Archive for the ‘Washington State’ Category

The Gray quintuplets have lived their whole lives on Whidbey Island, Washington. It seems like they are more a part of the island’s ether than merely its inhabitants. The four boys and one girl, named after Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack (Peter, Frank, Lawford, Sammy and Marilyn, aka Pixie), are an integral part of the community, performing search and rescue operations and owning the bloodhound with the best nose in the state.

Bazillionaire Rupert Shepherd’s family are weekend and summer residents, owning the adjacent land that separates the Grays from the sea. Ten year old Grant Shepherd is a constant Gray visitor, especially on Sunday nights, hiding to delay his trip back to the mainland. So when Grant is missing one Sunday evening, Rupert immediately suspects the Grays of having a hand in it. However, this is the one time Grant is not there. While no one knows where he is, Pixie was the last Gray to be with him, earlier that morning, stating he was afraid of something.


Useless Bay  combines the perfect proportions of mystery and mysticism in this absorbing missing person story. While searching for Grant, Pixie communes with the long deceased Joseph Whidbey, skipper of the HMS Discovery, who in 1792 discovered the island bearing his name. There is an ample amount of search and rescue hampered by wind and driving rain, mystery as bodies are discovered, a touch of romance and a good dose of danger. Astute readers will figure out ‘who done it’ about two thirds of the way through the book, but that doesn’t dampen (yes, pun intended) the reading pleasure. Useless Bay is a perfect read for middle and high schoolers when the wind is howling outside and the rain is pounding against the windows. This is one of the few  teen mysteries I really liked.

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StrangeAndBeautiful“To many, I was myth incarnate, the embodiment of a most superb legend, a fairy tale. Some considered me a monster, a mutation. To my great misfortune, I was once mistaken for an angel. To my mother, I was everything. To my father, nothing at all. To my grandmother, I was a daily reminder of loves long lost. But I knew the truth–deep down, I always did…I was just a girl.” So says, Ava Wilhelmina Lavender, “..born on a remarkably clear Seattle night on the first of March in 1944.” The issue is that Ava Wilhelmina Lavender was born with wings. If the first paragraph isn’t enough to pique your interest, then I don’t know what is.

Ava’s story and that of her mother, grandmother and great grandmother is suberbly told by Leslye Walton in her debut novel The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavendar. For me to reveal any more of the story will do it a great disservice. Walton’s writing has this mysterious quality to it.NightCircus For some reason it reminds me of The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, regardless of the fact that the stories are in no way similar. Although there’s a form of fantasy in both of them.

About love and loss, this book did make me sniffle at the end. I know I’m a softy, but, hey, that’s me.

There are certain writers that warrant you to keep an eye out for and Leslye Walton is definitely one of them.

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