Monday, September 20, 2021

Tuesday Tomorrow

Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Published by: Tor Nightfire
Publication Date: September 21st, 2021
Format: Paperback, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The English language debut of the bestselling Dutch novel, Hex, from Thomas Olde Heuvelt - a Hugo and World Fantasy award nominated talent to watch.

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened or the consequences will be too terrible to bear.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiraling into dark, medieval practices of the distant past.

This chilling novel heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in mainstream horror and dark fantasy."

A whole town being haunted? YAS!

All These Bodies by Kendare Blake
Published by: Quill Tree Books
Publication Date: September 21st, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Sixteen bloodless bodies. Two teenagers. One impossible explanation. In this edge-of-your-seat mystery from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake, the truth is as hard to believe as it is to find.

Summer 1958. A gruesome killer plagues the Midwest, leaving behind a trail of bodies completely drained of blood.

Michael Jensen, an aspiring journalist whose father happens to be the town sheriff, never imagined that the Bloodless Murders would come to his backyard. Not until the night the Carlson family was found murdered in their home. Marie Catherine Hale, a diminutive fifteen-year-old, was discovered at the scene - covered in blood. She is the sole suspect in custody.

Michael didn’t think that he would be part of the investigation, but he is pulled in when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to. As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies?"

A fantastical In Cold Blood

Malpertuis by Jean Ray
Published by: Wakefield Press
Publication Date: September 21st, 2021
Format: Paperback, 256 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Jean Ray brilliantly upends the haunted-house tradition in this widely acclaimed puzzlebox of a novel.

A reinvention of the Gothic novel and an established classic of fantastic literature, Malpertuis is as inventive and gripping today as when it first appeared in French in the dark year of 1943.

Malpertuis is a puzzle box of nested narratives wrested from a set of manuscripts stolen from a monastery. A bizarre collection of distrustful relatives has gathered together in the ancient stone mansion of a sea-trading dynasty for the impending death of the occult scientist, Uncle Cassave, and the reading of his will. Forced to dwell together for the remainder of their lives within the stifling walls of Malpertuis for the sake of a cursed inheritance, their banal existence gradually gives way to love affairs and secret plots, as the building slowly exposes a malevolence that eventually leads to a series of ghastly deaths.

The eccentric personalities it houses - which include an obsessive taxidermist, a hypochondriac, a trio of vengeful sisters and a former paint store manager who has gone mad - begin to shed like skins to reveal yet another hidden story buried in the novel's structure, one that turns the haunted-house tradition on its head and culminates in an apocalyptic denouement."

I am ALL about different takes on the Gothic and the haunted house tradition in literature!

When Things Get Dark edited by Ellen Datlow
Published by: Titan Books
Publication Date: September 21st, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A chilling anthology in tribute to the genius of Shirley Jackson, collecting today’s best horror writers. Featuring Joyce Carol Oates, Josh Malerman, Paul Tremblay, Richard Kadrey, Stephen Graham Jones, Elizabeth Hand and more.

A collection of new and exclusive short stories inspired by, and in tribute to, Shirley Jackson.

Shirley Jackson is a seminal writer of horror and mystery fiction, whose legacy resonates globally today. Chilling, human, poignant and strange, her stories have inspired a generation of writers and readers.

This anthology, edited by legendary horror editor Ellen Datlow, will bring together today’s leading horror writers to offer their own personal tribute to the work of Shirley Jackson.

Featuring Joyce Carol Oates, Josh Malerman, Carmen Maria Machado, Paul Tremblay, Richard Kadrey, Stephen Graham Jones, Elizabeth Hand, Kelly Link, Cassandra Khaw, Karen Heuler, Benjamin Percy, John Langan, Laird Barron, Jeffrey Ford, M. Rickert, Seanan McGuire, Gemma Files, and Genevieve Valentine."

It's about Shirley Jackson, so I'm here for it! Though I find it funny that the stock photo is in use by a lot of books right now, even one my friend designed!

MR Cadmus by Peter Ackroyd
Published by: Canongate Books
Publication Date: September 21st, 2021
Format: Paperback, 192 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Two apparently harmless women reside in cottages one building apart in the idyllic English village of Little Camborne. Miss Finch and Miss Swallow, cousins, have put their pasts behind them and settled into conventional country life. But when a mysterious foreigner, Theodore Cadmus - from a Mediterranean island nobody has heard of - moves into the middle cottage, the safe monotony of their lives is shattered.

