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August 28, 2020 - September 11, 2020

This contest period's winners were Patricia C., Lisa L. and Jill L., who each received a copy of ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE by Louise Penny and THE LYING LIFE OF ADULTS by Elena Ferrante

 

Elizabeth
One Step Behind by Lauren North

5
When Jenna's life gets turned upside down by a stalker, all she wants to know is who it is and why she was chosen. ONE STEP BEHIND is filled with unlikable characters, secrets, bitterness, and a great storyline.

Kathy
Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

4
This was so interesting! Amazing to learn of the intricate, time-consuming plans to get the astronauts into space! Roach writes with humor, and really gets into the "nitty gritty" of the life of an astronaut! So many little details we would never think of! Amazing read!

Mary Lou
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

5
Love this author. This is the story of two sisters - they share a father but have different mothers. One knows about the other, but one does not. Family relationships, secrets, coming-of-age, deception, loyalty. Wonderfully done.

Mary Lou
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

5
I read SILVER SPARROW by this author and immediately had to read another of her books, this one. So well done - relationships, life, fate, guilt, responsibility, letting go, love and hate. This author knows how to write!

Mary Lou
The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton

3
Ugh. Not my cup of tea, but it was our book club pick. Fast-paced. Little character development. An infomercial for the tough job of a president. Well written though, hence the three stars. Never been a fan of James Patterson, nor Bill Clinton for that matter.

Mary Lou
Run by Ann Patchett

4
Interesting story of family relationships, interracial marriage and adoptions, set in Boston. Not sure I would have picked it up but it was recommended by a trusted friend. Glad I did.

Susan
When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald

5
A lovely story about a young girl who wants to be the best she can be, no matter what handicaps the world thinks she has.

Mary Lou
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

5
Love this YA novel written in verse. So well done. The story of a young teen growing up in Spanish Harlem, very strict mother, a true coming-of-age story. Easy read, finished in a day. I will send it to my granddaughter, it is that good.

Susan
The Dirty South by John Connolly

5
It is good to clean your palate every once in awhile and read a book by a really good author with a really good story with characters you can really bond, even though you don't like them. This is that book. John Connolly is at the top of his game with this book. It's a prequel written right after Parker's wife and daughter are brutally murdered and set in the time when Clinton has just been elected President.

CAROL
Three Perfect Liars by Heidi Perks

4
This book is written in an interesting style, using interviews with police interspersed with the story. The three characters referred to in the title are three very different women, each with a secret. The story begins with the fire, so we know the office building was burned down - but we don't know who started the fire, who died, or why it was done. Little tidbits of information are given to the reader as the book moves along, building the tension. The characters were each interesting and it wasn't evident what possible connection they could have to each other. Current topics are covered - women balancing career and family life, marriage, past regrets, and what one is willing to do for love.

Carole
How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior

5
A delightful story about an 85-year-old woman who is estranged from her family and wants to find a worthwhile cause to leave her fortunes to. After seeing a documentary about penguins in Antarctica, she tells the scientists that she is coming to visit their base even though they object. After a baby penguin is left without its parents, she convinces the scientists that they should rescue the infant. He becomes part of their family and Veronica begins to find her heart again. I found this to be an engaging and heartwarming story and learned much about the penguins of that area. The characters are well developed and you feel as if you are part of this Antarctic small scientific base and see how the human heart can be healed.

Patricia
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

5
Historical fiction about an overlooked early part of WWII. Mussolini's 1935 invasion of Ethiopia was a massacre with tanks, poison gas, and a well-equipped army against Ethiopian volunteers with antiquated weapons, little ammunition and even spears. But the most ignored contribution is that of the women soldiers who stepped up and made their contribution despite their lack of respect and position in society. The beautiful prose contrasts with the cruelty of wartime. The Ethiopian-American author also wrote BENEATH THE LIONS GAZE.

Allison
The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

3
Interesting story.

Pat
The Day the World Came to Town by Jim DeFede

5
On September 11 Gander, Newfoundland was the Site for the safe landing for hundreds of flights as the world figured out what was happening. The hours of waiting on runways soon yielded the release of the passengers into the small town of Gander (and other small surrounding towns). There the passengers were treated as guests and the local residents did everything possible to make the passengers comfortable in such a dire situation. It was great pandemic reading as it affirmed the goodness of people in a crisis.

Michelle
Deacon King Kong by James McBride

2
Posting now that we've discussed it in book group. This was a bit of a disappointment for me. While I enjoyed some of the quirky, colorful characters, I felt constantly tripped up by the marathon of constant run-on sentences filled with unnecessary, skim-worthy details. I never got the full point of the story, nor of the whole premise of the shooting at the beginning. The book's description was misleading, in my opinion. Had an accurate premise been detailed, I think my expectations may have been set differently and I wouldn't have been seeking resolution to questions that never got answered, and in fact should never been spotlighted so intently to begin with. I'm interested in McBride's memoir still but would probably pass on another work.

Peggy
The Weekend by Charlotte Wood

5
I expected a chick lit but it was so much more. The power of women’s long friendships and how important they are as we grow old.

