Recent Book List

Okay, I’ve read a TON of books in the past few weeks.  (Benefits of not being busy at work and there not being anything on TV recently).  So I’ve decided to a bunch of quick notes.  Just to give you an idea of some of the books I’ve taken a stab at this past month and a half.


Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

The story of one girl and living with the legacy of her “missing” mother.  It touches on the relationship this young woman had with both of her parents and her hope that her mother is somehow still out there.  After her mother was missing for 12 months, the petition to have her declared dead is in the court system.  She starts to have visions of her mother and believes that her mother didn’t actually go missing and is somewhere still out there.  Billie Flanagan, her mother, went out on a hike one day and just didn’t return.  When reading the book, I went back and forth on if Billie was still alive or not.  I received this in my Mystery Pagehabit Box last month and it was definitely a good one.


Death in Dark Blue by Julia Buckley

This is the second in the Writer’s Apprentice mystery series.  Lena London works as an assistant to celebrated gothic mystery author Camilla Graham.  We learned in the earlier book that her neighbor has been accused of murdering his wife.  He and Lena get closer and find that the woman is actually alive and he was falsely accused.  His wife’s best friend comes to the small town to apologize to him and ends up murdered around his house.  Is he the murderer or does the crazy amount of press in the town have something to do with it.  I enjoyed this entry in the series and want to read more.  I won this copy in a contest with the author on Facebook…it’s the best place to get book recommendations!

Now, to the fantasy series:


A Court of Thrones and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Um, so I devoured the three books in this series without even really loving it.  Lots of violence, lots of sex, and lots of vulgar language.  Now, I’m no prude, but I couldn’t believe this was a Young Adult novel.  It definitely felt adult to me.  I liked that the story had a definitive ending after the third book, and even if the author writes more, I don’t know if I’d pick it up.  There were faires, monsters, sorcerers, shapeshifters, and all manner of terrifying things.  The main character is taken from her family and sent to live with one of the creatures that terrorized her town/life.  The story follows the highs and lows of that.  Almost like a Beauty and the Beast sort of thing.


The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

This is the much better series of the two fantasy series in my opinion.  I’m on the third book now and love it.  The first book is the story of the new Queen of the Tearling, Kelsea, and her journey to the throne.  There is vague talk about the “Crossing” that we learn more about in the second (and third) books that I found to be fascinating.  These books felt a little bit more grounded to me, which I liked.  Even with a bit of magic involved, it never feels gratuitous.  I would definitely read more by this author.

Now, for my wheelhouse…books set in WWI and WWII


Secrets of Nanreath Hall by Alix Rickloff

This book travels between both WWI and WWII which was super interesting.  Lady Katherine Trenowyth grows up in the Hall but leaves in scandal and disgrace.  Her daughter, born Anna Trenowyth is now a nurse in WWII brought home after an accident.  When she finds out her adoptive parents have been killed during the Blitz (so sad), she is assigned to assist at a hospital located at Nanreath hall, the same place her mother grew up.  She decides to try and find out more about her mother and then her father.  The twist about her father in the end made me gasp out loud.  I had thought something totally different.  If Downton Abbey was your thing, this book would work for you.


Goodnight from London by Jennifer Robson

This was my favorite.  I LOVED everything about this one.  A plucky heroine, a dashing man in uniform, journalism!  Ruby Sutton is sent to London to cover the war and quickly learns how to survive bombings (the Blitz), British food, and heartbreak.  She ends up falling for her editor’s best friend, Captain Bennett, but through fits and starts.  She also continues to file stories reflecting on the every day happenings in wartime London with her trusty photographer Mary.  It’s just a beautifully told story and WWII comes to life in it.  Robson’s other books are great as well.  One of my favorite authors!

This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

I’m a HUGE Anna Lee Huber fan.  I’ve read her Lady Darby mysteries probably since they started, and I couldn’t wait for her new series that just came out as well.  The first of her new series was “Secrets in the Mist”.  It was a gothic mystery and was super atmospheric and suspenseful.  I loved it.  I remember buying the book, but then it somehow disappeared in my massive amount of TBR books.  So, I ended up buying it again for my reader just so I could read it!

I’ve joined her Facebook group for fans, and she recently gave away copies of her next new series about Verity Kent.  And I won!  I was so excited to read this (and ironically the book was coming out on my 35th birthday this year (in September).


This Side of Murder by Anna Lee Huber

In the immediate aftermath of WWI, Verity Kent is a young woman whose newish husband was reported killed in action.  She gets invited to a party on an Island by her husband’s close friend.  She wasn’t going to go, but then she receives mysterious letters that summon her to the island with the threat of her husband being involved with treason against the Crown.  On her way to the island, she runs into a man who was also summoned to the island in mysterious fashion as well.

The book has an undertone of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” (one of my favorite spooky Christie books….a definite must read).  Several other party goers are found dead under mysterious circumstances, so Verity and her new friend Max wonder if it has something to do with the summons that brought them to the island.

I love that Verity is a strong woman, quite ahead of her time and sort of ostracized by the other women at the party.  She even worked for the British Secret Service during the War (which I can’t wait to find out more about).  There were several twists that I honestly didn’t see coming, and it made so much sense when I thought about it afterwards.  I loved it and can’t wait to continue the series!

Time Travelling Goodness

Time travel is my new favorite thing to read about.  In fact, my most recently writing project has elements of travelling through time in it.

The first book I want to talk about is:


The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn

In some undetermined/unmentioned period of time a mysterious institute recruits people to travel back in time during different periods.  Two of these people are recruited to go back to 1851 to meet Jane Austen and find an unpublished manuscript of hers for the leader of the institute.  Rachel is a doctor and her partner Liam is an actor.  Unceremoniously dropped in a field outside of London, the two have to use their wits and limited resources to secure entrée into the world of the Austen family.  It’s always fun to have modern people in a time period so unlike their own.  It shows how resourceful one can be.

They befriend Jane’s brother, Henry and work towards their goal of finding the manuscript and letters from the family to Jane.  Rachel and her “brother” Liam end up firmly entrenched in the Austen family, even going so far as to lead them on romantically, all the while keeping their relationship (or lack thereof) a secret.  The time period they are sent to is also about the time Jane got sick, prior to her death.  Rachel then has to determine if she uses her medical knowledge to diagnose Jane’s illness and change the future of possibly one of the world’s greatest writers, or let history play out the way it was.

The book plays on a lot of different themes, and it’s interesting to see how what one does in the past might affect the future at large.  Plus, Jane Austen is awesome.

The second book is quite a bit different and involves time travel and magic.



The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland

This takes a similar pretense, travel back in time to change the future, but involves much more science and witches.  The science was mind-numbing, but basically some dude made a machine that allowed witches to practice magic, but it was now going to be used by a government agency to send people back in time and “tweak” things for a favorable outcome.  (Once such case was never having Russia as part of the Crimea, so that whole war thing never happened).  This involves going to pre-Shakespeare London, pre-American Revolution Massachusetts, and the 13th century Constantinople.

The premise is that magic disappeared in 1851, possibly by the advent of photography.  D.O.D.O (Department of Diachronic Operations) is created to make a network of witches and complete missions throughout history.  As the department progress, it become bogged down in bureaucracy and governmental red-tape, which I’m familiar with after working with the government for years.  It’s a long book, and the final 200 pages are the best in my opinion because it turns into a heist book with the time travel and magic throw in.

So if that’s your thing, it’s a good hefty read.