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Showing posts from August, 2017

All the Little Children by Jo Furniss

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Setting: Shropshire, England
Genre: Apocalyptic Suspense
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Author: Jo Furniss
Release Date: September 1, 2017



Marlene and her sister-in-law, Joni, head into the wilderness with their kids. Getting away seems like the perfect activity to keep Marlene's children from watching their father walk away. Joni joins her for a weekend of bonding and fresh air.

On their first day, one of Marlene's sons spots smoke in the distance. After a night of getting no cell service, despite having a cell tower nearby, the families opt to head into town to pick up supplies. What they find there is shocking. Everyone they find is dead and seems to have just dropped dead in the middle of whatever they were doing.

Soon, Marlene and Joni find they're not the only survivors of whatever happened. Joni finds one "lost boy" and takes him under her wing. They learn there are others. Marlene fears that if they save others, they'll put their own families at ri…

Something Like Happy by Eva Woods

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Setting: London
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: September 5, 2017



After tragic events tear her world apart, Annie Hebden is in a rut. Between a job she hates, visits to the hospital, and a dreary flat shared with a young Greek man, she's simply miserable and doesn't care. After all she's been through, she doesn't really believe in happiness.

Polly Leonard has her own problems. When she meets Annie, she makes it her goal to turn this woman's life around. Polly's plan - 100 days of doing something that brings you happiness - is nothing Annie wants, but she ends up letting Polly twist her arm.

As the days progress, Annie finds herself gaining a valued friend and a new outlook on life. The problem is that true happiness can't last forever; can it?

Strengths and Weaknesses
Part tearjerker, part uplifting fiction, Something Like Happy hooked me from the start. You get insight into the events that change Annie's world. As section…

Monster in the Closet by Karen Rose

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Setting: Baltimore
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Author: Karen Rose
Release Date: August 29, 2017



Taylor Dawson grew up believing her birth father was an abusive, dangerous man. After her mother confesses that she lied for all of those years, Taylor isn't sure what to think. She accepts an internship at a therapeutic horse farm in order to learn more about her birth father.

Her internship involves working with children affected by violence. Using horses, it's the goal of the ranch to help the children start to overcome their fears and learn to live again. Two of the girls she's working with saw their mother's badly beaten body. The older girl, Jasmine, refuses to talk to anyone, but she's warming up to Taylor. Taylor may be the only way investigators can get Jasmine to reveal all she knows.

Clay Maynard has been searching for his daughter for two decades. Now that he's found her, he's not thrilled that she's embroiled in a murder case. He…

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

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Genre: Suspense/Psychological Thriller
Pubilsher: Graydon House
Release Date: September 19, 2017



Paul Strom seems to have it all. He has the dream job in advertising, a loving wife and two sons, a nice house near his childhood home, and a lake house. A trip to the lake house is where he plans to make sure his wife has the best day ever. He's the man of the house. The one who provides a steady household income, makes sure his family has everything they need, and it's time to treat his wife to a romantic weekend alone.

Creating the best day ever is all he can think about, even if things get off to a rocky start.

Strengths and Weaknesses
The definition of an unreliable narrator is a narrator who you cannot trust. That's what you have here. It's clear from the start that something's up. The story is told in the first person, and everything is from Paul's perspective. It didn't take long before I knew there was something seriously weird about this guy. He's…

I Know Numbers by Taro Gomi

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Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Release Date: September 5, 2017



Help your child learn all about the numbers in his or her life. Numbers can tell you the day it is, the time of the day, how much you weigh, or the price of things in the store. I Know Numbers focuses on the numbers you encounter every day.

Taro Gomi's books always appeal to me. I love the illustrations that are bright and cheery. The vocabulary is easy to read without being too easy. Children who are learning to read will find the book just hard enough without causing frustration. Some of the more challenging vocabulary in this book include: carriers, temperature, and weight. The focus, however, remains on all the ways numbers matter in life.

I Know Numbers is another excellent addition to Taro Gomi's catalog. Look for it starting September 5th.

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

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Setting: England
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: August 22, 2017



Nina McCarrick has it all. Her house is magazine perfect. Her husband loves her and her sons. Her world comes crashing down when Finn's killed in a car accident. She learns Finn had a huge secret. His company's bust, he owes millions, and everything they own is being taken to pay off the large amounts of debt he accrued.

