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June 8, 2018 - June 22, 2018

Donna
The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

4
A good mystery that reminds a person that there is evil in the world and it preys on young girls. The least expected person can fool you. A young man is convicted of murder and is soon to be executed. Roxane is hired to prove his innocence and she discovers there are several missing girls and it all ties together.

Doreena
The Cast by Danielle Steel

5
While most may feel that Danielle's books are boring, repetitive and mundane, I have been reading her books from the very beginning and won't stop until I've read them all. I find them to be a quick, easy read and a small escape from my life into someone else's. THE CAST is no exception. The protagonist, Kait, has trials and tribulations as in all Danielle's books, but I loved the story surrounding this entire book; it was almost a book in a book! I really loved it.

Alina
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

4
I have read all of the books written by Ruth Ware. This book, in my estimation, was different from her previous books. Yes, it is a mystery; however, as I read it I kept thinking of REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier. Ms. Ware kept my interest throughout.

Karen
The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

4
I couldn't put the book down. So many people becoming a family in a circus during the war and than tragedy happens. A great read.

Janet
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

4
Good characterization but the story itself was just okay. My favorite character was Cory, Greer’s boyfriend, which was funny as it was about strong females!

Amy
P. S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

3
Book club pick for this month, enjoyed the characters.

Ruth
The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan

5
Story of the building of The Biltmore House in Asheville, NC and the Vanderbilt family. Interesting people throughout the book, famous authors, the ultra-rich in that era. A delightful read.

Dorothy
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

5
Historical fiction of a family displaced from Palestine to Nablus, to Kuwait, Paris, Boston and Amman from before 1963 to present. Story follows several members of a family and how they dealt with the uprisings, killings etc. Interesting to read from a non-American perspective.

Robin
The Late Show by Michael Connelly

4
Connelly is one of my favorite authors. I read everything he writes and have ever since I discovered THE BLACK ECHO many moons ago. THE LATE SHOW, his 30th novel, introduces a new series featuring a youngish homicide detective named Renee Ballard. She, like his famous, or more accurately notorious, Bosch, tests limits and marches to her own drummer defying the brass as she goes about her job. He's only getting started with her and it will be interesting to see how he presents a complex, confounding, dedicated woman detective. I'm looking forward to finding out as he pursues writing this series. Like all of his books, this one demonstrates Connelly's grasp of the nuances of police work which he writes about in interesting detail.

Sherri
The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

4
Enjoyed this Christian romance with a twist. Interesting author bio blurb on the back. I liked the humor along with a variety of plot twists - some you see coming and some you don't. Easy, fun read.

Allison
The Haunting of L. by Howard Norman

3
Interesting story.

Christine
Medusa's Web by Tim Powers

5
Anyone familiar with Tim Powers' works know that he can be a bit quirky at times. I admit, even being a big fan of his, that there were a couple of books I could not finish. This one, however, was excellent! MEDUSA'S WEB is his usual genre of historical fiction with a supernatural twist. This one involves old Hollywood, a little bit of a whodunit murder mystery, a little bit of time travel and a little bit of action. It all adds up to an engrossing read.

Sally-Jo
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

5
Excellent book. I love the comparisons of the cultures.

Richard N B
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters

3
I’ve heard about this series set in 12th century England for some years, and always wanted to read it. I found it rather slow-moving, but really liked the lead character, Brother Cadfael. I’d be willing to read another in the series.

John
Lara by Anna Pasternak

5
I give this book 5 stars. I found it a very absorbing read, being the untold love story behind what was tied to the writing of the book, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO.

Nina
Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

4
Witty, endearing and very entertaining are the three adjectives to describe this sweet little book.

Elizabeth
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

4
I liked the three parallel stories through the ages with the painting and particularly liked learning about 16th century Dutch painters.

Jnet
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

5
A delightful rendition of a unique woman and her desires and activities. Our entire book club loved it and it prompted a lively discussion!

Wendy
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

5
A moving story about two women in modern day Bombay, one rich, the other poor and the friendship they share. Reminds you that no matter where you live people have the same problems. I'm looking forward to reading her new book that is coming out this month that will continue the story of these two women.

Sandra
Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler

4
This is the first book in the series featuring Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit. This London police unit handles all the strange crimes committed in the city. I have read many books in the series, but this is the one that sets the scene and introduces the characters.

Donna
Play Dead by David Rosenfelt

4
Once I discovered the Andy Carpenter series, I'm trying to read them all in order. Such fun mysteries are great for in between more serious books. I wish I could write like Rosenfelt with the quirky humor.

Sheree
My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley

3
It was a pleasant read but I didn't think it was as humorous as I expected. I was disappointed with the ending. I thought there should have been more closure on certain issues that had happened in the book.

Dawn
The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

4
I enjoyed the look into the fast-paced world of med students/doctors, but I was a bit disappointed with the overall ending.

Phyllis
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

5
Just finished reading this and enjoyed it more than THE INTERESTINGS, but the author used a similar style of pulling you into the story and did a great job of developing the characters so that I as a reader was rooting for Greer! Highly recommended for a long weekend read.

Jayme
The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

3
I wanted to love this book. The historical elements mixed with magical realism should have been a hit, but the story doesn't really take off and get exciting until around page 200, which is too late for most readers to "hang in there." The writing is enchanting and the world that Pulley creates is stunning - thus the 3 stars.

Lee
Twisted Prey by John Sandford

5
One of the few authors, in my opinion, that has one character and keeps that character as alive in his 20th book as he did in the first one. In my opinion many authors should give the character up after about the 10th in the series, i.e. Ted Bell in the Hawke books.

