Friday, March 16, 2018

The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

Emma and Zadie have weathered the most challenging of times, yet still remain steadfast friends.
The grueling days of medical school are behind them. Life now consists of finding balance between career and family, often navigating that slippery slope between raising children and finding time to unwind. But there's a festering wound beneath the surface of their friendship, a wound that's about to be ripped open, a wound that may never heal.

Aloof, brooding, and brilliant, Emma is a trauma surgeon with a husband who adores her; he's the antithesis of what everyone expects to see on the arm of this beautiful woman. Patients adore delightful Zadie. As a pediatric cardiologist, she radiates a zest for life at work and home with her successful husband and four rambunctious children. What Emma and Zadie don't talk about in their busy lives is the traumatic event that occurred during their third year of medical school. And they certainly don't speak of Dr. Nick Xenokostas, the charming, wildly attractive surgeon who had such a profound impact on their lives many years ago. Surprisingly, Nick has accepted a position in town working in Emma's practice, and his presence is hard to ignore. Harboring all sorts of secrets, the good doctor feels bound and determined to reveal sins of the past. And one of these women will go to extraordinary lengths to keep him from doing just that, feverishly anticipating the dire consequences that are sure to follow.

Exactly how much duplicity can a friendship withstand? This story, clearly written by an emergency  room physician, examines the heart...the one that steadily beats to keep us alive and the one that can be easily broken by deceit and lies. Pack this debut novel in your bag for that relaxing, upcoming spring break. You'll laugh, cry,  and be thoroughly entertained by a tale that explores how vulnerable we all are when it comes to matters of the heart.

Friday, March 9, 2018


Educated by Tara Westover

She gazes at the valley below as the bus rolls down the highway, never stopping at her home in Buck's Peak, Idaho because she doesn't go to school. She has no birth certificate. She's never seen a doctor or nurse. Along with her survivalist father, mother, and siblings, Tara prepares for the "Days of Abomination, watching for the sun to darken, for the moon to drip with blood". This is the only life she knows.

Tara Westover's intoxicating words tell a story that few of us can fathom. She chronicles her life growing up in an authoritarian Mormon household, with a controlling father at the helm. She works grueling, dangerous hours with her brothers in a junkyard, salvaging steel and car batteries to put food on the table. She becomes a reluctant apprentice to her mother's role as a midwife and mixer of herbal remedies. She endures violent abuse from a brother, learning to appease him in order to escape an even worse fate. She listens to the preaching of a father who accuses her of deeds of the Devil, while he basks in the glow of her heavenly voice. She's never heard of the horror of the collapse of the Twin Towers, the Holocaust, the Civil Rights Movement. This is the only life she knows.

When brother Tyler dares to go to college and encourages her to do the same, she follows his lead and eventually earns a degree from Brigham Young University. From there it's across the sea to Cambridge University, and the hallowed halls of Harvard. However, these documented, defining moments are wrought with anguish and pain. The joy and pride of great accomplishments are often followed by  grave doubts, as she questions the decisions she's made. Loyalty and love of family are still at the center of her existence.

This memoir is a soul-crushing story of self-preservation. It's about one woman's courageous journey to discover the power of education beyond the unconventional confines of a small town in Idaho. It's about finding peace, acceptance, and happiness after a childhood of turmoil and isolation.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Wife

The Wife by Alafair Burke

Angela never dreamed that her "egghead" husband would be this hot of a commodity. Jason Powell is a distinguished economics professor at NYU, a popular television personality, and bestselling author. Women find him incredibly irresistible.

Angela discovered that fairy tales do come true when she met this refined stranger while catering a fancy cocktail party in East Hampton. Her life as a struggling, single mother changed dramatically that summer after a whirlwind romance led to marriage within a few short months. Not only did Jason profess his undying love for her, he also vowed to never reveal his wife's deep, dark secret; one that plagues her each and every day. In return, Angela pledged to do anything to protect her family.

Blissful days end six years later, when Jason is accused of inappropriate behavior by an attractive intern. Just a simple misunderstanding, he says, until another woman comes forward with far more serious charges. Jason's life and career begin to unravel as Angela tries to shield her son from vicious gossip and innuendos. But when Jason's second accuser disappears, Angela finds it's not so easy to believe her husband's side of the story. A savvy police detective takes the investigation to the next level, doggedly tracking down new leads and scrutinizing every detail of Jason's whereabouts. It's only natural that people begin to pry into reclusive Angela's life before she married superstar Jason. What is she hiding? It appears her greatest fear may become reality if that deep, dark secret becomes public for all the world to see.

There are a multitude of domestic suspense thrillers being released, but this shrewdly written one stands out above the rest. The topic of sexual harassment fills our news every day. As a former prosecutor, the author calls upon her experience to enlighten the reader about how the legal system handles these accusations, and how the police solve the most baffling of crimes with systematic, painstaking investigations.

This novel is an entertaining roller coaster of a ride. Decide for yourselves which characters are credible and which ones are playing a cunning game of deception in this addictive read, brimming with uncertainty and intrigue.

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........