Into the Water by Paula Hawkins


Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

The newest book from the author of “Girl on the Train”.  It follows in the suspense mold, but there were some parts that dragged a bit for me.

Set in an English town, the story follows the tragic stories of young-ish girls and women who tragically die by the “Drowning Pool”.  It’s a spot on the river were several women have jumped or have been pushed to their deaths.  It opens with the death of Nel Abbott at the pool.  Did she jump?  Was she pushed?  Her sister Jules comes home to finalize things and take responsibility for her niece Lena.

Lena is a rebellious teenager whose best friend jumped in the same place as well.  The story meanders between various points of views of families impacted by the latest death.  We also get the story from the police prospective as well.  The middle of the books is where things really pick up and we start to think we know what actually happened.  Nel Abbot was writing a history of the “Drowning Pool” and the various women that had went to their deaths there.  Could that have something to do with her death?

Like the “Girl on the Train” or the similar “Gone Girl”, there is a twist that the very end that I have to say I didn’t see coming.  The reader thinks things are resolved, but then a lightning bolt comes out of the blue and you start to think of the whole book differently.

Other than the very beginning, the book picked up pace as the chapters went on, and by the time I got to the last 150 or so pages, I couldn’t put the book down.


Young Adult Fantasy Series

Like most children (girls) of the 80’s, I always wanted to be a Princess.  One of those bad-ass princesses who fought like the guys and led their kingdoms against nefarious evil doers.  But also the type who gets the Prince.  Cause duh.  I remember my first series that I gravitated to dealing with dragons.  With a quick google search today I found them again (and I might buy them for a couple of dollars….I remember them being so good!)  It was a series that started with:

Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles) by Patricia C. Wrede


Also staring a bad-ass Princess and follows her adventures across several books.  I don’t know why I remember it so fondly, but I do remember it well.

I’ve been on a kick of historical mysteries, usually set in Victorian times with women heroines who take on the underbelly of the world around them.  So similar to those fantasies of youth.  Just a little more grounded in reality.

Well, lately, I’ve been reading a lot of twitter authors and agents supporting a new crop of young adult fantasy novels that have sounded so intriguing that I thought I would dive right in!   What first attracted my attention was two different series of books based on Libraries.

The Invisible Library Series by Genevieve Cogman



The Great Library Series by Rachel Caine


So, in these books….it’s less about Princesses and whatnot and more about saving knowledge and protecting people.  The Invisible Library series is similar to the show “The Librarians” in which there is a central repository of books and it sends it’s people out to collect books that might have special significance.  It might be re-prints of books with sacred knowledge in it or drafts of books that later become famous with new information in them.  In worlds with Dragons and Fae’s, the young charge must navigate politics and danger while trying to retrieve the items they are sent for.  The worlds can range from chaotic to peaceful, different time periods, steampunk, Victorian, etc.  It’s fun to see the imaginary worlds that Rachel creates.

Conversely, The Great Library series is a little bit darker with more of an apocalyptic feel to it.  In this world, the library is an all powerful all seeing repository of “truth and knowledge.”  Jess Brightwell, the main character, comes from a family of book smugglers who are the enemies of the library.  By chance he becomes involved with the Great Library and meets a rag tag group of friends who by the fourth book in the series are on the run with the knowledge of the Library they posses and try to take the library down in order to build it up to it’s original purpose.  The fourth book is forthcoming and I got to read an advance through Net Galley and it definitely keeps the action ramped up and the stakes even higher.  The author even includes a playlist in the back of the book if you want to fully immerse yourself in the world/feeling of what the book is meant to convey.

I never got into the Hunger Games or Divergent series, but for some reason I got addicted to these two pretty quickly.  I just picked up Sarah Maas first book in the series “A Court of Thorns and Roses” which sounds super interesting (the third in the series just came out).  So we’ll see how this goes.

