A Beautiful Poison, Lydia Kang
Over the past month, I’ve been reading a lot of Kang’s work. I love how she takes us back in history, giving us a mystery with strong female characters. The trio of friends each has secrets; they have spent years apart and are different from the children they once were. But when people start dying, their quest for truth will bring them back together.
I enjoyed this one. I liked the timeline, the varying mysteries, the references to what we know as Radium Girls, and also The Spanish Flu. Kang knows how to tell a story, and she does it well, making this another impressive read for this author.
About the Book
Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned—and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.
Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails.
As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone—even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim.
The House in the Cerulean Sea, T.J. Klune
So many people have recommended this book that I shuffled it around in my TBR so I can finally read it. For me, it’s a blend of fantasy and romance, YA and a bit dystopian. There are a lot of elements that appeal to so many readers, and as this is well-reviewed, I don’t feel that I have much more to add that others haven’t already said.
I think because there are so many genres working here, it brings something for everyone. There is a character to fall in love with, a setting to imagine as the descriptions are so vivid, they come to life. It’s both equal parts touching and maddening, sweet and infuriating. Overall, it’s an enjoyable read.
About the Book
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.