A world where the five kingdoms are ruled by fierce and savvy women. A world where women seek pleasure from men and women without remorse or commitment, where boy babies are taken to the orphan tree and girl babies are celebrated and destined to wield magic and become strong warriors. The five kingdoms have existed for as long as anyone can remember following the same traditions but now they are in a decade long drought where no female babies have been born and politics are shifting. A mix of Amazon women in a GAME OF THRONES or WHEEL OF TIME setting, Macallister presents a rich mystical landscape filled with violence, court politics and magic. The first in a series and a huge departure from her past historical mysteries this is a fresh voice in the female-centric fantasy genre .
She excels at dark mysterious characters who always hold a bit of themselves back and this is evident in SCORPICA as well as great storytelling. 4 stars
Two sisters grow up under the oppressive thumb of their tyrannical father. As adults they drift apart until Natalie gets a strange text from someone threatening to spill the beans to her sister Kit if she doesn't come to the remote Wisewood commune where Kit has been staying for six months. Natalie goes to the island and sees for herself the strange hold that they have over her sister and is determined more than ever, to get her off the island. We also see the events that led up to Wisewood's invention and the strange fearless leader where all under her guidance are living their maximized life. This is a first rate "people who swallowed the kool-aid" thriller perfect for fans of NINE PERFECT STRANGERS. 4 stars
Jess is running away to her brother's apartment in Paris for a bit. She is surprised when she gets there as he is no where to be seen and even the neighbors don't know where he is. She is worried the longer time passes and he doesn't show and becomes increasingly concerned the more she probes his wealthy neighbors in the building. Is this just the famous Parisian snubbing or is there something more sinister about Ben's disappearance and his connection to the building's inhabitants? Lucy Foley is very good at building up a troop of untrustworthy and secretive narrators and this story follows the same path. Narrated mainly by Jess and the people who live in the building, we are left off kilter and not sure we can trust anyone. Her fans will approve as will those readers of anything for a thrill. 4 stars
A modern day detective story the likes of Charlie Chan instead of Sherlock Holmes. Claudia is Chinese American and is not your average detective. She works for an online dating verification service. It is her job to make sure that Adam Smith who says he is single and has a dog in his social media posts actually isn't married with two kids. It is all fun and detective games until a client is missing and Claudia digs in her heels. I loved her personality and sharp wit and the fact that while she jokes about solving the case like a classic Chinese detective in the books she loves, she is anything but a stereotype. A clever debut. 4 stars
A young man brutally murders a teenage girl. He is tried, convicted and placed on death row. End of story right? Somehow Edgar Smith convinces a well respected journalist as well as a Knopf editor to publish his book and then convinced of his innocence, rally for his release. After almost a decade and a half on death row Edgar is released and set free to commit yet another heinous crime. This is the type of story that you can't help wondering how on Earth this man managed to fool so many people - William F. Buckley, his book editor and several other women in his life. A vivid account inside the criminal mind and the power of the media to convince us. A must for all true crime aficionados and how public opinion is swayed. 4 stars
Emma should have paid attention to "if it looks to good to be true, it probably is". She is a talented copyist - not art forger as she must sign everything she paints as a copy. When a job opportunity comes along that is just too good to pass up her life changes from making ends meet to living in the fast lane. This world, like the paintings she reproduces, is shiny and beautiful on the outside but fake. A glimpse into the glittering world of the super rich and a peek at the not so nice underbelly of the world of priceless art collections. This will appeal to art enthusiasts as well as thriller lovers. 4 stars
Rob Pope began as a veterinarian in England but followed his dream to America to literally run almost coast-to-coast just like his movie idol Forrest Gump. He even grew his hair long and sported a long beard a la Forrest. 18 months and over 15,000 miles later he and his girlfriend/support team met countless new friends, suffered a barrage of aches and injuries, raised money for various charities and saw much of the states even those of us who were born and raised here never see. Even for an ultra-athlete his accomplishment was amazing. Part memoir, part travelogue this is a fun run the likes of TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY and THE RIDE OF HER LIFE. 3 1/2 stars
A horrible accident nearly ends Gina's life but she happily recuperates in a Swiss clinic getting most of her memory back with a few strange gaps. Duncan is determined to take care of her and they begin to travel all over Europe without a set schedule to reconnect. Their marriage seems strong but there are excuses and unanswered questions that don't make sense. Classic GONE GIRL misdirection and a thrilling cat and mouse European chase but I had a hard time bonding with either one and didn't trust either one.
A dark, secretive and manipulative love story. 3 stars
Another brilliant glimpse into a formidable woman behind the scenes. Marjorie Post along with her family started in humble beginnings raised with a strong Midwestern work ethic but after her father developed Post cereal it changed their lives and fortunes forever. She did not just inherit wealth but worked hard to find ways to streamline breakfast and mealtimes all over America always looking to innovate. She became part of New York society and the darling of Washington D.C. not just for her parties but also for devoting her time and money doing things that needed to be done that no one else was doing. Feeding the starving, supplying the armed forces abroad with hospitals and supplies as well as loaning them her own ship were just some of the ways Marjorie was a force to be reckoned with. She had less luck with marriage but continued to stand up for what she believed in. Fans of Allison Pataki's other historical novels will certainly love this as will readers looking for portraits of less celebrated women. 4 stars
Two women enter the elevator after a long night at the office but only one comes out alive. Shay is working hard to keep it together. She needs the fresh start this job brings and keeps her private life just that. Things were changing for the better until she ended up as a suspect in the murder of her co-worker. Company secrets, smart women and gymnastic legal moves make this a first rate thriller.
Expect lots of twists and you may find yourself going for the stairs instead of the elevator. This is a must read for fans of classic John Grisham and legal female centric thrillers of Wanda Morris and Stacey Abrams. 4 stars
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