The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth Ware (2018)

The Death of Mrs. Westaway, by Ruth WareThis new mystery from British writer Ruth Ware (The Woman in Cabin 10 and In a Dark, Dark Wood) is a lot of fun from start to finish. I keep thinking it’s like a grown-up Nancy Drew mystery (in a good way!), with a more realistic and nicely flawed heroine caught in a web of deceit and murder. Hal Westaway is 21, living alone in Brighton three years after her mother was brutally killed by a hit and run driver. With no income and few options, she picks up her mum’s tarot cards and continues her business on the pier. Read More »


Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race, by Tim Fernholz (2018)

Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race, by Tim FernholzFor most of my life, NASA has been the leader in space exploration – sending my beloved Voyager craft into the solar system in 1977, then developing the space shuttle program, with its high-profile disasters in 1986 and 2003, and of course the amazing Mars exploration program that continues today. (Sorry boomers, I don’t remember the moon landings.) Early in this millennium, however, I started to hear interesting news about privately funded space travel, starting with the X Prize and the Antari Prize competitions. Not long afterward, NASA retired its shuttle program but had nothing to put in its place, relying instead on Russia’s Soyuz capsules to deliver astronauts and cargo to and from the International Space Station. Read More »

Dog Training 101, by Kyra Sundance (2017)

Dog Training 101, by Kyra SundanceAt not quite a year and a half, my dog is still a puppy, so life with her is all about training, ideally having fun while doing it. Positive training is about finding ways to reinforce the behaviour you want, so when I spotted this book on the new titles shelf at our library, I snapped it up. I’m not familiar with author Sundance, though she has a good backlist. This is one of the best positive training books I’ve found, as the instructions for each element are clear, simple, and short. I’ve already used a few of the instructions and found success. The book is ideal for someone like me, still going through the basic training stage, as opposed to more advanced tricks like getting the dog to push a snowblower (I’m not kidding – see our British Columbian sensation Morgan!). Read More »

The Gone World, by Tom Sweterlitsch (2018)

Science Fiction
The Gone World, by Tom SweterlitschFirst, take your time in reading this book. It is not one to rush. It’s to be savoured, taking time to ponder the latest plot twists as you try to figure out what the heck is going on! It’s at heart a mystery set in a science fiction world, not unlike the film Inception. In fact, I predict you’ll be seeing this story on the big screen in a year or two. Shannon Moss is a criminal investigator for the U.S. Navy. It’s 1997, and she’s called into the case of what appears to be a domestic murder involving a Navy SEAL. A wife and two children are dead, and both the eldest daughter and the husband are missing. But what the police don’t know is that the husband is actually an astronaut whose spaceship Libra and its entire crew is missing, lost during a secret trip to the future. Read More »

Wolves of Winter, by Tyrell Johnson (2018)

Dystopian Fiction
The Wolves of Winter, by Tyrell Johnson“Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive.” When a nuclear war and flu pandemic ravage the world they once knew, Lynn McBride and her small family find refuge in the Yukon Territory. Seven years have passed since Lynn’s father died of the flu and her Uncle Jeryl convinced his sister-in-law to trek from Alaska to the Yukon’s Blackstone Valley. Isolated from whatever remains of the world, the small band of survivors builds cabins and grows a meagre lot of vegetables in springs that never turn to summers. Days are spent gathering firewood and melting snow for water. In a nod to Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games, Lynn is a skilled hunter, setting traplines and using her crossbow to feed the family. Read More »

The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan (2017)

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny ColganNina Redmond is a 29-year-old librarian in Birmingham – she has watched life pass by over the top edge of whatever book she is reading. And she is always reading. Her raison d’être is to find the right book for each person at the very moment they need it, and she’s super good at this. So when her library closes and she loses her job, she is devastated. Only two staff members will be re-hired as “knowledge facilitators” at the multimedia hub the city is opening in town, and though she interviews for it, she’s clearly not going to get the job. Librarians, she realizes, are going the way of typewriter repairers. “She felt, at twenty-nine, oddly surplus to life’s requirements.” But at a workshop offered by the library for the reeling staff, Nina finds the courage to voice her dream of opening a bookshop. Given her limited resources, she decides to buy a used van and make it mobile. Read More »

Young Jane Young, by Gabrielle Zevin (2017)

Young Jane Young, by Gabrielle ZevinWhatever happened to Monica Lewinsky? Those of us who remember the scandal that broke exactly 20 years ago this month are likely bemoaning the fact so little has changed, as police officers, movie producers, journalists and others across every industry face allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace. But at least now victims’ stories are being heard – 20 years ago, interviews with Lewinsky were done not to understand her side of the story but to broadcast one salacious detail after another. And that’s where this story stands out and shines. Zevin, author of the brilliant and delightful The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, has reimagined the Clinton-Lewinsky affair into a sparkling novel that explores what happens when boundaries are crossed, decisions can’t be reversed, and lives are forever impacted. Read More »