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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: mystery, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Friday Feature: Murder on the Mind

I've been reading a lot of mysteries lately, and this one caught my eye because it's about a guy with psychic abilities and my NaNoWriMo book is about a psychic PI! I definitely enjoyed this one, so check out Murder on the Mind by L.L. Bartlett.

After a brutal mugging in Manhattan leaves him with a broken arm and fractured skull, insurance investigator Jeff Resnick reluctantly agrees to recover at the home of his estranged half brother, Richard. At first, Jeff believes his graphic nightmares of a slaughtered buck are just the workings of his traumatized mind. But when a local banker is found in the same condition, Jeff believes the attack has left him with a psychic sixth sense--an ability to witness murder before it happens.Piecing together clues he saw in his visions, Jeff attempts to solve the crime. His brother Richard is skeptical, but unsettling developments begin to forge a tentative bond. Soon, things that couldn't be explained by premonition come to light, and Jeff finds himself probing into dangerous secrets that touch his own traumatic past in wintry Buffalo—and the killer is ready to eliminate Jeff's visions permanently.
The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett's pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it's her talent—whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett—that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series, the Tales of Telenia adventure-fantasy saga, and now the Lotus Bay Mysteries, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s).

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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2. Slaves of Obsession

Slaves of Obsession. Anne Perry. 2000. 368 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: "We are invited to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Alberton," Hester said in reply to Monk's questioning gaze across the breakfast table.

Premise/plot: William and Hester Monk attend a dinner, and, soon most of the guests will be caught up in a murder case. The victim--one of several--is Mr. Alberton. And it looks like he's been killed by someone he knew, someone he entertained in his own home. Monk isn't directly on the murder case, so to speak, but he's hired by Mrs. Alberton to find her missing daughter and bring her back home, no matter what. And the number one suspect in the case is the daughter's love-interest. So chances are, if you find one you may find the other. So Hester and Monk have their hands full in this one. It takes place on TWO continents. (The daughter has fled to the United States....)

My thoughts: I really am enjoying this series again. I really like seeing Hester and William settle down into married life. I really love seeing these two love and respect and cherish one another! Yet the romance in the book is never in-your-face or time-consuming. Instead it is in the background, subtle. The issue in this book is "slavery" and whether it's right or wrong to sell guns to the South. Does someone who sells guns for a living have a moral obligation to sell guns only to people whom he agrees 100% with? Does he have the right to refuse to sell guns to interested buyers because he finds their cause distasteful? Who is really capable of deciding which causes are good or bad?

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. Monday Mishmash 12/26/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:

  1. Christmas I had a great Christmas and I hope you did too if you celebrate it.
  2. Proofing  I finished proofing Lies We Tell. I'm very excited to venture into adult mystery/suspense. The book will release in April.
  3. Winter Break  My daughter is home for Christmas break this week, so I'll be spending most of my time with her, which is why this Mishmash is shorter than usual.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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4. Christmas Visitor

A Christmas Visitor. Anne Perry. 2004. 199 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: "There, Mr. Rathbone, sir, are yer right?" the old man asked solicitously.

Premise/plot: Henry Rathbone (Oliver's father) is visiting his goddaughter for the Christmas holidays. Her husband has literally just died. And Henry ends up being the one who meets each returning child (all adults) about the death. As the story gets told and retold, questions arise. Was Judah Dreghorn murdered? Who murdered him? Why? Can anyone prove it was murder and not an accident?

My thoughts: For such a short book, it was a surprisingly slow read. Its two hundred pages felt like four hundred. I think it would have been very helpful to break this one into chapters. The book is divided into "parts" and not chapters. One of the key reasons a book feels quick and enjoyable are short-to-medium length chapters. When you come to the end of the chapter, you flip the pages. And let's say the next chapter is four to ten pages in length, it's I HAVE TIME FOR ONE MORE CHAPTER. You can read just "one more chapter" for a good hundred pages or so. But when there are no natural stopping places for seventy-to-eighty pages, then you don't want to read it. You make excuses, I don't have the time now. Authors, pay attention, have chapters work to your benefit.

