November Virtual Book Discussion: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

On November 24 at 7:00 pm, please join the Tuesday Evening Book Group on Zoom as we discuss The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. This is a witty and heartwarming novel about an introvert who suddenly learns she’s part of a big, complicated family. Please register online. My earlier review is here. Copies of the book are available now at the Circulation Desk; visit MediaonDemand/Libby for eBook and eAudiobook copies.

Brenda

The Switch

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Workaholic Londoner Leena Cotton has a panic attack at work, and takes two months off. She ends up switching places with her grandmother Eileen, and moves to her cottage in a small Yorkshire village. The Cotton women even exchange phones and laptops so Leena won’t be tempted to work. Eileen, 79, is pretty happy but is having trouble finding romance in her small town. At Leena’s London flat, with two quirky roommates, she organizes a social club for seniors and has a fling or two, while also spying on Leena’s London boyfriend. Back in Hamleigh-in-Harksdale, Leena ends up on the May festival committee, befriending her grandmother’s grumpy neighbor Arnold, and plays Easter Bunny with the help of former classmate Jackson’s little girl. Both women have challenges adjusting to their new environments and neighbors, but relish their new projects and Leena learns to re-connect with her mother Marian, and start dealing with her grief over her sister’s recent death. Mixed grief and humor, with a strong sense of place and appealing, quirky characters. Grandmother Eileen is especially appealing, embracing life and love in London at 79. A light feel-good story that makes for an absorbing, enjoyable read.

Brenda

Interview with a Dead Editor

Interview With a Dead Editor by Shanna Swendson

The day Lexie Lincoln is laid off from her job as a newspaper reporter, she’s invited to interview for a job as a reporter and assistant editor for a small town newspaper. Unfortunately, she finds the editor’s body before she even gets to interview. An ice storm strands her in town, and police officer Wes Mosby is having trouble confirming her alibi. I enjoyed the small town Texas setting with good food and quirky characters, including a ghost. The cozy mystery with a paranormal twist was well-plotted, and Lexie is pleasant company with a plausible reason to investigate a suspicious death. If she can clear her name, Lexie just might be interested in moving to Stirling Mills, especially as the job includes a cozy Art Deco apartment. I’m looking forward to the second Lucky Lexie mystery, Case of the Curious Crystals. Readalikes include books by Sophie Kelly, Joanne Fluke, Donna Andrews, as they are cozy mysteries with appealing characters, some humor, and small town settings. Shanna is the author of the Enchanted, Inc. series. This ebook is available from Libby/Overdrive/MediaonDemand.

Brenda

Under a Dark Sky

Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day

The Tuesday Evening Book Group is discussing this award-winning psychological suspense novel set at a dark sky park near Mackinaw City, Michigan on October 27, on Zoom. Copies of the book are still available at the Circulation Desk, and downloadable audiobooks are available from Hoopla or Overdrive/Libby. Eden Wallace, 34, has been a widow for 9 months. She found the reservation for a suite at the park her husband Bix had made, for their anniversary weekend. She needs a getaway, but Eden is afraid of the dark. At the park, she learns there’s been a mistake; the rest of the cabin has been booked by a group of six 20-somethings. One of the six is killed in the night, and they’re all suspects, even Eden. Then there are more accidents. Readers who enjoy psychological suspense novels will race through this tense tale as Eden uncovers secrets and wonders who she can trust among the five remaining friends and police officers Warren Hoyt and Bridget Cooley. Full of surprises, this is not a book to start after dark.
Brenda

Frightfully Good Mysteries

 Halloween Mysteries

The Crystal Cave Trilogy by Susan Wittig Albert

Howloween Murder by Laurien Berenson

15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron

Fudge Bites by Nancy Coco

Dressed to Kill by Kathleen Delaney

Death of a Wicked Witch and Haunted House Murder by Lee Hollis

Shatter the Night by Emily Littlejohn

Murder in the Corn Maze by G. A. McKevett

McPherson, Catriona. Scot & Soda by Catriona McPherson

Halloween Murder by Leslie Meier

Mrs. Morris and the Witch by Traci Wilton 

 

