Poison Ivy by Misty Simon

Poison Ivy by Misty Simon
Ivy Morris Mysteries, Book One
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (228 Pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Ivy Morris may be an adult, but she still lives at home with her widowed father long after her sisters have all left — until she gets a letter with the words “your inheritance” offering her a home and a business of her own 3000 miles away.

When she arrives to assume her new life as homeowner and proprietress of a popular costume shop, she is bombarded by a slew of people looking for the perfect outfit for the upcoming Harvest Ball. Between overpowering biddies and stolen lingerie from the worst-kept-secret side of the business, things get even more complicated when a woman is murdered at the ball–a woman wearing the same costume as Ivy.

With the help of her new friends, including a cute guy trying to rev up his journalism career to private eye status with this mystery–and revving up her heart in the process–she must solve the murder before someone succeeds in the quest to poison Ivy.

Poison Ivy is a light romance with a bit of mystery on the side. Twenty-four year old Ivy Morris has just moved from California to Kilmarnock, Virginia after inheriting her great aunt’s house and business, a popular costume shop. She is thrilled to be moving out of her father’s house and finally getting a place of her own. Kilmarnock is a small town and Ivy quickly makes friends with Bella, a hair-dresser, and Ben Fallon, the food critic for the local newspaper who has just completed an online course to become a private investigator.

The story is told from Ivy’s point of view and her point of view is definitely focused on Ben’s delicious body. Ben seems equally taken with hers, but the romance keeps getting waylaid by various mysterious events. There is a burglary at Ivy’s store, The Masked Shoppe. There are threatening phone calls. One of her new friends, Janice, is murdered the same night that Ivy meets her. And then one of Janice’s clients is threatening her lawyer about getting his files back.

Ivy decides that she will investigate on her own, but then she quickly teams up with Ben. It is Ivy, however, who solves the mysteries, and once the danger is over, Ivy and Ben are sure that they will have time for just them. Sure, that is until Ivy reveals that her father is arriving for a visit of indeterminate length.

This is a fun romp, and the mystery isn’t really difficult to solve. The characters are fun and Ivy’s perspective on them let’s the reader learn more about Ivy as well as the other characters. Both Bella and Ben prove themselves to be good friends to the newcomer in town.

If you are looking for a quick romantic summer read, with just a hint of mystery, then why not give Poison Ivy a try.

Ablaze by Nancy Tesler

Ablaze by Nancy Tesler
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (330 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Thornapple

Samantha Barron, victim witness advocate for the Bergen County, NJ prosecutor’s office and a Munchausen by Proxy survivor, has her world shaken up when the man who threw her off his elite crisis response team for defying his orders and running into a burning building to save a dog, insinuates himself into a case involving the disappearance of one of her clients. A terrified young girl had shown up at Samantha’s office blurting out a story about having witnessed a horrific stabbing murder at the Greenwich Village Halloween parade; then suddenly bolts crying that she is a Judas, she should never have come.

Samantha must put aside her feelings about this man, attorney, Douglas Ruark, with whom she had once been passionately in love. They are forced to work together to find and rescue the girl before the religious cult that they believe is holding her captive discovers that she can identify the murderer. When another eyewitness is found bludgeoned to death and a prostitute mysteriously kidnapped, Samantha, to Ruark’s distress, agrees to enter the cult house ostensibly as a perspective convert, but in reality as bait.

From the relatively safe streets of suburbia to the remote country house of a malevolent sect, Samantha finds herself caught up in a world where power and greed rule, where “love” is given and withdrawn as a brainwashing technique, and life is cheap if you’re a troublemaking outsider…

The title says it all! This book sizzles with suspense, mystery, drama and steamy romance. Samantha and Douglas are white hot together. When a young girl needs help, Samantha and Douglas team up once again to expose a deadly religious cult.

