#5Books: Book recs and Australia Day

#5Books Book recs for the week ending 28 January

We had a public holiday on Friday — Australia Day. I thought it marked the day the British first arrived, but it’s the day the British decided Australia was theirs. And to the Indigenous peoples of Australia, it means something entirely different — it means the end of their life on this land as they knew it.

You’ve heard this story before — we all have.

In recent years there’s been a growing movement to change the date, and I am all for it — if this country and this day is to mean something to all Australians, then all Australians should be able to celebrate this day. The ignorance of some former PMs is mystifying about this. 

There were major marches across Australia about changing the date, and here’s hoping the movement just picks up momentum.

Just one of those things I’ve been thinking and reading about this week. Some news programs have been reminding us about what Aboriginal Australians have experienced and what they’ve lost, and to be Australian means acknowledging that and their experiences, and what it means to them to be Australian too.

It’s been that sort of week as the day grew nearer… *shrugs* I think given how much smaller we are in terms of population, it’s causing more conversation and putting it in people’s consciousness. Like I said, a conversation that is hopefully going to continue.

Here’s the other stuff I’ve been thinking of:


C. L. Polk arrives on the scene with Witchmark, a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.

In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans’ hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.


Miles is so desperate to leave his past behind, he fakes his death and goes to work as a doctor at a VA hospital (of a magic war). I was surprised at how, besides the mention of magic, this could conceivably be a historical fiction book, with Miles out to solve a mystery at its heart.

Whistle in the dark

Jen’s fifteen-year-old daughter goes missing for four agonizing days.

When Lana is found, unharmed, in the middle of the desolate countryside, everyone thinks the worst is over. But Lana refuses to tell anyone what happened, and police draw a blank. The once-happy, loving family return to London where things start to fall apart. Lana begins acting strangely: making secretive phone calls, hiding books under her bed, sleeping with the light on.

As Lana stays stubbornly silent, Jen sets out to solve the mystery behind her daughter’s disappearance herself…

What did Lana do? It’s a scary thought to see your kid involved in something you have no idea about, but they also make for intense stories. What wouldn’t a mother do to keep her kid safe? Admittedly, it’s a vague blurb, and could very well be a straightforward story, but it’s the relationship at its heart of mother and daughter that I want to see play out. Please don’t let Lana entirely be a brat! I can’t deal with that! (Also how strange is the cover when you look at the blurb?)

The Flight Attendant

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police–she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home–Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did

Yes, a blurb that actually uses the words ‘binge drinking’ and makes use of it in the plot! Properly I hope *crosses fingers* The lies that Cassie tells certainly do grow don’t they? And that’s when they usually explode wonderfully for readers, and depending on the author. Dubai is another choice that intrigued me, though it doesn’t seem to be set there completely.

Such Dark Things

A modern day Fatal Attraction meets The Girl on the Train, by New York Times and USA Today bestselling new adult author Courtney Cole, now writing dark psychological suspense under the name Courtney Tate Evans.

From the outside, Dr. Corinne Cabot is living the American dream: a successful ER physician, she is married to a hardworking and handsome psychologist. Together they own a charming house in the Chicago suburbs. But Cabot has a dark personal past and her memory has holes she tries to fill in. Her sleep is ravaged by recurring nightmares of that night when, as a teenager, she found her father standing next to the bodies of two people he had shot dead. It is what she can’t remember about that night that utterly haunts her. Her father is still alive in jail for that terrible crime. At times now, despite her success, she fears she is truly unable to determine what is real and what is not. Then she starts to suspect that something is amiss with her husband and realizes that nothing–and no one–in her life is as it appears.

While Girl on the Train is another comparison that needs to die, it’s the inclusion of Fatal Attraction that intrigues me with this one – as does the mix of past and present. Her father’s crime and now her husband is starting to act weird? There’s a big jump for those two things to be linked, and I find myself wanting to know how.

Paris by the Book

 A missing person, a grieving family, a curious clue: a half-finished manuscript set in Paris. Heading off in search of its author, a mother and her daughters find themselves in France, rescuing a failing bookstore and drawing closer to unexpected truths.

Once a week, I chase men who are not my husband….

