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November 1, 2019 - November 15, 2019

Gerry
The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep by Guy Leschziner

4
Very interesting discussion of why we sleep, why we dream, and how the many disorders of sleep impact our lives. Leschziner includes many interesting case studies to illustrate the process of diagnosing and treating sleep disorders.

Gerry
Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

2
This novel was headed toward a 2.5- or 3-star rating, but the "reveals" toward the end about Varinka's father and Tara's that made her bizarre relationship with him seem even more far-fetched, dropped it to a 2. The first time I started this book, it didn't capture my attention, and I ended up returning it to the library unfinished when its due date came up. But favorable comments from others led me to give it a second try. Kelly's focus in writing this novel was primarily on the American society woman who helped Russian emigres in the U.S. and in Paris, but her portrayal of the Russian side of the story was disappointing.

Gerry
Conviction by Denise Mina

3
Can't agree with the friend who called this Pulitzer-worthy, but it was an enjoyable mystery with a complicated plot that held my interest despite some implausible elements, and kept me guessing until the very end.

Gerry
A Better Man by Louise Penny

4
Louise Penny has done it again, brought her readers back to the lovely village of Three Pines and into the family of villagers there as they're pitted against both forces of nature and of human nature. Armand Gamache has returned to share the superintendency of the Surete homicide unit with his son-in-law Jean-Guy Beauvoir, when an unusual case presents itself. A young woman is missing, and feared murdered; the investigation is complicated by connections, not fully understood, among the young woman, her abusive husband, her father, and more than one Surete agent. Penny manages to make the crime the locus for an exploration of human nature and relationships, and once again demonstrates an incredibly acute awareness of the complexity of both.

Gerry
The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell

5
Russell is a thorough researcher and a talented storyteller, and both these characteristics are evident in her most recent historical novel, THE WOMEN OF COPPER COUNTRY. The novel tells the story of the 1913 miners' strike against the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company in northern Michigan, focusing primarily on the woman whose leadership and advocacy skills enabled her to organize the women's auxiliary that supported the strikers' families. An informative and engaging read, this is a novel I recommend strongly to anyone who enjoys well-written historical fiction.

Gerry
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

3
Amy adored her older sister, Sylvie, who had lived with their grandmother in the Netherlands during her early childhood and recently returned there as their grandmother was dying. Sylvie should have returned to the U.S. by now, but has disappeared and is not responding to Amy's texts. Distraught, Amy sets off for the Netherlands to find her sister, and finds a family secret she had not anticipated. Kwok narrates the story in alternating chapters in the voices of Amy, Sylvie, and Ma, moving back and forth from the present day during Amy's search to the recent past while Sylvie reunited with her Dutch family. I found the story interesting, but guessed the family's secret long before it was revealed, making the resolution too predictable.

Gerry
The Whisper Man by Alex North

5
This story of missing children is so intricately plotted and carefully paced I had to switch from the audiobook (which was read perfectly by Christopher Eccleston) to the print version so I could read more quickly. North's characters are interesting and completely realistic, and their fascinating relationships and interactions, especially between fathers and sons, unfold slowly as the story is narrated in alternating chapters in the voices of the three main characters. Alex North is a pseudonym; I'm hoping the true name of the author will be revealed so I can read his backlist!

Gerry
Syria's Secret Library: Reading and Redemption in a Town Under Siege by Mike Thomson

2
What should have been a very interesting and inspiring story turned out to be just okay. By the end of the introduction, I knew the basic facts. In war-torn Daraya, Syria, a group of young people had gathered books from abandoned and virtually destroyed homes, as well as from people still living in the city, and created a secret library in the basement of a bombed-out building. The library served as a center of learning and a refuge from the horrors of war. The author introduced many characters whom he claimed he had gotten to know well, although all of his communication with them had been via text, email, phone, Skype, etc. He never met any of them in person, and perhaps that why he was unable to bring his characters to life in his book.

Gerry
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

3
3-1/2 stars. Perhaps if I'd re-read THE HANDMAID'S TALE first I'd have found this story a bit more compelling. As it was, I enjoyed it, but found it lacking in depth, and I agree with one friend who said it read more like a YA novel. It was satisfying to witness the fall of Gilead, but most of the story was predictable, and the fact that the architect of the fall had to engage in as much deception and corruption as the evil-doers she sought to oust was somewhat disappointing.

Linda
One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell

5
Sir Malcolm Penny brings his niece Wilhelmina (Mina) Penny to London for the Season. He has made a dossier of the four eligible dukes with emphasis on Andrew (Drew) Bentley, Duke of Thorndon. Drew is virtually a recluse and stays at his home in Cornwall. As she dances with him, Mina talks and disparages things he is interested in but this does not put him off. He is very interested in Mina and wonders why she is trying so hard to make him dislike her. Mina is on a mission and is interested in Drew’s brother Rafe.

Linda
The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare

4
Gabriel Duke worked his way up from the slums to be one of the wealthiest men in England. He is known as the Duke of Ruin for buying up debts of aristocrats and ruining them. He remembers being hungry and cold while aristocrats were going to balls without any regard for those not in their social strata. He bought the house next to Lady Penelope Campion and knows that the house will fetch a good price with an earl’s daughter living next door. He had no intention of falling in love with Penny and knew he was not good enough for her but Penny is determined to get what she wants and that is Gabriel.

Linda
Never Deny a Duke by Madeline Hunter

4
Davina MacCallum is determined she is the rightful owner of property in Scotland that is now owned by the Duke of Brentworth. She is trying to find proof of ownership. He thinks she is a charlatan and is determined to prevent her from taking his land. He decides to go to Scotland and search records there. She doesn’t trust him and declares she will go along with him. Animosity turns to sexual attraction between them. Their search ends quite a bit differently than originally planned.

Linda
Governess Gone Rogue by Laura Lee Guhrke

4
Amanda Leighton disguises herself as a man to get the job as tutor to Colin and Owen, twin sons of James St. Clair, Earl of Kenyon. It is several weeks before she is found out and fired. But the boys want her back and Jamie hires her back as a nanny. Her troubled past catches up with her and she leaves in order not to bring embarrassment to Jamie and his family. He doesn’t care for he has fallen in love with her and he is determined to bring her back. He saw the joy in life through her eyes and had seen little of joy since his wife had died. She brought life into their home and he wants her back.

Linda
The Rogue by Katharine Ashe

3
Lady Constance Read met the green eyes of Saint Sterling at a ball where she was not supposed to be. He never forgot her. Now six years later, he has been hired by her father to instruct her in the art of fencing. She is an aristocrat and he is the son of a merchant and a relationship between them is just not done. She has never forgotten him either and when her father proposes she marry a man he had chosen, she rebels and says Saint is the only man she will have. She needs to be married to be invited to a secret society thought to be behind the disappearance of several young women. She is determined to find out what happened to them and needs Saint’s help.

Linda
The Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London

5
When the Cabot sisters learn their mother has dementia and their prospects for marriage are bleak, Grace Cabot decides to take matters into her own hand. She goes to Bath with the aim of seducing Lord Amherst into a marriage proposal but ends up with his brother Lord Merryton instead. Caught in a dark room with her dress torn, Grace is forced to marry Merryton and face his scorn. He knew why she was in the darkened room and has no respect for her but takes her to his country estate. They are forced to see and deal with each other’s secrets. From his austere presence, Merryton begins to smile and his life begins to change.

Linda
The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

5
Brooke Trappnell is called to Talisa Island to meet with the eccentric Josephine Warrick, elderly widow who owns most of the private island. She has been battling with the state of Georgia over the sale of her property. Brooke thinks that is the reason she was called but is stunned when Josephine tells her she wants Brooke to find her old friends or their children so she can make amends before she dies. As Brooke searches for the lost friends, she has a lost friend contact her. She has a three-year-old son and has never told Pete he has a son. Now Pete wants to see her and maybe rekindle their old romance.

Bae
As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds

5
The book was AMAZING. The characters were so well written. The book tells a great story of aging. This is one of my most favorite reads of all time.

Gladys
It's Always Been You by Jessica Scott

5
This love story is among military members in training for future missions. One truly feels the terrific strains with which military commanders have to deal. So many decisions to make, so many lives and futures at stake. The reader gets a picture that one might not normally think about. The author does a great job of developing her characters. You will enjoy the book.