That being said, I adore the character Henry Rathbone. I got super-attached to him reading the William Monk series. And so I wanted to LOVE this one like crazy. I still think he's a good character. And the characters were more interesting than the ones in A Christmas Journey. There is no comparison between the books. This one is a lot better!!! But it just doesn't compare to her other novels.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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5. Monday Mishmash 12/19/16

Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Sunday is Christmas! It's Practically Here!  Can you tell I'm a fan of the Grinch? I love the original cartoon movie. I'm all ready for Sunday.
  2. Editing  I'll be doing a client edit this week before the holidays.
  3. Publishing  Since Fading Into the Shadows is ready to go for it's January 16, 2017 release, I'm busy getting my April release ready. The digital proof of Lies We Tell has been proofed, and the paperback proof has been ordered!
  4. Taxes  It's getting to be that time again where I need to update my expense and earning logs for taxes. Ick!
  5. Snow  I'm done with snow and winter hasn't even officially begun yet. :(
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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6. The Twisted Root

The Twisted Root. Anne Perry. (William Monk #10) 1998. 368 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: The young man stood in the doorway, his face pale, his fingers clenched on his hat, twisting it around and around.

Premise/plot: William Monk is hired by Lucius Stourbridge to find his missing fiancée, Miriam Gardner. She disappeared during a garden party without a word. Monk, newly married, takes the case. As he begins work on the case, he stumbles onto a murder case that might just prove relevant to his missing person case. Sergeant Robb has found the body of a coachman. Robb soon is eager to find Miriam too, her probably being the last to see him alive. Meanwhile Hester is not staying at home doing nothing. She is fighting for reform and change in the hospital community. She has noticed that someone has been stealing medicine from the hospital where she volunteers. It turns out the thief has a heart of gold and is a kindred spirit when it comes to caring and nursing veterans.

As so often is the case in Perry's novels, Monk, Hester, and Rathbone's paths and stories all cross. This one definitely has a twist ending.

My thoughts: I really am liking the series again. Silent Cry seems to have been the low point for me. I am glad that Monk and Hester have wed, and equally glad that not any time is devoted to their physical intimacy in the bedroom. I was very, very happy to get one scene between Rathbone and his dad!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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7. A Christmas Journey

Christmas Journey. Anne Perry. 2003. 180 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould hesitated a moment at the top of the stairs.

Premise/plot: A country-house party in December goes terribly wrong when one of the guests decides to jump off a bridge and commit suicide. The "victim" of this mystery (Gwendolen) was first the victim of a cutting insult. The other guests decide that Isobel (the woman who was 'rude') is to blame. She's to be ostracized from that day forward. But the host (Omegus Jones) and the heroine (Lady Vespasia) concoct a way to "cleanse" her socially. She'll be the one to travel to the mother's home (Gwendolen's mother) to tell her the news. If the mother travels back with her and agrees that sufficient penance has been done, then all will be well--socially.

My thoughts: This is a very odd book. It's Christmas-themed, which could be a great thing. But. It's also supposed to be a mystery. And that is where it falls short a bit. Perry's books usually have at least one or two crimes. And they tend to be DRAMATIC and big. Not subtle and dainty. I liked that this Christmas mystery didn't offer a lot of GRIT and RAGE. On the positive side, it is a very short read! But ultimately it is probably forgettable as well.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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8. Cornish Coast Murder

Cornish Coast Murder. John Bude. 1935. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The Reverend Dodd, Vicar of St. Micahel's-on-the-Cliff, stood at the window of his comfortable bachelor study looking out into the night.