Samantha almost lost her career because of Douglas. He’s the last person on earth she ever wanted to work with. Douglas did what he could at the time to keep things from completely derailing her career, but it’s obvious Samantha hates him with a pink, orange and purple passion. These two just can’t keep from getting under each others skin. Douglas deals with his frustration by being sarcastic and Samantha closes herself off so he can’t get too close. The two wind up having several ultra knock down drag outs. I couldn’t help but laugh since it was so clear they wanted each other.

When certain information comes to light regarding Samantha’s childhood, Douglas realizes he was a little too harsh on Samantha in the past, but he simply can’t seem to stop trying to control everything so she will be safe. Samantha of course resents his interference. Both Douglas and Samantha had tragedy in their past and it has made them into the people they are today. That could be a good thing or a bad thing. Both are sensitive to crimes against children especially and that makes them consider going outside proper procedure to save a life. I loved this couple and enjoyed their fiery banter and hot passion

While we don’t often hear about religious cults in the press like we once did, they are still very active.  Cults have always creeped me out. The idea of being brainwashed and manipulated is just spooky. The fictional cult featured in this book is especially disturbing.

As the case heats up so does the heat between Samantha and Douglas, but Samantha has a big job ahead of her and it’s really dangerous. I was on the edge of my seat when Samantha has to do a little undercover work.

I thought the blend of romance and suspense was well balanced and evenly paced. The characters were human and had good qualities and of course like all of use there were a few flaws. Samantha and Douglas both wanted to be charge and run things their own way, but for different reasons. Trust is a really big thing in relationships and when you have been through something as traumatic as these two have, trust is even harder to achieve.

The storyline is interesting and although cults have been written about numerous times, it’s been awhile since I have read a book that drew attention to this disturbing phenomenon as well as the Munchausen syndrome. The story involving Samantha’s mother was chilling. I don’t know how I would feel in Samantha’s shoes. I do think she handled the situation with grace and for her own sanity it was the best way to go.

There weren’t any psychological twists but there were a few really big shocks, horrifying actually. So, the suspense was top notch.

The book ends on a really positive note. I think Sam and Doug are going to have a red hot relationship and could make a good investigating team if the author ever wanted to bring them back. I could see this turning into a long running series.

I love it when I read a book that entertains me and if I learn something I didn’t know before that makes the experience that much more rewarding. Reading about cults and learning which ones are still going strong in the US right now was very thought provoking. This is still an issue regardless of the lack of exposure the press gives the topic at this time. I’m glad Nancy decided to go ahead with this book even if the original plans for it didn’t work out. Well done!

The Captive by Grace Burrows

The Captive by Grace Burrows
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (415 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia, is captured out of uniform by the French, and is thus subject to torture. Christian does not break, not once, and is released when Toulouse falls. Back in England, Christian has great difficulty taking up the reins of his life until Gillian, Countess of Windmere, a relation of his late wife, pointedly reminds him that he has a daughter who still needs him very much—a daughter who no longer speaks. Gilly pushes, pulls, and drags Christian back to life, and slowly, she and he admit an attraction to each other.

Christian offers Gilly marriage, but Gilly is a widow, and has fared badly at the hands of her first husband. Gillian will not pledge her heart to a man bent on violence, for Christian cannot give up his determination to extract revenge from his torturer. What will it take for them to give up their stubborn convictions and choose each other over the bonds of the past?

Gillian knew that society expected her to be in mourning over her late husband, but instead of mourning, she found herself intrigued and pinning for the Duke, Christian Severn, so damn what society would say.

Christian’s captivity certainly changed him, in some ways the worst, in others for the better. I am not sure if this is what made Gillian want to know more about him, but it made me interested. It was clear that he came to appreciate things such as family, honor and freedom a bit more than he previously had. It also made a made suspicious of those around him, and in need of some physical healing. In some ways he reminded me of stubborn toddler in need of assistance, but determined to do things on their own. Luckily Gillian seems to be up to the challenge, and as a bonus she loves children including Christian’s daughter.

Gillian was a character that I had mixed feelings about. I liked her new founded independence, but with it seems to come a disregard for her own welfare. It seemed at times she was so worried about standing on her own two feet, that she failed to seek or accept help when needed. For example, there are a few times when her life is possibly in danger, and she seems to just brush it off, or not want to admit the severity. This frustrated me, because I just could not imagine someone being so careless with their life.