Susan
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

5
I loved the song references, following the friendship path of Tully and Kate - through the ups and downs of life. The characters and plot were believable and easy to relate to. A great book.

Marleen
Empire of Lies by Andrew Klavan

5
I've enjoy Andrew's writing very much but somehow missed this one when it was released back in 2008. A friend gave me this one and it basically startled me and scared me to the core. While most of us back then were so unaware of the going ons in our schools and behind the scenes in politics, this one delves deeply into the cover-up of the deep state in the beginning and how they were infiltrating the universities and stopping people from informing on them. Much more frightening then the things you get from the news and it appears to track what is happening today. Andrew Klavan is an amazing author and radio personality.

Donna
Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

5
Story starts strong and stays that way from describing wealth and privilege to hardship and perseverance. Story tells of three women who fight their own battles for survival while the men are at war. Historical fiction at its best. A great read.

JAMES
The Panther's Eye by Irene Dayton

4
If you like poetry you will enjoy this book. Short, only 80 pages.

Karen
The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline

5
What a great book! I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t want it to end. Totally fell in love with the characters.

Simonne
Cemetery Road by Greg Iles

5
Intense drama taking place in a very event-filled week. Four deaths, somewhat related. Terrific characters with inter-woven plot lines. You gets lots of history of the people, the place and the relationships. The story is complicated starting right off with a murder and a deep cover-up.

Jane
Murder's No Votive Confidence by Christin Brecher

5
Who could ever imagine someone killed by a candle. There is a wedding, lots of suspects, and a celebrity. An expensive family ring linked to murder. A cat, Tinker, is left behind. He attaches himself to Stella, candlemaker. This is first book in series. Get started now. A delightful read.

Laurie
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

4
Fascinating fictional history featuring the Packhorse Librarians of mountainous Kentucky set in Depression-era America. Based on a true story, I laughed and cried along with the five female main brave colorful characters. Brava!

Susan
The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

5
Loved this book! And reading it around Halloween time made it even more special!! Ms. Harkness created characters that I truly felt like I knew. And boy did I learn a lot about witches and vampires! What a fun but intriguing book!! 500+ pages but it did not seem like that at all.

Marcia
The Banker's Wife by Cristina Alger

4
This book is about the "illegal" swiss bank accounts. A group of reporters has gotten the proof to nail the bankers but will they live until the info is released? Three strong women star in this story.

Donna
An Improbable Pairing by Gary Dickson

3
An interesting love story that involves two cultures, poor verses wealthy, a May/December romance and conflicting religions. An improbable pairing is a perfect title for this book.

Donna
Toujours Provence by Peter Mayle

4
If you want a delightful and easy book to read and to learn about life in Provence, this author is the one for you. This is the second book written by an Englishman who fell in love with life in France. You will read 20 short stories and love each one. France is about wine, food, more wine and enjoying life.

Jayme
The Kurdish Bike by Alesa Lightbourne

1
What a horrible condescending story about life in Kurdistan as seen through the eyes of a selfish American ex-patriot. There have to be better books about life in Iraq after Saddam Hussein - read those instead.

Jayme
The Overstory by Richard Powers

5
A thoroughly-researched, thought-provoking and engrossing book about the impact trees have on our world and our lives, and the flawed people who are trying to save them. I want to go up to every tree give it a big hug and say, "I am sorry."

Donna
Hearts of Fire: Eight Women in Their Underground Church and Their Stories of Costly Faith by The Voice of the Martyrs

4
This book contains the stories and testimonies of eight courageous women who suffered persecution in lands that forbid Christianity: Indonesia, Bhutan, Russia, Romania, Pakistan, China, India and Vietnam. They were cast out by their families, imprisoned, beaten and never wavered from their faith. These are true stories of passion, dedication and hope.

Donna
The Glass Wives by Amy Sue Nathan

2
A nice story of opening hearts and making things work in a very difficult situation.

Jani
Strangers at the Gate by Catriona McPherson

5
An Ann Cleeves-styled mystery set in Scotland. Fortune seems to fall into the laps of a young couple and they move to the sleepy village of Simmerton. But all is not as it seems as a tragic event sets strange things in motion. If you enjoy Vera and Shetland, you'll love STRANGERS AT THE GATE.

Donna
The Arrangement by Robyn Harding

4
Natalie is a nice girl from a small town and is attending an art school in NYC. She is struggling financially and ends up becoming a sugar baby to an older man. Her money problems are over, but she's having difficulty with the new lifestyle...she falls in love with her Sugar Daddy and there are consequences. It's a dangerous game and eventually comes to an end. This book kept me engrossed and I learned a lot about this lifestyle. There is a price to be paid and it can be higher than anticipated.

Jayme
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

4
This is a very interesting historical fiction story about two topics I had very little knowledge about: the blue people of Kentucky and the WPA Pack Horse Library Program. Richardson does a very good job of combining both topics with realistic characters and a tension-filled plot.

Sherrie
The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg

4
In this beautiful third book in the Arthur Truluv stories, Elizabeth Berg's THE CONFESSION CLUB continues the warmth of friendships and family. Iris has found new love, not without some differences and issues, but love indeed. The story is filled with a group of women who had a Supper Club forever, and shifted to a Confession Club, one lady each week gets the spotlight. They share in grief, long buried secrets, love and wanting love along with helping each other to acquire or heal. The book is cozy, warm, loving, nurturing and written so beautifully you can picture each sentence. This is a book to share with a girlfriend, so much to talk about! I loved it.

Susan
The Guardian by John Grisham

4
Enjoyed this book. It was more like the old Grisham novels. I live in Florida and learned a lot about how the legal system works in that state. Amazing how many innocent people are convicted! If you like a good story you will like this book.

Vivian
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

4
A funny, sassy, sweet, and sexy romance about a young couple with a floundering marriage. After the husband is asked to leave the marital home, he is invited to join a group of movers and shakers that advise him on how to save his marriage via reading a romance novel, specifically a regency romance featuring a couple going through something very similar to his situation: massive miscommunication issues and a possible dissolution of the marriage. The results are often hilarious and sweet, but I found this to be a great HEA (happily ever after) romance read and am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Maryanne
19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult

4
Heartbreaking. Makes you worry about the effects of bullying and the lack of awareness of parents.

Julie
The Golden Wolf by Linnea Hartsuyker

5
This is the third in a trilogy. I loved this Viking trilogy and can’t wait to see what this author does next.

Sally-Jo
Chances Are... by Richard Russo

5
Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors. He hasn't disappointed me with this one. It's a good story with unexpected twists and turns. I loved the characters and how they dealt with their various personal issues. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Rosa
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

5
This is a beautiful story about Nuri Ibrahim and his wife Afra, Syrian refugees who are trying to flee their beloved homeland to find a better, safer life in England. It is told from Nuri's point of view, in alternating chapters set in time - during their journey from Syria to Turkey to Greece to Britian, and once they are in Britain and waiting for their asylum request to be granted. This is a powerful, emotional story that should be read to understand this very timely situation from a human, not political, perspective.

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 back story given, though. Unhappy about the dog!

sandra
Mother by Patrick Logan

5
Lady is consumed with the achievement of having a child. So much so that she is pulled into evil forces who promise her what she wants. But it comes at a price that turns out to be too dear ! Be careful what you wish for.

sandra
Arrogance in Lincoln County by Paul Johnson, 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!

Donna
The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

3
Story about a family with three daughters and one son. The son is the one that everyone thinks is perfect and they all adore him. His life spirals downward and the story is how the rest of the family is affected.

sandra
Dahler & Nicholls Fight Crime (Crime Wins) by Dixie J. Whitted

5
Fast, funny read! This was very enjoyable. The two mentioned above, and their dog, fight crime. Really loved the pictures! This will make you smile.

sandra
Rude Boy by Autumn Crum

4
Good storyline. Could use a proofreader. Little rich girl falls for a gangsta. Gangsta thinks he is using her for a huge windfall! Joke is on them. They fall in love.

