Hannah Kent does an amazing job of placing you right in the plot and setting of her books. I love that I could smell the scents and feel the dew as I read this book. Early Ireland--folklore, spirits, religion, healers—wow!! Is Nora’s grandson a changeling? Can he be healed? I’m flummoxed at the rituals and beliefs, along with the lack of support people had even amongst each other in the small villages. Beautiful and haunting!
When I started this book, I couldn’t imagine what the “best day ever” could be for this “perfect couple” with a “perfect home” and a “perfect life,” but as the day progressed, and small cracks began to appear in Paul Strom’s “perfect day,” the idea of perfect started to take on new meaning. Kaira Rouda takes us on a roller coaster ride – sometimes creepy, sometimes hilarious – all building toward an ending I couldn’t predict.-Terri
Liam Taggart, the private investigator from Once We Were Brothers, is called back to Northern Ireland to investigate his Uncle's death (murder?). Was this a crime of revenge, dating back to the 60's IRA vs. UUP? A greedy family member? As Liam is appointed the sole trustee of his Uncle's estate and trying to solve this case, he is forced to remember the past he ran away from. You will be guessing up until the last chapter. Serious nail biter!
Dan Jones is a master storyteller. In his hands, history becomes a "yarn" spun out of actual historical fact. The Knights Templar were the soldiers at the forefront of the Crusades. Along the way, they became very wealthy and maybe a little complacent and lazy. Follow the Templars through two hundred years of history (Richard the Lionhearted, Magna Carta, Saladin, etc.) and watch how politics unfolded and drove the spectacular rise and devastating fall of the order. It's a great "yarn"-exciting and extremely entertaining!
With a simple, lyrical writing style that sits somewhere between Ernest Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy, Savage Country tells the story of Elizabeth Coughlin, a determined woman left crippled by debt following the unexpected death of her foolhardy husband. In an act of desperation, Elizabeth enlists her husband’s mysterious brother to lead a buffalo hunt – which was a common, and exceedingly dangerous, get-rich-quick scheme in the years following the Civil War. Olmstead is one of the most under-the-radar American authors – if you’ve never read him before, do yourself a favor and start with this big, beautiful, often bloody adventure.
This is the follow up to Darktown, a great historical fiction/mystery set in Atlanta in the 1950's. Racism and corruption are still rampant (will they ever go out of style? We can only hope) and black cops Smith and Boggs combat crime with scant help from the rest of the force. The Klan's role in maintaining "southern traditions" plays a major part and it is hard to believe that this group still attracts a following today. Warning: the frequent use of the n- word in this mystery is cringe-worthy but historically accurate.
— Mary T.
Historical fiction at its best! If you liked One Thousand White Women, you have to read this new continuing story by Jim Fergus. Told from the point of view of Irish Meggie Kelly, and newcomer to the "brides for Indians" program Molly McGill, this is a powerful tale of our history, passion, family bonds, sisterhood, and Cheyenne culture in the 1870's West. At times, the historical accuracy is a bit violent. Very rarely do I stay up past midnight to find out what happens, but these incredibly strong warrior women will have you doing just that. The perfect escape!
This engrossing story begins with a fire and a home burning to the ground in the otherwise "perfect' community of Shaker Heights, Ohio. You will meet the members of two very different yet intertwined families that forever change each other's lives. Ng is especially adept at revealing the motivations behind each character's actions, even giving us a glimpse of their souls.
This is a book to help you figure out your stuff and change your ways. That is also to say, it’s a guide to advise you on what may be holding you back from accomplishing goals, realizing dreams, getting ahead at the office, success, happiness. It contains the always intriguing work of Gretchen Rubin, the popular author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before and host of the podcast, Happier, who shares her research on personality types. It can also serve as a very helpful how-to for bosses, teachers, coaches, therapists, parents, and others who are trying to understand and bring out the best in those they manage/love/care for... Ultimately, a fascinating book about human behavior, human nature and empathy.
Jamie Ford has written a delightful, heart-wrenching, and yet hopeful, tale of love and fate, loosely based on a true story.
Sold by his mother at a young age, Ernest is shipped from his home in China to Oregon and raised as a servant in a boarding school. He knows that he is incredibly lucky to get an education, but is also determined to move on someday. Then, he is surprised to find himself raffled off at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and “won” by Madame Flora, the owner of an upscale brothel in town.
