently and has been enjoying the experience of having a daughter. Meg's husband Eric is and was recently elected Grand Chief of the Grand Council of First Nations. One of the reasons he is in Yellowknife was to meet with northern leaders. The other is to console his daughter after a recent romantic breakup.
As the book opens, Meg receives a call letting her know that Eric has been charged with murder, with the victim being Teht'aa's ex-boyfriend. The other bad news is that Teht'aa is in the hospital badly hurt after being beaten and left for dead.
As Meg puts aside her own issues and goes to Yellowknife to fight for her husband and stepdaughter, she finds assistance, both emotional and other from Teht'aa's great-uncle Joe. She can't understand why Eric seems not to want to fight harder for himself, as she knows that he would never do what he is accused of. As Meg pieces together the stories of various people who may be involved, she finds a piece of historic embroidery that may be the key to the truth.
I really enjoyed this book, and not just because of the embroidery! The characters are interesting and complex, and the way the indigenous characters are handled here felt good. I liked the immersion in the setting, and the stories around Meg. A very enjoyable read.

Monday 23 October 2017

They Found Him Dead

Finished October 20
They Found Him Dead by Georgette Heyer

This mystery novel takes place in the late 1930s at Cliff House, a country house owned by Silas Kane, located on the coast near the town of Portlaw. As the book begins, there is a dinner at the house for Silas' 60th birthday. His business partner Joe Mansell is there along with his wife, his son Paul, his daughter Betty and her husband Clive. Also attending are other Kane relatives: Emily, Silas' mother, who lives at Cliff House, Emily's great-nephew Clement and his wife Rosemary, and Jim, the son of Silas' nephew James who was killed in the Great War. Jim has also brought along his younger stepbrother Timothy Harte, nearly fifteen, to stay for a while. Also attending is Emily's secretary, Miss Patricia Allison. Clement is also a partner in the firm of Kane and Mansell. Young Jim went to Cambridge where he got his Blue for Rugger, and now works at the Treasury. He also continues to play rugger on Saturdays, something the two older Kanes don't really understand. Jim is also in love with Miss Allison and has proposed marriage to her.
When Silas takes his normal evening walk after dinner, it is late, and no one misses him until the next morning. A search discovers his body at the bottom of the cliff, and it is supposed that he has fallen, perhaps due to a heart issue. That is, supposed by all except young Timothy who is sure it is murder. Timothy has a love of drama, American gangsters, and other lurid adventures.
Clement is Silas' heir and since he has familiarity with the company, quickly moves into consideration of a deal with an Australian firm that the Mansell's were in favour of, but that Silas was not. Clement is inclined not to be either, but resolves to take due consideration.
Another player here is Oscar Roberts, a representative for the Australian firm. He is eager to get the deal finalized, but understands that those making the decision must look at all the information.. Particularly as it is the Kanes who will be putting up the money for the deal, and thus taking the biggest risk.
The romance between Patricia and Jim is one of compliments and blushes and proceeds apace. Timothy follows all the action with gusto, coming up with all sorts of scenarios and motives.

Glass Houses

Finished October 17
Glass Houses by Louise Penny, read by Robert Bathurst

Gamache is now the chief superintendent of the Surete and has been for about a year. The action begins with him in court in the witness box as a witness for the prosecution in a murder trial. As the book begins, you don't know who has been murdered or who is on trial for the murder.
As the book jumps back to a time several months earlier when a strangely robed figure appeared on the green in Three Pines, and works it way forward, you begin to discover the many stories that led to the scene in the courtroom.
This is a story about friendship, about addiction, about corruption, and about organized crime. It shows the importance of planning and of patience. It shows the dangers in taking things, and people, as they appear. This is a complex read, with a lot going on, and the reader sees the beginning and the end.

