With the announcement of NPR's Books We Love I realized it's that time of year. The lists of best books are pouring in and I know that not only are we interested in them as readers ourselves, they also give us great ideas for books to gift to the other readers in our lives. So for those of you searching for your next read or even more desperately searching for that perfect gift, here is a by-no-means-comprehensive best lists to give you a start.
Posts by Jane J
Camille Gardner's life ended five years ago when her daughter died. The loss alone devastated her. But the lack of justice for her daughter has filled her with so much anger she doesn't have any room for anything else. And she has no outlet for all that rage. Until now. Alison Gaylin explores the depths to which someone might go in order to get justice (or is it revenge) and brings the reader along for the thrilling ride.
From what I hear from other readers I'm not alone in, more often then I'd like, struggling with my ability to really sink into a book. I don't know if the attention deficit comes from work, too many devices, or the general stressiness of life, but often I find that I have to work to stick to a book, even if I was sure I'd love it. But one genre lately has really been working for me and that is fantasy fiction. Something about entering a completely different world has just been easier.
The Lakeview Mystery Book Group had been meeting in person over the last few months but decided to go back to meeting on Zoom now that the nights are longer and are getting colder. Last week was our return to Zoom and given how the online platform can change the shape of meetings, I was wondering if our talk would be as comfortable and free-wheeling as it had been for our in-person meetings. The answer? It certainly was a relaxed, energetic discussion. But was that the group or the book?
There's a trope in the romance genre that almost always entertains me. And there is an author who does likewise. So you can imagine my happiness when I realized that After Dark with the Duke by Julie Anne Long has both.
I've been waiting to tell you about John Scalzi's forthcoming title for a while now as it was just the antidote I needed for a reading slump. At the time most things I'd been reading were eliciting a tepid, 'ah it was fine' response. And then came the Kaiju. Not only were they a saving grace for me, but based on the author note included in the book, were one for Scalzi as well. He'd been struggling with another book as the pandemic worsened and just couldn't make progress when the idea for this story popped into his head.
Karen Brooks gives Chaucer's Wife of Bath a chance to tell her side of the story in this vivid and absorbing tale of how a woman could gain agency in her own life in a time when she legally had none.
October and the spooky season are just around the corner and I have the book for you. Elly Griffiths' (best known for her Ruth Galloway series of mysteries) Stranger Diaries is suspenseful and even spooky at times (there's even a ghost) and is a gothic book about a gothic story that is being written about for a book. Okay that sounds like nonsense, I know.
There are some books that make me feel like I'm smiling from the first page to the last. I finish the book and immediately want to tell everyone about the delight I had in reading it (I think I've already mentioned it to multiple co-workers). Such was the case with A Marvellous Light, a debut queer fantasy novel full of "magic, contracts, and conspiracies".
Lizzie Oullette has been found dead and no one in her rural Maine town seems to care. It's only when it becomes clear that her husband Dwayne is the one who likely murdered her that people start to show an interest. Dwayne was an admired member of the community until he hooked up with town outcast Lizzie. So if he did kill her? Maybe it's for the best. At least that's what investigator Ian Bird is able to glean from the townsfolk. That and somehow Lizzie's death is connected to a Adrienne Richards, a glamorous blonde Instagram influencer who'd been renting a house from Lizzie.