Mary Ann
The Last Flight by Julie Clark

5
One of my best reads of the summer!!! Highly recommended.

Alice
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

5
It is a really great read and love that it ties to THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY.

Janelle
Watching You by Lisa Jewell

4
The novel centers around Joey, a married woman who drifts about life. She suddenly becomes infatuated with her neighbor, a married head of a school. There's a murder, which she is implicated in. I enjoyed this book, and when I thought I had it figured out, a few chapters later there was a twist!

Jeffrey
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

5
This is a long, stunningly good read. I listened to the audiobook, and the reader, Lee Horsley, couldn't be better. The story revolves around a cattle drive from south Texas to Montana, but the gold in the story is McMurtry's masterful handling of character development. It is a richly-observed portrait of the American West in transition, and it will stay in my memory for a very long time.

Richard N B
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng

5
Historical fiction set in Malaya during World War II. The 15-year-old main character, youngest son of an established British family, comes of age in a very unsettling time, and becomes the unwitting accomplice to a Japanese spy. The writing is atmospheric and poetic. The characters are complex and nuanced. I was on the edge of my seat in certain scenes. And Eng managed to have me empathize with all sides at one time or another.

Debbie
The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

4
This is a wonderful family saga. What does family really mean? As the patriarch of this family nears the end of his life, he plans his last birthday party and brings his extended family with all their problems and their love for each other together. It is a celebration of what it means to be family.

Sharon
The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara Davis

5
When Lizzie Moon inherits the Moon Farm from her grandmother, she intends to sell it and forget about being a Moon girl. But the farm has a strange draw even though the community still hates her family and blames her grandmother for the death of two young sisters.

Sharon
Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing by Allison Winn Scotch

4
An up-and-coming female politician is on track to fulfill her political dreams until a former best friend disses her very publicly. Her campaign manager suggests she make a list of regrets, choose the top ten (out of 233 and counting) and attempt to make amends - not as easy as it sounds and the results are not all that Cleo expects.

Jayme
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

4
Filled with bandits, spies, assassins, and queer librarians who just might save the day. This dystopian western was a quick, fun read.

Margaret
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

4
An interesting look at the what-ifs of Hillary Clinton’s life. This fiction novel follows Hillary Rodham’s life as she breaks up with Bill as he begins his political rise in Arkansas and she follows her own path. Well written and an interesting trip through the political landscape in the 1980s and on.

CYNTHIA
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

5
Very entertaining, real-life story of this young track-runner's dream of providing excellent shoes. A 50 dollar loan from his skeptical father was the beginning. His ex-coach and enthusiastic team members made it work. Personable presentation makes characters come alive, some laugh-out-loud circumstances. Delightful reading!

Edie
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

5
Historical fiction by Sue Monk Kidd. This book focuses on Ana. the wife of Jesus, from the early first century. Born into a family of scholars (her father was scribe to the emperor), Ana benefited from learning to write, read, and express herself. Problem was that she wasn't accepted as a female with abilities and hence the title. Basic to her self-understanding and the story are her adventures including her adventures which are committed to her Incantation Bowl. It's a factual romp through unknown times - the first century and women - and adventures of a female misfit in the times.

Edie
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Mayes

5
I've been a volunteer for a rural library and this book filled me like few books have. It is the stories of women librarians who rode on horses the circuits of lending in rural Kentucky. Filled with adventure, touched with a bit of romance, the books tells of women who ventured where no woman had gone before. Having lived in the hills of West Virginia, it was easy to fall in love with the rural women of Kentucky. I could visualize their adventures on horses, pausing to read to children and adults, and their sharing back at the storage place. Realistic, heartfelt, and full of a life different than that of most readers.

Susan
Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

5
Nina and Lachlan are con artists and they are trying to pull a con job on Vanessa who figures in Nina's past, but a few surprises along the way deter their mission.

Gina
Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd and Penny Junor

4
Honest appraisal of George Harrison and Eric Clapton by the muse whom they each loved. Pattie was beautiful and young and lived the ideal mod star life. Life with Beatle George was lonely and unfulfilling. Life with Eric Clapton was lonely and abusive. It is always interesting to see that the people one thinks "had it all" are sad sometimes. This book was an eye-opener to me.

Kathy
The Quiet Game by Greg Iles

5
This is a book I couldn’t put down. It is the first book in his “Penn Cage” series and as a result, I downloaded the whole series. The book is fast-moving with many twists. The characters are well constructed but have flaws like everyone else. I enjoyed this very much and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Beth
Tandem Tryst by Ralph E. Horner

2
Time travel mystery, which I usually like, but this one was not well written

Lorraine
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

3
As of fan of Fiona Davis’ historical novels, having read 4 of 5, having THE ADDRESS on my shelves waiting to be read, and a former New Yorker and lover of the NYPL, I was surprised that it wasn’t as nearly as good as THE MASTERPIECE and THE DOLLHOUSE. Parts actually were a bit boring; at other times a bit unconvincing. The thief, for example, not a compelling ending. Still, I really enjoy the ease and flow of her prose and historical details. (Also disappointed she didn’t take the Mabel Dodge Luhan scenes in a fresh direction. Ellen Feldman already wrote a fantastic novel about Margaret Sanger in THE TERRIBLE VIRTUE and Therese Fowler wrote about the suffragette movement in A WELL-BEHAVED WOMAN.)