Susan
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

5
Wow! This one really surprised me. I knew nothing about it at all, yet I was completely absorbed from the beginning. Katherine Center really knows how to build characters - she’s truly an artist!! This is a new author for me and I’m very very picky; I am definitely a new fan. I felt passionate about each and every character in the story, whether I was rooting for them or I really disliked them. I definitely felt like I knew them through this author’s writing skill. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to escape real life for a little while and take themselves into a great story about every day people facing everyday (and not so everyday) challenges. Thank you Katherine Center for this awesome read.

nancy
Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

5
This book took one page for me to be hooked. Has some history in it and lots of mystery and love, too. The characters were so full of life. I felt like I knew them. This writer has a fan in me. Going to find her other books now. It takes place at a time when if you were pregnant it was a hidden thing out of wedlock. A time when nuns were paid more when caring for mental ill then students. Great book!

Linda
Varina by Charles Frazier

4
Interesting concept of providing two voices to relate life of the title character.

Helen
American Rust by Philipp Meyer

3
Interesting situation and extremely talented writer, but I never really could care about the characters. I can't recommend it.

Jayme
Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

4
To really enjoy this book you need to do two things: 1) Have read A CHRISTMAS CAROL (or at least have seen the movie) and 2) realize going in that this is a whimsy story - not based on a whole lot of historical facts. Knowing these two little tidbits will enhance your reading experience and let you get lost in this well-written, creative spin on how Mr. Dickens came up with his famous Christmas classic. I thought this story was playful, funny and sentimental - the perfect Christmas read.

Bonnie
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

3
This book was good, but I read it last week and have forgotten much of it already. Not a good sign.

Bonnie
Florida by Lauren Groff

4
This book of short stories sneaks up on you. But by the time you've closed the book, you feel like you've bit hit in the solar plexus. And the writing is transcendent.

shelly
Murder with Cinnamon Scones by Karen Rose Smith

5
Daisy Swanson and her Aunt run the Daisy's Tea Garden in Willow Creek, Pa. The town is friendly and most of the merchants are getting excited about the Quilting events weekend coming up. It can bring lots of money to the town and most of the merchants are excited. One of Daisy's employee's, Tessa, is seeing Reese who she seems to be having a relationship with. Tessa is a little cautious as she knows he is new to town and nobody knows much about him and his past. When Reese is found murdered Tessa is the main subject since she was seeing him and might have been the last person to see him alive. When Daisy feels the investigation is not going quickly enough she decides to take matters into her own hands.

Lynn
The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey

3
Mariners, wave scientists, and extreme surfers share their stories of really big waves with the author. How big? 100 feet plus!

Lois
Moving Day: A Thriller by Jonathan Stone

4
A great read --- it kept me reading all night till the end.

Michelle
My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

4
The first few hundred pages weren’t completely engrossing, but if you can wade through some of the more dull historical details in the beginning, it’s worth it (at least for someone who enjoys historical fiction). History is weaved into an intriguing love story between Eliza and Alexander, and one might also say, their love of a nation. The writing at times was beautiful, and the thoughts and feelings created in this story were both believable and compelling. After reading the notes and insights at the end, the historical accuracy is amazing. It makes you more appreciative of the novel, how it originated and all of the research that went into it. I’m really glad I read this and stuck with it. I’m now more interested in this time period.

Susan
Malice: A Mystery by Keigo Hidashino and Alexander O. Smith

3
This was an interesting read. It kept me guessing.

Susan
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

5
I loved the book and all the case studies it presented. And I especially loved how the author gave solutions to the national problem of poverty and eviction.

Marsha
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

5
I could not stop reading this gripping tale. Ernt, a father who is a former Viet Nam War POW takes his delicate wife, Cora and his teenage daughter Leni, to the wilds of Alaska. Vivid descriptions of the beauty and the dangers of this land. More danger exists in the family's cabin as Ernt loses his fragile grip on reality. Great character descriptions of the people who survive in this harsh environment and how they reach out to each other. I wasn't sure Hannah could bring this to a satisfying ending, but she did it well.

Marsha
The Last Suppers by Mandy Mikulencak

4
Ginny's dad was a Louisiana prison guard who was murdered. She grew on the grounds and has never left. She now prepares the last meal for prisoners awaiting execution. Ginny tries to give them exactly what they want, even going so far as to visit family members for recipes. There are some surprising revelations in this book and we learn why Ginny does this last service with such love and respect.

Marsha
Somewhere Between Luck and Trust by Emilie Richards

5
Cristy needs a place to heal after spending eight months in prison for a crime she didn't commit, and for giving birth to a baby who was taken from her. Her new friend Georgia will teach her to read, and along the way find clues to the mother who gave her up at birth. This book is one of the Goddesses Anonymous series and shows how having a safe place and a good friend can change a life. A very satisfying ending.

Lorraine
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

5
A great psychological thriller!

Lyn
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

5
An excellent portrayal of life in France under Nazi occupation and the different ways that two sisters choose ways to engage in resistance. Part of what makes this a good read is the story of these two women, their relationship with each other, with their father, their close friends and the risks they undertake to help others during perilous times. It makes one wonder what we might have done if faced with their circumstances and choices. Ethical dilemmas abound. Well told!

Kimiko
Duel to the Death by J. A. Jance

4
This book in the Ali Reynolds series focuses on Stuart Ramey, their #2. He finds out he is left with a windfall of bitcoins...but at what cost? Enter High Noon to hatch a plan to "catch the bad guys"...and yes, there are many.

Fritsi
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

5
One of the best books I've read in a long time.

Fritsi
LaRose by Louise Erdich

4
Although I enjoyed reading LAROSE, I've read several of Louise Erdich's other books, including ROUND HOUSE and THE PLAQUE OF DOVES, both of which I liked better.

