Lotsa, Lotsa Books!

I’ve been trying to burn through lots of books as the year draws to a close, including some backlist titles I’ve had for a while but haven’t gotten to, so le’ts go!

–Marissa

Something She’s Not Telling Us by Darcey Bell is the latest novel from the author of A Simple Favor, and this is another twisty, unsettling novel. Charlotte and her husband have it all, so imagine her horror when her young daughter is kidnapped and she’s sure she knows who did it – her brother’s (very odd) girlfriend. A quick, compelling read!

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict comes out at the end of the month, and is a fictionalized account of what happened when Agatha Christie (actually did) disappear for eleven days in 1926. This delves into her writing, her marriage, and what really happened to “Mrs. Christie”… a short and speedy read perfect for Agatha fans!

We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper is a non-fiction account of the unsolved mystery of the murder of Jane Britton on Harvard’s campus in 1969. Cooper does an immense amount of research and you are sure you know “whodunit” several times until the reveal at the end. Lots of details about archaeology (Jane’s major), Becky’s research, and all the characters who played a part in this mysterious murder. This has been lauded as a “best book of the year” on a lot of lists, but for my money, it was a little slow and bogged down for me a lot, but I stuck with it so I could know the resolution. Well researched, for sure!

This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens is a romance novel with a fun premise – Minnie Copper and Quinn Hamilton were born minutes apart on New Year’s Day in London in 1900, and while Quinn has had a charmed life, Minnie’s on the struggle bus. Naturally, when they meet again all these years later, sparks fly! This was just a warm, cozy, breezy romance, and I dug it!

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let me go until I’d binge-read it in an afternoon. Nora Seed enters the “midnight library” that exists between life and death, and has the choice to pick a different book – or many different books – from the shelves of her life to see how things could have been different, how the smallest choices could impact the course of her life. Would you do things differently if you could see how it would play out? I thought this was so thought-provoking and moving and beautifully written – I devoured this one. Definitely recommend!

Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis has such a sweet premise – Emmie released a balloon with a secret when she was a teenager – and that balloon was found across the English Channel by a boy named Lucas. Now, a decade and a half later, Emmie has fallen for him, and waits patiently for him to pop “the question”. But, as in so many romances, things rarely go to plan. This was charming and warm and atmospheric – a great afternoon read!

The Choice by Gillian McAllister has a great structure: Joanna is walking home through London after a night out when she hears footsteps behind her. Acting on instinct, she pushes the man following her away, he falls, and remains motionless. She has to decide whether to stay and call for help… or flee. There, the book splits in a very Sliding Doors way to chase down how this would resolve in both scenarios. I raced through this tense suspense novel to see how it would end!

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight started off a bit slowly for me (who’s who? what’s happening?!), but reeled me into quickly until I was hurtling to the finish! Lizzie gets a call from a law school classmate, begging for help regarding the suspicious death of his wife, and Lizzie gets pulled into a complex story that crosses the vibe of Big Little Lies with a tense legal drama. I dug this one a lot!

Take Me Apart by Sara Silgar took me by surprise – in a good way – with how weird and tense and compelling it was, and I absolutely could not put it down. Kate has been commissioned to organize the papers and materials of late, celebrated photographer Miranda Brand, but there is much more to Miranda’s story than her work. Kate gets pulled deeper and deeper into family mythology, secrets of both her and Miranda, and a fraught relationship with Miranda’s son that intensifies the more she works in the house with Miranda’s work. I don’t want to say anymore, but this was a cerebral, psychological, tense novel and I was here.for.it. Highly recommended!

I also All About Us by Tom Ellen (fun Christmas romance with another “what if” premise) and How Lulu Lost Her Mind by Rachel Gibson (romance slash family drama) and Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James (another solid Regency romance) and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (working my way through them again).

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