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September 11, 2020 - September 25, 2020

This contest period's winners were Lori D., Betty Jo H. and Wendy H., who each received a copy of DON'T LOOK FOR ME by Wendy Walker and THE LAST AGENT by Robert Dugoni

 

Ilene
Beneath the Shadows by Sara Foster

5
Grace’s husband Adam inherits an isolated North Yorkshire cottage from his grandparents and they leave along with their baby daughter Millie to start a new life. Settling in a week later, Grace comes home to find her husband missing and the baby left alone outside in her carriage. A year later while still looking for answers, everyone is trying to convince her that he just left her. What a great thriller when we really find out the answer.

Gil
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

5
What a wonderful book. Couldn't wait to get back to it. A very surprise ending. Alicia is sitting in a mental institution and hasn't spoken a word since she shot her husband five times in the face and killed him. Theo is her new psychotherapist and hopes to cure her where others have failed. Theo has insecurity problems of his own and he seems to understand Alicia. Wait until you read the ending. It is really shocking. I recommend the book highly.

Katherine
Three Single Wives by Gina LaManna

5
THREE SINGLE WIVES is fun, twisty and suspenseful! I really enjoyed the multiple points of view, and the characters were engaging.

Sarah
The Paris Model by Alexandra Joel

4
I love this book because it takes place in two places I really want to visit, Australia and Paris. Grace lives in Australia. She loses her father at a young age and her best buddy "Uncle Siddy" goes to fight...and never returns. She has the chance to go to Paris to work for Christian Dior as a young woman. I thought that would be it. She'd live this glamorous life as a model in a great city for a great designer. But she gets a bit more than she bargained for when she falls in love with Philippe. She also discovers some family secrets. I absolutely love that this was inspired by a real woman and I love getting to see historical figures such as Jacqueline Bouvier, too.

Allison
The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

3
Interesting.

Michelle
Good Harbor by Anita Diamant

3
Diamant is a master storyteller of women and their relationships. THE RED TENT is one of my favorite books of all times. This was quite different though. Present day and centered around two women, one in her 40s and the other in her 50s, each going through some personal conflicts, they forge a friendship that allows them to open up about their past. There were many elements that promoted the pondering of so many things about the life of a wife, mother and friend. Simply written and very short, it was more of a quiet, thought-provoking read. Not the grand masterpiece level of THE RED TENT but worthy of merit in its own category.

Michelle
Beach Read by Emily Henry

4
A very solid 4 pushing towards a 4.5! I don’t normally gravitate towards your typical “beach read” but for the summer of 2020 where anything goes, I figured I’d give this a whirl, and I loved it. I finished in two days, the perfect way to savor the last of a New England summer over Labor Day weekend. The witty dialogue back and forth between the two characters was the secret ingredient of this beach read of a recipe for sure. I found myself laughing or smiling enjoying every second of the banter. And their steaminess gave it just enough spice leaving you wanting more. A cute, enjoyable, fun read, perfect for the beach, pool or even in January!

Michelle
The Whisper Man by Alex North

3
I really liked the first half of this book. It had just the right level of creepiness and decent writing. I was majorly hooked. I’m not a huge thriller/horror reader but surprisingly I had the ending just about all figured out. I felt the ending was pretty anti-climactic. I was also confused by one chapter towards the end about Pete and some Google searches haven’t cleared it up. But I can’t say I care enough to investigate further.

Michelle
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

5
There’s something about this book. It’s hard to put your finger on it but once in a great while if you are lucky, you come across a book that you hold a little more delicately, where you treasure every bout of reading, and you don’t want it to end so you read slowly, soaking up each sentence. Recommended by my friend, Kim of K Becker’s Books, HAMNET was a book that first captivated me because of the unique beauty of the cover, particularly in the gold foil that gives off a slight shine when you move it. For the first time ever, I ordered from Book Depository, receiving my first ever book shipped from England to ensure I received the soft blue cover with the big H on it entwined with the gold artwork.

Gina
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

2
I was fooled by a review calling this book a "masterpiece." It was not. It was a hootenanny of suspense, preposterous sci-fi, and laughable bad guys. It was like reading the script of a Grade B Soylent Green movie. The damsel in distress theme was just a ruse for a lot of nonsense.

Maryanne
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

5
Engrossing, start to finish.

Allison
Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid

5
Beginning in 1976, a written correspondence commences between the wife and husband whose spouses are having an affair with one another. "Dear Mr. David Mayer, My name is Carrie Allsop. Please accept my apologies for contacting you out of the blue. I am writing to ask a quite humbling favor. I recently found some love letters in my husband's briefcase that I believe to be from your wife, Janet..." The story evolves from here to also include the letters exchanged by their spouses, revealing their thoughts and feelings as they continue with their marriages as though nothing was going on.

Lori
Fanning the Flame by Sandy Lo

3
This was a contemporary, sexy romance between an older rock band drummer and a young popstar. Danny finally may be ready to settle down. But Topaz has a wild reputation. As they begin to collaborate on her new album, sparks fly. I didn’t think that the characters or storyline were that original, but it was a quick and fun read.

Linda
Fractured by Karin Slaughter

5
Abigail Campano comes home to find the front door open and broken glass on the floor. Running up to her daughter’s room, she sees a bloody man holding a knife over a badly beaten body. She runs down the stairs and he follows trying to talk to her. She gets him on the floor and strangles him to death. Will Trent with the GBI is called in and he sees a lot of discrepancies in the scene. There is a bloody bare footprint where the two bodies are found with sneakers. The dead girl is found to be an acquaintance of their daughter’s and the dead boy was not a killer but had also been stabbed. Where is Emma Campano? Who is the killer and why?

Michele
Sweet Child of Mine by Deanna Adler

4
Until you have walked in the shoes of a mother of a drug addict, don't judge.

Bev
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

4
Check it out if you like magical realism.

Linda
Undone by Karin Slaughter

5
As Henry and Judith Coldfield are driving home, they see a deer in the road but are unable to stop and hit it. What they hit was not a deer, but a naked woman who had been horribly tortured. An EMT in a passing car stopped and helped until the ambulance arrived. Dr. Sara Linton saw to the woman’s injuries in the ER. Will Trent, GBI, is checking out the scene and discovers a cave dug out of the ground where the woman had been held. Will also finds there had been another captive and they fan out looking for her. She was found dead hanging in a tree. Will and his partner Faith Mitchell have to find the person responsible for the brutal torture of the victims. But it’s not long until another woman is taken.

Bob
Highway 61 by David Housewright

5
Great book by a local author.

Linda
Broken by Karin Slaughter

5
Dr. Sara Linton goes to the Grant County jail in response to Tommy Braham's request. He is intellectually slow and was arrested for the murder of a young girl as well as stabbing a deputy. She finds Tommy has been beaten and is dead with both wrists slashed. She calls Amanda Wagner, Deputy Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and asks for an investigator. Will Trent is sent and finds a lot of things are wrong in Grant County. Sara's husband was the former police chief before he was killed. Lena Adams is still on the police force and Sara blames her for her husband's death and she is out for vengeance.

Linda
I’m Watching You by Mary Burton

5
Lindsay O’Neil is director of the Sanctuary Woman’s Shelter. Attorney Harold Turner, noted for defending drug dealers and abusive husbands, is found dead in the backyard of the Shelter. His hand was cut off and delivered to Lindsay with flowers. A card enclosed with the flowers is signed The Guardian. Since Lindsay had a recent argument with Turner in the courthouse, one homicide detective thought she had something to do with it but Zack Keir, homicide detective and Lindsay’s estranged husband, knows she is incapable of killing someone. When another man is found dead with his hand removed and delivered to Lindsay with her morning paper, the detectives know that The Guardian must be found soon before more bodies turn up.

