Joanne’s Mystery Picks

9781459737617A TIDING OF MAGPIES by Steve Burrows

When DC Desdemona Gill, Empowered Investigator for the Met’s Department of Professional Standards, is brought in to audit the case of the kidnapping of the Home Secretary’s daughter (the case that earned Jejeune his promotion), what has always been assumed to be a straight-forward case, turns out to be anything but.  With a new murder to investigate, along with fending off questions about the kidnapping and a resurgence in the threats to Lindy, Jejeune’s partner, Jejeune must count on Sergeant Danny Maik more than ever.

Burrows has written an intense mystery with many twists and turns and occasional “laugh out loud” moments.  As the team assembles the final pieces in the puzzles that are these cases, Jejeune makes a decision that will have an dramatic impact on everyone in his circle.  Where the story goes from here, I don’t know, but I’ll be waiting with baited breath to find out!

4 daggers

 

Joanne gives this “4 daggers out of 5”!

Check out Joanne’s other Birdie Murder Mystery reviews: A Shimmer of Hummingbirds, A Siege of Bitterns, and A Pitying of Doves

Summer Reading Game Book Reviews!

The reviews are pouring in as participants are racing to finish their reading challenges before the end of the Adult Summer Reading Game!

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I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Amazing!
I finished this book just before midnight and then lay awake until almost 1:00 a.m., mulling over the story and just plain being freaked out. I love a good ghost story, and Sigurdardøttir does a great job of building up the tension in two brilliantly crafted, and seemingly unrelated stories. It kept me guessing all the way to the scary finish, when all the interconnecting pieces snap together. Like other Scandinavian mysteries, the bleak isolated landscape of the remote Hesteyri island is almost like another character.
Read with the lights on.
~Staff review by Michelle S

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Amazing!
Like the Nightingale, Hannah’s characters are rich and realized. But The Great Alone brings her talent for character to a focal point. Leni’s experiences of emotional and physical survival are tested beyond belief when her family–a Vietnam vet plagued by PTSD and his overly devoted wife–moves to isolating Alaska in a deluded attempt to find a better life. Beautifully written with horrific moments, things must descend into chaos before finding the light.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

Amazing!
Wow! I really enjoyed this book! Except for the night when I read it right before trying to sleep, the author revealed a big event and Boom! I spent the whole night horrified by what had happened! Reminiscent of Gone Girl.

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Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Amazing!
Through the voices of multiple characters you hear about the events leading to and after an afternoon BBQ. The actual events at the BBQ are not revealed until 2/3 of the way through the book. I couldn’t stop reading!

Poppies of Iraq by Brigitte Findakly

I liked it.
The graphic novel format is prefect for this book. The author integrates anecdotes about her life in Iraq as a child and visits later as an adult living in France. Through the anecdotes and the description of events in Iraq that led to these impacts in her famly’s life, I got a more personal account of Iraq’s history.

Mr. Flood’s Last Resort by Jess Kidd

Amazing!
This book was excellent. A well-written mystery that was able to send chills down my spine. Kidd’s writing created exciting and well-developed characters, as well as unexpected twists and turns. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a thrill ride! Excellent, exciting novel!
~Staff review by Kirsten

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Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death by James Runcie

I liked it.
I love mysteries and Sidney in Grantchester did not disappoint. Each of the six mysteries stand on their own, however the characters interconnect from beginning to end. The budding friendship, or perhaps romance between Sidney and Amanda had me curious through the entire 392 pages, waiting for a kiss.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Amazing!
WOW. I absolutely loved this book. Grann writes non-fiction in a narrative fashion, which is enhanced by photographs alongside the relevant passages. A fascinating look into both Native American mistreatment in the early 20th century as well as the government’s creation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the serial murders of the Osage people. A WONDERFUL read. Highly recommend.
~Staff review by Kirsten

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly W. Brown

I liked it.
Admirable book from a young(ish) adult herself!
Easy read; however, the advise is “right on the money” in most cases. Helpful to any young adult, middle-aged or older adult in our chaotic era of sociocultural-technological times. Even better, if you’re stressed–moving. A great “how-to” with authentic anecdotes! Amusing, vernacular not for the faint-hearted.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

35260159FICTION CAN BE MURDER by Becky Clark

When Charlee Russo’s literary agent is murdered using the same method that Charlee used to kill off one of her characters, she quickly goes to the top of the suspects list.  Determined to clear her name, Charlee begins her own investigation to find the murderer.  When her car is struck from behind and then later almost T-boned by the same dark coloured SUV, she begins to think that someone doesn’t want her to continue with her investigations.  The novel continues in this pattern until the denoument where, unfortunately, Clark loses all credibility by a glaring misrepresentation of some basic science.  I was stunned that this passed the editorial process, and though trying to remember that this is a work of fiction, I just can’t let this fact go.  Clark is definitely off my list of authors to read in the future.

