#5Books: Book recs and SAD

5Book recs for the week ending 7 october 2018

It’s been raining since Thursday(ish) over here, and while that doesn’t quite mean the drought we’ve been experiencing has broken, it’s a good start.

It also has me thinking about the weather – and how much my mood is affected by it. It’s also partly inspired by how much people are looking forward to the cooler months in the US from the posts I’m seeing, and I’m over here looking at a cloudy sky and incessant rain going SUN, Give me the sun!

If a book is set in winter, I find I need to think long and hard if I want to devote time to jumping into that book. I don’t want to feel cold, or read about cold unless I absolutely can’t resist it. Is that weird? I used to think it might be, but then isn’t that seasonal reading, sort of? Maybe?  (I suspect I’m reaching….)

I don’t know if I ever posted about it here, but I was talking to someone who immigrated from Sweden to Australia ages ago, and he said that growing up, his mum was admitted to an institution because doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her – turns out, she had seasonal affective disorder – SAD. Doctors eventually prescribed sitting under a sun lamp as part of her therapy. He lived in the part of Sweden where you’d get long, dark winters – and it turns out only a couple of hours of sunlight per day.

Anyway, I was sitting at my desk in my office thinking about how depressing the rain looked, and how I felt, and this all came out today!

Mercifully, there are no winter book recs here:

Easy prey

Only three students had access to a teacher’s racy photos before they went viral. There’s Mouse, a brainy overachiever so desperate to escape his father and go to MIT that he would do almost anything, legal or not. Then there’s Drew, the star athlete who can get any girl’s number—and private photos—with his charm but has a history of passing those photos around. And finally there’s Jenna, a good girl turned rebel after her own shocking photos made the rounds at school last year, who is still waiting for justice. All three deny leaking the photos, but someone has to take the fall. This edgy whodunit tackles hot-button issues of sexting and gossip and will have readers tearing through the pages to reach the final reveal.

Okay, I would have expected a student’s racy photos to go viral, but a teacher’s? That makes this all the more interesting — as does this phrase: someone has to take the fall — it’s not about finding out who really did it, but who can take the fall?

Bird, Bath and Beyond

Kay Powell, theatrical agent to non-human animals, is babysitting-that is, birdsitting-her client, a parrot named Barney, on the set of his new TV show, Dead City. When the show’s charismatic star is shot in his trailer between scenes, the only eyewitness to the crime is-you guessed it-Barney. And even though Kay keeps explaining that even a “talking” parrot doesn’t actually converse with people, the investigators insist on interrogating the bird for information he clearly can’t communicate.

Suspects accumulate like birdseed, and before long it’s clear the killer believes Barney might actually be able to supply useful evidence. Even Barney can’t fly away from this one

This blurb just honestly made me smile SO MUCH — and agent for animals! How out-of-left-field is that?!

Hunting Annabelle 

Sean Suh is done with killing. After serving three years in a psychiatric prison, he’s determined to stay away from temptation. But he can’t resist Annabelle–beautiful, confident, incandescent Annabelle–who alone can see past the monster to the man inside. The man he’s desperately trying to be.

Then Annabelle disappears.

Sean is sure she’s been kidnapped-he witnessed her being taken first hand-but the police are convinced that Sean himself is at the centre of this crime. And he must admit, his illness has caused him to “lose time” before. What if there’s more to what happened than he’s able to remember?

Though haunted by the fear that it might be better for Annabelle if he never finds her, Sean can’t bring himself to let go of her without a fight. To save her, he’ll have to do more than confront his own demons. He’ll have to let them loose.

So a killer out to find a woman who has been kidnapped? Sean is decidedly creepy, and yet I find myself interested. I also would not be surprised if Annabelle doesn’t know that Sean exists, or that he is interested in her — until and if he saves her.

Seances are for suckers  

When something goes bump in the night . . . it’s most likely a plumbing problem, or something equally mundane. But fake medium Eleanor Wilde is happy to investigate and cleanse your home of spectral presences-for a fee. Hey, it’s a living . . .

Ellie has an ailing sister to care for, and working as a ghost hunter who doesn’t believe in ghosts helps cover the bills for both of them. When she’s lucky, it also pays for the occasional tropical vacation. Her brother doesn’t exactly approve, but Ellie figures she’s providing a service. On her latest job, though, she may be in for some genuine scares.

The skeptical, reserved, and very rich Nicholas Hartford III has flown her all the way to his family’s ancestral estate in England-supposedly haunted by a phantom named Xavier. Nicholas thinks it’s all just as much a crock as Ellie’s business is, but the fact remains that something is causing the flashes of light, mysterious accidents, and other apparent pranks in the chilly, eerie castle. His mother is sure that Xavier is real, and he’s willing to employ Ellie if she can get to the bottom of it and put a stop to the nonsense.

While the food and accommodations are somewhat disappointing (dorm-room furniture? Really?), Ellie is finding it an adventure to get to know this eccentric family and their houseguests, and to poke around in the nearby village for clues. But when an actual dead body appears-and subsequently disappears-at Castle Hartford, she’ll have to apply her talent for trickery and psychological insight to solve a flesh-and-blood murder.

