I joined Netgalley this month, so I got to read a few advance copies of books. Felt very special indeed.
Affiliate links ahead!
The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister // A famous female illusionist in the early 20th century is accused of killing her husband during one of her acts, and has just one night to try to convince the police of her innocence. I loved the setting and the characters (the villain is one of the creepiest I can recall reading), and enjoyed the mystery. I found the ending to be a bit of a letdown, but still liked it overall.
Blessed Are The Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch // An estranged granddaughter and a burned-out NYC stockbroker both seek refuge at a small Irish dairy farm. Majorly quirky, but very lovable and fun. If you've read and enjoyed Julia Stuart (I love her!), you'll probably love this too.
Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley // This one was an ARC from Netgalley. A literary agent is haunted by nightmares 5 years after the death of her baby, and on a visit to Wales, experiences strange dreams that might (?) be visitations from the past warning her to protect a neighboring widow's child. I've made no secret of my love for Ms. Kearsley, but this book didn't do much for me. I always admire her elegant writing style and romantic settings, but I found the mystery/visitations confusing and hard to follow. Can't say I'd recommend this one very strongly, but I can't say enough good things about The Rose Garden and Mariana!
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart // I know this is something of a YA favorite for many people, but I wasn't crazy about it. Frankie is bothered by the all-boys secret society at her prep school, and investigates its history in order to lead its members to perform creative pranks. I liked a lot of the 'girl power' themes, and would recommend it to preteen and teenaged girls, but as an adult reader, I wasn't in love.
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly // Another ARC from Netgalley. I enjoyed Donnelly's Revolution, so I was excited to read her latest, a YA novel set in the NYC in the late 1800s that follows a young girl's rebellious and dangerous investigation into her wealthy father's suspicious death. I absolutely loved the setting (and am very interested in reading more about this time/place!), and loved seeing how Jo matured and broke out of her limited experience as the novel progressed. And I appreciated how the little bit of romance was handled--just enough to be exciting without feeling over-the-top dramatic, as many YA romances feel to me.
The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand // I had to google this one to remind myself of the plot--I've forgotten almost everything about it already. A novelist in scenic Nantucket is completely at a loss for her next book, and finds inspiration in a friend's affair. Very fluffy and beachy, if you're in the mood for something light . . . but definitely not going down as a favorite for me.
Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins // So here's the story with this ARC from Netgalley. Jeff left town for a weekend seminar early this month. He travels for seminars on occasion, and I have never felt scared at night when he's been gone before . . . I don't know what was different this time, but it was anxiety central over here. I couldn't sleep and was convinced I was hearing footsteps in the house all night long. It was awful. I actually started and finished this YA novel all in one night while Jeff was gone and I was too scared to sleep. It's a romance about two teens who meet and fall in love . . . yet live in two different centuries. It was light and mysterious and fun, and enough to keep my mind off the murderers sneaking around in my basement.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery // I am so embarrassed to admit that even though I am a hardcore Anne fan, I was raised exclusively on the movies and have never read the books. I've definitely started them before, and I can remember thinking that the movies (which I have seen countless times) followed the book so closely that it didn't feel like a must-read anymore. I remedied the situation this month by listening to the audio, and loved it. Desperate to watch the movies again now, too. #ChristmasWishList
Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain // My only other Chamberlain read so far has been Necessary Lies, which I really liked. She certainly has a knack for exposing big social issues and making me think about them in new ways. This novel (another ARC from Netgalley) follows Molly, a young woman seeking an adoption who is desperate to hide her own confusing past, which includes a mother she claims is dead (who is very much alive) and a father whose mysterious death sent her running from home. Really enjoyed this one; could hardly put it down!
What did you read this month?