The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

Title: The Last Place You Look
Author: Kristen Lepionka
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Source: Columbus Metropolitan Library

Book Cover of The Last Place You Look

I listened to this on audio book so I missed small details that I’d normally catch when reading the ebook or print version but I still really enjoyed it. The narrator was perfect.

It has bits set in Columbus so it was nice to see my hometown so prominently featured. It has neighborhoods and restaurants that are still around so it didn’t come across as dated.

It was interesting reading this during a pandemic and a time of protests against police brutality and racial inequality. The accused murderer is a black man on death row for allegedly killing the parents of his white girlfriend who went missing the same night and is presumed dead. Roxane is going to parties to do more investigative work.

It’s really well written. There was a red herring that I didn’t believe, partly because it was halfway through the book and partly because Roxane was so adamant that it was the right answer. The situations in this book were taken from headlines.

Roxane Weary is a complicated character and I’m glad there are more books featuring her. (The fourth one comes out next month.)

Before this one was published, a mutual friend who knows Kristen said that Kristen had done a ride-along with the police as part of the research. Our mutual friend is a big pusher of Kristen’s books! 🙂

I actually met Kristen at The Great American Read Trivia Night 2018 at the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Our mutual friend got a lot of ribbing that night because she wasn’t there. I attended that night with members of my book club, which includes our mutual friend. Without knowing Kristen was there we all ended up at the same table.

Unfamiliar Familiars by Megan Lynn Kott and Justin DeVine

Title: Unfamiliar Familiars
Author: Megan Lynn Kott and Justin DeVine
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Source: NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Book cover for Unfamiliar Familiars

The witch and her black cat are an iconic partnership, but every witch is different—shouldn’t you have a familiar as unique and powerful as you are? Leave the toads and crows to the basic witches and consider some unconventional options when seeking your own arcane animal companion!

With a helpful quiz to get you started, UNFAMILIAR FAMILIARS is a lighthearted and humorous guide to finding the familiar best suited to your personality and particular magical needs. Filled with playful pop culture references, unusual and engaging animal facts, and aww-inducing artwork, UNFAMILIAR FAMILIARS brings a magical twist to the animal fact book for companion-seeking witches everywhere.

This was a spur of the moment pick from NetGalley. I follow the publisher on Instagram and during the pandemic they’ve been posting a lot of stories which I actually watch and don’t swipe through. This cover caught my eye and then seeing who the publisher was… I grabbed it.

It appeared it would be a lighthearted read and possibly provide some laughs. At 96 pages it could be read in a day or two, but why push yourself? These 40 unique familiars aren’t going anywhere.

The books notes what a familiar is, how to choose one, and how to summon one prior to explaining who would make a good match for each familiar. It’s important to remember that a familiar is not a servant or a pet!

According to a decision tree (if you don’t want to summon a familiar), the Ball Python would be a good match for me. They are a limbless cuddler known for getting along well with witches allergic to dander.

That’s me, exactly!

Great at hugs. Cool. Shed their skin every 4-6 weeks which require renewing the pact? Okay. Renaming must also be done and can’t be a repeat of the last 6 names. Ummm. I guess that’s why the witches they’re paired with must have good memories!

The drawings are all cute. The descriptions of the animals as familiars veer into silliness. Who doesn’t need a bit of silliness now and then? As the authors noted, if the facts couldn’t be found, then they just made it up.

Bonus points to Megan Lynn Kott for proclaiming Valiant, the 3-legged Corgi as her familiar. I would’ve done the same.