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October 18, 2019 - November 1, 2019

This contest period's winners were Bonnie G., Margaret M. and Sherri H., who each received a copy of BLUE MOON by Lee Child and THE DESERTER by Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille.

 

Bonnie
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

4
Nonfiction. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as some of his others, but anything by Gladwell is better than 95% of the books out there.

Bonnie
Chances Are... by Richard Russo

4
Wonderful novel by the Pulitzer Prize winner and so well-written. You'll savor it.

Julie
The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary

4
This is a fun read. The characters are engaging and their shenanigans are fun. Nothing real deep here, but it's a feel-good read.

Debra
Defending Israel by Alan M. Dershowitz

5
A fascinating and highly informative look into the history and present situation of modern Israel. I was impressed with Israel’s many triumphs and accomplishments while being troubled, saddened and angered by its many challenges and threats...past and present. If you read this book, your mind will be challenged, you will be encouraged to think and you might just walk away with a new found respect and appreciation for Israel.

sandra
The Other Brother by Brandon Massey

5
Suspenseful read. Father, rich business man, had a secret. He had an affair. This produced twin sons. Father took the one, the other remained with the birth mother. The other son shows up. All kinds of things happen.

sandra
Off by Aaron McDowell

5
Wow! A fantastic, quick read. People are not always as they seem to be. Mild-mannered guy turns out to be some peoples' worst nightmare.

sandra
The Best People : A Tale of Trials and Errors by Marc Grossberg

5
A very interesting read. Former cop, now lawyer, opens up a firm. He gets a formerly rich kid to be his partner. They handle family law; i.e. divorces of the rich and famous. They get in over their heads, forget the ethics. All sorts of consequences happen as a result.

sandra
Bolt by Bryan Cassiday

5
New author for me. Really good read. PI takes on a case of a cheating spouse. It turns out to be more than that. Drug dealing, murders with a bow and arrow, FBI and gangs, made this an interesting read. Wish more backstory given, though. Unhappy about the dog!

sandra
Arrogance in Lincoln County by Paul Johnston, Sr.

5
Excellent, fast read. Deputy in a small town thought he was above the law. Beat his wife and kids, had affairs, drank like a sailor. Neighbor witnessed this, spoke to the deputy about his behaviors. Deputy threatened neighbor. A plan was made.to stop the deputy. It was genius!

sandra
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

5
Thank you so much for sending me this book. I read it for 3 nights, falling asleep and it falling on my face. I did not want to put it down! She and her son endured the most horrid thing that could happen to a family. So glad they were able to hide in the small spot in the bathroom. Lydia's horror at realizing she actually was friends with the killer of her family would have destroyed most people emotionally. How she made sure she and her son survived, all the smart things she did like belting Luca on the train roofs, meeting up with the two girls who knew the ropes and joining forces, and safety in numbers were great. I understand why and how she had to do this. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things.

sandra
Mother Knows Best by Kira Peikoff

5
This was an amazing book. Your choices have ramifications beyond the present. Two scientists decide to do a procedure that was not approved. They had to enlist the help of another person. That is where things get weird. Two of the three people go into hiding to protect someone else. The other person went to prison. Sometimes secrets, can turn deadly.

Alina
The Bones of Saint Pierre by Steve Knapp

5
This book was recommended to me by a friend who had heard the author speak at the Woodbridge Public Library. It combines two of my favorite genres: historical fiction and mystery. Without revealing the plot, I will just say that the main character becomes involved in trying to save French art from appropriation by the Nazis. I was thoroughly engaged in the book from page 1. Sadly, because the book was not published by a big publisher, it may not get the publicity that would to help sell more copies. It is sold by Amazon.

Sheldon
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

5
Coates writing is so powerful it makes the story of Hiram, a slave, a mesmerizing journey filled with heartbreak and unforgettable characters.

Nancy
The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally

5
There are so many books currently out about World War II. This book is about World War I, and really gave me a lot of insight into that war and time. The author wrote SCHINDLER'S LIST, which I had read, but also nearly 20 other books that I had not even heard of. This one is a long -- 500-plus pages -- a sweeping epic that tells the story from the standpoint of two sisters who serve as nurses during the war. Even though it's told from their perspective, and not from the battlefront, you still get a clear picture of the gruesome war. There's humor and love stories to soften the hardness of "The War to End All Wars", and it's beautifully told and well worth reading, but still a sad lesson in how cruel wars are to all involved.

Patricia
The Gown by Jennifer Robson

5
Really enjoyed learning how Princess Elizabeth and her impending nuptials brought a sense of hope and recovery to the Brits after the devastation of the war. The point of view of the embroidery team who worked so diligently to create the perfect gown was wonderful.

shannon
The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs

4
I loved this book! On the surface is a well-written engaging, seemingly lightweight, novel. But, suddenly, you are drawn into the characters lives and circumstances. Wiggs brings depth to her characters and they became people you will care about! She also reminds us of the importance of friends and a support group - whether you are the one needing support or the importance of being there for someone else.

Simonne
Cemetery Road by Greg Iles

5
OMG, what a page-turner. Southern mystery includes everything. A corrupt as hell good ole’ boys club. First love gone awry. Unfortunate deaths. Mysterious deaths. Lots of money.

Sherrie
The Poison Garden by A. J. Banner

4
Is Elise just unlucky in love or are all guys/husbands bad guys? We find out in THE POISON GARDEN, a story of love had, love lost and love that grows. Also, there are herbs, spices and flowers which make for all kinds of amazing potions which are used for wonderful reasons, and the there is Juliet. All Elise tries to and wants is to have a happy life with her doctor husband, Keiran. She has recently lost her beloved mother and very soon finds life is not the life she has been living. Thankfully, she is friends with her neighbor, Chantal, and together they forge a way to find answers to questions about Keiran. Never underestimate the power of a woman!

Nonie
Pretty Guilty Women by Gina Lamanna

4
I like the way the author wrote from each characters' reactions and perspectives for each occurrence happening.

Gerry
Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner

4
Weiner's best book yet. She said in a recent booktalk in Philadelphia that she had wanted to tackle more serious subjects in this book, and she succeeded in doing that while still developing a very engaging plot. Based in part on Weiner's own mother, who came out as a lesbian after marrying a man and raising several children, MRS. EVERYTHING focuses on three generations of women, looking at their choices and the constraints they faced in making them, the influence of their past experiences on the decisions they made, and the outcomes of those choices. I liked and empathized with all the main characters; despite (or because of) their flaws, they all resonated with me and I found myself rooting for each of them to find happiness.

Gerry
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates

4
Melinda Gates makes her case for empowering women and changing the world with stories from around the world, highlighting the women who have inspired her and the lessons they have taught her. I highlighted and saved quite a few quotations from this powerful book and recommend it to anyone interested in making this world a better place for ALL. “As women gain rights, families flourish, and so do societies. That connection is built on a simple truth: Whenever you include a group that's been excluded, you benefit everyone. And when you're working globally to include women and girls, who are half of every population, you're working to benefit all members of every community. Gender equity lifts everyone."

