This Toronto area author’s books first caught my eye a few years ago with the eerie title and cover of her first novel: “The haunting of Maddy Clare“. Now I’m impatient for the arrival of her fifth novel, “Lost among the living”.
Don’t be scared off by the spooky titles 😉 All of St. James’ novels are light reading, and at the risk of making up a new genre, I would categorize them as “modern gothic”, essentially historical fiction with elements of the supernatural and romance. In my books (haha I’m punny) these novels are perfect for a cold winter’s night and a hot chocolate.
Anya is a young woman with troubles. Ashamed of her Russian immigrant heritage, her efforts to escape it are thwarted at every turn. Her only friend, Siobhan, seems to enjoy putting her down as much as she enjoys anything else. Her crush is far out of her league.
With all of these worries weighing on her mind, Anya decides to take a walk in the woods. As she attempts to clear her head, she falls into an abandoned well in the middle of the woods. As if that isn’t bad enough, at the bottom of the well is a skeleton. And not just any skeleton, but a skeleton with a ghost. Emily Reilly was chased into the woods and down the well by a vagrant who murdered her parents – 90 years ago.
Finally rescued from the well, Anya finds her ghost friend has followed her home (capable of doing so because of the small bone Anya swept into her bag with her other things when rescue was nigh). But it can only be an improvement to have a friend who can get into other people’s things and help engineer party invites, passing grades, and “chance” encounters with a crush. Right?
Vera Brosgol’s debut graphic novel has been called a masterpiece by none other than Neil Gaiman. So there is no need to take my word for it! Trust Neil! And read Anya’s Ghost for yourself.
An aside: If you are intrigued by ghosts, graphic novels, and the immigrant experience, you could follow up a reading of Anya’s Ghost with a reading of Lola: A Ghost Story by J. Torres and Elbert Or.
Jesse has returned to the Philippines with his parents for his Lola’s funeral. He remembers his grandmother with both fondness and terror, as do many in her village. Lola was blessed with the gift of seeing – a gift that Jesse thinks he has inherited. But he must decide if it is a gift or curse, which he hopes to do when he can determine why his Lola tried to drown him as a baby.
So I’ve been enjoying a run of cozy mysteries. It seems like a number of series that I’ve been following have recently published a new book in their series, and they became available at about the same time. In addition to my preference for food based cozy mysteries, I’ve found a few home renovation cozy mysteries series that I enjoy as well.
If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell is the first in the new series, the Haunted Home Renovation mysteries. Mel Turner stepped in to run her dad’s construction company two years ago, which specializes in restoring historic homes in the San Francisco Bay Area. When Mel goes to visit her friend Matt at a job site, she finds his business partner Kenneth wounded and missing a hand. At the hospital, Kenneth makes a dying declaration that pins the blame on Matt. Upon Mel’s return to the house, she see Kenneth’s ghost. Unfortunately, he doesn’t remember anything but since he keeps following her around, not only does Mel needs to solve his murder to get some peace, but keep her and her crew safe because one by one, all of the company’s storage locations’ are burglarised as Kenneth’s murderer is clearly on the hunt for something.
A Killer Crop by Sheila Connolly is the third in the Orchard mystery series. Meg’s mom turns up unexpectedly, and without her husband, at the apple orchard right at the busiest time, the fall picking season. When the old friend she met turns up dead, Meg needs to figure out quickly what her mom is hiding before police zero in on her mom as the prime suspect. Buttercream Bumpoff by Jennifer McKinley is the second book in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery. When Melanie’s mom first date in years ends up dead, Melanie and her business partners Angie and Tate return to their sleuthing ways to find the real killer. Mortar and Murder is the fourth Do-It-Yourself mysteries by Jennie Bentley. Avery and Derek have purchased an old Colonial house on Rowenberry Island as their next project. Then one morning they find body of a young women in the water with the name of their real estate agent in her pocket.