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Book Review | The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

From the publisher: In a world that’s lost its magic, a former soldier turned PI solves cases for the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in an imaginative debut fantasy. Welcome to Sunder City. The magic is gone but the monsters remain.

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Australian actor Luke Arnold treads some familiar territory. It reminded me of Shrek, of , of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Humans managed to destroy all the magic in the world, and main character Fetch Phillips, a human, is trying to work off his guilt. Vampires, werewolves, elves, gnomes, and all other manner of magical creatures now mingle and try to live without what made them special.

Fetch was raised in a walled, nonmagical city of humans. He didn’t realize the wonders of…

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Book Review | The Family Plot by Megan Collins

From the publisher: From the author of The Winter Sister and Behind the Red Door, a family obsessed with true crime gathers to bury their patriarch—only to find another body already in his grave.

Dahlia’s family is… unnatural. Residents of Blackburn refer to the Lighthouse family’s home as “Murder Mansion,” where Dahlia and her three siblings were homeschooled. Their curriculum? All about murder, of course. She was named in honor of Elizabeth Short, a.k.a. Black Dahlia, and each of her siblings were also named for famous murder victims. It’s safe to say her parents are obsessed with murder.

Now Dahlia is 26, and she’s been away from home for years. The only reason she came…

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Book Review | Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

From the publisher: When Ex-Detective Inspector Daniel Hawthorne and his sidekick, author Anthony Horowitz, are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney, an idyllic island off the south coast of England, they don’t expect to find themselves in the middle of murder investigation—or to be trapped with a cold-blooded killer in a remote place with a murky, haunted past. Both a brilliant satire on the world of books and writers and an immensely enjoyable locked-room mystery, A Line to Kill is a triumph—a riddle of a story full of brilliant misdirection, beautifully set-out clues, and diabolically clever denouements.

Anthony Horowitz is the author of a popular teen spy series, adult mysteries, and a number…

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Book Review | The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

From the publisher: A gripping mystery about a woman who thinks she’s found the love of her life—until he disappears. With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.

The Last Thing He Told Me is the beach read of the summer. I don’t expect everlasting greatness from a beach read – just an intriguing book with a plot that makes me want to keep reading. The Last Thing He Told Me is a winner from this standpoint.

Hannah Hall was raised by her grandfather after her indifferent parents abandoned her to…

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Book Review | The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

From the publisher: As a barrister, Ingrid Lewis is used to dealing with tricky clients, but no one has ever come close to John Webster. After Ingrid defended Webster against a stalking charge, he then turned on her — following her, ruining her relationship, even destroying her home. Now, Ingrid believes she has finally escaped his clutches. But when one of her colleagues is run down on a busy London road, Ingrid is sure she was the intended victim. And then Webster shows up at her door. Webster claims Ingrid is in danger — and that only he can protect her.

Jane Casey writes a police procedural series about a detective named Maeve Kerrigan that I love. I was disappointed when I found out that Casey’s new book would be a standalone…

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Book Review | China Roses by Jo Bannister

From the publisher: No one ever said: “See Norbold and die.” So why would a man from DC Hazel Best’s past cross England in order to get himself beaten senseless in this uninspiring Midlands town? Everyone assumes he was looking for Hazel. She can’t think why he would; and when David Sperrin wakes up, he can’t think why he would either. Amnesia — or something to hide? Flashbacks as Sperrin’s battered brain recovers only make the case more troubling. His sharpest memory is of a girl dying in his arms. But who, and how? Struggling to make sense of the situation, Hazel turns to her close friend Gabriel Ash for help. But Ash has problems of his own: one of his own ghosts has returned to haunt him. And the stakes are so high there’s no one, not even Hazel, he can confide in…

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Book Review | The Body in the Garden by Katharine Schellman

From the publisher: London 1815. Though newly-widowed Lily Adler is returning to a society that frowns on independent women, she is determined to create a meaningful life for herself even without a husband. She’s no stranger to the glittering world of London’s upper crust. At a ball thrown by her oldest friend, Lady Walter, she expects the scandal, gossip, and secrets. What she doesn’t expect is the dead body in Lady Walter’s garden.

Katharine Schellman’s The Body in the Garden is a fun, well-researched cozy mystery set during the Regency era. Main character Lily loved her husband, who left her a young widow. His family convinces her to return to London, hoping she’ll remarry. She is…

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