Susan
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

4
I really enjoyed this book. It was a new author for me and I was pleasantly surprised and excited to find a new writer to follow! If you like to read about family relationships and all of the underlying issues that go along with most families, you’ll love this. Every time I said I would close the book after this chapter, I found myself staying up late to get to the next chapter. I would definitely recommend this!

Donna
By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank

5
I loved this book about two families getting ready to celebrate the marriage of their children. One family is very well-to-do from Chicago, and the other are peach farmers from North Carolina. Their meetings and the difference of their life styles makes for a fun read. Dorothea Benton Frank gives us another great read!

Francisca
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

4
Moriarty uses the “minor” drama of helicopter parents to explore larger issues of school bullying and domestic abuse. The reader knows from the first chapter that someone has died...but who died and who was responsible will have to wait until the last 40 pages of the novel. Using multiple narrators and different timelines seems a popular technique in novels these days. It’s difficult to do this well, but Moriarty is a master. Even the secondary characters fairly leap off the page.

Jane
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

3
If you had five people you wanted to invite to a birthday party, past or present, who would it be? This is the story of Sabrina, whose friend Jessica invites five of the people from her past and present to her 30th birthday party, one who happens to be Audrey Hepburn, who she was named after since she and her mother are both fans of her and her movies.

Jud
Red Mist: Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell

4
Good book and excellent addition to the Scarpetta series. Scarpetta is asked to visit a prisoner in Georgia and it sends her on a whirlwind investigation of prisoners dying in various places under odd circumstances.

Jud
Stettin Station by David Downing

4
This extraordinarily well written book is the third entry in the John Russell series. John Russell is a British journalist who finds himself in the heart of the Reich, Berlin, in the early years of WWII. This book finds him caught up in games of spy-craft as he tries to discover what the Reich is doing with all the Jews that are rounded up and shipped away by rail. Any lover of history, especially WWII, will find this book intriguing and entertaining.

Elaine
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

4
From start to finish, I could not put it down.

Emily
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

5
This book grabbed me from the very first sentence and never let go. Right away it reminded me of ENDER'S GAME and THE HUNGER GAMES. The setting was interesting, and it features a strong, female protagonist. It has a great blend of fantasy and Chinese Military history. Overall, it was a brutal yet very enjoyable read.

Kathy
Hellbent: An Orphan X Novel by Gregg Hurwitz

5
I enjoyed HELLBENT as much as ORPHAN X! Evan Smoak is back to his true form. This book is much better than THE NOWHERE MAN. Exciting, action packed and spectacular characters as one would expect from Hurwitz!

Ilene
The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson

5
If you like books, you will really like THE BOOKSHOP OF YESTERDAYS.

Gil
The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper

5
This story takes place in the 50's during the Eisenhower administration and amidst McCarthyism. Charlie Marder is a World War II veteran and a university academic who is an unlikely congressman because of his father's connections. Charlie means to do well until he finds himself laying alongside the road, and the young woman who was in the car with him is dead. He does not know how he got there, but suspects that he was drugged while at the Hellfire Club.

Sandy
The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen Kent

5
This book was so good! Now I have to read THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER! THE TRAITOR'S WIFE is both a love story and an historical novel. I highly recommend it.

Rosa
Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

5
This one will stay with me for a long time. It is the story of the bond and connection between two sisters --- Miranda, the older sister and protector of Lucia, who has bipolar disorder. It is also a story of mental illness and how it affects everyone around the person who suffers from it. The author captures so well the heartbreaking choices that have to be made as Lucia goes through her episodes. Told from alternating perspectives of the various characters in the story, the author conveys how each person views the symptoms of the mental disorder. Most interesting is when the story is told through Lucia's eyes --- what she sees, hears and feels as she fights the "serpents" in her mind. This story is unforgettable.

Patty
The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikowa and Philip Gabriel

4
I loved this tiny magical book about the traveling cat, Nana, and his human companion, Saturu. Curling up with this book was a simple pleasure.

Jill
The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

5
I don't usually read sci-fi, but this is a sci-fi/mystery, if that makes any sense. An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth in several months. People are hanging themselves right and left in Concord, NH, so when Hank Palace, a police detective for all of three months, suspects murder, his superiors aren't impressed. Hank follows the clues in this pre-apocalypse world where social norms are breaking down. The book grapples with the questions of what do we owe others and what does civilization mean to us humans. Hank solves this crime, not to earn himself stripes, but because he feels he owes the victim a resolution even as the world is on the verge of collapse. The book is strangely hopeful for those of its nature. Read it!

Trezeline
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

5
An excellent book. Well written with well-developed characters. I love all of Kristin Hannah's books.

Karen
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

4
Our book club had a very lively discussion about the THE GREAT ALONE. The characters in the book brought out very strong reactions from the members of our club. We may have disliked some of the characters but for the most part, we enjoyed the book.

Marilyn
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

4
This book is well written, especially considering the difficult topic it tackles.

Rebecca
The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes

5
I learned a lot about the persecution of the Chinese in the Seattle area a century ago. It's a great historical novel.

Pebble
Cowboy Up!: Life Lessons from the Lazy B by H. Alan Day and Lynn Wiese Sneyd

4
Our current book club read is a collection of non-fiction stories from Alan Day who owned a large cattle ranch in southeast Arizona. It's filled with humor, life stories of the hard work and experiences of growing up in an innocent time. He is the brother of Sandra Day O'Connor and he will be attending our next book meeting.

MARILYN
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

4
Our book club (senior citizens) enjoyed this book, all the twists and turns. We likened it to Jeanette Walls' book HALF BROKE HORSES because of the mother who hovered over one daughter and virtually ignored the other!