Premise/plot: This vintage mystery stars several amateur detectives (a vicar and a doctor) and several professional detectives (police inspectors). The novel was easy to follow, but, is proving hard to remember--in terms of character names. The murder happens early in the novel. A stormy night is JUST what this murderer has been waiting for. He--or SHE--is able to fire THREE shots with hardly anyone being the wiser for it. There seem to be THOUSANDS of clues, but, contradictory, almost absurd or outlandish clues that instead of leading to a cohesive story lead to a dozen "maybe" stories. Who will be the first to solve this one?

My thoughts: I liked this one. Would I have loved it if I'd read it in two or three days instead of two or three weeks? Maybe. Maybe not. If this one has a weakness, it is that the solution isn't one that readers are ever, ever, ever going to be able to piece together on their own. I'm not sure that qualifies as a weakness. It's just that with so many suspects, so many clues, so many motives...the actual murderer seems to come out of nowhere. I personally like to be able to say, OH, I SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO FIGURE THAT ONE OUT.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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9. Breach of Promise

A Breach of Promise. (William Monk #9) Anne Perry. 1999. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Oliver Rathbone leaned back in his chair and let out a sigh of satisfaction.

Premise/plot: A Breach of Promise is the ninth book in the William Monk mystery series by Anne Perry. In this one, Oliver Rathbone takes up a difficult, near-impossible-to-win case. His client, Killian Melville, is being sued for breach of promise. His friendship with Zillah Lambert was taken--by her family--as a romantic relationship. A whole wedding was PLANNED without him ever having said "I love you" or "Will you marry me?" Everything was assumed by Zillah's parents. Melville was late to catch on that he was "trapped." The case goes to trial, and, Rathbone calls on Monk to help him find something--anything--to help his client. Surely there is some reason why Melville refuses to marry her and claims that he CANNOT ever marry. Hester Latterly is nursing a patient that surprisingly enough is not directly connected in any way with the crime!!! But both Rathbone and Monk are depending on her to help them "make sense" of this case.

My thoughts: I loved this one. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. It ends with Monk decisively choosing to ask Hester something BIG. Now, have I been wanting these two together for many books? Yes and no. No, in that I personally *like* Rathbone better. And I think Oliver was just as much in love with Hester as Monk was/is. Also, I really ADORE Oliver's dad. And the thought of Hester being in that family and getting MORE of both Oliver and his Dad would have made me quite happy. That being said, it was obvious for several books now that Hester for whatever reason loves Monk. I don't know why she prefers Monk to Rathbone. I don't. But she does. So yes, I am glad that Monk stopped being stupid and argumentative enough to pop the question. If the two are destined to be together, I'd rather it be settled sooner rather than later.

Now, for the case itself. It was a twist upon twist. And I forbid myself to cheat even a little. So that helped. I think the series is guilty a bit of having modern opinions taken up by the historical characters and proclaimed a bit smugly. At times. But overall, I really found myself enjoying this one cover to cover.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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10. Cybils Speculative Reader: 23 MINUTES by VIVIAN VANDE VELDE

Welcome to the 2016 Cybils Speculative Reader! As a first run reader for the Cybils, I'll be briefly introducing you to the books on the list, giving you a mostly unbiased look at some of the plot.Enjoy! I have a ridiculous love for the novels of... Read the rest of this post

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11. Cybils Speculative Reader: THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY, by CAT WINTERS

Welcome to the 2016 Cybils Speculative Reader! As a first run reader for the Cybils, I'll be briefly introducing you to the books on the list, giving you a mostly unbiased look at some of the plot.Enjoy! NB: Author Cat Winters is a go-to for... Read the rest of this post

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12. November Is For Writing

November is all about writing for me—partly because of NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month, in case you’re unfamiliar). I normally don’t join, because writing 50,000 words in one month is a bit much for me, especially since November includes Thanksgiving.
This year, I decided to unofficially quasi-join: I’m aiming to finish the first draft of a crime novel for adults I’ve been working on, plus a few chapters of a middle-grade, and maybe a short story or two. So not quite following the rules, but then I rarely do. I think I’ll get about half of that 50k in words—not bad for this writer.