When eccentric novelist Robert Eady abruptly vanishes, he leaves behind his wife, Leah, their daughters, and, hidden in an unexpected spot, plane tickets to Paris.

Hoping to uncover clues—and her husband—Leah sets off for France with her girls. Upon their arrival, she discovers an unfinished manuscript, one Robert had been writing without her knowledge…and that he had set in Paris. The Eady women follow the path of the manuscript to a small, floundering English-language bookstore whose weary proprietor is eager to sell. The whole store? Today? Yes, but Leah’s biggest surprise comes when she hears herself accepting the offer on the spot.

As the family settles into their new Parisian life, they can’t help but trace the literary paths of some beloved Parisian classics, including Madeline and The Red Balloon, hoping more clues arise. But a series of startling discoveries forces Leah to consider that she may not be ready for what solving this mystery might do to her family—and the Paris she thought she knew.

At once haunting and charming, Paris by the Book follows one woman’s journey as her story is being rewritten, exploring the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book. 


I love everything about this — a family using a book store and literary clues to solve a mystery of sorts, that is really about grief and coming together.



Look, I’m not even going to pretend that Paris by the Book is not on the top of my list. #noregrets What about you?


  • I didn’t even know there was an Australia Day tbh, so I learned something new! But yeah, that doesn’t seem right to have it on that date.

    I keep seeing Witchmark around, and on the one hand, it sounds really interesting! But on the other hand, I don’t think it’s really my kinda book. It’s kind of frustrating when that happens lol.

  • Greg says:

    In this day and age it’s nice that people are starting to demand that we acknowledge stuff like what you talk about.

    Witchmark sounds good. PAris By The Book sounds fun too.

  • Silvia says:

    Gotta love some very interesting mystery books! I’m not gonna lie, Paris by the Book is the one I’d pick first 😉 However, I sincerely hope you enjoy all of them a lot!

  • I knew about Australia Day as I have watched a ton of cricket since 1994 and I knew a bit about the story behind it. I do believe it should be on a day when ALL Australians can enjoy it.

  • Thanks for the info on Australia Day – I have to admit I wasn’t that familiar with it. I already have Witchmark on my wishlist and I have an ARC of The Flight Attendant. Now, I’m going to have to add Whistle in the Dark as well because I just HAVE to know what went on.

  • Angela says:

    Paris by the Book sounds so good! I wasn’t crazy about Bohjalian’s last book, but this one sounds intriguing, too.

  • Laura says:

    I like the sound of Paris by the Book the best. And thanks for sharing about Australia Day. It reminds me a little of the conflict here in the states regarding Columbus day, but it sounds like perhaps it’s on a smaller scale perhaps than what happens with Australia Day.

  • Rebecca says:

    I’ve seen a couple of posts on Australia Day and that got me thinking about a book that takes place in Australia that I absolutely loved: Lexicon by Max Barry. I learned from this book that the indigenous peoples of Australia had the most diverse set of languages ever. There were hundreds of completely different languages spoken by the Aboriginals that were completely distinct even though the groups may have been separated by only a few miles. For me, as an American with little knowledge on Australian history, I was fascinated by this fact. THe book is about language, but it’s a fantasy. Great list!

  • Yeah, I think Australia Day should be on a day that everyone can celebrate, otherwise what’s the point?

    OOh Such Dark Things sounds awesome. As does Paris by the Book of course!!


  • Melissa says:

    Wow these all sound good. I just added 3 to my TBR 🙂

  • AngelErin says:

    The Flight Attendant sounds so good! I haven’t heard of these other ones, but they sound good too. As always, I love your recs! And Happy Australia Day to you. 🙂

  • Heck yes for Witchmark! You know how much I love historical fantasy, and Edwardian England is an underutilized setting. Thanks for putting that one on my radar, Verushka. 🙂

  • Daniela Ark says:

    I’m trying to make my way back to reading more fantasy and Witchmark sounds really good! Historical is the way to go 🙂

  • I’m back! Again! Ha ha. Back to a normal routine again and catching up on all things. Glad I could finally stop by!

    I’m probably a bit non-committal about Australia day. I guess growing up with it on that day it’s like more traditional but I can definitely see why the argument is a good one for the date changing. I just don’t feel strongly either way. ?

    Witchmark looks awesome and I really do like that cover!

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