Gerry
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

5
MOLOKA'I tells the story of Rachel, who was placed at age eight in a quarantine camp for those who'd contracted leprosy, where she remained essentially imprisoned for most of her life. It's fiction, but based on real events, and is another example of a piece of history many of us know little about. The story spans the years of the early twentieth century, and includes the WWII era when Japanese-Americans were also interned in camps in the Southwest U.S. to "protect" America during the war with Japan. Rachel's is a heartbreaking story and a sad part of our past. The book is very well written and completely engaging throughout.

Gerry
Fall and Rise: The story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff

5
This account of the events of 9/11 was often difficult to read, but valuable for humanizing the victims, the survivors, and first responders, and shedding light on their painful and terrifying experiences on that awful day. From news reports, the official 9/11 report, and many, many interviews, Zuckoff gathered so many details about the attacks and the people at each site that day, and wove them all into a unforgettable story of struggles and heroism.

Gerry
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

4
An engaging story of three generations of Palestinian Arab women in America. The oldest, Fareeda, is determined to maintain strict Arab Muslim cultural practices, which in her experience place extreme restrictions on women. Her daughter-in-law, Izra, tries to be equally devout and to please her husband and his mother, but chafes at both the constraints and the abuses she must endure, and worries for her daughters' futures. The third generation is represented by Deya, Izra's oldest daughter, and her struggle to assert her own wishes and desires even as they conflict with the demands of her culture. The women's lives in this novel are sad and desperate, and I hope are not truly representative of the typical experiences of Palestinian women.

Gerry
My Life As A Rat by Joyce Carol Oates

4
I'm torn between 4 and 5 stars, so going with 4-1/2. Oates has penned a painful but compelling story of a young girl who was transformed from beloved youngest child to complete outcast at age twelve, when she witnessed an event that confused and troubled her deeply. Themes of family secrets, loyalty, racism, male predation and female vulnerability make this a story that will resonate with me for a long time.

Gerry
Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

5
Magnificent! Lisa Genova has done it again; she's brought her readers into the world of a terrible disease, created characters who evoke empathy and compassion, and developed a memorable story that will resonate for me for a very long time. I know I can't fully imagine the experience of both the ALS patient and also his/her loved ones, but Genova has brought me closer to understanding, and for that I'm grateful.

Gerry
Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride

5
Here's a book I recommend to everyone and anyone who cares about civil rights and equality for all. Sarah McBride's account of her own transition and her advocacy on behalf of others in the LGBTQ community is emotionally touching and very informative. She weaves together the personal, cultural, and political strands of her life in a story that cannot help but open minds and hearts.

Gerry
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

3
3-1/2 stars. For a good portion of the book, it seemed unclear where it was going and whose story it really was. The early chapters meandered slowly across the lives of two young couples, then changed in the last third of the book to a focus the lives of two of their children. But the ending was satisfying, and did seem to pull some divergent plot lines together at least to some degree. This was a story I liked, but didn't love, despite a very realistic portrayal of some features of Irish-American culture that seemed very familiar to me. In the end, it's a story of complex relationships and family histories that reminds the reader that marriage is tougher and more complicated than most newlyweds expect.

Gerry
I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott

4
After the first two essays, I almost put this one aside. I'm not quite as Type-A as Philpott, and was not sure I was all that interested in reading about her trials and tribulations with people in her life who didn't live up to her standards. But because a friend had recommended this (thanks Brittany!) I persisted, and am oh, so glad that I did. There were touching stories, and laugh-out-loud moments, and spot-on observations that made me feel as though Philpott were watching MY life at times. A very good collection that I'm happy to recommend to all my reading friends. I'll be looking for more of her essays and perhaps checking out her literary interview show, A Word on Words, if I can find it available online.

Rosa
The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz

5
David Lagercrantz continues Stiegg Larsson's Millennium series with this book. I'm so grateful. In this installment, Lagercrantz develops the character of Lisbeth Salander even further, along with the unique friendship she shares with journalist Mikael Blomkvist. This plot is complicated and I had a bit of difficulty keeping all the characters straight. Nonetheless, it is a thoroughly entertaining book.

Trezeline
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

3
A good story about an unusual house in Pennsylvania. Well written and surprising in some parts.

Betty
The Overstory by Richard Powers

4
Extremely interesting but overly long novel in praise of trees and their contribution to the well-being of our planet.

S
Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman

3
Book club read for November.

Brian
Backlash by Brad Thor

5
Excellent thriller. As usual Scott Horvath is at his best. Definitely one of Thor's top edge-of-your-seat page-turners.

Tessa
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

5
Based on the author’s own life experiences, this novel tells the story of a family “safely” ensconced within their gated community in Bogotá, Columbia in the early to mid 1990s. I loved that Contreras used two different young women (girls, really) to narrate this story. The viewpoint alternates between seven-year-old Chula and Petrona, who is the family’s teen-aged maid. Each has a limited viewpoint due to their life experiences. I was completely immersed and engaged in their story from beginning to end. It’s a strong debut for Contreras and I look forward to reading her future works.

Linda
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

4
Wow. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and it packs a punch. Lily’s father abuses her mother, and Lily can’t understand why her mother stays in the marriage. And she vows that she won’t ever put up with that. And then, of course, she finds herself in a relationship where her handsome neurosurgeon boyfriend pushes her to the floor. And another time he pushes her down a flight of stairs. And she marries him, and then... Ms. Hoover does a very good job with a difficult subject, and her story is so believable. Her characters are well developed, and the journal entries, the letters (unsent) to Ellen DeGeneres really bring the reality of a childhood lived in a home where abuse was the norm to the fore.

Pauline
Pale Horse Coming by Stephen Hunter

5
This book has it all - fascinating characters, an amazing sense of place, intricate, absorbing plot, and compelling language. I always know when an author is superb - he or she has me reading many pages on a subject I have no interest in! Hunter had me so enthralled, I kept reading through sections that added such rich layering that I couldn’t resist them, even though I could have skipped them without missing any plot.

Gil
The Price of Honor by Aleatha Romig

5
While this was a good book to read with many eye-popping surprises, I had difficulty having empathy for Oren Demetri, the main character of the story. Oren married Angelina, the niece of the head of a crime family. Oren did some bad things but sought to relieve his conscience by doing what he thought were good things. In fact, the creed of the crime family justified doing anything to protect their own. I thought the book was well written and it moved quickly along. I would read more books by Aleatha Romig. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to win it.

Donna
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

4
Thoroughly enjoyable book about a family raising their four daughters, each one so different and yet all came from the same background.

Charlene
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

4
Can a book ever be more heartbreaking? Truly one of the greatest tragedies on Earth is the injustice of the millions of victims that survived the Holocaust. The things people had to do to survive was animalistic, if not incredibly evil. And everyone knew they didn't have a choice. This is especially true to the survivors of the death camps, particularly those from Auschwitz, like Cilka Klein. Charged with "sleeping with the enemy," Cilka has been unfairly sent to a work camp in Siberia after living in the horrors of the Holocaust. There she endures countless evils of humanity. It is incredible how Morris' has characterized Cilka as a calm, hopeful person throughout it all. She never lost her humanity and truly aspired to help others.

