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November 2, 2018 - November 16, 2018

Cheryl
Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

5
A story of secrets, love, distrust, and the ability to move on. Irene Steele has it all. A beautiful 1892 Queen Anne-style home, the money to not have to worry anymore, and a beautiful husband with two adult sons. Rosie is a server at a restaurant/bar in the island of St John. Rosie has a daughter, and a secret boyfriend everyone calls "The Invisible Man." As the story moves forward, we learn Irene's husband has been killed in an accident. His wife didn't even know he was in St. John with a mysterious woman. Irene sets off in search of clues about her husbands business and what he was doing on the island. Elin Hilderbrand writes another beautiful story! I can't wait to see what happens in the next book.You will love this novel!

Connie
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

4
Interesting characters. Kept my attention.

Deborah
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayer

5
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer is truly a self-made woman. She shares stories from her childhood about her Puerto Rican roots, her juvenile diabetes and focusing on education. She takes a unique path after graduating from Yale’s law school and becomes a federal judge at the age of 36. She brings compassion but toughness to the bench and promotes rights for minorities and women.

Nancy
Noon at Tiffany's by Echo Heron

4
This is the story of the real creator and talent behind the famous Tiffany lamps. Louis Tiffany took all the credit, but it was really Clara Wolcott Driscoll, who came up with the design and production of the lamps, as well as some of Tiffany's other products. If you liked THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY, you'll like this. It's written in a similar style -- letters between the various characters and prose. In this case, however, the letters are the actual ones written by Clara and her family and friends. An interesting insight into the history of the Tiffany lamps and Tiffany himself. Not a nice man at all. I kept thinking of Frank Lloyd Wright as I was reading.

Jackie
Field of Bones by J. A. Jance

4
Another great Joanna Brady book - twists and turns and suspense until the end.

Richard N B
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

3
A man and his son wander a desolate and destroyed American landscape after some unnamed world-wide disaster has pretty much killed off most of the earth’s population and destroyed the environment. I don’t need a happy ending in order to appreciate and like a book. But I do need to feel some sense of purpose to the story, and I couldn’t figure out what McCarthy was trying to impart. Still, there is something about McCarthy’s writing that captivates me. I like his spare style. I like the way he paints the landscape so that I feel I am living in the novel (even if it’s a horrible place to be). I think he’s one of those author’s whose works I appreciate, even when I don’t particularly like them.

Nina
The Address by Fiona Davis

4
Fast-paced, with great character development makes THE ADDRESS a page-turner.

Sharon
The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon

5
Philosophical and psychological, Commissario Brunetti seeks the perpetrator of the crime, and also the reasons. Twisting through Vienna, Leon takes the reader on a journey of self-probing.

Cindy
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

4
What if you died just as you were born? Or, you lived and made different choices in your life? In this novel, Ursula dies many times. Each time the reader learns how her life may have been changed. At the end of the book, one contemplates how might their own life been different knowing what the future holds in store.

Donna
The Boy at the Keyhole by Stephen Giles

3
A 9-year-old boy's mother disappears while he's sleeping and the housekeeper is left to care for him. He keeps expecting his mother to return and his imagination takes over as to why she doesn't come for him. This is a suspenseful story with a shocking ending.

Donna
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

4
This is a true story of how love and the desire to survive can conquer the most horrific of situations.

Donna
How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson

4
This is a funny, funny book. Kate, the central figure, is married, has two teenaged children and is about to turn 50 years old. She is going through many changes and manages to do it with great humor for us...not so laughable on her part. I truly enjoyed this novel.

Donna
The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg

3
A charming story about a single fellow owning a large plot of land in Missouri in 1889. He advertises to offer land to others. The story progresses through the decades of the growth of a town and neighbors into 2014 as the town becomes abandoned. You learn the details from the deceased as they share their afterlife in the cemetery.

Sally-Jo
The Leavers by Lisa Ko

4
Interesting read on different cultures and the emotions and effect of interracial adoption on both the adopted child, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents. I sometimes was uncertain who was narrating, but overall I thought it was a good read.

Melinda
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

4
Alma Belasco is sent as a young child from Poland to relatives in California. Thus begins her life with a rich family and when she meets Ichimel, the son of the gardener. A young love blooms until they are separated as his family is interred in a camp for Japanese during WWII. They meet throughout the years. The book begins as Alma is nearing the end of her life and her grandson, Seth, and a caregiver, Irinia, search for the meaning of gifts and letters that are important to Alma. It is a beautiful story of love. Isabel Allende writes beautifully and reading another one of her books made me go back to this one which had been on my TBR list for a long time.

Gerriann
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

5
A very exceptional book starting off with a dream. It brings a great story about two worlds - the modern and the old world. I kept checking the date to wonder why this Chinese village was living 100 years ago. The world of tea from ancient trees was fascinating. The characters in the book were genuine and heartbreaking. A very excellent read by a great author.

Trez
The Tatooist of Aushwitz by Heather Morris

5
A beautiful love story amidst hate and destruction.

Noreen
Smash Cut by Sandra Brown

4
A mystery with lots of twists and turns. The movie references were fun as I was surprised at how many I knew.

Rosemary
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

5
A young black couple are torn apart after only 1-1/2 years of marriage when he is falsely accused of rape. He's innocent, but it's a small town in the rural South and he's convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The consequences are difficult: she's living a life and building a business while he's being hardened by prison life. Can, love survive? Can a marriage? A unique look at what harsh circumstances can do to two people as well as those who love them.

Dana
Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer

4
Jeffrey Archer has written a wonderful story of a son and his mother who must escape from Russia after his father is killed by the KGB. There is a twist to the story. The genres are fiction, historical fiction and foreign intrigue. If you love good storytelling, you will love this book. I read an advance readers copy of this, which I won.

Dana
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

3
This a story of friendship gone wrong and secrets that should never be kept, and how they can ruin peoples' lives. It is a compact little thriller and a quick read.

Diane
The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone

4
Pause all social media to read this heart-pounding suspense thriller from Pavone.

Betty
Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer

4
Beautifully written "what if" novel about Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert who visited the same places in Egypt in about the same time. What if they actually met and became friends and fell a little bit in love? The writing is gorgeous and the period is fleshed out realistically.