Jamie
Lies in White Dresses by Sofia Grant

5
I enjoyed this book. It is set in the 1950s when women had little to no rights. The only place for a woman to apply for a divorce was in Reno Nevada where the divorce laws were much less stringent for a woman wanting a divorce. Two women (Francie and Vi), who have been neighbors and friends for 30 years, both set out to Reno to get divorces from their husbands. Along the way they meet June and her daughter, Patty. June is also looking to get a divorce from an abusive husband. Vi takes June and Patty under her wing and invites them to stay in her suite at the hotel where she and Francie are staying. While there waiting for the six months to pass before the divorces are final, an unforeseen event happens that changes their lives.

Eileen
The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell

5
Excellent historical fiction about the role of women in the formation of copper miners union. These women battled not only the mine's bosses, but the objections of some of the miners to achieve better living and working conditions for their husbands and their children. Very well written and absorbing book.

Eileen
Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati

5
Long-awaited sequel to THE GILDED HOUR, this book picks up the story of Sophie and Anna Savard, two women physicians in 1860s NYC. Sophie has just returned from Europe after the death of her husband. Using his immense inheritance, she is determined to provide housing and scholarships for young women who want to become doctors. She is also determined to provide better medical treatment of women and find out who is slaughtering young women seeking abortions. An excellent read, fast-paced and historically accurate with a beginning that will fill in a reader who has not read the previous book, THE GILDED HOUR.

Sandra K.
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

4
I loved this retelling of the myth of Penelope, wife of Odysseus, with plenty of twists. Gives the old myth a brand new face.

Nancy
The Guardians by John Grisham

5
As always, the author drew me in from the first page to the last. I like the fact that I can count on a good read from John Grisham and wish that I could find more authors like him. This was one of his best books and he told the story well.

Muriel
The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr by Sudan Holloway Scott

5
I enjoy stepping into the lives of characters from a different time period through reading historical fiction. Ms. Scott took the scant details that were known about Mary Emmons and turned this into an interesting fictionalized account of this amazing slave woman whose life became intertwined with that of Aaron Burr. The character of Mary Emmons really came alive to me from the moment when, at the age of seven, her uncle in India sold her and her travels to America where she was sold to the Prevost family, respected for her intelligence and many fine traits but still a slave. Then, there was her complicated relationship with Aaron Burr. I found not only Mary’s story interesting but the politics surrounding the Revolutionary War time.

Beth
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

4
This is the first book by Toni Morrison I’ve read. I had a hard time getting into it at first but eventually was taken in by the lovely prose. It’s probably the first book I’ve read that is focused entirely on the African American experience and I found it very enlightening.

Connie
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

4
This is a story of a girl getting away from a small town and finding her way, along with having a baby dropped into her car. She learns how others cope with their situations. She learns from her experiences and those around her.

ILene
The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

5
A truly beautiful fairy tale started when Filomena cast the curse upon her sister more that two hundred years ago. Since then, not one second born daughter has found lasting love. Now it is present day and Great Aunt Poppy {Paulina} calls Emilla Fontana along with her cousin Lori, all second born sisters, to go along with her to Tuscany. There, Aunt Poppy will once again meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday and break the Fontana curse. Along the way we are treated to the best description of Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields and the enchanting Amalfi coast villages, along with the most interesting people they come in contact with.

Rebecca
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

4
I held off on reading this for a long time because I was nervous the science would be too intimidating. However, this was compulsively readable and interesting - I flew through it in a couple of sittings!

Shelly
Amish Front Porch Stories by Wanda E. Brunstetter

5
Ms Brunstetter, her daughter-in-law and granddaughter have shared some wonderful short stories about the Amish communities. What is wonderful about these stories are they are short but the message is the the same - speak to your family members and don't keep secrets, and above all belief in God. Charles is saddened by his wife Lorinda's death and feels it is partially his fault. Will, he ever be able to move on? Thanks to Dianna, a friend he knew for many years, her caring and her advice to him will make him see things differently and he'll be able to move on. Esther Stutzman is frustrated and stressed with raising seven children which includes her three-month-old twins.

Michelle
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

5
Brilliant. What a satisfying sequel to THE HANDMAID'S TALE. I loved that the story begins not as you’d expect it to, continuing where THE HANDMAID'S TALE left off. Rather, Atwood sets the table with the three unknown main characters that draws you along to the very end to find out just what exactly happened to the original Handmaid. From the first page to the last: Clever. Cunning. Calculated.

Susan
What the Eyes Don't See by Mona Hanna-Attisha

4
A book dealing with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. This area is in my neck of the woods and so I found it very interesting. I remember all the news stories and it is still in the news.

Adrien
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

5
A fabulous, multi-generational story about the Haenyeo women of the island of Jeju.

Sandra
Finding Caruso by Kim Barnes

4
Pulled this one down from my top shelf of books and started reading even though it was old and not a new book. Always liked Kim Barnes and have read several of her books and this one was just as good as the others. A story of two brothers who lost their parents in a car crash and had to make it on their own in 1957 Oklahoma. They are fairly good musicians so they set out for Idaho playing small bars along the way. The youngest brother falls for a much older woman so this is where the story is centered...all the problems, the jealousy, the complications. I love this time in the 50s and rural America so I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. Should have read it before now!

Jamie
Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands

5
Honestly, there are not enough stars available to truly rate this book. Patricia Sands tells a story like no other author I have read. We learn at the beginning of the book that the charmed life that Arianna and Ben have lived has come to a screeching halt after Ben is diagnosed with dementia at an early age. Arianna has taken care of his every need since then, almost to the point that her children and other family fear they may lose her from the sheer exhaustion (mentally and physically) from caring for Ben. Her children decide to convince her to go to France, where she spent some time during college and fell in love with the region. The setting is described so vividly and the characters are engaging. I highly recommend this book!

Debbie
Island of the Mad by Laurie R. King

4
I have not read much of Laurie R. King, but I do enjoy a good mystery. THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE bored me; maybe I need to reread this book. ISLAND OF THE MAD provided more excitement, but all the Italian words distracted from the flow of the story. I learned very much about the prelude to WWII in Italy and the partying Cole Porter. Maybe I am an ostrich with my head in the sand, but in two of the last books I have read, the 1920s seem to be a time of sex and drugs in Africa and Italy, and probably other places. The threat of Mussolini and Hitler darkens the gaiety of the times. The treatment of women thought to be insane lurks in the darkness. Money flows for alcohol, food, and sex; and yet, the poor still suffer.

Debbie
Varina by Charles Frazier

2
Charles Frazier presents another bitter look on the ravages of the Civil War. This time Frazier delves into an account on Varina Howell Davis, the second wife of Jefferson Davis. The war has ended and Varina and her surviving children race to a haven in Florida. The story jumps back and forth exposing Varina in various times of her life. The story uncovers happiness and grief and richness and poverty. Frazier described a life surrounded by politics and greed, and the hard, cold reality of war. I was in that wagon, bouncing around and hungry on that trip to Florida, and desperate for the journey to end.

Becky
Shot Through the Hearth by Kate Carlisle

4
When a multimillionaire throws a conference in a small town, attendees start dying. If you can overlook a “small town” with hotel accommodations for over a thousand people, a well-planned conference with no apparent security, a police force that chooses to stop for a steak dinner instead of investigating the second murder at said conference, and a number of other improbable incidents, this is a good mystery. Those murdered aren’t very likeable, the main characters are likeable and red herrings abound in this cozy mystery by a well-known author. The characters are well developed, the plot is interesting and intricate, and writing is more than adequate. A fast, easy read for a lazy afternoon.

Charlene
Moon Deeds by Palmer Pickering

3
One of the reasons that it took me so long to get into her novel was how large it was. Looking at my progress through Kindle was very daunting. I mean, a 600-page novel is always intimidating. But really, as I read through each chapter, there was definitely some information that had been regurgitated every few scenes as well as extra tidbits that didn't need to be there in the first place. Pickering is a wonderful world-builder, but this novel didn't need to be extra long. Kudos on how descriptive she can make the world in the Star Children Saga, however.

Milena
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

5
THE GIVER OF STARS is bold, brilliant, and beautiful. It's one of the best books I've read this year; it's going straight on my favorites list. It's a novel about books, strong women, positive female friendships, and more. Jojo Moyes is a talented storyteller, and this book is one of her best yet. I cannot recommend it enough!

sherry
Outfox by Sandra Brown

5
I LOVED this book. The characters and plot kept you reading well into the night!!! This was another masterpiece by Sandra Brown.