Soon, long-hidden secrets and long-held grudges threaten to surface, drawing all into a vortex of subterfuge, theft, violence, mayhem...and murder."

So, in other words, just my Midsomer Murders-esque kind of dream! 

Cats Galore Encore! by Susan Herbert
Published by: Thames and Hudson
Publication Date: September 21st, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 192 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"This second litter of cultured cats delves further into the work of painter Susan Herbert, with another helping of cats in much-loved works of art.

This follow-up to the smash hit Cats Galore delves further into the work of artist Susan Herbert, whose delightful reimaginings of famous artworks have won her a devoted international following. Herbert’s first book, The Cats Gallery of Art, was published in 1990, and since then her work has appeared in numerous books, featuring cats in iconic works of art, as well as scenes from opera, Shakespearean plays, and the movies - all with her trademark blend of humor and her ability to capture those essential feline characteristics instantly recognizable to cat lovers everywhere.

In Cats Galore Encore!, furry felines take over yet more of the world’s most famous masterpieces. They crowd into the pages of the fifteenth-century Tres Riches Heures tapestry, zoom through the air as cherubs in royal portraits, before loosening things up in the nineteenth century as artists take paint and palette out into the countryside. Ranging from medieval illuminated manuscripts to old master stalwarts such as Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer, through to the likes of Claude Monet and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, this second helping of cats in art will delight fans of the beloved artist."

Susan Herbert was everyone in the nineties and I am HERE FOR THE RENAISSANCE! 

Friday, September 17, 2021

The Haunting of Bly Manor

After seeing the amazing interpretation of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House that Mike Flanagan pulled off I was beyond excited for The Haunting of Bly Manor. And this was only approximately 79% to do with Rahul Kohli being cast. OK, it was probably closer to 100% because I am not a fan of The Turn of the Screw like I am with The Haunting of Hill House, but that's why this adaptation is so perfect, it made me like The Turn of the Screw and the other stories by Henry James that were incorporated. This miniseries turned a bleak tale of possible madness into a love story. And not just a single love story either! There are many couples to ship here. In fact this show might have healed and broken my heart simultaneously. If someone were to say to me "it's you, it's me, it's us" I would probably break down sobbing right this second. Yet this phrase which comes to mean so much about the power of love started out menacing. That's what's amazing here. The way the story unfolds. What was one thing becomes another and another and everything you think you knew keeps changing. This is a miniseries that could easily be rewatched the second you finish it just to fill in the gaps you might have missed. The one thing I found odd when reading reviews of what people have dubbed the second season of Mike Flanagan's "Haunting" series is that so many people took exception to the penultimate episode shot in black and white, "The Romance of Certain Old Clothes." This episode set centuries earlier explains how Bly Manor came to be the haunted place it is with Mike Flanagan's wife, Kate Siegel, Theo from The Haunting of Hill House, taking center stage. This episode is lyrical and perfectly paced. There are phrases that come back to me again and again while thinking about this show. "She would sleep, she would wake, she would walk." And while yes, this could be a way to explain all our lives during quarantine and it's repetitive nature, it also taps into the broken record aspect of a haunting. How ghosts are just reliving the same moments over and over again which is why the penultimate episode is crucial! This show is time loops and the supernatural and true love all mashed up together and all I have to say is more!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Watch