The romantic development with this story was right on point, and I really enjoyed how the author incorporated Christian’s daughter in the story. In more than a few cases Christian even used Gillian’s love for the girl to help win Gillian’s heart, which I found amusing. It seemed as if Christian new exactly what to do when it came to winning Gillian over, except when it came to him seeking revenge, but even then he tried to keep it from Gillian, and protect her at all costs, even if from himself.

While the story was a bit difficult to follow in the beginning, once I figured out the characters, I was able to enjoy the story. I even got to meet a few supporting characters that I really enjoyed and hope to see more of. This is a true redemption story, which kept me entertained for hours.

What Echoes Render by Tamsen Schultz

Cover_What Echoes Render

What Echoes Render by Tamsen Schultz
Publisher: Booktrope
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full (361 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

There’s a killer in Windsor intent on making Jesse Baker burn for the sins of others. But arson investigator David Hathaway isn’t about to let that happen. As the past echoes through their lives, will they remember that history, like fire, can give life just as easily as it can destroy it?

Thoroughly enjoyable, What Echoes Render is a well written story with one foot solidly in both the romance and suspense camps.

Jesse, the heroine of our story, is a great woman. She’s strong, smart, determined. She’s a great mom, but not without her flaws or without a troubled backstory. I really liked Jesse, though I wasn’t completely sold on her reasons for keeping her budding relationship with David a mystery.

David was pretty amazing, too. Much like Jesse, he’s strong (but compassionate and caring), smart, determined, loyal and a good dad. But also with a difficult past in both the personal and professional sides. He puts up with a bit of an emotional yo-yo from Jesse, but sticks it out because he sees what’s underneath her insecurity. I liked, too, how he involved her boys in much of what was going on with their relationship. As a single dad, he really understood that area.

The mystery was intriguing and had plenty of clues, both real and the red herring type. I was certainly engaged in trying to find out whodunit and why. I suspect many true mystery buffs will figure out the villain before our protagonists do, but even so, I absolutely enjoyed this part of the book. In fact, despite being very much a romantic, I chomped at the bit when the author turned away from it and turned to the community building.

What community? Well … this is a small town story, so there are plenty of secondary characters to liven things up. However, as entertaining as they were, I admit I tended to skim past the parts that weren’t directly involved in either David and Jesse’s relationship or the mystery. Maybe if I’d read the first books in the series, I would have been more engaged in those folks, since it’s clear they figured in previous stories. But since I didn’t already know them, I just wanted to get on with the story I was reading!

Even so, What Echoes Render really sold me on the author. Her skill with prose and plot is undeniable, and I’m betting this book (and the entire series) will be a hit to other romantic suspense fans.

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Chase Tinker and the House of Destiny by Malia Ann Haberman

Chase Tinker and the House of Destiny by Malia Ann Haberman
Book 3 of the Chase Tinker series
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Childrens
Length: Full Length (211 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

In Chase Tinker’s world, magic, lies and secrets can be a lethal combination…

For eight agonizing months Chase Tinker’s guilt over the despicable act he committed on Halloween night has been eating away at his heart and mind. Chase’s life gets even more complicated when secrets about the mysterious Relic in the attic are revealed on the eve of a visit from an unwelcome caller. It doesn’t help that this all occurs on his fourteenth birthday!

Despite his problems, his biggest concern is that his family’s Dark Enemy, the Marlowe Family, is becoming more powerful with each passing day, fueled by the energy they continue to pillage from the many magical beings of the world. If Chase and his family are ever going to win, they will need a whole lot of magical help; they must destroy the most evil threat the world has ever known!

Chase Tinker is suffering agonizing guilt because he had to kill his evil cousin in order to save his brother. However, eight months later that guilt becomes the least of his problems. He and his family must fight the Marlowes, not only the Tinkers’ greatest enemies, but the world’s as well. The Marlowes are pillaging magic from all magical beings, bringing destruction and despair on everyone, and it is up to Chase and his family to stop them.

