By Caroline Vandreil
Winter is coming and what else is there to do but sit inside by the fire, cup of coffee in hand, bonbons on the table (quickly disappearing down my gullet) and binge read? I’m so thankful for the Sylvan Lake Municipal Library for supporting my book habit so that I don’t go broke buying new books all the time. There is a lot to cover this month, so hold onto your hats.
‘Big Summer’ by Jennifer Weiner (2020) – If you’re looking for a beachy read and pick up Big Summer because of the cover, you will be somewhat disappointed. True, there is all the fluff of celebrity relationships, reality tv, and a party on the beach, but for the most part this novel swings from the low self-esteem of Daphne to her frenemy who is murdered. Many of the characters are not likeable, and by the end I didn’t care who killed the mean girl.
‘Catherine House’ by Elizabeth Thomas (2020) – I kept imagining Anna Kendrick as the main character of this twisted suspense thriller. I didn’t care for any of the characters, least of all the main character who has the emotional range of a brick. She barely flinched at what I saw as a huge betrayal. The plot rambles over three years, of college students driven by sex and fueled by alcohol, in an isolated school that is essentially a huge psychological and scientific experiment on all of its students.
‘Wicked Autumn’ by G.M. Mallet (2011) – Ahh, back to the cozy mysteries that I love. Former MI5 agent turned priest, Max, tries to solve the murder of the least liked woman in his quaint English village. The characters are nicely drawn, albeit somewhat stereotypical. The reader really doesn’t have a chance to solve the mystery before Max does, but all the pieces come together neatly in the end. Not a breath-taking read, but pleasant enough.
‘The Finders’ by Jeffrey B. Burton (2020) – The titular finders are Mason Reid and his cadaver dogs, trained to find dead bodies, who help the police catch a serial killer. Reid is flawed (and prone to being injured by bad guys). The pace is almost episodic, shifting between Reid and the main bad guy, which made me read one more chapter, well past my bedtime, to find out what he was up to now! I just wish that the dogs had appeared more.
‘And the Killer Is…’ by G.A. McKevett (2020) – This American-style cozy was an easy read, as the characters are breezy and bright, the plot that kept me guessing, and the subplot is sweet enough to warm the cockles of even the hard-hearted. Savannah and her cop husband are on the trail of the murderer of an ancient movie star, who was a hoarder. This novel contains a ton of love and human warmth, leaving me wanting to join them for their around-the-kitchen-table discussions.
‘A Winter’s Promise’ by Christelle Dabos (2018) – A Winter’s Promise has been billed as the French Harry Potter. Dabos has created a magical world, rich in detail of both character and setting, which contributes to a plot of intrigue and mystery. Ophelia, a nerdy, librarian type if there ever was one, is promised in marriage to a man she’s never met, on a world that she’s never been to. But she has spunk and the abilities to read the past of any object she touches and to pass through mirrors. I’m going to have to read this YA novel again before I start on the next one as ‘A Winter’s Promise’ has so much detail!