Saturday, October 31, 2015


     "Why now?" That is the question Leonora Shaw (known to some as Lee, to others as Nora) keeps asking herself. Nora has received a text from someone called Flo and she doesn't know anyone named Flo.  Was this text sent to her by mistake?
       Subject of the text: CLARE'S HEN!!
       The text says, Flo, is Clare's best friend from the university and her maid of honor. The Hen is going to be a weekend away near her old college stomping ground in Northumberland. Nora and Clare Cavendish had been best friends when they were in college at the University at Durham.  Clare and Nora have not be in contact with each other for 10 years and had not left college on the best of terms.  Clare and Nora have some unsolved issues to overcome.
      The Hen weekend ends up being in a dark cold woods in a eerie glass house.  As the first night falls, revelations unfold among friends old and new, and old memories shatters Nora's reserve, and Nora decides to leave. But before Nora and Nina, (who is also a close friend from Nora's college days), can leave a haunting realization creeps in, the party is not alone in the woods.
       Forty-eight hours later, Nora wakes up in a hospital bed, with the knowledge that someone is dead.  She doesn't remember what happened and is wondering, "what have I done?" Nora tries to piece together the events of the last weekend, while the police are waiting outside her hospital door to question her about the chain of events.
      What should have been a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware's suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted debut psychological thriller. IN A DARK, DARK WOOD is a good, quick read and just in time for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories

Maybe you're like me and shy away from short stories. Many readers do, because they prefer the in-depth visitation a novel allows with its characters. I want to get to know these people and spend significant time with them. Short stories sometimes seem, well, too short. I picked up Delicate Edible Birds because of the author. I've read two of her novels and loved them. And, I should confess, the cover is lovely, so that attracted me, too. I'm happy to report that the inside pages are just as beautiful and compelling. The nine stories included are just the right length. My favorite story is a heartbreaking portrait of journalists in World War II, focusing particularly on the plight of one woman reporter, that left me cold and shivering. It's really hard to be a woman in a dangerous place full of desperate men. All the stories deal with women and girls of various ages in various places who use their wits and wiles to survive in a difficult world. If you're unsure about short stories, try one of these. They are beautiful little packages.
Submitted by Kelly Currie

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Drowning

The Drowning is the sixth Patrik Hedstrom/Erica Falck Swedish mystery novel by Camilla Lackberg.  Patrik and Erica are married with one small daughter and expecting twins.  Patrik is a homicide detective and Erica is a writer and they live in Fjallbacka.  Erica is asked to help a new local author, Christian Thydell, edit his manuscript and finds that it is a fascinating piece of writing.  Her publishing agent is also his, so she attends his book signing events, where she discovers he has been receiving threatening letters in the mail.  She finds this very disturbing, so of course she needs to investigate.  When Christian's childhood friend Magnus first disappears and then is found murdered, her husband gets involved.
Christian has three childhood friends and they all grew up together in Fjallbacka.  It is soon discovered that all are receiving these threatening letters.  However none of them will discuss it with her or the police, which means little progress is made. So both Erica and the police begin to investigate Christian's early life.  The first page of each chapter delves into a memory of a young boy adopted by a beautiful mother and then rejected by the same mother when her own child is born.  Is this perhaps from Christian's book The Mermaid or is it the memory of one of his friends?  This definitely ups the tension in the story as you don't know which of the four friends lived through this abusive parenting.

This book is a definite page turner as are all of Lackberg's previous books.  If you are interested in reading a Swedish mystery, but feel some trepidation, this is the author to try.  So start at the beginning as the Hedstroms' relationship and family are a part of the story.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yellow Crocus

by Laila Ibrahim
A beautiful story of pre-civil war slavery.  Ibrahim's main character is Mattie, who is chosen to be a wet nurse for the masters new baby girl.  Another prime character is Lisbeth, the child Mattie nurses and tends for many years. Lisbeth loves Mattie more than her own mother, and as she grows to adulthood, she is faced with some tough choices - to go the way of the South or become an abolitionist. Mattie, who has her own child but is separated from him, has tough choices to make also - stay a slave or run away and possibly not survive.

Yellow Crocus is a moving glimpse into how it was for the slaves as well as the whites. Parts are somewhat predictable, but still a beautiful story of hearts that tear, souls getting abused and actions that are brave. Excellent read!
- Posted by P. Scott

Monday, October 05, 2015

Know Your Beholder by Adam Rapp

Everyone knows the age-old adage that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But sometimes a cover is so quirky or intriguing that I just have to find out if the story is as well thought out as the cover. This is exactly what happened with Know Your Beholder. Something about the cover, an old house sprouting out of a big bushy beard, was so intriguing that I picked it up without even reading the synopsis on the inside flap. And I’m so glad I did.

Know Your Beholder tells the story of Francis Falbo, a down-on-his-luck 30-something in south central Illinois. In the past few years, his once promising music career has ended, his mother has died, and his wife ran off to New York City with another man. After his father left for Florida with his new wife, Francis converted his childhood home into apartments, moved into the attic, and now spends his days working on the house and endlessly ruminating on his wife’s new marriage. When the reader first meets Francis he hasn’t left his house in over a month or even changed out of his uniform of long johns, bathrobe, and slippers in nine days.

Francis’s story, though it sounds overly gloomy, is full of quiet beauty and more laugh-out-loud moments than one would expect. His internal dialogue feels both inordinately beautiful and surprisingly natural whether he is contemplating his growing agoraphobia, thinking about his failed band and/or marriage, or spying on his tenants. Rapp is especially good at creating an interesting turn of phrase, such as when Francis describes his drug dealer, Haggis, talking about fitness “as far away from the concept of the word as a shipwrecked man from a fax machine.”

Fans of Nick Hornby’s odd but loveable characters will enjoy Know Your Beholder, but be warned: this is not a story of redemption and there is no real happy ending for our hapless hero. At the end of the story, a lot of things have changed in Francis’s life, but very little has really improved for him. Luckily, there is at least the possibility of a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel he has dug for himself.

-Portia Kapraun