After reading “The Hate U Give” a few weeks ago, I also picked up “Everything Everything” which is now a movie.  It looks like an interesting story, so I’ll dive into that one next.  Also a new retelling of Jane Seymour (Queen of England) with a more pop twist.  Also looks super good.

Of course I’m still reading my other books as well….cause heaven forbid I just read one book at a time.  I finished two Irish mysteries while in Ireland last week, and I also picked up two new books over there as well.  I know I could order them online, but when in Ireland!  I picked up Graham Norton’s book in paperback (it’s also an Irish mystery).  I love his talk show (no seriously, watch it on BBC America…it’s what a talk show should be!  Plus, accents!) so I think I’d love his writer’s voice.  We’ll see.

Quick Book Hits

20170502_151258.jpgThis is the current state of my To-Be-Read piles.  Independent Bookstore day this past weekend and a book sale at my library all contributed.  PLUS, two new books that I couldn’t wait to read came out on Tuesday and I NEEDED them too!

But, that’s not why you’re here.  You want some juicy book recommendations.  So, here are some of the books that I read in the past few weeks that you might like!

One of the hottest books of the year so far was part of my Book of the Month package this last go around.


Exit West: A Novel by Mohsin Hamid

The story follows a pair of lovers who use a series of secret doors to flee their war torn city.  In the time of refugee panic and immigration bans, this book is highly relevant to today’s mess.  While never explicitly said, I took the country they fled to be Syria.  It was overtaken by militants that were vaguely ISIS reminiscent.  When it becomes too much for the two people, they finally flee.  Leaving behind their friends, their jobs, and their families, they spend money to traverse the secret doors to Greece, Sweden, London and finally America.  The journey is both a physical one and an emotional one, that we find the two drifting together and drifting apart as their journey continues.  We meet refugees from all over the world, and learn that we are all refugees in someway or another.  Great book.


Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

A WWII book.  This was an impulse buy at BJ’s one day (one of my favorite places to buy books).  I’m sort of on a WWII kick lately (followed closely by Victorian era detectives).  The book follows Mary North, an aristocratic woman who desperately wants to be part of the war effort.  Thinking she would be a spy or code breaker, she reports to her first job to bind out she’s a been assigned a teaching job.  She throws herself into the task fully and finds she actually likes helping.  Through teaching she meets Tom and his roommate Alistair.  We follow the trials and tribulations of war torn London bombarded by the Blitz.

I haven’t read too much about the Blitz itself, but this book really puts it forward in vivid detail.  There is one part that I actually had to put the book down for a few minutes because it was so affecting.  Reading the author notes, I found out it was based on letters from the author’s grandparents.  Knowing the love story in the book is based on mostly true events, it makes the story all the more real.

And finally,


Called to Justice (A Quaker Midwife Mystery) by Edith Maxwell

Okay, don’t let the Quaker thing freak you out.  I honestly didn’t know what to expect….all those “thou” and “thy” talk, the pacifist thing, I dunno….it didn’t seem like my jam.  Well, I spoke to Edith at a Sisters in Crime Event so I decided to check out the first in the series.  This is the second book and I’m addicted.

Set in Massachusetts, this series follows Quaker Rose Carroll and her career as a midwife.  She lives in a town that has accepted the Quaker’s and also leaves her time to spend with her non-Quaker doctor boyfriend.  In this story, a young woman confides in Rose that she is pregnant and conflicted.  Shortly after, she is found dead and a fellow Quaker is accused of the murder.  Not helping things is the fact the suspect is a free man in slave owning times.  Granted, not that there were slaves in Massachusetts, but there was still heavy racism flowing through the town.  The mystery deepens and Rose finds herself trying to help her fellow ‘Friend” and get justice for the young woman.

The historical stuff is great…it’s fun to see your state in a different light.  The midwife stuff was a little graphic for me, so I tended to skim over that stuff.  But still a super enjoyable mystery series!

In regards to my own writing.  Finished some more edits, submitted a few more short stories, and have been querying like a crazy person.  Two more conferences this coming summer and fall that will hopefully help move this baby along!