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Showing posts from May, 2016

A Plane Crashes: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Penned by Fargo (TV show) writer Noah Hawley, Before the Fall takes a close look at the events before and after a mysterious plane crash.



Recovering alcoholic and talented painter Scott Burroughs never should have been on the flight. It was the kindness of the wife of a TV mogul's wife that convinced him to get on the plane. When that private plane crashes into the ocean, Scott somehow survives, but he's now stranded miles offshore and the only other survivor is the young son of the women who offered him a seat on the plane.

Scott manages to get them safely to shore, but that's just the beginning of his story. Questions arise as to whether he was having an affair with her. How was he the only adult survivor? What caused the plane to crash?

As the investigation kicks in and media begins looking at Scott as the possible reason for the plane to crash, Scott must keep himself hidden. Meanwhile, he's bonded with the young boy he saved, and he wants to remain part of the bo…

Emilie Richards' When We Were Sisters

I've read many Emilie Richards books over the years, but this one quickly became a favorite. It's not an overly fast-paced novel, but it's so emotionally gripping and woven intricately. I felt like I was part of When We Were Sisters.



Robin's childhood was lousy. Her teen mother left her with her grandmother, and her grandmother seemed intent on making Robin pay emotionally for daring to be born. As a result, Robin chose to be mute rather than say anything that would only add fuel to the fire. When Robin's grandmother died, Robin entered the foster care system. That's where she met and became "sisters" with Cecilia.

Many years later, Cecilia is a popular musician. Robin gave up her career to raise a family. Robin's not in the happiest of places. She adores her kids, but her workaholic husband seems far happier working long hours than spending time with any of them. When Robin is in a car accident that kills her friend and neighbor and leaves Robin…

The Girl I Used To Be - Young Adult Mystery

Her mother was stabbed to death in front of her. For 14 years, Olivia and police believe her father was responsible and that he fled after leaving his three-year-old daughter at Walmart. Now, some of his remains have been found, and police and Olivia are seeking the truth.



Olivia heads to the town she left long ago. She's spent just about a decade in foster homes and went through a failed adoption before becoming emancipated. The adoption changed her name legally, but she took an additional step and changed her hair color to hide her true identity. Now that it's clear there's a killer out there, Olivia may be next to be silenced forever.

The Girl I Used to Be is a teen mystery, which may explain some of the questions I had. I couldn't understand how finding a small portion of Olivia's father's remains was immediate proof there was another killer and not a murder-suicide. That was just one thing that niggled at me, but I am coming into the story from an adult pe…

The Fallout: An Intimate Look at the Aftershocks of a Separation

I'll admit, it's tough categorizing The Fallout by Tamar Cohen. It's a touch romance, a little bit suspenseful, but downright chilling as the pieces start to fall together. This is a May 31st release from Harlequin/MIRA.



Josh and Hannah find themselves in an incredibly difficult situation when their best friends Dan and Sasha break up. Dan's found someone else, someone much younger, and desperately wants Josh and Hannah to keep it hidden from his wife. Hannah is Sasha's best friend. They've raised their daughters together. It's a betrayal to keep it hidden, so it is made clear that they refuse to take sides while the couple figures things out.

It's only a matter of time before Josh and Hannah are struggling with the fallout from Dan and Sasha's separation. From voracious lawyers to Sasha's claims that Dan is trying to kill her, the reality is grim. Josh and Hannah are struggling to keep their own relationship intact when their friends are battl…

Leaving Blythe River: A Novel

I loved Catherine Ryan Hyde's Pay It Forward. That same mesmerizing writing style draws you into Leaving Blythe River: A Novel. I'm not sure of the intended audience in this new novel, the hero is a 17-year-old boy, but I feel the story will appeal to all ages.



His parents' marriage is over, and the events leading up to it forever changed Ethan Underwood. He's not happy to be heading off to spend time with his father in the wilderness of Blythe River. For this city boy, being told that he should never leave the house without bear repellent is not appealing. He's also not thrilled to be with the father that betrayed Ethan in more ways than one.

