Hang The Moon by Jeanette Walls
Sallie Kincaid adores her larger than life father who rules their small Virginia town. He is loud, he demands respect and he loves to be adored until it is a nuisance. Duke marries whenever he tires of or loses the current wife so Sallie is shipped off to her aunt's house for most of her childhood until summoned home. In spite of this, Sallie strives to stay in her father's good graces and take over the business - not something that women did. She sidesteps marriage and learns the rum running family business which is booming since Prohibition as well as gaining respect of the townspeople. Most people she loves let her down but she refuses to stay there. Through family secrets , unkept promises and a dangerous Hatfields and McCoys feud Sallie continues to protect her investment and her people. We have come to trust in the stories of Jeannette Walls that highlight the unshakeable spirit of the hardworking mountain people. The author's many fans as well as those of LAST DANCE ON THE STARLIGHT PIER and THE FOUR WINDS will take to heart this gritty historical tale. 4 1/2 stars
Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline
A historical marvel and a deep seated family and cultural journey into the heart of Sicily during the 1800's. There are the wealthy Dons and there are the poor who work for them all the while dreaming of a chance to own their own land and freedom. Two brothers try to break the cycle by violent means after discovering that being honest and working hard is not enough to rise up. A quiet man follows his heart instead of tending to his family and goes in search of kidnapped boys. One of the kidnapped is committed to a madhouse as an outcast and will be saved by a young woman who is also an outcast because of her skin. Political upheaval, violence as well as great tenderness and family wherever you find it are the primary themes here. Lisa Scottoline shows us real loyalty - to a cause you are passionate about and its leader, to a family or village that took care of you and not out of power or fear. Fans of her first historical novel ETERNAL, BENEATH A SCARLET SKY or THE SEVEN OR EIGHT LIVES OF STELLA FORTUNA will enjoy this.
Play The Fool by Lina Chern
A fun mystery that links a psychic tarot card reader with a missing person crime. Katie is in a rut with her life and her dead end job at a Russian odd and ends store at a mall in the suburbs. When she makes friends with Marley she thinks things might be looking up until Marley ends up missing and most likely dead. Partnering up with a cute detective and her ragtag group of friends gets her thrown into a dangerous game. All the cards in the world can't predict how she will get away from the bad guys who are looking at her as having something they want badly and how ill equipped she is at playing detective. Fun characters that feel like real people who get pulled in over their head. After all, we all have a bit of armchair detective in us and this will scratch that itch. 3 1/2 stars
Community Board by Tara Conklin
We all have bad days but Darcy is a mess - her husband left her for his skydiving instructor, the temporary leave of absence from work turned out to be forever and her "couples" friends have all ghosted her. So Darcy does what most of us would do. She runs back home only to find that her parents have fled to Arizona and there are only so many kinds of canned goods and pity baked goods that she can live on spending her time binge watching bad tv and following the antics of the community board rants. When she reluctantly gets involved helping new neighbors build a community playground she begins to see light at the end of the tunnel. Normally shy Darcy becomes rather militant in protecting the project and her new neighbors from the bully on the Board and in the process learns something about herself and her new community family. Anyone who has needed to run home to mom and dad for a restart will appreciate this. 4 stars
Lone Women by Victor LaValle
Montana offered a new start for Adelaide but it was not an easy life for a lone black woman especially one who brings a curse with her. A homestead far away from prying eyes can be a dangerous thing but after a rocky start she finds a few female friends in town - after all lone women need to stick together. There is a secret that threatens her new life. It will not be contained, kept hidden or silenced as Adelaide soon finds out. The hardships that these women face are different from the men and justice doesn't always land on their side but they all show incredible resilience, strength and understanding. Once the trunk is opened you will find out, dear reader, why they call it the wild west. A LibraryReads top pick!