Charlotte
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

5
Excellent. Really keeps your interest. Hard to put down.

Laura
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

3
Pretty good book. The story of one sister searching for her missing sister in Amsterdam. I only give it 3 stars because I felt like there was a lack of urgency from Amy to locate her sister. If that was me, I’d be a blood hound.

Linda
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

4
As the title suggests, this historical novel based on a true story, is not a light read. I admired Lale Sokolov's resourcefulness in order to survive. He falls in love with Gita, which results in even more determination for them both to stay alive. I won't give away the ending. There are "threads" of good, kind prisoners who help each other, so I wouldn't call the novel dark despite the subject matter.

Cindy
Doc by Mary Doria Russell

4
Doc Holiday is an enigmatic figure, but in this novel of early Dodge City, you get to know the real Doc. He seems out of place with his southern charm and manners and wide ranging education, but he gets along with Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, the other Earp brothers and a whole cast of frontier characters.

Helen
The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

5
A great thriller, with lots of twists and great plot. If you like suspense novels do not miss this read.

Diane
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

5
I loved this story! Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and the author did a terrific job representing the Great Depression and its effects on the characters. The children were empathetic and caring of others. Odie was so full of spunk and bravery! I couldn't stop reading to find out what happened to them! I especially enjoyed the many similarities to THE ODYSSEY.

Debbie
Murder on Pleasant Avenue by Victoria Thompson

2
After reading other mystery writers, Victoria Thompson presents an interesting tale, but her writing structure is very one-dimensional. The majority book rests on dialogue, and setting and characters fall to the wayside. Victoria Thompson depicts the Italian population of New York where each neighborhood highlights a different area in Italy. Again, the police only help certain citizens. I guess we are now returning to the distant past in police duties. The story follows kidnapping of women and children in hopes of ransom money from the relatives and the police are never involved. A settlement house portrays the work of civic-minded souls that want to aid immigrants by teaching English and many other skills.

Donna
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

4
This novel blends fiction and history in a very interesting way. Bill and Hillary Clinton dated during law school but broke up before actually getting married. This book explores what Hillary's life might have been like if she hadn't married Bill Clinton.

Lisa
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

5
Fiona Davis hits it out of the park again with her latest book. Highly addictive with a fascinating storyline, interesting characters and Davis' descriptions of an iconic NYC building. Kept my attention from beginning to end.

ROSA
MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman by Ben Hubbard

5
In this book, Ben Hubbard gives an account of the unlikely rise of Mohammed bin Salman to his powerful position as Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. I knew nothing about the politics of this country and became intrigued with it following the death of the journalist Jamal Kashoggi. This is a compelling chronicle that was difficult to put down. It reads like a spy thriller and in parts, it is hard to believe that it is true. A very worthwhile read.

Amanda
I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain by Will Walton

4
I was pretty surprised I liked this book as much as I did. It was a mix between prose and poetry and focused on grief. Once I started, it was tough to get into the flow, but once I did, I sped through this book, feeling every bit of pain and grief that Avery, the 16-year-old boy who speaks to us, is dealing with, plus the loss of his grandpa, his mom's alcoholism, being a gay teen who is in love with his best friend. The world is crashing down on Avery and he eloquently brings us with him.

Sheila
The Girl with Seven Names: Escape from North Korea by Hyeonseo Lee

5
I had to remind myself it was a nonfiction book; it was such a page-turner. North Korea was fascinating and her love for it and her family made her indecision to return to her country very believable. There were many interesting people she met who helped her. But would they be true friends or turn her into the authorities? You just didn’t know what would happen next. The best book I have read this year!

Cheryle
The Mist by Ragnar Jonasson

5
If you want an atmospheric book that will tame the heatwave read the chilling book, THE MIST. Set in Iceland, the author sets the stage at the beginning with a murder that needs to be investigated. It is now February and the murders took place around Christmas. Why did it take so long to discover? Imagine a desolate farmstead in the outlands of Iceland during the winter. A great book by a fantastic author.

Cheryle
The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

4
A book that I took to be a parable about faith in God. The four main characters represent the ways to seek God. Two couples that are vastly different are called to minister to the congregation of the Third Presbyterian Church in NYC. The story takes the reader through their hopes and dreams as well as their trials and troubles.

Sandra
The Skeleton Room by Kate Ellis

4
This is an excellent mystery series from British writer Kate Ellis. I have read a number of them and they are consistently good. They combine a modern crime with an historical crime.

Jean
The Last Flight by Julie Clark

5
The story was fascinating and well told, the amount of description was appropriate, and the characters were people I'd want to know. Knowing this was only Clark's second novel made me even more impressed. I loved it.