Jean
The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict

4
This story is about Hedy Lamarr and her work during the war to combat Hitler. Many people know her for being a famous actress. This book tells the story of her childhood in Austria, her marriage and how she came to be in a position to relay information about Hitler to the Allies during the war. Also about her invention from that time that is still being used today.

Harriett
Murder in Saint-Germain by Cara Black

4
Aimee Leduc lives in Paris in the Ile Saint Louis section. She runs a computer company that builds programs and investigates related problems. This leads her to investigate criminal misadventures where she learned techniques from her father, a Paris flic (detective). This is Cara Black's 17th Aimee novel. I've read them all. They are a fun read and you feel immersed in Paris, learning a bit of history and information. She was always a "wild child" for risk and adventure. Loved her searches in the flea markets for bargains in designer brands of clothes, shoes and bags. Now that she has a baby she is a bit subdued but not enough that she's become boring. Always a fun read, especially after reading FEAR and FASCISM.

Linda
Hunted by Darcy Coates

5
This novel has lots of suspense that grabs you from the start. Hikers are disappearing in a heavily-wooded forest and no one seems overly concerned until police detective Carla Delago listens to the pleas of the brother of the latest missing hiker. He urges her to look more closely at the photos taken off of his sister's camera that was found in the forest. She agrees with him that it does look like a monster of some sort in the treeline. As she researches missing persons, she is shocked at the large number and talks to the sheriff who is finally convinced and sets up a task force. But things are not all as they seem and the book ends with an unexpected twist.

Susan
The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

3
I just finished this book, which I won in a Bookreporter.com contest. It arrived two weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to begin. However, I was soon involved in a bit of literary whiplash, jumping from time period to time period and character to character. In the end, I was terribly intrigued, but I had to make a chart of characters and places. The mystery of the Radcliffe Blue kept me going, as it will you. Who done it? Well, that’s but a small part of the world Morton builds, going back in forth in time...mostly centered in London and especially at Birchwood Manor. In the end, there were too many themes, too many characters, and way too many subplots. I was thrilled to get through the nearly 500 pages,

Linda
Desolation Mountain by William Kent Kruger

5
Peace at the Iron Lake Reservation is shattered when a plane carrying a United States senator crashes and all aboard are killed. First responders from the reservation are turned back by the FBI. Also on hand are military-looking individuals who are heavily armed. The NTSB says pilot error is to blame, but too many things are not adding up for Cork O’Connor and he is determined to find out what happened. He runs into Bo Thorson, former Secret Service and friend of Cork, and does not get an answer when Cork asks who he is working for. Lots of suspense.

Linda
Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis

5
Molly Malone works as receptionist for Hunt Investigations but wants to be an investigator like her brother Joe. Joe as well as Archer Hunt wants to keep Molly safe and doesn't think she’s ready to take on a case. She disagrees and Archer tells Lucas Knight, one of his investigators, to keep an eye on Molly. The more Lucas is around Molly, he finds it had to keep his hands off of her. Only the knowledge that her brother Joe would kill him makes Lucas step back. But Molly has her own ideas about Lucas.

Linda
When a Duke Loves a Woman by Lorraine Heath

5
Antony Coventry, the 9th Duke of Thornley, is set upon by four ruffians. His signet ring and pocket watch are taken and he is stabbed several times. He is saved by Gillian Trewlove, owner of a tavern close to the attack. She comes to his aid and sends for the doctor and tends Thorne till he is able to return home. He can’t forget her soothing touch or quiet voice and returns to the tavern to see her. Gillie has fallen in love with him but knows she will never fit in in his world. He loves her but made a deathbed vow to his father to honor a marriage contract. He is torn between his duty and what his heart wants and needs.

Pam
The Humans by Matt Haig

5
Poignant and funny, this book seeks to answer the big question: What's the purpose of life on this Earth? The extra-terrestrial who narrates has wry wit and much angst as he struggles to fulfill the task he was sent to Earth to do. Humans are ugly, confusing, yet fascinating to him as he learns what makes life worth living in this crazy world.

Linda
Fade to Black by Heather Graham

4
Bryan McFadden has the ability to see ghosts and has been warned by his mother to go to California to protect Marnie Davante, a young television star. At the local comic-con, someone dressed as the character Blood-bone slashed an actress to death with a sword. The dead actress was standing in front of Marnie and some thought that Marnie was supposed to be the victim. Bryan was there to protect her whether she wanted him to or not. When another actor in their old series is found dead in his home, Marnie realizes that someone is killing the actors in the series she starred in. Who is doing this and why?

Linda
Pale as Death by Heather Graham

4
An aspiring actress is found brutally murdered in a manner similar to that of the Black Dahlia murder years ago. The next day, another woman is found murdered in the same way. Both bodies were cut in half and organs removed. Leaks are made to newspapers so police know it’s someone close to the investigation. Bruce McFadden has been sent by the FBI’s Krewe of Hunters to assist Detective Sophie Manning in her investigation. Sophie is not keen on this but her partner has been shot and she is now the lead investigator. This case is so complex, she will need all the help she can get.

Linda
Echoes of Evil by Heather Graham

4
Brodie McFadden is on a dive trip in Key West when he finds the body of a man in a shipwreck. A few days later, a beloved Key West singer falls down dead while playing backup for Dakota McCoy. Brodie was attracted to Dakota the first time he met her and he is concerned about the unexplained deaths. The musician Cliff Bullard was a close friend of Dakota’s father, former rocker Michael McCoy, and his death is especially hard on Dakota. When it was found he died of anaphylactic shock, she insists he was murdered. Cliff was aware of his allergy and took care to avoid nut products. Brodie calls in reinforcements from Jackson Crow with the FBI’s Krewe of Hunters.

Linda
Stripped by Zoey Castile

4
Neighbors meet when the laundry mixes up their clothes. Zac Fallon comes to Robyn Flores’ apartment to swap laundry bags and she is stunned when she looks into Zac’s handsome face. She is even more stunned when she is at a bachelorette party and sees that her handsome neighbor is one of the strippers. He recognizes her too. Robyn is a schoolteacher and Zac is a male stripper. Total opposites who fall in love. A cute love story.

Lois
The Bridal Chair by Gloria Goldreich

4
We have all heard of Chagall as a painter, but little do we know of him as a father. This book gives some insights into this dimension of his life.

