A Red Herring Without Mustard (Flavia de Luce #3) by Alan Bradley (Amazon link)
Aspiring chemist and frequent Know it All Flavia de Luce is back for her 3rd book with a new mystery. This one gets off to a rather ominous start as Flavia gets a rather terrifying fortune while visiting Gypsy, Finella, at the church fair. Anytime Flavia is involved in a situation chaos tends to break out and the fair is no exception ending with a fire and Finella needing a place to stay. I enjoyed getting to see more of Flavia and getting a little more insight into her mother Harriet who has always been a shadow in the background. The mystery itself was interesting though it felt a little convoluted with a missing baby, multiple violent attacks, and lots of stolen property. I'm not sure if it was the book itself or the fact that I had a lot going on while I was listening but I never really felt like the story fully came together. I did feel like I got the answers I wanted and their were a few tantalizing clues dropped that have me anxious to read the next book in the series.
This was a series I hesitated to read because the main character is a young girl. However, while Flavia does come off as immature at times but it didn't come off as annoying. I do feel for her a number of times because despite her brilliance you get flashes of the lonely little girl she really is. This book isn't my favorite in the series but I did enjoy it and it's definitely a series I plan on continuing with. If you enjoy audio books at all this series is read by the fantastic Jayne Entwistle. I love her voice and her ability to really bring scenes to life. Rating - Good
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey. Words cannot describe how much I wanted to love this book. I was so sure I was going to love it that I ordered it new, in hardcover, without a gift card, and then put it on the very top of my TBR pile despite never having read any of Colin Dickey's other books. I love history, I love ghost stories, I love learning bits of odd information so I was so excited.
That excitement lasted until I actually started reading the book. I was still on board when I saw the places listed in the table of contents. Some were places I had heard of - the Winchester Mansion, The House of Seven Gables, The Stanley Hotel, and Myrtles Plantation - and some were completely new to me. The book itself is exquisitely researched. I have no doubt that the author spent hours on each location researching the actual place, history, as well as attitudes of the time and literature references. My problem is that not only did I feel all the time spent researching while I was reading but all the information felt a bit disjointed and I lost the focus of the actual story that he was trying to tell a number of times. I made it to page 119 before I finally called it quits. There was so much information that got lost in the sheer load of data and I finished several chapters not quite sure exactly what the subject was. Honestly, this book just wasn't for me. While I love the idea of the book I found that the actual book just felt like all the fun had been left out. Rating - DNF