February 29, 2016


Two very different titles (genre- and style-wise) to cross my desk this past week were Terry Pratchett's final Tiffany Aching book and S.A. Bodeen's latest action-packed suspense tale.

The Shepherd's Crown brings to a close that subset of the Discworld universe I like best: the world of Tiffany Aching, witch of the Chalk hills where she was raised by generations of shepherds. She's THEIR witch—their hag, as her tiny leprechaun-like protectors the Feegles call her—and in this final book before Sir Terry's death, Tiffany is called upon for a great many things, possibly more than she can handle on her own. With rather frightening synchronicity, one of the long-running and much-loved Discworld regular characters has died, leaving the barrier between their world and Fairyland unprotected. And the elves who have been kept out—they've got a serious vendetta. Can Tiffany enlist the help she needs to defend the Chalk and the entire kingdom? Can she put up with the insufferable Mrs. Earwig? Can a boy ever become a witch? Possibly, if he's got a smart enough goat… Fans of the Discworld and Tiffany will be touched by this novel and want to hug it, because for us, it feels like a goodbye.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of a friend who loaned it to me. You can find THE SHEPHERD'S CROWN by Terry Pratchett at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

I've read a couple other suspense novels by S.A. Bodeen--The Compound and The Raft (reviewed here). Her books tend to be quick, vivid, page-turning reads, great for a one-day reading binge and appealing for reluctant readers who want plenty of action. The Detour is no exception. Readers will start off with little sympathy for narrator Livvy Flynn—she's 17 years old and already a bestselling author, and she sounds like she feels pretty darn entitled. By the time she crashes her fancy red sports car on an Oregon back road, on the way to a writers' retreat, you'll find yourself thinking, well, perhaps it's no more than she deserves. But then things go from bad to worse. When she wakes up and finds out she's been locked in a basement, injuries and all…well, she's got a lot of time to think, and it's interesting to watch the backstory unfold and see how Livvy got to this point. Although there was one plot point that I guessed at early on (making it hard to wait for the final reveal), and although I ultimately still found myself annoyed at the narrator, this was a fast read that kept me turning the pages and needing to find out not only WHOdunit but also WHY.

I received my copy of this book courtesy of the Stanislaus County Library. You can find THE DETOUR by S.A. Bodeen at an online e-tailer, or at a real life, independent bookstore near you!

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