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart

Lady Cecily Kay, a botanist, is in London in 1703, studying Sir Barnaby Mayne’s collection of botanical illustrations. The amazing collections filling the mansion are a source of fascination for many other collectors, and Lady Cecily joins them on a tour. She is surprised to meet Meacan, a childhood friend who is doing some illustrations for the eccentric Mayne. When Sir Barnaby is found dead in his study at the end of the tour, an unlikely suspect confesses, then flees. Lady Cecily and Meacan investigate, learning more about the society of obsessive collectors. The early 18th century London setting is fascinating, and the mystery is intricately plotted. Readalikes include The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. Historical fiction readers looking for an unusual setting will also be interested in this intriguing, absorbing read. I don’t see a connection to Hart’s other historical mysteries, beginning with Jade Dragon Mountain, but I enjoyed them as well.

Brenda

The Sirens of Mars

The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World by Sarah Stewart Johnson

Another enjoyable popular science book that is part memoir. Planetary scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson describes human interest in Mars, from just seeing a bright spot in the sky to Lowell imagining canals and civilizations to William Pickering reporting the weather on Mars from Jamaica, with incredible descriptions. Then disappointments, with failed missions and bleak, lifeless images interspersed with joys, such as finding that there is water on Mars, and not all of it is acidic.

The summer after her freshman year in college, Sarah got to travel to the Mojave Desert to help test early versions of Mars rovers. She grew up in Kentucky, where her father was interested in astronomy and geology. In the book, Sarah describes a trip to Arizona with her father where she got to look through medium range telescopes, and it made a more personal connection with the solar system than with huge telescopes where she views images on a computer screen.

Sarah has worked on Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity rovers, looking for the signatures of chemical compounds that might indicate life or the possibility of life, in the past or present. Her writing is accessible, enthusiastic, and lyrical. Clearly, including the Perseverance rover due to land on Mars next February, there are many more observations to make, and more discoveries to come. The author dreams of finding microscopic signs of life on Mars, or on the moons of Jupiter or Saturn, including Titan, Enceladus, and Europa.

For more suggestions of popular science books, consider subscribing to our nature and science newsletter from Next Reads.

Brenda

This Side of Murder

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

In this atmospheric and intricately plotted mystery, war widow Verity Kent attends an engagement party in 1919 that is anything but a celebration. Verity drives to the coast in her late husband Sidney’s roadster, and travels to Umbersea Island, where she finds that most of the guests are connected to Sidney’s army unit. When one of the men is found dead and bad weather strands the guests and a few employees on the island, the tension level cranks up to high. Everyone seems to have a secret, including Verity, who did intelligence work during the war that even Sidney didn’t know about. Many plot twists kept my interest, along with the fast pacing and a very clever mystery. This is the first Verity Kent mystery; the sequel is Treacherous is the Night.

Brenda

The Falcon Always Wings Twice

The Falcon Always Wings Twice by Donna Andrews

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio version of the latest Meg Langslow cozy mystery. There is a large cast of quirky characters, the mystery is fast-paced, and the tone is light and often humorous. Meg is a blacksmith who doesn’t often have much time to practice her craft, especially as she and her husband Michael, a drama teacher, are raising twin boys. This book is set at a renaissance fair in northern Virginia, where Meg is one of two blacksmiths putting on demonstrations every weekend. Everything is going well with the fair, except for prankster actor Terence, who annoys almost everyone, and a visiting director who wants to get too involved with the fair. An early morning owling walk led by Meg’s grandfather ends with discovering a body in the woods, and Meg, once again, turns amateur sleuth. Bernadette Dunne narrates expressively and the well-detailed fair setting is especially appealing. Well Played by Jen De Luca, a romantic comedy set at a renaissance fair, sounds like a good readalike. I’m looking forward to The Gift of the Magpie, to be published next month.

Brenda

October Virtual Book Discussion: Under a Dark Sky

On October 27 at 7:00 pm, please join the Tuesday Evening Book Group on Zoom as we discussion Under a Dark Sky by Chicago author Lori Rader-Day. This contemporary novel of psychological suspense won an Anthony Award, and is set in a park based on the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City, Michigan. Register for the book discussion here. Copies of the book are available at the Circulation Desk. Visit Hoopla to download the eaudiobook, and Media on Demand (Overdrive/Libby) for ebook  and eaudiobook availability.

Brenda