MOON OF THE CRUSTED SNOW by Waubgeshig Rice


Publisher: ECW Press
Release Date: October 2, 2018

This was a haunting cautionary tale! Set in northern Canada, MOON OF THE CRUSTED SNOW is a character-driven, slow-burn thriller about what happens in a remote Anishinaabe community when the unthinkable happens. Their power goes out, their phones quit working, and suddenly they’re cut off from the rest of the world. Winter is setting in, food supplies are low, and word from the south is that the chaos is widespread. When an outsider arrives seeking shelter, their precarious situation gets worse.

I’m not usually a fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction, BUT something about the premise of this book pulled me in. I’m so glad I took a chance and read it. The wonderfully tense, ominous atmosphere kept me glued to the pages. What a terrifying situation to be in, and I felt like I was a part of it, wondering what was coming next.

One of the most memorable moments was when main character Evan talked to an elder about the meaning of “apocalypse,” and how their world had already ended when they were forced off their land and had their children taken away.

If a dystopian novel can be realistic, then this was it. In the end, I was left with a lot of unanswered questions, but in an actual apocalypse, would you have all the answers? I just read that there will be a sequel coming out (next year, maybe), and I can’t wait to find out what happens next! β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

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SHIVER by Allie Reynolds


Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: January 19, 2021

If you’re needing a chilling winter thriller, SHIVER is it! This gripping locked-room mystery is set in a deserted ski resort in the French Alps, and Milla & four friends, all former snowboarding competitors, are invited to a reunion weekend there. The only one missing is the sixth member of their group who disappeared at that same location a decade ago and is presumed dead. (OK, right away, what a disturbing place for a reunion!)

I loved the frozen, desolate, and desperate atmosphere the author created. It may be off-season, but the weather is still bitterly cold and deep snow abounds. The friends quickly realize that something is wrong. Their phones go missing, the cable cars stop running, and there are no staff members to be found. Someone is clearly messing with them, and trying to remind them of Saskia, gone these past 10 years. Is it an outsider, or one of their own group?

Overall, this was a fantastic nail-biter that flipped back and forth between present day and ten years earlier, in the time leading up to Saskia’s disappearance. My only quibble was the large amount of snowboarding details, which slowed the pace down somewhat. If you enjoyed ONE BY ONE by Ruth Ware, you’d probably enjoy SHIVER β€” same atmosphere, yet its own unique mystery. β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

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WINTER COUNTS by David Heska Wanbli Weiden


Publisher: Ecco Books
Release Date: August 25, 2020

WINTER COUNTS is an impressive debut novel from David Heska Wanbli Weiden. It’s a gritty and often dark crime thriller that follows Virgil Wounded Horse, a hired vigilante living on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. When tribal police and the feds fail to deliver justice, Virgil takes the law into his own hands. He finds himself personally involved in a dangerous case when his nephew falls prey to hard drugs being pushed on the reservation.

This was a compelling slow-burn mystery, as well as an eye-opening look at the hardships Indigenous people face in this country. Lakota traditions and history are woven throughout this story. I loved the well-drawn cast of characters. Virgil struggles with his Lakota identity, and I greatly enjoyed watching his character grow as he fought to save his nephew. β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

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Vintage Domestic Suspense: DO EVIL IN RETURN by Margaret Millar


Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: 1974 (first published 1950)

Very good! DO EVIL IN RETURN is a mystery/domestic suspense novel first published in 1950. It was considered controversial at the time because the victim in this case is a young woman seeking an abortion (which would be illegal for another two decades in the United States).

Protagonist Dr. Charlotte Keating is torn β€” she wants to help Violet but doesn’t want to break the law. Violet runs away in frustration, but later Charlotte tries to track her down to see if there’s some way to improve her circumstances. Unfortunately it’s too late for Violet, and Charlotte’s interference puts her career and safety in jeopardy.

The mystery was twisty and surprising. I thought I had it figured out, but no! Some of the language and attitudes are dated, of course, but I thought that Charlotte was a compelling heroine. β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

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TO KILL A MOCKING GIRL by Harper Kincaid


Series: A Bookbinding Mystery, #1
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Release Date: May 12, 2020

Totally charming! TO KILL A MOCKING GIRL kicks off the new Bookbinding Mystery series by Harper Kincaid. Though it breaks one of my rules for cozy mysteries, I ended up really enjoying it. My rule is that the mystery needs to be the main focus of the book, and in Mocking Girl, the mystery got lost at times in the wonderful “other” stuff β€” intriguing characters and their entangled relationships. I felt like I got to know everyone on a personal level.

Every chapter begins with a quote, and I was so impressed with the choices!

β€œMost everything you think you know about me is nothing more than memories.” ― Haruki Murakami

So what’s the mystery? Main character Quinn Caine has returned to her hometown in Virginia to work in her family’s bookshop. She gets thrown into a police investigation when her “frenemy” from high school is murdered. Quinn’s sidekick in sleuthing is her quirky cousin Sister Daria, an Anglican nun in training. I enjoyed how the mystery wrapped up. Not what I was expecting! If you’re into cozies with lots of witty dialogue and fun pop culture references, then I’d recommend giving TO KILL A MOCKING GIRL a try.

β€œThe truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” ― Flannery O’Connor

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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