Monthly Archives: August 2016

The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue. Published by Picador

Donohue wrote one of my favorite books, The Boy Who Drew Monsters, so I was thrilled to get a chance to read his newest work. In the old city of Quebec, Kay strolls the streets, window shopping. She’s particularly taken with a toy store, Quatre Mains, that never seems to be open.Late one night, she’s out for a walk when she thinks she’s being pursued. She rushes to the toy store and is surprised to see that it’s open. She quickly takes refuge inside, not realizing the fate that awaits her inside is far worse than anything outside. The next day, her husband Theo realizes she’s missing and begins searching the streets of Quebec. What he has no way of knowing is that Kay has been transformed into a puppet in the toy store, where she and other strange marionettes from all over the world come to life only between the hours of midnight and dawn. Kay’s only hope for salvation lies with her husband, he must recognize her in her new and bizarre shape. If this sounds totally bizarre, it’s because it is. But Donohue makes it work, drawing on myths, legends and fairy tales, he writes a unique and terrifying thriller. Besides puppets are second only to clowns in sheer creep factor

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Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin. Published by Bookouture

Piper Chesterfield is a hotel reviewer, which means she gets to travel the world and stay in the best hotels. She also stays in some of the worst hotels ans she’s had just about enough traveling. One more hotel, one more review and then she’s taking a well deserved break. This time she’s traveling to a place she knows well, Juniper Island, where she spent some of the happiest days of her childhood. Juniper Island is also the place where her heart was broken. Now, she’s booked into a beautiful hotel for Christmas and it turns out the owner of the hotel is the man who broke Piper’s heart all those years ago. Now Gabe is a widower with a small child and Piper finds it just as hard to resist him now as she did all those years ago. Can they ever get over the past to find a future together? Okay, there were some rather hard to swallow bits (a private plane for one guest?), but none of that mattered. I want to live on Juniper Island!!

Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow. Published by Bookouture

Every Christmas, Lizzie tells herself that his year things will be different; that she’ll find a way to rev up her marriage and enjoy life again. But it’s never any different, her children and grown and gone and her husband is glued to the television. New neighbor Marcus is certainly easy on the eye and Lizzie finds herself daydreaming about him a little too often for her own comfort. When her bestie, Ann suggests they go away for the weekend, it seems like the perfect solution. This trip could go either way -Lizzie will either succumb to her desires for Marcus, or she will find a way to save her faltering marriage. No one ever talks about what it’s like when the romance wears off in a marriage, but it does. Boy, does it ever. I really liked this story because it dealt with that very issue in a fresh and funny way

Vigilante by Kerry Wilkinson. Published by Bookouture

Detective Jessica McDaniel is back for her second case. This time a man has been found viciously stabbed to death and it looks as if there’s a good chance the murder was drug related, but when more victims turn up, all killed the same way, an all known criminals, it doesn’t take long before rumors of a vigilante spread. Their first clue, blood under the fingernails of a victim turns out to be a bust. The DNA belongs to a man well into his life long jail sentence. Jessica and her team face mounting pressure to close the case before the killer can strike again, but with their prime suspect with an airtight alibi, where can they look next? Jessica and her colleagues have an easy rapport that I liked, Jessica herself seems a bit young and goofy for her role, but I’m hoping she’ll grow into it

By Gaslight by Steven Price. Published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Famous American detective William Pinkerton is called to London by Scotland Yard after a woman’s head is been found in the Thames. The woman in question would appear to be the same one Pinkerton has been pursuing for information about the man he’s been chasing.  Edward Shade, the criminal that Pinkerton’s father pursued since shortly after the American Civil War, is now loose in London. Pinkerton has taken up his father’s reign and will leave no stone unturned in order to find his man. But the brilliant detective has met his match in an equally ingenious criminal. Price does a good job bringing Victorian London to life, with all its squalor and filth, opium dens and gaslit streets. The historical aspect of the story is indeed, perhaps better than the mystery

Finding Libbie by Denna Lynn Sletten. Published by Lake Union

Emily Prentice falls into a rabbit hole when she finds a box of photographs that show her father was married to someone before he married her mother. With her mother now dead,  Emily seeks to find out what happened to Libbie and why she and Emily’s dad divorced. This story consists mainly of the relationship between Jack and Libbie in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Born a child of privilege, Libbie always had everything she wanted. Jack, from a far more humble background aspires to be a mechanic, yet somehow the two fall head over heels in love and are married. It’s not long before the drug culture of the era begins to effect Libbie, and Jack watches helplessly as the woman he loves becomes someone else. Finally, when he cannot take anymore, the two divorce. Back in the present day, Emily wants to find Libbie for her father, to see if there is some way that the woman he loved all those years ago can make him happy again. This was a touching novel and while Emily seems a little too good to be true, Jack and Libbie are characters to believe in and cheer for

The Christmas Town by Donna VanLiere. Published by St. Martins

Lauren Gabriel has longed for a real home her whole life. Raised in foster care, she always dreamed her mother would come back for her, but she didn’t. Now, at the ripe old age of twenty, Lauren is living a hand to mouth existence as a cashier, living in a lonely apartment. It’s even worse with Christmas fast approaching, everyone else seems happy, everyone else seems to have a real home. One night after work, rather than go home to an empty apartment, she gets in her car and drives. She witnesses an accident and is escorted to the town of Grandon. At first she’s there merely to fulfill her obligations as a new citizen, but then the little town and its residents begin to grow on her. She finds herself caught up in the good works done by Glory’s Place, a center for families down on their luck and women struggling with bringing up children on their own. The more time Lauren spends in Grandon, the more she wonders if she she’s finally found the home she’s been looking for all her life. A heartwarming Christmas story about finding a place to call your own