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Book Review | The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh

From the publisher: It’s the party to end all parties…but not everyone is here to celebrate. On New Year’s Eve, Rhys Lloyd has a house full of guests. His vacation homes on Mirror Lake are a success, and he’s generously invited the village to drink champagne with their wealthy new neighbors. But by midnight, Rhys will be floating dead in the freezing waters of the lake. On New Year’s Day, Ffion Morgan has a village full of suspects. The tiny community is her home, so the suspects are her neighbors, friends and family—and Ffion has her own secrets to protect. With a lie uncovered at every turn, soon the question isn’t who wanted Rhys dead…but who finally killed him. In a village with this many secrets, murder is just the beginning.

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Book Review | Hidden Pieces by Mary Keliikoa

From the publisher: Sheriff Jax Turner is staring down the barrel of his broken past. On the brink of ending it all, he feels like a failure following his daughter’s tragic passing and his subsequent divorce. But when a schoolgirl vanishes and her backpack is found in a sex offender’s backseat, the weary lawman drags himself into action and vows to nail one last sociopath. Can the jaded sheriff take down the culprit in time to bring the young girl home alive?

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Book Review | A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

From the publisher: London, 1923. Saffron Everleigh is in a race against time to free her wrongly accused professor before he goes behind bars forever.

If you love historical fiction with a touch of mystery and romance, A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poison might just be a book for you. Main character Saffron is an intelligent and talented woman constrained by the limits on women in the 1920s. Alexander Ashton, her companion in investigating a mysterious poisoning at a party, is a scarred and handsome veteran of the Great War coping with PTSD.

I’m no expert on England in the 1920s, but nothing in the narrative struck me as outlandishly out of touch with the times. An author’s note discusses the research the author did in her attempt to be historically accurate…

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Book Review | One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

From the publisher: You’ve lost your job as a department store lingerie buyer, your car’s been repossessed, and most of your furniture and small appliances have been sold off to pay last month’s rent. Now the rent is due again. And you live in New Jersey. What do you do? If you’re Stephanie Plum, you become a bounty hunter.

About a decade ago I had been going through a really rough patch and I asked the Reference librarians for suggestions for books I could read.

“I need to escape,” I said. “I need something enjoyable that I don’t have to think about very hard.”…

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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 | The Guest List by Lucy Foley

From the publisher: On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed. And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

I remember a lot of hype and buzz about this book last summer, and now that I’ve (finally) gotten around to reading it for a “mystery” Halloween bingo square, I see what all the fuss…

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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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