Jayne
Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

5
Lippman always delivers.

Tessa
Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews

3
Three women who’ve been besties since kindergarten are each at a crossroads when they rent a beach house for a month. They take in another woman who’s running from a dangerous man. Throw in a sexy landlord, some romance and a few twists and turns to keep things interesting and you have a good formula for a perfect beach read. Grab a beach chair, some iced tea (or a mojito), and some sunscreen and enjoy.

Francisca
A Stardance Summer: An Eternity Springs Novel by Emily March

3
Book # 13 in the "Eternity Springs” series. A young woman running from trouble, her former high school crush now a successful businessman, and a group of seniors intent on living life to the fullest. Mix together with a spiritual guru who will help everyone find their inner happiness. A fast, easy summer read.

Susan
This Tender Land by William Kent Kruegar

5
Loved this book from beginning to end!

Patricia
Tap Code by Col. Carlyle "Smitty" Harris

5
Great book about being a POW in Vietnam. A story of brotherhood, family, honor, and faith. An inside look at the everyday life they were forced to endure.

Norene
Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

4
Must read a classic.

Elizabeth
Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger

3
At the recommendation of Dana Perino, Fox News anchor and co-host and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, I purchased GIRLS LIKE US by Cristina Alger. It wasn't bad, but I wish I had borrowed it from the library, instead. Perino is a smart beauty with an impressive resume. Nell, an FBI agent with an office in Washington, DC, comes home to Long Island for her father's funeral. He was a police detective who died in a motorcycle accident. But Nell becomes suspicious about her father's death and of all the people he worked with. So she doesn't return to Washington as soon as she had planned. I was put off by all sorts of little details.

Tiffany
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

4
Like Leigh's previous books, I loved the way she wrote this book. It was so beautifully written. There were times where I was just in awe with how descriptive she could be. With that being said, this is an ADULT book. There are many trigger warnings for this book. I love a book that has gore and I especially love when the author can write gore. I love when authors are good at writing a traumatic experience. Leigh Bardugo did an amazing job at making you feel like you were Alex or even any of the side characters. She did so good with writing emotion. I just loved it.

Tiffany
Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson

5
I really enjoyed this book. It's not a book I thought I would enjoy due to its format. If anything, it's made me want to pick up more books like this! It did it so well. I loved Haley and Martin. They fit together. They're soul mates. For sure. I want more!

Tiffany
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

5
I went into this book for a light, fluffy read. This was anything but. I can realize that this book does have its imperfections. I'm trying to enjoy books more rather than critiquing them like crazy. I just really freaking enjoyed this book. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It's definitely not light and fluffy! I will definitely read more books by Abby in the future!

Diana
A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie

4
I thought it was a good read.

Tessa
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

3
This is a YA romance novel which takes its inspiration from A THOUSAND AND ONE ARABIAN NIGHTS. I was somewhat disappointed that the stories ended so soon in this retelling, and instead the novel focused on Shahrzad’s efforts to discover Khalid’s "secret" vulnerability. Like the original Scheherazade, Ahdieh ends this story with a cliffhanger, hoping to ensure that the reader will return for the next installment. I can see why it’s popular with the intended YA audience, but my reaction was just ‘meh.’

Helen
The Jewels of Paradise by Donna Leon

4
Fabulous book set in Venice, with mystery and intrigue, and wonderful history.

Sean
Red Station by Adrian Magson

4
Harry Tate is a likable, believable protagonist who gets jammed up on a mission beyond his control. EXILED TO THE RED STATION readers get to learn more about him and his skills. Magson does a good job of moving the story along and making you leery of all the characters. The mysteries made sense when revealed and nothing was super obvious. This was a good spy thriller.

Amanda
A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer

5
A cute book to get you in the Christmas spirit!

Christie
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

5
I had been hearing rave reviews about this book, and since I felt like the only person on earth who hadn't read it I finally took the plunge. Boy, am I glad I did! It's an older book, so no need for a synopsis (not that I could do it justice anyway), but suffice it to say that Ms. Morgenstern is an expert at atmospheric descriptions, world building, and character development. This is more than a book, this is a truly magical experience. You will not be disappointed!

Jayme
On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

5
I shelved this book under poetry even though it is really literary fiction. The writing is beautiful, raw, and honest that it reads like poetry. I am awed by the tenderness of this writer. Even violence, war, and abuse can be looked at and dissected in his gentle hand. One of the best books I have read. Ever.

Marsha
All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani

5
Glad I did not miss this combination of fact and fiction about the Golden Era of Hollywood movies. Alda Ducci is forced to leave a convent and becomes a secretary and person assistant to Loretta Young. She is caught up in the glamor and hard work of movie making and the joys and heartaches of not only Loretta, but Spencer Tracey, Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, and other stars of the day. Fun to read. Made me want to watch again some of the classic films.

Kara
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

5
Beautiful descriptions of nature. Haunting tale with mystery and romance. A great read that kept me turning the pages.

Deby
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

5
Truly a stunning book. My feelings about the trials that others go through are forever changed after reading this book.

Debbie
Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

3
I have not read Joanne Fluke for quite a while and I enjoyed CHRISTMAS CAKE MURDER. Joanne Fluke constantly discusses food that lead me to believe that life revolved around food. I must applaud Joanne’s recipes for being extremely thorough in the directions. My biggest complaint is that no pictures accompany the recipes in either the novel or in the cookbook. I always enjoy seeing what the recipe should be in living color. The mystery happens in the end of the book, and quickly comes to resolution. Joanne Fluke employs much conversation in the story, but still presents a basic amount of setting and characterization. Lars Swensen, Hannah’s father, must have saved bundles of money for his three girls.

Katherine
The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

4
Two couples meet in 1963 when the husbands start pastoring together at a historical church. This beautifully-written story follows their lives and friendships through the years. It was selected by Jenna Bush for her book club and definitely deserved that honor.

Jamie
The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

5
This is a truly powerful story. It goes into great detail how diseases like depression, anxiety and anorexia affect those who are riddled with them. The main character, Anna, is a professional dancer. The dancing community is notorious for eating disorders among the dancers. Anna meets the love of her life and follows him from Paris to Missouri. Her disorders spiral out of control as she convinces herself that with more weight loss, she will attain her dreams. She starts limiting and then cutting certain foods completely out of her diet and starts running more to lose more weight. Eventually, she is down to less than 90 pounds. She is referred to a group home for women with eating disorders, where she meets women with the same problems.

Francisca
The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams

3
Williams sets this historical novel on the fictional Winthrop Island, where the year-round residents are the families of Portuguese fishermen, but whose governing group consists of the upper-class families who summer here. I love how Williams weaves the stories and intrigues of these characters together. There are plenty of secrets to go around and enough twists and turn to keep things interesting. It’s a delicious soap-opera beach read.

Jan
She's Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan

5
Wow! An enjoyable read - a story of a transsexual college professor. The writing is beautiful and expositive. The book has been criticized for not telling some of the awful times for the author but I can not fault her for this. By keeping the book as informational, rather than deeply painful, we read it and understand the underlying pain and some of the awkward parts. Part of my enjoyment was that Boylan's best friend is Richard Russo (a Pulitzer Prize winning author himself) and one of my favorite writers. Boylan struggles to understand Russo's changing attitude towards her and Russo wrote a beautiful afterward "Imagining Jenny" that tells some of the awkwardness of their friendship. A must for book discussion groups.

Pam
Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

5
I read the book on a rainy Saturday. I got involved in the characters' lives while getting into the Christmas spirit. I found myself hoping for the couple to get a baby and family member to get support she needed. I may reread the book closer to Christmas. I recommended this book to friends.

Elizabeth
The Last Affair by Margot Hunt

4
The book opens with a dead woman in her back yard face down and bloody. Who could the attacker have been? It could have been a number of people - the flirty neighbor, the wife having an affair with Gwen's husband, the husband, or even the daughter. Who is the most likely one? This is my first book my Ms. Hunt. Her writing draws you in and creates situations that have you wanting to continue to see how everything turns out. I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to mystery readers who need a change of pace for a lighter take on a mystery. The ending definitely turned the entire book around for me. I hope you enjoy THE LAST AFFAIR if you read it.

