#5Books: Book recs and #ALLDAYYA at the Sydney Writers Festival

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the All Day YA festival at Parramatta that was part of the Sydney Writers Festival. There I caught up with my book club, but also managed to catch the session: To all the fandoms I’ve loved before.

This was a session in which YA authors talked about the fandoms that shaped them, thay they loved so much: Outlander, Mass Effect, Dawson’s Creek and there was a letter from Mackenzie Lee to her sister, and partner in fandom.

They were all so glorious and unabashedly filled with love with fandom, but also the issues that fandom has in their favourite shows not representing the diverse range of fans that loved them. It was wonderful and reminded me why I love fandom and why it has its issues too.

Later on, I attended the TeenCon panel, which had all the publishers in Australia talk about the books that they are publishing this year, and they’re all — or most of it on my Twitter. But again, it’s the fun, the joy in books that still sticks with me from these sessions.

In other news, I need a fandom. I’ve fangirled Stargate, Highlander, The X-Files, Quantum Leap… and then somehow stopped. How do I get back to it guys? What are your hardcore — tv, movie or book — fandoms?

Magic for Liars

Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.

Do you remember when you were a kid or teenager and your future stretched out in front of you, and you knew exactly how it was all going to turn outexcept when the future got around to happening, it really wasn’t anything you expected at all? And that would be how I related to this blurb LOL! I am excited to see what happens to Ivy and her relationship with Tabitha.

Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Japan

Where did Sherlock Holmes go during his famous disappearance between his death at Reichenbach Falls and reappearance in Baker Street, three years later? God of mystery Keisuke Matsuoka contends that it was in the Far East—in Japan, to be exact.

In 1891, Nicholas Alexandrovich, the Tsarevich of Russia, was traveling in a fragile Meiji-era Japan on an official tour when he was almost assassinated. The Otsu Incident, as this came to be known, led to fear of an international incident, perhaps even a declaration of war from Russia. In steps Sherlock Holmes—on the run from the British police and presumed to be dead. Together with Hirobumi Ito, the first Prime Minister of Japan, the two unlikely allies immerse themselves in a knotted tangle of politics, deceit, and great powers.

In this deftly researched and immersive novel, based on real historical events, the great Sherlock Holmes stakes his flag in modern history in the turbulent early years of a rising Japan buffeted by the winds of change.

Japan + Sherlock Holmes = YES. Thank you. I’ll have this now. lol

I’ll Never Tell

What happened to Amanda Holmes?

Twenty years ago, she washed up on shore in a rowboat with a gash to the head after an overnight at Camp Macaw. No one was ever charged with a crime.

Now, the MacAllister children are all grown up. After their parents die suddenly, they return to Camp to read the will and decide what to do with the prime real estate it’s sitting on. Ryan, the oldest, wants to sell. Margo, the family’s center, hasn’t made up her mind. Mary has her own horse farm to run, and believes in leaving well-enough alone. Kate and Liddie—the twins—have opposing views. And Sean Booth, the family groundskeeper, just hopes he still has a home when all is said and done.

But then the will is read and they learn that it’s much more complicated than a simple vote. Until they unravel the mystery of what happened to Amanda, they can’t move forward. Any one of them could have done it, and all of them are hiding key pieces of the puzzle. Will they work together to solve the mystery, or will their suspicions and secrets finally tear the family apart?

This is intriguing bc who is Amanda to the MacAllister children? And how do you find the killer if it could be one of your siblings? I want to see how the relationships between the siblings change — or don’t when they figure out what happens to Amanda. 

Flowers over the Inferno

In a quiet village surrounded by ancient woods and the imposing Italian Alps, a man is found naked with his eyes gouged out. It is the first in a string of gruesome murders.

Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, a detective with a background in criminal profiling, is called to investigate. Battaglia is in her mid-sixties, her rank and expertise hard-won from decades of battling for respect in the male-dominated Italian police force. While she’s not sure she trusts the young city inspector assigned to assist her, she sees right away that this is no ordinary case: buried deep in these mountains are whispers of a dark and dangerous history, possibly tied to a group of eight-year-old children toward whom the killer seems to gravitate.

As Teresa inches closer to the truth, she must also confront the possibility that her body and mind, worn down by age and illness, may fail her before the chase is over.