I admit it, I was extremely worried about this adaptation of Terry Pratchett's work. For years and years he'd been trying to get this adaptation going and then he died and I figured well, The Watch was never going to happen. I didn't view it as much of a loss as of all the Discworld properties that had been adapted I felt only Going Postal really worked and the only one I had ever really been excited about was when Sam Raimi was attached to Tiffany Aching because I SO want to see Bruce Campbell as a feegle! But then Good Omens was a hit and The Watch was back. I reluctantly admit to the fact that I saw the preview for The Watch a handful of times before I even realized it was a Terry Pratchett adaptation. I remember seeing the first picture and the Brutalist cyberpunk vibe they were going for and just dismissed it outright, hence why I probably didn't put two and two together when the trailer dropped. But I was willing to give it a try. I couldn't be like all those other Pratchett fans dismissing it outright! I have to have informed dislike. And it turned out I didn't dislike it... in fact I kind of loved it. I didn't think Richard Dormer would work as the beloved Sam Vimes, having only seen him in Fortitude, but he brought an interesting and very pugnacious vibe to Sam. I can actually see him on the covers of the books as illustrated by Paul Kidby. As for Carrot and Angua, they are literally almost exactly as I pictured them. But the stars of this show are Sybil and Cheery. Sybil was taken from the periphery of Sam's life and given a place front and center and she just kicks ass, there's no other way to say it. I also love how awkward she and Sam are around each other, there's true chemistry there. But far and away this season is about Cheery. I so loved Jo Eaton-Kent as Cheery I can no longer see the character any other way. There's also so much depth brought to the character about finding yourself and how much bravery that takes and yes, the beard does make an appearance people! I just literally can't with how much I loved Cheery as brought to life by Jo. You are doing yourself a disfavor if you don't tune in. So it's not perfect, neither are Practhett's books the way they jump around in their narrative style, which this show fully embraces! So come on, embrace The Watch!

Monday, September 13, 2021

Tuesday Tomorrow

When Sorrows Come by Seanan McGuire
Published by: DAW
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Toby's getting married! Now in hardcover, the fifteenth novel of the Hugo-nominated, New York Times-bestselling October Daye urban fantasy series.

It's hard to be a hero. There's always something needing October "Toby" Daye's attention, and her own desires tend to fall by the wayside in favor of solving the Kingdom's problems. That includes the desire to marry her long-time suitor and current fiancé, Tybalt, San Francisco's King of Cats. She doesn't mean to keep delaying the wedding, it just sort of... happens. And that's why her closest friends have taken the choice out of her hands, ambushing her with a court wedding at the High Court in Toronto. Once the High King gets involved, there's not much even Toby can do to delay things...

...except for getting involved in stopping a plot to overthrow the High Throne itself, destabilizing the Westlands entirely, and keeping her from getting married through nothing more than the sheer volume of chaos it would cause. Can Toby save the Westlands and make it to her own wedding on time? Or is she going to have to choose one over the other?

Includes an all-new bonus novella!"

Even a pandemic doesn't stop Seanan churning out the bestsellers!

Slewfoot by Brom
Published by: Tor Nightfire
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Set in Colonial New England, Slewfoot is a tale of magic and mystery, of triumph and terror as only dark fantasist Brom can tell it.

Connecticut, 1666.

An ancient spirit awakens in a dark wood. The wildfolk call him Father, slayer, protector.

The colonists call him Slewfoot, demon, devil.

To Abitha, a recently widowed outcast, alone and vulnerable in her pious village, he is the only one she can turn to for help.

Together, they ignite a battle between pagan and Puritan - one that threatens to destroy the entire village, leaving nothing but ashes and bloodshed in their wake.

"If it is a devil you seek, then it is a devil you shall have!"

This terrifying tale of bewitchery features more than two dozen of Brom’s haunting paintings, fully immersing readers in this wild and unforgiving world."

As fall comes upon us, be sure to pick up this book by Brom!

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The Haunting of Hill House meets Get Out in this chilling YA psychological thriller and modern take on the classic haunted house story from New York Times bestselling author Tiffany D. Jackson!

Marigold is running from ghosts. The phantoms of her old life keep haunting her, but a move with her newly blended family from their small California beach town to the embattled Midwestern city of Cedarville might be the fresh start she needs. Her mom has accepted a new job with the Sterling Foundation that comes with a free house, one that Mari now has to share with her bratty ten-year-old stepsister, Piper.

The renovated picture-perfect home on Maple Street, sitting between dilapidated houses, surrounded by wary neighbors has its... secrets. That’s only half the problem: household items vanish, doors open on their own, lights turn off, shadows walk past rooms, voices can be heard in the walls, and there’s a foul smell seeping through the vents only Mari seems to notice. Worse: Piper keeps talking about a friend who wants Mari gone.

But "running from ghosts" is just a metaphor, right?

