#FemaleAuthorFriday – Ann Cleeves

I’m standing at my bookshelf, trying to decide who’s next for #FemaleAuthorFriday, and select Ann Cleeves because I loved her novel Raven Black.

I walk back to my computer and enter her name into Google. Holy shit … she’s written like 30 books and even has a few television show adaptations under her belt. I’ve had a treasure trove of crime novels waiting to be read and I had NO clue. I’m a terrible book nerd.

One could say my TBR just grew quite a bit. 

Ann Cleeves has had an amazing career. From being the first recipient of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award for Raven Black to being awarded the Diamond Dagger of the Crime Writers’ Association, the highest honour in British crime writing – she’s done it all. You can read her full biography here on her website

It’s been a few years since I read Raven Black, but I remember being at the beach with my family and unable to put the novel down. I flew through it. I’m sometimes overly critical of thrillers and crime novels, especially if I can accurately predict the ending, but this one had me on my toes until the end. 

Thanks to this post, I’ve learned that this novel is the first in the Shetland Series, so I’ll be running to the bookstore after writing this. 

For my last post I provided the synopsis for all of Lisa Maxwell’s novels, but I don’t think I want to sit here and pull the overview for 30 books. I also don’t think you really care to read all of that. So I’ve selected the four main books from the Shetland Series

For Ann Cleeve’s full catalog, check out her Goodreads Author Profile.

Raven Black (Shetland Island #1)

Raven Black begins on New Year’s Eve with a lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.

White Nights (Shetland Island #2)

It’s midsummer in the Shetland Islands, the time of the white nights, when birds sing at midnight and the sun never sets. Artist Bella Sinclair throws an elaborate party to launch an exhibition of her work at The Herring House, a gallery on the beach.

The party ends in farce when one of the guests, a mysterious Englishman, bursts into tears and claims not to know who he is or where he’s come from. The following day the Englishman is found hanging from a rafter, and Detective Jimmy Perez is convinced that the man has been murdered. He is reinforced in this belief when Roddy, Bella’s musician nephew, is murdered, too.

But the detective’s relationship with Fran Hunter may have clouded his judgment, for this is a crazy time of the year when night blurs into day and nothing is quite as it seems.

Red Bones (Shetland Island #3)

An island shrouded in mist and a community with secrets buried in the past . . .

When a young archaeologist studying on a site at Whalsay discovers a set of human remains, the island settlers are intrigued. Is it an ancient find – or a more contemporary mystery?

Then an elderly woman is shot in a tragic accident in the middle of the night. Shetland detective Jimmy Perez is called in by her grandson – his own colleague, Sandy Wilson.

The sparse landscape and the emptiness of the sea have bred a fierce and secretive people. Mima Wilson was a recluse. She had her land, her pride and her family. As Jimmy looks to the islanders for answers, he finds instead two feuding families whose envy, greed and bitterness have lasted generations.

Surrounded by people he doesn’t know and in unfamiliar territory, Jimmy finds himself out of his depth. Then there’s another death and, as the spring weather shrouds the island in claustrophobic mists, Jimmy must dig up old secrets to stop a new killer from striking again . . .

Blue Lightning (Shetland Island #4)

Shetland Detective Jimmy Perez knows it will be a difficult homecoming when he returns to the Fair Isles to introduce his fiancee, Fran, to his parents. When a woman’s body is discovered at the renowned Fair Isles bird observatory, Jimmy must investigate the old-fashioned way.”

#FemaleAuthorFriday – Lisa Maxwell

Welcome to the Disappear Here Book Blog’s first ever #FemaleAuthorFriday. In an effort to post more than book reviews, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my favorite female authors on the blog. 

I began this blog with a review of Lisa Maxwell’s The Last Magician, so it only feels right to begin this series with her as well. 

I first stumbled upon Lisa Maxwell in Barnes and Noble in Northern Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. I enjoy reading all of the recommendation cards scattered around book stores and there was a book titled The Last Magician with a note highlighting that the author was local to the area. 

I’m not sure if the synopsis stood out to me at that moment, but supporting a local author – yes, please. 

Once I began the novel, a love story began (between myself and Lisa, of course). I read the first novel in the series, eagerly picked up the second novel The Devil’s Thief (my review here), and now the third novel The Serpent’s Curse is next on my TBR. 

Side note, Lisa Maxwell also likes and comments on things I tag her in on Instagram. I know that may seem like a silly thing to some, but it makes me so happy I can barely contain myself when it happens. 

I won’t rehash her whole bio, you can read it here on her website, but one more cool fact is that she lived in Birmingham, AL, for a while – which is where I am now. Almost like we switched places. Maybe some of her motivation to start that first novel will rub off on me while I’m here for the next few years.

I’ve included the synopsis of her novels below, but if you like magic, badass female protagonists, a good love story that isn’t the central focus of the plot but OH SO perfect, and a fun adventure around the U.S. – The Last Magician series is for you. (Full disclaimer, I have not read her novel Unhooked.)

Unhooked

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home. Her mother believes they are being hunted by brutal monsters, and those delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. Gwen’s only saving grace is that her best friend, Olivia, is with her for the summer.

But shortly after their arrival, the girls are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and dragged into a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey. And Gwen begins to realize that maybe her mother isn’t so crazy after all…

Gwen discovers that this new world she inhabits is called Neverland, but it’s nothing like the Neverland you’ve heard about in stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through your fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and tries to find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the captivating pirate who promises to keep her safe.

Caught in the ultimate battle between good and evil, with time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to finally face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But can she save Neverland without losing herself?

The Last Magician

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1901 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

The Devil’s Thief

Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.

Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.

To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.

In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.

As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.

The Serpent’s Curse

Esta isn’t a stranger to high-stakes heists. She’s a seasoned thief who has no reservations about using her affinity for time to give her an edge, and she’s trained her whole life for one mission: travel back to 1902 New York, steal the ancient Book of Mysteries, and use its power to destroy the Brink and free the Mageus from the Order’s control.

But the Book held a danger that no one anticipated—Seshat, an angry goddess was trapped within its pages. Now that terrible power lives within Harte, and if given the chance, Seshat will use Esta to destroy the world and take her revenge.

Only Esta and Harte stand in her way.

Yet in their search to recover the elemental stones needed to bind Seshat’s power, Esta and Harte have found themselves stranded in time with a continent between them. As Esta fights to get back to Harte, the Order is no longer the only obstacle standing in her way.

Saving Harte—and magic itself—will put even Esta’s skills to the test. And all the while, another danger grows, one more terrible than both Seshat and the Order combined…