Welcome to What I’ve Been Reading Lately, a feature where I’ll be giving short reviews of what I’m currently reading:
The Blackhouse by Carole Johnstone
A remote village. A deadly secret. An outsider who knows the truth.
Robert Reid moved his family to Scotland’s Outer Hebrides in the 1990s, driven by hope, craving safety and community, and hiding a terrible secret. But despite his best efforts to fit in, Robert is always seen as an outsider. And as the legendary and violent Hebridean storms rage around him, he begins to unravel, believing his fate on the remote island of Kilmeray cannot be escaped.
For her entire life, Maggie MacKay has sensed something was wrong with her. When Maggie was five years old, she announced that a man on Kilmeray–a place she’d never visited–had been murdered. Her unfounded claim drew media attention and turned the locals against each other, creating rifts that never mended.
Nearly twenty years later, Maggie is determined to find out what really happened, and what the islanders are hiding. But when she begins to receive ominous threats, Maggie is forced to consider how much she is willing to risk to discover the horrifying truth. (Credit: Scribner Book Company)
Loved Mirrorland so was excited to hear that Johnstone had another book down the pipeline! So far I am loving this atmospheric and chilling thriller. And even more of a bonus…it takes place in the Scottish Highlands, which makes such a perfect setting for a gothic thriller.
The Trap by Catherine Ryan Howard
Expected Publication Date: August 1
One year ago, Lucy’s sister, Nicki, left to meet friends at a pub in Dublin and never came home. The third Irish woman to vanish inexplicably in as many years, the agony of not knowing what happened that night has turned Lucy’s life into a waking nightmare. So, she’s going to take matters into her own hands.
Angela works as a civilian paper-pusher in the Missing Persons Unit, but wants nothing more than to be a fully-fledged member of An Garda Síochána, the Irish police force. With the official investigation into the missing women stalled, she begins pulling on a thread that could break the case wide open–and destroy her chances of ever joining the force.
A nameless man drives through the night, his latest victim in the back seat. He’s going to tell her everything, from the beginning. And soon, she’ll realize: what you don’t know can hurt you …
Howard continues to surprise and shock with me with every thriller she writes and this one is no different but also a sort of “ripped from the headlines” type of mystery where turns the table when women start disappearing in Ireland.
The Gifts by Liz Hyder
Expected Publication Date: April 25
October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in the English countryside as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.
In London, rumors of a “fallen angel” cause a frenzy across the city, and a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grips of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .
I haven’t read a historical novel in awhile and this one is filled with illustrious group of characters that each add something different to this compelling story. I will have a lot to talk to Liz at our talk next week!
What I Plan to Read Next:
Those People Next Door by Kia Abdullah
Salma Khatun is hopeful about Blenheim, the safe suburban development into which she, her husband, and their son have just moved. The Bangladeshi family are in desperate need of a fresh start, and Blenheim feels like just the place.
Soon after they move in, Salma spots her white neighbor, Tom Hutton, ripping out the anti-racist banner her son put in the front garden. Choosing not to confront Tom, Salma takes the banner inside and puts it in her window instead. But the next morning, she wakes up to find her window smeared with paint.
This time she does confront Tom, and the battle lines between the two families are drawn. As racial and social tensions escalate and the stakes rise, it’s clear that a reckoning is coming…
And someone is going to get hurt. (Credit: HarperCollins UK)
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati
Expected Publication Date: May 2
As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best…
You were born to a king, but you marry a tyrant. You stand by helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore, and you comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own. Because this was not the first offence against you. This was not the life you ever deserved. And this will not be your undoing. Slowly, you plot.
But when your husband returns in triumph, you become a woman with a choice.
Acceptance or vengeance, infamy follows both. So, you bide your time and force the gods’ hands in the game of retribution. For you understood something long ago that the others never did.
If power isn’t given to you, you have to take it for yourself. (Credit: Sourcebooks Landmark)
Frontera by Julio Anta and Jacoby Salcedo
Expected Publication Date: July 18
As long as he remembers to stay smart and keep his eyes open, Mateo knows that he can survive the trek across the Sonoran Desert that will take him from Mexico to the United States. That is until he’s caught by the Border Patrol only moments after sneaking across the fence in the dead of night.
Escaping their clutches comes at a price and, lost in the desert without a guide or water, Mateo is ill-prepared for the unforgiving heat that is sure to arrive come sunrise. With the odds stacked against him, his one chance at survival may be putting his trust in something, or rather someone, that he isn’t even sure exists.
If you’d asked him if ghosts were real before he found himself face-to-face with one, Mateo wouldn’t have even considered it. But now, confronted with the nearly undeniable presence of Guillermo, he’s having second thoughts. Having spent his afterlife guiding migrants to safety, Guillermo knows things about the Sonoran Desert far beyond what could be explained by a mere hallucination. But even as Mateo forms an uneasy partnership with Guillermo, survival is still uncertain.
The Sonoran Desert, with its hostile temperatures and inhabitants, is teeming with danger as the Border Patrol and rogue militias prowl its deadly terrain. As his journey stretches on, Mateo will have to decide exactly what and who he’s willing to sacrifice to find home. (Credit: HarperAlley)
Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide by Rupert Holmes
Who hasn’t wondered for a split second what the world would be like if a person who is the object of your affliction ceased to exist? But then you’ve probably never heard of The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to the consummate execution of the homicidal arts. To gain admission, a student must have an ethical reason for erasing someone who deeply deserves a fate no worse (nor better) than death. The campus of this “Poison Ivy League” college–its location unknown to even those who study there–is where you might find yourself the practice target of a classmate…and where one’s mandatory graduation thesis is getting away with the perfect murder of someone whose death will make the world a much better place to live.
Prepare for an education you’ll never forget. A delightful mix of witty wordplay, breathtaking twists and genuine intrigue, Murder Your Employer will gain you admission into a wholly original world, cocooned within the most entertaining book about well-intentioned would-be murderers you’ll ever read. (Credit: Avid Reader Press)
Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon
This groundbreaking dual biography brings to life a pioneering English feminist and the daughter she never knew. Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley have each been the subject of numerous biographies, yet no one has ever examined their lives in one book–until now. In Romantic Outlaws, Charlotte Gordon reunites the trailblazing author who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and the Romantic visionary who gave the world Frankenstein–two courageous women who should have shared their lives, but instead shared a powerful literary and feminist legacy.
In 1797, less than two weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft died, and a remarkable life spent pushing against the boundaries of society’s expectations for women came to an end. But another was just beginning. Wollstonecraft’s daughter Mary was to follow a similarly audacious path. Both women had passionate relationships with several men, bore children out of wedlock, and chose to live in exile outside their native country. Each in her own time fought against the injustices women faced and wrote books that changed literary history.
The private lives of both Mary’s were nothing less than the stuff of great Romantic drama, providing fabulous material for Charlotte Gordon, an accomplished historian and a gifted storyteller. Taking readers on a vivid journey across revolutionary France and Victorian England, she seamlessly interweaves the lives of her two protagonists in alternating chapters, creating a book that reads like a richly textured historical novel. Gordon also paints unforgettable portraits of the men in their lives, including the mercurial genius Percy Shelley, the unbridled libertine Lord Byron, and the brilliant radical William Godwin. (Credit: Random House Trade)