As the house closes in, Mari learns that the danger isn’t limited to Maple Street. Cedarville has its secrets, too. And secrets always find their way through the cracks."

A new take on the classic haunted house!?! I'm in!

My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa
Published by: Berkley Books
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Paloma thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted and made it to America, but she's about to find out that no matter how far you run, your past always catches up to you...

Ever since she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage, Paloma has had the best of everything - schools, money, and parents so perfect that she fears she'll never live up to them.

Now at thirty years old and recently cut off from her parents' funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her overpriced San Francisco apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India. Paloma has to admit, it feels good helping someone find their way in America - that is until Arun discovers Paloma's darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her own fragile place in this country.

Before Paloma can pay Arun off, she finds him face down in a pool of blood. She flees the apartment but by the time the police arrive, there's no body - and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place.

Paloma is terrified this is all somehow tangled up in the desperate actions she took to escape Sri Lanka so many years ago. Did Paloma's secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?"

Disappearing body AND set in San Francisco? Hells yes!

Farewell Blues by Maggie Robinson
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 272 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"The Society Scandal of the Season...

Lady Adelaide Compton had prepared herself to say goodbye forever to Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter. It would be a welcome relief not to get mixed up in any more murders, even if it meant never working alongside the handsome detective again... wouldn't it?

But then Addie's prim and proper mother, Constance, the Dowager Marchioness of Broughton, is accused of murdering her secret lover, and there can't be enough gentlemen detectives on hand to find the truth. The dead Duke of Rufford appeared to lead a blameless life, but appearances can be deceiving. And unless Addie and Dev work together, Constance will hang - which is no one's idea of a happy ending."

A murder mystery with class!

Alma Presses Play by Tina Cane
Published by: Make Me a World
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A lyrical novel-in-verse that takes us through the journey of coming of age in New York during the 80s.

Alma's life is a series of halfways: She's half-Chinese, half-Jewish; her parents spend half the time fighting, and the other half silent; and she's halfway through becoming a woman. But as long as she can listen to her Walkman, hang out with her friends on the stoops of the Village, and ride her bike around the streets of New York, it feels like everything will be all right. Then comes the year when everything changes, and her life is overtaken by constant endings: friends move away, romances bloom and wither, her parents divorce and - just like that - her life as she knew it is over. In this world of confusing beginnings, middles, and endings, is Alma ready to press play on the soundtrack of her life?"

The 80s in my happy place.

Kevin Smith's Secret Stash by Kevin Smith
Published by: Insight Editions
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
""Being Kevin Smith is my favorite thing in the world.... I don’t have a job. I don’t even have a career anymore. I’m just me for a living."

Making the leap from convenience store worker to international film icon, Kevin Smith has spent over twenty-five years at the forefront of pop culture. In this hilariously candid treasure trove of artifacts and anecdotes, Kevin tells the full story of his incredible life for the first time, from his early days in Highlands, New Jersey, through to the breakout success of low-budget indie smash Clerks in 1994, and the series of hit films that allowed him to build his own cinematic "View Askewniverse."

• THE STORY OF KEVIN SMITH, TOLD BY KEVIN HIMSELF: Both funny and confessional, Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash sees the director hold forth on all aspects of his career, including his live shows and podcasts, plus his comics and television work, such as the hit AMC show Comic Book Men.

• NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN TREASURES: This deluxe volume is illustrated with a wealth of rare and never-before-seen items from Kevin’s personal archives, including script pages, personal letters, and concept art from beloved movies including Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Red State, Tusk, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, and more. It also features a range of special pullout features exclusive to the book, including Kevin’s application to film school and comic art from Chasing Amy.

• SPECIAL CONTRIBUTORS: In addition to a foreword from Kevin’s longtime collaborator and friend Jason Mewes, the book includes contributions from J. J. Abrams, Ben Affleck, Marc Bernardin, Ming Chen, Shannon Elizabeth, Walt Flanagan, Ralph Garman, Mark Hamill, Bryan Johnson, David Klein, Justin Long, Scott Mosier, Brian O’Halloran, Seth Rogen, Jennifer Schwalbach-Smith, and Harley Quinn Smith.

