Friday, February 9, 2018

Now That You Mention It

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Arriving just in time for Valentine's
engaging story about finding the healing
power of love, in a place called home.

Overweight as a teenager and shunned by classmates, Nora Stuart
always relied on her superior intelligence to get by during the
difficult days of adolescence. Childhood memories of carefree
days with her younger, popular sister and their adventurous
father are deeply etched in her mind. But when Dad abandoned
them without saying goodbye, life on this tiny island off the
coast of Maine became unbearable, and she knew that winning
a prestigious scholarship was the only way to escape from all the pain.

Now a successful doctor in Boston, Nora's shiny, new life is in shambles. A near fatal accident and shaky relationship with a charming ER physician, tells  her it's time to return home for rest and recuperation. But the lukewarm welcome she receives from loved ones, makes her doubt if she's made the right decision.

Nora's stone-faced mother isn't too interested in reconnecting with her daughter, preferring to dote on her pet bird and new career as a "hug therapist".  Her belligerent niece resents Nora's presence, hiding behind a mask of hurt and shame. It seems her mother, the sisterly thorn in Nora's side in high school, is now serving time behind bars. And then there's Luke Fletcher who has fallen from grace since his days of glory as the high school heartthrob. He still blames Nora for robbing him of the scholarship that he believes rightfully belonged to him. Luke's twin brother, Sullivan, is battling a crisis of his own, while valiantly trying to raise his insecure daughter. Nora needs to make peace with her past and forge ahead with the future, but this little island of secrets is standing in her way.

Warm your heart this season with romance, humor, and love.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Need To Know

Need To Know by Karen Cleveland

Vivian Miller is a loving mother, devoted wife, and a dedicated
analyst for the CIA counterintelligence. It's a job that
requires long hours away from home, but husband, Matt, is always there to pick up the pieces. The children adore him and so does she.

That's why her discovery of Matt's duplicity is so troubling and unfathomable. While secretly attempting to expose a Russian operative on her computer, five faces of sleeper agents living in America, flash before her eyes. It's the break she's been looking for, except for the one all too familiar face staring back at her. Matt. The man she loves, the father of her children, is a Russian spy.

Now Vivian must choose between her sworn solemn oath of allegiance to her country, or turning her husband into the proper authorities for his part in this profound betrayal. Could there be a logical explanation? How can she bear to destroy her precious family? Ultimately, the choice she makes throws her family into
the arms of the enemy.

There's danger and turmoil around every corner. Just like Vivian,
the reader doesn't know who trust, and that's part of  the appeal of this
novel. The chapters of recollection give clues about the beginning of the
Miller relationship, but no defining clarity as to what's true and what's a lie.
Adding to the story is the author's experience as a former CIA analyst.
She knows so well the details of the inner workings of counterintelligence,
and the clandestine nature of this part of government. Fascinating
stuff for those of us who clamor to know more about the CIA.

This one crackles with tension and suspense, a fast read you'll want to finish
in one sitting. And, oh, what a killer ending.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Grist Mill Road

Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates

Matthew and Patrick were inseparable in 1982, spending endless days exploring the wilderness surrounding the Swangum Mountains. Just a bike ride away from their hometown of Roseborn, ninety miles outside of New York City, they created their own adventures under crystal blue skies, with the scent of pitch pines, and the taste of succulent blueberries, until one act of gruesome violence changed their lives in countless ways. Two boys, one girl, taunting words, and a Red Ryder BB gun, defined who they are forever.

There are three narrators in this story. Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah, the young girl and victim of the heinous crime. It's 2008. Patrick and Hannah are married, she's a crime reporter, he's struggling to find a job in the collapsing economy. Hannah knows that Patrick was there on that fateful day, but does not know the extent of his involvement. Matthew resurfaces, nudging his way into the lives of those he once called friends. But forgiveness never comes easy. 

Far beyond the grizzly account of the crime itself, this story is about
perception versus reality, truth versus fiction. The character development
is superb. Some readers will embrace this novel, finding it impossible to put down.
Others will find it abhorrently difficult to fathom. Expect to experience raw emotions
of anger and compassion. Peel away the layers and  prepare for the shocking conclusion.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

Dr. Anna Fox lives in isolation, spying on neighbors, popping pills, and drinking bottle after bottle of merlot while watching vintage, black-and-white movies to pass the time. As a child psychologist, suffering from agoraphobia herself, she dabbles in online counseling for others afflicted with the anxiety disorder. And each and every day, she thinks about her estranged husband and eight-year-old daughter that no longer live in the rambling Harlem brownstone they once called home.

Her latest obsession is with the Russell family who recently moved in across the street. Father Alistair, Mother Jane, and Son Ethan, a lanky, nervous teenager who stops in for an occasional visit. It's hard living with a controlling father and his volatile temper.