Kathy
The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

5
Fussy Carter is a "pack librarian", riding her donkey to the far reaches of a poverty-stricken area of Kentucky, bringing books to the folks there. She is also the last of her kind, having a "blue" skin. These people are not accepted and are ostracized by the natives. There truly were blue-skinned people, and this novel depicts the pain and suffering they went through. Cushy is a very determined heroine and struggles with prejudice and danger every day, while trying to bring a touch of literacy and joy of books to the people of the "backwoods". I loved this book; had a hard time putting it down!

Linda
Dead Ringer by Mary Burton

5
After he saved her from The Guardian, detective Jacob Warwick is attracted to news reporter Kendall Shaw. He and fellow detective Zack Kier are investigating murders of young women who resemble Kendall. All have been strangled and are found wearing a necklace with a charm engraved with a name. The third woman found does not resemble the others but has the same marks around her neck. Kendall has a run-in with her new neighbor who tells the detectives he is also looking into the current murders that are similar to ones that occurred in Colorado. Tipsters told him the killer did carpentry work and Kendall is having her kitchen remodeled. Could there be a connection?

Linda
Dying Scream by Mary Burton

5
Adrianna Barrington has sold her late husband’s family estate. As part of the deal, she has to remove the family graveyard from the property. The foreman in charge of removing the graves tells her unmarked graves have been located. Detective Gage Hudson had been asking Craig Thornton, Adrianna’s late husband, about the disappearance of Rhonda Minor, a woman Craig had been associated with. Gage thinks Thornton killed her and now he wonders if she is in one of the unmarked graves. If one of the graves is Rhonda’s, whose body is in the other grave? Gage and Adrianna had an earlier romance that ended when she decided to marry Craig. Gage is still in love with her and does not think she killed anyone although others suspect her.

Linda
A Good Duke Is Hard to Find by Christina Britton

4
Thanks to Goodreads for the book. Loved the story of Peter finding the love he long sought and forgiveness he gave as well as received. By losing his hate and need of revenge, he found fulfilling love in both Lenora and his expanded family. After her fiancé left her at the church, Lenora Hartley’s best friend rushes her to her grandmother’s home on the Isle of Synne. There they meet Peter Ashford who has come to swear revenge on the Duke of Dane who refused to help his dying mother. Peter swears he will never marry and the title will revert back to the Crown, but he feels no relief when he tells the dying Duke this. He plans to return to Boston, but now that he has met Lenora his plans might change.

Linda
Masked Prey by John Sandford

3
Lucas Davenport is asked to come to D.C. to check on a website that has got everyone riled up. The site is named 1919 and stands for the 19th letter of the alphabet which would be SS. Jane Chase with the FBI is afraid the site was put up by a neo-Nazi group. It was found by Audrey Coil, daughter of Senator Roberta Coil, as she was searching for sites that contained her photo and found 1919. There were also photos of children of other politicians. No reason was given for the photos and Chase is afraid that one of the groups might be planning a hit on the children. Known groups have to be checked out and this is where Davenport comes into play.

Betty Jo
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

5
This was a great read. I lead an honor society at a local community college. This was the first selection for the leadership class I am teaching for the officers of the group. This book is relevant to both women and men and the challenges of the workplace. As the mother of four sons, it has already been recommended to them...and to my GA Tech daughter-in-law graduate. Kudos for rising to the female challenge in corporate America.

Dianne
The Organ Thieves by Chip Jones

5
This book is based on the true heart transplant of Bruce Tucker in Richmond, VA in the late 60s. Bruce is admitted to the Medical College of Virginia Hospital emergency room due to a head injury from falling off a three foot wall. The hospital tries to locate his family, but doesn’t try hard, and no one is located. Heart transplants were beginning and MCV was in a hurry to make history, so they are in need of a heart for of their critically ill patients. The decision is made to to use Bruce’s heart after he dies. The dilemma is when does death occur to him. Turner’s brother sues MCV and loses - doctors to this day still ponder the outcome of the trial.

Donna
The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

4
I love books where I learn something! This is the story of three women living in Australia in the days when convicts and undesirable people were sent there. The characters are well drawn and the story makes for a most interesting read.

Lois
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

5
Thoroughly enjoyable. Life in a small town in England has both problems and positives. The situations can be funny and others very sad. Her characters are so well explained that you can almost touch them. Worthwhile reading.

Elizabeth
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

5
A superbly written book about societal hierarchy similar to India and Nazism based on caste, the embedded infrastructure of power, superiority, and human ranking predicated on certain characteristics of individuals. Wilkerson describes the harshly inhumane treatment of African Americans during slavery; and castes in one form or another persist as well against Asian Americans, indigenous American Indians, Latinos and women. But, she also sees solution and hope.

Marilyn
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

5
A tale of hardscrabble towns in East Texas, racism, blood relationships and the essence of character! It is truly a timely story of the collision of race and justice in our country. My book club members and I agreed, there will be a sequel. Darren Matthews, black Texas Ranger must continue to contend with his roots, including his mother.

Rosa
The End of October by Lawrence Wright

5
This was a remarkable read, given that Lawrence Wright wrote this book before the Covid -19 pandemic occurred. It is prescient in so many ways, and how Wright describes what happens is eerily similar to what we have experienced with Covid-19. I appreciated all of the historical perspectives in science and war that Wright includes. This may be over-the-top for some readers, but I found it fascinating. I recommend this book to lovers of science, science fiction, and history.

Nancy
Enemies of Doves by Shanessa Gluhm

5
Absolutely amazing! I fell deep into this novel as it surrounded me with excitement, anticipation and even sorrow as the story unfolded. The author, Shanessa Gluhm, gave the novel so much care in getting the perfect words on the pages to hold my attention. The alternating timelines between 1941 and 1991 makes this story even more captivating. I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down! I can't believe this was Shanessa Gluhm's debut novel! The cover is stunning; the story can definitely be seen through the design. I love it! The alternating timelines was perfect, flowing smoothly from one time period to the other. I can't recommend this novel enough. If you're a reader that loves a good mystery with lots of twists, get it now!

Marilyn
Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan

4
Quite a charming read about people whose tour guide has mysteriously died, but they have a substitute who is totally unaware that during their travels they are kidnapped. Leads one to think about what is real and what is right. Much as I enjoyed the book, I felt it was a bit too long.

Janet
Revenge by James Patterson and Andrew Holmes

5
Loved the twisting suspenseful storyline.

Richard N B
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

3
2.5 stars. In general, I love nature and wildlife nonfiction, especially when it deals with endangered species and the efforts to protect them from extinction. The snow leopard is one of the most endangered. Unfortunately for me, and for my rating, this book isn’t really about the snow leopard. As in real life, the creature is extremely elusive in the book, hardly ever mentioned, and not making an actual appearance until late in the journey. Instead this is more Matthiessen’s personal quest for enlightenment. I grew bored and struggled to keep reading.

S
The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman

5
There are many parallels to the Covid pandemic in this timely read that takes place in Philadelphia during the 1918 flu epidemic. Pia Lange is a young German immigrant. Eager to prove his loyalty to America, her father joined the army and is fighting in France while her mother struggles to keep the family fed and housed. After attending a parade where her mother is exposed to the disease, Pia ends up caring for her infant twin brothers. When their supplies runs out Pia must leave her brothers in the apartment in search of food unaware that someone has observed her departure. Everyone is isolating. Pia's neighbor Bernice wishes there was a way to transform all the immigrant children overwhelming the hospitals into "true Americans." But how?

Kimberley
Kingdom Forgotten by Laurie A. Lounsbury

5
Taking place in Northern Michigan on a hidden gem, Beaver Island, this is the true story of a tyrant who named himself Mormon King of the Island and surrounding area. There was financial, political and murderous control over the area, even for non-Mormons. This little known black mark on Michigans history is definitely eye-opening. Those familiar with this popular tourist area and Northern gem would shudder to know the backdrop to this beautiful area. It is a must-read for all.

