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Reviews
Across the Continent by The Lincoln Highway by Effie Price Gladding
The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights by John Steinbeck
Arsène Lupin, Gentleman-Thief by Maurice Leblanc
Baby Driver: A Story About Myself by Jan Kerouac
Blackwork by Monica Ferris
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Buttons and Bones by Monica Ferris
Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
The Colossus of Roads: Myth and Symbol Along the American Highway by Karal Ann Marling
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff
Far from Fair by Elana K. Arnold
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught
The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore
The Inn Between by Marina Cohen
The Isle by Jordana Frankel Jem and The Holograms 1 by Kelly Thompson
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
No Ghouls Allowed by Victoria Laurie
Painting with a Lens by Rod Deutschmann and Robin Deutschmann
Photography of Natural Things by Freeman Patterson
Splat and the Cool School Trip by Rob Scotton
Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave by Jen White
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley
Umbrella by Taro Yashima The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire
The Ward by Jordana Frankel
The Woman-Haters by Joseph C. Lincoln

Miscellaneous
My life as a teenage book addict, or, Sarah becomes a reader
Playing Pokémon Go as a parent
The terrible previews before Ghostbusters

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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Blackwork: 07/22/16

Blackwork by Monica Ferris

Blackwork by Monica Ferris is the thirteenth book in the Needlecraft Mystery series. One of Betsy's Monday Brunch club is a practicing Wiccan and while that's never been a problem before, someone has started spreading rumors about her practicing black magic. Then a frienemy of hers is found dead in his his locked room and everyone wants to believe that Leona Cunningham, brewery owner and Wiccan, put a curse on him.

The vitriol spewed over Leona's religion seemed out of place for the characters caught up in it. Sure Betsy is a regular church goer as are a number of her friends but the church as described doesn't seem like the place that would foster such paranoia.

Ignoring the idiotic Halloween themed set up, Ryan's death in a closed room is an interesting, albeit, recognizable mystery. Closed room mysteries are the meat and potatoes of the genre. The question then becomes what was put in the room before he got there and how does it work to leave little or no trace of itself?

Basically this book's main flaw is its holiday theming. Get enough books in a series and there's always the temptation (publisher's demands?) for holiday themed plots. Sure, a holiday themed book can be put on display at the appropriate time in bookstores and libraries. But these holiday themed books more often than not feel forced.

Blackwork is one of those books that except for the witchcraft paranoia leading up to Halloween, doesn't need to be set at any particular time of the year. Betsy working on the fall festival committee could be doing this in almost any of the books in this series. Even the title isn't specific to Halloween; it's a type of very careful stitchery done against a contrasting (typically, though blue on blue is apparently also acceptable) background. It's something that would be stylish any time of the year.

Four stars

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