January Reading Challenge Report Card

The challenge for January 2016 was to read a cold book. What cold meant was kind of up to the reader. We both finished and here’s what we read (and what we thought of it.)


Winter at the Door, by Sarah Graves
Lizzie Snow, an ex-Boston PD detective takes a new job in the sheriff’s office in Bearkill, Maine. The sheriff has an unexplained reason for hiring her — a string of deaths that he thinks are suspicious. She’s got her own reasons for taking the job — trying to find her missing niece. There are a few more layers of plot and the whole thing turns into a hot (ok, cold) mess of a book.

The problem was the book was trying to be too many different kinds of books. It was, 1) a deep woods serial killer book, 2) a small town cop book and 3) a romantic suspense, complete with brimming love triangle. It’s the first book in a series, but Graves jammed ALL the setup for any future books into this one. I’m not reading on.

Challenge completed, but I wish I would have picked something else


Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep

Books 1-3:  Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost, Dark Frost

Gwen Frost is a 17 year old with a gift that allows her to gather information about people by touching objects.  The objects, like a hairbrush, can transfer impressions of people including their thoughts and feelings.  Typically, Gwen uses this for her part-time job of finding lost objects for her high school classmates, however, after an incident that revealed a deep secret about a classmate, Gwen finds herself launched into the world of Mythos Academy.

Overall, this was a fun YA read.  The introduction to the world and Gwen’s starting spot was well handled.  She didn’t need to walk through a portal or discover that she had magical powers.  Instead, she knew about her powers and how they worked.  Her mother and grandmother deliberately took her from the world that they belonged in.  It was a pretty solid technique for handling the transition.

However, reading them back to back meant that the backstory was carried through to each book.  This is definitely an issue for the series, and a challenge for authors – how do you convey the backstory succinctly, but with sufficient detail, that the reader can pick-up any where?  I’ve seen a few different methods used throughout my reading experience, with differing levels of success.  The one used isn’t a great example.  Fortunately, it’s something that I can skim quickly, find the end, and jump back into the current story.


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