Linda
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

3
Josh and Hazel tell themselves they are best friends but it’s really more than that. Josh is serious-minded and sedate while Hazel is the complete opposite. They try blind double-dating but end up with each other as their blind dates turn out to be duds. He knows she is flaky but loves her in spite of this. She loves him but doesn’t think she’s his type. Should they continue with their disastrous double-dating when they really just want to be with each other? I was so disappointed in this book as I have loved other books by Christina Lauren, but this one was a dud.

Kathleen
Educated by Tara Westover

5
This is an amazing book! Language that is both poetic and lyrical. A memoir that is revelatory and full of profound wisdom from a young author who has had such an extraordinary life. Tara's description of her life will induce feelings of anger, frustration, compassion, awe, and hope. I highly recommend this book.

Charlene
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

4
What I enjoyed the most in this novel was the progression of characterization. You are truly under the impression that Henry is following a madman, but the more you explore the abolitionist movement and the presentation that John Brown gives and lives for, maybe not so much. There are so many great moments that Henry experiences and the story is incredibly rich and funny. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a historical fiction novel and is trying to understand the actions of abolitionists during this time (1860s and earlier). My only complaint would be that I felt many of the same ideas were repeated over and over in the language of the novel. Maybe due to McBride placing emphasis on more concepts than others?

Donna
First Born by Doris Mortman

3
Twenty years of wealth, fame, politics, secrets, betrayals, attempted murder and family.

Donna
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

4
The story is based on the Tennessee Children's Home scandal, but the story of the children is fiction. Very well written and engrossing. Our book club loved it.

Blanche
Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

5
Zach, at only six years old, understands more about the human heart than the broken adults around him. His hope and optimism will cheer him on to an endearing ending.

Lynn
Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking

5
Excellent book, sums up for the lay person the highlights of this brilliant man's career.

Nancy
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

3
The book grabbed my interest in the beginning but it seemed to get bogged down and dragged things out longer than I thought it should and I lost interest. I speed read the latter part of the book as I had purchased it on my Nook and it was our book club read for next week's meeting.

Marcia
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

4
Such an interesting book about the U.S. government and its citizens abuse of the Indians by pushing them into areas where no one else wanted to live. In this case, it benefited the Osage Indians like no one could've imagined. Yet again more abuse that turned into scandal and murder. Through the murders the author includes history about the FBI development. This book was jam-packed with details and many characters. It's been out for a while. A movie's been made of it. So if you haven't read it, it's great history and a good read.

Dee
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

5
Pulitzer prizing-winning novel is relevant today as it focuses on family, culture, land, courage and relationships. Our book club read and discussed it and found it as meaningful today as it was when it was written over 80 years ago.

Helen
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

5
A wonderful insightful read in the journey of two young refugees. A very insightful read during these turbulent times.

Jud
American Judas by Mickey Dubrow

5
Excellent dystopian novel that is quite timely considering the current state of politics in America.

Jud
Run and Hide by Alan McDermott

4
Great thriller introducing Eva Driscoll, trying to avenge the death of her brother at the hands of a shadowy organization that controls world events.

Jud
Seek and Destroy by Alan McDermott

4
Eva Driscoll returns as she goes on the run from the ESO and discovers her previous nemesis is still alive.

Jud
Poison by Ed McBain

4
Detectives investigate a series of mysterious poisonings, all with an apparent connection to one person.

Jud
A Possibility of Violence by D. A. Mishani

4
Inspector Avraham investigates an odd fake bombing and the connection to the disappearance of a worker from the Philippines.

Jud
Fear by Bob Woodward

4
An excellent in-depth look at the Trump presidency and analysis of what drives Trump.

Michelle
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

4
Well, Gillian Flynn certainly likes her dysfunctional, addicted female characters! For me, this was somewhat predictable in the end yet still left me intrigued enough to keep reading and question everything. After GONE GIRL the shock value wasn’t as impressive for me though. It wasn’t enough this time. I will say it was entertaining enough. Some of the writing was clever, and it kept me turning the pages and wanting to pick it back up.

ILene
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

5
MAGPIE MURDERS starts when Alan Conway, a bestselling crime writer, is found either murdered or did he jump off the tower at his house? Susan Ryeland his editor has worked with him for years, reading his last manuscript she finds the last chapter missing. She goes on a hunt to find it, questioning the people in Alan’s life and finds the answers very similar to the characters in his book. What a great time reading this book -- two mysteries at the same time, so many great characters and many twists and turns. This is the second Anthony Horowitz book I have read, it won’t be the last. While reading this I felt I was reading an Agatha Christie mystery

Becky
The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

5
Well written and well researched, this book is one that should not be missed. Mariko and Elise, both American citizens, meet at an internment camp for aliens suspected of being Nazi or Japanese sympathizers because their fathers have been wrongly accused. Although one is German and one Japanese, they forge a friendship across the divide. The teens and their families are believable and fully-developed. The atmosphere of the camp in hot, dusty Texas has a climate that reflects both the weather and the resentment and resignation of those interned. Both families are involuntarily “repatriated” to countries under siege during the final terrifying days of the war. Book groups will find much to ponder.

Lori
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

4
I've read and enjoyed Sophie Kinsella's books for years and was happy to receive an advance copy of her latest book. As always, it was a great, escapist read. I flew through it. My only complaint is that I found the characters' faults were treated heavy-handedly; I felt like I understood their flaws the first time and didn't need the repetition of their flaws. Nevertheless, it was exactly what I was in the mood to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Her fans will be happy to add this to their libraries, and it will be a good holiday read for them.

Norene
The Cradle Will Fall by Mary Higgins Clark

4
Really enjoyed it. A new fan.

Margaret
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand

4
The setting is Nantucket in July. Who could ask for more in a new book from Elin Hilderbrand? She has written a murder mystery with many relationship complications and some twists that make for a very enjoyable read. There is a lavish wedding about to take place when the maid of honor is found dead. Everyone in the wedding party, plus the groom's parents, are suspects. As an investigation ensues, all sorts of secrets come out and even though the investigation is unbelievably short, it's tied up in a fairly neat package. This is a well-plotted novel with in-depth characters, some of which I didn't like. Money and booze flowed freely among the wealthy characters which is hard for us ordinary people to understand. Felt the book was a bit long.

Vera
The Midnight Line by Lee Child

4
I won a nice hardback copy of the book at Bookreporter.com. Reacher comes across a ladies ring from West Point, 2005. He decides to try to find the owner to return it. My gracious, never knew what he was getting into. His search took him many a mile walking, a few bus rides, lots of hitchhiking and some weird places. His life in danger at times. Front of book says #1 New York Times bestselling author, but my first book to read by him. Won my copy at Bookreporter.com. I did finish the book, but was a little slow-paced for me. This author been around for a while and most seem to really enjoy him.