Barbara
On Division by Goldie Goldbloom

4
This book about an insular religious family gave insight to a group I knew little about.

Betty
Vox by Christina Dalcher

4
One of the scariest books I've read in many years. As scary as IT CAN HAPPEN HERE by Sinclair Lewis.

Dorothy
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

5
I chose this book for my book club and am really glad because of the many discussion points.

Carol
Readhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

4
Love reading any book by Anne Tyler. She is so down to earth (in Baltimore).

Kristen
March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell

5
Fantastic.

Mac
Doctored Evidence by Donna Leon

5
As with all of Donna Leon’s novels set in Venice, Italy, Ms. Leon takes you there, gets you familiar and comfortable with the setting and arranges you with all her characters from the beginning to the end of each and every book. The reality of living and working in Venice through her plot, characters and setting is uncanny - a wonderful writer who never lets you, the reader, down! Each of her 29 books featuring Commissioner Guido Brunetti is a stand-alone adventure.

Jan
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

5
The author researched this book for several years but finished it up just as the Covid 19 virus forced much of the USA to close. The story is placed in Dublin in 1916 - WWI is still alive and the strange, fast-moving virus is very much alive, killing hundreds, then thousands. The main character is a trained nurse who is charge of the maternity patients who have the "war sickness, plague, the great flu, khaki flu, blue flu, the malady." They are crowded into a tiny room, and the other nurse in the small ward has been called out to another ward. The nun who watched over the patients at night said she would send someone to help. That someone is an adult poor orphan, raised by the nuns, very little education, but eager. Good reading.

Kimberley
The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

5
This is a revealing account of the struggles freed slaves endured to reunite with separated kin. Using documents and references from letters and newspaper ads sent around the country to churches, the author creates this historical fiction. She skillfully draws us more then hundred years forward where the reader is reminded that racism and oppression are still prevalent. It is well written and a little longer then most novels. It is a must-read to better understand current events.

Lisa
The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter

5
Great book. I was lucky to hear her speak last year at Book Expo and I'm not sure how such a funny woman writes such great, dark books, but she's wonderful and the characters really drive the plot!

Sandy
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

5
My favorite books tug at my heart, while also often sharing a life lesson at the same time. DEAR EDWARD did just that. How he emotionally got through his loss and eventually found love and goodness still there for him.

Francisca
The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin

3
A family epic following the four Skinner siblings over several decades. I love character-driven novels, getting to know and understand the psychology of the characters as they cause and/or react to events in their lives. That these four people are damaged by their childhood is without question. The ways they find to cope, or not, is what fascinated me in the novel. I was sorry that Covid-19 interrupted our book club’s scheduled meeting on this work. I would certainly have enjoyed that discussion.

Margaret
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

2
Setting is a London boarding school and 4 girlfriends create a game of lying to other students and faculty but never to each other. Narrated by Isabel who does not have much personality. Her 3 friends are Fatima, Kate abd Thea. They are all expelled during senior year due to the mysterious nature surrounding the death of the school's art teacher who was Kate's father. Now it's 15 years later & Kate sends out a message to her 3 friends: "I need you." All 3 immediately drop what they are doing to go to Kate. A secret that has been kept all this time is about to be disclosed. This is supposed to be a psychological mystery but it has a boring, slow plot with little suspense. No likable characters. Author made sure the setting was creepy though.

Nancy
Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey

5
Great story of friendship. Gray's mother has just died, her husband has left her and her sister has married an extremist. She feels she has no one left and decides to go home to North Carolina. Diana has lost her job, she has left her boyfriend and is sleeping in her car. The two meet when Gray accidentally gets Diana fired. They become good friends and Diana moves into Gray's guest house. The story goes from there; I do not want to give the rest of the book away.

Donna
The Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

4
Hard to classify this one as it deals with the supernatural, espionage, world history, teen suicide and mental illness...but it is engaging and the main character is one you want to root for. The ghosts are fascinating and the atmosphere of Harvard comes alive as another character. A stellar debut novel.

Donna
Summer Longing by Jamie Brenner

5
Brenner returns to P-Town with some familiar characters and some great new ones. A wonderful read about family and motherhood and independence and love. A feel good read set in artsy Provincetown, MA. Pull up a beach chair and crack open the book.

Elizabeth
When I Was You by Amber Garza

5
DO NOT MISS READING THIS ONE!!! This book is a twisty, creepy, psychological thriller with a very intriguing, clever storyline. READ IT...I bet you won’t figure it out, BUT I know you will love it.

Donna
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

4
Oona is destined to live her life as a time traveler. As New Year's Eve arrives each year, she is transported to another year. Each year is totally out of sequence and never to be repeated. This novel is a roller-coaster of emotions and it left me wanting to know more. Oona experiences deep love and intense pain. One learns from this story to live in the moment and to appreciate it.

Helen
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

4
Interesting tale of a turn-of-the-century immigrant, learning to be American in a family not ready to change. A picture of how others see us, and how we react to those who are different. A "nice" entertaining read by a talented author. Definitely worthwhile.

Helen
The Huntress by Kate Quinn

5
Really kept me reading. A very exciting and unusual story about rooting out Nazis after WWII as they tried to find places where they could escape notice. Thought-provoking and unusual. A great read.