Judson
The Killing Man by Mickey Spillane

4
Going in for a rare Saturday appointment, P. I. Mike Hammer opens his office door to a shocking scene: his secretary lies unconscious on the floor and a stranger lies dead in a chair, fingers missing and a cryptic note in his grasp. In his quest to find out who the dead stranger is and protect his secretary, Hammer will cross paths with the FBI and CIA. The chase is on as Hammer tries to outwit and outrun those who would see him dead. Great book that brings back fond memories of the TV series of the 80s, for those of us old enough to remember it.

Donna
The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

5
A historical story of the women who dedicated and put their lives at risk to help others, maintain the Lafayette legacy and the chateau where he was born through the American and French Revolutionary wars and WWII. The Lafayette Fund was established in American and provided the funds for the orphanage, school and hospital housed in the chateau. The fund provided funds for refugees and thousands of kits for the service men. Their motto: CUR NON (Why Not). This is a marvelous book about the sacrifices and strength of women with a purpose.

Jan
Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

3
A debut novel/mystery from a very educated Sigangu Lakota man. I downrated it to 3 because it really needed an editor. Weiden gives us information about Native American life today, the drugs, the poor schools, the graft, the abuse by white men, etc. He also gives us a little about Native American culture and beliefs. A young boy almost dies after ingesting heroin - his mother died in a car crash, leaving her brother as the child's guardian. The uncle, Virgil Wounded Horse, has his own battles with alcohol and anger but manages to get by on his wits and has become the local "enforcer," who deals out retribution when the federal agents will not. The characters are well developed but there is too much rambling where someone is "thinking."

Donna
A Good Man by Ani Katz

4
When people fall in love and marry they believe their life together will only get better. As their lives go on with good times and bad times, you realize that life will either get better or worse. In this book, the bad times spiraled and in the end horrific action was taken.

Donna
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

5
A very heartbreaking and sensitive fictional story that is a combination of actual stories that takes place in Tallahassee, Florida. No human being, especially young children, should ever have to endure the intimidation, fear and cruelty that is told in this book. The fact that anyone could survive and grow to be normal is a miracle. This book is well written and the stories should be told so these conditions can never happen again.

Donna
The House of Secrets by Brad Meltzer

3
Hazel's father is the host of a TV program called "House of Secrets" and he attempts to dig into unsolved mysteries. Hazel learns that his life is the biggest mystery of all. She delves into his stories and discovers that her life along with his is one big puzzle...a puzzle that is causing people to be murdered. She won't stop searching until she finds the answers.

Donna
Franci's War by Franci Rabinek Epstein

3
This memoir is a straight-forward account written by Franci and later edited and published by her daughter. Franci is a young Czechoslovakian, non-practicing Jewish girl who spent three years in captivity in slave labor camps during WWII. She managed to survive and return to her hometown. Years later, she immigrated to NYC and established a fashion business.

Donna
Grave Testimony by Larry A. Winters

5
I love legal thrillers and this author is new to me. I was not disappointed at all. I read it in one day and look forward to reading the follow-up books. Jessie wins a big case and at the celebration party, she makes a mistake that could haunt her. A chance to find justice for a 14-year-old murder of a 7-year-old boy is her next case. All seems perfect for her until another murder is committed. Can she win this case?

Donna
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

2
I gave this book to my teenage niece for Christmas. She loved, loved, loved it and didn't put it down until she finished it... in one day! I personally read this book and can’t fairly rate it as don’t normally read fantasy or sci-fi books. I have never read ALICE IN WONDERLAND because I know I wouldn’t like it. In my mind, this is a dark, adult fairy tale.

Donna
Stars of Alabama by Sean Dietrich

3
Two stories including great characters that have a connection. This book takes place during the Depression and the height of traveling revival preachers. You get a real feel of the difficulties of this time period.

Donna
Evening in the Yellow Wood by Laura Kemp

4
This book grabs you at the very beginning and doesn't let go until the last page. Justine's father walks away from the family on her 12th birthday without an explanation. She longs to know why he left and her search begins 10 years later. She discovers that her course is blended with the supernatural, visions, mystery, murder, killers, secrets and love.

Donna
The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

5
A healthy baby girl is found in a crib and three people are dead in the kitchen due to an apparent suicide. On her 25th birthday, this baby learns that she has inherited an abandoned mansion in London worth millions and the identity of her parents. Seeking to know more, the bizarre and twisted story of what occurred in the mansion is revealed. I've never read anything quite like this before and I won't forget this story.

Donna
Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler

2
Delia is 40 years old, married and has three children. It's summer and they go to the beach for their annual vacation. Delia, wearing her bathing suit and carrying a beach bag, decides to take a stroll on the beach. Without any premeditation or notice to the family, she doesn't return. Delia begins a new life. After a period of time, her family locates her. She needs to decide whether to return to her old life or continue with her current life.

Donna
The Lie by William Dameron

5
A heartbreaking, yet heartwarming memoir of lying to himself and others. Everyone suffers and forgiveness eventually heals the wounds. I am grateful to have received and read this book because it is an honestly written struggle in finding one's own truth.

Donna
Behind the Mask: A Riley's Peak Novella by Tempeste Blake

2
A short novella introducing the reader to Rose, an actress, and Mack, a police officer. Rose is rehearsing for a community theater production. There is a serial killer disguising as a prostitute and Rose, using her acting talent, wants to help Mack catch this murderer. This is a mystery with romance added.

Donna
J SS Bach by Martin Goodman

5
Otto is a 19-year-old Jewish boy when the Nazi's removed him from his home in Vienna and send him to Dachau. His talent for playing Bach on the cello is a big part of this novel. The time period covers the span of three generations of women who are important to this story. The author has done extensive research on the Holocaust, and if you are a classical music lover you will appreciate this book all the more.

Donna
Lost and Found by Amy Shojai

5
The Legacy Center is offering a miracle cure for autistic children...for a price. This thriller includes a blizzard, secrets, kidnapping, multiple murders and a service dog that helps tell the story. The novel reminds you that desperate parents will do anything that offers hope for their children and there are people who will do awful things for money. This is a thriller that grabs you at the very beginning and doesn't let you go until the end.

Donna
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

5
Nora, after ten years of moving on in her life, still loved James. She receives an unexpected invitation to a bachelorette party for his fiancé. She, reluctantly, decides to attend as only a few select people were invited. She should have trusted her instincts of not attending, though in the end, it was her presence that discovered the reason for the party. I was totally engrossed in this book and the twist was a big surprise.

Donna
Eden by W. A. Schwartz

4
Evelyn is a divorcée with a teenage daughter and has lived the past 30 years drinking too much and living a life filled with lies. She had fled Eden, Louisiana, after a traumatic childhood, vowing never to return. Circumstances have brought her back. Flashbacks, information surfacing and people being killed finally eventually bring the truth to the surface.

Susie
The End of October by Lawrence Wright

4
This book came out April 28, 2020 and has kept my husband and I in self-isolation ever since! Of course we get books and food by mail and curbside so it's been fun! The book is about a corona virus that begins in Asia and quickly becomes a world-wide pandemic and brings the world to its knees -- does that sound familiar?????? Of course there are characters, politics, family, suspense, viral research and more -- still familiar??? Too familiar???? Yes, and a great read!!!! How did he know? So timely that we considered it a must-read.

Anna
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

3
I have to admit that this book did not grab me in at first and I almost gave up on it after a few chapters. I'm glad I didn't. It's an exceptional story about a family of 12 children, 6 are diagnosed with schizophrenia and the other 6 are left traumatized. It was a very long book, partly because the author goes into a lot of science and research of schizophrenia, from its early psychoanalysis, diagnosis to studies for a cure. This part was interesting but a little too in-depth for me. The story of the family and how they handled the illness as it manifested in each of the 6 boys was gripping and almost unbelievable. It was unsettling and sad but also very fascinating if you're interested in learning more about this type of mental illness.