Liz
Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict

5
Clara Kelly has left Ireland in the late 1800s to try and make a better life for herself in America and to help earn money to send back home to support her parents and sisters. When she arrives she has no idea what she will do. She has very few belongings and just the clothes on her back. When an opportunity arises for her to assume the identity of a young woman from the same ship who died, she grabs at the opportunity. So begins her journey as Carnegie's maid.

Karen
The Reckoning by John Grisham

5
In October, 1946, Pete Banning kills the pastor of his church, Rev. Dexter Bell. Pete is an upstanding member of his community, a graduate of West Point, a successful farmer and a war hero, but he will not disclose his motive for the killing. He was with the C troop of Twenty-Sixth Cavalry tenaciously fighting the Japanese in the Philippines, but they are outnumbered, have no supplies or equipment and are told by their commander to surrender. He survives the cruelty of the Japanese during the Bataan Death March by thinking of his beautiful wife, Lisa, and his children. He escapes while been sent to the coal mines and fights with guerrillas until he is rescued. After a long recovery and Lisa's attention, his home coming is disappointing.

WALTER
Fascism by Madeleine Albright

4
Albright takes the reader on a journey through history, discussing some of the political leaders in different countries who have been, or who have skirted being, fascists. She explains how they developed their thinking, how they gained power, and what some of those consequences were. She very carefully does not discuss Trump. I instead, like the excellent professor I'm guessing she is, she allows the reader to start putting the pieces together. It is only in the last couple of small chapters that she spends much time on Trump at all. But by then, you've come to realize on your own how great a resemblance he bears to those other leaders who divided their people, demonized entire groups of others, railed about immigrants and the press.

WALTER
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

3
Good reading, bad ending.

Francisca E B
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

4
Oh, what a tangled web we weave... Wonderfully atmospheric, Gothic psychological suspense. Rachel is flirtatious one moment, and standoffishly proper then next. She seems callously indifferent in one scene and then solicitous and concerned about Philip on the next page. She’s both captivating and infuriating!

OSWALDO
The Other Woman by Daniel Silva

5
There are books that will stay with you for a long period of time. Books that you can recommend to your book clubs. Books that you can and will recommend to avid readers like yourself. Books that can be main topic for a book lovers conversation. THE OTHER WOMAN by Daniel Silva is definitely that kind of a book. As an avid reader and book collector. I definitely recommend this book. It was #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list for 6 consecutive weeks. I must say it deserves all the great reviews. THE OTHER WOMAN is that kind of a book. A 5-star, well-written page-turner.

Marsha
The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble

4
This is a Lavender Tides novel and an equal mixture of love and mystery. House rehabber, Ellie, tries to find her missing sister whom everyone assumes is dead. There is also a stolen shipment of cocaine and a large blood stain on her sister's boat that complicates her search. Coast Guard investigator Grayson is assigned the case and finds he is eager to get close to Ellie. The bad guys in this book really multiply as the book comes to a satisfying end. The body count got a bit high for my preference, but the suspense increased with each chapter.

Brenda
The House at Saltwater Point by Colleen Coble

3
This Lavender Tides novel is advertised as Christian suspense. There is a lot of suspense and a murder mystery here, but the Christian values only appear in the last two chapters. Suddenly, it seems a little out of place. I really did enjoy the setting on the west coast of Washington and the boats that became part of the story.

Julie
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

5
Excellent YA story that is not just for teens. Very well-written, touches on timely, relevant topics. I really liked the strong sense of family highlighted in the book.

Jan
IQ by Joe Ide

4
A delightful new writer - and it is not surprising that Carl Hiaasen has written a blurb praising this writer. He is so much like Hiaasen in his character development. His lead character Isaiah Quintabe just wants to help the world. He has a strict code of ethics, no guns, no hurting anyone else unnecessarily, a quirky sense of humor and can see a way out of most problems. IQ never finished high school but is amazingly wise and very smart. He has a dumb sidekick that I think we may meet again. This is fun read. If you do not laugh out loud, you better not touch a book by Ide again. I think this book is classified as a mystery but it is no Sandford or Connelly. It is just fun.

Vera
The Target by Dean Arden

5
Started THE TARGET by Dean Arden a few days ago. Although this book is fiction, it hits a little too close home. Being falsely accused can cause friends and family to kinda leave you out there by yourself. He's a target of federal criminal investigation of mortgage fraud. You can know you're not guilty, but how do you protect your family? Losing friends all the time sometime you at the wrong place at wrong time. He has seen this happen to others. Years ago a man in the area, accused major crime, went to court sistrial, back in jail, and just a few days ago another trial which was hard on him and family. Just finished up tonight - I couldn't sleep. Very intense story.

Jan
The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

3
This is listed as a mystery but it is really a story of two people who were touched by severe tragedy and wrestled with memories and "what if" for decades. Both are alone and struggle alone. At about the same time, both decide to look deeper into what really happened. So, two stories of searching and gathering clues that were missed before. Not only new clues but new ideas and connections that did not happen decades before. There are surprises at the end. This is gentle reading, no heavy lifting. I enjoyed it but it was no big deal.

Lucinda
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

5
A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW is a thoroughly enjoyable book. The storyline and the characters are amazingly well fleshed-out by the author, Towles. The tale is hopeful and uplifting. It engendered a wonderful discussion with our book club and since has been recommended to many and is often cited as a favorite read.

Jan
50 Truths Worth Knowing by Various authors

5
This lovely gift book is a blessing at any time. There are 50 statements and then a passage giving an example of that "truth." It is not religious or spiritual, just good advice. For example, truth number 31 is "your contribution is more valuable than you might think." No big deal, we all know this but a short essay gives an example of this. It is a book to pick up when you are angry, hurt, sad, whatever and just read a short passage to make you feel better. The world is not as bad after you read one of these short stories. The next time I am in the hospital, I want this book with me - it will cheer me and remind me of the truth in the world. There are 50 different authors and the book is published by Rodale Press.