Ann Marie Mandile
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

5
I won a copy of the book THREE WOMEN by Lisa Taddeo. I'm so happy to win this hardcopy of this book by ReadingGroupGuides.com! I read this book and enjoyed it very much and will definitely be looking for books by the author Lisa Taddeo in the future. This book follows the lives of three women who each had big issues to deal with. One girl/woman was raped by 3-4 school friends and also had a relationship with a teacher, one woman has sex with other men in front of her husband while he watched and joined in sometimes, and one woman cannot get enough of her married lover as well as being married herself. This book is not only how men abuse women and how the women let it go on, but also how society and other women see them. Excellent!

Clair
The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs

4
A young executive “inherits a charming but financially strapped bookshop and becomes caretaker for grandfather who has lived his whole life in the building.” The plot seemed a bit like a Hallmark movie with an edge, but it is well-written and intriguing, so kept the story interesting and the pages turning. It was a nice escape from today’s concerns and focuses on matters of true importance. I get irritated at unbelievable character names and this story involves a “Peach.” Luckily, the author explains it in a believable conversation, so all is well with that. The fun part of the story comes from the various “finds” within the old building. Good one!

Ann Marie
The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

4
I liked this book. It made me a little scared, especially with the state of the world today, but it is good! I also want to read A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS by this author.

Ann Marie
Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa

4
I am so glad this book was recommended to me by Bookreporter.com. What a fantastic book. I devoured it in a day!

Bilal
The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi

4
As a lover of short stories, I loved this book. Even though it is not a short story book, it had several stories or murder mysteries within this book. Very unique and interesting. I love Bookreporter.com's recommendations so much, that I read the reviews all the time now because they suggest great books!

Bilal
The Southern Book Clubs Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

4
Thanks to the Bookreporter.com for recommending this wonderful book. Outstanding. Thank you - it was a great read!

Stevie
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

4
Awesome book about three different women and how they feel, are looked at by men and women alike, and about their sexual problems and practices.

Helen
The Guardians by John Grisham

5
This is the best Grisham book I've read in a long time. Nothing sensational -- just a really good story that moves along and educates a bit. Loved it!

Tessa
Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik

5
Subtitle: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Oh, my stars, but this is one HELL of a woman! I've admired her for some years, but I really enjoyed learning more about her. I thought the authors did a great job of making this a very approachable biography. There is no truth without Ruth!

Brenda
The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle

5
Brooklyn Wainwright is a rare book expert and appraiser. She is appearing on This Old Attic to estimate the value of books that people bring to the show. She appraises THE SECRET GARDEN for a woman who asks her to sell it. The woman is murdered for the book, and Brooklyn and her boyfriend Derek help to solve the murder. This was a very good read; I never figured out the killer.

Ilene
The Silent Conspiracy by L. C. Shaw

5
The second in a series of investigative reporter, Jack Logan and his wife Taylor Parks, a television producer. Two years have passed since they worked together exposing the Institute, a secret organization trying to control high-ranking political leaders. Just when their lives are starting to return to normal, enjoying the quiet life with their young son and dog, Jack starts working on a series of bizarre murder/suicides. Could someone be deliberately causing it? And then Taylor starts producing a story about a class-action suit against an insurance company with ruthless policies that has reached the Supreme Court. Will life ever return to normal? So much more happens, a real roller-coaster ride.

Elizabeth
The Falling Woman by Richard Farrell

4
I enjoyed THE FALLING WOMAN. A jet with 123 people on board has experienced turbulence and crashed. Only one person survives, the unknown and unaccounted for ”Falling Woman," who somehow survived the fall of several miles to earth and walked away. But this book is only partly about her. THE FALLING WOMAN is also about Charlie, the National Transportation Safety Board investigator assigned to find “The Falling Woman.” "The Falling Woman” is Erin. She is dying of pancreatic cancer and wants the rest of her life to remain private. So she goes into hiding. We read about Charlie’s frustrations and Erin's misgivings.

Elizabeth
The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B. Moore

5
A true story of a brave woman who rescued enslaved Chinese girls from their owners by taking them into The Occidental Mission Home for Girls in San Francisco. Ms. Moore's writing is pull-you-in, the storyline is mesmerizing, and her research is impeccable. Historical fiction fans as well as women's fiction fans will enjoy THE PAPER DAUGHTERS OF CHINATOWN.

Ralph
Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character by Admiral James Stavridis

5
Great read that highlights the characteristics that leaders must have. Of course even the most famously recognized leaders often fall short at one time or another. Stavridis is not reluctant to point out examples of failure to meet high standards in the ten admirals that he discusses in this book, nor the many perceived failures in his life that he acknowledges. Anyone should be able to benefit from taking to heart what he has to say.

Linda
Her Last Word by Mary Burton

5
Fourteen years ago, Gina and Kaitlin were returning home when Gina was snatched by a man wearing a clown mask. He cut off her ear and told Kaitlin to run or he would cut off her other ear. Kaitlin ran and got help but no trace of Gina was ever found. Now Kaitlin is back and determined to find out what happened to Gina. After interviewing Gina’s friends, Kaitlin was attacked and left for dead. She almost bled out but was rescued in time. Detectives John Adler and Monica Quinn were assigned to the murder case. They think the attack on Kaitlin and the murder of Gina’s friend are all connected back to the probable murder of Gina. The original killer is still out there and doesn't want the case re-opened.