Also, this November I’m hoping to start a new format for the blog. I considered packing up for a little while; blogging is sort of on the way out, and I sometimes feel like I’ve said everything I wanted to say.
But for now, I still like blogging. So I thought I might try posting the first Thursday (or so) of each month, and talk about more about mysteries in general—books, TV, movies—and about writing and other stuff. And maybe I’ll share a recipe or two. I hope you’ll stick around, guys!

Mystery books and TV

This month, TV and books intersect for me. I’m reading Michael Connelly’s latest novel, The Wrong Side Of Goodbye, and I’m also watching Bosch, the series based on his books. I’m a big fan of the books, so I was reluctant to watch the series. The old cliché is usually true: the books are always better than the movie.
But in this case, I was pleasantly surprised. The Bosch series is doing the character and the books justice, with a solid mystery and good attention given to police procedure accuracy (most of the time anyway).
I’m just starting season two; I’ll keep you posted.

One of my favorite crime writers, Greg Bardsley, has a new book out this month called The Bob Watson.
He told me about the concept of it a few years ago, and I've been awaiting the publication of this novel ever since. Go buy this book now!
Greg Bardsley is a brilliant writer; if you haven't read his first novel, Cash Out, you can start there if you like. Funny, sharp, and great. One of those writers whose books should all be made into movies...

For writers

I picked up a copy of Matt Bird The Secrets of Story, just in time for November’s go-go writing activities. So far, I’m loving it: he focuses on character, and gives lots of clear, practical and down-to earth advice.

I recommend you get yourself a copy if you’re looking for inspiration. 

On the web

I’ve been off the grid a little bit, since we’re remodeling the house and I’m still trying to keep the writing going. But I did find some newsworthy tidbits to share:

For you writer folk attempting NaNoWriMo, here are ten tips over at International Business Times. Hang in there…
Favorite kid author R.L. Stine is writing the story for a Marvel comic; get the story here at GalleyCat
Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson, the authors of the great middle-grade mystery The Secret Files of Ms. Fairday Morrow, ran a drawing contest where kids sent in some amazing artwork. Check out these drawings and their great blog over here; they always have something fun going on.
And for you artistic types, Dan Blank of WeGrowMedia has a brilliant post on creating the best environment to be creative, right here. Some great advice for darn near everything in life, I think.

Tip from me this November: unsubscribe from all unwanted emails, especially ones trying to get you to buy stuff (especially as the holiday season nears...). I did that just this week, and my inbox is already much quieter. Less (stuff) is more (time to write).
In the meantime, I hope you have a great November, full of writing, hot cocoa, and a little fall weather!

What are you up to this month..?

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13. The Silent Cry

The Silent Cry. Anne Perry. 1998. 368 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: John Evan stood shivering as the January wind whipped down the alley.

Premise/plot: The Silent Cry is the eighth book in the William Monk mystery series by Anne Perry. (Perry has two ongoing Victorian mystery series.) While some books in the series have been disturbing and violent, this one seems even more so. Think of it as historical Law and Order SVU.

My thoughts: What can I say about the crime(s)? Honestly, I hated that aspect of this one. I will just add that it's best you don't accidentally--or purposefully--sneak a peek at the ending. In the case of this book, if you do it will ruin the entire book for you (like it did for me) and you will spend the entire book SCREAMING at the characters. That is if you keep the book in hand at all. In fact, it took me months to pick this one back up. I had been obsessively reading through one or two of Perry's books a month. Until this one. And I found myself not wanting to go on. I wanted to start the next book in the series. Part of me, was, WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS IN THIS BOOK TO MOVE THE HESTER/MONK STORY LINE FORWARD? WHAT IF SOMETHING IMPORTANT HAPPENS IN ONE OF THE KEY RELATIONSHIPS OF THE SERIES. Rathbone and Hester, Hester and Monk, Monk and Rathbone. What if Monk gets a few new memories back and I miss it? So I *made* myself push forward into uncomfortable territory.