When Ethan's father never returns from his daily run, Ethan becomes concerned and contacts authorities. After a two-day search, they decide Ethan's father must have taken off and abandoned his son. Ethan's not as convinced and does not want to go home until he's at least made the attempt to find his dad. With…

Last Ride to Graceland by Kim Wright

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who never was impressed by Elvis. I was, however, very impressed by Kim Wright's Last Ride to Graceland, even if the story does focus a little on Elvis's music and lifestyle.



Cory Ainsworth's father should never have repeatedly told her NOT to look in the shed at his house when he asks her to find his wading boots and send them to him in Florida. Months after her mother's death, Cory's watching her friends settle down, have kids, and it that type of lifestyle just doesn't seem to be in the cards. When he repeatedly tells her NOT to look in the shed, that's the very first thing she does. She's shocked to find a mint condition Stutz Blackhawk. As Cory's mother was a back-up singer for Elvis right before his death, Cory realizes it must be Elvis's car. With a car full of trash, she goes on a quest to Graceland to do a reverse of the path her pregnant mother took when she left Graceland and returned to …

Head Back to Whiskey Creek With Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak brings readers back to Whiskey Creek where the Amos brothers try to do their best with the hand they were dealt. Rod Amos was only trying to protect his step-sister. He never expected the guy to run him off the road. Rod takes care of the abusive drunk, but he's miles from home and his motorcycle is toast for now. He's thrilled when his new neighbor drives by and begrudgingly agrees to help him out.



India Sommers is now a single mom, no thanks to a violent past boyfriend who murdered her husband. She's in Whiskey Creek to start anew. All she needs is police to do their job and put her ex behind bars for good. Once that happens, she can bring her daughter to Whiskey Creek and start a new life. The last thing she needs in her life is Rod, a man she is certain is another bad boy, yet he's exactly what her heart is saying she needs.

I love the interactions between India and Rod in Discovering You. Both act on emotions and tend to jump in heart first, which mad…

It Wasn't Always Like This: Teen Fiction Delves Into Eternal Youth

A family tests a potion designed to prevent polio and discovers eternal youth in Joy Preble's It Wasn't Always Like This. The plot is packed with suspense as two teens struggle to stay one step ahead of a radical religious group who wants them dead. The only way to end the life of someone with eternal life is by murdering them.



Charlie and Emma have been friends for ages, drawn together by their fathers' work. As they reach the age of 17, they're clearly in love. That's when they test the polio cure and stay at the age of 17. When the powerful preacher of a church group known as the Church of Light realize the families' secrets, they set out to destroy them. Charlie and Emma's family members are killed and the two go on the run.

In a suspense/thriller that spans decades, Charlie and Emma have gone their separate ways for their safety. Now in present day, Emma is aware of a series of murders of young women who resemble her. It's time to stop the ancesto…

One Summer Night: A Love Letter to Life by Emily Bold

Emily Bold's One Summer Night takes place in Vermont, along the shores of Lake Champlain to be exact. This puts it right in my backyard essentially. It makes me wonder why the German author chose that setting. That said, I can't argue with the setting she created. She did a good job.

Lauren meeting Tim seemed a little surreal, but even with a few obstacles, the pair have made an incredible life for themselves and their daughters. That all blows up in their face when Lauren is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Suddenly, she's torn apart by the knowledge that she only has a short time left to see her daughters grow and to love her husband to the fullest.

That's the premise. The entire book bounces between past and present and takes you on an emotional roller coaster throughout. I smiled, cried, and just didn't want to put this book down. There is romance, there is drama, but mostly it's just a very emotional look at what happens when you learn you only have …

Third Tracy Crosswhite Book - In the Clearing

From the very moment I started reading the first novel in the Tracy Crosswhite series, I became addicted. Robert Dugoni is very talented and created characters I really like. I'm a big fan of shows and books like Rizzoli and Isles, Luther, and many others, and Tracy Crosswhite comes across as very genuine and good at her job.



In the Clearing is the third novel in Robert Dugoni's mystery series. Tracy is asked to look into a decades old suicide. The teenage girl supposedly killed herself, but Tracy's former classmate doesn't understand why her father kept a secret file regarding the death. Tracy begins her investigation and realizes that this wasn't a suicide at all, and now four decades have passed, which makes it hard to track down possible suspects.