Anna
The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel

3
I love historical fiction but this book to me seemed more of a romance novel. It was also a little too tidy as the main character falls in love at first glance not once but twice. I enjoyed it but not as much as other historical fiction books.

Marion
Bettyville by George Hodgman

4
The author returns to his hometown in Missouri to care for his ailing mother. This book is truly written about “love” and respect for the author and his mother. There are sad times and good times. You really can relate to this.

Tessa
Murder, Plain and Simple by Isabella Alan

3
I found this moderately entertaining as cozy mysteries go. There’s a decent premise, and I did like Oliver (her bulldog, who is afraid of birds). Alan gives the reader the beginnings of a possible love interest, which will likely develop in subsequent books in the series. And there’s a reasonable cast of supporting characters.

Joanne
Shadows in Death by J. D. Robb

5
51st in this series was classic JD. Eve and Roarke are enmeshed in a murder committed by one of Roarke’s former nemesis. This plot brings Eve’s entire murder team into the fray. Marriage rules? Yes, they must be factored in. Even Somerset is carrying a blaster to protect himself as this nemesis will be coming after Roarke’s family. Another terrific read from this author!

Lynn
The Turtle Warrior by Mary Relindes Ellis

4
I’m at a loss to understand how this wonderful book published 15 years ago has less than 800 ratings on Goodreads, Amazon, and B&N combined. How did word not get out about this book? It has great characters all struggling with their own issues, a beautiful setting in Wisconsin, and a storyline that will have you feeling all the emotions. This is the story of two families that live in neighboring farms with nothing in common. During the 33 years this story spans, there are lots of ups and downs that the characters go through. Mainly downs, but yet it’s not a depressing story. The overall feel is one of struggling to survive, with the hope of a better life, and leaning on others to help you get there.

Lynn
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

3
Well that was different. The way this book is written, you feel like you are reading an article in a magazine except there are no questions from the interviewer. Just a story being told from different perspectives. But not a full story, just little snip-its. And those snippets have just enough information to give you the bigger picture. Truly, in that sense, it’s very well written. Unfortunately, I still feel it’s just an okay book overall. Yes, I was invested in some of the characters. Yes, I enjoyed the storyline. I just didn’t love it.

Elizabeth
Watching You by Liaa Jewell

4
Lisa Jewell is one of my go-to authors. In other words, I can trust I will like her books before I even know a thing about them. In the case of WATCHING YOU, though, I was initially afraid I made a mistake, that it was just going to be another MY DARK VANESSA by Kate Elizabeth Russell, a book I did not enjoy. But I should have known better. Yes, it does involve a handsome, charismatic male teacher. And, yes, there is the suspicion that he preys upon young girls. But this is a murder mystery, a who-done-it.

Linda
The Last Flight by Julie Clark

5
What a ride! This book pulled me in right from the start, and kept me turning those pages! Two women, each with a life in crisis, meet by chance (?) in an airport and decide to switch tickets and identities to escape their circumstances. One is escaping an abusive husband, the other a career in illegal drug activity. The time frame goes from six months before the last flight of the title, to one month after. The characters are believable, their panic palpable, as each tries to come up with a plan to escape their lives. I honestly had trouble putting this book down - the story was compelling. Very definitely a five-star read!

FRAN
The Third Daughter by Talia Carner

5
A great fictionalized version of sexual trafficking of young European Jewish girls to South America in the mid-19th century. So many of us have had no knowledge of this terrible time in our history.

Sheree
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

5
This book had a wonderful storyline and it was hard to put down! Loved the book!

Nancy
The Boy from the Woods by Harlen Coben

4
Thirty years ago Wilde was found in the forest with no memory of his past. As an adult he still prefers living alone in a house in the woods. He works as an investigator. He has one good friend, Hester, a TV criminal attorney. She asks him to help a classmate. Naomi is bullied by her classmates. She has disappeared. In helping to find her he gets involved in bigger problems.

Debbie
All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

4
My favorite author and fabulous mystery writer, Louise Penny, plots out another great tale. Instead of Three Pines, we find our cast of characters in Paris, The City of Light. Jean-Guy and Annie await the birth of a daughter, their second child. Armand and Reine-Marie have come to celebrate this happy event and to see Daniel and his family. Walking home from a family celebration, Stephen Horowitz steps off the sidewalk and a car runs him down. A race to save and protect Stephen and the world plunges Armand into the depths of chaos and despair. Louise Penny employs Shakespeare with the book title and many memorable quotations and allusions throughout the book. The novel explores relationships among family and friends.

Debbie
The Dirty Duck by Martha Grimes

3
Martha Grimes tells an interesting story like Louise Penny. Both writers employ writers from the past as part of the story. And both writers delve into setting and characters and steer clear of rambling dialogue. In THE DIRTY DUCK, Grimes sets her sights on Shakespeare’s "As You Like It" and the writer Christopher Marlowe. What an adventure as the reader learns more about Shakespeare and Marlowe and the political world of writers in merry olde England. Grimes presents history and literature as delightful tales in her mystery of murder and mayhem which Richard Jury and Melrose Plant must solve. The list of characters and old favorites dance among the pages, and even Vivian and Aunt Agatha appear.

Debbie
The Deer Leap by Martha Grimes

3
Melrose Plant and Richard Jury meet Carrie Fleet, a 15-year-old animal rescuer as villagers in Ashdown Dean die mysteriously. Carrie aids Plant and Jury in the search for the village killer. Polly Praed, a noted mystery writer, convinces Plant and Jury to come to the village when she finds the first corpse. What prompts these killings and why is Carrie in the middle of everything? Grimes inserts her view on animal testing within the confine of a lab and on animal cruelty. New characters jump into the circle, such as the Baroness, Sebastian Grimsdale, and the Brindles. The plight of Carrie Fleet reminds me of Victor Hugo’s, LES MISERABLES. Grimes, like Louise Penny, describes wonderful characters and a stunning setting.

Debbie
The Last Flight by Julie Clark

3
THE LAST FLIGHT by Julie Clark engrossed so much that I spent all day reading the book. The book describes the perils of a wife living with an abusive husband and her lack of action. Julie Clark presents the tale of Eva and of Claire, each woman driven to escape her present life and jumps into the abyss of uncertainty. In a chance move, the two women change identities and the story jumps into action. Claire is running from her abusive and powerful and rich husband. Eva runs from a life as a drug chemist and dealer. One will fly to California and one will fly to Puerto Rico. The flight to Puerto Rico plummets into the ocean and the world mourns the death of Claire. Julie Clark filters the narrative between Eva and Claire.

Daphne
Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos

3
Surviving adolescence is hard enough, but realizing who you are as you mature and being true to that image is a driving aspect of this coming-of-age story. Throw in students disappearing, a subsequent murder, and the unlikeliest murderer of all.

shelly
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez

4
Sloan Monroe is still not back to herself after losing her fiance two years ago. She does find a pup and decides to keep him till she can find the owner. Most of her texts go unanswered as the owner, Jason, is on tour in Australia. They continue to text each other and when he arrives home he wants to pick up his beloved dog, Tucker, but suddenly Sloan is not ready to return him. Sloan does not know who he is and once she finds out they seem to realize they have feelings for each other, but how could it possibly work? It is a cute story and one that will show you change is possible after losing a loved one and, yes, people can change and move forward.

Kristen
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

5
Excellent writing and setting. Was interesting and characters well realized.

Joan
The Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

4
A fun story but gives you things to think about.

Kay
The Winter Sister by Megan Collins

3
A good book that kept you reading until the end with unexpected twists and turns.

Betty
Vox by Christina Dalcher

4
One of the scariest books I've ever read. I'm so glad women have started sticking up for themselves in a political way. We need to do this and I'm feeling more than ever that women have to vote to preserve their autonomy.

