YA Picks

Here are a couple of good books to enjoy and talk about with your older teenager.

Those Who Wish Me DeadThose Who Wish Me Dead
– by Michael Koryta

In this wilderness thriller, 14-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a murder at a quarry, but escapes the killers, the notorious Blackwell Brothers. For Jace’s protection, he is given a new identity and sent to a wilderness survival camp for troubled teens. Even though Jace is off the grid, the killers are soon on his trail. The only things between Jace and the killers are survival skills instructor Ethan Serbin, his wife Allison, fire lookout Hannah Faber, and mountainous Montana landscape, burning with wildfires.

Lock InLock In – by John Scalzi

Not long from now, a new virus appears and relentlessly sweeps across the world. A small percentage of those who contract the virus get Haden’s syndrome: they become locked inside their bodies, existing in a state of consciousness, but unable to interact with their surroundings. Neural net technology allows locked in individuals to escape their unresponsive body. They can use an Integrator, a person who allows a Haden’s sufferer’s consciousness to inhabit their body, or they can inhabit a mechanical personal transport unit called a threep. Two FBI agents, Leslie Vann (a former Integrator) and Chris Shane (a threep), are new partners who are tasked with solving a very unusual mystery: Who used an Integrator’s body to commit a murder?

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

detectivesduaghterThe Detective’s Daughter by Lesley Thomson

Stella Darnell is meticulous. As owner of the cleaning company, “Clean Slate”, she has to be. The reader soon realizes that this isn’t the only reason for her obsessive cleanliness. After all she still has the plastic cover on her living room furniture, doesn’t vary her daily schedule one iota, and keeps her watch three minutes fast (something her father, retired CS Terry Darnell, always did). She’s hard on herself – harder than on anyone else. Is it because of having an absent father during her childhood? A father who was so consumed with work that he didn’t first see his new daughter until two days after her birth?

When Stella begins clearing out Terry’s house after his sudden death, she comes across confidential case files relating to the unsolved murder of Kate Rokesmith. It was a case that consumed Terry during Stella’s childhood and continued to do so right up until his death.

Meanwhile, “Clean Slate” is taking on more clients and Stella needs to recruit new cleaners. When Jack Harmon comes on board, she realizes that he’s the best cleaner that she’s ever had even given his odd behaviour. As these two mismatched people begin working together they take on more than they ever bargained for.

I liked the premise of this mystery and it was a fairly compelling read. The switching between past and present during the first part of the book was confusing at times and I found myself re-reading pages just to figure out  where I was in the story. This technique is a common one and usually better managed than it is in this novel.

YA Picks

My True Love Gave to Me - Book CoverMy True Love Gave to Me – Twelve Holiday Stories – edited by Stephanie Perkins

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkuh, Winter Solstice or New Years, there is something in this collection for everyone who loves holiday stories. Enjoy 12 cozy tales by bestselling young adult authors including Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, Ally Carter, and Gayle Forman. So curl up with this book and a hot beverage… it’s okay to stay inside.

Let_It_Snow-_Three_Holiday_RomancesLet It Snow – by John Green, Lauren Myracle, & Maureen Johnston

This is a sweet trio of interconnected stories which take place in the wake of a giant Christmas Eve snowstorm. You will find holiday cheer and young romance to warm your heart.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

banquetA Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George

Hampered by rules and regulations, Barbara Havers hasn’t been working up to her personal potential since returning from her trip to Italy in search of her former neighbors Taymullah Azhar and his daughter Hadiyyah.  In fact, that trip has put her in hot water with DS Isabelle Ardery and she is walking a fine line between keeping her position in London and being transferred to the “boonies”.  Lynley goes to bat for her when Barbara comes across a possible murder after attending a reading by the feminist and author, Clare Abbott.  Havers is given the go-ahead to head the investigation in Cambridge but must toe the line – or else.
Meanwhile in London, Tommy is investigating a disturbing case whose tentacles reach far and wide and with time entangle themselves in the very case that Barbara is investigating.  How these two cases are linked is what begins an investigation into a family of such dysfunction that it beggars belief.
The plotting of this novel is an amazing feat of twists and turns and surprises and at 576 pages, every word is critical to getting us to its conclusion.  There’s no doubt in my mind that Elizabeth George is a master of this genre.