Elizabeth
Reputation by Sara Shepard

4
An e-mail hack at a prestigious college reeked havoc on the campus of Aldrich University. The hack exposed every single e-mail that administrators, doctors, faculty, and students had written. The e-mails revealed secret affairs, unsavory situations, and other juicy details. Ms. Shepard definitely knows how to keep up the suspense and keep the story intriguing. You think you know who the murderer is and then it appears you are incorrect. I do need to warn the reader, though, that there are some unsettling, upsetting situations. REPUTATION is a roller-coast of a read with a cover that doesn't seem to fit with the story inside as well as a cover I'm not particularly fond of.

Elizabeth
The German House by Annette Hess

5
It is 1963 in Germany where the Frankfurt trials are ready to get underway. We meet Eva who works there as a translator and has a fiancée who doesn’t want her to work after they are married. Eva isn't sure it will work out. Ms. Hess has a writing style that will pull you in and have you completely absorbed in the book. Her research is impeccable. THE GERMAN HOUSE is a book that historical fiction fans will devour. You do not want to miss reading this book - it is an impressive, powerful, thought-provoking read. This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Elizabeth
A Bookshop in Berlin by Francoise Frenkel

5
A BOOKSHOP IN BERLIN tells the story of Francoise Frenkel's life and her love of books, her bookshop, and France. We follow her as she lives through occupied France and endures what the European people had to deal with. Unthinkable, unpleasant misery and situations plagued her and all people during this time. A BOOKSHOP IN BERLIN is a treasure for historical fiction fans as well as for book lovers. I normally do not read memoirs, but A BOOKSHOP IN BERLIN is very well done and educational. You were easily put into Francoise’s situations and her emotions were yours. This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Elizabeth
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

5
Carly left college for a "few" days so she could head to Fell, New York, to see if she could find anything out about how her Aunt Viv died or where she might be. Viv disappeared from The Sun Down Motel where she worked in 1982 and was never found. If you enjoy tense, creepy, spooky storylines that include unsolved murders from years ago, THE SUN DOWN MOTEL will be your perfect read. Be careful with the motel you choose, and especially do not stay at a motel that has anything remotely close to the name of this motel. The entire book and the ending are twisty and brilliant. This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley.

Elizabeth
Red Letter Days by Sarah-Jane Strattford

3
Phoebe was finally making some money for her scripts and getting well-known, but then for some reason she was tagged as being a communist by the government and blacklisted by the playwrights. Historical fiction fans, fans of the theater and television productions, and fans of Robin Hood will enjoy RED LETTER DAYS. Ms. Stratford did marvelous, in-depth research, but "The Robin Hood" pages that took up a great deal of the book actually were of no interest, and that did make the story drag for me. This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tracy
The Whisper Man by Alex North

4
I enjoyed this book. A father and his son move after his wife is killed in a car accident. He thinks new scenery and a new beginning with help Jake heal. The new town has a dark past. A boy goes missing...and the whispering begins...

Lucy
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

4
Complex family drama that's both dysfunctional and hopeful. In many ways it reminded me of the series "This Is Us" with the narrative style.

Jamie
Zetty by Debra Whiting Alexander

5
The story is about a woman (Marjorie) who goes out for some groceries for Thanksgiving and doesn't return. She leaves her 9-year-old daughter, Zetty, and says she will be back. That does not happen when Marjorie is found dancing in the middle of the street and is subsequently admitted to a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with a rare form of schizophrenia. No visits are allowed at all for Zetty to see her mother again. Zetty's father is now basically a single dad. He is trying to cope with that, along with feeling lost without his wife and confused about everything that has happened. Zetty feels like an orphan but she tries to look at the positive points in everything that happens in her life after this.

Marleen
The Whistler by John Grisham

4
Very complex, disjointed story of how corruption is rampant in government and in big business and how difficult it is for our government to gather the facts and stop the bad people. This is about the rich who steal money from the Indians on their land using their casinos and give them a small amount of the the profits and then they profit big time. If they complain or if law enforcement tries to stop the corruption they are "dealt with". When someone goes to the Federal Government, as they did in this book, things are taken further but lives are still lost and the corruption is covered up very well because they find people that will do almost anything for bribery and money. The world, especially due to greed, has become a very sad place.

Marleen
The Crossing by Michael Connelly

4
Bosch is asked to work with Haller but Bosch is reluctant as he is retired but is still a cop and doesn't want to take the criminals' side. Haller said he would let the chips fall where they may. Bosch starts digging after talking with the client. Bosch shows what a great detective he was and is. I loved this book but one small part is missing that was left unfinished and it still bugs me.

Marleen
The Room of White Fire by T. Jefferson Parker

3
So depressing! It took forever to get through this because it was such a difficult and sad read. I love T. Jeff but this one, well, I wish I'd never bought it, let alone read it.

Sandra
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

5
If you have been wondering what happens next in Gilead, you will find out after reading this book. The book is easy to read and is written beautifully. I felt like Margaret Atwood was in the room relating her tale to me! You can feel her wit throughout.

Laurie
Right After the Weather by Carol Anshaw

3
Although RIGHT AFTER THE WEATHER is very well written by excellent author Carol Anshaw, I was not particularly entertained by the antics of main character Cate, a 40-year-old lesbian.

Susan
Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

3
This book was a little too slow and really did not keep my interest as I hoped it would.

Karen
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

3
I like the book. It was a fast, enjoyable read.

Kristin
The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher

4
This book is a fictionalization account of the life of Grace Kelly, from her years on Broadway and in Hollywood, to her marriage and life as Princess Grace of Monaco. I’ve read this author’s previous book, THE KENNEDY DEBUTANTE, about Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy and while I liked it, I think she’s far surpassed herself with this book. I really enjoyed this book, and felt like I got to know Grace Kelly. It’s tough to write fictionalize events from real people’s lives. But I feel like she did it right! This was a book with very engaging writing, interesting story and great characters - you learn about Grace and her family and friends, go inside her famous marriage, and see her as a Princess and mother from behind the veil of celebrity.

Joanne
The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad

4
This is an enjoyable historical novel based on the true story of how pigeons were used as a communication tool during WWII. The individuals involved in the training and management of these birds were just as courageous as the birds themselves, all in the effort to gain intelligence from the European front and bring the war to an end. It is a story of individual citizens doing what they can to assist the war effort and protect the country they love, England, from a Nazi invasion.

Shelley
There There by Tommy Orange

2
Powerful story. Very interesting to learn more about urban Native people.

Sally-Jo
The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

5
This is the first book by Robert Dugoni I have read. I loved the character Sam. A good book focusing on prejudices. I would highly recommend it.

Kristine
The Address by Fiona Davis

5
Loved this book! I’m a native NY-er but live in Atlanta. And I’ve always loved the Dakota! Was a great read filled with mystery and history! My first book by the author but certainly not my last!

Jennifer
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

3
I was excited to read this, as I enjoyed the other books by this author. This jumped right into the thick of things, and I was hooked. However, as I got closer and closer to the end, and nothing was resolved, I started to get the feeling the author had run out of ideas. This would easily have received 4 stars if not for the stupid ending.

Jeanne
The Neighborhood by Erina Bridget Ring

5
THE NEIGHBORHOOD by Erina Bridget Ring was very entertaining, delightfully funny and enjoyable. It grabbed me from page one to the very last page with a fantastic surprise ending! Gretchen and Jarrod O’Malley move into their new home in a beautiful picturesque tree-lined fairytale setting thinking they’ve moved into a perfect neighborhood. As they begin to meet each new neighbor, they become a bit amused, and at times confused, overwhelmed and annoyed. This is a story of some very quirky, strange people. The author did an exceptional job in describing how people interact with each other. I found myself laughing at times and being astonished at other times because it seemed as though there was some chaos or a crazy event happening.

Jeanne
The Sisters of Summit Avenue by Lynn Cullen

5
This is a great, compelling book to read.

Jeanne
Thirteen by Steve Cavanaugh

5
TH1RT3EEN by Steve Cavanaugh is a mesmerizing story of a horrific serial killer who is a master of disguises and a cold-blooded, merciless killer. He brutally murders his victims, assumes their identities and then sits on a jury to convict an innocent victim accused of murder. He isn’t the killer...he’s sitting on the jury. It is an outstanding legal thriller and courtroom drama at its finest. The author’s writing style is nothing short of sheer genius in this utterly compelling, gripping intense novel.

