I hope all of you are keeping well and getting ready for the upcoming spooky season. My reading recommendations this month have a vaguely spooky theme to them, but are not horror stories per se.
Oddly, I didn’t consciously intend for there to be any kind of theme to my recommendations this month, it’s just a weird coincidence that these three books I recently read just happen to fit the season so appropriately. Funny how life does things like that.
In other news, I’ve been on a little break from writing while I catch up on my day job. I’m hoping to get back to it soon, as I’m currently in the middle of writing two entirely different books simultaneously. I’ve never done that before, but I’m finding having the option to switch between two project when boredom or blockage threatens to be quite refreshing and an excellent stress reliever.
Anyhoo, I hope you enjoy this month’s recommendations. Feel free to drop a comment below if you have any recommendations for me.
“Madison Square Murders – Momento Mori Book One” by C.S. Poe
From The Blurb:
Everett Larkin works for the Cold Case Squad: an elite—if understaffed and overworked—group of detectives who solve the forgotten deaths of New York City. Larkin is different from others, but his deduction skills are unmatched and his memory for minute details is unparalleled.
So when a spring thunderstorm uproots a tree in Madison Square Park, unearthing a crate with human remains inside, the best Cold Case detective is assigned the job. And when a death mask, like those prominent during the Victorian era, is found with the body, Larkin requests assistance from the Forensic Artists Unit and receives it in the form of Detective Ira Doyle, his polar opposite in every way.
Factual reasoning and facial reconstruction puts Larkin and Doyle on a trail of old homicide cases and a murderer obsessed with casting his victims’ likeness in death. Include some unapologetic flirting from Doyle, and this case just may end up killing Everett Larkin.
C.S.Poe has quickly become one of my favourite mystery authors. Poe’s fantastic “Snow and Winter” book series showcased her talents for well researched, historical-themed mysteries and endearing romantic subplots. This new series, if Book One is anything to go by, is guaranteed to be another cracker. Madison Square Murders is an excellent procedural mystery with a slow burn M/M romance carefully woven into the story.
The two main characters are perfect opposites of each other, but somehow manage to complement each other. The mystery is intricate, filled with clues and red herrings that will keep you guessing and turning pages. Ultimately, I loved this book, and I can’t wait for the next in the series. Highly recommended.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
“Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case” by A.J. Sherwood
From The Blurb:
I’m Jonathan Bane, a licensed psychic who consults for the police. I routinely help the police put the bad guys away and, for that reason, the criminal world doesn’t like me much. People like to take a swing at me, or go stabbity, or try for a gun. It makes for interesting times. My psychic ability prevents me from handling anything electronic—and I do mean ANYTHING, I fry it in seconds—so calling for help isn’t always a possibility.
I need an anchor, a partner, but I’m resigned: it’s just wishful thinking. At least, I thought so until he walked through the door.
Donovan Havili looks like a thug and has the soul of a superhero. He shines so bright in my vision it’s like watching a supernova. He definitely has the right mindset and skills for this crazy job. But asking anyone to take me on long-term is a bit much. And now we’ve got multiple cases to handle, a Chinese exchange student falsely accused who needs our help, and someone taking random shots at me. It’s a bit much for any new guy to handle and I’m half-afraid that my new partner will run for the door.
But in Donovan Havili, the criminal world has met its match. And maybe, just maybe, I have as well.
This is the first book in a series I simply adore. Part modern fantasy, part romance, part mystery and part snarkfest – Jon’s Mysteries are just plain fun to read. I’ve read and reread these books many times and still find them as comforting as a warm hug.
A.J. Sherwood manages to carefully weave together a compelling mystery, adds a hint of humour and a dash of romance to make something genuinely special. Every side character feels as real as the mains and all of them contribute something to the plot. If you love a good mystery with a few laughs – this is the series for you.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Under The Whispering Door” by T.J. Klune
From The Blurb:
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own sparsely-attended funeral, Wallace is outraged. But he begins to suspect she’s right, and he is in fact dead. Then when Hugo, owner of a most peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace reluctantly accepts the truth.
Yet even in death, he refuses to abandon his life – even though Wallace spent all of it working, correcting colleagues and hectoring employees. He’d had no time for frivolities like fun and friends.
But as Wallace drinks tea with Hugo and talks to his customers, he wonders if he was missing something. The feeling grows as he shares jokes with the resident ghost, manifests embarrassing footwear and notices the stars. So when he’s given one week to pass through the door to the other side, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in just seven days.
WARNING: If you are strongly religious or have recently suffered a bereavement, this is NOT the book for you.
I’m not going to lie, this book left me sobbing. I mean, seriously ugly crying. I cried because it made me sad, happy and strangely hopeful all at the same time. It made me think about things I hadn’t considered before and it made me remember things that I had long ago forgotten.
T.J. Klune is a master of storytelling and world building, and Under The Whispering Door has got to be his ultimate masterpiece. A deeply personal, raw and unashamedly emotional book, it manages to occasionally blur the line in places between fantasy and reality, by giving you a veiled insight into the author’s own experiences with grief, loss and acceptance while forcing the reader to examine their own.
Despite the seemingly morbid themes, this is not an entirely “sad” book. It is, in fact, surprisingly hopeful with moments of joy and humour throughout that help to balance out the darker elements. Each character is lovingly crafted with depth and personality, and the pacing is just right.
This is one of those books that you may only ever read once, but it will stay with you forever. It’s beautiful, painful, joyful and thought-provoking. A touching and glorious piece of art that I am honoured to have experienced. Highly recommended.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.
Employee of the Month
Well, that’s it from me for another month. I hope the spooky season trick or treats you well (okay, that was a terrible pun!) and I’ll see you all again soon for some more reading recommendations. Stay safe, healthy and kind.
Lots of Love