Top 5 Tuesday: August 24, 2021

This week features cozy mysteries, romance, and a highly-anticipated short story collection! Which one are you most excited to read?

Without a Brew by Ellie Alexander

It's winter in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington, which for local brewmaster Sloan Krause means lots of layers, pine and citrus-flavored craft beers, and getting the new guest rooms at Nitro into pristine condition before visitors flood in for IceFest—a local tradition filled with fireworks, ice carving, and winter games of all varieties. But Sloan and her boss Garrett quickly learn that being brewkeepers turned innkeepers may not be as idyllic as it sounded.

While one couple staying with them seems completely smitten, a flashy group arrives in the evening demanding rooms. Sloan and Garrett are less than impressed, but agree to rent to them anyway. The night takes a turn when brewery patron Liv Paxton finishes her frothy pint and, with no previous plan for an overnight stay in Leavenworth, eagerly takes Sloan up on the offer of sanctuary from the snow—until she has a strange run in with some locals and the other guests. Sloan could be imagining things, but when Liv's room is found trashed the next morning, a hateful message painted on her car, and Liv herself is nowhere to be found, Sloan is convinced another mystery is brewing. With many of the potential suspects hunkering down under Nitro's roof, she knows her co-workers and friends won't be safe until she serves up the killer a hoppy pint of justice.

The Paris Connection by Lorraine Brown

When Hannah and her boyfriend, Simon, board their train with only a few seconds to spare, they're confident that they'll make it to Amsterdam in time for his sister's wedding. But unbeknownst to them, the train is scheduled to divide in the middle of the night. And when it does, half of it continues on the route to Amsterdam. And the other half--the one with Hannah in it--heads 300 miles away, to Paris.

Left without her luggage, ticket, cell phone, or hope of reuniting with Simon, Hannah has no choice but to spend the day in Paris before the next train out. Worse than being stuck in a foreign city alone, though, is being stuck with Leo, the handsome but infuriating Frenchman who blames Hannah for his own unwanted detour. The series of mishaps that sends them traipsing through the City of Light seems like only further proof that Hannah's day has gone from bad to worse. So why is it that the more Hannah takes in the glorious sights and sounds of Paris--and the more time she spends with the increasingly intriguing Leo--the more she finds herself beginning to question the safe, tidy life she's built for herself back home in London?

Warm, witty, and brimming with the romance and nostalgia that can be found only in Paris, The Paris Connection is the unforgettable story of how the wrong road can sometimes lead us in the right direction.

Planet Lara: Tempest by Eliza Gordon

Although Dea Vitae has been evicted from Thalia Island, Lara and her grandfather’s eco-utopia are still in peril. Rupert’s ongoing cancer treatment in Vancouver deposits Lara at Thalia’s helm—with no idea how to navigate the rough waters. And Finan is back after two tense weeks of silence, but the sting of his unscheduled departure lingers.

Beyond the grind of running her own “planet," Lara must contend with the reappearance of Jacinta Ramirez, a fugitive Rupert has been shielding for years. Jacinta unveils disturbing secrets that reshape the history Lara’s been fed about her late mother’s past—and how much that past threatens to derail their cumulative future.

When stress sends Lara back to the bottle, Finan reminds her that slipping into old habits won’t fix things. As she tries to pull herself together, a tragedy brings her and Finan close again, but with a series of cryptic clues arriving on Thalia, the mystery of the cult, and its sought-after treasure, deepens.

Lara and Finan must work with investigators, and a few unsavory players, to dismantle the sinister machinations of Dea Vitae before it destroys their blossoming romance, and the sanctity of Thalia Island herself.

Knocked Scentsless by Langley Gray

My husband is now my ex, my career is at a standstill, and I’m basically squatting above my empty storefront in a tiny mountain town in Washington. The only thing getting me through is tinkering with my perfumes. I’m a “nose” whose job is to create the perfect fragrance, but I’ve been stuck working on my signature scent for months.

If that wasn’t enough, my biggest critic - Old Man Joe - just died, and a bottle of my perfume was found on his person. I can explain, I promise, but no one wants to hear me out.

Thankfully, I have some help. Joe’s old English Bulldog (it’s a long story), and a local firefighter (yes, he's objectively handsome).

I have a list of suspects in mind, all of whom were at the annual dog Olympics and had the opportunity to kill Joe. I may be one base note short of an alibi, but I’ve got to find who knocked Joe scentsless, and fast, or I’ll be left with nothing.

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction—stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013—as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection.

Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion.


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