Gretchen
Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay

4
Riding in elevators will never be the same. Terrifying! Lots of twists in the story.

Sharon
A Cruel Deception by Charles Todd

5
Bess Crawford is a nurse who, after the end of WWI. is continuing to care for soldiers who are suffering not only from physical wounds, but also the emotional wounds of war. Now she is recruited by Matron of Queen's Alexandra to go to Paris and check on Matron's son whom she thinks may have succumbed to addiction and/or be in some sort of trouble. A strong story of the horrible aftermaths of war.

Nonie
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

4
I enjoy books that take place during WWII. This was a little hard to read when the author describes what actually happened to the Jews in the concentration camps, but it was still a good read.

Pam
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

3
Interesting story, but too long.

Jayme
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

2
A very extreme look at depression and grief as seen through the eyes of a young woman who wants to forget everything and sleep for a year. She finds an incompetent psychiatrist who keeps her medicated and an artist to document her hallucinated last six months. I would say it was a waste of my time, but I really did want to find out how it ended.

Jayme
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

4
Was this a favorite book? No. Did I like all the characters? No. Did it make me think and consider aspects of life in America that were out of my comfort zone and/or experience? Yes. Did I cry at the end of this story? Yes. Should you read it? Yes.

Donna
Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly

5
Strong read from beginning.

Danny
One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain

5
A wonderful novel that speaks eloquently for all of us who find our deepest humanity deeply connected with all the creatures around us. A great read and looking forward to her future efforts.

Jeff
Beloved by Toni Morrison

5
If you haven't read this book, prepare yourself for a breathtaking experience. I can't believe I waited this long to savor one of the greatest novels I have ever read. It's so powerful, I could only read a few pages at a time. When I finished I was completely drained. It is unquestionably a masterpiece, and she was unquestionably a kind of genius. I would give this novel ten stars if that was an option.

Sheree
Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah

2
This is one of her older books and I think after having read this I can see how she has gotten better with writing as she has gone along. Her later books are so much better than this one, and I think it is because she has perfected her writing skills.

Betty
The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs

4
I expected a story about women who meet to sew! Boy was I surprised! Unique characters bring a light on domestic violence. Women supporting women to deal with the trauma and regaining their confidence to follow their dreams. Well done.

Kathleen
Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny

5
Louise Penny doesn't disappoint with this book. I love how she brings in some of her personal experiences (settling an estate for example) and how she uses multiple meanings of the word "blind" throughout the novel. As a parent and grandparent, I was sad to read that Jean Guy was leaving for Paris, knowing how much the separation would effect both him and Gamache and his wife. The twists and turns and complexity of the mystery propelled me along at a rapid pace.

Elizabeth
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

2
I did not get this book. A lot of things are alluded to that I kept expecting would be explained at the end of the book but they never were. A mist had fallen over this mythical land that was sometime shortly after the King Arthur era. The mist was somehow caused by a dragon and it makes people forget things. Axl and his wife Beatrice set out to find their son. There are hints that maybe Axl was a warrior during King Arthur’s time and that maybe he or Beatrice or both were unfaithful to each other. But though the dragon is slain, there’s no resolution as to whether these things happened in their past or not. You do find out what happened to the son - sort of.

Mary
Upstairs at the White House by J. B. West with Mary Lynn Kotz

4
I have had this book for some time now and just kept putting off reading it. A book group I am in has chosen it to read this month, so I have begun. It is really interesting to see the workings of our president's home (and office) from a very different perspective from the ones we see on TV or read about in the papers. I am glad I am reading it, and recommend it to everyone.

Michelle
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

3
Not one of my favorite Ruth Ware books. I wanted more creepiness, more nail-biting moments and more dark, dark woods. The ending could have been way more scary or at least had a giant twist.

Sherrie
On the Road With Janis Joplin by John Byrne Cooke

4
I absolutely love going back and time and reading (again) about one of my favorite singers. The story moves fast, concert to concert and then on to music festivals. I feel as if I'm along for the ride. In between we find out  more about Ms. Joplin from her younger self from Texas to being swept up in this big music industry! Ball and Chain!

Betty
Force of Nature by Jane Harper

4
Book 2 in the Aaron Falk series, it's one that can be read as a stand-alone. The story of a corporate retreat gone wrong in the Australian outback is a gripping one, starting off slowly and building in intensity. Take a look at THE DRY, the first book in the series, and you won't be sorry you did.

Nancy
The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay by Kelly Harms

4
Lily is a painter who is not doing well. She is losing her apartment and her boyfriend and manager is not helping her out. She discovers that a marriage she was in several years ago has not been annulled as it should have been. She decides to go the Minnow Bay to get this taken care of. She finds she loves Minnow Bay and getting the annulment was not be as easy as she thought.

Alexandria
Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

5
IMAGINARY FRIEND is about a boy named Christopher who is a new kid in town. He has trouble with kids at school and he has an imaginary friend, but we will come to realize that his new friend might not be imaginary at all. This book is full of suspense and mystery, and it will leave you wondering who is this imaginary friend and what does he really want. It's a great book book that will keep you up at night. In this book there are many creepy twists and turns that will lead you closer to his imaginary friend.

Jean
Threads of Evidence by Lea Wait

4
I really enjoy this needlepoint-themed cozy series.

Andrea
The God Game by Danny Tobey

4
I received an ARC of this book from St. Martin's Press and enjoyed it. It is about a group of intelligent, techie outcasts who are facing unique challenges. When an AI offers the teens an opportunity to eliminate their troubles and fulfill their dreams, they accept its offer even though it means risking their lives. This story contained many relatively modern references, just like READY PLAYER ONE. The inclusion of pop culture here, however, evoked feelings of conflict in me. The political overtones and stereotypical characters, while adding relatability to the tale, made my interest waver. Other allusions, such as to Monkey Island & Hofstadter, brought it right back. I believe that many sci-fi enthusiasts will enjoy this adventure.

Jamie
The Perfect Son by Lauren North

5
Talk about a psychological thriller! This story is about a young woman who loses her husband in an airplane crash. She grieves for her husband but throws her entire being into taking care of their almost 8-year-old son, Jamie. The story tells how much she loves her son and will do anything, absolutely anything, to protect him and keep him safe. The surprise ending of this book was wonderful. I had all kinds of scenarios in my mind of what was going on but, it wasn't even close to what actually was happening. I highly recommend this book.

Tessa
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

3
Book Three in the HUNGER GAMES trilogy. I’m not a great fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels in general, and have only tolerated this series. I’m glad that Collins chose to make the central figure a strong female, but in this episode, I find Katniss a bit whiny at times. It is a fast read, though.

Melissa
Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

5
For me this was a perfect blend of characters in a story and at the same time learning more about ALS. My nurse friend and I both enjoyed this book more than my non-nurse friend.

Geri
Becoming by Michelle Obama

5
It was so interesting to read about her childhood, her thoughts about her time in the White House, and raising her children during those eight years.

Susan
What the Eyes Don't See by Mona Hanna-Attisha

4
Being from Michigan and only 60 miles from Flint I found this book very interesting.

Debbie
The Whisper Man by Alex North

4
This was a perfect read for Halloween! It is a spooky tale of a serial killer, but also includes several sub-plots about fathers and sons.

Adrien
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

4
I picked up THE MONSTER OF ELENDHAVEN on Halloween and it was exactly what I was in the mood for. It is a great monster novella.

Lois
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

4
Incredible story of what slavery was like. Made me cry! Very educational.

ELISE
A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler

4
Very interesting historical fiction depicting the Vanderbilt family and "NY society."

Shana
Normal People by Sally Rooney

3
I wish Sally Rooney’s writing style appealed to me the way in which it seems to enchant others. Alas, CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS barely kept me awake. I fared better with NORMAL PEOPLE, but still found myself shrugging my shoulders at the end, thinking, “So what?” Issues of class, gender, politics and violence arise, but they’re treated in a superficial, uninteresting way. Sorry, Sally (and all my friends) - I tried.