Horror mixed with a rainbow of characters in complex relationships make this a must read for fans of A DANGEROUS BUSINESS, UPRIGHT WOMEN WANTED and WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS. 4 stars
Beatrix was just a little girl when the bombing started in London and her parents made the impossible decision to send her to safety in America. She arrives quiet and scared only to be welcomed with open arms to an exuberant family and the two boys who would become so much more. Bea, Gerald and older brother William became joined at the hip and Bea grew to cherish the time she spent with them in Boston and summers in Maine. When the war was over and she returned to London neither she nor London is the same and Bea is not sure which family feels more like hers and home. A
poignant coming of age story where family is what you make of it and if you are fortunate you will have more than one. Seen from each of the main characters viewpoint over a span of decades this covers so much history from WWII, the Civil Rights Movement and women's rights as well as being a heart tugging, multiple tissue story. The audio was spot on and emotional.
Their love for each other was the stuff for the movies as their fights became stuff for the tabloids. Frank Sinatra was very married and very smitten with Ava Gardner from the first. He was well into his singing and nightclub career and she was one of the "Love Goddesses" in Louis B. Mayer's stable. She is beautiful, she is ambitious and she plans on staying far away from the sweet talking Frank Sinatra.
Seen from both of their viewpoints we follow the on again, off again stormy relationship and marriage that seemed doomed from the start. It is an inside look at the struggle young women had getting serious roles and how phony their staged life was compared to their publicity. While I found Sinatra's macho attitude and womanizing distasteful it would not have felt honest had it not been included. Behind the glitter and Hollywood fairy dust they were like everyone else but their demons were made public. 3 1/2 stars
American Mermaid by Julia Langbein
Penelope Schieman wrote a blockbuster novel allowing her to quit her high school teaching job and move to a glass high rise fortress in Los Angeles. Even better, the novel was optioned and she has been asked to help write the screenplay. What could go wrong? She finds that the make believe world of movies is almost the same as reality in Hollywood. Deals are made at poolside parties where she must learn to navigate the shark infested waters of temperamental directors, a host of actors/actresses and so many writers. Seemingly overnight her story of a foundling baby who grows up wheelchair bound and confused by her feelings turns out to be a mermaid gets turned into a superhero, action adventure flick featuring a teenage sex bomb. The beauty of this story is that the reader is privy to Penelope's book and the Hollywood highjinx giving us a beautiful parallel of finding yourself and your voice and the way Penelope's words and voice get silenced. Feminist coming of age and delightfully funny this masterful debut will empower women trapped like the mermaid to add their voice to the siren song. For fans of SIREN QUEEN and PLAIN BAD HEROINES. 4 stars
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
A word to the wise. Finish this book in a quiet private place and give your self enough time for a good cleansing cry after. Young William is no match for the gregarious Padavano family. Where his family scowls at him with crossed arms theirs are open, where his family shares nothing theirs share all -good and bad and where his is solitary and quiet theirs is a loud but loving family of four sisters. William is enveloped into the fold and while he will have a deeper relationship with two of the sisters, the others are always there to influence him in some way. Suffering from severe depression William will sever ties as will a couple of the sisters and their mom. This story chronicles the ebb and flow of family joy and sorrow, the growth and loss over time. Heartbreaking and painfully honest, this is an intense and deeply rooted family drama that will stay in your head and heart for some time. Readers of her previous book DEAR EDWARD, Ann Pratchett, Fredrik Backman and Pat Conroy will find much to love. 5 stars
Three generations of Russian women fighting for their independence along with the start of the Russian Revolution. A memoirist looking for an assistant to travel with him to Moscow lands Rosie the perfect excuse to unlock the secret of her own past. Rosie heads to Moscow with a key and a few notes that her mother hid in a porcelain doll along with disjointed childhood memories. A love affair between an idealistic revolutionary and the woman he loves even though she is married to an abusive nobleman begins the story. As sides are taken and the country finds itself in civil war they are torn apart. Their love lives on in the next generation and the next circling back to Rosie (Raise) in present day and her memories of a tragic incident. Clever clues unravel the mystery as we learn more of this turbulent time and love story for the ages. An epic historical love story that fans of DR. ZHIVAGO and ANNA KARENINA will dive into as well as fans of historical mysteries. 4 stars
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