Jan
They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

2
Dear Ms. Hall -- you really failed me this time. Please go back to your police procedurals with a wonderful female protagonist. I read this because I loved the other books. I realized that some of this may be because of the ending (which I am not disclosing) and because most of the participants are drunk or high on various drugs. This is a story of a mean man who plans a horrible ending for the people he protected while he was dying. Except we do not know the full story of any of the participants (victims) until after they are gone. The book is rambling - as is the language of most of the characters. I think the point of the book is that all people get what they deserve in the end. I do not believe this.

Lori
The King's Justice by Susan Elia MacNeal

5
I was delighted to get the opportunity to read an advice copy of Susan Elia Maclean's latest Maggie Hope book as I have read and enjoyed the whole series. I think this one is even better than the previous books as it reveals more about Maggie's complex feelings as she recovers from the trauma of the events in the last book. I found the book did a great job covering many of the issues people had to deal with during WWII. The book not only was a good mystery, but also a fascinating character study. I highly recommend the book.

Linda
Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

4
4.5 stars. My first Linwood Barclay book, and now I have to see what else he’s written. I could not put this book down, finished it in just over 24 hours. Someone is sabotaging elevators in New York City - the world’s most vertical city. When the mayor orders all elevators be taken out of service until they can be inspected, the city comes to a standstill. There were so many things I didn’t see coming, and one that I did foresee. The mayor was easy to hate, while Barbara (and eventually Arla) were easy to love. I think this book was so believable, because with all the technology running things today, the scenarios don’t seem so far-fetched. What a page-turner!!

Jan
The Other's Gold by Elizabeth Ames

3
An adult coming-of-age novel. Four first year female college students are assigned to a student housing suite. They become friends - argue, fight with each other, tell secrets, and become solid friends. This author writes about mistakes that each of them made, whether they share this information or not, regrets, and sharing info about their actions. Most of all they support each other - into adulthood, marriage, children. The book is slow reading but I read every word, even the boring parts. There is a lot of filler - sideline stuff about protests and sexual affairs - so the book is not an easy read. I suppose some of the actions would be be informative to a naive adult.

Jan
The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

4
I received this book from the publisher through a Goodreads drawing in return for an honest review. This is about a historical event, the Kindertransport before World War II when brave citizens moved hundreds of children (many Jewish) from the hands of the Nazis who were taking over Western Europe. Specifically, one Dutch woman, Geertruida Wijsmuller, played a major role in the rescues, bringing many children, including babies, out of the Gestapo's hands. Some had passports, visas, exit permits, some did not. This woman traded fake rings, food, and compliments with the German guards to get the children to England, Spain, France, and Switzerland. An amazing story - good for a book group discussion.

Cheryl
Crime and Paradise by Julie Howard

3
Brian moves his wife Meredith and kids to the middle of nowhere. Brian is abusive and Meredith dreams up ways to kill Brian until one day, he turns up murdered. Meredith tries to survive on her own with the police on her trail, and a bag full of money she finds in the attic. She must figure out who killed Brian before she gets arrested for murder. This is a great murder mystery. I couldn't figure out who did it until the end.

Adrien
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

4
THE SILENT PATIENT begins with the murder of Gabriel Berenson. The only clue to the murder is a self-portrait painted by the woman accused of shooting him, his wife. Alicia Berenson named the portrait after a Greek myth in which the main character, Alcestis, is a heroine. Alcestis sacrificed herself to save the life of her husband, Admetus. Six years after Gabriel's murder, Theo Farber (a 42-year old psychotherapist), gets a job at a psychiatric facility called The Grove. Alicia Berenson has been living there in complete silence since the death of her husband. Alex Michaelides' debut novel is the story of who shot Gabriel Berenson in his north London home and why they did it.

Linda
Willing to Die by Lisa Jackson

5
Detective Regan Pescoli is still on maternity leave but flies to San Francisco when she learns that her sister Brindel and husband Paul have been murdered. She introduces herself to the detectives in charge and says she wants to be involved. Her niece Ivy is missing and police wonder if she was involved. In addition to the murders, Regan learns that Paul’s gun collection is missing and two safes have been cleaned out. Ivy is found and says she knows nothing, but Regan and the detectives knows she is lying.

Linda
Not the Duke's Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

4
Freya de Moray is presenting herself as Miss Stewart, companion to Lady Holland. While at a country house party, she runs into two people from her past - Christopher Renshaw, now Duke of Harlowe, and Messalina Greycourt. She and Messalina had been best friends until a tragedy occurred that broke the families apart and she realizes how much she has missed her old friend. Christopher had been best friends with her brother and had been a gangly youth when she last saw him. Now he is all man. She and Christopher act on their mutual attraction and fall in love. He wants to marry her but she is too independent. Freya is a member of the Wise Women, a group of women thought by some to be witches and wants to tell him, but can she trust him?

Linda
The Russia Account by Stephen Coonts

5
Admiral Jake Grafton, head of the CIA, has his aide Tommy Carmellini working on rumors coming out of Estonia. Billions of dollars from Russia are being deposited into a small branch of the Bank of Scandinavia. By the next day, the money is being wired across the globe. Investigation by Tommy and Sarah Houston, IT analyst at the CIA, reveal that no actual money is being deposited but it is treated as real money when it is wired out of Estonia. Fake money then becomes real money. Obviously Russia is behind this, but why? Grafton thinks someone in the United States thought it up and sold it to the Russians as a way to disrupt the U.S. economy. But who?

Linda
The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

5
What a great book! Thank you Goodreads for the ARC. Growing up in the foster care system, Grace never knew love until and she and her sister were sent to Mrs. Giano, or Mama G as she preferred to be called. Now grown, Grace finds herself raising her niece and taking care of Mama G who has dementia. Grace is befriended by Sarah, her neighbor and librarian. Grace tries to hold herself aloof but the town won’t let her. It needs her guidance to survive. She tells them she is only there for one year but finds herself changing her mind and becoming a part of the community.

Linda
The Mating Season by Laurie Horowitz

4
Sophie Castle is an ornithologist and is filming birds in Egypt. Her cameraman is Rigg Greensman who is talented but extremely hard to get along with. This is his last chance. As Sophie gets him to see the birds as she does, he understands her commitment. He wants to help her and has her talking to the camera rather than just filming the birds. She does and gives the birds personalities in her talks. Attraction soon blooms between them but his old love is a well-known actress and is filming closeby. Would Rigg go back to his glamorous love or will he choose down-to-earth Sophie?

Linda
Blind Spot by Brenda Novak

5
Dr. Evelyn Talbot has been kidnapped and wakes to find herself in a tiny cell. Sergeant Benjamin Murphy (aka Amarok) is frantic and talks to inmate Jasper Moore who tells him he thinks the kidnapper could be Lyman Bishop. Bishop was badly beaten by Jasper and is in a hospital in Minneapolis supposedly half-paralyzed. Bishop is sly and has fooled everyone. He wants Evelyn. Amarok drives himself to the brink trying to find Evelyn. They are due to be married in a few weeks and she is carrying their child. Evelyn is also frantic when she learns Bishop has masterminded the whole thing. He is known as the Zombie Maker as he gives his victims a lobotomy through their eye with an ice pick. She knows whats in store for her if she can’t escape.