This is the third novel in a wonderful series. I have read the other two, but this novel may also be enjoyed as a stand-alone. The author provides enough background so that a new reader will have no difficulties getting right into the story. That being said, the series is a very strong and exciting one, so personally, I’d recommend reading all the books in order.

The characters are well defined and I really found Chase to be a very sympathetic character. He has to make some very hard decisions, and he makes them with care. The contrasts between his family and his cousins’ is dramatic, and I was pulling for Chase and his friends every inch of the way.

The magical spells seem very real and plausible. I had no difficulties at all believing that Chase could make himself invisible or shrink an unexpected and unwanted visitor so that the visitor would fit in a water bottle.

The story speaks to more than just the fantastical adventures. It also speaks to issues of determining good and evil, figuring out who to trust, acting honorably, and looking out for others. The lessons Chase learns are valuable lessons for our world as well.

The pacing is wonderful and I really wanted to read this novel in one sitting. As I neared the end, I began to worry. There was no way this could end. Sure enough, I came to the end of this novel and discovered that the fourth in the series is the concluding book. The House of Destiny has a reasonable ending, but it also is obvious that things are not resolved, and all I can say is that I hope the author is ready to release the final book in the very near future. I, for one, am sitting on the edge of my chair waiting.

Fantasy lovers will delight in the adventures of Chase and his family and friends. The action is hair-raising, the antics are fun, and the entire adventure is absolutely delightful.

Lady Annabelle’s Abduction by Charisse Howard

Lady Annabelle’s Abduction by Charisse Howard
Publisher: Boom-Books
Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (81 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Hawthorn

If Lady Annabelle Chatfield’s reckless brother had to die in debt, couldn’t he have borrowed from someone young and handsome? Marrying the dumpy middle-aged Earl of Brackenbury is not her idea of a bright future. But that sacrifice starts to look like bliss when a dark stranger blocks her wedding by climbing in her bedroom window and carrying her off into the night. Who is this ruthless but compelling man known as Hawk? What does he plan to do with her? Can her pet spaniel and a young footman rescue her before her honor and her family are ruined?

Lady Annabelle’s Abduction is a story about the passion that upsets the plans for a marriage of convenience.

I was intrigued by the premise of the novella because I’ve read some remarkable renditions of the topic of a kidnapped heroine. Ms. Howard didn’t disappoint in this respect. She made both Lady Annabelle and her captor likeable characters that made me hope their predicament could be solved favorably in the end.

What Lady Annabelle’s Abduction lacked was a story supported with more details and a deeper insight into Lady Annabelle’s and Hawk’s emotions and the progression of their relationship. Where the blurb promised that Annabelle and Hawk warily grow acquainted, their relationship actually progresses into far more than mere acquaintance in the space of a few pages. Instead of dedicating a third of the story to Hepton’s attempts to finding Annabelle, the space would’ve been better used focusing on the heroine and her abductor.

The language and manners of the characters were all very age appropriate, but I felt, especially in the most intimate moments between Annabelle and Hawk that the discrepancy between the events and the language was too big; it seemed like the language was mocking the characters. It bothered me and it took some pleasure from reading.

This novella is full of suspense and romance set in the authentically presented Regency era.

The Lost Flower by Geraldine Solon

Cover_The Lost Flower

The Lost Flower by Geraldine Solon
Publisher: Self
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Mystery
Length: Full (273 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 3 stars
Review by Rose

After third grade teacher, Lacy Stone undergoes a kidney transplant she develops vivid dreams of a toddler running away from a blazing fire. Lacy soon embarks in a journey to Boracay island, Philippines to find answers. On the island, Lacy meets Sampaguita Navarro, one of the last few Aetas of her tribe. As a manghihilot, Sam hopes to open her own holistic spa on the island, but as she acquires tragic visions, she discovers that her gift of touch comes with a price. Searching for clues, Lacy crosses paths and falls in love with investor, Adam Shaw not realizing that he’s the prime target of waitress, Frankie Lloyd who has acquired a new identity to seek revenge and claim her redemption. When Lacy and Sam provide a threat to Frankie’s plans, trouble looms paradise which leaves Lacy with a choice between saving the man she loves or the child from her dream.

