Welcome to What I’ve Been Reading Lately, a feature where I’ll be giving short reviews of what I’m currently reading:
The Last Murder At The End of the World by Stuart Turton
Expected Publication Date: May 21, 2024
Solve the murder to save what’s left of the world.
Outside the island there is nothing: the world was destroyed by a fog that swept the planet, killing anyone it touched.
On the island: it is idyllic. One hundred and twenty-two villagers and three scientists, living in peaceful harmony. The villagers are content to fish, farm and feast, to obey their nightly curfew, to do what they’re told by the scientists.
Until, to the horror of the islanders, one of their beloved scientists is found brutally stabbed to death. And then they learn that the murder has triggered a lowering of the security system around the island, the only thing that was keeping the fog at bay. If the murder isn’t solved within 92 hours, the fog will smother the island–and everyone on it.
But the security system has also wiped everyone’s memories of exactly what happened the night before, which means that someone on the island is a murderer–and they don’t even know it.
And the clock is ticking.(Credit: Sourcebooks Landmark)
I CAN’T PUT THIS DOWN! I don’t know how Turton does it! It is such an innovative and poignant book that is full of thrill, suspense and a mystery that has you guessing from every turned page. On its way to becoming my favorite book coming out in 2024!
A Guest In The House by Emily Carroll
After many lonely years, Abby’s just gotten married. She met her new husband–a recently widowed dentist–when he arrived in town with his young daughter, seeking a new start. Although it’s strange living in the shadow of her predecessor, Abby does her best to be a good wife and mother. But the more she learns about her new husband’s first wife, the more things don’t add up. And Abby starts to wonder . . . was Sheila’s death really by natural causes? As Abby sinks deeper into confusion, Sheila’s memory seems to become a force all its own, ensnaring Abby in a mystery that leaves her obsessed, fascinated, and desperately in love for the first time in her life. (Credit: First Second)
Emily Carroll is one of my favorite graphic novel artists and she comes back with another comic that is filled with the darkness and horror that she brings in her beautifully illustrated books. This one reminds me a bit of the classic Rebecca in a contemporary setting.
The Home by Sally-Anne Martyn
Hallow Croft Manor House, 1972
The girl’s heart is pounding. She can just hear the sound of his footsteps over her own ragged breathing. She hides within the standing stones, pressing herself against the earthy ground.
Please God, she prays, keep me safe.
But it’s too late.
Single-mum Samantha moves with her daughter to a quiet village in the Peak District. She’s still reeling from another disastrous relationship.
The post as matron at Hallow Croft, now an exclusive residential home, seems to offer the escape she needs.
But away from the TV room and afternoon activities, one of the residents is kept locked out of sight. ‘For their own safety.’
And nobody will talk about the previous matron. She disappeared, leaving behind only a scuffed diary.
Forty years ago, a girl was killed in the grounds of Hallow Croft Manor. Some people even say that began a curse on the home and the family who owned it.
Can Sam keep her daughter safe here?
This home is the most dangerous place you could put your family. (Credit: Joffe Books)
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
Anne Brontë’s first novel, Agnes Grey, combines an astute dissection of middle-class social behavior and class attitudes with a wonderful study of Victorian responses to young children which has parallels with debates about education that continue to this day. In writing the novel, Brontë drew on her own experiences, and one can trace in the work many of the trials of the Victorian governess, often stranded far from home, and treated with little respect by her employers, yet expected to control and educate her young charges. Agnes Grey looks at childhood from nursery to adolescence, and it also charts the frustrations of romantic love, as Agnes starts to nurse warmer feelings towards the local curate, Mr. Weston. Sally Shuttleworth’s fascinating introduction considers the book’s fictional and narrative qualities, its relationship with Victorian child-rearing and the responsibilities of parents, and the changing attitudes to the book influenced by modern concerns for children’s rights. (Credit: Oxford World’s Classics)
Outcasts by Claire McFall
Dylan and Tristan have finally found their place in the world of the living, guarding it from any wraiths that manage to break through from the wasteland. But it seems that in escaping death, they have upset a careful balance–more and more wraiths are appearing in their world, causing destruction. The wasteland itself is changing as well, with safe houses becoming less safe and wraiths acting more human than ever. When two innocent souls are taken by the wasteland in place of Dylan and Tristan, they must choose: let others be unjustly sentenced to death, or sacrifice themselves and be separated forever. Will Dylan and Tristan risk everything for their love? Or is there another way for them to set the world right? This final book in their unforgettable story, which began with Ferryman and Trespassers, invites readers to share in the power of first love as two soulmates fight to stay together for eternity. (Credit: Walker Books US)
I am so sorry to see this series end but it is turning out to be one of my favorites. It’s a series that really goes beyond the fantasy elements or the “epic love story” but also discusses the consequences and repercussions for our actions. If you haven’t had your eye on this series, you need to start reading it now!
What I Plan to Read Next:
The Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
“Daddy, there’s a man in our room…”
A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family–and a new love–changes the course of her life.
As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.
But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.
As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when peril comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….(Credit: Berkley Books)
Sisters of Sword and Shadow by Laura Bates
‘An interesting thing happens, when a man is defeated in combat by a woman . . . He tells nobody.’
Destined for an arranged marriage, Cass dreams of freedom. So when a fierce and beautiful leather‑clad woman rides up and offers to take her away, Cass doesn’t hesitate to join her. She is introduced to the Sisters of Sword and Shadow – a group of female knights training to fight, protect their community and right the wrongs of men. Drawn into a world of ancient feuds, glorious battles, and deadly intrigue, Cass soon discovers she holds a power that could change not only her own fate but that of her entire sisterhood.
Introducing Laura Bates’ fantasy debut, the first in a breathtaking and sweeping duology, exploring questions about power, courage and the stories we tell about the past. (Credit: Simon & Schuster UK)
The List by Yomi Adegoke
Ola Olajide, a celebrated journalist at Womxxxn magazine, is set to marry the love of her life in one month’s time. Young, beautiful, and successful–she and her fiancé Michael are considered the “couple goals” of their social network and seem to have it all. That is, until one morning when they both wake up to the same message: “Oh my god, have you seen The List?”
It began as a crowdsourced collection of names and somehow morphed into an anonymous account posting allegations on social media. Ola would usually be the first to support such a list–she’d retweet it, call for the men to be fired, write article after article. Except this time, Michael’s name is on it.
Compulsively readable, wildly entertaining, and filled with sharp social insight, The List is a piercing and dazzlingly clear-sighted debut about secrets, lies, and the internet. Perfect for fans of Such a Fun Age, Luster, and My Dark Vanessa, this is a searing portrait of these modern times and our morally complicated online culture. (Credit: William Morrow and Company)
Murder On The Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict
All aboard, but beware! Passengers who sleep on this train may never wake up.
In the early hours of Christmas Eve, the sleeper train from London to the Highlands derails, along with the festive plans of its travelers. With the train buried in snow in the middle of nowhere, the passengers have only each other, and not all of them will reach their holiday celebrations.
As a killer tries to pick passengers off one by one, former Met Detective Roz Parker can’t resist one last investigation, but murder in a locked room is a formidable puzzle for even the most seasoned investigator. As accusations begin to fly, the group of travelers fractures and unexpected alliances form. Can Roz find the culprit before anyone else is lost? (Credit: Poisoned Pen Press)