Becky
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

5
The meaning of the title is noted three fourth of the way through the book when the family patriarch, Atef, reminisces, “the houses glitter whitely…like structures made of salt before a tidal wave sweeps them away.” His family – 4 generations – leave behind houses as war follows them from Palestine, to Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Boston, Manhattan and back to Lebanon. One of the daughters, in trying to identify her heritage, is at a loss. Is she Palestinian – she has never lived there. Is she Lebanese or Arab or Kuwaiti. Although this tale is specifically Palestinian, the rootlessness of the refugee is timeless and placeless.

Nadine
Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

4
Do you want to read a heartbreaking memoir about living a life in poverty and how divided the nation was during J.D. Vance's growing years? Are you wondering what the main issues are that seemed to have plagued working-class whites and Hillbillies for decades in America? Are you looking for answers to questions about the psychological effects of adverse childhood experiences and the way it affects people in the long run? Here is a preview of what you will learn inside: How the author was able to use his negative experiences and turn it into a goal that will change his life forever and what "Hillbilly culture" is and how it affects the lives of people.

Gladys
Exposure: A Love Story by Tracy Ewens

5
This is a very entertaining love story. The couples' choices of lifestyles before they met could not have been more different. She chose to help protect nature by going to dangerous countries and undergoing difficult climates and conditions to photograph wildlife for National Geographic. He chose acting and became a tremendously popular movie star. They met by accident when she was showing some of her photographs on a program and he had the job of introducing her. Later their efforts to lead normal lives are constantly and rudely interrupted. The plot of this book is very unique and the dialog and characters are excellently presented by the author.

Tessa B C
Elephant Winter by Kim Echlin

4
When she learns that her mother is dying, Sophie Walker must give up her nomadic lifestyle and leave Zimbabwe to return to the family farm in southern Ontario. This is really a character-based story, though there are some significant events, including a couple of violent altercations. Mostly, however, Echlin treats the reader to Sophie’s thoughts as she considers her mother’s condition, her role as daughter, lover, friend, her past and future. I really liked Echlin’s writing style. There was something so quiet and comforting about it. And still her imagery is very vivid.

Liz
The Dry by Jane Harper

4
Aaron Falk is a Federal Agent living and working in Melbourne, Australia. When he receives word that his childhood friend and his family have been murdered he decides to go back to the small town he grew up in at the insistence of his friends parents. He hasn't been back to that town in twenty years, when he and his father were literally run out of town. This is a very well-written and compelling debut novel with a very interesting twist at the end.

Candace
What the Hell Did I Just Read by David Wong

4
Weird fantasy, sci-fi about a town with monsters and evil where only two people can see the monsters. I didn't read the other books with these characters so I'm somewhat lost to previous references but it's still an interesting book that made me laugh, cringe and be a little nauseous. A perfect combo! I will definitely try more of his books.

Hedy L
The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews

5
For some reason I have always steered away from her books but after reading about this in the newsletter I got it from the library. Just loved it. Great storyline that goes back and forth in time with wonderful narrations. Almost all my reading is audio now due to neck issues so I am thrilled to have found another author to try. Perfect beach read!

Kathy
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

3
59-year old widower tries to commit suicide but his nosy neighbors keep getting in the way.

Jacqueline
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

5
This book was very interesting. It takes you on a journey through the life of the main character by using her memories to go back in time. It does a nice job of fully developing the other characters in the book and using them to move the narrative forward. There were many surprises and lots of lovely prose - my entire book club found parts of it surprising; but, interestingly, different parts. This book generated a great deal of discussion and everyone had an opinion about the lead character and the way the novel ended. I highly recommend it. This is the first book that I have read by Isabel Allende; I am already looking for more.

Lisa
The Outsider by Stephen King

4
Once again, Stephen King takes us on an incredible journey. It starts out almost like a police procedural and goes from there into the dark along the journey of murder and mayhem. I was pleasantly surprised to find Holly from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy in on the investigation. I was really happy with Mr. King's current outing.

Pamela
The President is Missing by James Patterson and Bill Clinton

5
I absolutely loved it. I learned a lot regarding the inner workings of the White House in addition to the book being a great mystery with a few twists.

Kathy
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

4
Exciting, historical. Sad. Wonderful character development. I feel like I know and understand each of the main characters in the story.

Susan
Ten Women by Marcella Serrano

4
At first I thought it was a bit slow. However, every one of the characters were described so perfectly, so all of the description was necessary and so important to the story. I loved it.

Diane
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

4
Taking place in both 1660s and 2000 London, a modern day historian tries to solve the puzzle of who actually wrote the newly discovered letters that had been hidden in a secret room under the stairs of a 1660s manor home. The stories of the modern day university professor and the Portuguese Jewess who was a scribe for a rabbi blinded by the Inquisition's torturers is intertwined, playing out like a mystery where the reader learns the answers before the detectives. Throw in the plague that decimated London and there is no telling what will happen.

Janet
A Blossom of Bright Light by Suzanne Chazin

4
This was my book club’s pick for June and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would! I knew it was a murder mystery but the use of illegal aliens and immigration made it very current. This is part of a mystery series and I would definitely read more of these Jimmy Vega books.

Allison
Summer Island by Kristin Hannah

5
Great story.

Linda
The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

4
I recently discovered Patchett and admire her writing style. Poetic yet intriguing. This book is a mixture of joy and sadness, and grief, for a misfit of a family. I, and maybe other women, too, could understand the protagonist's desire to escape. To just be in a car and drive. Less so could I understand the web of lies she created and had to live within.

Helen
Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes

5
Loved it. Another great read by this author.

Linda
Someone to Care by Mary Balogh

5
Viola Westcott was unhappily married when she first met Marcel Lamarr. He was known as a big flirt, but she was not interested in an affair. After Viola’s husband died, their marriage was found to be bigamous as he was still married to his first wife when he married Viola. She took her maiden name back and is now known as Viola Kingsley. She and Marcel see each other at a country inn and their old feelings are still alive. Their night together turned into several weeks at a secluded cottage until members of their families found them. He told everyone they were betrothed and neither thought the other wanted marriage. Viola and Marcel love each other but both are too stubborn to admit it. It takes the wisdom of Marcel’s children to wake him.

