Tuesday, July 02, 2024

June 2024 Additions to My Digital Security Blanket


I have to be honest. Last month, I was a bit down and cheered myself up by taking advantage of excellent sale prices on some books I'd been keeping my eye on. (Somehow I managed to avoid cheering myself up with a big yarn order.)

I've grouped my purchases according to genre/subgenre, and if you click on the link in the book's title, you'll be taken to Amazon US where you can learn more about it.

Let's take a look at what cheered me up!
 === Thriller ===
Yule Island by Johana Gustawsson. Set in Sweden.
Synopsis: "Art expert Emma Lindhal is anxious when she's asked to appraise the antiques and artefacts in the infamous manor house of one of Sweden's wealthiest families, on the island of Storholmen, where a young woman was murdered nine years earlier, her killer never found.

Emma must work alone, and the Gussman family apparently avoiding her, she sees virtually no one in the house. Do they have something to hide?

As she goes about her painstaking work and one shocking discovery yields clues that lead to another, Emma becomes determined to uncover the secrets of the house and its occupants.

When the lifeless body of another young woman is found in the icy waters surrounding the island, Detective Karl RosÉn arrives to investigate, and memories his failure to solve the first case come rushing back. Could this young woman's tragic death somehow hold the key to the first?"

▲ Art expert? Infamous manor house? Sweden? Count me in!
Synopsis: "Paul’s just here to help, or so he claims—sent by a charity for vulnerable people to do odd jobs for elderly widow Gwen. But for Gwen’s daughter Connie, there’s just something about Paul that rings alarm bells from day one. He’s a little too kind, a little too involved…Worse still, Gwen seems to have fallen under his spell.

The last thing Connie wants is a stranger meddling in the safe routine she’s built around Gwen. She loves being the one Gwen turns to for cooking, cleaning and company. But the more Paul visits, the more Gwen is relying on him. By the time he conveniently finds himself between homes and has no choice but to move in, Connie is certain he’s trying to push her out completely.

It’s her word against his, though, and as her attempts to unmask him become ever more desperate she’s not the only one left wondering if she’s lost her grip on reality. But when events start spiralling rapidly out of her control, should Connie wage all-out war on Paul and risk losing Gwen forever—or has that been his plan all along?

▲ I've read and enjoyed a previous book by Marrs. He has a knack for choosing interesting stories, and this one creeped me out a little-- the kind of creepy that makes me want to read it.
Synopsis: "Westmorland, England, 1970

Dark and imposing in a bleak landscape, Foulstone Manor stands abandoned on the edges of the Lake District.

Reclusive Joan Goss inherited Foulstone, but her fragmented memories of her childhood there still disturb her and she keeps her distance in a cottage on the outskirts of the land.

Joan was brought up by adoptive parents after her mother died and her father abandoned her.

And she has spent her adult life haunted by the dark rumours of her past.

When Joan’s goddaughter Amanda comes to stay with her, she is finally forced to confront the secrets behind Foulstone Manor.

Records show that Joan’s father committed suicide. But what happened to her mother? And why was Joan never told the truth about her childhood?

As Joan uncovers her mother’s diary, the full truth of her parents’ marriage is revealed.

Did his traumatic experiences in the First World War force her father into an early grave? What caused Joan’s mother’s untimely death?

Can Joan come to accept the inheritance that she has always rejected…?

THE LEGACY OF FOULSTONE MANOR is a dual timeline Gothic mystery set in England between the 1970s and the 1920s, exposing family secrets and the legacy of trauma from the First World War.

▲ I have to admit that an old, old, old, old favorite of mine, the Gothic mystery, with its spooky old houses and all those secrets has been coming back in favor, hence this purchase. I once did a post on my favorite houses in literature. I may have to do another one in the near future!

The Atlantis Code by Charles Brokaw. Set in Spain.
Synopsis: "A thrill-seeking Harvard linguistics professor and an ultrasecret branch of the Catholic Church go head-to-head in a race to uncover the secrets of the lost city of Atlantis. The ruins of the technologically-advanced, eerily-enigmatic ancient civilization promise their discoverer fame, fortune, and power… but hold earth-shattering secrets about the origin of man.

While world-famous linguist and archaeologist, Thomas Lourds, is shooting a film that dramatizes his flamboyant life and scientific achievements, satellites spot impossibly ancient ruins along the Spanish coast. Lourds knows exactly what it means: the Lost Continent of Atlantis has been found. The race is on, and Lourds' challengers will do anything to get there first.

Whoever controls the Lost Continent will control the world.

▲ Another favorite of mine-- tales of Atlantis. I seem to be reviving my favorites of yesteryear.

=== Police Procedural ===

The Buried by Sharon Bolton. Set in England.

Synopsis: "Florence Lovelady, the most senior serving policewoman in Britain, visits convicted serial killer Larry Glassbrook in prison. Larry is coming to the end of his life but has one last task for Florence: to learn the identity of the remains discovered at children's home Black Moss Manor. The town Florence escaped narrowly with her life still holds many secrets. Will she finally learn the truth? Or will time run out for her first?

The latest Florence Lovelady thriller, set shortly after the bestselling first novel
The Craftsman in the chilling, new series from Richard and Judy bestseller Sharon Bolton.

▲ Sharon (S.J.) Bolton is an author I've always enjoyed. I recently read The Craftsman, the first book in which Florence Lovelady appears, so when this one came up on sale, I snapped it up.