Karen
The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

5
Hard to believe what this young woman went through to be with her family and be free. It really makes you appreciate the little things that we take for granted. Her tenacity and positivity throughout the book was amazing! And she used seven names before getting her freedom!

Jan
The Defense by Steve Cavanagh

1
An overrated mystery. Half of the book is about furious speeding vehicles, running through the sewers of Manhattan, and the lead character (Flynn) crawling around an old courthouse at the 19th floor outside, at night. The crawl easily took up 30 or 40 pages. The story is weak, characters are not very developed and the adventures are flimsy. On top of it all, the reader never gets much backstory on the relationship of Flynn's friends and buddies. They just appear and will do anything to protect him. The overall point is that Flynn is hooked into defending a mafia crime boss because the gangster has kidnapped his daughter. Save your time and money. Skip it.

Jan
In the Bedroom by Andre Dubus

3
A book of short stories by a master writer. A good short story tells a complete story in a few pages - Dubus was a master short story writer and won many awards. His stories range from horror to utter joy to acceptance. A good book for a quick read; seven stories are included here. So far, in my readings I prefer the short stories of Dubus over his novels.

Elizabeth
After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

3
The last several chapters of AFTER ANNA are so good they’re unputdownable. For many book reviewers, that’s enough for a five-star rating. But the first half of the book, for me, was frustrating to the point it was sometimes difficult to read. Unless I like a book from beginning to end, it doesn’t get five stars. AFTER ANNA is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Noah and Maggie, a happily married couple, at least “before Anna.” Anna is Maggie's daughter. Maggie hasn’t seen Anna since she was a baby, when Maggie’s first husband had her declared unfit and moved with Anna to France. Now Anna’s father has died, and she is back in Maggie’s life. For Maggie, this is wonderful. But for Noah, Anna isn’t what she seems.

Joy
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

4
A great book about a man who comes home from the Vietnam War a changed man. He moves his family north to Alaska where they will live off the grid. After they move there, his fragile metal state deteriorates and his family begins to fracture.

Linda
The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan

5
As the summary on the back cover says, before there was the mischievous dog Marley, there was a mischievous boy named John who grew up as the youngest child in a very Catholic family in the 1960s. This memoir is well written, humorous and filled with such affection for his parents and his siblings. John did break away from his faith; he addresses that issue with such honesty. Truly a wonderful memoir.

Tessa
The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere

2
VanLiere capitalized on the popularity of the Christmas song and expanded the story. I dislike the song, finding it trite, maudlin, and manipulative. This short novel isn't much better. I thought Robert’s change in character was unrealistically abrupt. Really not my cup of tea.

Simonne
Cemetery Road by Greg Iles

5
Terrific.

Simonne
The Garden Party by Grace Dane Mazur

2
Pretty pretentious book. It is supposed to be deep about the characters. A Jewish intellectual family and a Christian society family merging via a wedding. The story takes place at the rehearsal dinner. I just found it hard to care about any of their stories or backstories.

Pat
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

5
This story was so engaging and so enraging because you knew the story was based on a real school in Florida. Colson is a remarkable writer. The ending still has me thinking...

Cindy
The House of Brides by Jane Cockram

3
This debut novel is a modern take on the old-fashioned Gothic novel - an old mansion on a cliff by the sea, a sinister housekeeper, a standoffish groundskeeper, innocent children - one in a wheelchair - withdrawn father, disappearing mother. Enter a long lost family member, a young women, who lies about her identity and gets hired as the nanny. Family drama all around with many mysteries to solve. The novel flows well and keeps one interested. Mysteries are revealed. The last chapter seemed a bit of a brisk wrap-up to me but, all in all, a quick fun read.

Claudia
Vox by Christina Dalcher

4
At the beginning of the novel you find out that females can only speak 100 words a day or they receive a shock from the bracelet they must wear. Family life and jobs are so different in America where the president has complete control. But his brother has had a brain injury, and a female scientist makes a deal with the government to have her bracelet removed and finish making the serum needed to help the president's brother and other people. I won't spoil the ending for you. This book was so intense. I would classify it as a present-day dystopian novel.

Myrna
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

5
I'm an avid reader, but somehow I had never gotten around to reading THE HANDMAID'S TALE. Now that Margaret Atwood has written a sequel, THE TESTAMENTS, I thought it was high time I read the acclaimed classic! I was not disappointed! I had to keep reminding myself that the book was written in 1985 because the events described eerily don't seem entirely far-fetched given today's politics in America. Now I look forward to reading THE TESTAMENTS. I won't be waiting 34 years to get to it! Ha!

Liz
Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

1
Alison’s family vacations every year at the island of Saint X in the Caribbean. Allison is 18, her younger sister Claire is 7. One year, Alison goes missing. Her body is finally found in Faraway Cay. A lengthy investigation ensues. Fast forward to when Claire is an adult, living in NY, when she steps into a cab only to discover that the driver is one of the men accused of Alison’s death. She becomes obsessed with him and is determined to find the truth to what happened that fateful night. I found this writing to be a bit pretentious, with the chapters and sentences rambling on. To me the story was unbelievable and the ending left something to be desired.

Liz
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

2
Lucy wakes up in the hospital after what was supposed to be routine surgery to find her mother, who she hasn’t seen in years, sitting at the foot of her bed. The story jumps around as they reminisce about their lives, growing up poor, abusive father, etc. I feel the story was more vignettes then a true story. I really wanted to like this book, especially since it is scheduled to be a Broadway play in 2020. This book just did not provide me with the necessities I look for in a novel.

Liz
Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

5
Hope is 36, dating a surgeon surgeon for the past 6 years, with no marriage plans in sight. She decides to go to her family’s house in Sunset Beach North, Carolina to go through their belongings because her father has just been diagnosed with ALS and the house will be sold. Tru Walls was born and raised in Africa and he is a bush guide. Suddenly he receives a letter from a man claiming to be his natural father and Tru is asked to come to - Sunset Beach, NC. Romance blossoms, but very hard decisions need to be made. How long will true love last is the real story here. There are tears, cheers, heartbreak and triumphs in this wonderful novel.

Steph
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

4
THIRTEEN DOORWAYS, WOLVES BEHIND THEM ALL is a ghost story in a sense. Part of the story is about Frankie and the other part is about Pearl. Pearl is a ghost who never crossed over and observes people. Frankie is a kid in an orphanage who goes through some pretty awful things, including having her father basically abandon her and her sister. Pearl watches over Frankie as she grows older and wiser. They characters are fantastic and I had a hard time putting the book down to see what happens next. All in all the book is a little anti-climatic. But the wonderful characters and interesting storylines make it worth your time.

Deby
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

5
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.

Cindy
The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter

4
I really enjoy Karin Slaughter novels and short stories. Her stories are intriguing and suspenseful Her characters are well developed. Her plots are well constructed. THE LAST WIDOW is her newest novel in the Will Trent series. I love her characters in this series. Will is strong yet flawed and endearing. He is one of my favorite fictional characters. This new novel is a whirlwind of suspense from the get-go! It deals with the all too real-world problems of the Alt-right, Nazi ideology, white supremacists, and domestic terrorism. Starts out with kidnapping, immerses us with evil characters who are sicklly twisted, and kill for no apparent reason, then we plummet into cults where there is pedophilia, male supremacists, and white supremacy.

shelly
The Secret Life of Aaron Burr by Susan Holloway Scott

4
This book is a work of fiction and one that is full of some interesting facts but will take a while to get into. Ms. Scott has a way of seeing what goes on through the life of Mary Emmons. She was a slave and sold as a child in India. Mary, unlike slaves, was able to read and write and therefore able to spy on others for Theodosia and Burr. Although Mr. Burr might be remembered for the killing of his rival Alexander Hamilton, many people found him to be untrustworthy and many people heard rumors and secrets about him. It gives us a better understanding of enslaved women during early American history. Burr is far from a gentleman and his raping of Mary was the beginning of a relationship that would draw them together into a world of secrets.