Linda
Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

5
A wealthy heiress is searching for a husband. Due to a large birthmark on her face, Wren Heyden has shut herself away as a recluse and does not think she has anything to offer in a marriage except her money. She interviews various prospects and likes one, but he is far too handsome. Alexander Westcott has inherited a nearby estate which is in sad shape and needs an influx of money that he does not have. He is interested in her proposal, and they begin an unlikely friendship. She tells him he could do better than her and sets him free, but naturally, Alexander has developed feelings for Wren. The rest of the novel explores whether or not he can win her back.

Linda
Sweet Vengence by Fern Michaels

4
Tessa Jamison was sent to prison for the deaths of her husband and twin daughters. She was innocent of the crime and was now being released on a technicality. Sam McQuade, CEO of Jamison Pharmaceuticals (her husband’s company), had been working with a well-known criminal attorney to get her case reviewed. She will get a new trial and the attorney tells her he hopes to find enough evidence to get the charges dismissed. A witness has come forward with new information. Tessa relives the moment she found her husband and girls floating in the pool amid the bloody water. There was something “off” about her husband, but now she questions whether it was really her husband in the water.

Gail
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

4
This is a book that explains what we need to know as we age. Gawande explores the question of whether assisted living and nursing homes are better for us than home health aides --- questions we need to ask our doctors when a diagnosis becomes terminal, and how we want our final days to be. Interesting points of discussion for all of us and our families as we age.

Linda
The Wicked Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden

4
Lucas Tate is a trained sniper for the Navy SEALs and has learned to control his emotions. He was shocked to learn that his friend and fellow SEAL teammate Griffin Riley had sold illegal weaponry to international arms dealers before he was killed. Now Lucas has been instructed by his late father’s letter to keep Griffin’s widow, Grace, safe from the bad guys. Lucas had met Grace and had felt an instant attraction. Now that she is no longer married, it will be hard to keep his hands off her. Grace is also wondering how she can resist Lucas’ ice-blue stare. But does she even want to?

Linda
A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

4
Banished from Scotland by his brother Ian, Callum MacCreath went to America and founded a successful distillery. He returns to Scotland 10 years later after he learns of his brother’s death. When Ian’s widow, Rebecca, tells Callum that Ian drowned, he knows it was no accident, as Ian was an excellent swimmer. Callum and Rebecca seek to find proof against the evil Duke of Dunncraigh. The Duke was partners with Ian and Rebecca’s father in a shipping company and he wanted total control of the company. Ten years have not lessened Callum’s desire for Rebecca and she finds he is not the irresponsible boy he once was. He is all man, and he wants her.

Gretchen
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

5
A heart-wrenching story.

Linda
Soul Painter by Cara Luecht

3
After the death of her parents, Miriam Beaumont lives in seclusion in her father’s warehouse. From the window, she watches school children at play and paints them. The painting shows the child as he will be when grown. Deacon John watches her from his window at the church across the street and they silently acknowledge each other. When she finds a badly-beaten prostitute, she asks for John’s help which he readily gives. Miriam recognizes the woman from one of her paintings but her profession is not the one that was reflected in the painting. She intends to help this woman become the businesswoman she is destined to be.

Linda
A Little Like Destiny by Lisa Suzanne

5
Reese Brady had been a fan of the rock group VAIL and its lead singer Mark Ashton for years. She meets him backstage and goes home with him for a night of great sex. She thought there might have been something between them but left the next morning before he woke. Days later, she meets Brian Fox, a handsome businessman who donates money to the school charity drive. They begin a whirlwind romance, but Reese still has feelings for Mark and can’t get him out of her mind. She gets the surprise of her life when Brian takes her to meet his siblings. A cute love story that I received from goodreads.

Linda
His Darling Bride by Anna DeStefano

4
When she is confronted at a bar by an obnoxious ex-boyfriend, Bethany Darling latches on to the hunky bartender to save her. Mike Taylor has been eyeing the auburn-haired beauty all night and is only too happy to oblige. She reaches up to kiss him and the light kiss turns into a soul-shattering experience. Bethany is an artist who has lost her inspiration and has been unable to finish any of her canvases. Mike is a photographer who helps her get back into painting. They fall in love --- but can they overcome family dynamics to make it work? Mike is not only a photographer, but a world-famous photographer. His family is behind the foundation who awarded Bethany a scholarship to the Pratt Institute.

Linda
Her Halloween Treat by Tiffany Reisz

4
Joey Silvia returns to Oregon for her brother’s wedding and runs into Chris Steffenson, her brother’s best friend from high school. Joey always tagged along behind her brother and Chris and was never excluded by them. The rebel Chris that she knew in high school has turned into one fine-looking man who helps her get over a disastrous romance. Even knowing he’s the rebound guy doesn’t bother Chris, because he loves Joey and has since he was a teenager. Can he get her to love him and stay in Oregon, or will she return to Hawaii and forget him?

Charlotte
The Witches' Tree by M.C. Beaton

5
M.C. Beaton invites the curious reader into a mystery that appears to be normal in the sense that all the characters are relatively normal. You read with great interest and then bam...someone dies! Did you see this murder coming? Why did this murder happen? Everyone appeared to be so normal! The joys of reading M.C Beaton continue for me.

Kathleen
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

4
The book kept me interested throughout, and also motivated me to read more about Andrew Wyeth. It was a little sad and melancholy, but the characters drew me in and were well presented. The only thing I didn't like was that the writer went back and forth in time throughout the book. I would have preferred to have the story told in a linear fashion.