Linda
Texas Outlaw by James Patterson and Andrew Bourelle

5
Texas Ranger Rory Yates is sent to the small town of Rio Lobo after a request is received from a detective. A councilwoman was found dead and most think it was an accident after she ingested something with peanuts in it. Deputy Ariana Delgado doesn’t agree and thinks the woman was murdered. As she and Rory set out to interview people, he senses something is not right with this town. The whole town appears to be dependent on Carson McCormack and his largesse, but what type of business is McCormack in and why are armed guards around his ranch house? The deeper into his investigation he gets, the more dangerous it becomes and soon Rory's life is in danger.

Linda
Down on Me by J. Kenner

4
Reece, Brent, and Jenna have been friends since childhood. They face a big problem concerning The Fix on Sixth, the bar where they work. The owner is facing a huge balloon payment and if he can’t make it, he loses the bar to a chain that is taking over the Austin scene. Since Jenna is in marketing, she comes up with the idea of having a Man of the Month contest. They will sell tickets and a calendar will be printed for the coming year with all twelve winners. Word gets out and the contest is a success.

Linda
Alter Ego by Starla Harris

3
After catching her fiancé cheating on her, Iris Thompson goes to stay with her friend Olivia. She talks Iris into going to an art gallery with her where Iris meets a good-looking man. Calling on her alter ego Natasha, she comes across as wickedly playful and Damien Flaherty loves it. He wants to see her again and she meets him at the boardwalk but she is unable to act as Natasha and they have nothing to say. Weeks later, she is working at a coffee shop and he comes in and calls her Natasha but she tells him he is mistaken as she is Iris. He starts coming to the shop every day and they talk and get to really know each other. No alter egos involved.

Linda
Triptych by Karin Slaughter

4
Michael Ormewood is a detective in Atlanta investigating the brutal murder of a prostitute when he meets Special Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations who has been sent to assist in the investigation. John Shelley is an ex-con who has been released after serving twenty years for a crime he didn’t commit. He learns that his cousin Michael Ormewood has been using his identification and follows him to try and figure out what he is up to. Will thinks John is the killer of the young girls who have been raped and their tongue bitten off, but his friend Angie Polaski, vice cop, thinks he is wrong.

Gil
Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

5
Bobby Solomon is a famous Hollywood actor, standing trial for killing his wife and body guard who were found in bed together. Bobby, or somebody looking like him, was identified on a surveillance camera entering the apartment building about the time of the attack. He cannot account for his time and is also keeping a secret from his attorney, Eddie Flynn, a former con-man turned lawyer. At the same time, someone has it in for Bobby and wants to make sure he is convicted. To do so, he disposes of a potential juror who has been summoned for jury duty, assumes that person's identity and appearance, connives his way on to the jury, and tries to manipulate the other members to reach a guilty verdict.

Gladys
When We Found Home by Susan Mallery

5
She had declared herself totally finished with men and suits until she met a man who so-SUITably-fitted into her future plans.

Tessa
Upstairs at the White House by J. B. West

4
Subtitle: My Life With the First Ladies. J. B. West served as the chief usher in the White House from midway through the years of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s terms through the beginning of the Nixon administration. This is an interesting and engaging memoir of his experiences running the private residence for a variety of first ladies. Some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits, but no real juicy gossip. Discretion was – and is – a chief characteristic of J. B. West.

Rebecca
The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan

4
This tale of a daughter discovering the tale of her grandmother's past, a story that many knew...except for her own mother.

Rebecca
There There by Tommy Orange

2
I found this tale of interlacing native American life in today's world hard to follow.

Kimberly
Eat a Peach by David Chang

5
This memoir was excellent. The author was honest, humble, and humorous. I really enjoyed reading it.

Jane
The Last Flight by Julie Clark

5
This is the first book I've read by Julie Clark. It won't be the last. Two women do what felt impossible. But their need to escape is so great. Claire, wife of a wealthy man who is deciding to run for office. She believes no one would belief the abuse she suffers. Eva, alone because she listened to another college student in chemistry lab. She gets caught and exposed. He does not get punished because he plays sports. Her life ruined and she has no where to go. A man approaches her offering her a way to make lots of money. Claire and Eva's lives shattered so they take a risk. You find yourself pulling for them to succeed. All I'm saying as I want you to read it.

Jane
Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe by Jodi Thomas

5
Piper Jane is mayor of Honey Creek. She hopes a rumor won't make her lose her job. Colby, a state trooper hired by Poker's brother, is there to solve a scandal and protect Piper. A guy claiming Piper is his girlfriend disappears. Piper does not realize how much town loves her. Sam, a son of a preacher, also comes to town. There are ghost stories about the town. Danger flares all through story. Life is good and bad. But that makes it interesting. Suggest you read it.

Jane
Cold Case Pursuit by Dana Mentink

5
A child watches while her parents are killed. She is adopted. Twenty years later the killer decides to come after her and her brother. Penelope's brother is a k-9 officer. Tyler Walker and Dusty are hired to protect her. Tyler is a single Dad with a little girl. Rain falls in love with Penelope (Penny). Tragic events keep happening and Randall, the murderer, almost gets Penny more than once. He refuses to quit. Penny struggles with fear. Tyler struggles with rejection. Penny's brother is almost killed. The end will have you feeling like praying for the characters.