This book has an interesting premise– after a kidney transplant, Lacy Stone begins having vivid dreams of a toddler in need of rescue. Because of clues in the dream she realizes it takes place on the island of Boracay in the Philippines and has a strong sense that she needs to go there.

Once there, she is introduced to other people on the island who, at first, seem to have little in common but it is soon evident that there is a thread that ties them all together–a thread we do not see clearly until the end of the book.

This book could have done with a bit of editing–it was not an ARC but there were several points where the editor fell down on his/her job (punctuation, duplication of a passage, etc., actions which seem inconsistent with transplant patients).  It was hard to connect with the majority of the characters– I think if the book had been longer the author would have been able to deepen the characters. As it is, we see a lot of what they do, but we don’t actually come to feel what they feel.

However, the story itself is compelling that this reviewer was able to get back into the story even with these issues. The mysteries as to why Frankie was hiding on the island, who the child was and what she had to do with Lacy, the connection between Sam and all the other characters is well done. I could see this as a movie–it had the feel of watching various scenes play out.

I would be interested in trying other books by this author.

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Murder In Red Rock Canyon by Sherry Derr-Wille

Murder In Red Rock Canyon by Sherry Derr-Wille
Book 5: The Rhonda Pohs Murder Mystery Series
Publisher: Class Act Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (149 Pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Two days after being hired by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department Rhonda Pohs finds herself smack dab in the middle of a murder committed in Red Rock Canyon just outside of Las Vegas. Her investigation leads her to other murders in Nevada to say nothing of other states including her home state of Wisconsin.

To solve this mystery, Rhonda must dig deep into the history of the ancient Native Americans who left behind the petroglyphs and rock paintings that seem to draw this killer like a magnet.

With the help of her new partner Jenny Sims and her old partner Phil Mason, Rhonda is finally able to bring a mass murderer to justice.

Rhonda’s husband, Mark, has just accepted a new coaching position at an exclusive private high school in the Las Vegas area, and they are relocating. Rhonda is worried about her prospects, but soon after arriving in Las Vegas, she is hired by the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. Before she officially begins her employment, she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation.

This is an exciting mystery where the bodies just keep piling up. Rhonda is severely tested by this case, having to prove herself the minute she is hired, with no break-in period. Red Rock Canyon is different in every way from Wisconsin where she worked in a small rural area. Rhonda proves that she is up to the task. She and her new partner, Jennifer Sims, work well together and Rhonda, because she had more experience, is assigned as the lead detective. However, she is very grateful for Jenny’s knowledge of the terrain.

While the story is exciting. However, the pacing is uneven, and I found the beginning, detailing Rhonda and Mark’s drive from Wisconsin to Las Vegas, to be slow. I also wondered how Rhonda managed to get weekends off in the middle of a high profile investigation. There was a lot more telling than showing, making it difficult for me to engage fully with the characters.

The information about petroglyphs was fascinating, and I was intrigued to discover just how many petroglyphs there are across the country. The geography in and around Red Rock Canyon provides for an interesting murder scene, as do some of the other areas mentioned in the story. The author also deals with various cultural stereotypes. Mark is the cook in their family, as well as an athletic coach, and he is very sympathetic to the rigors of Rhonda’s job, providing her with relaxing and romantic breaks. Rhonda and Jenny are not always well received as they perform their jobs in a male dominated field. And Native Americans are readily condemned, leaving Rhonda to find the real culprits.

Mystery fans who are interested in Native American history, particularly petroglyphs, will enjoy heading out to Red Rock Canyon on the trail of a murderer.