Left with no home, no car, and a community that's turned on them, Nina and her sons pick up and move to Nina's hometown. She only has enough cash for two months of rent. As a stay-at-home mom, Nina must struggle to find a job, help her boys adjust to the sudden move, and make a home in a small, shabby flat. It's not going to be easy, but they have no choice.

Strengths and Weaknesses
While my situation isn't exactly like Nina's, I do get part of it. I always said I'd return to the workforce after raising my two. When I did, I learned that emp…

Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan

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Setting: Long Island, NY
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Release Date: August 29, 2017



Felicity Knight's defied her father's cruelness and has made something of her life. She and her twin sister own a professional dog walking company in New York City. The one thing Felicity never succeeded at was romance. The love of her life broke her heart 10 years ago, and she's not pleased when he suddenly shows up in Manhattan.

In order to get away from him, Felicity poses as her twin and heads back to the Hamptons to care for her grandmother, who fell and needs a caregiver for a couple of weeks. Felicity's plan doesn't go well as Seth Carlyle happens to return to the Hamptons shortly after she settles in.

Seth feels there is a lot left unsaid between them. He wants to get Felicity to talk to him, though he is fully aware she's dodging him by pretending to be her twin. It's his goal to get Felicity to see she's the only woman he has ever loved. Sh…

At Wave's End by Patricia Perry Donovan

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Setting: New Jersey
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: August 15, 2017



When Hurricane Irene hit Vermont in 2011, the storm left many areas in tatters. You can still see signs of the hurricane's damages when you're driving on some roads and in some towns. Situations were just as bad, if not worse, along much of the East Coast during Hurricane Sandy. At Wave's End: A Novel is based on Hurricane Sandy.

Rising chef Faith Sterling loves her work in an up-and-coming Manhattan restaurant. Her boss may have borrowed money from her to get it off the ground, but the restaurant's starting to thrive. Hurricane Nadine floods the restaurant and leaves her boss figuring out what to do next.

Meanwhile, Faith's headed to Wave's End, New Jersey, to talk some sense into her mom. Her mom wrote an essay and won a bed and breakfast on the Jersey Shore. The same hurricane pummels the area where the bed and breakfast is located. Faith uses her u…

The Art of Keeping Secrets by Rachael Johns

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Setting: Australia and NYC
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: August 29, 2017



Emma, Flick, and Neve developed a tight friendship when their children all started high school. A trip to NYC is about to change all of their lives.

Emma, a divorced mom of three, deals with her ex and his much younger new wife more often than she likes. She struggles to make ends meet, while her ex, Max, buys their kids everything they want, including a vacation in Hawaii. All of the stress and headaches Emma's been dealing with are too much. When her friends drag her off to NYC, she's more than eager to go. She just doesn't know how much this trip is going to change her future.

Neve's a single mom. Her son wants to know more about his dad, and Neve realizes she's hidden the truth for too long. It's been so long that she doesn't know how to share the truth with her friends or her son.

Flick is happily married. Her marriage is the thing that her friends wish…

All Things New by Lauren Miller

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Setting: California and Colorado
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publisher: Three Saints Press
Release Date: August 1, 2017



At 17, Jessa Gray's had enough experience with panic attacks and anxiety disorder that she could write a book. She's lost a number of friends due to it. Her boyfriend was the only solid in her life, but she overhears him cheating on her and her world falls apart.

If that's not enough for this teen to handle, on the drive home, in the middle of a panic attack, an SUV runs a red light and crashes into her. She's left with many broken bones, brain swelling, and lots of scars. She's also left with a condition where she's unable to form pictures in her head, and everyone she encounters has scars and burns across their face that aren't really there. When her dad asks if she'd like to move to Colorado to live with him for a while, she jumps at the chance.

In Colorado, she's befriended by twin siblings, Hannah and Marshall. Hannah's very seri…

Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

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Setting: Ireland
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: August 22, 2017



Melissa Hill paints an emotional tale of the anti vaccs vs. pro vaccs stance. It's a topic that draws very strong opinions, including my own. I know someone who suffers from an immunodeficiency, her life could be jeopardized by children and adults who carry contagious diseases. She stays locked up in her home the majority of the time, as she finds it safer than going out into a world where many kids are no longer vaccinated against things like polio, measles, etc. That's essentially what you have at play in Keep You Safe.

Kate O'Hara never expected to reach this point. Her husband died unexpectedly leaving her a single mom to a lively five-year-old. Kate dotes on Rosie, as the first round of vaccinations in Rosie's infancy found Rosie to be one of the handful of children with a severe allergy to gelatin. Rosie simply could not have her remaining childhood immunizations without ri…

The Man I Thought You Were by Leah Mercer

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Setting: England
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date - August 30, 2017



Released for the Kindle last month, readers looking for the paperback version of The Man I Thought You Were only have a couple weeks to go.