Linda
Heaven on Earth by Constance O’Day Flannery

5
Lots of laugh-out-loud parts as a modern girl deals with being sent back in time. Casey has a hard time adjusting to life in 1878, especially having to use chamber pots! With Luke’s advice and help, she learns to live in the moment and not linger in the past or worry about the future. He tells her he’s a time traveler and is sent by a higher power to help people. She has fallen in love with him and he tells her she should not fall in love with him. He never knows when he will be sent somewhere to help others. She tells him too late!

Jackie
A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

5
Make that 6+ stars. Fantastic true story of an American debutante in the early 30s through the 60s. She overcomes a personal tragedy to turn into the "world's" most devious and decorated spy of that era while dealing with the typical male dominated/oriented field of intrigue. It's been weeks since I read it and still my mouth hangs open when I think how intelligent and amazing she was and able to overcome her disability to accomplish the things she did. Never ever have I felt the need to have the need to call someone "My Hero", but I sure do now!

Liz
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

4
Christina lives her entire life on her family’s farm in coastal Maine. She was born with a physical impairment that doctors cannot diagnose. She is the only daughter in the family and when her parents become infirm, the duties of running the farm fall upon her. Andrew Wyeth spends his summers in Maine and asks if he can paint at the farmhouse while there. This arrangement lasts many years and Christina becomes the subject of his most famous painting "Christina’s World". The story is beautifully written and my only criticism is that I wish the book had been written as one continuous story instead of going back in forth in time. This caused the story to lose its momentum.

SHELLY
When Life Gives Your Pears by Jeannie Galligan

4
I thought the book would be all about the brain tumour Jeannie Gaffigan had. She is a strong and funny person at times and definitely knows how to take a horrible situation and not only get through it but uses some humor along the way. Her children and her husband help her thru the journey and they all came out better people. So when life gives you lemons, yes, you can make lemonade.

Julie
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

5
Dynamic read. Spans 50 years and delves into the lives of one family that buys into "The Dutch House," and how it changes all of their lives. What was meant to be something wonderful turned into something that would be life-changing for the family and forever change the pace and path their lives would take. Suspenseful in that it is not predictable, the way the situation changes between what the children learn about their family, specifically their mother who chose to leave them. As the book progresses friends and employees of the family come forward and provide details on what went wrong and how they saw things change. For the son and daughter of the family it was life-changing and predicted the paths they would take in adulthood.

Ilene
Tiffany Blues by M. J. Rose

5
TIFFANY BLUES is a fascinating novel about a young, struggling artist, Jenny Bell, and a terrible secret she is hiding. It is 1924, the jazz age, and we read about all the beautiful descriptions of when Jenny gets invited to Louis Comfort Tiffany’s prestigious artists colony.

Anita
The Passengers by John Marrs

4
Eight people in self-driving cars in England are informed by a hacker that they will be dead in a few hours. No reason is given. The public can hear the hacker and can vote for one of the eight to survive. Some of their secrets are revealed and reasons given why they should die. The reasons the hacker is doing this is not revealed right away. This is a somewhat interesting book, though very unusual.

Judy
The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

5
Absolutely one of the best books I've read in a very long time. Just a really good story, but also educational as I learned of the book program established by the government and of the unique group of people who lived in the area. GREAT book!!!!

Susan
Vegas and the Mob by Al W. Moe

5
This book tells all about how Las Vegas got started and by whom. It starts with Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky of the Chicago Mob and tells of how each hotel got started from the ground up. The FBI had a lot of the mobsters' businesses bugged and knew what was going on but did nothing for over ten years. Now Las Vegas is mostly run by legitimate corporations. The mafia stole millions of dollars from each casino every day and never got caught even though the FBI knew what was going on. This is a detailed version of the birth of Las Vegas till today.

Francisca
Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres

3
This is a memoir of growing up with parents who adhered to a religious fundamentalism but who were abusive to their children. Scheeres focuses on the differences in treatment of herself and her adopted “twin” brother, David, who is African American. The first half of the book details their childhood and early school experiences. The second half of the book focuses on the time they spent at Escuela Caribe, a sort of “boot camp for Jesus.”

Sean
Certain Prey by John Sandford

3
I continue to love Lucas Davenport, the protagonist here, but sadly his adversaries weren't up to par. Between the two, neither seemed believable. One was a ridiculous caricature and the other had an interesting story but was bland. Heroes are defined by their villains. Davenport continues to have flaws and not be "supercop" but he still impresses. John Sandford does a great job of showing the inner workings of how a police department might work a case. Overall, the book was good but far from the best in the series.

Pat
Sanctuary by David and Beverly Lewis

5
Definitely read this book! One of best books I’ve read. You don’t want it to end. Put it on your list.

Pat
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

5
First time to read this author...but won’t be the last! This book was riveting...such a wonderful book.

Pat
Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

3
I have ALWAYS loved his books and couldn’t wait to buy this one. However, I was disappointed...the storyline was still good but the crude/foul language was way too much! It seemed every other word was one I hate with a passion. I’m not a prude but this was overkill. I will glance through his next book before buying to check out the language.

Donna
The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

5
A perfect marriage...built on the husband's lies. I would NEVER have come up with an ending like the one in this story. Brilliant.

Donna
Beartown by Fredrik Backman

5
Backman has done it again. A marvelous book that involves relationships, betrayal, teamwork, revenge and survival. This is a book that I will not forget.

Donna
The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin

4
As Hitler is invading Europe and headed towards Paris, Chanel and Schiaparelli are battling for dominance to recognized as number one in fashion design. They are opposites in almost every way; nationality, childhood, design, color, style and politics, but are equal in ambition and dedication. This book brings us to their "last collection".

Donna
The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

2
Three women have been friends since their college days. They made a vow to get together for a week in August for the rest of their lives in order to keep their friendship intact. This is a story of how their lives are changed during one of their annual vacations.

Donna
I've Got My Eyes on You by Mary Higgins Clark

2
After the final party before the seniors head off for college, Kerry is found dead at the bottom of the family swimming pool. During the party, she and her boyfriend had a fight and it's assumed that he killed her. He claims he came back after the party and they kissed and made up. If he didn't kill her, who did and why?

Matt
The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar

4
An interesting first novel about the WASP during WWII. Deals with the training and jobs of the women who freed up men to serve in service by transferring aircraft during the war. It is also a romance story as well. Well done.

Matt
Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson

3
The latest Longmire book. Interesting but not the best. Longmire is still recovering from Mexico and the action is subdued. The wolf is the most interesting character.

Ivy
The Expatriates by Janice Y. K. Lee

5
Three American women living in an expatriate community in Hong Kong, each with their share of problems, are trying to cope in a society that is altogether different from the one they come from. This is an engaging story told from various viewpoints with a climatic ending.