It's after one of these visits, that Anna witnesses the unthinkable  through the zoom lens on her Nikon camera while peering into the window of the Russell home. Frantic, she stumbles to her phone in a drunken stupor to call for help. But when the police arrive, her highly questionable story is dissected piece by piece. No one heard the piercing screams, no one can corroborate her terrifying ordeal, no one believes her,

So many questions, so few answers. Poor, paranoid Dr. Anna Fox, fabricating a grand tale because she's a lonely, delusional lady.

This deliciously sinister, psychological thriller will delight Hitchcock fans. Short, tantalizing, chapters make it an easy read. The premise may sound familiar, but don't be mistaken; there's an abundance of unexpected twists and complex characters that should play out well when this debut novel is released on film.

Think you have this one all figured out? Close your shades and think again........

Friday, January 5, 2018


Elmet by Fiona Mozley

John Smythe is a big, burly, hulk of a man who lives contentedly off  the land and nature in a corner of Yorkshire, England, once known as Elmet. Lovingly, he protects his two children, the beautiful, brave Cathy and tenderhearted Daniel. Secret missions often take "Daddy" away from home where his dark side erupts, exposing the power of his fists and the fury of his temper.

At one time, John was employed as a debt collector for the landowner Mr. Price, who allows them to live on the idyllic property once owned by the children's mother. Now Price confronts John about possibly forfeiting these living arrangements. John is the voice of a group of dissenting laborers demanding more pay from the farmers, who are led by the landowner himself. Price decides John must fight in order to settle the dispute. But there is far more violence that follows when Price loses a prized possession. A brutal, bloody encounter finds a family under attack, piercing the tranquility they cherish. Fearless Cathy, along with the unwavering support of her brother, sacrifice all in the name of family loyalty.

If you are a reader who wants to start the New Year with a change of pace, I encourage you to check out this selection that has already earned accolades and awards. Mozley's melodic writing, with a whisper of medieval fantasy, is a soulful, emotional debut steeped in legend about a brother and sister's love.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Story of Arthur Truluv

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

Arthur Moses is an eighty-five-year-old man who dearly misses his late wife, Nola. His heart aches for her.

So he visits her grave daily, often bringing small gifts or flowers as he eats lunch and reminisces about the life they shared. Along the way, Arthur stops to visit the buried he never knew. You see, Arthur has the striking ability to know their stories, feel their pain, and bask in the peacefulness of this quiet refuge the deceased call home.

It is on one of these soothing, tranquil days, that Arthur spots a young girl from afar. A tentative wave turns into an unlikely friendship between two lonely people. Her name is Maddy, and like Arthur, she enjoys talking to the dearly departed who live in this secluded cemetery. Maddy finds contentment there, away from cruel high school classmates who seem to take pleasure in ostracizing her. She grasps the elusive memory of a mother she knows only from faded photographs, a father who finds difficulty in comforting a daughter he doesn't understand, and an older lover who has discarded her. Maddy is all alone; that is, until she takes a chance on befriending an old, intuitive gentleman who miraculously finds the beauty hidden deep inside her.

Friendship turns into love and admiration, as Maddy and Arthur find that age has no boundaries
when it comes to matters of the heart. Arthur's pesky and persistent neighbor, Lucille, becomes part of this non-traditional family, after losing a love of her own. Together, they find blessings they thought only others were lucky enough to share.

A sweet, poignant story filled with laughter and tears, to lift your spirits this holiday season, reminding us that reaching out to others may bring the greatest joy of all.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Little Broken Things

Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart

"I have something for you".

As Quinn reads the cryptic message from her estranged sister, Nora, she's puzzled and confused. And when they meet face to face, her curiosity only deepens.

Cloaked in secrecy, Nora arrives accompanied by a little girl with "cherry-colored curls and stone-colored eyes". She leaves without explanation, asking Quinn to take care of the child until she is able to return. Faced with this overwhelming responsibility, Quinn finds herself drawn to the child she calls Lucy and the circumstances of her birth. Hiding a child proves to be impossible, and it's not long before Lucy's existence becomes known to husband, Walker, and her widowed mother, Liz, who prides herself in being the perfect party hostess in this quiet Minnesota town. Her life as a social icon, however, is about to be change as she faces demons that have haunted her for years.

The reader soon learns about what it was like for two sisters growing up in the Sanford household, the secrets their mother struggles never to reveal, and the high-school friend who goes to any lengths to protect a child from harm. The plot slowly simmers chapter by chapter, page by page, leaving the reader ensconced in an absorbing mystery.

Flawed characters, exquisitely defined by love, ultimately find truth in a story so many mothers will embrace.