Hard Water: An Oliver Redcastle Historical Mystery by Louise Titchener

Hard Water: An Oliver Redcastle Historical Mystery by Louise Titchener
Publisher: Mundania Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (166 Pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Oliver Redcastle is an ex-Pinkerton, former Union Army sharpshooter who has opened a detecting agency in Baltimore. In Hard Water Oliver (set in 1884) takes a side trip after attending Alan Pinkerton’s funeral in Chicago. He stops at the idylic Lake Erie island of Put-in-Bay. His assignment is to catch an acrobatic train robber, but complications soon arise and Oliver must deal with an old murder and a new murderer. Like former Redcastle novels Oliver meets many interesting historical characters in the course of his investigation. He also runs into his maddening and beautiful ex-lover, Marietta Dumont.

Oliver Redcastle owes William Pinkerton a favor, so once again, he is off in search of a villain. This time he has to capture Frank Aballo, a trapeze artist turned bank robber. Redcastle heads to a Midwestern island, Put-in-Bay, during a blistering hot July in the year 1884.

It was great fun to travel back in history and the time period is captured in vivid details, bringing it alive and making me feel as if I was being bitten by mosquitos and sweltering in the humidity, as I tried to help Redcastle solve the mysteries that kept popping up.

The action is fast and continuous as Redcastle gets caught in one intrigue after another. He has to locate a preacher’s daughter inside a cult, work with a less than congenial assistant, keep his former mistress at arm’s length, all the time, trying to recover the stolen money and apprehend the train robber.

The characters were very real. The action takes place in a short period of time, so there wasn’t a lot of character development, but they were all believable and interesting. I especially liked one of the minor characters, a young lad named Billy Stojack. His mother does the laundry for day-trippers and others, definitely not an easy job given the hardness of the water which leaves reddish stains around the wash basin. Billy brings in some extra cash acting as a guide, running errands and so forth. He is a very nice addition to the story, making it seem even more real and human.

If you want to feel what it was like to be a Pinkerton detective, rub shoulders with famous historical figures, all the time trying to solve an interesting murder, then Hard Water may be just what you are looking for.

The Magpie Chronicles by Sherry Gloag

The Magpie Chronicles by Sherry Gloag
Publisher: EsKape Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Horror, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (106 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A collection of thirteen mixed genre short stories based on the well-known Magpie Rhyme.

One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
And four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told
Eight for a wish
Nine for a kiss
Ten a surprise you should not miss
Eleven for health
Twelve for wealth
Thirteen beware of the devil himself.

Traditional poems are remembered because they speak to every generation that hears them. Will they continue to resonate with us in the twenty-first century?

As soon as I read the blurb, I couldn’t wait to find out how Ms. Gloag’s interpretation of each line could be reimagined in a fresh way. It’s uncommon for so many different genres to be represented in the same collection, and I was curious to see how and when they’d pop up together.

In “Three for a Girl,” a teenager gets into a fight with her boyfriend and decides to take a long walk to cool off before going home. What happens next caught me by surprise due to the attention-grabbing opening scene as well as how smoothly everything was tied together in the end. This is a good example of how to straddle the thin line between genres without compromising a quickly-paced plot.

Five for Silver” follows two sisters around as they discuss the booming jewelry business that is bringing a lot of success to one of them. Like several other stories in this collection, this one had a great premise but never quite delivered enough details about what was happening in order for me to get into it. There were a few times when these tales had too many characters or never quite fully introduced them to the reader, and this made me feel a little lost in certain sections.

By far my favorite part of this anthology was “Eleven for Health.” The narrator is a woman who was married to the love of her life for decades. Their relationship has weathered far more than its fair share of bumps in the road. As she prepares for a monumental shift in her life she brushes up against funny, painful, and poignant memories that she hasn’t confronted in years. Strong character development and a plot that assumes the reader is intelligent enough to make certain deductions on his or her own made me wish for a sequel. I don’t know if the author has any plans to write one, but I’d love to revisit these characters!

The Magpie Chronicles dabbles with so many different themes that I’d recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in any of them. Some books benefit from shaking up the reader’s expectations of what will happen next. This is one of them.