Hello, hello! It’s the beginning of October and I have nothing useful to ramble about. Confession: this year has been far less productive than I had hoped. But I have been continually submitting despite not writing as regularly as I should. I’ve written a few short pieces, am slowly revising one of my novels so I can start the agent hunt again, and have read pretty much every day that I wasn’t sick this year. It’s nowhere near what I should have accomplished, but that’s life. It’s my own fault. I’ve decided that over the next three months, I will stop procrastinating and hit the revision as hard as I can, so that I can submit to agents again starting in January. I will keep submitting my short pieces every Monday. And I’ll keep reading, which brings me to the point of this post. Here’s my planned year-end reading list in no particular order.
As usual, I plan to read at least two books each month, one for my book reviews and one for fun. I currently only have one of the book review choices picked out, so here is that one and my three “for fun” books. I might try to squeeze a couple of others in if I have time.
1. Black Rock Bay by Brianna Labuskes. This will be October’s book review. I was missing Maine and looking for something a little darker than a cozy, so I picked this one up from NetGalley. Here’s the synopsis from GoodReads (where you can also find links to preorder it):
Detective Mia Hart never planned to return home. One terrifying summer night, Mia lost two of her closest friends to suicide. Scarred and broken, she fled St. Lucy’s, a small island off the coast of Maine.
Now fifteen years later, when the body of a journalist is fished out of the bay near St. Lucy’s cliffs, Mia is forced to help with the case—and face all she’s been running from. As she approaches the island, the wintery winds of Black Rock Bay usher Mia home again.
When Mia digs into the reporter’s death, she finds he left behind a written clue: It wasn’t suicide. Mia soon discovers it’s her own tragic past he was referring to. Now, as she tries to untangle a web of lies, Mia realizes that solving this case means becoming the next pawn in someone’s blood-chilling game of truth or die.
2. The Missing Ones by Edwin Hill. This is the second in his Hester Thursby mystery series. I reviewed the first one here, and enjoyed it enough that I’m looking forward to this one. It’s another one that seems to be on the darker side, but it actually falls in the cozy realm. Also, I had no idea it was going to be set in Maine, so that’s just a bonus. Here’s the GoodReads synopsis:
Hester Thursby has given up using her research skills to trace people who don’t want to be found. A traumatic case a few months ago unearthed a string of violent crimes, and left Hester riddled with self-doubt and guilt. Caring for a four-year-old is responsibility enough in a world filled with terrors Hester never could have imagined before.
Finisterre Island, off the coast of Maine, is ruggedly beautiful and remote—the kind of place tourists love to visit, though rarely for long. But not everyone who comes to the island is welcome. A dilapidated Victorian house has become home to a group of squatters and junkies, and strangers have a habit of bringing trouble with them. A young boy disappeared during the summer, and though he was found safely, the incident stirred suspicion among locals. Now another child is missing. Summoned to the island by a cryptic text, Hester discovers a community cleaning up from a devastating storm—and uncovers a murder.
Soon Hester begins to connect the crime and the missing children. And as she untangles the secrets at the center of the small community, she finds grudges and loyalties that run deep, poised to converge with a force that will once again shake her convictions about the very nature of right and wrong…
3. The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss. The third and final tale of the women in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series. I fell in love with them from book one. What’s not to love about the daughters of a bunch of villains and madmen running around saving the day? Here’s the GoodReads synopsis:
Life’s always an adventure for the Athena Club… especially when one of their own has been kidnapped! After their thrilling European escapades rescuing Lucinda van Helsing, Mary Jekyll and her friends return home to discover that their friend and kitchen maid Alice has vanished— and so has their friend and employer Sherlock Holmes!
As they race to find Alice and bring her home safely, they discover that Alice and Sherlock’s kidnapping are only one small part of a plot that threatens Queen Victoria, and the very future of the British Empire. Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine, and Justine save their friends—and save the Empire? Find out in the final installment of the fantastic and memorable Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series.
4. Wonton Terror by Vivien Chien. It’s the fourth in her Noodle Shop Mystery series. A true cozy series. It’s just a fun bunch of books and I enjoy them. Here’s the GoodReads synopsis:
The Asian community is kicking off summer with the return of its popular Cleveland Night Market festivities, and Lana Lee is excited to represent the Ho-Lee Noodle House booth with her favorite chef, Peter Huang. Lana is confident that the evening marks the beginning of a great season to come. Not only is she looking forward to the warm temperatures, but her birthday is only weeks away, her handsome boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau, is planning a romantic get-away. Life couldn’t be better.
But before she can get too accustomed to the idea of a carefree summer, an explosion involving a nearby food truck, Wonton on Wheels, kills one of the proprietors and injures several others in the nearby vicinity.
When the authorities discover that this was no accident, the family members of the dead man become the number-one suspects in a front-page murder story. Lana and her best friend, Megan Riley, fall back into detective mode. But as they uncover family secrets of abuse and angry costumers, Lana’s own family drama raises its head. Will Lana be able to juggle everything the universe is throwing at her, or has she jumped from the frying pan to the fire?
What about you? What’s on your year-end reading list? Feel free to share your list here or on my social media pages!