• OWN THE ULTIMATE KEVIN SMITH TRIBUTE: Definitive, revelatory, and packed with exclusive surprises, Kevin Smith’s Secret Stash is the book fans have been waiting for and a must-have for pop culture aficionados everywhere."

This makes me want to do a deep dive back into the View Askewniverse!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Shadow and Bone

THIS is THE SHOW I've been waiting all year for. Heck, YEARS for, so yes, I might be a tad more critical because I just re-read all the books in the Grishaverse and therefore little things were getting to me amongst the greatness of this epic, like I do not believe there is any way Zoya would have bangs. Yes, she's a Squaller so she could probably maintain them, perfectly balancing humidity and placement, I just don't think they're Zoya... And yes, I admit I've probably thought about this more than was necessary, but that's just me. The grandeur and the beauty and the bangs are all here on display. This is the epic fantasy we've been needing to purge Game of Thrones out of our system, so STOP comparing it to Game of Thrones! Unless you've read all the books then I'll let you call Zoya Daenerys Targaryen 2.0. But that is all. There is so much they go right in this adaptation. I was so wary of Kaz, Jesper, Inej, Nina, and Matthias being brought forward in time I was shocked how well they fit in, merging the original trilogy and the first duology. This led to some wonderful "what if" scenarios like the Darkling and Kaz meeting in an alley. Kaz's exit was priceless. In fact while I feel the casting was so perfect throughout, hats off to Kit Young, he IS Jesper. I don't know if I've ever seen a book to screen adaptation get something so right. He just doesn't play the character well, he is Jesper! And as for the addition of Milo? Dear saints, I didn't know how much this series needed a goat until it happened! The only real issues I took had to do with budgetary concerns. They used beautiful Eastern European locations in Budapest, but Leigh so lovingly describes the Little Palace in detail I wish they had had the funds to actually build it, or at least the dining hall. Also sometimes the CGI was a little off, especially when Mal and Alina were hunting the stage, Mal himself looked like he was CGI right out of a video game and I was fighting some true uncanny valley issues. So in the end my analysis is, they got in pretty damn right, I just feel like I'm more in the world when I'm reading the books. Which now need a goat.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Black Narcissus

OK, I know with what I'm about to admit everyone is going to be shocked, but until this miniseries I had not heard of or watched the original movie adaptation of Rumer Godden's book that is a classic starring Deborah Kerr. Black Narcissus won Oscars and accolades when it was released in 1947, eerily on the day that would be my birthday come the seventies. So, putting aside my lack of a complete film education, what it meant was I was going into this series fresh. In fact I saw an ad only a day before it aired and it was being touted as Diana Rigg's last appearance, that is until Edgar Wright admits defeat and releases Last Night in Soho to streaming, so I said, let's see what this Black Narcissus is all about! Also I have probably rightly pissed off Edgar Wright now by not knowing this movie and saying that movie theaters are dead and streaming is the only safe option in this day and age. Oh well, I'm still looking forward to Last Night in Soho... So this version of Black Narcissus, compared to no other, was a wonderful little idyll of nuns trying to do good against all odds in a very haunted place. I mean this miniseries just oozed Gothic vibes, it was delicious! I constantly love how the building blocks of what is considered Gothic can be changed time and time again to create a whole new slant that you'd never think of. Nuns tend to align themselves more with the horror genre, and to tackle their desires and damnation in a human and real way within the Gothic sphere felt fresh to me, and again note I haven't seen the original film. Though the driving force of the three episode miniseries is Sister Ruth and her going more and more off the rails in this remote location. I don't know if you're supposed to hate Sister Ruth and long for her corruption and death, but I totally did. Her obsession with the male caretaker, Mr. Dean, and her delusions about Mr. Dean and Sister Clodagh make her more and more unstable and I loved every minute of it. I think this was all enhanced by the performace of Aisling Franciosi as Sister Ruth. I knew I knew her from somewhere and wherever that was I hated her in that. Turns out it was The Fall, the Gillian Anderson/Jamie Dornan show, which is, in my mind, the most overrated piece of shit I have ever watched. It is easily one of the worst shows I've ever seen and wish I could forget I ever saw it. Anyway, Aisling was the shitty teenager in love with the father of the kids she babysat and who knew he was a killer and was all OK with that. So yeah, I liked seeing her suffer in this. But does that say more about me or Black Narcissus?