Anna and her husband, Mark, have everything. They're madly in love, both have steady jobs, and they're ready to start their family. Mark's excellent with their young niece, and Anna knows he'll be an awesome dad. He comes home from work, tells her he's leaving, and vanishes. He doesn't take his car, any of his clothes, or cell phone.

Anna is stunned. She's certain he'll return home in a day or two. When he doesn't, she comes across a couple secrets he was hiding. Those secrets have the power to shatter her world.

Mark wants to shelter Anna from his past and future. Doing so may hurt her, but he's convinced it will hurt her less than if he stayed. He just doesn't imagine where his journey will real…

Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truth and Dares by Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

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Genre: Non-Fiction/Humor
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release Date: August 22, 2017



I connected immediately with the author of Finding My Badass Self. Maybe the truths and dares she tried weren't always something I would have bothered with, but it never mattered. I connected with her hopes, fears, and frame of mind. I got her.

For 52 weeks, author Sherry Stanfa-Stanley pushed herself to try or do something completely out of character. From eating bugs to going to a nude beach, Stanfa-Stanley pushed herself. She was brazen and just went for it. Finding My Badass Self chronicles her experiences.

What made this book stand out so much to me? That's pretty easy. I get where she's coming from. I've been married for 26 years, thankfully we're happy together still. My kids are both in college now, though my son has moved into his own apartment at this point. I'm at that crossroads where I wonder what's next. I've been the stay-at-home mom for two decades. I get…

Motor Mix Series of Books by Emily Snape and Rilla Alexander

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Genre: Board Book
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Release Date: August 15, 2017



There are two books in the newly released Motor Mix series. These board books have pages that are divided into three sections that allow the reader to mix up the different vehicles and create unique inventions. The first, Flight, takes things like rockets, airplanes, helicopters, and hot air balloons. Mix them up to create a rock-copter or air-loon.



The second book in the series, Emergency, showcases fire trucks, planes, plows, tow trucks, ambulances, and more. Create fire-lances, snow-planes, and others.

Each vehicle comes with text that describes its noise and where it is used. This ensures the child also has vocabulary to learn. With the creative nature and the narrative, these two books are a solid choice for a creative child.



If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss

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Setting: Baines Creek, North Carolina
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: August 22, 2017



There was a lot I loved in If the Creek Don't Rise. This work of fiction takes place in Baines Creek, a rural Appalachian community where few are educated and life revolves around mountain living and, sometimes, just surviving the day. The setting really came through. The education and wisdom each character had shaped them into either very likable characters or others you couldn't help but despise.

Sadie Blue is the lead in this story. She's young, naive, and ends up pregnant and married to an abusive moonshiner. Her days involve keeping out of Roy's way and avoiding the next beating. She's only been married for two weeks, and this is not the life she imagined or hoped for. Her grandmother feels helpless, as only her granddaughter can decide what to do with her life. Sadie's Aunt Marris seems to be the person in the best position to convince Sadie …

Big Skye Littleton by Elisa Lorello

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Setting: Rhode Island and Montana Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women's Fiction Publisher: Lake Union Release Date: August 22, 2017

Skye Littleton's in love. She never imagined, after so many years of waiting for Mr. Right, that she'd find him online. After Vance arranges to meet her on the East Coast, Skye knows he's the one. She sells her car, quits her job, packs everything, and takes his offer to move to Montana.
She's not even in Montana when she gets her first hint that all may not be perfect. The guy sitting next to her, Harvey Wright, lives in Billings and knows Vance. He apologizes and tells her that Vance is nothing but a shady character. Skye doesn't want to believe it's true until she arrives at the airport and gets stood up.
With no friends in town, no housing, and very little money to her name, Skye needs to decide. Does she decide to give Littleton a chance or return home to a family who told her she was being ridiculous? With Harvey's hel…

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

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Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: August 1, 2017



I both love and hate when a book keeps me up all night. I'm tired, but I'm so glad I didn't stop. I needed to know how this story played out. I hated some characters, but I really loved others. When it comes to a suspenseful mystery, Kathleen Barber nailed it in Are You Sleeping.

Josie Buhrman keeps her past locked deep in the past. Not even her boyfriend knows the truth, though she's always wanted to find a way to tell him. It's just really hard.