Totally in a cozy mood considering the rain pelting down right now, so I am all for a ghost hunter who has to solve a murder. I don’t think I’ve read anything with a fake ghost hunter yet! 

Before she knew him  

Catching a killer is dangerous-especially if he lives next door

From the hugely talented author of The Kind Worth Killing comes an exquisitely chilling tale of a young suburban wife with a history of psychological instability whose fears about her new neighbor could lead them both to murder . . .
Hen and her husband Lloyd have settled into a quiet life in a new house outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Hen (short for Henrietta) is an illustrator and works out of a studio nearby, and has found the right meds to control her bipolar disorder. Finally, she’s found some stability and peace.

But when they meet the neighbors next door, that calm begins to erode as she spots a familiar object displayed on the husband’s office shelf. The sports trophy looks exactly like one that went missing from the home of a young man who was killed two years ago. Hen knows because she’s long had a fascination with this unsolved murder-an obsession she doesn’t talk about anymore, but can’t fully shake either.

Could her neighbor, Matthew, be a killer? Or is this the beginning of another psychotic episode like the one she suffered back in college, when she became so consumed with proving a fellow student guilty that she ended up hurting a classmate?

The more Hen observes Matthew, the more she suspects he’s planning something truly terrifying. Yet no one will believe her. Then one night, when she comes face to face with Matthew in a dark parking lot, she realizes that he knows she’s been watching him, that she’s really on to him. And that this is the beginning of a horrifying nightmare she may not live to escape.

How well do you know your neighbours? This blurb started me off thinking that Hen is going through something, that she must be making things up, but by the end, the creepiness got to me.

That’s all she wrote for this weekend! How was your weekend??


  • I don’t think anything is all that strange when it comes to reading taste/moods. I don’t avoid winter books, but I do especially like reading them during winter or when there’s cold weather cuz it somehow helps set the mood for the book more or something lol.

    Bird, Bath, and Beyond sounds kinda cute, despite the murder XD

  • Melody says:

    I enjoy reading books with a winter setting; partly because we have summer season all year round and it’s kinda boring. I want to experience the cold, even if it’s only through words. 😉

    The books you listed all sound very intriguing. I’m especially excited about Peter Swanson’s new book since I’ve enjoyed all his books and I can’t wait for his next release.

  • Jen Mullen says:

    🙂 I love winter books! Like Melody, we have summer most of the year and then a couple of cooler months. I’d love to have real seasons with a fall and winter!

    All of these books sound intriguing, and I’ll be keeping them in mind. Although I don’t usually choose cozy mysteries, right now I’m in the mood for something that combines humor and mystery so Seances Are for Suckers appeals to me.

  • I definitely see a few here I’m adding and I already have a copy of Seances are For Suckers – I love that title. I think rain can be a real downer. I like a nice shower from time to time but my mood is definitely influenced by the weather. However, I do love me a good book with a cold winter setting!

  • I have a friend who lived in Canada for awhile and she needed one of those sun lamps too because it was dark so often. I don’t want rain, but I like the Fall in the U.S. for the cooler weather. 🙂 Plus, summer is rough for me because I get hot so easy and it just starts to feel gross. haha

    I have an e-ARC of Hunting Annabelle, an I’m so curious!!!


  • I don’t know if this is gonna sound weird but I’ve always liked winter more than any other season. I have ever since I was a child. I don’t know if it’s because of the holidays but I’ve always thought autumn and winter so cosy and I love reading when it’s gloomy out. Maybe it gives me more of an excuse to read and not go outside? Idk. lol

  • Sam@wlabb says:

    One of the women I work with actually has one of those light therapy lights at work. Some of my co-workers borrow it from time to time. Seances sounds good. I like the whole fake medium angle.

  • Ugh, I feel you on the weather. It rained here almost the entire summer and I felt so depressed almost the entire time.

    Another great set of book recs. Bird, Bath, and Beyond sounds like so much fun!

  • Angela says:

    Hmm, that is an interesting twist in Easy Prey!

    My mood is totally affected by the weather; when it’s rainy and gloomy, I don’t even want to leave the house!

  • I am the opposite. I love the rain and wish we got more of it here. I imagine that might because we get so little of it. Winters here are often filled with sunshine, even if cold. We don’t get snow where I live. I wish I could send you some of our sunshine. I would love to trade you for your weather. All of these books sound good. I really want to read Seances are For Suckers. Have a great week!

  • I suffer from depression which can come and go from day to day and it’s not generally affected by the seasons. I like winter as I hibernate in the house, staying away from supermarkets and shoppers and watch TV and read in front of a warm fire!

  • Kelly says:

    I haven’t heard of the S.A.D condition before but I can imagine that it’s probably pretty common for those who live in countries with long periods of wet, cold conditions. I personally prefer winter and rainy days, I prefer to potter about in the house, do the housework and curl up on the couch with a great read. Living outside of the city in a semi rural area, we don’t see much rain each year, yesterday was the first time in months where we’ve had steady rain and it was glorious! I can imagine living in more tropical states, the city rain starts to become a bother. Fingers crossed our farmers are having wonderful rainfall in their areas though. I hope the weather lets up soon darling ♡♡♡

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