Fall Reading Challenge – What We Are Reading

We hope you are enjoying this year’s Fall Challenge!  It will probably come as no surprise that we are reading books in the challenge categories right along with you!  We thought we would share a few that we have enjoyed so far:


Deanna read: Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew

“This book had caught my eye earlier this year, but the Fall Challenge finally made me place it at the top of my TBR pile. Set in South Africa, this is a gentle mystery much in the same manner as Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.  Tannie Maria (“tannie” being a respectful form of address) is a middle-aged widow who likes to cook and writes a recipe column for the local newspaper.  When her assignment changes to an advice column, she decides that she will help people through food – there is nothing that a good recipe cannot solve.  Or so she believes, until she gets a letter from a woman about her abusive husband.  Tannie Maria, who has some experience with abusive husbands, urges her to leave.  Instead, the woman is murdered.  Tannie Maria, along with her fellow reporters at the newspaper, decide that it is their responsibility to help the police solve this crime.  No matter that the police do not want their help, or that helping might place all of them in danger.  I really enjoyed this one – it had all the ingredients for a fun mystery read.  And I really want to try to make the Perfect Buttermilk Chocolate Cake!”


Jess read:  The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

“This is a YA title and a recent pick for Reese Witherspoon’s book club, and I just found the premise really intriguing. Eighteen year-old Daunis Fontaione lives in Saulte Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She is the daughter of an Ojibwe man and a white woman who happens to be the only daughter of one of the town’s oldest families. Daunis struggles to straddle both worlds, especially given the recent tragic death of her uncle and her grandmother’s recent stroke, a double blow that has knocked her mother into a sort of melancholy state. Because of this, talented and hard-working Daunis has opted to forgo her dream to attend the pre-med program at University of Michigan, and begins a program at college closer to home. Then she meets Jamie, a Cherokee descendant, a star hockey player, but also a long way from home. The two bond over being a part of – and also not part of – their respective tribes. The plot really gets going when Daunis finds herself assisting in an FBI investigation into the proliferation of a particularly addictive and deadly illegal substance in the community. Daunis is torn between being the bright, intense and honest girl she’s always been, and helping with the investigation to find out the truth about her father and uncle, and hopefully save her community before it’s too late.”


Jess read: Outlawed by Anna North

“This novel is a fascinating new tale of the West, sort of like True Grit meets The Handmaid’s Tale. The year is 1894 and Ada, a young woman in a small Dakota town, is about to start her life as a happily married woman. That is, until about a year into the marriage, having tried everything, she remains childless. In the religious and under-educated community of which she is a part, barren women are deeply mistrusted and risk being accused of witchcraft. Ada’s mother, a midwife, while knowing well the truths of women’s reproductive health, understands the danger of deeply superstitious neighbors and quickly sends Ada to a nearby convent where she will live and work as a nun. In the convent library one day, Ada happens into a new text on women’s health penned by a progressive doctor in Southern California seeking to refute prevailing superstitions and understand the true medical causes of various ailments that plague women. Ada decides she must go there. She manages to get north and runs into the Hole in The Wall Gang, led by the infamous outlaw known only as The Kid. The gang is composed of a thrown together group of women and nonbinary people who, for one reason or another, have been cast out of their communities and have found in each other a new unit, a family that allows their true selves to shine. while frosty to the outsider at first, they recognize Ada’s value for her medical knowledge, and allow her to hang on. It’s not long though, through various heists and dangerous predicaments, before the relationships deepen and become indispensable. This is a fast-paced read, with a wholly original plot and a surprising ending.”


Deanna read: State of Terror by Louise Penny

“Ok, maybe this was actually from the Fast Track table and not the new book room, but it is definitely a new book!  And I have been really looking forward to reading it!  Louise Penny is one of my favorite mystery authors and I have been very intrigued with the idea of her writing a political thriller with Hillary Clinton.  Ellen Adams is appointed Secretary of State by the new President, who also happens to be a political rival.  She is immediately plunged into a crisis – three buses have exploded in big cities in Europe and no known group is taking credit, making it clear that these acts of terror are the beginning of a bigger plan.  The events plunge Ellen and her team into a race against the clock, in which she must use all of her political skills to negotiate with allies and foes in order to stop a terrifying attack on US soil.  My favorite part? That it is the women who are the real heroes in this page-turning tale: Ellen, her best friend and counselor Betsy, her daughter Katherine, and a young Muslim woman Anahita who helps them crack the case wide open.  If you like political or spy thrillers, then you will enjoy this.  If you like Louise Penny, look for a cameo from a certain Chief Inspector!”

We can’t wait to hear about what you are reading!  Remember to turn in your card by November 22nd, either at the main desk or by emailing it to jfitzhanso@chelmsfordlibrary.org. You will get one raffle ticket for every category you complete and be entered to win fun prizes!  Happy reading!