As an errand runner, Ernest is happy where he landed and finds himself falling in love with two girls: Maisie, the madam’s daughter, and Fahn, a scullery maid in the house. From there, it’s a beautiful coming of age tale centered around these three close friends.
Balancing past with present, as Ernest’s journalist daughter digs into her parents’ past in 1962, the mystery of who Ernest married, and what happened along the way, builds throughout. Wonderfully written with fascinating characters.
Like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, Lois' life takes an unexpected turn when she is given a sourdough starter with a mysterious provenance. The unhappy techie becomes increasingly involved with San Francisco's Foodie culture, and other cultures, where old techniques and new technologies are recombined in the quest for the next edible epiphany.Fast-paced, enjoyable and though-provoking!
Danielle Allen begins by writing a memoir and tribute to her beloved cousin. What happens next takes us to a place where we question what it's like to be a young black male in America. This is an important book that makes you question everything you know about the justice system and the lifetime impact it has on those who become incarcerated.
Thoughtful, well written and researched. If you've ever thought "hey, I'm addicted to social media or my phone or a game..." and then picked up your phone (or sat at your computer) and looked at or played said thing anyway ... this book is for you.
As I read this book, I found myself stopping. And thinking. And evaluating myself. The author suggests reading through once, and then reading again with the intention of doing the activities (which are simple and few). It’s a great idea.
What I loved most is that the author focused on her research, and interviews, and then accented them with her own issues/actions/addictions. Bored and Brilliant is a fascinating look at how technology has taken over and a lesson in how we can use our favorite apps and programs with more intention.
Taking seven traditional doughs of Jewish baking and presenting them in both classic and modern ways, this is a cookbook that will appeal to any baker. Whether you love your baked goods sweet or savory, you'll find a wide range of flavors and new twists to dig into immediately. The gorgeously photographed book is filled with great tips and instructions, and even ideas for how to use your leftovers (on the very slim chance anything lasts that long!).
“Find Your Way Home” can be considered the theme of this book! Whether it’s through love, hopes, ghosts of the past, or dreams-each character has their own struggle. Beautifully written and realistically tragic! I regularly commented out loud with concern for what was happening. Jesmyn Ward does NOT disappoint in this latest novel.
Naomi is one of the most highly sought after missing children detective, her almost instinctive knack stemming from once being “lost” herself, which still causes nightmares. She has no memories of herself or her life before being “found.” While working on a cold case, the similarities start to trigger feelings of a loss she cannot describe, but cannot seem to remember. Will uncovering the truth behind a missing girl help her to uncover her own truth? Rene Denfeld’s writing will grab you from the first chapter and does not let you go until you, too, are lost to the very end.
Set in present day, the third book in the George Smiley series centers on Peter Guillam, Smiley’s once right-hand man, as he is called to account for his role in a Cold War mission gone bad. Le Carre’s firsthand spying experience shines through in brilliant detail – the story feels grounded and authentic; the dialogue crackles while avoiding cliché; and the way in which he intersperses top secret reports (containing vital information AND misinformation) between agents is simply ingenious. Slowly the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together –and what a puzzle it is!
Turtle’s life is not like everyone else’s. She has no friends and doesn’t want any. She can’t let anyone into her life, and she doesn’t know how to get out. Raised by her father, she is half wild, and under his control/spell which keeps her from the life she didn’t even know she longed for until she meets Jacob. The life she should be living is now within reach, but can she break away from her father’s abusiveness and take control of her own destiny? Is her will to survive strong enough? Tallent has woven a story/spell with a richly written heroine whose strengths and weakness are at odds both inside her head and in the outside world, but who’s skill at survival serves her in the end.
*Please note, this novel has explicit sexual and violent content.
A raw and sensitive exploration of the stresses that can be put on a relationship over the years. Yejide and Akin experience milestones and traumas, straining their once-strong marriage in new ways. Set in Nigeria, the details of their everyday life and the political landscape add a fascinating layer to the devastatingly familiar humanity felt in their disappointments and heartaches. A beautiful, heartfelt novel.
A new name, a new career, and a new baby, but can Jane Young really have the new life she's working so hard for? Because nothing goes away once it's on the internet! With wry humor and told through the eyes of three generations, Gabrielle Zevin shows us how others judge us does not define us. Empowering, relevant, and still funny, I didn't want it to end!