Francisca
English Creek by Ivan Doig

4
This is a coming-of-age story set in Depression-era Montana. Doig really puts the reader into the era and landscape of this novel. The sky is vast, the landscape majestic, the weather sometimes brutal, and the dangers – both natural and man-made – palpable. Fourteen-year-old Jick McCaskill is a keen observer, if sometimes perplexed. There were times when Doig’s work made me think on my own father, and how he taught us love of the land and nature. That made the book all the more enjoyable for me.

Liz
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons

5
Eudora is eighty-five years old, her body is giving out and she is tired of living. She wants to go out on her own terms with dignity. When Rose, a ten-year-old whirlwind moves in next door, Eudora’s life is turned upside down. With the help of another neighbor, recently widowed Stanley, Rose begins to see her life in a whole new way and is no longer sure of her decision. This is an amazing story, well written, sad, humorous and touching, focusing on a very difficult subject. I would give it more than five stars if possible. I won this in a Goodreads giveaway and this is an honest review.

Jan
The Hanging Girl by Jussi Adler-Olsen

4
This is the 6th Department Q mystery by an award-winning author. Department Q is where the police department places its officers who are no longer as energetic or active as they once were. Carl Morck heads this department and has collected an odd group of people to aid him. Department Q works only with cold cases, those that others have given up. A 17-year-old girl disappeared from her boarding school and was found, by accident, three days later, high in a tree when she had been thrown by a motor vehicle. About halfway through the book, I knew who had driven the speeding vehicle. I was wrong. So many other suspects. The main one has disappeared. Lots of family pain, inner longings, and a wonderful ending that ties it all together.

Robin
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

5
The author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS (which I also loved) has once again created a fictional, fantastical world that draws you in. This is a story within a story within a story, etc. It has a floating, connecting thread to a handful of main characters. I hope there will be a sequel to this book.

Richard N B
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

4
This is the story of the Mercury astronauts and how they came to be chosen – evaluated to ensure they had "The Right Stuff" to succeed in this vital mission. Wolfe does a great job of giving us the background of those first seven astronauts – warts and all. I was fascinated by the extensive testing they underwent to evaluate their fitness for this work, and I think Wolfe did a great job of explaining the differences in their personalities that resulted in success, or missteps.

Theresa
Promised by Leah Garriott

5
An engaging story perfect for fans of Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. Leah Gariott has captured the speech and manners of Regency England in this tale of spunky Margaret and her suitors.

Judson
The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

4
How far would you go to demonstrate commitment to your marriage? For Alice and Jake, the answer was joining "The Pact", an exclusive club with strict rules and harsh punishments. It turns out nothing like they expect, however, and soon they realize they may not survive if they don't find a way out.

Judson
The Annihilation Protocol (Extinction Agenda # 2) by Michael Laurence

4
“The Annihilation Protocol” by Michael Laurence is Book #2 in the “Extinction Agenda” series. I enjoyed this book even more than the first one. Laurence has again assembled a cast and devised a plot that are both entertaining and plausible. This book does a much better job of providing background on the bad guy, which makes the plot much easier to follow. I see tremendous potential for this series and gladly give this book 4/5 stars.

Victoria
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

5
It’s New Years Eve 1982 and Oona Lockhart is turning 19. As the midnight approaches, Oona passes out and she awakens to find herself 32 years in the future and in the body of 51-year-old Oona! From the first chapter and through out the book, Oona lives her life in the wrong order. Always on her birthday which is on New Years Eve, Oona jumps from decade to decade while she only ages a year on the inside, on the outside and physically she randomly ages either getting older or younger with each jump. I was able to borrow this book from the Queens Public library just days before all the libraries in Queens were closed due to Covid -19. In the midst of the pandemic I found the story to be a great way to escape and deal with the restrictions.

Tessa
Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario

4
Subtitle: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite With His Mother. Journalist Sonia Nazario first heard of mothers who leave their children behind from her cleaning lady. Her interest piqued, she sought to document what such a journey entails - for the mother who goes ahead, for the children left behind, for the boy who was determined to travel nearly 2,000 miles alone to find the mother he had not seen for more than a decade. Their stories are heartbreaking and eye-opening.

Thomas
Choppy Water by Stuart Woods

4
Good audiobook.

Theresa
The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz

4
This is a generational tale of a Grace Kelly-inspired wedding gown passed down the generations, with each bride making the gown her own. The complex relationships of mother and daughter, sister and sister, are explored realistically and with love. The characters are likable and their stories will capture your interest.

John
Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown

5
This is the touching story of a family legacy and new friendships.

Christine
A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

3
This is a solid, suspenseful thriller that never lagged and kept me interested the entire time. It is a story about a haunted typewriter. Or is it? While I did guess "whodunit," there were a few unexpected twists, the biggest one really caught me by surprise. One of the characters really had no purpose except as a red herring, but all-in-all this was an entertaining book. It's not the best book I ever read, but it was a quick, engrossing read.