Deborah
Promise by Minrose Gwin

4
When a devastating tornado hits the small town of Tupelo, Mississippi, it is the catalyst that forces racial divides to blur in the attempt to survive. Memories of past atrocities by southern whites haunt Dovey, the local laundress to the wealthy McNabb family. When Jo McNabb and Dovey find themselves brought together in the aftermath, old family secrets force them to seek justice for sins of Jo's brother, "Son". The survival of an infant and its identity will determine the fate of both families. Strong characters, emotions and story line make this book an excellent read.

Sherrie
The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel

4
Beautiful story that will make you cry, cheer and stay up late at night to finish. Ruby, the California girl who marries the French Marcel, moves to France after a brief engagement in 1939. Soon after, Paris is taken over. Ruby meets her neighbor's 11 year old daughter, Charlotte. Ruby and Charlotte become friends and keep each other supported during this time. Life moves on to fighting, believing, love --- and finally --- to faith. A sweet and wonderfully written story.

Dianne
The Flicker of Old Dreams by Susan Henderson

3
This book was about a troubled relationship with a father and his daughter, Mary, who grows up without a mother, and who lives in a funeral home that her father runs. She has always wanted to be an artist, but things got in the way. Mary becomes part of her father's funeral business. The ending of the book seemed to be forced, rather than a gradual progression of Mary's desires.

Lois
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

5
A wonderful book about two women who have lost their true loves through tragedies. One in the Triangle Fire in lower Manhattan in 1911, and the other in the destruction of the twin towers in lower Manhattan in 2011. Different times, but similar experiences.

Diane
The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

5
A taut and compelling thriller.

Jud
The Relic Hunters by David Leadbeater

3
THE RELIC HUNTERS by David Leadbeater is the first in what shows promise to be an entertaining series. While it’s certainly true that featuring the Illuminati as the villain is not new or even original, Leadbeater does put a different spin on the group as to their personality. This is the first book I’ve read by Leadbeater, and while it certainly isn’t the best thriller I’ve ever read, it is far from the worst. I’ve found that most authors improve a series as it progresses, fleshing out characters more and improving the plot. That said, I am going to split the difference and rate this book 3/5 stars. *A copy of this ebook was the only consideration received in exchange for this review.*

Beth
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

5
Loved this true account of a Syrian American caught up in a racist and inept government imprisonment after Hurricane Katrina. He was a courageous man in the face of such cruelty.

Phoebe
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

5
This beautifully crafted novel speaks to the resilience and creativity of the human heart and spirit. The innocence of children, the love and learning opportunities one chooses to give, and finding silver linings are woven through time. Patience and the ability to live in the moment are rewarded. I did not want this book to end and look forward already to reading it again!

Simonne
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

4
Great who-done-it with an unstable, initially unlikable heroine and many, many red herrings.

Esther
Island Of The Mad by Laura R. King

5
This is a captivating book. The plot, the characters and the location blend to make for a delightful read.

Blanche
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

3
Vietnam vet with PTS takes wife and daughter to bush country in Alaska. Novel reveals emotional trauma of those with psychological problems and how the family copes. It is also very descriptive of life in Alaska's bush country. Survival is sustained within the isolated community.

Lory
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

3
Historical Fiction is my thing, and this book, unlike others, shared a piece of history from a stateside perspective. I did feel the book moved pretty slow until the last third when it definitely began to peak my interest and draw me in. I enjoyed Anna's experiences: her persistence to dive in a man's world, her allegiance and struggle to meet women's expectations during that time period and the colorful characters she found strength among. It was also very interesting learning more about the mechanics of the Naval Yard and of the Mafia at that time. Eddie's disappearance, and subsequent journey, added a parallel flair. However, the father daughter reunion at the end was dismal and bland; all the build up had me reeling.

Shelly
Wedding Cake Crumble by Jenn McKinlay

3
Melanie Cooper is helping Angie and Tate prepare for their wedding. The Fairy Tale Cupcakes business is doing well and now they are working on some last minute details for the wedding. When three different people turn up murdered, Melanie wonders if these murders are connected to her best friend Angie and her fiance, Tate. Melanie tries to establish a connection when the best selling author is the next target. It is then when Melanie realizes that Angie and Tate might not be the targets. Why are these murders happening, and what do they have in common?

Martha
Beneath the Same Heaven by Anne Marie Ruff

5
A well-written, timely story that grabs you in the first few pages. Kathryn, an American, and Rashid, a Pakistani, fall in love and marry with the approval of both families. They have two sons and all is well until Rashid's father is killed in an American drone attack on a wedding party. Rashid is torn by loving his new life and the demands of his family for revenge. Terrorists and loyalty are at odds. Dramatic and intense. The dialogue is outstanding and feelings are realistic. Should be required reading in any cultural studies course.

Ivy
The Fallen by David Baldacci

5
Baronville is one of those towns that has lost its glory, money and all that made it once a great place to live and raise a family. But people are being killed off too quick. So when Amos and his sidekick visit her sister one weekend, they end up dead smack in the middle of an investigation as investigators. A thick thriller right up to the last few pages.

Helen
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

4
Not as good as BIG LITTLE LIES, but a good beach read. It keeps you guessing the reasons that a happy, loving couple are divorcing. It makes you wonder if you forgot the last 10 years of your life, how would you cope.

Linda
Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird

5
A great biography which reads like a novel.

Jud
The King's Justice by E. M. Powell

4
THE KING'S JUSTICE by E. M. Powell introduces readers to Aelred Barling and Hugo Stanton, employed by King Henry II to administer England’s laws. Powell is already an accomplished author with her Fifth Knight series, and the Stanton and Barling mysteries are as creative an investigative duo as any other in the mystery genre. The series is set in medieval England and shows promise as a series worth reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this inaugural entry and plan to add Powell’s other series to my already insurmountable to-be-read pile. This book gets a well-deserved 4/5 stars from me.

