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The Necklace by Matt Witten

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 Release Date - September 7, 2021 I was intrigued when I heard that Matt Witten's novel has been optioned for a film with Leonardo DiCaprio attached as producer of  The Necklace . Not everyone may realize what a kind-hearted man he is on sets, and he's been a favorite actor since What's Eating Gilbert Grape.   So that aside, I started reading, and it took absolutely no time to get me hooked. As much as I wanted not to keep mentally casting Kate Winslet as Susan Lentigo, I couldn't help it. Her performance in Mare of Easttown made me feel she was a perfect choice for both young and old Susan. And, I wouldn't hate seeing the chemistry between the two back on a screen. Two decades earlier, Susan Lentigo was a happily married mom to a young daughter. When she's asked to take a shift at the diner where she works, she makes arrangements with her mom to get Amy after school and watch her until after dinner. Only Susan never gets her mom's message that she has to ba

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

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 Release Date - September 7, 2021 Oh did my heart break for Qian, the author of Beautiful Country . Young Qian and her family immigrated, albeit illegally, from China in the 1980s. Her parents, both college professors, were forced to teach the government's way or suffer the consequences. Eventually, their only choice became to leave the country and try to start anew in the U.S. In New York City, the family faced unimaginable conditions. Forced to work in sweatshops and live in overly crowded apartments, the stress gets to Qian's parents. Life in the "Beautiful Country" isn't as wonderful as they'd hoped. To find the beauty, the family must face bigger struggles than imagined and figure out how to start life anew in a country that doesn't want to welcome immigrants. This book is so beautifully written. While Qian is an adult now, she tells the story well through her thoughts as a child. The child who learns English by reading books and watching TV, and

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer

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 Release Date - August 31, 2021 I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan, and Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche was a pleasant surprise. I was immediately drawn into Enola's world and her goal to be an independent young woman. She's smart, witty, and incredibly charming. Enola is on her own and determined to stay a step ahead of her brothers. When she hears Sherlock won't eat and is suffering from depression, she heads to his home to get him motivated again. She never expects that trip to draw her into a case involving a dead woman. Letitia Gordon arrives to ask Sherlock to investigate her sister's sudden death. All Letitia was sent is a box of ashes. She finds it unusual that she never heard her twin was sick. Plus, her twin's husband seems to have already moved on with his life. Something's up and Letitia wants to know what's going on. Enola jumps in and offers to help out. She heads to the Earl of Dunhench's estate. There, she learns this is the second of

The Other Me by Sarah Zachrich Jeng

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 Release Date - August 10, 2021 Artist Kelly is spending her birthday at her best friend, Linnea's, Chicago art show. She's not having the best of times and steps out for a minute. When she steps through, she finds herself in her hometown in Michigan at her very own birthday party. The problem is that she's now married to a former high school classmate and her life is nothing like her life in Chicago. She has no idea what happened, but she's desperate to get back to the life she had in the city. As if things weren't already strange, Kelly soon finds ripples of her old life reappearing. Her tattooed that vanished in Michigan return briefly. Linnea remembers her briefly and offers to help her figure out what's going on. Just as quickly as Linnea is back in her life, she disappears again. Something is horribly wrong and Eric's secretive nature may be part of it. If only Kelly could figure things out and discover a way to get back to her old life. This was a str

Where I Left Her by Amber Garza

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 Release Date - August 24, 2021 Whitney's 15-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been especially moody as of late. In addition to the moodiness, her daughter is more distant and secretive than usual. When Amelia asks to go to her friend's house for an overnight, Whitney agrees and even forgoes her usual request to meet the girl's parents. Instead, Whitney drops Amelia off, watches Amelia head inside, and takes off.  When she doesn't hear from Amelia the next morning, she's concerned and heads to Lauren's house. There, she discovers an elderly couple lives there. They're convinced she has the houses mistaken, but Whitney remembers the roses lining the walkway. Panic starts to take over as Whitney realizes her daughter has vanished, and she has no idea what Lauren's last name is, so she can't give the police much information, either. Where I Left Her goes back and forth between the days leading up to Amelia's disappearance and the hours after. You qu

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

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 Release Date - August 3, 2021 Modern dating isn't what it used to be when I was in my 20s. I'm thankful for that! Author Nina Dean has her hands full with an upcoming book deadline, her dad's progressing Alzheimer's disease, and friends who are having kids, dating, and getting married. She's not bothered by her single status, but she doesn't mind searching for Mr. Right, if he's out there. Enter Max. She comes across his profile on a dating app, and she's smitten. The two go on a date and the chemistry is undeniable. Soon, they're proclaiming their love for one another, he's about to meet her parents, he's met her friends, and... he disappears. He ghosts Dolly and she cannot figure out what went wrong. He told her he loved her, so why did he vanish? Ghosts is not your typical romance novel. A lot of the book is spent with Nina trying to come to terms with her dad's progressive illness, while also dealing with her best friend's preg

How to Kill Your Best Friend by Lexie Elliott

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 Release Date - August 17, 2021 College buddies Bronwyn, Georgie, and Lissa have been inseparable for years. When Lissa dies while swimming in a cove off the private island she and her husband own, it's hard for Georgie to comprehend how such a strong swimmer would have drowned. Bronwyn is equally stunned. As they reunite with their significant others and children on the island where Lissa died, both Georgie and Bronwyn start to wonder what they've missed. Someone is lurking in the shadows and doesn't seem to have friendly intentions, yet a storm is moving in, so as the danger heightens, no one can leave. Chapters in How to Kill Your Best Friend switch back and forth between the "murder" lessons, Bronwyn's insight, and Georgie's insight. I didn't love the changes, as I felt it dragged the pace down, especially in the first quarter of the novel. Once I started skimming the different ways to kill a friend, I found the book became more enticing.  I als