Bee has a summer job in the taxidermy department at the Museum of Natural History, but when her supervisor is found dead with a pocket full of glass eyes, she channels her inner Nancy Drew to find out what's really going on at the museum. Was it suicide, or murder? This book was a little odd, but in a quirky, not-totally-unbelievable way. I did see the twist coming, but I found that satisfying rather than annoying, like an achievement to have worked it out before Bee did. I also appreciated the way romance was handled in this book, with very realistic teen complications that don't overshadow the main plot or Bee's characterisation. All in all, a thumbs up from me.
In an alternate world where The Great Library of Alexandria wasn't destroyed, it has instead spread knowledge across the world - but in a tightly controlled manner. Owning private books is illegal, something Jess, son of a book smuggler, knows all too well. When he applies for a job as a Librarian, he learns more of the dark underbelly of the Library and has to choose when to fight for it, and when to fight it.
You know how they say never judge a book by its cover? I totally ignored that advice. Things I love: quills, books, butterflies, the colour blue. Things I don't really care for in my reading: fantasy, long series with an indeterminate number of books to completion, wars/fighting. So I'm not coming at this as one of Caine's target audience. That said, it was an enjoyable read, and if it had been the first of a trilogy rather than a longer series I'd probably be tempted to finish them. I liked Jess and his world, and the theory behind the library's control of knowledge. It's also well-written and well-paced, so for those who are in Caine's intended readership, I'd recommend it.
A ten-day retreat at a health resort attracts nine strangers - Frances, the romance writer and victim of a romance scam; Jess and Ben, the couple with more money than they know what to do with; Tony, who had a health scare and wants to get back to his former glory; Lars, the health resort junkie whose partner wants something he doesn't; Carmel, the mother of four who blames her expanding waistline for her divorce; and Napoleon, Heather and their daughter Zoe, trying to escape the memory of the worst week of their lives. Running the resort is Masha, a woman whose methods are unorthodox, and who wants these nine people's lives to change almost more than they do.
It's always hard to judge a famous author whose previous books you've loved; you both have high expectations and are willing to make allowances that you mightn't if it was the first of theirs that you'd picked up. I love Liane Moriarty's voice and she has some great little bits of social commentary in here (and a slightly indulgent but fun metafictive passage). Her characterisation is also very strong, despite the large number of characters in this one story. This book disappointed me, compared to her others, because of the plot, which was just... bizarre. The premise starts off okay, but the villainy of Masha and some strange twists around characters' histories all started to border on unbelievable for me. It won't stop me from reading more Moriarty, but this particular title isn't high on my list, sadly.