Synopsis: "There’s a ferocious storm heading toward the isolated town of Coyote Cove when Chief Maggie Riley gets the call every cop dreads. Three bodies have been found on Rattlesnake Mountain, half a day’s hike from civilization. And when Maggie finally reaches the site, exhausted and freezing, she discovers something even more terrifying—a tiny baby girl, kept alive only by the warmth of a small dog who refuses to leave her side.

As Maggie races the baby to safety, she wonders, why on earth the family risked hiking the mountain in this weather? Who were they and who could possibly have killed them?

A former detective, Maggie may be an experienced investigator, but she’s still an unwelcome newcomer. Battling town prejudice, her fears for the orphaned baby, and the increasingly dangerous weather, Maggie soon discovers the case is far more complicated than she could have imagined. The family is not who they seemed. The mother has never had a baby, there’s no link between them at all. So whose baby is it, and where are they now?

With Coyote Cove cut off by the storm, Maggie knows that wherever the killer is, they won’t be able to leave. Stuck in town with a murderer on the loose, Maggie must race to find them before anyone else gets hurt. But she hasn’t counted on the killer taking matters into their own hands, and going after Maggie first…

▲ I've never heard of this author before, but I think that little dog persuaded me to give this book a try.

=== Amateur Sleuth ===

Synopsis: "Sara Marsala barely knows who she is anymore after the failure of her business and marriage. On top of that, her beloved great-aunt Rosie passes away, leaving Sara bereft with grief. But Aunt Rosie’s death also opens an escape from her life and a window into the past by way of a plane ticket to Sicily, a deed to a possibly valuable plot of land, and a bombshell family secret. Rosie believes Sara’s great-grandmother Serafina, the family matriarch who was left behind while her husband worked in America, didn’t die of illness as family lore has it . . . she was murdered.

Thus begins a twist-filled adventure that takes Sara all over the picturesque Italian countryside as she races to solve a mystery and learn the story of Serafina—a feisty and headstrong young woman in the early 1900s thrust into motherhood in her teens, who fought for a better life not just for herself but for all the women of her small village. Unsurprisingly the more she challenges the status quo, the more she finds herself in danger.

As Sara discovers more about Serafina, she also realizes she is coming head-to-head with the same menacing forces that took down her great-grandmother. At once an immersive multigenerational mystery and an ode to the undaunted heroism of everyday women,
The Sicilian Inheritance is an atmospheric, page-turning delight.

▲ I've been hearing a lot of good things about this book, and the synopsis was irresistible.

The Audrey Hepburn Heist by Mollie Cox Bryan. Set in New York City.
Synopsis: "When it comes to writing Golden Age Hollywood biographies, the pen is deadlier than the sword.

Charlotte Donovan's life changed drastically when her boss died, leaving her a grand New York City apartment and a small fortune, but with stipulations. While writing an Audrey Hepburn biography, Charlotte consults on a new "Holly Golightly" miniseries, and a reality TV show where America selects the lead of the new series. When the actress who's the national favorite is murdered at Charlotte's cast party, she feels obligated to pursue justice for the young ingenue.

Charlotte, along with her detective boyfriend and best friend, follow a a dangerous trail of smoke and mirrors. Nothing is as it appears, and nobody is who they seem to be, starting with the murder victim. With each detail Charlotte unearths, the more frightened she becomes—and the more determined.

▲ I have a fondness for the Golden Age of Hollywood as well as Audrey Hepburn, and I've also enjoyed previous books by this author.

=== Cozy Mystery ===

The Last Supper by Rosemary Shrager. Set in England.
Synopsis: "When an old television rival, Deirdre Shaw, is found dead at the Cotswolds manor house where she was catering for a prestigious shooting weekend, Prudence is asked to step into the breach. Prudence is only too happy to take up the position and soon she is working in the kitchens of Farleigh Manor.

But Farleigh Manor is the home to secrets, both old and new. The site of a famous unsolved murder from the nineteenth century, Farleigh Manor has never quite shaken off its sensationalist past. It's about to get a sensational present too. Because, the more she scratches beneath the surface of this manor and its guests, the more Prudence becomes certain that Deirdre Shaw's death was no accident. She's staring in the face of a very modern murder. . .
▲ The first Prudence Bulstrode cozy... let's just say I was channeling Julia Child when I ran across this one. (I also fell in love with the main character's name.)
Have you read any of these? Which ones? Did I tempt you to give any of these a try? Inquiring minds would love to know!


  1. Sorry to hear you had one of those 'down' times, Cathy. But it's good to hear that these cheered you up; they all look great. I've been meaning to try the new Sharon Bolton series (her Lacey Flint series was good, in my opinion). And I heard Yule Island is good. I hope you enjoy them all.

  2. Yes, sorry to hear of the bad period, but as you say, getting new books is a sure pick-me-up. I can't think of more books as I have "The Hunter" and "Return to Blood," to dig into. And if the library doesn't get Chris Whitaker's new book, I may just splurge for my birthday. I just finished "Nightbloom," set mostly in Ghana, not a mystery, but a good read. Sometimes I have to travel out of the U.S. and next trips are to New Zealand and Ireland. On to some more good reading. You've had an excellent streak recently.

  3. Wow. I'm tempted by all of these! New books often cheer me up, too. Enjoy reading all of these. :D

  4. Books are often my remedy for down periods as well. And ebooks don't require space on your bookshelves!

    I'm intrigued by Yule Island, glad of the reminder that I really need to read some Sharon Bolton, and am likely to follow you on the trip to Sicily. :)


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