Return to Virgin River

Return to Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Fans of the long running Virgin River series or the new television series will rejoice with the publication of this book. Virgin River is a tiny town set in Humboldt County in Northern California. Suspense novelist Kaylee Sloan, struggling with writer’s block while grieving her mother’s recent death, rents a house from family friends, only to suddenly need a new place to stay. Kaylee, finding a warm welcome at Jack’s Bar, the local gathering place, winds up at the guest house owned by local artist Landry Moore. Kaylee brings her laptop to Jack’s Bar most days, but gets little writing done there, so she starts a second book, a romance featuring a version of herself. Kaylee, with the help of friends new and old, finds her own happy ending, and finishes her books. Favorite characters from past books reappear, leaving fans satisfied yet still hoping for more books in the series. Readers who enjoy heartwarming contemporary romance set in small towns will also enjoy. Start anywhere in the series, or with the first book, Virgin River.

 

Brenda

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

Marrying right before World War I, Agatha Miller followers her mother’s advice to put her new husband Archibald Christie first. Unfortunately, other than surfing and playing golf, nothing Agatha does seems to make Archie happy. She even puts time with her daughter Rosalind at a lower priority, and leaves her behind to travel with Archie. Finally, Agatha thinks about what makes her happy: time with her daughter, mother, and sister Madge, and writing mysteries. It’s not so enjoyable reading about Agatha and Archie’s increasingly unhappy marriage. Then Agatha suddenly vanishes in December 1926, the same day she and Archie have a loud argument during breakfast. The story really takes off here, and the disappearance is related from Archie’s point of view, as the police become suspicious of his role in her disappearance. I wanted to know more about Agatha Christie’s life after reading this novel, which is based on the real disappearance of the author. It’s been 100 years since the first Hercule Poirot mystery was published; so it’s perfect timing for a novel about the creator of Poirot and Miss Marple. This mystery will be published in late December.
Brenda

Ancestral Night

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

Haimey DZ is an engineer, living on a salvage tug with shipmind Singer, pilot Connla, and their two cats. They explore a derelict ship, only to discover an alien parasite and a booby trap. After an encounter with judicar Cheeirilaq, who resembles a giant mantis, their ship is pursue by pirates, including Zanya Farweather, who’s also encountered the alien parasite. Haimey, who had some of her memories inactivated by a judicial proceeding as a young adult, has to figure out who she really is, plus learn to function in gravity. I really enjoyed reading this fast-paced, entertaining, and thought-provoking space opera novel. Readalikes include books by Ann Leckie, Becky Chambers, Valerie Valdes, and C.J. Cherryh. Machine is Elizabeth Bear’s next book, also set in White Space.

Brenda

 

Fall Reading

What I’m Reading Now

I’m currently reading several different books. It’s an eclectic assortment of titles, that I’m reading at home, at work, and in between. I don’t finish all the books I start, but these are keeping my interest so far.

I have skimmed a digital review copy of Zoë Bakes Cakes by Zoë Francois, which will be published in March. Zoe is the coauthor of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I don’t bake many cakes, but the photos look appealing and there are recipes for bundt cakes as well as fancier layer cakes.

I am almost done reading Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear, a long science fiction novel. I’m reading this on my breaks at work.

Fun, lighter reads for my current mood include The Case of the Curious Crystals by Shanna Swendson, Well Met by Jen DeLuca, and Cat Me If You Can by Miranda James. These make enjoyable reading at home. I’ve read other books by these authors, so they are a sure bet. I’m also listening to the audiobook An Amish Christmas by Amy Clipston, mostly during my commute.

At work I’m also reading Musical Chairs, by Amy Poeppel, a contemporary novel about the founding members of a musical trio. This is a book I’m considering for a future book discussion.

Another review copy is Ms. Adventure: My Wild Explorations in Science, Lava, and Life by Jess Phoenix, a memoir by a woman geologist/volcanologist. Science memoirs have been great escapist and informative reading for me this year. This will be published next March.

 

Up Next

I will reread The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman, for an upcoming library book discussion. For consideration for a future book discussion, I will read or listen to In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.

I plan to read The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie. I’m creating a book display for the 100th anniversary of the first Agatha Christie mystery, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. I haven’t read many of her mysteries featuring Hercule Poirot, and this one is recommended.

I’m looking forward to reading a new fantasy novella by Lois McMaster Bujold, Masquerade in Lodi. Bujold is one of my favorite science fiction and fantasy authors.

A couple of review copies I want to read include Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food by Mark Bittman and Project Hail Mary, a science fiction novel by Andy Weir, author of The Martian, to be published next May.

That’s a lot of books, even for me! What’s on your list of books to read?

Brenda

Well Played

Well Played by Jen DeLuca

Well Played is a sweet romantic comedy set in Willow Creek, Maryland, which hosts a renaissance faire on four July weekends. Stacey looks forward to the faire all year, and this year she’s more involved in planning the faire, and helping arrange the wedding of two of her friends. A receptionist at a dentist’s office, Stacey lives in a small apartment over her parents’ garage. A former cheerleader who’s always smiling, she’s best known for her fondness for pumpkin spice lattes. A typical evening finds her home with her cat scrolling social media posts, or hanging out at a local bar with her friend Mitch. In the past, she hooked up with a hunky faire musician named Dex, and sends him a flirtatious text, which unexpectedly starts a long-distance relationship by text and email. The next July, Stacey’s shocked to learn she’s been writing to Dex’s cousin Daniel, the band manager. Well Played is the sequel to Well Met, but I will happily read them out of order. A third book is planned for 2021.
As I hoped, this is a good readalike for The Falcon Always Wings Twice, a cozy mystery set at a renaissance faire.

Brenda