Friday 13 October 2017

A Tale of Two Kitties

Finished October 12
A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly

This cozy mystery is part of the Magical Cats Mystery series, but the first one I've read in the series. Kathleen is the head librarian in the small town of Mayville Heights, Minnesota. She's a smart women, with good instincts who has solved several mysteries with the help of her two cats Owen and Hercules. Kathleen knows that her cats are special, and understand her when she talks. She also knows they each have their own special qualities. Owen has the ability to become invisible when he wants, and Hercules can walk through closed doors.
The other employees at the library are all interesting characters as well, from Mary with her interesting past, and extensive knowledge of the town and its people to young Mia, with her thirst for knowledge. Kathleen is in a relationship with Marcus a local police detective, and she has a suspicion that his young cat Micah has similar qualities to Owen.
When Mia's grandfather Leo comes to town to visit her and her father Simon, it brings up past memories among the town's older inhabitants. They remember when Leo's wife Meredith left him for his brother Victor, and then died in a car accident, reportedly on her way back to Leo. Victor is in town as well, ill and hoping for a reconciliation with his brother.
Recent renovations to the local post office uncovered a cache of photographs and undelivered mail. The mail was sent on its way, more than twenty years after they were sent, and the photographs, of a range of time periods were given to the library. Library staff are going through them, identifying the people portrayed and finding owners for them among those people. They need more help though and Kathleen welcomes ideas about how to publicize the collection to help the process.
When Leo is found murdered, it is Kathleen who finds him. With her closeness to Mia and her innate curiosity, she and her cats do the research on the people who knew Leo to try to find motive and opportunity.
I enjoyed the various characters in this story, and the personalities of the cats on the case. There is lots going on, but good research leads the librarian and her pets to the discovery of quite a few secrets.

Island of a Thousand Mirrors

Finished October 11
Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera

This mesmerizing novel tells the story of Yasodhara Rajasinghe, a Sinhalese woman from Colombo, from the birth of her parents Nishan and Visaka to her own adulthood. It also tells the story of Saraswathi, a Tamil girl of northern Sri Lanka. Saraswathi is the eldest girl of the family, with three older brothers as well as her younger sister.
Yasodhara grows up with her sister Lanka and their upstairs neighbour, a Tamil boy named Shiva. The three are inseparable, spending all their free time playing together. But their peace is broken when civil war erupts and Shiva's family is forced to flee. Tragedy engulfs Yasodhara's family at this time, and her parents and Lanka and her emigrate to the United States. Lanka is the rebel, while Yasodhara does what is expected of her until her world begins to fall apart and she rejoins her sister in their home country.
Saraswathi's world falls apart much earlier. Her dreams of becoming a teacher fall to ruins as she gets caught up in the war, with events and the reactions of her family and neighbours leading her to a new life as a revolutionary.
This is a story of Sri Lanka, of its people and their struggle for a dream. It is a story of people caught up in this struggle despite themselves, and about the violence that will change their lives forever.
The lush country comes alive through the author's descriptions, and we get a real sense of the beauty of this country. The characters at the heart of this novel are one's you care about. A wonderful read.

Wild One

Finished October 7
Wild One by Jane Whittingham, illustrated by Noel Tuazon

This fun picture book shows a young girl going through her day energetically, and compares her escapades with the actions of various animals, from bats to eels. She is happy, enjoying the way her body can move. Whether alone, with friends, or with her parents, she is a creature of nature. The illustrations show her pleasure in what she is doing, as she goes through her day.
This is a good book for bedtime as well, as it ends with the girl tucked up in bed, ready for sleep. I also liked that the animals that she is compared to aren't always what I would have guessed they would be, but they still fit perfectly with her movements. A short, fun read that will likely become a favourite for little ones.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Rusty Puppy

Finished October 5
Rusty Puppy by Joe R. Lansdale

This is the first book I've read in the series set in Texas featuring Hap and Leonard, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Hap is a middle-aged man in a serious relationship with Brett, who also owns the detective agency where he and Leonard work. Hap is also the father of a young woman Chance, a fact he has only recently discovered. He is pleased with this discovery and has made her a part of his life. Hap describes himself as a white trash rebel. Leonard is a gay, black, Republican, Vietnam vet. Leonard is not long out of a serious relationship. The two men have been friends a long, long time, and that shows in their banter. They are both wise asses, and sometimes don't know when to shut their mouths. They are also both good guys with good instincts, and that shows too.
As the book begins, Brett and Chance are both sick with the flu, and Hap and their dog Buffy are hanging at the office. When a woman who lives across the street from the office comes in wanting to hire them, Hap listens to her story. Even though she hasn't got much money, Hap takes on the case to find out what really happened to her son, who was murdered. She's told him of one witness who says that the cops are the ones that committed the crime, and Hap sets out to find the guy.
The case takes Hap and Leonard into the projects, where they find people who may have seen things, young men protecting their territory, and a girl with an attitude. Leonard dubs her the four hundred year old vampire dwarf, in a way that lets you know he is both irritated by her and awed by her.
The case also takes them into the territory of a police force that has an reputation for not just turning the other way, but being heavily involved in local crime. One local place, an abandoned mill, now is used for more nefarious purposes, such as getting rid of dogs and other unwanted beings in the toxic pond created from sawdust and mill runoff.
I liked the duo and their inner goodness. I also liked the rollicking nature of the book.