Helen
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

5
A epic journey of two sisters Effia and Esi, born in the eighteenth century Ghana and follows the generation of this family through Slavery to the south, to the Civil War. A excellent read.

Bonnie
The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper

4
Beautifully written by a black female emergency room physician.

Bonnie
Hiroshima by John Hersey

4
Nonfiction, follows several survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima. Slim book that packs a punch.

Bonnie
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

4
Novel about a twelve-year-old boy who's the only survivor of a commercial plane crash. Thought-provoking.

Rose
The Killings at Kingfisher Hill by Sophie Hannah

4
Sophie Hannah has written a new Hercule Poirot mystery in the Agatha Christie whodunit form. This tale involves a great deal of misdirection and lying, as well as financial crimes and multiple murders. This was a quick read, and had lots of confusing twists to follow to the conclusion.

Janet
Claire (The Sabela Series Book Three) by Tina Hogan Grant

5
I hate roller-coaster rides but I loved the roller-coaster page-turning ARC of "Claire" provided to me by author Tina Hogan Grant. Even if you don't follow the series, you can read and enjoy Claire's emotional trail of bumps to happiness. Don't be afraid to turn that page!

Kimberlee
MeaningFULL: 23 Life-Changing Stories of Conquering Dieting, Weight, and Body Image Issues by Alli Spotts-De Lazzer

5
This book will increase readers’ knowledge about eating issues that range from sub-clinical dieting and body image problems to clinical eating disorders. Through true, relatable stories followed by a specialist’s clinical commentaries, readers will learn about the following: a range of eating issues from “normal” and sub-clinical to serious eating disorders, subtle nuances between different feeding and eating disorders; common medical and nutritional concerns related to these issues, pertinent resources to support those struggling with these problems and the subjective experiences of people who have experienced these issues.

Elizabeth
Don't Look For Me by Wendy Walker

5
Psychological thriller fans will devour this book. ​​DON’T LOOK FOR ME is chilling, well crafted, and oh so good. I couldn’t put it down.​​ All I can say is READ IT - this is Wendy Walker’s crowning glory.

Janet
Outsider by Linda Castillo

5
Any book in the Kate Burkholder series is excellent, but I felt this book was one of her best. Kate's old roommate arrives in town with a mystery on her hands and she needs Kate's help. There is some romance amid the chaos which makes for a compelling read. Part of the series.

Janet
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

4
Eight disparate people join together to try to save Jane Austen's historic home. They all have their problems similar to Austen's characters. Good book, but probably better if you have read Austen's novels.

Amy
Uncommon Grounds by Sandra Balzo

5
This is labeled as a "cozy mystery" book with a series of books that follow the main character Maggy Thorsen. They're labeled "A Maggie Thorsen Mystery." The main character opens a new coffee shop with a "murder" inside the store on the first day of business of one of her partners of the new store. The author is delightful in her very funny wit and sayings I've not heard. The story from the first sentence grabs you and as for me, and the mysteries within the storyline keep you 'hooked'! I highly recommend all of her books in this series as well as other series and standalone books she has written. She is just a delightful author!

Kathy
Clementine: The Life of Mrs Winston Churchill by Sonia Purnell

3
After reading THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE by Eric Larson, I was excited to read this book to get the 'other side' of the story. Probably 1/3 of the book reads like a text book. For me it became very boring. They were quite an interesting couple, not the best parents, and I can't say that I liked this book as much as I was hoping.

John
Skyhunter by Marie Lu

5
This is the heartwarming story of a prisoner who knows how to hide a secret.

Angela
Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

5
This boom was amazing. It was the sequel to THE KITCHEN HOUSE. It picks up with Jamie, the grown mulatto son of Belle. He has established himself in Virginia where he apprentices for Mr. Burton as well as learning to draw birds. The real journey begins when the man who sheltered Jamie until he found a home with Mr. Burton asked him to take in his son Pan. But when Pan is sold into slavery Jamie must keep his promise and go on a life-changing journey to get him back.

Gail
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

5
Just loved the underlying story of all the people in the book and how everything came together at the end.

Gail
Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown

4
Finished this book in a few days but didn't need all the romance that she puts in between the two main characters (I'm getting old I guess). Good plot.

Beth
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

2
I gave this book a low rating only because I thought the editor should have worked with him to make it far shorter, so this is a rating for the book vs. my rating for the story, which is high as William amazes with his capabilities. The story is of a young boy (William) who builds a windmill against all odds: poverty, lack education, hunger, bad weather, bad (to me) government, yet he has faith, determination, friends and supportive family. Recommend, but there are parts you can skim.

Beth
Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan

3
This was not my favorite book of hers though the story moved along easily enough. This is the story of two "friends", one being the nanny and the other being the client. One is in college and the other is a writer who has a long period of writer's block. Our writer's husband works at a college, hence they live in a college town. He is trying to invent something and get backing for his invention. For me, I wasn't as captivated as I've been by other J. Courtney books (SAINTS FOR ALL OCCASIONS, THE ENGAGEMENTS) but as I said, the story moved along.

Nancy
Disloyal by Michael Cohen

5
Fascinating. Details his involvement with Trump, the sleazy deals he helped pull off. He talks about being seduced by the power of the position he held and how it was like being in a cult. It wasn't about the money, he had plenty of his own - it was the power. His family begged him to quit the job, but he wouldn't.

Nancy
True Crimes and Misdemeanors by Jeffrey Toobin

5
Another book about the Trump presidency, but one of the best. Very readable, goes into personalities of some of the players and explains why the decisions they made were inevitable based on their personalities. Excellent.

Nancy
The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton

3
So so. Very detailed to the point of TMI for the average reader. Bolton is known for his detailed note taking, which would be fascinating to some readers, but the average reader would be better served by Jeffrey Toobin's TRUE LIES AND MISDEMEANORS.

Marsha
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

4
I learned much about Franco controlled Spain after WWII. The author uses young adults and children to tell an interesting story of their struggles. It's a beautiful love story of Ana and the American photojournalist she meets. Very good historical fiction.

ILene
Rules of the Road by Ciara Geraghty

5
RULES OF THE ROAD starts when Terry goes to deliver a birthday cake to her best friend Iris who is supposed to be at a yoga retreat. However, she learns that Iris never made a reservation, but instead is getting on a ferry from Dublin to England and then plans to go to a clinic in Zurich, Switzerland to end her life from suffering from multiple sclerosis. At the same time, Terry gets a call from the nursing home where her father Eugene is suffering from dementia, and that she should take him for a few days because they have an infestation problem and have to fumigate. What an adventure enfolds when she rushes with her father to catch up with Iris to change her mind! So many emotions with this book. Loved the friendship, care, sadness.

Dorothy
A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

5
This untold story of Virginia Hall who worked behind enemy lines in France during WWII is fascinating. Hall had a unique ability to persuade people to help her. Her heroic deeds helped stop Nazi atrocities and thwarted Nazi plans, yet she is largely unknown.

Susan
The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

4
This was an amazing book. The author did an incredible job with her research. I learned so much. If you love historical fiction, you will love this book!

Betty
Walk the Wire by David Baldacci

4
Two storylines were a little much. I wish he had chosen one and stuck with it. I do like the main characters. They make good partners. It was just not one of my favorites.

Nancy
Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd

4
If you've visited any of the Charleston, SC historic plantations, you've heard about indigo, the plant that is incredibly time-consuming and difficult to grow but that also made fortunes for Southerners who were able to harvest and sell it. It's the stuff that makes your blue jeans blue. Credit goes to Eliza Pinckney, the real-life teenage heroine of this historic novel, who gambled her family plantation on a few handfuls of seeds. She made a bargain with the plantation's African slaves, offering to teach them how to read, in exchange for them teaching her indigo's secrets, which they had brought with them from Africa. It's a story of friendship, love that can never be, treachery and determination.