Marilyn
Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming

5
A thrilling mystery in the Clare Fergusson/Russ VanAlstyne series. Looking forward to the next in the series due out in the spring!

Aidan
The Ignorance of Bliss: An American Kid in Saigon by Sandy Hanna

5
THE IGNORANCE OF BLISS is a fun and educational memoir told by a spunky adventurous animal loving 12-year-old girl named Sandy. It highlights sibling relationships, eavesdropping on military intel and an atypical American childhood. Fascinating and wild tales that paint a picture of a country and time many American civilians know little about, revealing truth behind the Vietnam War.

Diane
The Right Time by Danielle Steel

4
An excellent story featuring a young woman who has had a trying upbringing, but who manages to be guided using her talent and intellect. Alex manages a life as a crime writer while hiding from the general public. She is aided by a group of nuns who take her in when she is orphaned, but also by people in the world of writers. Maturing is more difficult, but even that comes to her at the right time. Alex and her mentors have stayed with me long after I finished the book.

Linda
All About Evie by Cathy Lamb

4
Evie, her menagerie (dogs, cats, horses, alpacas, goats, lambs) and her eccentric mother and aunts, are adorable - all of them. Evie has the gift, or curse, of second sight, which complicates her life greatly. She really likes the hot vet on the island, but has a premonition that he’ll drown if she’s with him. She has a recurring premonition about driving on a road along a hillside - but so does Betsey - same premonition, but Betsey sees a truck in her premonition, Evie sees a car. And of course, this eventually happens. This book is definitely quirky - Evie runs a bookstore where she sells coffee and baked goods and hosts book clubs, and bullies her customers into reading outside their comfort zone.

VERA
Confessions of an Innocent Man by David R. Dow

4
Imagine being arrested for the brutal murder of your wife, and you're not even home when the crime was committed. Can justice finally rule? Author will keep you reading till the very end.

John
Crier's War by Nina Varela

5
Human and "Automae" fight for supremacy in the war to end all wars!

Betty
Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

3
It reminds of Victoria Holt or Phyllis Whitney that I read in high school. A long dead captain of a ship haunts a young damsel. Not one of her best.

Margaret
Destination Dark Zone by Susan May

5
With Susan May's new collection of dark short stories plus a novella, she has once again made me a happy reader. She amazes me with her endless imagination & the fascinating & well-developed characters. The novella is a prequel entitled DRIFT. If you read THE TROUBLES KEEPER you'll like that the prequel is about protagonist, Rory Fine, when he was 7 years old. He was a special person even then. The short stories have storylines that can happen in real-life such as a problem with a police cruiser, winning a lottery ticket, a cruise ship with an on-board virus and a train ride from hell. After each story, check out the author's Imagination Vault where Ms. May goes into details that puts the story into perspective and tells how she created it.

Paula
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

5
One of my favorite authors - I love her novels. Danny is telling the story. He and his sister Maeve are exiled from the family home, The Dutch House, by their stepmother after their father dies. Danny is still quite young. Maeve takes care of him. This a tale about two young people of wealth that find they have nothing. The novel spans five decades. Ann Patchett is wonderful with character development.

Thomas
The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

4
Excellent book to read. Very good book.

Tessa
The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk

3
This is a humorous coming-of-age story with a bit of a mystery thrown in and featuring an unlikely hero. Will Halpin is deaf, overweight and struggling to make friends in his new school. I’m glad to see a YA book that features a main character with a disability who finds ways to deal effectively in a world that doesn’t always made accommodations for him. It's a fast read, and I loved Will and Devon's humor.

Linda
Almost Midnight by Paul Doiron

5
Mike Bowditch testified that he saw his friend Billy Cronk shoot a man to death but the prosecutor refused to listen to the reason why and Billy was sent to prison. Mike learns that a fight broke out at the prison and one guard was killed while another was slashed badly. At the hospital, he learns that Billy saved the life of the female guard. Mike sneaks in to see Billy and he tells him more is going on at the prison and he is afraid for his family. As Mike researches the prison guards, he finds his own life in jeopardy and is unsure who he can trust.

Linda
Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti

3
Angus Force is building a new team for the Homeland Defense Department. One of his first men is former detective Malcolm West who is burnt out after a recent undercover mission where he was too close to the family. West is moved into a home next to Pippa Smith who was formerly part of a cult. Force has heard rumors that the cult is planning something big and he wants to know what and if Pippa knows anything. West is to get close to her and find out if she knows anything. No one planned on personal feelings to get in the way.

Linda
Proof of Innocence by Lenora Worth

3
Erin Eagleton is on the run from Congressman Harland Jeffries after she saw him shoot his son and watch him die. Jeffries ordered his henchman to take her and kill her but she got away. After several months on the run, she has been found by her old flame Chase Zachary, Capitol K-9 officer. He believes her and tries to keep her safe until Jeffries can be found. Records have been found implicating him in corruption schemes and he will certainly go to prison. Jeffries is still out there and wants Erin dead.

Linda
Playboy Pilot by Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland

4
Kendall Sparks is in an airport bar trying to decide where to escape to when she meets drop-dead-gorgeous Carter Clynes. He tells her Rio is nice this time of year so she buys a ticket to Rio. In the plane, she’s shocked when she hears the pilot’s announcement and realizes it’s Carter. This begins their whirlwind romance with all the highs and lows. He had been a playboy pilot and dated a lot of stewardesses but that is in his past and doesn’t interest him anymore. There is only one woman for him and that’s Kendall.

Linda
One Good Deed by David Baldacci

5
Aloysius Archer takes a debt collection job with Hank Pittleman. Hank wants the money owed by Lucas Tuttle but Lucas won’t pay until his daughter Jackie leaves Hank and returns home. Then Hank is found with his throat cut and Detective Irving Shaw sets his sights on Archer as his prints were found on the doorknob to Hank’s room. Shaw and Archer discuss who might have committed the murder and work together to solve it.

ILene
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

5
Margaret Jacobsen finally gets the dream job she worked so hard to get, and has the most perfect boyfriend who she thinks will finally pop the question. Well, she gets gussied up with a strapless dress, her hair and makeup just right, when he says, “Before we go to the restaurant I have a surprise for you”. They end up at an airport where he was taking flying lessons. He hadn’t passed his test yet, but he felt it was just a matter of time. He finally talks her into taking a short spin with him when he finds a small plane with no one around. She really doesn’t want to go, and she is really scared, but he finally convinces her, reluctantly. They start out when the worst storm starts.

pat
The Gown by Jennifer Robson

5
In 1947 London, rationing is continuing as a terrible winter full of snow adds to the difficulty of recovery from the war. Wages are low and Londoners are trying to rebuild. A young woman lands a job as an embroiderer at Hartnell, a maker of gowns for the royals and the very posh. Ann is pleased to have a position and she is soon joined by a French expat named Miriam. Miriam has survived the horrors of Ravensbruck and is seeking stability from her shattered experiences. When Princess Elizabeth announces her marriage, the shop is chosen as designers of the gown for bride and wedding party. So much to do and the girls work diligently to craft a very special design of embroidery for the veil. There is a 2017 connection as well.

