The Book Shelf: Winter Blues

Does winter have you feeling blue? When the weather is cold and you don’t feel like budging from a comfy chair, you can warm yourself up with a good winter mystery or by planning ahead for spring cleaning. If you are looking for an indoor activity to keep you warm, check out these reads.

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In Bitter Chill

By Sarah Ward

When a local housewife is found dead, the ensuing investigation will turn the small Derbyshire upside down. This particular housewife was the mother of a girl who disappeared thirty years ago and her death digs up the past, as well as a web of deceit that has long plagued the community. At the center of the community’s misfortune is Rachel Jones. Rachel’s childhood was haunted by an event that occurred when she was in grade school. One day she was walking to school with a classmate, Sophie Jenkins, when Rachel and Sophie were kidnapped. Rachel was able to escape and return to a semblance of life, but Sophie was never heard from again. These events were so traumatic that Rachel suppressed her memories of that day, and has little conscious recollection of the events surrounding the kidnapping. On the anniversary of the kidnapping, the case is brought into the lime light when Sophie’s mother is found dead, by an apparent suicide, in the local hotel. The week following the apparent suicide, one of Sophie and Rachel’s elementary school teachers is found murdered in the woods, at the same location where Rachel was found several hours after the abduction. Rachel feels the connection between her abduction and the current investigation and tries to retrieve memories from the earlier kidnapping to shed light on the current case. As Rachel delves into the case, and attempts to uncover her kidnapper, danger waits to confront her as she gets closer to the truth.

In Bitter Chill is Sarah Ward’s debut novel. She masterfully weaves a dark tale of small town society, family secrets, and relationships. The style of this work is easy to read and shows a great attention to detail in the development of the characters and description of events. Ward delves into the topics of child abuse and incest to illustrate that all secrets have a price.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

By: Marie Kondo

This book provides a detailed approach to organizing any space. The author, Marie Kondo, has developed her own method of cleaning-up, KonMari, that she believes will keep followers organized for good. Due to this book’s popularity, and it’s spot on the New York Times Bestseller list, many consumers are buying into Kondo’s cleaning philosophy. Throughout the work, Kondo explains why her method works and the steps that anyone can take to de-clutter and organize their space. The step-by-step method that Kondo outlines is easy to follow and her explanations of why each step is important will keep readers interested in her methodology. One of the key concepts of this approach is the ability to de-clutter and discard unneeded items before beginning the organizing process. This work will guide readers on an organizing journey that will make it easy to keep any room or space clean.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a key resource for readers who are looking for an easy-to-follow method for organizing their home or office. Kondo’s claims of never needing to have repeat clients may seem far-fetched, however, the method’s popularity cannot be denied. Whether you are looking to organize your whole house, or just one room, this book may be what you need to get your cleaning started on the right track.

If would like to find additional fiction titles, check out NoveList Plus. This online resource, available through the Mid-Continent Public Library, will help you find fiction books that appeal to your personal reading style. For non-fiction titles, check out Books & Authors.


Stacy Hisle-Chaudri is the Assistant Branch Manager at the Parkville Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library. Stacy has worked in library and archival environments for ten years, and is a native of the Kansas City area. She has a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University and a Master of Arts in History from the University of Central Missouri. Her areas of expertise are reader’s advisory, technology instruction, and genealogy research.