Book Review: Touch

touchJump jump.

Are you losing time? Kepler can transfer consciousness by touch, and the only way you’d know is if you realized a block of time had passed that you had no memory of. Kepler’s not the only one, and not all of them treat their host bodies with respect. When one of Kepler’s favorite hosts is murdered, Kepler jumps into the murderer’s head – and from there, a story unfolds that’s equal parts unique and disturbing.

North’s storytelling is strong, and Kepler in particular wrestles with some heavy questions of morality. I especially loved that Kepler’s gender is never revealed. A ghost takes on the gender of the body they’re inhabiting, suggesting some interesting takes on nature vs. nurture.

The secondary characters are less enigmatic¬†and by extension less compelling. Mustache-twirling evil is only entertaining if it’s done for camp; in a story as morally ambiguous as this one, it seems a bit out of place.

(BTW I’m endlessly amused by the question on Goodreads that asks if this is a “clean” book. I mean, what even is that?)

*I scored this title from Netgalley in return for a review.*

Book Review: You Should Have Known

you should have knownCan you really miss all the signs, even if you’re looking for them?

Therapist Grace Reinhart Sachs makes her living telling people where they’ve gone wrong. She believes that there’s always a moment, usually early in the relationship, when you can see the truth about the other person – a truth you then “forget,” burying it in excuses and desires. In fact, Grace has written a book on the subject, called You Should Have Known.

Her own life seems to hold up under scrutiny: she has a loving marriage, a wonderful son. (She’s also materialistic and judgmental and clearly unaware of just how good she has it, but that’s a whole other thing.)

Then a woman Grace knows only vaguely is murdered, and her perfect husband has disappeared. As her life begins to unravel, Grace keeps asking herself: should she have known?

Unfortunately, it’s not a question the book really answers. (Mild spoilers to follow.)

Continue reading Book Review: You Should Have Known

Book Review: The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

the last winter of dani lancingI love a good ghost story.

On the surface, The Last Winter of Dani Lancing is a murder mystery, and a study of how different people react to grief. Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was brutally murdered. The killer was never found. Her mother becomes consumed with the need for vengeance. Her father has conversations with Dani’s ghost. Her old beau, Tom Bevans, still pines for the girl he lost.

Naturally, they all have secrets, and each of them knows things about Dani that the others don’t. Can they come together somehow and solve a decades-old murder without losing each other in the process? Or is there a reason everyone has something to hide?

The ghost story aspect is fun, and not terribly overdone, though by the end you may find that it has a bit of a saccharine aftertaste. The mystery is a good one, and the ending didn’t feel like a deus ex machina, which can be difficult with a book like this. I’m interested enough¬†to read more from this author.