The truth is Josie's father was murdered. A neighbor was arrested. After the murder, Josie's mother walked away on her twin daughters leaving Josie and Lanie to be raised by their aunt. Lanie's rebellion after the murder drove the sisters apart. It's all in the past, however.

Then a rather intrusive journalist decides to take a close look at the murder in a weekly podcast. The podcast goes viral, and the entire nation wants to g…

The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett

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Setting: England
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: August 8, 2017



When Gavin and Lou move into their neighborhood, Sara finds herself wishing she was more like them. Their somewhat bohemian ways really appeal to Sara. She longs for more excitement in her life. Gavin and Lou just moved back to England after years in Spain. They have great careers as artists.

Soon Sara and her husband, Nic, form a solid friendship with the couple. Sara's helping out with their kids, joining Gavin on morning walks to the school, and both couples gather regularly for wine and dinner. That friendship, however, may not end up being everything Sara imagined. Soon, she realizes that some friendships aren't always ideal.

Mixed feelings came into play with The People at Number 9. I wanted to like Sara, but the more involved she became with Lou and Gavin, the more I questioned how she couldn't see the truth right there in front of her face.

I never liked Lou or Gavin …

Working Fire by Emily Bleeker

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Setting: Broadlands, Illinois
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union
Release Date: August 29, 2017



Ellie Brown left her hometown for med school, but she has to return when her father, a respected fire chief, has a stroke. She and her sister, Amelia, split his care. When she's not caring for her dad, Ellie works as a paramedic in a town she wants to escape.

Ellie's world is shattered when she and her partner are called to the scene of a shooting. Ellie knows the address. It's her sister's house. Both her sister and her brother-in-law have been shot. Ellie now must do everything she can to save her sister's life. At the same time, Ellie wants to get to the bottom of what really happened.

It's no secret that I love to support Lake Union Publishing. Short of a couple of books, everything this publisher releases has been outstanding reads. Working Fire is emotionally charged from the start. It's clear that there's more to Amelia's story than meets…

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

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Setting: Connecticut and Maine
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: August 8, 2017



Three years ago, Emma and her younger sister Cass vanished into the night. All that was found was Emma's abandoned car. Detectives are unable to find any trace of the girls.

Three years later, Cass returns begging detectives to find Emma. She tells forensic psychiatrist Abby Winter that she and Emma were held on a remote island off the coast of Maine. Her details check out, but something about her story doesn't add up. Abby's determined to unravel the truth. And, in this dysfunctional family, getting to the truth is more difficult than one might imagine.

Emma in the Night is told from Cass's viewpoint and Abby's. Readers are privy to clues that the detectives don't know, but it's still quite a mystery to unravel. I loved trying to decide what was real and what wasn't. I had parts of the mystery solved early on, but other aspects ba…

A Dad for Charlie by Anna J. Stewart

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Setting: Butterfly Harbor, California
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming
Release Date: August 1, 2017



A Dad for Charlie is part of the Butterfly Harbor series. Paige Cooper does everything she can to stay one step ahead of her past. She's determined to keep her daughter, Charlie, safe, too. Deputy Sheriff Fletch Bradley is the father figure Charlie needs, but Paige cannot fall for him. He's the last person she needs in her life.

Fletch is deeply attracted to Paige and wants to break through the walls she puts up. A string of vandalisms and break-ins lead to Paige and Fletch having to work together. Is this going to be the chance she needs to reveal her secrets?

I needed something light and emotional to pick up my spirits. A Dad for Charlie was exactly what I needed. Charlie is precocious and likable. Fletch and Paige are both wounded and formed the perfect pair, if only they could see it.

I haven't read the other books in the series. There's …

I Know a Secret: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel by Tess Gerritsen

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Setting: Boston, Mass
Genre: Mystery/Police Procedural
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: April 15, 2017



Rizzoli & Isles is a show I binge watched last fall. My husband and I were hooked and watched every season in the span of two months. I Know a Secret is the latest title in the book series about Detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles.

The novel starts with a woman who realizes acquaintances from her childhood are dropping dead. While their deaths are accidental, the woman questions this. That's all an aside for a bit. Jane's called in to investigate the death of a young movie producer. Another case a few days later has Jane taking a closer look. No cause of death is found in either case, but both victims had alcohol in their stomach and mild doses of a date rape drug. Those doses are not high enough to have killed them.

As the team gets to work trying to figure out the how and why, Maura's also struggling on a personal front. Her birth mo…