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Two things: 1) We are back after a long absence from book reviews with some fun things to recommend. 2) It's barely October and the stores are full of candy, costumes, and spooky decorations. Luckily, both books we wish to recommend as Autumn unfolds link these two facts. First, we love Book Jam friend KJ Dell'Antonia's latest novel - Playing the Witch Card. It's fun. It centers Halloween and we think you should read it and/or gift it to your friends. The second book we highlight, Agatha Christie's A Haunting in Venice, is a tale of a Halloween party gone horribly awry. This classic recently released as a major motion picture starring Kenneth Branagh. Read the book, grab some popcorn, see the movie, and enjoy a Happy Halloween!
Playing the Witch Card by KJ Dell'Antonia (2023). A magical tale about small town life, embracing who you are, second chances, letting go, the life changing power of cookies, and the importance of family (even dysfunctional, extremely broken ones). Brief plot summary -- Flair's readings of a particular deck of hand painted tarot cards (that answer only to Flair, her mother, and grandmother before her) result in magic. Flair hasn't seen the deck since she stole and hid them from her tarot-obsessed mother decades ago. Recently however, Flair and her 13-year-old daughter, Lucie, have returned to her hometown to restart life without her cheating ex; and well, the cards return as does some magic. All of this plot revolves around a huge Halloween festival and explores the cost of reuniting with friends and foes. A Kirkus review calls it "a complex tale about motherhood and witchcraft…” We call it fun and a perfect gift. Be sure to enjoy New York Times bestselling author KJ dell'Antonia's latest as soon as possible. ~ Lisa Cadow and Lisa Christie
A Haunting in Venice, initially published as Halloween Party, by Agatha Christie (1969). Despite sharing the same surname, I have not read many of Christie's novels or short stories. I tend to know her work from streaming channel showings of movies adapting her prose. I am glad I broke this trend recently in an airport bookstore when I picked up A Haunting in Venice and finished it in one fell swoop while flying over the USA. In this 35th Hercule Poirot mystery, Joyce, a testy teenager, claims to have witnessed a murder just as a Halloween party begins. By the end of the evening she is discovered drowned in a tub of apples. Of course, Hercule Poirot is called in to solve the case, or is a double-murder? Enjoy! ~ Lisa Christie