The Dark and Other Love Stories

Finished October 1
The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis

This collection of short stories varies widely, with many characters unhappy with their current circumstances. They are about relationships, the messiness of them, the need to compromise. They are about love, but not easy love. Love in real life with all its complications, all the temptations to wander away to other things.
It took me a couple of stories in before I fell for this book. Some stories held me more than others, but they all had me wanting more about the characters. What happened after the story? I want to know. A great collection.

Monday 9 October 2017

Into the Water

Finished September 29
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, read by Laura Aikman, Sophie Aldred, Rachel Bavidge, Imogen Church, and Daniel Weyman

This suspense novel begins with a death. Nel, single mother of a teenage daughter, Lena, has been found dead in the river in a small English town. Nel and her younger sister Jules had grown up there, living in the Old Mill House, the same house that Nel and Lena live in now. Nel always overshadowed her sister, more outgoing and prettier than her. When Jules was only thirteen something came between the sisters, causing Jules to draw away from Nel. Now Jules must return to deal with her sister's death and take charge of Lena.
The death seems like a suicide, taking place in a spot known locally as the drowning pool, where women going back centuries have taken their own lives. Nel was obsessed with the river and the women, and was planning to write a book about it. One of the stories that the reader becomes aware of is the deliberate drowning of a seventeenth-century girl who was suspected of being a witch. Another is a woman who drowned herself shortly after the first World War, after killing her husband who had returned from the war a changed and difficult man. More recently the local policeman's mother had supposedly drowned herself after a love affair gone wrong when he was only a boy, and Lena's best friend Katie had drowned herself for no explicable reason just a few months ago, filling her pockets with stones.
The police brass are eager to close the case quickly, but there's a new policewoman in town and as she begins talking with the locals and getting a feel for the various players, more inconsistencies come to light. Lena and Jules have both noticed the absence of Nel's bracelet, a bracelet that belonged to her mother and that she wore constantly. Katie's mother is still looking for answers, and for someone to blame. As both Jules and the policewoman make headway, the question arises of whether the drowning pool has drawn women who see no other choice or men who see a way to get rid of troublesome women.
I liked this novel better than her first, and found the tie to historical cases interesting. Things are always what they seem and this town has more than its share of secrets.

What's In a Name Wrap-Up Post

This is always a fun challenge to do, and I'm pleased that I completed it so early.

Here are the basics.

The challenge runs from January to December 2017.
You need to read books in the following categories, and the host gives examples for each category at the host page.  Here is my sign-up page.

1. A number in numbers (examples: 84 Charing Cross Road; 12 Years a Slave; 31 Dream Street)
Boy, 9, Missing by Nic Joseph. Finished September 22

2. A building (examples: The Old Curiosity Shop; I Capture the Castle; House of Shadows; The Invisible Library; Jamaica Inn)
The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure by Adam Williams. Finished February 4.

3. A title which has an X somewhere in it (examples: The Girl Next Door; The Running Vixen)
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston. Finished March 29

4. A compass direction (examples: North and South; Guardians of the West; The Shadow in the North; NW)
 * Road Signs That Say West by Sylvia Gunnery. Finished August 1

5. An item/items of cutlery (examples: The Subtle Knife; Our Spoons Came from Woolworths)
Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman. Finished June 8

6. A title in which at least two words share the same first letter -- alliteration! (examples: The Great Gatsby; The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite; Gone Girl; The Cuckoo's Calling)
    Eel River Rising by Laura Reasoner Jones. Finished January 14