Tessa
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

4
What a delightfully quirky and touching story. I never saw the movie, but knew it was very popular. I put the book on my to-be-read list knowing basically nothing about it, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Pat is a wonderful character and narrator. Tiffany is so confused, hurt and hopeful that she, too, just pulls me in.

Cindee
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

3
Our book club read this for our last meeting. One person absolutely hated it, but three of us found it interesting, although very difficult to follow. The weaving of time periods and all the characters made it hard to remember who was who. I actually read it twice and found that the second reading was more enjoyable as I finally figured out all of the characters.

Shelley
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

4
Many historical facts about Korea and Japan I did not know. Strong characters.

Deb
Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

3
I did not realize when I bought this book that it was a prequel to MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON. I loved all the stories that every character had to tell, but also felt sad and depressed for them. Those who left and tried to have a different life still experienced gut wrenching issues; altering your address doesn't change the fact that your past will always be there. Strout has a great understanding of people and how they think and act in all of life's situations.

Bonnie
Florida by Lauren Groff

4
Fascinating and beautifully written stories set in Florida.

Marcia
One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain

5
I loved this book about two neighbor boys in the 1950s, one fairly wealthy and one poor. The real main character is Sarah, told as a child by her mother that she "doesn't have a mama bone in her," meaning she will be a poor mother. Sarah is raising her husband's illegitimate son, Emerson Bridge. Her husband dies leaving her in debt. She sees an article that showing the Grand Champion Beef would win a monetary award which would pay her debts. Her son needs a friend and she is able to buy a calf from the horrible neighbor, Luther. Luther wants his young son to win the award at any cost. This is a story of heartbreak and a mother's love. Very well written Southern fiction!

Sandy
Julia's Daughters by Colleen Faulkner

5
Julia Maxton can't imagine anything worse than losing one of her three daughters, until the day 17-year-old Haley runs a stop sign, killing her younger sister Caitlin. Six weeks after the crash, the family is falling apart. Julia struggles not to show hostility towards Haley, but her deep-rooted anger won't go away. Her husband, Benk, has drifted away emotionally. Their youngest daughter, Izzy, is lost in the shuffle. And despite Haley's insistence that she's fine, her actions scream otherwise. I loved every chapter of this book and wish it had been even longer.

Linda
The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

4
We know early on that 17-year-old Essie is pregnant and that her family life is chronicled on a popular TV reality show. Essie's father is a minister and her mother is the mover and shaker of all things family. Essie is one of six siblings and is the youngest in the family. As events unfold, the pages turn quickly and many things work well in this book. The writing is crisp and clear and the story line is interesting with many reasons to keep reading. I was always happy to get back to reading this one.

Richard
3rd Degree by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

2
This is book three in the Women’s Murder Club series with Patterson’s name getting top billing on the cover, but I suspect mostly written by Andrew Gross. The formula must not have been working well because there’s a significant change among the club members. I’ll say this for the team of writers --- they keep things moving quickly.

Elizabeth
Shelter In Place by Nora Roberts

5
I loved this story.

Kelley
Gone Haunting in Deadwood by Ann Charles

5
The latest in Ann Charles' Deadwood series was full of twists and turns with a bit of romance on the side. I loved her witty writing and one-liners. This book shows some incredible character development, not only from the main characters, but the supporting cast also gets a little more involved. Perfect book for those who enjoy mystery, suspense, romance and a little fantasy.

Barbara
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

5
This finally became available at my library. I didn't realize until the end of the book that this was actually based on true events and some of the characters were real. It was a very interesting read outlining the different ways the war affected people. For some there was little to no impact and even bettered their lives, for others it was the worst thing. That sums up what war is. Once I got into the last half of the book, I couldn't put it down. It is another one that I will be thinking about for awhile.

Jane
Top Secret Target by Dana Mentink

5
Kendra poses as a Marine trying to catch her friends' killer. She is a PI. An angry boyfriend is released from prison and he threatened her with harm. Then there is a third person no one would suspect. So who is out to kill her friend? Ethan is told he will set himself up and help Kendra catch a killer who is trying to kill his ex-wife. Kendra looks so much like his ex-wife it is unraveling. Titus is Ethan's K-9 partner. Danger, suspense, and lots of other stuff happen as Kendra and Ethan try to track down the Red Rose Killer. It will keep you reading and reading. Even something Kendra and Ethan do not expect happens. You will not be able to guess who did it until the very end. I highly recommend all of Dana's books.

Jane
Cowboy Bodyguard by Dana Mentink

5
Danger abounds when a gang member is brought to the ER. Shannon, a doctor, finds Dina and her baby needing help to escape a gang. One of members is in hospital and he is father of her child. They blame her he is in hospital. There are so many surprises. Like who Dana's brother is. The relationship between Jack and Shannon. Why his family risk their lives to protect Dina's baby. I'll not give away the story. I've hope I have caused you to want to read it. Dana, I think this is one of your best books.

Jane
A Rebel Heart by Beth White

5
You learn a lot about how the Civil War destroyed families. One Union officer tried to save Selah's mother's life. Later Levi and Selah meet during a train disaster. So many hard things to endure. I truly enjoyed this book. Levi helping Selah decides to turn her home into a motel in order to save it. Railroad partnered with her to help finance yet she and her sisters get to live there and manage it. I recommend this book highly.