Monday, September 6, 2021

Tuesday Tomorrow

Deadly Summer Nights by Vicki Delany 
Published by: Berkley Books
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series.

It's the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman's Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman's is ideal, and although Elizabeth's ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother's business.

When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn't so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she'll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed."

I am SO HERE for Mrs. Maisel Murder Mysteries! 

Nice Girls by Catherine Dang
Published by: William Morrow
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A pulse-pounding and razor-sharp debut with the emotional punch of Luckiest Girl Alive and All the Missing Girls that explores the hungry, angry, dark side of girlhood and dares to ask: Which is more dangerous for a woman - showing the world what it wants to see, or who she really is?

What did you do?

Mary used to be such a nice girl. She was the resident whiz kid of Liberty Lake, Minnesota - the quiet, chubby teen with the scholarship to an Ivy League school. But three years later, “Ivy League Mary” is back - a thinner, cynical, restless failure who was kicked out of Cornell at the beginning of her senior year and won’t tell anyone why. Taking a job at the local grocery store, Mary tries to make sense of her life’s sharp downward spiral.

Then beautiful, magnetic Olivia Willand goes missing. A rising social media star, Olivia is admired by everyone in Liberty Lake - except Mary. Once Olivia’s best friend, Mary knows better than anyone that behind the Instagram persona hides a willful, manipulative girl with sharp edges. As the town obsesses over perfect, lovely Olivia, Mary wonders if her disappearance might be tied to another missing person: nineteen-year-old DeMaria Jackson, whose case has been widely dismissed as a runaway.

Who is the real Olivia Willand, and where did she go? What happened to DeMaria? As Mary pries at the cracks in the careful facades surrounding the two missing girls, old wounds will bleed fresh and force her to confront a horrible truth.

Maybe there are no nice girls, after all."

Some of my male friends don't believe me when I say what girls are capable of... perhaps they should all read this book?

Miss Kopp Investigates by Amy Stewart
Published by: Mariner Books
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 304 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Life after the war takes an unexpected turn for the Kopp sisters, but soon enough, they are putting their unique detective skills to use in new and daring ways.

Winter 1919: Norma is summoned home from France, Constance is called back from Washington, and Fleurette puts her own plans on hold as the sisters rally around their recently widowed sister-in-law and her children. How are four women going to support themselves?

A chance encounter offers Fleurette a solution: clandestine legal work for a former colleague of Constance’s. She becomes a "professional co-respondent," posing as the "other woman" in divorce cases so that photographs can be entered as evidence to procure a divorce. While her late-night assignments are both exciting and lucrative, they put her on a collision course with her own family, who would never approve of such disreputable work. One client’s suspicious behavior leads Fleurette to uncover a much larger crime, putting her in the unlikely position of amateur detective.

In Miss Kopp Investigates, Amy Stewart once again brilliantly captures the women of this era - their ambitions for the future as well as the ties that bind - at the start of a promising new decade."

Again, women are far more capable then we are given credit for!

The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen
Published by: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"A romance develops as a detective partners with a lonely-hearts columnist to solve a murder mystery.

London, 1885.

Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect columnist to answer lonely heart letters in The Marriage Gazette. When Amelie plays matchmaker with two anonymous lonely hearts, she also decides to secretly observe the couple's blind date. To her surprise, the man who appears for the rendezvous is Harold Radcliffe - a grieving widower and a member of Amelie's book club.

Police detective Michael Baker has been struggling ever since his best friend and brother-in-law died in the line of fire. Because he knows the dangers of his job, he has vowed never to marry and subject a wife and family to the uncertainty of his profession. But when he meets Miss Hampton, he is captured by her innocence, beauty, and her quick mind.

When a woman's body is pulled from the river, Michael suspects the woman's husband - Harold Radcliffe - of foul play. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is capable of such violence but agrees to help, imagining it will be like one of her favorite mystery novels. Her social connections and clever observations prove an asset to the case, and Amelie is determined to prove Mr. Radcliffe's innocence. But the more time Amelie and Michael spend together, the more they trust each other, and the more they realize they are a good team, maybe the perfect match.