Sharon
Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani

5
This is an interesring story of a fictional Italian American woman living in Greenwich Village and working at B. Altman department store. She meets many challenges in her employment and in her family life as she makes important decisions. The style of writing is engaging and also humorous.

Sherri
Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews

4
This novel was about the conflicts that arise when an LA film crew (main character is the location scout) takes over the small town of Cyprus Key, FL in order to make a film that does not yet have a script and whose lead actor is just out of drug rehab. Chaos ensues and relationships begin, unravel and are rebuilt. I found the plot line and subplots new and different. The book kept my attention even though it was somewhat predictable because the author included the right amount of unexpected twists and turns.

Lillian
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

5
This book is told from the viewpoint of a family dog who believes in reincarnation. He wants to live a good life so he cane come back as a human, and since he wants to be well-prepared for being a human, he observes everything he can and watches lots of television. There are lots of humorous parts of the book, but there are also many parts where I needed to have a handy box of tissues. I haven't seen the movie, but will probably do so.

Jamie
Mrs. Morris and the Ghost by Traci Wilton

5
I really loved this book, the first in a series. Charlene's husband passes away and she decides to move to Salem (yes, THAT Salem) and purchase an old mansion to redo and make into a bed and breakfast. On her first night there, she is awakened by the ghost of the previous owner, Jack. She finds out that Jack died under suspicious circumstances and he will not leave her alone until she helps find out what really caused his death. He appears at the most inopportune times and only she can see him. This story is humorous and mysterious. I can't wait until the next installment in this series. I highly recommend this book!

Judy
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

3
YA book highly recommended by a librarian.

Esther
Contraband by Stuart Woods

2
What is up with all the sex and drinking? I'm not close to being a prude and don't mind characters having an occasional romp when it's germane to the plot, but this book was so over the top it could have been written by a 14-year-old boy with too many fantasies. Certainly not up to Woods' typical standard. Would not recommend.

Lois
The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro

4
Very interesting idea. How a vanished artist was traced by a family member many years later and was found. Ending was a little hard to believe.

Sheree
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

5
It was so well written! I couldn't put it down - the storyline was so interesting. After reading this book I realize the other books I have read, while good, didn't have the depth of this book! He deserves all the praise he is getting for this book. An incredible read!

Mary
She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

4
A solid 4-1/2 stars. This crime thriller is so fast-paced I read it in 5 hours non-stop. The plotting is tight and the setting believable. The dialogue is realistic. A stripped down adventure in which gray areas predominate. I loved it!

Lori
A Cruel Deception by Charles Todd

5
I was delighted to win a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I have read and enjoyed the entire Bess Crawford series, and this one was a great addition. It's wonderful that the authors can sustain the quality of the series through 11 books and leave the readers wanting more. I flew through the book within 24 hours of receiving it. It was suspenseful and very atmospheric, depicting life in the aftermath of WWI. I highly recommend this book.

JAMES
Ferns to Know and Grow by F. Gordon Foster

5
Makes any one an expert. Also the illustrations are an added benefit.

Rosemary
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay

4
From the author of SARAH'S KEY, a family reunion in Paris of a disconnected family that tries to rediscover the closeness they once had while the city is suffering continuous rain that leads to devastating flooding. When illness strikes both parents, the brother and sister must overcome past tragedies and work together to face the future.

Carolann
Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante

5
This book surprised me in the end. It is about a divorced woman starting over after losing her daughter. She moves to Half Moon Bay and little girls begin to go missing.

Gina
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

4
This is a mystery of a missing person told by different characters to advance the story. I learned about Chinese culture. This book explores the family bonds. The ending came as something unexpected.

Sandra
The Precipice by Paul Doiron

4
Wonderful book about death on the Appalachian Trail. Maine warden Mike Bowditch leads the hunt for a vicious killer.

Nina
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

4
Wonderful character development and intrigue make THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL a great read. Stacey Lee is a fantastic wordsmith!

Sally-Jo
Beyond All Reasonable Doubt by Malin Persson Giolito

4
I hadn't read anything from this author before. It was a good legal drama with an unexpected ending.

Donna
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

4
A mother's love helps her daughter escape from Nazi Germany by enlisting the aid of a Gollum. The fantasy story mixed in with the bleakness of the times adds a different dimension to World War II stories.

Joan
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

5
Rather horrifying to read about the Holocost but truly makes one thankful that we live in a free country.

Linda
A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean

4
This novel switches between present day and World War II. After being betrayed by her long-time boyfriend, Gillian goes home to her father and grandmother in Connecticut to regroup. Her father shows her photographs he has found of her grandmother with a Nazi officer, and so Gillian and her father confront the grandmother to find out what this means. And so, with many twists and turns, we finally get the truth, as the grandmother releases secrets she has held for so many years. Gillian flies to London and Berlin to find the truth about the Nazi officer - I won’t say more about him so as not to spoil the story for anyone else. But she does get the truth, and brings closure to her grandmother. Wonderful characters and a great story!

Susan
The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede

5
Everyone should read this and never forget what happened on 911 and who we owe many thanks to.

Elizabeth
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

3
I had a hard time getting into this book. It's the first Toni Morrison book I've read. Though written years ago, the issues young black men face have sadly not changed. It was beautifully-written prose but I found many of the actions of the protagonist and his friend Guitar to be inexplicable to me.

William
Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham

4
One of my favorite authors introduces a new lead character, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven, who consults with the Nottingham police on the grisly murder of a young skater who has Olympic potential. A second case involves Cyrus with a teenager, Evie, who has been in a secure facility for several years awaiting identification as she won’t answer questions about her name or age. The two cases move forward slowly and eventually intersect with a fantastic finish. Well worth reading and I suspect the first in a new series.

Michelle
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

5
This was my second time reading, with the first being in high school, so what an interesting perspective to read again as an adult and mother. I can’t wait to read THE TESTAMENTS.

Jamie
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

5
This book was AWESOME! I started reading and could not put it down. It had a mind-blowing twist that will shock and delight you at the same time. A great psychological thriller. I loved it! Alex Michaelides hit this one out of the park!!

Christine
The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

5
Spooky and utterly absorbing, this story spans 58 years and tells of the mystery of a family secret, and the girls who unraveled it one fateful summer. Like THE WINTER PEOPLE, the book alternates between past and present. This kept me interested the entire time. Ms. McMahon is very good at character development and creating atmosphere.

Nadine
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

4
Olive's journey to self-discovery, a leading man (Ethan) worthy of a woman's love, and plenty of tears and laughs along the way.

Ilene
Laura by Vera Caspary

5
A great who-dunnit that starts when journalist Waldo Lydecker is telling the story of Laura to Mark McPherson, the detective investigating her violent death. We are led to see Laura as Waldo’s creation, teaching her how to be a lady and to appreciate the finer things in life. The detective is slowly investigating the case and slowly falling in love with the woman she was. Her fiancée Shelby Carpenter is practically living off of her, and Aunt Susan always telling her he would not make a good husband. What a great mystery, when everyone isn’t who they seem.

