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

Mystery
Adult
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 »

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Hurricane Season, by Lauren K. Denton (2018)

Contemporary Fiction
Adult
Hurricane Season, by Lauren K. DentonSisters Jenna and Betsy were close growing up, but have grown distant as adults. Betsy and Ty operate Franklin Dairy Farm in Mobile, Alabama, struggling with their relationship as they have been unable to conceive. Meanwhile, Jenna is a single mum in Nashville, raising two sweet girls on a barista’s salary. When a mentor offers Jenna the chance to reconnect with her photography passion, she decides to take it. But the girls will need looking after for a couple of weeks, and Jenna pressures her older sister to help out. Betsy gives in, without telling Ty, who is distracted by the pending hurricane season as well as the usual farmer troubles with tractors and calving. Read More »

Full Disclosure, by Beverley McLachlin (2018)

Mystery
Adult
Full Disclosure, by Beverley McLachlinLast week I reviewed a book by a librarian and teacher turned author; this week it’s a lawyer/judge turned author! Another Canadian novel, this one is a mystery by Beverley McLachlin, who recently stepped down as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, featuring young defence lawyer Jilly Truitt. Once a foster kid who teetered on a life on the streets, Jilly graduated law school and now heads a small but aggressive firm in Vancouver where she owns a condo,  drives a Mercedes, and regularly spends weekends with her longtime boyfriend Mike St John. She fights hard for underdog clients, knowing she could easily be in their shoes, had she not gotten a couple of breaks. Read More »

Krista Kim-bap, by Angela Ahn (2018)

Contemporary Fiction
9-13
Krista Kim-bap, by Angela AhnLibrarians and writers often share the same circles, but it might surprise you to learn how many writers ARE librarians. Lewis Carroll, Sarah Ellis, Kit Pearson, Bill Richardson, Beverly Cleary, to name just a few. And now Angela Ahn joins this fine group. As she and I went to library school together at UBC, I was both delighted and secretly a bit apprehensive when her publisher, Second Story Press, agreed to provide me with a digital copy for review. What if I don’t like it? But I’m happy to report this is a truly enjoyable story that celebrates culture, friendship, and family. Krista Kim is almost 12 years old and lives with her Korean-Canadian mum, dad, and sister Tori in Vancouver. Read More »

Forward, by Lisa Maas (2018)

Fiction
Adult
Forward, by Lisa MaasThis raw and touching story of grief, loss and apprehension finds the perfect home in the graphic novel format. Rayanne and Ali, forty-something lesbians living in Victoria, are both alone and determined to keep it that way. Rayanne is still hurting from a bad relationship that ended, not of her choice, several years ago. She has crushes and fantasies, sure, but she ignores them, creating a brittle shell around her heart, despite the well-meaning but exhausting efforts of those around her to find her a mate. (What IS it about happy couples?) Ali is still deeply grieving the loss of her wife Liv to cancer, not quite a year ago, and is confused and slightly ashamed to find herself attracted to a young dog-walker. Read More »

Next Year, for Sure, by Zoey Leigh Peterson (2017)

Contemporary Fiction
Adult
Next Year, for Sure, by Zoey Leigh PetersonAfter nine years in a monogamous relationship that has others calling them the perfect couple, Chris and Kathryn challenge societal norms when Chris decides to act upon an attraction to Emily, with Kathryn’s encouragement. This is the story of that exploration into polyamory, and it’s not a linear path. Family and friends are horrified and upset, acquaintances judge them, feelings are soon hurt, rules are established and broken. This debut novel by Peterson raises a myriad of questions for the reader to ponder as we witness the changing relationship between Chris and Kathryn. What is love, what is a crush, and what does it mean to love? Is it possible to love two people, to be in love with both of them, at the same time? Read More »

Women in Sunlight, by Frances Mayes (2018)

Fiction
Adult
Women in Sunlight, by Frances MayesFrances Mayes is the author of Under the Tuscan Sun, a nonfiction memoir of her move to an Italian villa brought to the big screen featuring Diane Lane and the inimitable Canadian Sandra Oh. It was a huge seller, capitalizing on the North American longing for days of wine, good food and roses, sunlight and Italian lovers. I bet the pull of Italia, la dolce vita, is stronger today than ever. This is a fictional take on the story, featuring three American women, from “the South,” who decide to leap before looking (check out the cover again) and surprise everyone they know by renting an Italian villa, sight unseen, for a year. The three met at an open house for a retirement village, a move none of them wants to make despite its being the most rational step at their age. Read More »