GPL Blog

Book Review | Bone Deep: Untangling the Betsy Faria Murder Case by Charles Bosworth Jr. and Joel J. Schwartz

From the publisher: The explosive, first-ever insider’s account of a case that continues to fascinate the public—the shocking wrongful conviction of Russell Faria for his wife’s murder—a gripping read told by New York Times bestselling true crime expert Charles Bosworth Jr. and Joel J. Schwartz, the defense attorney who battled for justice, and ultimately prevailed.

I am not much of a True Crime reader, but something about being in a pandemic has me reading more True Crime than usual. Despite how all facts are already known about the case covered in Bone Deep, I was riveted by the narrative. I personally knew nothing about the case before picking up Bone Deep, although there has apparently been extensive media…

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Book Review | Mickey7 by Edward Ashton

From the publisher: Mickey7 is an Expendable: a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. Whenever there’s a mission that’s too dangerous—even suicidal—the crew turns to Mickey. After one iteration dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact. After six deaths, Mickey7 understands the terms of his deal…and why it was the only colonial position unfilled when he took it.

Mickey7 is a fun but thought-provoking read about a group of humans in the distant future trying to settle on an inhospitable planet. Mickey Barnes is the unfortunate volunteer Expendable. He is intentionally placed in dangerous situations because if he dies, his old…

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Book Review | Light Years From Home by Mike Chen

From the publisher: Every family has issues. Most can’t blame them on extraterrestrials. The perfect combination of action, imagination and heart, Light Years from Home is a touching drama about a challenge as difficult as saving the galaxy: making peace with your family…and yourself.

Light Years from Home is a family novel disguised as science fiction, or the other way around. Jakob is intelligent, like his two sisters, but a screw up. He cheats on schoolwork and has no purpose in life. Then, he is abducted by aliens and pulled into a galactic war, and he finds his purpose in life. When he comes into possession of some intel that could change the war, he drops by Earth to regroup. Fifteen years have passed. He father, who never got over Jakob’s disappearance, is dead – drowned, searching for Jakob. His mother has dementia…

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Book Review | The Accomplice by Lisa Lutz

From the publisher: Everyone has the same questions about best friends Owen and Luna: What binds them together so tightly? Why weren’t they ever a couple? And why do people around them keep turning up dead? The Accomplice examines the bonds of shared history, what it costs to break them, and what happens when you start wondering if you ever truly knew the only person who truly knows you.

This book has a hook. I still can’t identify what it is, exactly, but once I started reading I wasn’t going to stop. Luna and Owen have a frankly strange relationship. They are very good friends who make Luna’s husband say that he and Owen’s wife Irene “had a similar sense of being the third wheel in our own marriages.” (p. 157 of the Advance Reader Copy)

Luna and Own have both been on the periphery of more deaths than is normal for a…

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Book Review | Boys Enter the House by David B. Nelson

From the publisher: As investigators brought out the bagged remains of several dozen young men from a small Chicago ranch home and paraded them in front of a crowd of TV reporters and spectators, attention quickly turned to the owner of the house. John Gacy was an upstanding citizen, active in local politics and charities, famous for his themed parties and appearances as Pogo the Clown. As public interest grew, victims became footnotes and statistics, lives lost not just to violence, but to history. Through the testimony of siblings, parents, friends, lovers, and other witnesses close to the case, Boys Enter the House retraces the footsteps of these victims as they make their way to the doorstep of the Gacy house itself.

I was a senior in a suburban Chicago high school when the John Wayne Gacy story broke. I…

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Book Review | The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

From the publisher: Victorian high society’s most daring equestrienne finds love and an unexpected ally in her fight for independence in the strong arms of London’s most sought after and devastatingly handsome half-Indian tailor.

I’m a big fan of Mimi Matthews, who began her fiction career by self-publishing romance novels set during the Victorian and Regency periods. She has now caught the attention of traditional publishing, and The Siren of Sussex is her first book with Berkley. Matthews is also a historian, and her books are ruthlessly researched. She may stretch a likely outcome, but her characters follow the behavioral standards of the day.

I have read all of the author’s works, and The Siren of Sussex was a little slow starting for me…

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Book Review | Hungry Hearts edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond

From the publisher: A stunning collection of short stories about the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of teens, from bestselling and critically acclaimed authors, including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco.

This unusual anthology contains 13 stories by 13 authors about different people who live in the same town and are all connected to a string of restaurants that feature cuisine from different traditions. Like most anthologies, it contains some stories that are stronger than others, and some stories resonated with me more than others.

The collection opens with what I think is its strongest entry, “Rain” by Sangu Mandanna. This is a lovely story about grief and remembrance. Next up is “Kings and Queens” by Elsie…

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Book Review | A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

From the publisher: When Chloe Davis was twelve, six teenage girls went missing in her small Louisiana town. By the end of the summer, her own father had confessed to the crimes and was put away for life, leaving Chloe and the rest of her family to grapple with the truth and try to move forward while dealing with the aftermath. Now twenty years later, Chloe is a psychologist in Baton Rouge and getting ready for her wedding. While she finally has a fragile grasp on the happiness she’s worked so hard to achieve, she sometimes feels as out of control of her own life as the troubled teens who are her patients. So when a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another, that terrifying summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, seeing parallels from her past that aren’t actually there, or for the second time in her life, is Chloe about to unmask a killer?

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Book Review | The Last Guest by Tess Little

From the publisher: A glamorous birthday dinner in the Hollywood Hills ends with the famous host dead and every guest under suspicion in this dark, cinematic suspense debut.

The Last Guest is a different kind of psychological thriller than most I’ve read lately. It’s not so much about “who done it” as “what happened” and “what led to this.” It’s about the unraveling of relationships, the consequences of one’s actions, and the fakeness of Hollywood.

I’ve seen The Last Guest described as a locked room mystery, which I think will, unfortunately, lure in some readers who won’t like it. While the murderer (if the party host…

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Book Review | Believing by Anita Hill

From the publisher: From the woman who gave the landmark testimony against Clarence Thomas as a sexual menace, a new manifesto about the origins and course of gender violence in our society; a combination of memoir, personal accounts, law, and social analysis, and a powerful call to arms from one of our most prominent and poised survivors.

I recently attended a library conference, and Anita Hill was announced as one of the speakers. The Clarence Thomas hearings seem so long ago, and I thought she must be elderly by now, but nope – she is only a few years older than me. She was 35 when she testified about the sexual harassment she dealt with from Thomas…

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