Deborah
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

5
Extraordinary. Some books leave fingerprints on our minds, an indelible impression that occupies our thoughts as we journey through the pages. This is one such book. I couldn't categorize it other than to tell you that the author's imagination will bring you to places that will haunt you for a long time.

Jean
Before and After by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate

5
For anyone who has read BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, this book, BEFORE AND AFTER, is a must. It covers stories and remembrances from several of the stolen children. Also tells about how a "reunion"of the TCHS children happened and what some of the results were/are. It's easy reading and a compelling story that held my interest. Due to a review of the book, I had this reserved at my library before the official release date.

Debbie
No Sunscreen for the Dead by Tim Dorsey

1
I have come to the point in my life that if a book does not interest me, I stop reading. I labored with NO SUNSCREEN FOR THE DEAD by Tim Dorsey. The storyline was absurd and the language disruptive. I saw the storyline going nowhere, and the book a waste of precious time.

Debbie
The Oracle by Jonathan Cahn

1
THE ORACLE by Jonathan Cahn promised an interesting topic about religion, but again, the writing style flopped. I felt that reading as a hobby and for personal enlightenment has disappeared. I do not usually “give-up” on books, but already have reached two strikes.

Debbie
Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen

4
I thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Spyness Series and LOVE AND DEATH AMONG THE CHEETAHS provided a journey into Africa and an experience in that culture in the 1940s. I was very surprised by many aspects of the story which Rhys Bowen explained at the end of the story were the truth. Spouse swapping, alcoholic drinking, and drugs among the English settlers were a common occurrence. I had never known that at night, Africa is extremely cold. The story opened my eyes to the rawness of life in Africa that Rhys Bowen dramatically presented. I felt that this book showed Rhys Bowen as an eloquent novelist.

Debbie
Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop by Jenny Colgan

4
The holiday season has begun, and I need my holiday story. CHRISTMAS AT ROSIE HOPKINS' SWEETSHOP by Jenny Colgan displayed so many of the holiday traditions and miracles. The story is set in an English village with loads of amazing characters. The book is part of a series, but this book stands alone very well. I adore the writing style of Jenny Colgan and will need to read more by this funny and thought-provoking author. Rosie’s mother, brother, sister-in-law, and their three children come to visit from Australia, and what a crazy bunch. Then we have Earth Mother Hester and her crazy ideas concerning the life of her son, Edison. Of course, Stephen, Rosie’s boyfriend, must decide if Rosie is “the one”.

Alice
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

5
Even though I've read other Morrison books, for some reason I missed her very first one. So well written. Disturbing on many levels but a necessary read to learn about how other people have lived. Emotionally draining at times, but well worth it.

sandra
The God Game by Danny Tobey

5
High school kids play a video game. It is called The God Game. To me, it is more like The Devil Game. They play through their phones and with special glasses. If they do well and accomplish the missions God gives them, they are amply rewarded. These rewards are money, a special kind of coin, and they can get revenge on people who hurt them. Of course, there is the reverse side. God sends them messages that threaten them, and if they do not obey, worship, and do what he says God tries to tear these kids apart. Great read.

sandra
Angel Dark by G. Ernest Smith

4
Good, fast read. Young girl ends up with mysterious powers after being left in the desert. She was living at a girls juvenile home. Military tried to catch her and use her as a guinea pig. She escaped. This book could have used a proof reader. Many errors. Otherwise, I would have given it a 5.

sandra
Oddball in 3G by Marc Berlin

5
Wow! Fantastic read. People are not always as they appear to be. Young guy loses his job. Makes him kinda crazy but only when provoked. He meets a woman but finds out he cannot trust her. He helps out a friend and this gets him in all kinds of trouble. It ended the way it could due to events.

Jan
Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt

5
This book blew me away. I thought I was well informed, knew a lot about the world and then this book came up for my book club. My opinion is that every human being should read this book, authored by a Pulitzer Prize winner. It is a report of a family with a transgender child, a twin. Both are boys and dad is excited - he is a real he-man and looks forward to teaching his boys about hunting, fishing and man stuff. Mom understands that the boys are very different - by the time they are a year old. Dad can not deal with this. Mom forces herself to get educated about this because one child is very non-masculine as he grows up. The real problems begin in school - where does the kid go to the bathroom? Obstinate adults become hurtful. Amazing.

Karen
The Girl Who Lived Twice by David Lagercrantz

5
Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist for Millennium, hasn't heard from Lisbeth Salander. He discovers she has moved when he goes to her home and finds another woman who says she has purchased the place. Mikael remembers that Lisbeth's last words to him were that she wanted to be the hunter not the hunted. The enemy she is pursuing is her twin sister, Camilla (aka Kira) Salander. There is "bad blood" between the sisters so Camilla wants to finish off Lisbeth. The bad feelings originate from their childhood when the beautiful Camilla aligned herself with their cruel, Russian spy father, Zala, who brutalized their mother, Agneta. Lisbeth as well as her friends are at risk. Who will prevail - beauty or brains?

Thomas
Me, Elton John by Elton John

5
An excellent book. I really enjoyed reading the book.

joy
Blue Moon by Lee Child

5
I love all the Reacher novels. You never know where they will lead you. Some I will reread.

joy
The Deserter by Nelson DeMille

3
He's a good writer. Still trying to check out this author.

Elizabeth
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

5
I’m in my 60s, and I just read A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN for the first time. So many people told me they loved the book. But they read it when they were youngsters, and I didn’t know how I would feel about it as an adult. After one short chapter I could tell that this is a book I would have loved when I was 11 or 12 years old. But I thought this would bore me now. I kept reading, though. I can’t say I loved it, but I will say I appreciated it quite a bit. And there was a point in the middle of the book when I felt like crying and again at the end. So if you’re an adult who hasn’t read A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, I think you should give it a try. Definitely give it to an 11 or 12-year-old. It’s timeless.

Jan
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

4
This wonderful author has done it again, i.e., written a real book about real people who may be related to you or me. A broken family, mom has cancer, daughter is so selfish but has two children that she can not support, their daddy is in prison. The whole book is sad. But I know these people; you may know them, too. People who have sex, never consider protection, then cannot take care of the children - financially, emotionally - can not even feed them. The children are raised by their grandparents. Over all this, some people in the family can hear spirits, can hear animals talk, can hear the grass. And sometimes, the unburied sing all night long. It is a book to make us think about how we are raising our children. Shows racism.

Tessa
Wicked by Gregory Maguire

2
2.5 stars. This is a re-telling of THE WIZARD OF OZ, told from the viewpoint of Elphaba, the “Wicked” Witch of the West. I thought Maguire’s book went just too far afield in directions I never expected. Some of the scenes were downright disturbing. Still, it’s definitely imaginative, and there are some scenes that really forced me to think about assumptions, first impressions, and entrenched behaviors. So, while I can’t say I particularly enjoyed the book, I am glad to have finally read it.