I feel like I am showing just how bad my assumptions are with these next words, but here I go: I wanted to read this book bc Teresa is in her mid-60s. Cops and PIs in this crime genre never seem to reach that age range and as far as I can recall, never have issues like age and illness quite at the forefront like this promises. 

Blood Relations

Who is Claire Gravesend?

So wonders PI Lee Crowe when he finds her dead, in a fine cocktail dress, on top of a Rolls Royce, in the most dangerous neighborhood in San Francisco. Claire’s mother, Olivia, is one of the richest people in California. She doesn’t believe the coroner: her daughter did not kill herself. Olivia hires Crowe, who—having just foiled a federal case against a cartel kingpin—is eager for distraction. But the questions about the Gravesend family pile up fast.

First, the autopsy reveals round scars running down Claire’s spine, old marks Olivia won’t explain. Then, Crowe visits Claire’s Boston townhouse and has to fend off an armed intruder. Is it the Feds out for revenge? Or is this connected to the Gravesends? He leaves Boston afraid, but finds his way to Claire’s secret San Francisco pied-à-terre. It’s there that his questions come to a head. Sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, he finds Claire—her face, her hair, her scars—and as far as he can tell, she’s alive. And Crowe’s back at the start:

Who is Claire Gravesend?

Yup, who is Claire Gravesend and why is she still alive? Dramatic ending to the blurb, right?


  • Jen Mullen says:

    All of these sound great! I have a review scheduled for I’ll Never Tell–and I liked it a lot.

  • I’ve read something from Moore before but can’t remember. Oh well, this new one from his sounds great as well. I already have Magic for Liars on my wishlist. Sounds like an awesome festival and so glad you enjoyed it!

    • Verushka says:

      The festival was so relaxing and fun! I needed a festival day I think! I’m so interested in how Magic for Liars does the sisters’ relationship.

  • I’ll Never Tell is the one I’m drawn to the most. It sounds very mysterious! And as for your question… I’m a huge Doctor Who fangirl. It’s a bit quiet on the fandom right now since it doesn’t return until 2020 but I’m soooo ready!

  • Sam@wlabb says:

    Wait! Who was shaped by Dawson’s Creek? I want to be friends with them. I saw a lot of your pictures. The event looked great! I am a terrible fangirl. I like things, but I never get into it or can spout the knowledge about it (except for science – is there a science fandom?)

    • Verushka says:

      Then you need to follow Jenna Guillame: https://twitter.com/JennaGuillaume — she and a bunch of other fans watch Dawson’s Creek with the tag #PaceysCreek for ahem obvious reasons! And Sam for you, there should be a science fandom, and if there isn’t you should start one *g*

  • What a fun event! It sounds like you had a blast. Magic for Liars is already on my wish list, but I think I need to add this Sherlock Holmes one too.


  • Lark says:

    I’ll Never Tell is one I REALLY want to read. 🙂

  • Angela says:

    I love a lot of things, but I don’t know that I’m really into fandoms? I guess I’m not a big enough fan, or I’m lazy. Unless it’s about Real Housewives, I could probably get into that fandom.

  • That event sounds like so much fun! I’ve not been active in many fandoms. I’m a fan of many things but have just never invested much energy in the whole fandom experience. I see the drama and the in-fighting and I back away slowly, lol. Star Wars, Marvel, and Game of Thrones are probably the closest I’ve come.

  • Back and catching up on blogs again! (Yes, I was travelling).

    Gah, the festival sounds AMAZING. Gosh, Fandoms? I’m a fangirl of Game of Thrones…. Although I haven’t started watching the new season yet. I’m still rewatching all of the old seasons…. I’ve read all the books, been a part of many deep conversations about fan theories and watched all the seasons to date. I also own a little merch for the show although probably not as much as a hardcore fan.

    Umm. Other fandoms? Grishaverse?

    I used to love X-files too, although I was quite young!!! Duchovny and Anderson were great. I even low-key named some kittens that I had to look after before they went to their forever homes after some X-Filey things.

    • Verushka says:

      Look at you being a X-files fan on the sly! Game of Thrones — man is twitter erupting today after the episode! Prepare your self 😉 Are you back at home now? Man I would LOVE to get my hands on your passport one day! (Welcome back btw!)

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