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Book Review: A Roux of Revenge (Soup Lover's Mystery #3) by Connie Archer

A Roux of Revenge by Connie Archer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Penguin Random House/Berkley Prime Crime

Summary:   Snowflake, Vermont, is known for its skiing in winter—and its soup all year round, thanks to Lucky Jamieson’s By the Spoonful Soup Shop. Autumn brings golden leaves, pumpkin rice soup, the annual Harvest Festival… and murder.
 
Lucky’s soup shop is busier than usual this October, with groups of itinerant travelers in town to work the Harvest Festival. One newcomer seems to take a particular interest in Lucky’s young waitress, Janie, spying on her from across the street. Is the stranger stalking Janie?
 

Book Review: Shadows on the Lake: A Stefania Valenti Mystery by Giovanni Cocco

Shadows on the Lake: A Stefania Valenti Mystery by Giovanni Cocco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Penguin Books

Summary:   A new atmospheric Italian mystery novel set in Lake Como, introducing the clever and captivating Inspector Stefania Valenti 

During the construction of a new road to the Swiss border in the mountains above Lake Como, the remains of a young man are unearthed on the powerful Cappelletti family's property. On the case is Stefania Valenti, forty-five, divorced with a young daughter, and a brilliant, determined police inspector. 
Her investigation takes her back to World War II and deep into the history of the region, a place that during the war attracted smugglers, deserters, secret agents, and fleeing Jews. Steeped in the beautiful atmosphere of Northern Italy, Valenti's investigation brings to light a family's secret, a tragic romance, and reveals a fascinating piece of Italian history.

Book Review: The Massacre of Mankind: Authorised Sequel to The War of the Worlds by Stephen Baxter

The Massacre of Mankind: Authorised Sequel to The War of the Worlds by Stephen Baxter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Gollancz

Summary:   It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.
So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells' book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.
He is right.

Book Review: The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish

The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher: Penguin

Summary:   Welcome to Lime Park Road. A picture-perfect street with a secret at its heart.

When Joe and Christy Davenport step behind the Oxford Blue painted door of their 'for ever' home, they believe their dreams have come true.

Yet the boxes aren't even unpacked before a series of events leads Christy to become obsessed with the previous occupant, the glamorous, enigmatic Amber Fraser, whose departure from Lime Park Road is shrouded in mystery.

What happened to her? And why are Joe and Christy's attempts at friendship with neighbours met with an unnerving silence?

As Christy unravels the shocking truth about the Frasers and the place she now calls home, she discovers that behind the closed doors of even the most desirable postcodes, terrible secrets lurk.

Book Review: The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Viking

Summary:  In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there's a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.
 


Book Review: A Broth of Betrayal (Soup Lover's Mystery #2) by Connie Archer

A Broth of Betrayal by Connie Archer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Berkley

Summary:  Even a town called Snowflake, Vermont, has a summer season. In August, Lucky Jamieson’s By the Spoonful serves chilled soups—celery and green onion, cream of asparagus—and salads. The shop also serves as a gathering place to talk about cold-blooded murder… 

A protest to stop the construction of an ugly car wash in the middle of the town’s picturesque Village Green is interrupted by the discovery of a skeleton that may date back to the Revolutionary War. While the remains pose a historical mystery, a present-day murder shakes the town to its core when local auto mechanic Harry Hodges is found dead in his shop. 

Book Review: Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster

Summary:  Who Are You When No One Is Watching?

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. 

In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory. 

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Summary:  One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life. 

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter. 

Book Review: Red Mars (Mars Trilogy #1) by Kim Stanley Robinson

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Spectra

Summary:   In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research & cutting-edge science in the 1st of a trilogy chronicling the colonization of Mars: For eons, sandstorms have swept the desolate landscape. For centuries, Mars has beckoned humans to conquer its hostile climate. Now, in 2026, a group of 100 colonists is about to fulfill that destiny. John Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank Chalmers & Arkady Bogdanov lead a terraforming mission. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage & madness. For others it offers an opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. For the genetic alchemists, it presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life & death. The colonists orbit giant satellite mirrors to reflect light to the surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth. Massive tunnels, kilometers deep, will be drilled into the mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves & friendships will form & fall to pieces--for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.

Book Review: House of Cards (Francis Urquhart #1) by Michael Dobbs

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Harper Collins Fontana

Summary:  The bestselling political thriller that introduced the scheming Francis Urguhart - the most memorable politician of the last decade.

Francis Urquhart is Chief Whip. He has his hands on every secret in politics - and is willing to betray them all to become Prime Minister. 

Mattie Storin is a tenacious young political correspondent. She faces the biggest challenge of her life when she stumbles upon a scandalous web of intrigue and financial corruption at the very highest levels. She is determined to reveal the truth, but she must risk everything to do so . . .