Noreen
The Man That Got Away by Lynne Truss

4
I won this book and it's a change of pace from your regular polished police stories. A 1957 Brighton murder. Constable Twitten seems to be the only policeman with good sense. It's a "fun" story as the characters are off the beaten path. And then there's the criminal mastermind who works for the police.

sandra
Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

5
This book was amazing. What happened in here left a lifetime of heartache for this family. Especially the little sister. Family on vacation has a tragedy. Little sister cannot let it go. She ran into, literally, one of the people supposedly involved in the tragedy. Then, the sister starts her own investigation. Eventually, she gets to know the man in question.

sandra
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

5
Thank you so much, for sending me this book. I read it for three nights, falling asleep and it falling on my face. I did not want to put it down! She, and her son, endured the most horrid thing that could happen to a family. So glad they were able to hide in the small spot in the bathroom. Lydia's horror at realizing she actually was friends with the killer of her family would have destroyed most people. Emotionally. How she made sure she and her son survived, all the smart things she did. Like belting Luca on the train roofs. Meeting up with the two girls who knew the ropes and joining forces. Safety in numbers. I understand why and how she had to do this. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things.

sandra
The Other Brother by Brandon Massey

5
Father, rich business man, had a secret. He had an affair. This produced twin sons. Father took the one, the other, remained with the birth mother. The other son shows up. All kinds of things happen.

sandra
OFF by A. C. McDowell

5
Wow! A fantastic, quick read. People are not always as they seem to be. Mild mannered guy turns out to be some people's worst nightmare.

Ilene
Murder by Ghostlight by J. C. Briggs

5
MURDER BY GHOSTLIGHT is the third in the series by J.C Briggs of the idea of having the great 19th century novelist, social reformer, journalist, Charles Dickens, and sometimes detective, found directing a play that he is also appearing in. It is the end of the day and Charles Dickens goes next door to a pub with the rest of the cast. He hears a shot next door at the theater, runs in and on the stage he sees someone sleeping on a couch. Is he sleeping or is he dead? Then he hears someone clapping and laughing. Mistakenly, he picks up the gun and shoots at the shadow. Now he gets accused of the murder. What a dilemma! So many twists and turns. Another good book in the series.

Helen
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

5
Could not put this book down! It's a real thriller; so intriguing and suspensefully written. Could not figure out how it would all end -- until it did.

sandra
Bolt by Bryan Cassiday

5
New author for me. Really good read. PI takes on a case of a cheating spouse. It turns out to be more than that. Drug dealing, murders with a bow and arrow, FBI and gangs, made this an interesting read. Wish more backstory given, though. Unhappy about the dog!

Bonnie
The Last Girl by Nadia Murad

5
Murad recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, and if you read this harrowing, uplifting memoir you'll understand why.

Brady
Home by Julie Andrews

5
What a wonderful memoir of her early years of life and showbiz. Her story is exhilarating to the human spirit where the evidence of hard work and never giving up (no matter what) is exemplified. If you can't get inspiration from Julie's story you have a major problem. I recently read a review of her new memoir just out and thought I would like to read the first one she wrote. This is it and it is just great in every way.

Becky
The Guardians by John Grisham

5
Quincy has been rotting in prison for years convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Cullen Post, a minister and a lawyer, along with the rest of the Guardians agree to help him. Who are the bad guys? They are really bad, well protected and have no compunction against killing a minister, a lawyer, a prisoner, or anyone else who gets in their way. Grisham, a master of the crime field, has another winner in THE GUARDIANS. The clever plot is convoluted enough to keep you guessing, but not enough to discourage you as you race to discover the bad guys. As usual with a Grisham novel, few “bad words”, few sex scenes, the violence takes place off page, but the twists and turns, riveting plot, and fully developed characters will keep your attention.

shelly
Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

4
Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to find out who is responsible for the recent deaths that they think is caused by the Veneno gang. They have never worked together before, but since both of there partners are unavailable they are set to work together. The chemistry seems to be working and now as they get more familiar with each other they learn secrets each of them has kept hidden for years. Working for the FBI is not easy and takes up almost all of one's time which leaves little time for private life. Both are single but dedicated to the job. As they start investigating the deaths of police officer Ian Greer and prosecuting attorney Marcia Trevelle they are now informed that Judge Nicolas Mendez was also murdered.

Becky
Before and After by Judy Christie and Lisa Wingate

5
BEFORE AND AFTER gives the real stories of the children that were the impetus and inspiration for the bestselling novel BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Wingate. The stories of the children – what happened to them then and where they are now – are interspersed with comments by Christie and Wingate, pictures provided by the families of the now grown children and the “reunion” of the children and their families that was organized by Christie and Wingate. The stories are heartrending. It is easy to identify which children were the prototype for each of the incidents in the novel. It is reassuring to hear positive stories and sad to read of children further victimized by Georgia Tann, Tennessee and cruel adoption laws.

Gil
Deep State by James B. Stewart

5
James Stewart's DEEP STATE reads like a novel. It covers the time span of Jim Comey's anguish about the on-again off-again Hillary email investigations through Bill Barr's controversial handling of the Mueller Report. The book describes Comey's unpleasant interactions with Trump, and Trump's attacks on Jeff Sessions and Andy McCabe as well as Trump's manipulation of Rod Rosenstein. I found this book to be useful in understanding these important events which have an impact on our country.

Anh
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

5
This is the sequel to THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ but I feel it can be read as a standalone novel. There is some overlap with Lale and Gita's story from THE TATTOOIST which helps to give some frame of reference. There is some controversy surrounding research and the facts regarding the concentration camps. However, Heather Morris herself has stated that it is based on a true story but is still a work of fiction. My emotions ran the gamut while reading this: fear, loathing, anxiety, trauma, outrage...but there is also hope and a transcendent triumph of the spirit. Ultimately, love wins and that is what made it a five-star read for me. Highly recommend if you like historical fiction.

Elizabeth
Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash

4
ABOVE THE WATERFALL is a literary mystery, above all, literary. It is a character-driven novel with plot. It is poetic, especially in its descriptions of the natural setting in which most of the story takes place. Les, a sheriff, and Becky, a park ranger, are the two main characters in ABOVE THE WATERFALL. They share a love for the natural world they work and live in. But Les also sees the scum of the earth, including methadone addicts and their "labs." Their first-person accounts are in alternating chapters throughout the book.The mystery: who dumped kerosene in a stream, killing trout important to the livelihoods of a resort owner and his employees? This is a beautiful novel. Ron Rash's writing is gorgeous.

Francisca
Miss Julia Renews Her Vows by Ann B. Ross

3
Book # 11 in the Miss Julia series, featuring a Southern lady of a certain age, who is prone to jumping to conclusions but always takes action to help those in need. Miss Julia is just a hoot, and she’s most entertaining when she’s in a dither about something. Her read on things may be completely wrong, but she always manages to arrive at the right conclusion, or at least to help the authorities find the real culprit. Visiting with Miss Julia and her friends is a pure joy.