January absolutely flew by for me, with the help of some great reading material. I've been alternating easy, cozy reads with some top-notch thrillers and I can't wait to share them all with you!
The Fireman, by Joe Hill. This is the second Joe Hill novel I've read (okay, listened to, in this case. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to listen to actress Kate Mulgrew read the audiobook version, and she was absolutely first-rate.), the first being Horns. May I just say that as he writes deeply engrossing, chilling novels with beautifully rendered characters, but does not publish prolifically, I am attempting to savor his work instead of gorging on it at every opportunity. It is not working, but I'm trying.
The Fireman is the enigmatic leader of a band of improbable heroes in a world where a deadly virus threatens to reduce civilization to ashes. Nurse Harper Grayson treated hundreds of the infected before her hospital burned to the ground. Newly infected herself, she is rescued by the Fireman and brought to a sanctuary which seems both blessing and curse. Harper has no choice but to unearth the dangerous secrets the Fireman harbors before it is too late...for them all. A supernatural thriller that is all too believable, Hill's tale is one of hope, courage, and madness, and it is impossible to put down.
Fudge Cupcake Murder, by Joanne Fluke. I told you I was mixing things up this month! Fifth in Fluke's cozy Hannah Swensen mystery series, this outing finds Hannah trying to balance writing a cookbook, teaching a potluck cooking class, running her bakery, oh, and helping to solve the murder of the Sheriff, who was killed mid-campaign for re-election. From trying to unravel the mystery of a secret ingredient, to trying to get a read on the sultry new hire at the police department who is making moves on Hannah's beau, Detective Mike, to the murder itself, it's the wildest of Hannah's adventures so far. A quick read, too, which was just what I needed.
A Deadly Yarn, by Maggie Sefton. I read this novel via the Trumbull Library's access to Overdrive. This is the third in Sefton's Knitting Mysteries series featuring Kelly Flynn, corporate accountant, knitter and amateur sleuth. Kelly and pal Megan stop by to wish their friend Allison well on the morning Allison is supposed to head to New York City for a six-month fashion design course, only to find Allison dead in her apartment. Kelly, sharp as ever, immediately begins to dig into the case on her own, especially when the cops initially rule Allison's death a suicide. The cast is brimming with red herrings, and the ending is deeply satisfying.
Invasive, by Chuck Wendig. I loved this one so much, I couldn't keep it to myself. You can read my full review here.
The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan. Colgan's novels are reliably gentle and sweet, and this latest is no exception. Nina Redmond has been downsized out of her library job in the city when branches close and services get centralized. But her calling as a literary matchmaker cannot be suppressed, and she winds up moving to the Scottish countryside and setting up a mobile bookshop in an old van to serve sleepy villages long left without a library or bookstore. Where the novel shines is Colgan's own love of books glowing from every page. This is absolutely a love story for every bibliophile out there.
Vicious, by V.E. Schwab. Having taken a recommendation from Chuck Wendig's blog, I picked up this first in a series from V.E. Schwab and was instantly transfixed. Victor and Eli start out as college roommates--they are brilliant, arrogant and lonely young men who recognize the sharpness in one another. They are friends and they are rivals. In their senior year, their shared research reveals that near-death experiences, under certain circumstances, can create individuals with ExtraOrdinary abilities. Determined to try it themselves, Eli and Victor succeed, but with disastrous results. Victor lands in jail for a decade while Eli remains free to carry out a terrible mission--to wipe out every other EO he can find. When Victor finally breaks himself out of prison, he knows he is the only one who can possibly stop Eli...before Eli can stop Victor. Beautifully paced, deeply engrossing, I loved every second!
Faithful, by Alice Hoffman. This was a particularly good month for books I read in under two days, and Faithful was among them. Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl from Long Island, until one snowy night her best friend Helene demands Shelby drive her on an errand of revenge. The result is tragic, leaving Shelby devoured by guilt and regret while vibrant Helene is left a shell of her former self. But a story which begins in heartbreak is ultimately a tale of love, family, fate and healing, told in Hoffman's gorgeous, poignant prose. Shelby's story will live on with readers, myself included, long after the final page is turned.