Janet
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

4
This is the fictional story of Eleanor Oliphant who struggles with correct social skills and is very down to earth and tries to avoid unnecessary human contact. She has few friends, but works and meets a young man named Raymond who is good with computers in her job. She was abused by her mother when she was very young and the story shows her struggles to cope with the facial disfigurement she received as a result of the abuse she suffered. It was a very enjoyable book and it proves the learning experience we all go through when growing and maturing, especially with obstacles in our way.

Melissa
The Fifth Letter by Nicola Morarity

5
Great read. I love how the secrets are revealed in this book.

Charriess
The Outsider by Stephen King

5
A thriller and a mystery novel from the King of Horror himself. An eleven-year-old boy has been murdered and his body has been mutilated horrifically. Throughout the investigation, the evidence and eyewitnesses point to an unlikely suspect. The main suspect remains to be Terry Maitland who is a respected English teacher, with a wife and two daughters, who also coaches Little League. When a character from King's previous trilogy series surfaces, nothing is what it seems and this leaves everyone to question their beliefs. This book read like a foundation for a psychological thriller series bound to unravel the mind of those who seek facts and have their belief tested to the very core.

Karen
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

5
A nonfiction accounting of the murders of the Osage Indians in the 1920s in Oklahoma after finding oil on their dry, rocky, hilly land that the government pushed them onto. Grann has done a remarkable job of showing the intricate and complicated plots used against the wealthy Indians to take over their money.

Jan
House. Tree. Person. by Catriona McPherson

1
This book was a great disappointment. Many reviews praised it. It is shallow. There are no likable characters. The premises are absurd - a woman is hired at a psychiatric clinic with fake credentials and no one discovers her deceit. The plot is never clear. Long lost family are discovered suddenly in the last chapter. Hidden crimes are suddenly revealed. I read every word and kept waiting for it to get better. It didn't. The writing is lovely, descriptive, but all the people have hidden lives that contribute to the "plot" and the "mystery." So many phony clues - the lost cell phone, the simple ending where the "good" characters live happily ever after. Save your time for a good book.

Elizabeth
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

3
Simply put, 4 3 2 1 presents Archie Ferguson's four possible lives. That is, one Ferguson is born, but his life might have gone one way or another or another or another. 4 3 2 1 examines each way his life might have gone. I liked 4 3 2 1, and I didn't like it. Its references to history, literature, and movies are superb. But the length of the book combined with the disjointed presentation of Ferguson's four possible lives often leads to confusion.

Becky
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

4
This was the first book I read by this author and I like this particular genre. New moms from a mommy group embark on a night out and something tragic happens with one of the moms. As the moms try to investigate what happened so did I, and I did not see the ending at all. I predicted something else and was quite pleased. It was a slow page-turner for me in the beginning but it picked up around 80 pages for me. I would definitely read another book by Ms. Molloy.

Gil
Southernmost by Silas House

5
Asher Sharp is a minister in Tennessee. He is at odds with his congregation because he wants to invite a gay couple into his church. After making an impassioned speech to the congregation his life is never the same. His wife does not agree with him, their marriage is in jeopardy, the future of their nine-year old son is in question, and he is in danger of losing his job. Asher has a brother Luke who is gay and was turned away by Asher. Asher has guilt feelings about this and searches for Luke, believing he is in Key West. Even though Asher believes he is a moral person, he is willing to break the law in dealing with these issues. Good character study and a good read.

Elaine
The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel

4
Great read. Life in Paris during WWII.

Francisca E B
Lockdown by Laurie R. King

4
King is probably best known for her Mary Russell series, but this is a stand-alone psychological thriller. The novel focuses on an incident at Guadalupe Middle School in San Felipe, California, and follows the characters from shortly after midnight to about 1:30 in the afternoon. I thought a couple of the elements of the plot’s ending were just too conveniently pat, but I was still entertained throughout.

Becky
Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

5
SHELTER IN PLACE starts out as a horrific massacre in a shopping mall but quickly becomes a combination love story (an intelligent love story) and a thrilling search for a murdering mastermind. Roberts has a genius for writing characters her readers fall in love with. SHELTER IN PLACE is no exception. Simone, CiCi and Reed, the lead characters, are richly endowed with personality complete with interesting quirks. The supporting characters, while not as intimately drawn, are fully developed. The Maine coast is a major player in the tale. You will hear the waves crash and smell the flowers. Two of the main characters are artists and their talent is clear from the text as are their methods of expression.

Harriet
There There by Tommy Orange

5
Vivid characters, in various chapters, linked by their involvement in the Oakland PowWow. A new territory for literature, urban Indians, the book is beautifully written and engaging from page one.

Liz
The Paris Wedding by Charlotte Nash

4
Rachael West was 18 years old and madly in love with her high school sweetheart. They were even making plans for their life together. Then reality sets in, Matthew goes away to med school and Rachael's mom becomes gravely ill. Rachael makes the decision to stay on the family wheat farm to care for her mother, and Matthew feels he cannot make a life commitment at this time. It is now 10 years later, Rachael's mom has passed away and she has not heard from Matthew in all these years. Out of the blue, a wedding invitation for Matthew's wedding arrives. Along with it comes an all-expense paid trip to Paris where the wedding will take place. She goes, hoping to put her broken heart to rest.

Mona
She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

5
After losing both their parents, twins Rose and Isabel (“Bel”) Enright are, reluctantly, adopted by their wealthy paternal grandmother. She, in turn, enrolls them in the prestigious Odell Academy. While Rose feels grateful and excited, Bel hates it on sight. This differing attitude is not the only thing that sets them apart. Rose and Bel are opposites in every way, and their individual styles reflect that. They look nothing alike. Rose is blonde, pleasing but plain. She is pragmatic and plays by the rules. Bel is a raven-haired beauty with a wild streak and questionable judgment. Yet, despite these contrasts, they are very close and love each other (deep down, anyway).