The Hound of the Baskervilles, a Graphic Novel by Dave Shephard

Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Graphic NovelQuarto Publishing, 2018.

As a lover of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, I could not pass up a chance to read this new version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Part of Dave Shephard’s Dark Tales series of graphic novels, The Hound of the Baskervilles was the perfect story to pick as the setting of the miry moor and the tales of a ghost dog make this one of the creepiest of the Sherlock Holmes tales.

Shephard’s pictures evoke the desolate landscape, the old manor, and the complex plot well. Readers who are familiar with the screen and television versions of Doyle’s stories will note with pleasure the visual references to familiar actors and settings.

Other books in the Dark Tales Graphic Novel Series from Canterbury Classics include The Call of Cthulhu, The Snow Queen, and Beauty and the Beast.

I received copies of The Hound of the Baskervilles from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

one-of-us-is-lyingDelacourt Press/ Random House 2017

One Monday afternoon, five kids walk into detention in Mr. Avery’s science room. They’re not friends; they’re not even the usual suspects. Branwyn is the brainy, uber involved mathlete who has never had detention before. Cooper’s headed for baseball fame, if his father has anything to say about it. Addy’s the gorgeous girlfriend of the quarterback and hangs with the popular crowd. Nate’s the school’s dealer and all around bad boy. Simon’s the inventor of the gossip app that’s plaguing the school.

Every one of them got bagged for carrying a cell phone into science class, and every one of them swears that they’ve never seen that phone before. But before long, they’ve got a lot more to worry about than some illegal cell phones because before long one of them is dead and the rest? They are at the top of the list of suspects for the murder of their classmate Simon.

McManus has written an engaging Agatha Christie style mystery. Set in a modern high school, four appealing characters battle the expectations of their families, the cut throat social pressures of their peers, and the unpredictability of a murder investigation. Their most hidden secrets come out, making them pariahs among their peers and causing discord with their families. Against the advice of their lawyers, the remaining four tentatively build a friendship and work their way through the tangle of events that led to Simon’s being wheeled out on a stretcher and never coming back.

This mystery was a great read! Not only was it filled with the angst and social pressures of senior year of high school, but the story beautifully reflected the tightrope of senior year. Pressure comes from everywhere: parents, teachers, friends, college choices. When you add being investigated as a murder suspect? It’s a wonder they don’t all blow to pieces. Instead, in the most satisfying way each character seems to embrace the pressure, and rather than allowing it to blast them to pieces, each character instead grows stronger and begins to mold themselves into the adult they will soon be.

I was lucky enough to win an ARC of One of Us Is Lying on Twitter. I was drawn into the story from word one and read it in one weekend. It comes out May 30th. I will definitely look for more books from Karen McManus in the future.


The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim

The Astrologer's DaughterText Publishing, 2015.

Avicenna’s mother is gone and it’s time she reported her missing. It doesn’t make Avi feel any better that her mother foretold this day. Avi faces the police questions bravely; she even gets herself to school. She feeds herself and copes, but in the endless, airless nights she’s driven to panic at her solitude. She lights up the apartment and flings wide the door in hopes of getting air. It’s during those airless nights that her mother’s role as an astrologer begins to haunt her, as her mother’s clients, and even the police, look to Avicenna for answers.

Avicenna is a main character to love. She’s strong, smart, and a bit of a wise ass. Her life has been hard, but she’s always had the benefit of a truly loving mother. It is easy to root for her and to hope that she, too, has her mother’s skills in astrology. There’s plenty of action here, and the stakes are high enough to keep readers turning the pages.

Existential questions are sewn through this plot, adding even more interest. How much do you want to know about your future? Do you really want to know the time and manner of your death? If you know your fate, can you alter it? How will knowing change you? How do we recover from the loss of a loved one? Who will fill the gap?

Set in Melbourne, Australia, The Astrologer’s Daughter is a thought-provoking read. It will be out June 9, 2015.

I read The Astrologer’s Daughter as a digital ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Text Publishing.