At the same time, Tracy is helping with the investigation into a shooting. She suspects the "shooter" is lying, but conflicting witness and victim statements isn't getting her anywhere. With two cases to…

Sneak Peek at Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

I want to note that I was not able to read the entire novel written by Lauren Wolk. My review of Wolf Hollow is based on the sneak peek into a few chapters. That said, this is a very engaging read that reminded me a bit of books I grew up with.



Annabelle enjoys her quiet existence in her small Pennsylvanian town. The entire family are close, but they tend to keep to themselves and treat everyone they do know with kindness. That all changes when a new girl moves to town and begins bullying Annabelle. Annabelle's not thrilled, but when Betty turns her attention on a kindly war veteran and then disappears, Annabelle must fight for what she knows is right.

The description said Wolf Hollow is kind of a To Kill a Mockingbird for the younger crowd. I do think that's a fair assessment. I was mesmerized and kind of sad that I only get the sneak peek. It's a book I want to read and am putting on my wish list.

All Things Beer: Read The Beer Geek Handbook

If you already enjoy beer, want to understand the world of beer a little better, or are diving into craft brewing and want to get to know what to expect, The Beer Geek Handbook is a must-have!



I live in the land of IPAs and DIPAs. Much of the world has heard of the Alchemist's Heady Topper, as is mentioned in this book, (though I will say I still prefer Focal Banger and recommend you get your hands on a can if at all possible). Craft breweries like Hill Farmstead are winning world's best beer awards. You may even have heard of Burlington Beer Company (YUM), 14th Star (a brewery run by vets), or Frost out of Hinesburg. (Just a few of the many, many craft brewers in Vermont.) I used to hate IPAs, but now they're really all I drink. I love the perfumey pine/citrus flavors and aromas hops bring to beers. For me, The Beer Geek Handbook is an ideal coffee table book. It's there to inspire, educate, and amuse.

This guide to all things beer covers breweries, types of beers, a…

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Most people know that I'm a big crime nut. I love trying to solve a case before the television or fictional detective puts the pieces together. Don't You Cry is the latest from Mary Kubica, and it's a goodie!



After a one-night stand, Quinn Collins is awoken unpleasantly by her roomate's alarm. She stumbles into her roommate's Chicago bedroom to find the window open and no sign of Esther Vaughan. Quinn's determined to find Esther, but the more she discovers, the more baffled she becomes.

Miles away in a small Michigan community, a young woman starts frequenting a cafe where Alex Gallo works. He's 18 and finds the woman he dubs "Pearl" to be an enigma, an attractive one at that. There are things Alex will find out that will forever change him.

As the story progresses, there are a lot of twists. I had part of it figured out, but still there was little hope for me beating the characters to the truth. I always love being surprised.

I've become ver…

Claire Mackintosh's I Let You Go

You're playing with your child on the way home, racing him to be exact. In that one minute you let go of his hand, he darts into the road and is hit by a car. The driver of that car takes off. You hear the whispers blaming you for letting go of the child's hand and that no good mother would have let go of their child's hand. That's part of the premise in Claire Mackintosh's I Let You Go.



I Let You Go is a debut, based very loosely on a case the author had while working for the police. The story is really told from multiple viewpoints, but the two key players are Jenna Gray, a woman who left her life behind to try to forget the accident, and the lead detective who is trying to solve a case with few witnesses and little evidence.

The twists in this book hit me and I admit left me feeling a little shaken. There are things I did not see coming. In fact, it's those twists that will make this a book I doubt I'll be able to forget it months, even years, from now. …

Agnes Martin-Lugand Delivers an Emotional Story With More to Come

Translated from the self-published release Les Gens Heureux Lisent et Boivent du Cafe, Happy People Read and Drink Coffee is a charming story with an even better setting. I'm eager to see more from Agnes Martin-Lugand.



It's been a year since Diane's husband and daughter were killed, and in that year, she's found it difficult to function. When pressure from her best friend becomes too much to bear, Diane opts to get away.

Her husband always wanted to go to Ireland, and Diane was never agreeable to anything short of the thoughts of sun and sand. She packs up and heads to small town in Ireland where she plans to continue grieving her losses. She never expects to find this coastal town to be the thing that prompts her to start healing. She's soon making friends and finding herself attracted to one very moody photographer. When it's time to return to Paris, will her new romance withstand the separation? Will she even want to return home?

One sitting. That's all…