Margo
Framed by S. L. McInnis

4
What a fabulous thriller, such a good book. I enjoyed reading it. I love small chapters, it keeps my interest. Great book.

Sean
Christine by Stephen King

4
Stephen King does such an amazing job of making the mundane creepy. Going into this, although I love most off King's work, I thought the idea of a murderous car somewhat stupid. I was so wrong and it's not just an evil car book. The way the book is written, from Dennis's point of view, was also unexpected but effective. Like a King book, it did seem overly long as some scenes were extended unnecessarily. I loved the main three characters and thought the actual antagonist was terrifying. The climatic ending was somewhat hard to picture given the strange vehicles, no pun intended. Overall, a very satisfying horror thriller.

Mary
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

5
Enjoyed the story of how the author became a therapist, her own journey in therapy, and the stories of her patients. I learned so much about therapy and myself! Highly recommend this book.

Lucy
A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler

2
Interesting to a point, but the book devoted way too much time on how Alva dressed and other trivial matters vs. the accomplishments she made during her lifetime. The book seemed trivial reading during this time of a pandemic, even though it is part of our history and I believe history should be told. I wish more depth had been given to Alva's character and her strength as a woman.

Jill
Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemmie

5
Unbelievable read and to think it is a debut novel!

Elizabeth
The Unwilling by John Hart

3
One of the best authors I’ve read, John Hart has again written a book to win me over. I feared this might be more like his Johnny Merriman books, which seemed to be experiments that didn’t work for me. But now, with THE UNWILLING, he is back. The story takes place in the 1970s, during the Vietnam war. There were three brothers: one was drafted and died in Vietnam; another, Jason, enlisted, served three tours, came home addicted to heroin, and served time in jail; and the youngest, Gibby, is a senior in high school and determined to help Jason.

Jan
Hatemonger by Jean Guerrero

4
Put on your big boy pants before you start this book. We have watched Stephen Miller and Donald Trump and the White Nationalist folks for years. This reporter puts it all together for us. She has pages and pages of notes, giving us citations about where she got her information. Obviously, she quoted the media but she interviewed Miller's family members, people he hung around with in high school, etc. She gives us the horrid details of a little Nazi boy in high school, eager to get on talk radio, and tell the world how awful those immigrant Mexicans were. Miller is very smart, much smarter than his boss, D. Trump, and that was obvious since he was a young boy spouting this hate stuff. A valid but painful book for me.

Jan
The Mothers by Brit Bennett

3
Bennett published this book before her break-out hit, THE VANISHING HALF. Both books deal with race issues, youth and how stupid we can be, evolving values, wisdom or the lack thereof. This book details the story of a young black woman and man (he is the son of the pastor) and their friends and families. Too late, the main character, a smart young woman who has just lost her mother to suicide, gets wise. And it happens as her best friend gets wise and gets the boy and the baby. There is hell to pay for most of the people in the book. The steadying influence in the book is the group of mothers in the church; they are widows, living alone and meeting at the church to pray together. The mothers act as a Greek chorus and as gossip central.

Francisca
By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates

3
Lucy Richardson leaves a failed engagement and her job at Harvard’s library for a visit with her Aunt Ellen on Bodie Island in the Outer Banks. There she snags a job as assistant librarian for the Lighthouse Library and becomes enmeshed in a mystery when a priceless first edition is stolen during a private party and a body is found. Interesting premise if a few bumps in the execution. Still, I was entertained and I’ll likely read more of this series.

Bonnie
The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

4
If you're a fan of history, Russia, monarchies or just want to read about four young women who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you'll enjoy this book. It's nonfiction but reads like a novel.

Bonnie
Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen

2
Amusing romp whose sole purpose seems to be to demean the president.

Bonnie
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

3
Stylishly written, contemporary novel with truths about race, class, and assumptions.

Bonnie
The Confessions of Frannie Langdon by Sara Collins

2
Murder, intrigue, sexual liaisons, race all come into play in this novel.

Bonnie
The Boy in the Field by Margaret Livesay

3
Three children find a boy half-dead in a field. How'd he get there, what happened to him are questions to be answered. All their lives are forever changed.

Thomas
Too Much and Never Enough by Mary Trump

4
A very good book.

Margaret
The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

4
Historical fiction in the 1940s, Baltimore, MD, & Hickory, NC. Story includes rationing during WW II, racial injustices, religious prejudices, limited roles for women and polio epidemic. Learned about iron lungs and polio treatments. Protagonist is Tess who is finishing nursing school, engaged to a young doctor. One night out with a girlfriend changes her life. She ends up in Hickory married to a distant and mysterious man who is a pillar of the town, wealthy, and owns a furniture factory. He is generous to Tess and she tries to fit in with her in-laws and community. Terrible things that happen to Tess keep piling on which become unrealistic. Hence, 4 Stars instead of 5. Main characters are well developed. Novel is very well written.

Elizabeth
The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner

5
Historical fiction fans will not want to miss reading this book. It is 1941, and we find Róza and Shira hiding in a barn after they fled the city where they lived. THE YELLOW BIRD SINGS is a beautiful but heartwrenching story of bravery and endurance.