Travel deep into Appalachia and experience what small town drama is like. Leah Weiss pulls on your heartstrings with characters that are unforgettable! Each voice in this town creates its unique attitude…and yes it has ATTITUDE! You’ll love the sweet and sassy, root against the nastiness, and cheer on those open to change. What a fun read!
Take the journey that spans many decades and three countries but is basically Cyril Avery's discovery and acceptance of himself. I was hooked when the story began as a pregnant unwed teen is cast out of her home and church in Ireland. I rooted for Cyril, her child, through his struggles. I both cried and delighted at each turn and twist. So much to tell...but I won't!
Paul Yoon’s short stories are quietly graceful while tackling grief, physical pain and solitude. His ethereal writing style is ever present as each story stands alone and yet, has underlying emotional links to the others. Thought provoking and quite beautiful!
A breathtaking and stunning tragedy, this modern retelling of Antigone could not be more timely. Love, family, religion, and politics intersect in a nuanced exploration of modern humanity. Two British families with Muslim backgrounds find their lives and fates increasingly intertwined, each individual portrayed with a devastating intimacy. Beautiful, tender, brave, and full of recognizable conflict both global and personal, this novel is one of the best of the year.
With a hint of magical realism, this sweet story follows 12-year-old Walter as he searches for things, both physical and not. Walter has a speaking disorder; his words get jumbled and he keeps to himself, his mother, and his mother's chocolate shop where chocolate mice jump rope with licorice. He spends his spare time helping people find missing objects, from musical instruments to thimbles.
When the book of drawings that hold the magic, and the shop, together goes missing, Walter takes his golden retriever Milton on a day long adventure to find it. Along the way, Walter meets and helps a variety of lost people, including a homeless man named Nico, a man named Karl who has just lost his wife, and Ruby, a young girl looking for a friend.
At the core of the story is Walter's own "lost." His father, who went missing before he was born, has been a constant loss for him and his language, limited to specific phrases and notes in his notebook. As he meets each new character, Walter begins to think about his own missing pieces and, in the end, finds what he needs to save the store and himself.
Natasha Pulley’s story is many stories mixed into one. Part historical fiction, part mystery, part fantasy – the wry humor shared amongst her characters kept me reading long after my bedtime. When Merrick’s brother accuses him of “seeing things” and threatens to have him committed to an institution like his mother, Merrick, a Master Gardener and retired opium smuggler journeys deep into Peru, from which none of the previous expeditions have survived. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, he loses one friend, but gains another, and finally solves the mystery of the statue in the garden that he swears he saw move. Absolutely delightful!
Although this is not a mystery, I was guessing the whole way through as to how Lucinda died! Told through three perspectives, each chapter pulled me to the next at a very quick pace. Through master storytelling, I felt the emotions of each character as if I was right there. And what a satisfying ending!!
As with her previous novel, Black Rabbit Hall, Eve Chase evokes Kate Morton and Daphne Du Maurier in this British gothic tale. In 1959, the teenage Wilde sisters are sent to summer at Applecote Manor - the country estate of their wealthy aunt and uncle, whose missing daughter's absence creates an ever present tension. Decades later in the present day, a newly blended family moves into the long-neglected manor and is immersed in the mystery of what happened there in that summer of 1959. Twists and turns keep the pages turning!
Cookbook author and YouTube sensation Sunshine MacKenzie seems to have it all- a chic NY apartment, a devoted husband, pending stardom. Until she's hacked on social media and deep secrets are revealed. Thought provoking and entertaining. With just a few "clicks" our lives can be changed instantly. Sometimes for the better.
27-year-old Elvira has what her overbearing mother calls "a condition" that makes her different from the "normal typicals" of the world (autism spectrum). When her mother suffers a stroke, Elvira creates a spreadsheet of 7 rules to ease her anxiety in understanding societal norms and behaviors. You'll cheer for Elvira as she flourishes with her new found independence.
This wonderful novel grabbed me with its immediate sense of heart and humor. Returning home for a year to help with her father's Alzheimer's, 30-year-old Ruth introduces us to her family with a quirky tenderness as she navigates new uncertainty in her life. Full of poignant details and hilarious moments, the relationship between Ruth and her father is layered with complexity and emotion. The story remains moving and sweet, and manages to never turn maudlin.