Marsha
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

4
Wow. This story grabs you from the first chapter. Laurel Mack is ready to move forward with her life after her daughter's disappearance 10 years ago. Her new love interest has a daughter, Poppy, who looks like and reminds her of her missing Ellie. There are some very disturbed, evil characters in this tale, but that's the world today. It's the only reason I didn't give it the highest rating.

donna
Murder in Magic City by Bryan Peabody

4
I really loved this book. I could hardly put it down. As you can see from the title, it has a twisted plot that involves several murders. They are combined with possible new technology that could become a world threat.

Francisca
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

4
Rawlings’s 1938 Pulitzer-winning novel focuses on the boy Jody, his parents Ora and Penny Baxter, their neighbors the Forresters, and their hard-scrabble lives in central Florida in about 1870. As the fawn and the boy grow to “yearling” status, they face difficult decisions that affect the family’s very survival. I loved the poetic way Rawlings wrote about the natural world; it reminded me of the many times I went camping with my father and brothers, and the lessons he imparted about plants, animals, nature, survival, hunting and fishing. I highly recommend this classic of children’s literature.

Brenda
Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

4
Full of suspense with hints in every chapter. A couple of characters are too deceptive and sinister to be enjoyed. When Ellie Mack disappears the mystery begins and builds to an exciting ending.

shelly itkin
Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

5
Rosato vs. DiNunzio...are they ending their partnership? Mary has always been happy to help all of her family and their extended family. When Mary takes on a case from Simon, who was wrongly fired by his employer, she had no idea that Bennie represents the parent company. Bennie wants her to drop the case, but in her heart Mary knows she has to take on this case, not only for Simon but for the family and the entire neighborhood. Once the two partners both decide to pursue their clients, a shocking murder occurs. Is Mary's client guilty? Will Bennie risk her client to help her friend and partner? Things take a terrible turn when both their lives are in danger when they find some damaging evidence.

patricia
Educated by Tara Westover

5
Compelling memoir of a young woman being raised in a family whose anti-government beliefs shape her early life until she discovers that her family is not the "norm" and she seeks an education.

Vera
The Life We Never Expected by Andrew and Rachel Wilson

4
When a couple is expecting a baby, most times all excited and just wishing for a beautiful healthy baby. But sometimes, you might be in for lots of problems to work out. This couple learns two of their children has special needs. This book leans heavy on depending on God and church support. All this very important. I've always been told that God gives these type of kids to special parents. If you have a special child, might help you gather a few pointers. I won a copy of this.

Lynnette
The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

5
Wonderful book full of insightful sayings as well as a look at another culture.

Nancy
An Enchanment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

5
I loved this book. It was beautiful and enchanting.

Kathleen
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

5
The author pulls the reader into this novel and never lets go...it is a beautiful, painful, heartwarming story of love during war, but so much more. There is mystery, brought about by a letter carried from Budapest to Paris, and an evolving love story because of it. This is a long book..750 pages, but very difficult to put down.

Ruth
The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

5
The best book published this year!!!

Nora
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

4
Hard book to read...so depressing. However, Mr. Bradbury had a gift for describing emotions and situations that makes one want to read on just for the beauty of his gift.

Nancy
One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain

5
What a wonderful story, the main character's son gets a steer to raise. Life is a struggle, but they continue to survive the obstacles thrown their way.

Nancy
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

5
I loved this book. It's the first fiction by an author who normally writes about nature. There's a lot of that in this book, so you'd think it would be dry reading. It's not. It's a wonderful story about a girl growing up in the isolated backwoods and marshes, and how two men bring her out of her loneliness, with mixed results.

Gina
Crisis by Felix Francis

4
Felix Francis writes mysteries involving horse racing and jockeys and trainers. CRISIS is his latest foray and it is a winner. Narrated by a man who does not like horses, the story takes us into the intrigues of a family of race horse trainers. There is also a charming romance on the side. Told in a tongue-in-cheek manner, the book is a delight.

Laurie
The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay

5
Family saga at its best, set in Paris, around the 70th birthday celebration of father, Paul. This story of the Malegarde clan touches on issues if infidelity, homosexuality, siblings, weather challenges/natural disaster, obsession with trees amd beyond! Brava to talented author, Tatiana De Rosnay for another excellent novel.

Elizabeth
Crippen by John Boyne

4
Once you read one of John Boyne’s books, you will probably want to read all of them. That was the case with me after I read THE HEART’S INVISIBLE FURIES. I was happy to find his older books, including CRIPPEN, a book of fiction about Dr. Hawley Crippen, an actual person who really was accused of murdering his wife in 1910. Many of the facts in this novel really did happen, and many of the characters really did exist. But, again, CRIPPEN is fiction, and most of it comes from Boyne’s imagination. And what an imagination! CRIPPEN is superb.

Rocky
The Closers by Michael Connelly

4
I have read every Harry Bosch book since #1 and Mr. Connelly is one of the few authors to sustain a character over many books. This time Harry is paired with his old partner Kiz Rider to close, or find the solution to, cold cases in the LAPD. There's comfort in a character we've grown to admire, respect, and still wonder about and in this case, as in previous books, we learn more about Harry while still maintaining a degree or two of mystery about our hero. Familiar characters, with added new characters in each book as well, provide a sense of continuity along with an ability to keep things fresh. I recommend this series as one of the standards for other authors to aspire to in their work.

Sheree
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingslover

2
This book was laborious to read. She kept going back to two families that had lived in this house and neither family had much depth to them. I was disappointed because I usually love everything she has written. I am glad I finished it but can't recommend it.

Donna
The 7-1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

4
When I started reading this book it reminded me of Quantum Leap, the TV show (which I loved). Also it felt somewhat like the mystery games we used to play where you became a character in the story and each round you found out more information. It also felt like an Agatha Christie novel in places. You need to read this book when you have time to concentrate. There are many characters (the list at the beginning of the book helps keep the straight) and lots of twists and turns until the surprise ending.

Matt
The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White

4
Another of the southern women mystery writers that write with humor and a real feeling for the south. I was hooked with the first page (a blog written by a mystery woman). The murder mystery is easy to solve but getting there is a lot of fun. This was the third book in our new reading group and the most entertaining so far.

Mary
Happiness by Aminatta Forna

5
So many recent fiction works cover the same territory such as family dysfunction, physical, emotional and sexual abuse or the destructive effects of war. One of the subjects that Forna focuses on in HAPPINESS I haven’t seen covered before in fiction: urban wildlife. She weaves it seamlessly into the lives of her characters, who are wonderfully developed. She is able to introduce another important issue as well, the international refugee crisis, and make it all come together in a remarkable way. This is an exceptional novel rich in material for book clubs to discuss.