ILene
Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart by Joyce Carol Oates

5
Jinx saved Iris from being attacked, someone got killed, no one went to the police, and what happened that fateful night haunted them the rest of their lives. They were forever connected through the secret they shared. Iris was white and Jinx was black, headed for a college basketball scholarship. They went their own separate ways and lived many miles apart, but they could not forget each other. How could they? What happened to them over the years will surprise you and so will the ending. A compelling novel.

Tessa
Two For the Dough by Janet Evanovich

3
Book Two in the series starring totally inept bounty-hunter Stephanie Plum. The great cast of supporting characters carries the series for me: Lula, Steph’s long-suffering mother, and especially Grandma Mazur. A fast, fun read.

Margaret
The Falling Woman by Richard Farrell

3
Debut novel. About an airplane that explodes in mid-air over Kansas. Protagonist Charlie works for NTSB and investigates. Rumors are that a woman has survived. Novel started slowly, too much repetition regard the investigation and suspense built too slowly. Ending was strong. Two side stories (1) Charlie's marriage and (2) The life of Erin who has terminal cancer and is the survivor. She's found in a barn, taken to local hospital, then disappears. Charlie's job is to find her. Lots to think about and digest: Do you have the right to just disappear? What about the rights of others involved? What about job responsibility? One reviewer Googled names of real people mentioned in novel who have fallen through the air and lived to tell about it.

Judson
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

5
Excellent coming-of-age book about four teenagers who run away from an Indian school in the hope of finding somewhere better, perhaps in St. Louis, where one of their aunts lives. Their adventure will take them across the Midwest as they encounter a variety of characters and learn some major life lessons.

sandra
The Days the Lord Made by John Meza

3
Good read. A biracial son and his white mother moved to a small town. The son, Michael, was a peaceful, shy soul. He has friends in the gangs, but doesn't get involved with the crimes. Unfortunately, Michael ended up at the wrong place, and bad things happened. This book needed a proofreader as there were many errors. That is why the rating of three stars.

sandra
Scofflaw Blues (Jules Landau Mysteries #2) by Marc Krulewitch

5
Lots of action. PI gets involved with finding out who killed someone. The person killed was an employee of the city. He wrote parking tickets. This was the tip of the iceberg. Mafia, more murders, money laundering and prostitutes round out the list.

Judith
All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

5
Inspector Gamache and his wife travel to Paris to celebrate the arrival of their newest grandchild. After having a family dinner, including Stephen Horowitz who raised Armand after his parents were killed, they leave the restaurant only to have Stephen struck by a truck. Of course, this starts the search for who actually did it. As usual, the trail of bread crumbs left for readers to follow is a complex one...with a real thrilling ending! After many years of celebration, Daniel and Annie and their families return with their parents to Three Pines. Definitely the best by this author so far!

Laurie
Etiquette for Runaways by Liza Nash Taylor

4
Beautiful graphic writing that transported me from 1924 Virginia, to New York City and ultimately Paris. This sweeping Jazz Age tale featuring main character May was a most enjoyable, interesting novel which I can recommend.

Sharon
Yardlines Bloodlines by Eli Cobb

3
As cambions (half demons) and full humans interact on the football field, so they also do in the realms of justice, equality and peace. Cobb has created a world within a world that brings to light some of the theological issues of life without being preachy.

Betty
Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan

5
Stephen P. Kiernan has become one of my favorite authors, mainly because his characters become so real. This book is based on the true live of Charles Fisk, one of the mathematicians who worked on the atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. He never quite got over the guilt. A beautifully-told story.

Maryanne
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

5
Fantastic read - great characters.

Emily
And the Answer Is... by Alex Trebeck

3
I am a huge fan of Alex Trebeck but this book was disappointing. Poorly written with short chapters. Very little introspection by the author.

Nancy
Crescent City Moon by Nola Nash

5
Absolutely captivating! The book CRESCENT CITY MOON by Nola Nash surrounded me just as the Mississippi River bends around the city of New Orleans. The book held me in a trance until the end. I couldn't put it down! Maybe something had a curse on me, preventing me from letting go. All fun aside, this supernatural mystery was so spine-chilling and haunting it gave me cold shivers at times. I enjoyed learning about all things New Orleans, from feeling the humid-sticky weather to the mysteries of the French Quarter. I can't believe this was the author's debut book. This is book one of the Crescent City Series. Nash is a natural writer and I can't wait to read what happens next. Don’t let this book be on your TBR pile too long!

Sheree
The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris

4
I am so glad I read this book. I did not know much about Ms. Harris and this gave me insight on her views. She went into some personal details but not much - mostly her view points on things that are affecting the world.

Rosemary
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

5
When a plane crashes and 191 people die, one 12-year-old boy survives. While telling the story of Edward's life going forward, the author also intersperses stories of the flight and some of the passengers on board. It answers the question: why him? Was it fate, luck, or both? An interesting story of a pre-teen trying to handle a situation that could be near impossible for an adult. Well written and worth the time, it's helpful in this time of stress to learn life could be much worse!

Jean
Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

4
There are so many good books out currently about World War II. PARIS NEVER LEAVES YOU is one of them. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Although I didn't learn much new from it, I would recommend it. It has some good suspenseful incidents and you always want to know what is coming next.

Jean
The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

4
This takes place during the time of slavery. Families were torn apart when the owners sold them. This is the story of one family trying to locate the sold members of their family. Your heart will break while reading this book. It is very well written and I would recommend reading it.

Linda
My Old True Love by Sheila Kay Adams

4
I found this book in Dorothea Benton Frank's library and was intrigued. It's fiction but based on Adams' family and actual events, mostly during the civil war in the mountains of North Carolina. I loved the main character, Arty, who is the "rock" of her clan.

Elizabeth
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

3
This book took me into a world I know little about - contemporary South Korea as seen through the eyes of four young women. I learned that one third of young women between the ages of 19-29 get plastic surgery on their faces! (This statistic is not in the book but I Googled it.) Though a lot of the discussion of the culture was foreign to me, something that was familiar was the dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots which is just as pronounced here in the States as it appears to be in South Korea. I gave this book only three stars however as it doesn't tie up loose ends and I like more definitive endings.

Karen
Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

3
The author tells the reader far more about the protagonist than the "lady in the lake," and if you're interested in the epitome of what's considered today's ideal liberated woman, Maddie Schwartz (who's story is set in the 1950s, making her ahead of her time), this book's for you. Unfortunately, the aforementioned description doesn't apply to me, so...the book fell rather flat for this reader. I give it 3 stars because it IS well-written. However, in my opinion, it's basic storyline was just not all that appealing.

Nicolette
The Paris Children by Gloria Goldreich

3
Unfortunately, this story became a little monotonous for me. There are a lot of books to choose from that follow this tragic time and this version doesn’t hold weight comparatively.

Nicolette
Playing Nice by J. P. Delaney

4
Although this book was a little predictable, I did enjoy the set up and seeing how the characters navigated through the situation and dealt with each other.

Donna
The K Team by David Rosenfelt

4
A new wise-guy hero and a new dog, although Andy Carpenter and Tara appear in the book. Rosenfelt's books are witty and fast-paced, making them a good breather in between meatier books. I always look forward to new releases by him. A prominent judge is being blackmailed and the K Team is called in to find the perpetrators.

Sue
The Other People by C. J. Tudor

5
This book had an interesting concept. I read it in one sitting because I needed to know what was going to happen next. The idea of the dark web and asking for favors was new to me in novels that I have read before. I highly recommend this novel.

Nancy
I Found You by Lisa Jewell

5
Being a big fan of Lisa Jewell after reading several of her books, I FOUND YOU did not disappoint me! I loved the intensity of her story and characters, and there were times when I could not put the book down. I even stayed up one evening until early hours of the morning in one part of the book as I couldn't wait to see where it was going.