I will say this. I think it probably would have been safe to skip this one after all. WITH the exception that we do get one or two lovely scenes between Hester and Rathbone!!!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. The Secrets of Wishtide

The Secrets of Wishtide. Kate Saunders. 2016. Bloomsbury. 352 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was a bright, windy October morning, and Mrs Bentley and I were down in the basement kitchen making a rabbit pudding.

Premise/plot: Laetitia Rodd is the heroine of Kate Saunders' newest book. Who should seek this one out? Those who love historical fiction, particularly those who enjoy books set in Victorian England. Those who love reading mysteries, particularly those who enjoy COZY mysteries. Mrs. Rodd is a widow who supplements her income by during detective work on the side, her brother helps "find" cases for her to solve. In this book, the first in a possible new series, she's hired by a very wealthy family to investigate the background of a woman, Mrs. Helen Orme. The son of her client has fallen madly, deeply in love with this woman. She'll be posing as the family's new governess....

My thoughts: I really loved this one. I'll be honest: I was in the PERFECT mood to read this one. I was craving a cozy mystery with a Victorian setting. I love historical fiction. I love mysteries. I love Charles Dickens. And the fact that the author was inspired by David Copperfield--and shares my love of Dickens--just made my day. Not every reader will have the background of loving David Copperfield. And I'm not sure you need that either.

This one might be best saved for a time when you're truly *needing* a good mystery to lose yourself in for a day or two.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. Cybils Speculative Reader: WHERE FUTURES END by PARKER PEEVYHOUSE

Welcome to the 2016 Cybils Speculative Reader! As a first run reader for the Cybils, I'll be briefly introducing you to the books on the list, giving you a mostly unbiased look at some of the plot.Enjoy! Synopsis: A year from today, Dylan will... Read the rest of this post

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16. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry, 368 pp, RL 5

With The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, Julie Berry creates a masterfully crafted Victorian setting (Berry's author's note at the end of the book is just as entertaining as the book itself) and populates it with intriguing, independent minded young ladies, adding layers of farce and mystery to create a book you won't be able to put down. Set in the cathedral city of Ely, Cambridgeshire in 1890, St. Etheldreda's School for Young Ladies on Prickwillow Road has seven pupils with wonderfully descriptive names. There is Dear Roberta, sent away to school by her jealous new stepmother. Disgraceful Mary Jane is what we would call boy crazy today and has been sent to Ely to keep her from eloping with the wrong kind of boy. Dull Martha and Stout Alice have more to offer than the descriptives they have been labeled with. Smooth Kitty, the child of a business mogul who had been hoping for a male heir, has a mind like a steel trap, if only her father would notice. Pocked Louise was cured of small pox at the age of eight by her uncle, a great surgeon and mentor to her, has been sent to school to discourage her scientific leanings. And, Dour Elinor has an abiding interest in the funereal industry. When Headmistress Plackett and her odious brother Aldous Godding are poisoned during the Sunday meal, each of the seven pupils has a skill that comes into play.

With the daily domestic woman Amanda Barnes off for the Sabbath and just the seven girls in the house, Smooth Kitty puts a plan into action. The girls will run the school and pretend to be Mrs. Plackett, as needed. Of course, they will have to dispose of the bodies of the headmistress and her brother, as well. There are somewhat gruesome moments in The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, but they are more than outnumbered by hilarious and poignant situations. Of course the girls can't keep up the sham, even if Stout Alice does fit perfectly into Mrs. Plackett's clothes and can imitate her voice, and Berry creates one sticky situation after another, from a raft of guests arriving for a surprise birthday party for Aldous to an elderly neighbor who twists her ankle and insists on spending the night at the school, sharing a bed with the dead Mrs. Plackett. In between these awkward passages, the girls work desperately to figure out who the murderer is, uncovering one curiosity after the next while also dealing with break ins, thefts, a new puppy (unfortunately and comically named Aldous) and the strawberry social, which Alice, acting as Mrs. Plackett, commits to attending.