Rosemary
Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

5
Andrea thought she knew everything about her mother's life, until a gunman kills several people in a mall diner and her mother kills him and it's captured on phone cameras and hits the internet. Then a strange man tries to kill her mother in her own home! Her mother won't speak to anyone but sends Andrea off on a road trip that eventually shows her what her mother has been hiding for over thirty years. An intense mystery that shows how love and hate can change a persons destiny. A fantastic read!

Donna
The Reckoning by John Grisham

3
Part legal drama, part WWII history and part family situations shape up into a good story. Enjoyed the book but like his legal thrillers better.

Cheryle
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

5
The LA Central Library suffered a devastating fire in 1986 apparently set intentionally. The author writes a wonderful tribute to an icon of a library which survived against horrendous odds. Susan Orlean is in love with libraries and reading, and it is evident in this loving tribute book.

Cheryle
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

4
I was a little disappointed in this book. I was so looking forward to reading it as I loved THE BOOK THIEF by Zusak. The story is told from several perspectives of five brothers and their father as they deal with the death of the mother. It is a story of lost relationships and how they struggle to come back together.

Cheryle
Night by Elie Wiesel

5
I read a lot of WWII books, but this is one of the best. Written by a survivor of Auschwitz it tells of how he managed to live under horrible conditions. Written with style and grace, it is a book to be remembered and never forget the lessons it portrays.

Donna
Wickwythe Hall by Judithe Little

5
1940, a devastating time for France. The Germans have invaded and the British are fleeing back to England. This book was written about actual people an facts. The courage and sacrifices of the people living in Europe during WWII are beyond my imagination. Judithe did a wonderful job of allowing us to know a few of those who lived through this period. I'm feeling very emotional right now.

Cheryle
The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright

5
This story of a child who is put up for adoption in India to a couple in America after being kidnapped from the streets of his city. He struggles to be a part of a white community, but thrives with the love and attention of his adopted parents. After completing school he searches for his family in India. This is a story based on a true event. Camron Wright, the author, also wrote one of my favorite books, THE RENT COLLECTOR. Very different but a book that highlights the power of learning to read and how it can change lives even among some of the most impoverished people on the earth.

Noreen
Helga's Diary: A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp by Helga Weiss

4
I have read many WWII books and seen many movies, too, but this was the first that was mainly about Terezin. Helga started writing a diary when the Nazi's overtook Prague. It's not great writing per se, but I found the story very compelling.

Cheryle
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

5
I tried to read this book several years ago and could not get into it, but because of so many people recommending the book I gave it another try. Boy am I glad I did. During WWII conditions on the tiny island of Guernsey were difficult as the Germans landed and occupied the island. The island inhabitants form a literary club after being stopped while walking home after curfew. They discuss books and learn more about each other and how to love each other.

Thomas
Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

4
Very good book. I enjoyed reading it.

Tessa B C
The Christmas Thief by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

3
There’s not much holiday spirit in this slim volume; it is more a fun and entertaining comic crime caper than a mystery. I do like the cast of characters, and while the coincidences required for the plot to work stretch credulity a bit, they do add to the suspense and enjoyment.

Joanne
Leverage in Death by J. D. Robb

5
As usual, I loved this one, the 47th in this series. Particularly loved it when Bella gave Eve a drawing of their “castle”, complete with pictures of her (das), Ork (Roark), and Somshit (Sommerset).

Thomas
Killing the SS by Bill O'Reilly

5
Very good read. I enjoyed the book a lot.

Jeane
The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

3
This title was much anticipated. Loved her past books, but this one just didn't hold up for me. Too many character, too much jumping around. I felt like I needed to take notes to keep characters straight. Some of the story I liked but was near the end and had no idea where it was going. After finishing, I still have no idea. Do read her other books. Really well done. This one needed some much better editing.

Gil
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Gioradano

3
Auntie Poldi is a 60-year-old widow, drinks too much, thinks she is a super detective, and is seeking romance. A young man is murdered and Poldi thinks there is a link between that and the disappearance of an ornamental lion from a nearby estate. Poldi is attracted to the detective investigating the case and manages to get in his way as she conducts her own investigation. It's a 'whodunnit' with many suspects. Does the case get solved and does Poldi get her man?

ILene
Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

4
JAMAICA INN is another great book by Daphne Du Maurier. It starts when Mary Yellan’s dying mother’s last wish pleads with her to go stay with her Aunt Patience and Uncle Joss Merlyn. But on the way there the coachman tries to warn Mary that it is a ruined, forbidding place. When Mary gets there she sees how all kinds of evil things going on. Her Aunt Patience is deathly afraid of her husband and she seeks help from a kindly albino minister and Uncle Joss’s brother. Can she trust them? So much happens on the Cornish coast. What a great adventure.

Nadine
The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes

4
In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England - aboard HMS Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young deckhand. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her far from home, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted - forever.

Alice
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

5
Finally got to read this wonderful book. Well-drawn characters in a dysfunctional family spanning 1970s to 2009. Alaska is a character by itself. Portrait of a family so heart-wrenching. Once again Hannah has not disappointed.

Tessa B C
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

4
The subtitle is all the synopsis you need: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. James Murray is the professor, a learned man who became the editor of the OED. Dr. William C. Minor is the madman, an American Civil-War surgeon whose paranoid delusions result in his commitment to an asylum for the criminally insane. And yet…Simon Winchester crafts a compelling nonfiction narrative. He captured my attention on page one and held it throughout.

Thomas
Invisible by Andrew Grant

4
The book was a very good read. I enjoyed the book a lot.

Thomas
The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem

4
It was a very good book. It was a good read.

Thomas
Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner

4
I enjoyed reading this book very much.

mary
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

5
This book of historical fiction is fascinating. Based on fact, this tale of woman "spies" in France during World War I and of a young America socialite searching for her cousin to help her in time of crisis holds the reader throughout. We hear of spies and now we see them from a century ago. We ponder about what happens to single pregnant women who "can't" have their babies. This is a novel of strong women characters with an intriguing plot.

