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Friday, June 10, 2016

What Happened to the Week?

We left Tuesday for a quick trip to Houston and got back yesterday.  The combination of all the yardwork from the weekend and the five hour drive there and back has left me so stiff!  I look at the garden and see what needs to be done...and groan.  

On the positive side, the cuttings I've been taking from rosemary, coleus, and sweet potato vine have all rooted.  I especially love the chocolate drop coleus:  it is happy in sun or shade, has a trailing habit, beautiful foliage, and is easy to propagate.  Today, I will take some more cuttings, do a little clean-up of shrubs, and note some chores that I can accomplish later.  I have dug up the monkey grass about half-way around one bed, but that is too strenuous for today.  I simply don't have the energy to tackle that today.

Most of my day will be writing letters, reading, and writing a couple of reviews.  :)

Dear Amy by Helen Callagan.  

Margot Lewis teaches at a private school; she is also an "agony aunt," an advice columnist for a local paper.  Not all of the letters she receives are genuine, and usually Margot spots them quickly, but when she receives a letter from a girl who says she has been kidnapped and is begging for help, Margot isn't sure whether or not the letter is a hoax. 

The police dismiss the letter; Bethan Avery, the girl who purportedly wrote the letter, has been missing for years and long presumed dead.  But more letters arrive, and a cold-case criminologist becomes interested because the letters have details that were never released.

A suspenseful psychological thriller, Dear Amy has plenty of twists!

NetGalley/Penguin UK

Psychological/Mystery/Suspense.  June 16, 2016.  Print length:  352 pages.

The Traitor's Story by Kevin Wignall.  

Finn Harrington is a historian (rumored to be a former spy).  Returning home after a research trip, he learns that his girlfriend has left him.  He hasn't had a chance to really consider why she left and whether or not her absence is permanent, when a neighbor appears at his door asking for his help--her fifteen-year-old daughter is missing.  

Finn initially brushes her off.  A reticent and withdrawn man,  he has his own circumstances to consider.  After some thought, however, he agrees to look into the situation.  Finn's search for the missing girl intrigues him and somehow initiates Finn's reinvolvement with himself and others.  

The story moves from present to past, allowing the reader to become privy to the events in Finn's past that have led to his disengagement with others and his almost total withdrawal into his writing.  Gradually, Finn becomes more approachable, more engaged with the world and those who inhabit it.

Some of the detail in the sections about the past could have been abbreviated.  While past circumstances are crucial to the plot in the present, this portion sometimes interrupted the pace.

Nevertheless, The Traitor's Story was a compelling read about a complex individual who must come to terms with his past and his present, and I really enjoyed it. 

NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer

Mystery/Suspense.  June 21, 2016.  Print length:  384 pages.

The Wages of Desire:  An Inspector Lamb Novel by Stephen Kelly is set in a small English village during the early years of the war.

Although this might fall into the cozy category, it is a much more complex version.  The characters have depth and individuality, and the plot is a knotty tangle of threads that reach back into the past.

 Secrets abound in the bucolic English countryside; the title is significant in more than one way.

I haven't read the first in this series, but I liked Inspector Lamb and the way Kelly managed to pull everything together.

Reviews on Goodreads run the gamut, but I found all the twisting threads fascinating and would eagerly read more of Inspector Lamb.

NetGalley/Pegasus Books

Mystery.  July 4, 2016.  Print length:  352 pages.

As usual, NetGalley is hit or miss, and I have had quite a few misses lately, but the above three novels kept me engaged and are worth all of the NetGalley e-books that hit the metaphoric DNF pile.


  1. I like the sound of Dear Amy. I can't ever seem to resist a good psychological thriller with lots of twists. :)

    1. I can't seem to resist, either. Dear Amy is pretty impressive for a first novel!

  2. Sounds like all three of these are worth checking out. I am glad you enjoyed them, Jenclair. Sounds like you have been busy! I am glad you got home safely. I have been trying to catch up with my blog a little--even try to get ahead. I hope you have a good weekend!

    1. :) It has been a busy week! Hope you get caught up with your blog, Wendy--enjoy your weekend!

  3. All these books sound good. I am especially intrigued by Dear Amy.

    I hope you're having a good weekend and are rested up from your travels.

    1. :) Dear Amy had a neat psychological angle!

  4. All the books sound very intriguing, especially Dear Amy. Will have to check that out.

    Hope you've a great week, Jenclair!

    1. Dear Amy was my favorite of the three, but I enjoyed them all. :)