They also realize that Mr. Radcliffe is hiding more than one secret, and when his attention turns toward Amelie, Michael knows he must put an end to this case before the woman he loves comes to harm."

I'm a sucker for romances that develop while solving crimes!

The Heron's Cry by Ann Cleeves
Published by: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder - Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter's broken vases.

Dr. Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He's a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found - killed in a similar way. Matthew soon finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home.

DI Matthew Venn returns in The Heron's Cry, in Ann Cleeves powerful next novel, proving once again that she is a master of her craft."

Seriously, if you're in need of a mystery by someone at the height of their writing prowess, check out Ann Cleeves's latest! 

Murder at Standing Stone Manor by Eric Brown
Published by: Severn House Publishers
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 224 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Donald Langham and Maria Dupr must navigate a rocky road to find a killer when a body is found next to a standing stone.

Newlyweds Donald Langham and Maria Dupr have moved to the country. They're excited about starting a new life in the picturesque village of Ingoldby-over-Water - and about meeting their new neighbours.

But they've barely moved into Yew Tree Cottage when their new neighbour at Standing Stone Manor, Professor Edwin Robertshaw, invites Donald over to discuss some 'fishy business'. Shortly after, a body is found by the professor's precious standing stone in the manor grounds.

Donald and Maria discover tensions, disputes and resentment raging below the surface of this idyllic village, but can they find out which of the villagers is a cold-blooded killer?"

A body near a standing stone!?! Someone has been looking at my notes for books I want to be written again!

The Summoning by J.P. Smith
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 320 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"When it comes to contacting the dead, it's easy to go a step too far.

Every year, as the anniversary of 9/11 inches closer on the calendar, Kit Capriol scans the memorials published in the New York Times. It's a simple thing to look up a name and phone number, to reach out to surviving family members who might still be yearning for connection with their lost loved one...to offer assistance. After her husband went down in the north tower, Kit scraped by as an actress, barely supporting herself and her daughter. But now Zoey is in the hospital, bills are due, and the acting work has dried up. Becoming a medium is almost too easy for someone used to pretending for a living - and desperate clients aren't hard to come by.

Now, though, something has changed. The seances Kit holds in her apartment are starting to feel unsettlingly real, and the intriguing man she met at a local bar could be more complicated than he seems. As the voices of the dead grow louder in her head and the walls of her apartment close in, Kit realizes that despite her daughter's absence, she hasn't been quite as alone as she thought..."

You had me at seance.

The Haunting of Leigh Harker by Darcy Coates
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From bestselling gothic horror author Darcy Coates comes a chilling story of a quiet house on a forgotten suburban lane that hides a deadly secret...

Leigh Harker's quiet suburban home was her sanctuary for more than a decade, until things abruptly changed. Curtains open by themselves. Radios turn off and on. And a dark figure looms in the shadows of her bedroom door at night, watching her, waiting for her to finally let down her guard enough to fall asleep.

Pushed to her limits but unwilling to abandon her home, Leigh struggles to find answers. But each step forces her towards something more terrifying than she ever imagined.

A poisonous shadow seeps from the locked door beneath the stairs. The handle rattles through the night and fingernails scratch at the wood. Her home harbours dangerous secrets, and now that Leigh is trapped within its walls, she fears she may never escape."

I like Gothic books that subvert the expected tropes. 

The Collector's Daughter by Gill Paul
Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Bestselling author Gill Paul returns with a brilliant novel about Lady Evelyn Herbert, the woman who took the very first step into the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, and who lived in the real Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle, and the long after-effects of the Curse of Pharaohs.

Lady Evelyn Herbert was the daughter of the Earl of Carnarvon, brought up in stunning Highclere Castle. Popular and pretty, she seemed destined for a prestigious marriage, but she had other ideas. Instead, she left behind the world of society balls and chaperones to travel to the Egyptian desert, where she hoped to become a lady archaeologist, working alongside her father and Howard Carter in the hunt for an undisturbed tomb.

In November 1922, their dreams came true when they discovered the burial place of Tutankhamun, packed full of gold and unimaginable riches, and she was the first person to crawl inside for three thousand years. She called it the “greatest moment” of her life - but soon afterwards everything changed, with a string of tragedies that left her world a darker, sadder place.