Thomas
Elimination by Stephen King

4
A very good book. I really enjoyed reading it.

Jill
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

4
Quinn focuses on women spies during World War I. She tells the story of the work three spies did in France. One of the spies is based on a real-life spy, leader of The Alice Network, who got the most accurate information and flung herself into dangerous situations. Eve is a spy in her network who later harbors revenge against a German collaborator. After the second World War, Charlie comes to France to find out what happened to Rose, a cousin who was more like a sister to her. Rose's and Eve's stories come together in unexpected ways. There is a subplot of a romance that develops between Charlie and Finn, Eve's driver, who drives them both through France in search of answers to their questions. Very good read.

Marsha
Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

4
If it's Nicholas Sparks, I know the story will be bittersweet. Hope and Tru Walls have a love that spans decades and a separation from North Carolina to Zimbabwe. Love often demands sacrifice and sometimes the timing is just not right. I did learn more about the African country and the job of a safari guide.

Patricia
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

5
Kelly weaves a remarkable story set during WWII with three stories of women who whose lives were changed by the tragedies of war.

Christine
Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, Book 7) by Jim Butcher

5
The seventh installment in the Harry Dresden series finds Harry battling a bevy of baddies, most of whom are using zombies to help fight their battles. Harry gets put through the wringer pretty badly this time, but he does eventually find help from some unexpected allies, one being a famous dinosaur (NOT Barney!)

Linda
Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman

3
This book is heartbreaking and I did feel sympathy for Eden, a victim of a severe war injury as he struggles to stay alive, and wife Mary, his caregiver. The narrator is Eden's military friend and is unnamed. I like books written in sparse prose, but this book is too sparse. I wanted more character development and more background details about Eden and Mary which would help me get to know them better, thus feeling more invested in the book.

Thomas
The Burning Wire by Jeffery Deaver

4
A very good book. I liked it a lot.

Elizabeth
The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

4
In THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN, Lisa Jewell starts by presenting many mysteries and builds up to the main who-done-it of the book. I enjoyed trying to figure it out; Jewell made me suspicious of everyone. Then, when I thought I knew, she added a twist. Her best twist of all left me undecided but in a good way. I ended up thinking how crafty of Jewell to do this to my imagination.

Dottie
The Fox Hunt by Mohammed Al Samawi

5
Has to be one of the most inspiring, hopeful books I have ever read. I am part of a interfaith women’s group and know that through patience, education, and cooperation it possible to live in peace and have understanding for “the other”. Of course the opposite is also true, by hearing and learning only one side mistrust, hatred and violence can and will ensue. This young Yemeni man educated himself and became a target within his own community and later while trying to protect his family, became an even greater target as an “other” in his own country and from other religious fanatics. Through social media, luck and a few interfaith acquaintances he was able to be saved. A remarkable life story which hopefully can have a great impact.

Gretchen
The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

5
Just loved this book. I did have to look up "chatelaines" on the internet to see pictures. The time travel was so well done and her description of Great Chalfied Manor made me feel as if I was there.

shelly
Heiress's Royal Baby Bombshell by Jennifer Faye

4
Once again Ms. Faye has given us a wonderful timely gift just in time for the holidays. When Noemi, heiress to the Cattneo Jewels dynasty noticed a tall, dark and handsome man across the room she could not believe the number of women standing talking and listening to his every word. She had never seen him before and wondered who he was. When she decides to take a walk to the terrace who should come out but, Max. To say it was love or lust, at first sight, neither of them knew. They wound up spending the night together and it was one of the most passionate and exciting nights she ever had. In the morning they both went there own ways. Three months later Noemi finds out she is pregnant and realizes they never exchanged phone numbers.

Linda
The Illegitimate Duke by Sophie Barnes

4
Florian Lowell is a dedicated physician who was recently named the heir of the Duke of Redding. Now he is the most eligible bachelor and all the eager mothers try to get him to dance with their daughters, but he has eyes only for Lady Juliette Matthews. As their eyes meet, he goes to her side. Florian’s biological father is the notorious criminal Bartholomew who was thought to have been hanged, but Florian sees him at the ball. He is disguised and poses as an American investor. Bartholomew is angry at Florian for ruining his business and determined to destroy him by killing Juliette. But Florian has powerful allies who are determined that Bartholomew will not succeed.

Linda
Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

4
After fighting with the French ended, Major Will Masterton is tasked with leading the soldiers from San Gabriel across Spain to their homes. Arriving in the small country of San Gabriel, he is fascinated by the tall and beautiful woman he meets. Athena Markham is English but has lived in San Gabriel for several years as a companion to Princess Sophia. Attraction grows between them but stops when Athena learns that Will is an aristocrat. She is the illegitimate daughter of a courtesan and knows she would never be accepted into society. Will has to change her mind.

Linda
The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

5
Celeste Blessing is known as the angel of Eternity Springs and she loves the Christmas season. Each year, she selects a tree to be her Christmas wishing tree. This year she takes her newest visitors Jenna Stockton and her son Reilly to select their wishing trees. Jenna knows what Reilly’s wish will be - he wants a dad. She has met Devin Murphy and they are attracted to each other. Devin’s family lives in Eternity Springs but he lives in Australia and she feels that a relationship between them would not work. But as her son tells her, she just has to believe.

Linda
Christmas Camp by Karen Schaler

5
A wonderful book to bring out the Christmas spirit in everyone. Haley Hansen is a workaholic and doesn’t have time for Christmas. To get a new account at the advertising agency that will ensure a promotion to partner, she has to go to Christmas Camp for a week to get into the Christmas spirit. She goes and meets Jeff Jacoby, the owner's son, and attraction blooms between them. He thinks this will be the last camp for his dad as he wants him to move to Boston to be near him but his dad has other ideas. Haley comes up with a solution to the camp’s continuance that contradicts what Jeff wants. Will this end their friendship?

Linda
Once a Scoundrel by Mary Jo Putney

3
Gabriel Hawkins has been contacted by Lord Kirkland, spymaster, to travel to Algiers and barter with a pirate for the release of his captives Lady Aurora Lawrence and Constance Hollings. Her family was not able to gather the total amount of the ransom demanded so Gabriel will have to barter. He finds that the pirate is a man he has dealt with before, Malek Reis. Malek needs the ransom to free his family captured by his evil cousin Gurkan and agreement is reached to take exotic animals on to Constantinople. Gurkan enslaves the women and imprisons Malek. Now it is up to Gabriel to free them all and he only has a few hours to succeed or his ship will be burned.