One of the things I loved most about The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, besides the characters, setting and story, is the way that things started to fall apart immediately for the sisterhood. Of course seven girls can't run a school and pretend like their headmistress is still alive, even in 1890 when crimes and disappearances were much harder to solve. You know that the girls are going to be found out, but you just read on, hoping that they will find the murderer and maybe even save their school before this happens. Berry wraps up her story marvelously with a very satisfying and much hoped for ending. 

Source: Purchased Audio Book
Narrated by Jane Entwhistle

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17. My Thoughts: We Know it Was You by Maggie Thrash

4 yummy frosted ginger cookies

Cover Love:  I'm not sure.  I don't hate it, but I don't love it.
I just don't feel it is very eye catching nor does it fit the tone of the book, however, I like it as a cover.  I like the font and the huge, accusatory title.

Why I Wanted to Read This:  I was in the mood for a suspense book and this one sounded like it fit the bill.  Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:

It’s better to know the truth. At least sometimes.

Halfway through Friday night’s football game, beautiful cheerleader Brittany Montague—dressed as the giant Winship Wildcat mascot—hurls herself off a bridge into Atlanta’s surging Chattahoochee River.

Just like that, she’s gone.

Eight days later, Benny Flax and Virginia Leeds will be the only ones who know why.
Romance?: Not really. There are a lot of romances that happen or were already happening in the book (it's set at a high school), there just isn't any romance for or between our main characters.

My Thoughts:
I really liked this book for several reasons.  First off, it takes place at a boarding/prep type school.  Although there is a dorm, there aren't a lot of "boarders" and they are kind of looked down upon by the local kids who attend the school.  I like this reversal for a prep school type setting.  Normally, the local kids are the ones looked down upon, rather than the boarders.  Because of this setting the population of kids is pretty small, everyone knows everyone and the class lines area kind of blurred.  Seniors are friends with lower class men and pretty much everyone knows everyone else!

The author writes from several different points of view during the course of this book, with Benny and Virginia being the main two characters.  One thing I loved was how the author wrote about the perceptions each character had of the others.  Benny constantly was devaluing Virginia in his head and she was constantly thinking about what a nerd Benny was.  Neither of them truly saw what was going on with each other, nor were these perceptions easily changed.  It just felt really true to teenagers and high school because sometimes its so hard to change your reputation.  People don't want you to change who you are!

The mystery was also really well done, a lot of red herrings.  I found the "who done it" to be a little implausible, but overall was keep interested the whole book.  I also liked all the little kernels the author threw out there that didn't get answered.  This book is titled "Strange Truth #1" so I am looking forward to learning more about Benny and Virginia in upcoming books.  There is a mystery involving Virginia that is alluded to several times in the book that I am especially looking forward to learning more about.  I really liked Virginia!

Overall, I liked the setting of a small. elite school and  the mystery.  The smallest thing that kind of bothered me was the ages of Benny and Virginia, they seemed a bit older and more mature than 15.

To Sum Up:  Even though Benny and Virginia are 15 year olds, I feel that there were a few things in this book that make it too mature for my library.  However, it's a great mystery and a fun read so I will recommend our high school librarians buy it for their collections.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the review copy!

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18. Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd

Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd. (Flavia de Luce #8) 2016. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The winter rain slashes at my face like icy razor blades, but I don't care. I dig my chin deep into the collar of my mackintosh, put my head down, and push on against the buffeting of the furious wind.