36134655THE LIAR IN THE LIBRARY by Simon Brett

“Pompous author is murdered after giving a book talk to an audience of interested readers”.  This could be a genre all by itself, though Brett handles the premise a bit better than some of the other books I’ve recently read (i.e. Body on Baker Street by Vicki Delany) which utilize the same theme.  Giving a nod to the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, Brett provides some colour to this almost formulaic mystery.  With a pinch of humour here and there he moves us towards the “who dunnit” part of the novel where the motivations of the murderer come as quite a surprise.  This is the 18th in the Fethering Mystery Series and I’d be quite happy to read another of these cozies by Simon Brett.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

51klp2bgun4l-_sx335_bo1204203200_THE DEVIL’S DICE by Roz Watkins

It’s always exciting to discover a new author in one’s favourite genre.  Roz Watkins was brought to my attention by Stephen Booth (Cooper and Fry series) in his newsletter, and although I’m glad that I’ve read this, her first book in the DI Meg Dalton series, I think she still needs a little polishing.  There’s a little too much repetition and she leaves too many assumptions up to the reader to make a smooth transition between discovering the crime and solving it.

Meg comes to her job as a DI in Derbeyshire (the Peak District) with lots of baggage – the death of her sister and its subsequent affect on Meg; a grandmother with a terminal illness who lives with Meg’s Mum; and questions about her ability to do the job.  So when the body of a man is found in a cave, amidst rumours of a local curse, Meg crosses her fingers that she’s up to the task of finding out what lead to his murder.

Watkins peoples this novel with many characters, some of whom are very troubled individuals, and at times it’s an effort to remember who’s who.  Her colorful descriptions of the area paint a perfect picture of both the ruggedness and the beauty of the Peak District.  And if you’re at all claustrophobic, beware of the sections of the book that take place in caves!

A promising first novel which leaves me open to reading her next one in the series: Dead Man’s Daughter.

Summer Reading Game Book Reviews

The Great Canadian Reading Game is on, and players can spin to find great reads from Jun 28-Aug 22, 2017!

Here’s what you thought of your reads:

819tq-q0n2blSWAMP ANGEL by Ethel Wilson

Maggie LLoyd has made an unfortunate second marriage after her husband is killed in WWII. In what may be the best planned departure from a marriage in a work of literature, Maggie leaves her husband and embarks upon a new life in the interior of B.C., working at a fishing lodge. This idyllic setting is perfect for Maggie, though it becomes complicated by the jealousy of the lodge owner’s wife.
Loved It! ~Staff review by Sheila

32080126Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

A collection of linked stories that reads like a novel (much like her Pulitzer-prize-winning Olive Kitteridge). A masterful writer at the height of her powers — this book did not disappoint. Strout is marvelous at portraying small-town characters and growing up poor. Even better if you first read My Name is Lucy Barton.
Loved It! ~Staff review by Luise

The Back of the TurtleTHE BACK OF THE TURTLE by Thomas King

I loved The Back of the Turtle. It tackled the serious issues of environmental abuses and the treatment of indigenous people in Canada in a darkly humourous fashion. Throughout the novel, King interweaves elements of Christianity and Native myth to create a unique storytelling experience. The protagonist Gabriel returns to his mother’s home which was destroyed by an environmental disaster inadvertently caused by Gabriel. The novel follows Gabriel as he reconciles his feelings and the few people he interacts with while discovering the nearby abandoned town. I highly recommend this novel as it explores both the darker elements within Canada, and also leaves the reader with a sense of hope for the future.
Loved it!

one-brother-shy-cover-lower-resONE BROTHER SHY by Terry Fallis

One Brother Shy is the latest of Terry Fallis’s humourous works. Alex MacAskill is a shy software engineer who discovers life-changing news after his mother dies. This news leads him across the globe to discover more about his family and himself. I loved this novel; it was a great summer read with a powerful protagonist. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a fun, light read with a heartwarming story.
Loved it!

Canada Mike MyersCANADA by Mike Myers

I smiled when I saw a Cherry Blossom and Hickory Sticks the other day. This book brought back memories of my childhood since I’m just a year younger that Mike Myers. But there was definitely a difference between growing up in Alberta as opposed to Ontario in the 60s & 70s. I learned some Canadian history that either I’d never learned or had forgotten about. Overall, he does give readers the sense of what it means to be Canadian and what make us different from our neighbors to the south.
It was OK. ~Staff review by Kemmie