John
Supernova by Marissa Meyer

5
Two people try to hide their identities while there is much havoc.

Debbie
Finding Christmas by Karen Schaler

3
I have been blessed with an advance copy of FINDING CHRISTMAS by Karen Schaler, which is a delightful story. Karen Schaler provides a wonderful P.S. at the end of the book with a recipe, ideas for a scavenger hunt, and Christmas tree tips. What a treat to read a book not filled with violence and sex! Of course, this will stop many readers from jumping into Emmie’s world of white lights, assistance to those in need, and holiday traditions. The book centers on dialogue, but Karen Schaler describes wonderful holiday settings filled with magic and aromas. I especially like the emphasis on giving your time to help less fortunate individuals to enjoy the holiday magic.

vera
To Love a Man by Karen Robards

4
Lisa is a spoiled little rich girl. Grandpa is worth tons. But when her only child dies, this was about all holding her marriage together. She decides to go over to Africa as a journalist. The country in war, but she is told the area she is planning to go is safe. She is only there a short while and the rebels burned her house and outbuilding down, and the family is killed. At the time Lisa in one of the outbuilding and smoke an flame overtaking her. She escapes to the jungle. Soldiers find her take her back to their camp. They take care of her wounds, but she is in danger. For once in her life Grandpa's money is not able to help her. He knows nothing about where she is and she can't get home.

Gladys
The Look-Alike by Erica Spindler

5
Small town, unsolved murder, mental-problem, irresistible neighbor...the author provides a bit of everything possible to grasp reader's spellbound interest throughout every chapter, over every page.

Monica
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

5
When I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure it would live up to the hype. It had been on my reading list for a long time, and I finally got around to reading it this month. The book was really wonderful. It was a tale of survival, compassion (and lack of compassion). The dialogue was quite believable. The story is told in the present and past alternating timelines which adds intrigue to the mystery that unfolds. This is a powerful book.

Nancy
The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

5
Loved this book. Very thoughtful!

shelly
Kisss The Girls and Make Them Cry by Mary Higgins Clark

5
I am a huge fan of Ms. Clark and read almost all of her former books. This is definitely one of the best she has ever written and is definitely deserving of five stars. When Gina Kane, a freelance journalist, gets an email from a former Boston University student she is made away of some "terrible experiences" that have happened to and are still taking place at REL, a high profile news station. Move over Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes and Matt Lauer as we are about to learn about "trusted anchorman" who is abusing women. Gina starts an investigation when she does not hear from the person who sent the original email. She is like a detective and not only discovers who C. Ryan is but that she had recently died.

Rebecca
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

4
A mixture of WWII government secretarial work and a novel by the Russian author, Boris Pasternak, is presented in this book. The characters are well defined, and the story is very interesting. This book is well worth reading.

Ilene
At Midnight In Venice by J. C. Briggs

5
Another great J.C. Briggs mystery where she has Charles Dickens and Superintendent Sam Jones working together, solving the murders of young girls found in water, but strangled first. So much historical fiction and good description of sites and all his great friends. I only hope this series never ends.

Rebecca
Victoria's Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard

4
This is an excellent review of history and the wide-ranging effects of the marriages of Victoria's daughters. A great read!

Rebecca
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

3
An abandoned child - social workers - a special friendship - a death. I felt this was an interesting book worth reading, but I do feel that reviews overrated the novel.

Rebecca
South of Broad by Pat Conroy

4
I have enjoyed several novels by this author. His content feels so authentic. This is the tale of childhood friends growing up in the South - their trials, tribulations, and triumphs.

Alice
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

5
This is a wonderful book which combines a bonafide tale of adventure (a la Mark Twain’s HUCKLEBERRY FINN) with historical fiction (based on small town life during the Great Depression). Krueger is an author who offers great insight into the young boys who populate his novels. It’ll be on the top of my list when my book club meets to select its next selection.

Leeza
Aloha to Love (Hawaiian Holiday, Book #5) by Josie Riviera

5
Angelina Conte is an aspiring screenwriter working on deadline. Her studio books her on a cruise from LA to Hawaii, where she's expected to polish some of the details, get the fact perfected, by working with Dr. Caleb Sloane, a volcanologist who is lecturing on the ship. They get off to a rough start due to Angelina's stress and Caleb's arrogance. However, they quickly get over their problems and romance sparks between them and develops quickly. This is a very possible scenario. This is an easy book to read. The characters are likable and believable. There is some religion in this book, but it just pops in now and then, in spurts. It doesn't overwhelm the story. This book was fun to read, and quite enjoyable with a slight surprise ending.

Tessa
Bound by Donna Jo Napoli

4
This YA novel is a retelling of the Cinderella story, set in the Ming dynasty era of China. I loved the way this story unfolded. I particularly appreciated the occasional poem which so eloquently expressed Xing Xing’s feelings. I’m a great fan of magical realism; Napoli incorporates this literary technique seamlessly.

Mary Ann
Dragonfly by Leila Meacham

5
Interesting read based on a true story. Wonderful characters who were spies during WW II. Provides insight into the dangerous world of espionage and the risks involved in that arena. You are made aware of how just a simple action could affect an entire operation during the war. Was sorry to see this end, would have enjoyed some information on the characters after the war.

Marilyn
The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

2
Searing psychological thriller.

Linda
Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen

3
Billy Jensen’s memoir takes us on a journey from his days as a crime reporter to his helping authorities find and capture murderers, using whatever methods he can. He does this because he hates to see the bad guys go free and because he feels so much sympathy for the families left behind with no answers as to who did this to their loved ones. It’s interesting to see how this all evolves - and amazing to see the sheer determination on Billy’s part. He just didn’t give up. It is heartening to see how many regular citizens are willing to be involved, helping in whatever way they can.

Kelly
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

5
I completely loved this book! There was such a depth of emotion through out the book. Very captivating and very well written. I loved the use of nature and how Kya takes the natural world, the marsh, around her as her family. I love that she knows the birds individual and recognizes them even generations apart. I loved the characters who, despite prejudice, took a chance on the little girl in the marsh, and how it changed her life for the better. It made me think of the people in my life who have reached out just a little bit, but have made a huge difference.

Kelly
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

5
Highly recommend. This is one of those books that I put in the 'heavy' category. Meaning the topic can weight you down, be difficult to read, and be very thought-provoking. Picoult never is timid in approaching difficult topics, such as in this book about race, privilege and prejudice. But what I love is weaved into these difficult topics comes positive and uplifting topics such as compassion, empathy, love and justice.

Kelly
The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

3
A great lighthearted read, perfect for curling up on a cold and wet day by the fireplace.

Kelly
The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

5
THE BOOK CHARMER is a magical book that makes you sad when you finish, not because the story is sad but because you have become so connected to the town of Dove Pond that you do not want the story to end. I NEED to go visit Dove Pond and have some coffee cake and meatloaf in the Moonlight cafe while chatting with the whole cast. Love the small town magic of people caring for people. Karen Hawkins does a marvelous job with self discovery and following the magic that is in all of us. I would love to know more of Sarah, Daisy, Grace, and Trav's story. And who could not fall in love with Mama G.

Kelly
Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

4
I also love a good historical mystery. This is the first book in the Maggie Hope series. Perfect for fans of the Maisie Dobbs mysteries. However, I think I like the character Maggie Hope, and writing style for MacNeal better. This book was fun and entertaining with a lot of diverse characters. Plus if you are a WWII reader, then it makes it more interesting and gripping.

Kelly
Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

4
Book 2 in the Maggie Hope mystery series. I'm trying to make it through the series before the next one hits the shelves in February. I like this book even better than the first. Maggie has already been developed in the first book, so you can sit back and enjoy her adventures. I love how the author uses real historical facts, places, and people and mixes it with fiction and her imagination. Love it!

Casey
Westering Women by Sandra Dallas

5
I knew after the first chapter I was going to like this book. The writing style is perfect, and so detailed, yet never feels like too much detail so as to add fluff to the storyline. The characters are very well developed, and you truly grow to care about them and their plight. I loved the women empowerment theme throughout the book. If you love anything about covered wagons, prairie life, or just western-themed books in general, this is a fantastic book that you simply must read.

Judy
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

4
What a fascinating tale of a time when people got their library books via women traveling on the backs of horses and mules! To think that this was within my lifetime that folks were so isolated! There is conflict with men vs. women, men and women living together, and town folks vs. country folks. As always, good reading...especially when the main characters find love in the end.