Sheldon
Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen

5
A fun romp with a familiar President and First Lady and a hungry python.

Kathleen
Strong from the Heart by Jon Land

4
STRONG FROM THE HEART by Jon Land takes on the drug culture. The son of her lover, Cort Wesley Masters, nearly dies of a drug overdose after attending a party. Then there is the investigation of a town of 300+ residents that have all died in one night. How in the world could something like that happen? How did they die? Caitlin Strong has to figure out what is going on in these two instances. They both appear to be connected somehow. But how? Caitlin is a Texas Ranger but in this case, Homeland Security, and other people involved in the case, her half-sister Nola, and Captain Guillermo Paz. Cort Wesley even has a ghost who encourages him on. This is the 11th book in the Caitlin Strong series.

Wendy
Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict

5
I enjoy Benedict's portrayals of the women behind well known men. After reading THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE, it gives a different prospective of Churchill. It shows Clementine as the force behind Churchill. She is dynamic in her own right and did foster a lot of important issues before and during WWII. She made life during the war a little easier for a lot of people. A must-read for Churchill fans!

Gretchen
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis

4
Loved all the history. An enjoyable read.

Gretchen
The Order by Daniel Silva

4
Great book.

Gretchen
His & Hers by Alice Feeney

5
Didn't figure it out til the very end. Great book.

Nora
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris

4
Devastatingly difficult book to read. Sometimes I had to walk away for a time to clear my mind. The author really gets into the mind of Cilka and helps you see the horror of what she goes through in order to stay alive. It's amazing that she survives at all and is still able to see that some people are good and kind.

Janet
The Guest List by Lucy Foley

5
An eerie mystery with twists and surprises.

Linda
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

4
Wow - the writing in this book is wonderful. I really was back in the west Texas town of Odessa in 1976. Ms. Wetmore’s descriptions are amazing. And the cast of characters here - all believable. From Gloria (then Glory), 14 years old, to Mary Rose, cattle rancher’s wife, to Corinne, a widow who is drinking heavily to deal with her grief, to the defense lawyer and trial judge who have such disdain for any testimony from a woman -- these people are so real. The story is a sad one, and one that will stay with me for a long time.

Sharon
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

5
My first book I read by this author. Very suspenseful and keeps you guessing until the last minute.

Person
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

5
An amazing book by Kristin Harmel! Just loved the characters in this book and the amazing chances they took to help others. I didn't want it to end it was so good!!

William
Lone Jack Trail by Owen Laukkanen

4
An ex-convict falls for a PTSD veteran who is now a sheriff's deputy in a small coastal town in Washington state. A service dog that helped him while in prison and is now keeping her calm brought them together. An earlier book had the pair solving a crime involving local law enforcement involved in international drug smuggling that brought them close together. Now the pair becomes involved in another case of a local hockey star who is murdered and the ex-con becomes the prime suspect. He has to run from the cops and his girlfriend while trying to prove his innocence as other bodies pile up. Good fun and great storytelling.

Pam
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

5
Loved the empathy the author evokes for the band of quirky characters who are connected, but don't realize it. It's funny, sad, and very philosophical - filled with observations about life that the reader can identify with.

Susan
All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

5
This mystery novel has a blockbuster ending - I stayed up way too late finishing this book! Another great novel from one of my favorite authors.

Kimberley
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

5
A turbulent historical fiction sharing a sad, rarely shared time in America’s history: the institutionalizing of orphaned Native American children. It’s a wild and adventurous story but the author leaves it to the reader to sort the truth. It is a longer story but there is a lot to discover.

Gretchen
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

3
A casual, insightful portrait of Churchill during WWII. There were some funny incidents about his personal idiosyncrasies. Read it along with Clementine who gave another viewpoint of what England and the Churchills experienced.

Barbara
How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior

5
A heartwarming tale of a crotchety elderly lady who, while very set in her ways, and oh so old-fashioned in manners, deliberately moves herself out of her comfort zone. Alone, aloof, and quite lonely, Veronica travels to Antarctica to visit a penguin-study site. What she learns while there is more than facts about penguins. Predictably, she learns how to open herself to others. Veronica and her personality, both quirks and flaws, touched my heart. Prior has crafted a winner with this one.

Nancy
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

4
Good book.

Nadine
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

5
OUTLANDER is the first in a series of eight historical multi-genre novels by Diana Gabaldon. Published in 1991, it focuses on the Second World War-era nurse Claire Randall, who travels through time to 18th century Scotland and finds adventure and romance with the dashing Jamie Fraser.

Donna
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

5
The Alice Network was active during the Great War and WWII. The network included women spies as they were less likely to be considered suspicious by the Germans. The women in this historical novel are fearless and determined to serve their country even if it meant death. A survivor of torture has carried the nightmares and scars for three decades and is on a mission of truth and revenge of her tormentor. I was captivated by the suspense of this story and found the book difficult to put down.

Debbie
The Old Success by Martha Grimes

3
Nothing like a travel story with a murder and kidnapping. So many characters in this, so many deaths and the words of children may uncover the truth. Three detectives race to find the killer of Manon Vinet, but a lacking motive hinders the case. In the meantime, two more bodies are discovered. Is there a connection? Martha Grimes brings in the heavy artillery to entrap the killer. Martha Grimes builds suspense and creates memorable characters and psychological insight into each of the characters. Aunt Agatha and Vivian play minor roles in this caper. When will the next Richard Jury mystery appear?

Debbie
The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

2
THE TURN OF THE KEY by Ruth Ware disappoints me. Too many items left hanging. I like my stories with everything completed by the last page. Too many questions of what happened with Rachel Gerhardt and the Elincourt family. The “smart house” freaked me with all the cameras and locks and controls. I am not amused by a futuristic house. The story starts like an epistolary novel in the style of Pamela with Rowan writing to a barrister, but quickly changes to Rowan’s account of her nanny job. The Elincourt children span from 18 months to 14-years-old, all girls, and what a headache for anyone. The parents leave this nanny alone with this riotous group after one day. Do the parents care so little for their children?

Sean
The Trial and Execution of the Traitor George Washington by Charles Rosenberg

3
I loved the premise of this novel but sadly I think it devolved into something less dramatic. The book was a love letter to George Washington and it's interesting to see how the British might have looked upon him. Unfortunately, the courtroom drama was more about decorum than anything else. The book lacked any kind of real action despite the situation. The "climatic" ending was too silly to respect. The book wasn't bad by any means but I expected so much more. Overall, amazing idea but not enough meat to the story.

Richard N B
The Overstory by Richard Powers

3
I am having a very hard time pinpointing what it was about this book that I found so interesting. I tend to gravitate more towards action/adventure/espionage thrillers, while this was a character-driven work. Not that I haven't read and enjoyed character-driven works in the past, but nine “main” characters is a daunting task and I think it detracted from Powers’ message of environmental stewardship, and what a bad job humans are doing of that. My wife liked it a little better than I did, but she also thought nine main characters was a bit much.

Janet
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

5
As a big fan of St. James' novels I devour them all, and this is one of my favorites. It starts off very creepy, then turns into an unsolved mystery. Clever twists and turns with just a touch of romance. Excellent.

Sherri
An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor

4
An easy read, like comfort food. Like James Herriot's novels except with physicians instead of vets.

Carole
The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrowe

4
This was the first book I have read from this author and it is different from what I usually read. I am happy I tried it as I really enjoyed it. This is one of those books where you may not like the main character but that doesn't detract from the story. I cringed throughout the book due to her actions, but I had to find out what she would do next and how far she would go. It ended the only real way it could have and I was sorry to see how many people she pulled into her downfall. I am not sure how realistic the depiction of the art buying scene it was, but that didn't matter to me. I definitely recommend this book!