This is a really GOOD book! You never know what new element of story will crop up on the next page. Joshilyn Jackson has brought together a host of disparate story lines and woven them beautifully into a warm and human tale of love, family, race relations, MURDER, family values, loyalty, Alzheimer's disease, compassion- I could go on Don't get a lot of details about this story before you begin to read this book. Just let the story and characters unfold. I guarantee you will not want to put it down One of my favorites for sure
Tremendous fun for fans of Seinfeld. Jennifer Keishin Armstrong shares an abundance of anecdotes, trivia and detailed history about the wildly popular and smart sitcom about nothing. The book is also a great read for those interested in television history, as the show undoubtedly will go down as one of the best comedies ever, one that continues to significantly influence sitcom creators and writers today.
Violent, intriguing, and unique. This is the tale of Captain Hook when he was still a Lost Boy and he still loved Peter Pan and of how he grew to hate Peter Pan. Beautifully written, and a unique take a Peter Pan (which is not an easy thing to do). I’m hoping for a sequel!
A terrific trip back to the 1970s. A feel-good memoir that will instantly transport readers back to a time before cell phones, tweets and texting, when a kid could be carefree with no helicopter parents hovering around. It’s clear Steve Rushin thoroughly enjoyed recollecting his Midwestern youth – including the TV shows, fads and toys of the day- in this funny and sweet book. Along the way, he takes readers for a ride to a simpler time that most will undoubtedly long for, complete with a very close-knit, loving family.
This could also be titled “Keeping up with the Jhas”. Meet the Jha family and several other Delhi families making their own way while knowing (and criticizing) everyone else’s business! I laughed out loud many times throughout this story!
Wonderful new fantasy! Elegant writing, fantastic characters and a unique twist on some familiar storylines. As a young child, Elanna is taken hostage as a result of her father's rebellion against the king. For 14 years she grows up in a completely different culture, being taught that her family and her home are enemies, and that the magic she holds inside is illegal. Yet, she is still the enemy to some, including the king's daughter. Then Elanna is framed for the king's murder and her father sends his people to bring her home. Loyalties torn, Elanna comes to learn about her true home, her country and her magic... and she discovers that things aren't exactly as she thought, and that her magic could save both countries she loves. I loved how Elanna is truly torn between her two countries. Her growth and exploration of magic is wonderful.
The Amazing Telemachus family truly is amazing. Teddy is a conman. Maureen can astral project and works for the government. Then there are their children. Irene is the human lie detector, Frankie is getting mixed up with the mob and could once move objects with his mind, and Buddy can see the future whether he wants to or not. Irene's son Matty discovers he has inherited his grandmother's abilities at the start of the book, and that's when things really start to get interesting.
Told from multiple perspectives within the family, SPOONBENDERS mixes past stories with present day (1995 present) happenings in a beautiful way. It is a well told family drama, with a healthy dose of mystery and magic thrown in. The book also gives glimpses and hints at the future through one family member's psychic abilities, you just have to wait to see how it all ties together. I loved every minute of reading about the Telemachus family. Every character was completely fleshed out, from Teddy the con man and his wife Maureen, the true psychic, to their children, friends, acquaintances and enemies.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to escape with a fun, dysfunctional family and their psychic abilities.
Celebrate the forever female friendship of the self-named "Supremes" as they enter their 60's in their hometown of Plainview, Indiana. The fears, family dysfunction, aging issues and concerns we all face are explored with humor, humility and ultimately growth. Fans of The Supremes at Earl's All You Can Eat will not be disappointed. Each chapter is a story unto itself while it moves the novel forward. These women are a real hoot! - Barb
Like cop books? Then don’t think twice—pick up this book, walk to the register, and buy it. Most of the cops in this book are dirty, but that makes them all the more interesting. Denny Malone is a dirty cop, but does that make him a bad cop? Well, it depends on who you ask. His wife and two kids will have a different answer than his lifelong friends and partners, and they’ll have a different answer than the team at Internal Affairs who try to turn him into a rat. Surprisingly unpredictable with an explosive finale, The Force is sure to be the top cop book of the year. - Brian
When a virus kills (or is rumored to have killed) 99% of the human race across a variety of planets, Jamie is alone. A rag tag group forms as she finds first two others, then a ship that brings them all to the central planet to find out how many have survived.
The best science fiction is about people in situations, and this one is no different. Jamie is a fully developed character from beginning to end - written with flaws, secrets, and humanity. Battles of faith, of human nature, of finding a place to belong when things have been so turned on their heads you don't know where to begin. I loved this book. It was beautifully written and made me stop and think often. Life is a series of moments. You take a breath. And then another.
