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The Archer at Dawn by Swati Teerdhala
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Breaking the Mould by Victoria Hamilton
Cast Iron Alibi by Victoria Hamilton
Cleopatra in Space: Fallen Empires by Mike Maihack
Curse of the Were-wiener by Ursula Vernon
Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 5 by Ryoko Kui
The Do-Over by Jennifer Honeybourn
Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands
Grand Theft Horse by G. Neri and Corban Wilkin (Illustrations)
Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico and Devon Sorvari
Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan
(Im)perfectly Happy by Sharina Harris
To Kill a Mocking Girl by Harper Kincaid
Love & Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford
My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson
Not Like the Movies by Kerry Winfrey
The Pawful Truth by Miranda James
See You On a Starry Night by Lisa Schroeder
Six Cats a Slayin' by Miranda James and Erin Bennett
Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner
Sun and Moon Have a Tea Party by Yumi Heo
These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling
The 13 Clocks by James Thurber
This is Edinburgh by Miroslav Sasek
The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez by Adrianna Cuevas
Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson
Yak and Dove by Kyo Maclear and Esme Shapiro (Illustrations)
You Brought Me the Ocean by Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

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4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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To Kill a Mocking Girl: 08/12/20

To Kill a Mocking Girl

To Kill a Mocking Girl by Harper Kincaid is the start of the Bookbinding mystery series. Set in Vienna, Virginia, it follows Quinn Caine as she adjusts to life back home after working abroad for a decade. Her cousin is now a nun. Her high school bully is engaged to her ex-boyfriend. And then the bully ends up dead!

Like A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette (2020) and Bad Housekeeping (2017) by Maia Chance follows the new trend of the thirty-something protagonist heading home after life away from home has turned out as they had hoped it would. Thus the amateur sleuth has a support mechanism from the very get-go. I find this trend refreshing after a decade and a half of every series starting with a dead relative in a far away town.

The pacing of this debut volume seemed off. The first act is Quinn's return home as well as the murder. Interestingly, within the first couple of pages, a murder is mentioned that happened weeks before she moved home. Frankly I hoping the page two murder would be the murder for the book. Instead it ends up being a distraction for acts one and two.

The second act is the bulk of the investigation. As there wasn't much time spent introducing all the possible suspects and motives, as a reader there isn't much to go on. Instead we're completely reliant on what Quinn knows and where and how she decides to investigate. Again, with a brand new character in a brand new series, it's hard to recognize what will be good leads or to predict how the protagonist will go about her hunt for clues.

Thankfully things gel in the final act. I hope future books will follow the flow of clue finding, logical reasoning, and derring-do of the last hundred pages. It's on the strength of the closing act that I am hoping for a second book.

Three stars

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