Donna
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

3
Emira is a 25-year-old black woman that is happy in her job as a part-time nanny working for a white family. Alix, the mother, is a successful blogger and cares about Emira. The story begins with an unfortunate situation where Emira is accused of being a kidnapper when she was in a grocery store late one evening with one of Alix's children. A video tape of the encounter was made by a white man who later developed a relationship with Emira. The tape shows up later and a terrible memory from Alix's high school days becomes an obsession with her. The novel makes us aware of the differences between race and cultures. What seems to be fine with one person can be very hurtful to someone else.

ELIZABETH
Eli's Promise by Ronald Balson

4
Ronald Balson has written another marvelous but heartbreaking story that begins in 1939 and ends in 1966. Another well written book you won't want to miss if you are a fan of Mr. Balson and historical fiction.

shelly
Royal by Danielle Steel

5
During World War II the youngest daughter, Charlotte, is sent away to live in the country with a trusted noble family. While staying with the family Charlotte uses an alias while living in Yorkshire. Her parents have agreed to let her take her cherished horse to make her feel more comfortable. While staying with the family she suddenly shares riding with the protector's son. Nobody is really thinking anything will become of it but love has a mind of its own. After giving birth, things suddenly take a dramatic and tragic turn. Lucy, the other young women staying at the house, uncovers a shocking secret and makes a decision that will change her life forever. This is like a fairy tale as you read but a unique and very enjoyable read.

Linda
Playing Nice by J. P. Delaney

5
Pete Riley and his partner Maddie Wilson are stunned when they are told their son Theo is the biological son of another couple. The son of Miles and Lucy Lambert is really Pete’s biological son. Theo is a rambunctious two-year old while the Lambert’s son David is slightly challenged. They try to work it out between them as both feel it is in the best interest of the children to stay where they are, but then Pete sees Miles’ true evilness. He wants his son and will do what it takes to get him. If people get in his way, he injures or kills them by hit and run. Pete and Maddie see they are dealing with a psychopath and it is past time to play on his level.

Linda
The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards

5
An excellent book you won’t be able to put down once you start reading! Genevieve Dumont is a famous singer and appearing in Paris at the time of the German occupation during World War II. Her manager, Max Bonet, appears to be a member of the Opposition but is really Major Max Ryan with the RAF. Genevieve appears nightly in front of the Nazis and catches the eye of Claus von Wagner, known as the Beast as he loves to torture suspected members of the Opposition. She does not take any part in the spying until she learns her father has been killed and her mother captured. She tells Max who she really is and asks for his help in freeing her mother from the Nazis. A plot is hatched and all pray it will succeed.

Linda
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

5
Everything changed the night Julia Carroll disappeared. Her parents divorced when her father couldn’t cope with his grief. Her sister Lydia got into drugs and her baby sister Claire was ignored. Claire later married Paul Scott, thought to be a successful architect. But that was one face he presented and not the real one at all. Paul is a sadistic psychopath and is not only a serial rapist but a torturer and killer of women he has taken. Claire is totally oblivious of his other life until she is contacted by Fred Nolan of the FBI who tells her Paul is working with them and they helped him fake his death. Paul contacts Claire and wants the USB stick on his key chain, but she is shocked by what she sees. Who to trust?

Linda
Hidden Creed by Alex Kava

5
Ryder Creed takes his scent dog Grace on a training exercise and she alerts to a body that Ryder's sister Brodie tripped over. He is shocked to find the barely buried body of a dead man as well as a skull of another victim. The dead man has the back of his head bashed in and that was what Brodie fell over. She is sent back to the house to call the sheriff and is chased through the forest by a man thought to be the killer. He knows where she lives and doesn’t want his killing dump site destroyed, but once the sheriff and deputies arrive, he has no choice but to back off. FBI agent Maggie O’Dell is in Pensacola to check into a dump site at a storage unit where body parts and tissue samples are found. Could these two sites be connected?

Linda
Fallen by Karin Slaughter

5
Faith Mitchell returns to her mother’s house to pick up her daughter Emma and sees the door ajar and a bloody handprint on the door. She calls 911 and is told to stay outside but Faith doesn’t listen. Entering the door, she finds one body and sees a man holding a gun to another man’s head. She shoots the armed man. The other man runs but she shoots him. Two witnesses are shot before they can be questioned by police and they want answers from Faith. Her partner at the GBI is Will Trent and he is upset that she didn’t call him. Her mother has been taken but no one knows why. Faith’s son Jeremy is threatened and she has him go with his uncle. It is up to Faith and Will to find her mother and her abductor.

Linda
Snatched by Karin Slaughter

5
Will Trent has been assigned to the men’s restrooms at the Atlanta airport to catch homosexuals in the act. In the next stall, he hears a little girl tell the man who is with her that she is ready to go home. He drags her out and along the concourse. Will follows and tells a TSA agent that he thinks the child has been abducted. When he gets to the man, the girl is gone and the man just smirks at him. It takes Will working with his partner Faith Mitchell and the assistant to the airport police as well as the various counties involved and the FBI but Abigail Brannon is found safe and she remembers seeing Will.

E.S.
The Melody by Sara Jay Casares

5
THE MELODY is an exciting twist on the classic private investigator trope, feature Mazy Garza, a former forensic photographer who gets swept into a series of suicides/murders that may or may not have paranormal origins. This is the first in a series; I'm looking forward to more!

Ivy
Thick as Thieves by Sandra Brown

5
A robbery some twenty years ago, a missing father, two sisters and a sinister evil authority of the law makes THICK AS THIEVES a page-turner. As secrets start unraveling it seems as though no one is safe. The real thieves comes at a high price as does their story.

Anita
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

3
This was a sequel to BEARTOWN. I have read other books by this author that I really liked. This one I found disappointing and tedious. It was about two hockey teams in two nearby towns. They were obviously obsessed with the game. I also found parts of this book violent and sad. Not a great book if you want your spirits uplifted.

Elizabeth
To Tell You the Truth by Gilly Macmillan

4
Lucy is a popular author and one with a history and a jealous husband. The book has a slow build up, but once her husband Dan disappeared, the tension and betrayal of Lucy by the characters kept the pages turning. I didn't like Dan at all - he was a bit shady and definitely jealous of his wife's success. A page-turning, emotional read with twists and surprises you won’t see coming.

Martha
Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

5
The author grew up in a well-to-do family of New England ancestry. I grew up in a working class family living from paycheck to paycheck in the South. However, I could identify with her in efforts to become anti-racist and understanding the problems of addressing racism and maintaining an ability to converse with people of color without demeaning them with a lack of understanding. Great read for me!

Christine
Cujo by Stephen King

3
I first read this shortly after it was released, but I didn't remember much except the basic premise. I am a dedicated Stephen King fan, but this is not one of his better books. The action doesn't start until halfway through, and still is not the main focus of the book. Everything leading up to that is a mostly boring, generic family-drama type story. One thing I did like were the parts told from Cujo's point of view, even though it made me sad. The ending is much different than in the movie, and it's not a happy ending.

ELIZABETH
Three Single Wives by Gina LaManna

5
I really enjoyed this book. How could a discussion at a book club turn out to be deadly? It can when the book club members discuss how they would kill their husband if he were having an affair, and then someone's husband turns up dead. Great characters, great storyline, and great writing makes THREE SINGLE WIVES a book you need to put in your TBR pile. And...Ohhhh…what a great ending!

Tessa
It's a Long Story: My Life by Willie Nelson, with David Ritz

4
Oh, Willie! I’ve had a long-standing crush on the “red-headed stranger” and am glad to have learned more about him, because I like him even more now. Willie lays it all out there...from childhood to stardom, the good, the bad, the ugly and the shiningly beautiful.

Liz
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

5
When Ernt Allbright returned home after being a POW during the Vietnam War, he was a changed man. He had nightmares, dark moments and was violent. His wife and daughter lived in fear. When a friend and former veteran passed away and left Ernt a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness, the family believed this would be a fresh start for them. They were not prepared for the harsh and long winter or Ernt's deepening dark moods. This is a wonderfully told story, and the author places you right into the thick of everything.