The Map That Leads to You is the book of summer 2017. Sweeping, romantic, complex, it's a trip to Europe and into the hearts and psyches of two fascinating characters. Joe Monninger (JP Monninger) writes with power and beauty and can hold his own in the literary pantheon while telling a passionate and wildly emotional story that will keep you up all night turning the pages--and leaving you with the desire to start reading his novel right away.
— Luanne Rice
The sudden death of an iconic children's author interrupts a movie, a museum opening and the lives of those who cared for him. Past, present and future intertwine in this exploration of the many paths to a creative life.
Made very clear in Roxane Gay's stunning memoir is that her body is one of strength and resilience, and it has been thoroughly tested. In a work of remarkable honestly and vulnerability, Gay exposes herself and her past with deeply raw writing, detailing a life of traumas and triumphs. As she shares her thoughts on weight, grief, family, love, self-protection, and Ina Garten, she works to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become. Personal recollections of pride, stubbornness, shame, and longing at various chapters of her life resonate with depth and beauty.
Funny, inspiring and moving. Eddie Izzard writes much like he speaks in his shows, in tangents and facts, footnotes, and humor. It was fascinating to read his story, from age six when his mother passed away, to now. An amazing biography about the inspiring ways Eddie built up his career over time as well. Things didn’t just fall into his lap, it took time and a lot of work for him to reach fame. Inspiring and fun read.
Being a substitute teacher in a high school is hard enough; but when a student is discovered hanging in his backyard, Mr. Botts feels a whole new level of stress. This creepy labyrinth of a mystery also features alternating chapters narrated by some kind of young psychopath. Piecing together their lives will require you, the reader, to deny your normal expectations.
— Mary T
Evelyn Hugo is selfish, loving, stubborn, calculating, independent, fiercely loyal, and absolutely captivating. In short, she is the best character I have encountered in quite a while. After decades as one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, and having outlived everyone she ever truly loved, Evelyn is finally ready to tell her story. The details of her marriages, her affairs, her career choices, her manipulations and lies are ready to be set free. Evelyn will break your heart, she will force you to admire her while telling you that you shouldn't, and then she will stun you with the wrenchingly human tale of her dazzling and extraordinary life.
A bookseller turned book writer produced this intriguing mystery for the rest of us to enjoy. Naturally, the setting is a bookstore and the victim is discovered swinging in the history alcove of said bookstore.The victim leaves behind a legacy of vandalized books for his favorite bookseller to piece together and to hopefully unravel his meaning. There are puzzles and enigmas, and smack in the middle of all that - a horrific murderer known as The Hammerman. In short, it's clever and heart wrenching and downright scary. Well done and bravo fellow bookseller!
— Mary T
I adored this sparkling story told in two eras involving a mysterious Indian necklace. In the 1920’s, Ambrose Quincy brings back the amazing ornament to his beloved. Alas, passion and happy endings don’t always go hand in hand as their fate is woven through the story. In the current day, Nell Quincy’s great aunt unexpectedly leaves her the stunning piece that had been hidden for many years. She has now drawn the attention of grasping relatives, dealers and the charismatic family lawyer. A delightful romance and family drama through generations with the rare necklace as the centerpiece.
Extremely unique and ambitious, this illuminating novel considers whether some questions can really be answered. In a desperate attempt to address some of her life's complications, Mary becomes involved in a movie star's experiment to engineer the perfect relationship and find scientifically lasting love. Filled with intelligence, unexpected humor, and superb prose, this is a masterful exploration of what can truly be measured as we try to know another person.
Follow Avery Stafford as she unravels her family history and finds love along the way. How is Avery's elderly grandmother connected to the infamous Tennessee Children's Home Society? Children from this "orphanage" were not always orphaned but had been taken from poor or indigent families by nefarious means. Having been adopted into wealthy, prominent or famous families, were the children better off? And what consequences did it have as they grew up? Both heartwarming and heart wrenching, this is a story of family secrets and the triumph of love. Well written, comfortable read for a summer (or winter) afternoon. Enjoy.
Great summer read!! Three well-to-do families head to South America on a cruise ship with plans to see the Panama Canal. What could go wrong? How about everything! The kids go missing and the parents play the blame game while hounded by the press. Fascinating character study that will keep you riveted for hours. You may never cross another gangplank after reading this.
- Mary T.