Book Review: Girl, 11


Amy Suiter Clarke

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 3rd June 2021
spoilers? yes

Goodreads

Full of adrenaline-inducing twists and emotional nuance, Girl, 11 is a heartstopping suspense novel where the detective is a podcaster.

The countdown has begun…

True-crime podcaster Elle Castillo has been obsessed with The Countdown Killer for decades. Twenty years ago, he established a gruesome pattern of taking and murdering three girls over seven days, each a year younger than the last. No one’s ever known why he followed this pattern, or why they stopped abruptly after the eleventh victim. Most believe him to be dead. Elle knows he is not and is hellbent on serving historic justice.

When the kidnappings start up once again, Elle must confront her responsibility in forcing the killer out of hiding. She needs to stop the deadly countdown and convince both the authorities and her podcast audience, before the Countdown Killer can claim his next victim.

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Book Review: A Master of Djinn


P. Djèlí Clark

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

published: 11th May 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…

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Book Review: Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery


Ally Carter

Rating: 5 out of 5.

published: 2nd March 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Five orphans. Two sword-wielding vigilantes. One mansion. No rules.

April thought she had her happy ending. After all, she has her new house and new friends and new guardian. But she also has a very big new secret.

The kids of Winterborne House are the only ones who know that Gabriel Winterborne—famous billionaire and terrible cook—is really a sword-wielding vigilante.

What they don’t know is that he’s not the only one.

When a masked figure breaks in, looking for something—or someone—it’s clear that Gabriel has met his match, and now no one is safe. April and her friends will have to solve a decades-old mystery in order to hang on to the most important thing in the world: each other.

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Book Review: The Rose Code


Kate Quinn

Rating: 2 out of 5.

published: 9th March 2021
spoilers? yes

Goodreads

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart.

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter – the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger – and their true enemy – closer…

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Book Review: Dead Space


Kali Wallace

Rating: 5 out of 5.

published: 2nd March 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

An investigator must solve a brutal murder on a claustrophobic asteroid mine in this tense science fiction thriller from the author of Salvation Day.

Hester Marley used to have a plan for her life. But when a catastrophic attack left her injured, indebted, and stranded far from home, she was forced to take a dead-end security job with a powerful mining company in the asteroid belt. Now she spends her days investigating petty crimes to help her employer maximize its profits. She’s surprised to hear from an old friend and fellow victim of the terrorist attack that ruined her life–and that surprise quickly turns to suspicion when he claims to have discovered something shocking about their shared history and the tragedy that neither of them can leave behind.

Before Hester can learn more, her friend is violently murdered at a remote asteroid mine. Hester joins the investigation to find the truth, both about her friend’s death and the information he believed he had uncovered. But catching a killer is only the beginning of Hester’s worries, and she soon realizes that everything she learns about her friend, his fellow miners, and the outpost they call home brings her closer to revealing secrets that very powerful and very dangerous people would rather keep hidden in the depths of space.

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Book Review: The Conductors


Nicole Glover

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

published: 2nd March 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

A compelling debut by a new voice in fantasy fiction, The Conductors features the magic and mystery of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files written with the sensibility and historical setting of Octavia Butler’s Kindred: Introducing Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia.

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.

In this vibrant and original novel, Nicole Glover joins a roster of contemporary writers within fantasy, such as Victor LaValle and Zen Cho, who use speculative fiction to delve into important historical and cultural threads.

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Book Review: Down Comes the Night


Allison Saft

Rating: 5 out of 5.

published: 2nd March 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

A gorgeously gothic, deeply romantic YA debut fantasy about two enemies trapped inside a crumbling mansion, with no escape from the monsters within.

Honor your oath, destroy your country.

Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself.

When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom.

As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.

Allison Saft’s Down Comes the Night is a snow-drenched, gothic, romantic fantasy that keeps you racing through the pages long into the night.

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Book Review: Point Roberts


Alexander Rigby

Rating: 2 out of 5.

published: 1st February 2021
spoilers? yes

Goodreads

Five strangers forge an unlikely alliance to uncover the identity of the infamous Point Roberts Slayer.

On a peculiar peninsula in Washington State, the small town of Point Roberts exists in the shadow of the fifteen people who were murdered here. Surrounded by water and a giant wall that spans its border with Canada, Point Roberts has been cut off from the rest of the world every February for the past twenty-seven years in an attempt to stop a brutal serial killer from striking again. Because the murders took place exclusively during February three years in a row, closing down the town seemed like the only way to stop the slayings. And so far . . . it has worked.

Except the decades-old cold case remains unsolved, and the residents of Point Roberts are beginning to question if there’s an ulterior motive behind the mayor’s enforced lockdowns. After a brazen seventeen-year-old orphan named Liza moves to town, a new February begins. At first, she knows nothing of the murders, but that quickly changes when she finds a mysterious book titled The Fifteen—a book that shares shocking details on the killings.

Determined to discover the identity of the Point Roberts Slayer, Liza teams up with four other misfits who all hold secrets and have personal connections to the victims. These five strangers will have to work together to uncover the truth, if only they can stay out of the murderer’s destructive path so they don’t become victims themselves.

Point Roberts is a love letter to the moody Pacific Northwest, an intricate portrait of complex characters building walls to protect their fragile hearts, and, at its core, a profound story of embracing chosen family and walking with them into the foggy unknown.

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Book Review: The Girls I’ve Been


Tess Sharpe

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 4th February 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Nora O’Malley is a lot of things. A sister. An ex. A secret girlfriend. Kind of crooked, but reformed… somewhat.

Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up her mother’s protege. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.

For five years she’s been playing at normal. But she needs to dust off the skills she ditched because she has three problems:

#1: Her ex walked in on her with her girlfriend. Even though they’ve all been inseparable for months, Wes didn’t know about her and Iris.

#2: The morning after, they all have to meet to deposit the fundraiser money they raised together. It’s a nightmare that goes from awkward to deadly.

Because #3: right after they get in the bank, two guys start robbing it.

But they have no idea who they’re really holding hostage.

The robbers are trouble. Nora’s something else entirely.

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Book Review: Nighthawking


Russ Thomas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 18th February 2021
spoilers? no

Goodreads

When a nighthawker on the hunt for antiquities instead uncovers the body of a foreign student, Detective Adam Tyler is pulled into a serpentine mystery of dangerous secrets, precious finds, and illegal dealings.

You are a trespasser. You are a thief. You are a Nighthawker.

Under the dark cover of night, a figure climbs over the wall of the Botanical Garden with a bag and a metal detector. It’s a dicey location in the populous city center, but they’re on the hunt–and while most of what they find will be worthless, it takes only one big reward to justify the risk. Only this time, the nighthawker unearths a body. . . .

Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler and his newly promoted protege, Detective Constable Amina Rabbani, are officially in charge of Cold Case Reviews. But with shrinking budgets and manpower in the department, both are shunted onto the murder investigation–and when the victim is identified as a Chinese national from a wealthy family, in the UK on a student visa, the case takes on new urgency to prevent an international incident.

As Tyler and Rabbani dig further into the victim’s life, it’s becomes clear there’s more to her studies and relationships than meets the eye, and that the original investigation into her disappearance was shoddy at best. Meanwhile, someone else is watching these events . . . someone who knew the victim, and might hold the key to what happened the night she vanished.

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