Linda
Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

3
Josh and Hazel tell themselves they are best friends but it’s really more than that. Josh is serious-minded and sedate while Hazel is the complete opposite. They try blind double-dating but end up with each other as their blind dates turn out to be duds. He knows she is flaky but loves her in spite of this. She loves him but doesn’t think she’s his type. Should they continue with their disastrous double-dating when they really just want to be with each other? Disappointing book! Their other books were so good but this one was lacking.

Linda
Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

5
Shots ring out in the mall. Some people are disbelieving while others panic. A lone gunman goes up and down the aisle in the movie theater leaving dead and injured before he is shot and killed by police. His two accomplices are in the mall randomly shooting shoppers and clerks before they are also killed. A total of 89 are killed and 242 injured. Years later, survivors of the shooting are being targeted and killed. Just as the survivors were able to sleep without nightmares, easy sleep now eludes them. They are being hunted but why and by whom?

Linda
Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

5
On a Thanksgiving morning, a mud slide took over twenty houses into the waters of Puget Sound. Annie Marlowe lost her parents, her brother and his wife and child on that early morning. Deep depression settled in and her cousin told her to go to a happy place. She remembered the small town of Oceanside and the good times her family had there on vacations. Annie moved there and let the sound of the waves ease her heart. She also found the love of her life there. Seth Keaton met her years ago and never forgot her. When he first saw her on the beach, he thought he was seeing things as he had dreamed of her often. Now they have found each other again.

Dana
Button Man by Andrew Gross

5
This is my favorite book of the year, so far. It is based on the life of Andrew's grandfather, which made it very personal. Morris, Sol and Harry Rabishevsky grew up in the Lower East Side of New York City. When their father dies, they must find ways to earn money, to help the family survive. One apprentices in the garment business at the age of 12, another drops out of accounting school and the third ends up in the wrong crowd. This is the story of their rise from poverty and their fight against the gangsters who took over the unions at that time. I could not put this book down.

Dana
Button Man by Andrew Gross

5
This is my favorite book of the year, so far. It is based on the life of Andrew's grandfather, which made it very personal. Morris, Sol and Harry Rabishevsky grew up in the Lower East Side of New York City. When their father dies they must find ways to earn money to help the family survive. One apprentices in the garment business at the age of 12, another drops out of accounting school and the third ends up in the wrong crowd. This is the story of their rise from poverty and their fight against the gangsters who took over the unions at that time. I could not put this book down.

Mary
A Girl's Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America's Secret Desert by Karen Piper

4
An interesting book about a woman growing up at the naval air weapons station in China Lake, CA.

Ivy
The President is Missing by James Patterson

5
The first line was a smooth opening to a series of events that soon took off with a gust of mystery. I enjoyed the political references although the names are fictional. It was scary to think that this plot could actually happen to the U.S. Patterson has done it again!

Thomas
The Throat by Peter Straub

4
A very good book. I really enjoyed reading this book.

Dianna
New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

3
A remake of Shakespeare's OTHELLO. The author places this in 1970, in a Washington D.C. school with 11-year-olds with the events happening all in one day's time. Short, but oh, not so sweet.

Jan
Bitter River by Julia Keller

5
This is the second of a series about Belfa Elkins, who has returned to her West Virginia hometown to do some good against all the drugs, poor economy, crooks. She has been elected the county prosecutor and is called in on major crimes, especially murder. A teenage girl has been found dead in her car in the river. After the coroner examines her body, is turns out to be murder, and the victim is three months pregnant. In a small community, everyone knows everyone or knows about them and there are multiple tangles in this web. This is a complex mystery with beautiful writing. Call in sick before you start reading because you will not want to stop reading until you know everything.

Rosa
Family Trust by Kathy Wang

5
Stanley Huang is dying of pancreatic cancer, and as the patriarch of the Huang family, he wants to gather his ex-wife, son, daughter, and current wife. This story has multiple layers - commentary on Chinese-American families, Silicon Valley, failing marriages, parents' expectations of their children, and so much more. Told in alternating chapters from the different characters' perspectives, this very impressive debut novel is complex, interesting, and one that I could not put down. The writing is so witty, and there were so many relatable moments, whether you're Asian or not. I loved this book!

Elizabeth
Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

1
It's not interesting. It's not thrilling. It is boring, boring. It is not well written. I wish I could rate it zero. I can't imagine how anyone could like this weird book!

Thomas
Ambush by James Patterson and James O. Born

4
I enjoyed reading this book very much. One of the best Michael Bennett books.

Brady
Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky

3
This author has a love/hate opinion of the hotel business and points out the importance of tipping. With a well-placed gratuity you can get all kinds of extra stuff from a hotel depending on the size of the gift. A bellman is the one that makes the most money, but his chances of promotion are slim to none. The communication employee to employee is something else that extends from camaraderie to hostility.

Sean
The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

4
Craig Johnson's first Walt Longmire novel is a straight-forward murder mystery that does a great job of showing cultures both clashing and meshing. Longmire is likable and believable. He is far from perfect and isn't a "super cop" like so many protagonists. The supporting cast is fantastic and the county itself qualifies there. While the outcome was a bit of a swerve for me, I had no problems with it. Overall, a really good introduction to these down-to-earth characters.

Richard N B
Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

5
Originally published in Canada as THE BOOK OF NEGROES, Hill’s novel tells the story of Aminata Diallo from 1745 to 1802. Marvelous storytelling. I was engaged and interested from beginning to end. It’s a thought-provoking, informative and inspiring tale.

Karen
The Colors of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith

5
Mma Ramotswe reluctantly runs for a seat on the council. She doesn't want to be a politician because it is a time-consuming office and politicians are often considered to be dishonest. Her friend, Mma Potokwane, encourages her to run for the seat because an important issue is coming up: The Big Fun Hotel is going to built next to the cemetery if the council approves. The council isn't listening to the voters who do not want it built there. They are focused on how much money it will bring in. Violet Sephotho, the other candidate, is only interested in the money and will do anything to win. She makes empty promises to win voters while Mme Ramotswe only says she will do her best to represent her people.

Bonnie
The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew --- Three Women Search for Understanding by Ranya Idliby, Ranya Idliby and Priscilla Warner

4
A wonderful discussion among three women: a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew. A great read to understand others' religions and perspectives.

Bonnie
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

3
Another devastating novel about the Holocaust and a love story amidst the horror.