Premise/plot: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd is the EIGHTH novel in the Flavia de Luce mystery series by Alan Bradley. If you're not hooked to the series by now, chances are my review won't persuade you to pick this one up. Do you have to read the books in order? Yes and no. I'd say that it's always best to read the first book first. But perhaps after that if you've missed one or two then it would still be okay to pick up this newest one and treat yourself.

So, what is it about? Flavia de Luce is home from Canada--it's almost Christmas--and things are not the same at home. Her father is sick and in the hospital. Which means almost everyone is acting differently. And every day there is the question: will the hospital allow visitors today?!?! For too many days in a row the answer has been NO. One thing that is the same? There is a mystery to be solved. While doing an errand for Cynthia, I believe, she comes across a dead body--Mr. Sambridge, a local woodcarver.

My thoughts: The mystery in this one is very interesting in my opinion. While I've enjoyed the past few books in the series okay, I think this one is my favorite by far. It is COMPELLING and EMOTIONAL. And oh the ending....it revealed how much I do CARE about the characters and it made me want to yell at the author.
There are times when even family can be of no use: when talking to your own blood fails to have meaning.
As anybody with two older sisters can tell you, a closed door is like a red rag to a bull. It cannot go unchallenged.
Playing the clown is not an easy task. Clowns, I have come to believe, are placed upon the earth solely to fill the needs of others, while running perilously close to "Empty" themselves.
You can learn from a glance at anyone's library, not what they are, but what they wish to be.
Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is not so simple as it sounds. What it means, in fact, is being charitable--which, as the vicar is fond of pointing out, is the most difficult of the graces to master. Faith and hope are a piece of cake but charity is a Pandora's box: the monster in the cistern which, when the lid is opened, comes swarming out to seize you by the throat.
The world can be an interesting place to a girl who keeps her ears open.
Authors are known to have fiendishly clever minds, and the authors of children's books are more fiendishly clever than most.
Some sleeps are washed with gold, and some with silver. Mine was molten lead. 

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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19. THREE TRUTHS AND A LIE by Brent Hartinger \\ Maybe Mildly Inappropriate For Average YA Reader?

Review by Sara... THREE TRUTHS AND A LIE By Brent Hartinger Hardcover: 288 pages Publisher: Simon Pulse (August 2, 2016) Grade Level: 9 and up Language: English Goodreads | Amazon A weekend retreat in the woods and an innocent game of three truths and a lie go horribly wrong in this high-octane psychological thriller filled with romantic suspense by a Lambda Award–winning author.Deep in the

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20. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis \\ Is More Deadly Than The Male...

Review by Jackie... THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES By Mindy McGinnis Hardcover: 352 pages Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (September 20, 2016) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The

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21. LAST SEEN LEAVING by Caleb Roehrig \\ The YA Version of Gone Girl?

Review by Sara... LAST SEEN LEAVING By Caleb Roehrig Series: No Hardcover: 336 pages Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (October 4, 2016) Language: English Goodreads | Amazon Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories

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22. Inspector Flytrap: Book 1, by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell, 112 pp, RL 2

It's a very good time to be an emerging reader, especially because Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell, celebrity super couple of the kid's book world, have teamed up again! This time, the duo bring their weird, wacky senses of humor to Inspector Flytrap, a series of books featuring a hard boiled detective who just happens to be a Venus Flytrap.

Being a detective - and a plant - has its challenges. Happily, Inspector Flytrap (who is constantly correcting people who refer to him as Mr. Flytrap) has an assistant, Nina, who puts him on a skateboard and does all the driving whenever they need to get to a crime scene quickly. Nina is a goat, which has a few drawbacks since she will eat anything. As the Inspector says, "it's scary to have an assistant who eats everything, especially for a plant like me." Nina also has a standard flip response to almost everything, which is, "Big deal." 

