The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens – 4*…ish
Can you give 4* to a book that isn’t even finished? I actually didn’t realize that this one was never completed until after I had started it. (Thankfully I found out before I got the abrupt stopping point!) I would have LOVED to see where this story ended up. There are some great characters here and some very sinister set-ups. It seems obvious what is going on – except towards the end of this partial story, Dickens is already starting to muddy the waters. A really engaging piece of writing, even if it is rather disappointing that it just ends!
Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan – 4*
I wasn’t expecting to so thoroughly enjoy this OwlCrate book, but I actually was completely engaged with the world-building and characters. It’s a debut novel, so there were times that the pacing was a little off, but on the whole I definitely wanted to keep reading this Asian-based fantasy. It’s listed as a standalone and I can find nothing about a potential sequel, but the ending/epilogue of this one definitely gave off “in the next book” vibes, so that was a little confusing. While looking for information about the nonexistent sequel, I did find an official map on the author’s website – why it wasn’t in the book, I’ll never know, as it was VERY HELPFUL. I printed it off and stuck it in the book so it will be ready next time I read it!
The Lies We Told by Camilla Way – 4*
This was a perfectly fine but ultimately forgettable thriller. I’m never a big fan of the “inherently evil child” trope, but once the other storyline started, I was able to work with them both and wanted to see how they were going to come together. As with many thrillers, this one works best if you just suspend some disbelief and roll with it. I didn’t want to put it down once I got hooked, which bumped it up to 4* for me.
The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth – 4*
Originally published in 1859, this book was reissued by Lamplighter Press back in the 1990s. Keeping in mind the publication date, you would be correct in assuming that there are language and actions that don’t fit our modern sensibilities, but I found it to honestly be a completely engaging look at life in the “wilds“ of the Virginia mountains. “Old Hurricane“ is an Revolutionary War veteran who, through a series of events, ends up adopting an orphan girl named Capitola, mainly for his own selfish reasons – Cap is actually the long-lost heiress of a neighboring estate, currently owned by Hurricane’s arch-enemy. However, Hurricane is not remotely nefarious (although very temperamental) and soon is completely won over by Cap’s bold, saucy ways. Cap is no missish heroine, waiting to be rescued. She makes things happen, charging about the countryside on her pony, rescuing people herself, and causing all sorts of trouble. This story is completely ridiculous, with melodramatic villains, sweeping coincidences at every turn, and plenty of absurdities, but I honestly enjoyed every page.
I Found You by Lisa Jewel – 4*
Pacey, engaging, and intriguing, this was a solid thriller that kept me going. Even though I figured out parts of it ahead of time, I didn’t solve all of it. I’ve really enjoyed all of the Lisa Jewel books I’ve read so far, and have several more on the shelf that I want to get to soon.
Pingback: Rearview Mirror // August 2022 | The Aroma of Books