June Quarterly Book Reviews, 2023.

Free image courtesy Anrita1705 on Pixabay.

The cold weather has begun to settle in, complete with rain and winter winds. It’s the perfect weather to snuggle up in a warm blanket with a hot cuppa and a good book!

These past few months, I’ve been reading a variety of genres, including a sad, but fascinating moment in history, a gripping horror story, and a romantic suspense novel.

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

I really enjoyed this book, which was not about Jack the Ripper, but his five victims. Meticulously researched, it is sympathetic to the victims and their families, relaying each of their lives until the time of their death. The author does not go into the details of their murders, which I appreciated; rather, mentioning things like their funerals and the contents on their person when it occurred. By this time, I had come to recognise each as a human being and was saddened by the hand fate had given them.

The women were not all prostitutes as has been portrayed through the years, but women who were destitute, either homeless and living on the streets, or in poor accommodation. The book revealed an insight into the lives of Victorian women, their place in society, and each woman’s struggle to make ends meet. It was sad to learn that some of these women could have had a better life if they weren’t addicted to alcohol, or in abusive relationships.

For too long these women have been recognised as victims to a vicious, unidentified serial killer. This book goes some way to let their voices be heard.

Reaching for Normal (Bloo Moose 1) by Jemi Fraser

Myla is an adventure blogger from Florida who arrives in the small town of Bloo Moose to experience winter. Despite having a disability, she intends to take lessons in snowshoeing and skiing. Her instructor, an ex-navy SEAL, Sawyer, wants nothing more than to spend his days alone in the mountains with his dogs. However, someone is killing wolves in the area, and Sawyer and Myla are thrown into a mystery that endangers both their lives.

I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the town of Bloo Moose and its surroundings, so that I felt I was there, experiencing the winter with Myla. I really enjoyed the location, and the author’s descriptions of the wolves, as well as survival skills under such conditions. I also really liked Sawyer’s dogs and I would have liked to have seen more of them. The author also does a good job at balancing slaughter and war flashbacks with humour and sex scenes, so that the reader is not overwhelmed with such gruesome details.

Despite their differences, both Myla and Sawyer are fiercely independent, who work well together to help solve the mystery. Their romance builds as they are thrown together through both need and circumstance. This is a great start to a new romance series.

The Carrow Haunt by Darcy Coates

Remy is a tour guide for Carrow House, famous for its reputation to be haunted as well as having several unsolved disappearances. She is approached at the end of a tour by a businessman who wishes to rent the house for two weeks, planning to study the house’s phenomena. Accompanying him will also be a medium, a ghost hunter and five other guests. One of them includes Remy, who reluctantly agrees. She is invited because of her knowledge of the history of the house.

Carrow House is conveniently isolated, as it is situated on a small island, where storms and rough seas batter the island. Within the house are slamming doors, creaking floors, cold spots, and ghostly visitations. Almost every room within Carrow House has a grisly tale to tell.

The characters work well within the story, some revealing another side to themselves as the story progresses.

I particularly enjoyed the first half of this book with its history, the seances and the build-up of ghostly visitations and various happenings. However, it reached a point where I began to see similarities with a particular Agatha Christie novel (I won’t give the title away as it could have spoiler potential). The characters would eventually stay within one room of the house and become suspicious of one another. For the story to go off in a different direction was disappointing, as was some of the issues I had with the ending. I also thought the epilogue was unnecessary.

This is the second book I’ve read from this author, and despite some of the issues I had with this one, I was happy to go along with the ride.

What have you been reading lately? Do you have any recommendations to share?

2 thoughts on “June Quarterly Book Reviews, 2023.

  1. “Bloo Moose” is such a cute name for a town. Three great reviews, Debbie!

    1. Debbie Johansson 28/06/2023 — 2:51 am

      Thank you, Vera. I think “Bloo Moose” is a town one would want to live in just for the name alone! 😉

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