The first Big Deal case (no small deal cases for him) readers get to see Inspector Flytrap tackle comes from Lulu Emu, a museum employee who take the Inspector and Nina into the Top Secret Art Lab to help solve the mystery of the strange yellow blob on a newly discovered, extremely rare painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. In fact, this happens to be the only flower painting Da Vinci every created. Nina, being Nina, licks the yellow blob and notes that it tastes salty. The Inspector soon cracks the case, the solution of every case getting a full page, multi-panel comic strip. Turns out, Da Vinci sneezed on his own painting, leaving a booger on the canvas. Lulu Emu is disappointed as she thought it was a secret message, a la a Don Brown novel, but her coworker in charge of the museum's Gallery of Mucus is thrilled!

The gags and goofiness in Inspector Flytrap continue throughout the four chapters of the novel in which the Inspector solves three cases and spends one chapter eating lunch at the restaurant where he first met Nina. Inspector Flytrap takes a lot of calls, and one of my favorite jokes in the book comes when he gets a call or two from a fly with a case. Also, Nina usually eats evidence or missing items that have been found, which is also hilarious. There is also a really great range of animals in the Inspector Flytrap series, including a sloth and a dodo, two favorites of mine. I ordered this series for my library before I even read them and now, having read the first book, I plan to order a couple more sets - the Inspector Flytrap books are going to be hot, hot, hot!

Book 2 in the Inspector Flytrap series:

Coming in January 2017!

Source: Review Copy

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23. The Jolley-Rogers and the Ghostly Galleon by Jonny Duddle, 160 pp, RL 3

Jonny Duddle is the illustrator and author of some gorgeously illustrated picture books, all of which I have read, a couple of which I have reviewed (see below.) Now, Duddle takes his friendly pirate family from picture book The Pirates Next-Door and spins longer yarns with them and former, pirate loving neighbor and resident of the tiny town of Dull-on-Sea, Matilda in his debut chapter book series The Jolley-Rogers. Besides being fun and fascinating pirate packed mysteries, the books in this series are just plain gorgeous and perfectly suited to Duddle's richly detailed illustrations. The trim size is a bit larger than the traditional chapter book with parts of the title printed in metallic ink. And the interior illustrations are remarkably generous with images on almost every page, often flowing across two pages!

In the first book, The Jolley-Rogers and the Ghostly Galleon, the Dull-on-Sea Museum is burgled, causing all the towns folk to rush to hide and/or secure their valuables. Matilda sends a message in a bottle to her pal, Jim Lad, and the Jolley-Rogers turn their ship, the Black Hole, toward town. Once they dock, they get into their amphibious vehicle and get down to solving the mystery of the missing treasure.

In this first book, a crew of ghost pirates led by Cap'n Twirlybird, looking for a long lost key, the story of which is sung as a chantey by Grandpa Rogers. If you have read any of his picture books, you know that Duddle is great with a rhyme. Interestingly enough, Tilly's neighbor, the almost 100 year old Miss Pinky, just happens to have a strange key that her brother found in 1944 on the beaches of Normandy amidst the explosions. Once they have the key, Jim Lad and Tilly have to face the ghostly pirates and save their souls by unlocking a trunk that they don't want unlocked...

In the second book in the series, The Jolley-Rogers and the Cave of Doom, the crew of the Black Hole find themselves under the spell of three sea hags, bewitched by a magical haul of treasures and Matilda is the only person who can help them!

Books 2 & 3 in The Jolley-Rogers Series

Jonny Duddle's Pirate picture books 
featuring the Jolley-Rogers

Source: Review Copy

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24. Monday Review: PASADENA by Sherri L. Smith

Don't miss our interview with author Sherri Smith this Wednesday, as part of the Pasadena blog tour! Synopsis: "The thing I'm finally learning is that someone can be your best friend in the world, but you're not necessarily theirs." Pasadena. It's... Read the rest of this post

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25. Starring Sherri L. Smith ~

It's Day 6 of the PASADENA blog tour!Bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses. When Jude's best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident. Her friends call it suicide. But Jude calls it what it... Read the rest of this post

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