Newspapers claimed it was "the curse of Tutankhamun," but Howard Carter said no rational person would entertain such nonsense. Yet fifty years later, when an Egyptian academic came asking questions about what really happened in the tomb, it unleashed a new chain of events that seemed to threaten the happiness Eve had finally found."

You know how some people scream "Vegas Baby Vegas?" I scream "Egypt Baby Egypt!"

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Published by: Tor Nightfire
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Paperback, 272 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"From Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic, comes Certain Dark Things, a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore.

Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.

Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.

Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?"

Silvia Moreno-Garcia, AKA the author of the moment. 

Forever Young by Hayley Mills
Published by: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: September 7th, 2021
Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
To Buy

The official patter:
"Iconic actress Hayley Mills shares personal memories from her storied childhood, growing up in a famous acting family and becoming a Disney child star, trying to grow up in a world that wanted her to stay forever young.

The daughter of acclaimed British actor Sir John Mills was still a preteen when she began her acting career and was quickly thrust into the spotlight. Under the wing of Walt Disney himself, Hayley Mills was transformed into one of the biggest child starlets of the 1960s through her iconic roles in Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, and many more. She became one of only twelve actors in history to be bestowed with the Academy Juvenile Award, presented at the Oscars by its first recipient, Shirley Temple, and went on to win a number of awards including a Golden Globe, multiple BAFTAs, and a Disney Legacy Award.

Now, in her charming and forthright memoir, she provides a unique window into when Hollywood was still 'Tinseltown' and the great Walt Disney was at his zenith, ruling over what was (at least in his own head) still a family business. This behind-the-scenes look at the drama of having a sky-rocketing career as a young teen in an esteemed acting family will offer both her childhood impressions of the wild and glamorous world she was swept into, and the wisdom and broader knowledge that time has given her. Hayley will delve intimately into her relationship with Walt Disney, as well as the emotional challenges of being bound to a wholesome, youthful public image as she grew into her later teen years, and how that impacted her and her choices - including marrying a producer over 30 years her senior when she was 20! With her regrets, her joys, her difficulties, and her triumphs, this is a compelling read for any fan of classic Disney films and an inside look at a piece of real Hollywood history."

If you're off a certain age Hayley Mills was everything. Your parents grew up on her films and spoon-fed them to you. And let us never forget The Parent Trap sequels that I devoured as a kid! 

Friday, September 3, 2021

The Spanish Princess

Philippa Gregory miniseries are like crack to me. I need them so much it hurts. The White Queen, The White Princess, The Spanish Princess, yes, yes, and yes, I need them so much I can barely handle it. In fact when are we getting a new one? No, I'm serious, I NEED TO KNOW! I also love how we've been following these characters through different iterations and different actors now for seven years! I can't comprehend that it's been that long but it has. While The White Queen might still be my favorite, The Spanish Princess was the only one lucky enough to secure a second season. And while I knew when this series ended we'd no longer get to see Catherine onscreen anymore, but we all know what happened to Catherine so I'm OK with that, because unlike any of the other series this one wouldn't be able to survive recasting. Charlotte Hope is and forever will be Catherine of Aragon. The fact that she's British and not Spanish will probably come as much of a shock to other fans of the show as it was for me. Her accent is perfect, her mighty will in that small, frail, female body, it's like a mouse with the roar of a lion and it is unforgettable. Give this woman an Emmy NOW! It takes a lot to be so central a figure to a miniseries, even if your character is technically the star, when you're surrounded by the cream of the crop of British actors; Laura Carmichael, Andrew Buchan, Ray Stevenson, Harriet Walter, Elliot Cowan, and freakin' Peter Egan to name a few! Yet she holds the focus even while sharing scenes with these titans of the small screen. In fact the scenes with her and Peter Egan as General Thomas Howard are just perfection, and funny, with her being a Catholic and him being someone unrepentant of his foul language except in her presence. But my favorite part of season two was the increased insanity of the Tudors, oddly not exemplified by Henry but by his sister Meg as she tries to rule Scotland. Seeing Georgie Henley, who is famous for playing Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia films, go medieval on the Scottish clans asses was a sight to behold. She was magnificently deranged and worthy of a spin-off. In fact, can we make that happen?   

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