Semele is an antiquities appraiser who has been asked to catalog an important collection. While doing so she finds a hidden manuscript that goes back to Cleopatra's time. This would be substantial enough but she finds her name in it and somehow knows to keep it hidden. As she tries to decipher it she becomes increasingly obsessed with the collection's owner and less interested in her super steady, sweet boyfriend back home. The story goes back to the manuscripts orgins and how it has been hidden and passed down through the centuries. Fans of Kate Moss, Steve Berry and M.J. Rose will devour this multi-layered lightly historical gem.
Two families take a well deserved cruise to Central America together. The adult women are cousins and their husbands and children all get along with each other. Sounds perfect right? Just don't get off the ship. Along with another family they meet on board, the women and children take a zip-line tour in the jungle. What happens next is frightening and their dream vacation quickly turns into their worst nightmare - the kids are lost and in a foreign country. The writing is brisk and matches the fast pace of the unraveling of each family and marriages, emotions and friendship. Your heart goes out to the parents, the kids and the people with a good heart that get mixed up in the middle of it. The scariest part of the story is knowing how easily it could happen and how powerless they all were.
May 12th, 2017
You Were Here by Gian Sardar
This is a mystery that jumps back and forth seamlessly from modern day police drama and a young woman's strange nightmares to her grandmother's time and a love gone wrong. Abby is having the nightmare again - the one where she feels like she is drowning in sand. Somehow she now feels like going home might help her find the answers. She travels back to Minnesota and reconnects with her old boyfriend who is a detective dealing with a repeat rapist/serial killer. Aiden wants to help Abby solve her nightmares and there might still be a spark between them that peaks his interest. Abby is going through her grandmother's things and find an old ring and note that is the key to the secret.
I loved the parallel love triangles - Abby, her current sluggish boyfriend and Aiden and the young lover's kept apart by marriage in her grandmother's time. A debut author with heart and soul - this is one to watch.
Fun romp through Regency England for those Jane Austen fans plus the added element of time travel.
The goal is to grab a little known manuscript of Jane Austen and then zip back to the future undetected but of course there is a catch. Rachel, a doctor and Liam, an actor both love Jane Austen which is why they wanted this assignment so using Jane's brother's new friendship gives them an entrance into society and Jane's inner circle. They just didn't count on liking them so much. Any fan of Jane Austen will appreciate the style and language and the side story is fun as well.
Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki
Welcome to the slightly confusing glittery world of the well off in Los Angeles. A woman advertises for a nanny to watch over her toddler son and also keep an eye on her teenage mute son so she can write a memoir about her relationship with the older son. "S" applies and is instantly approved and brought into the family fold without even so much as a background check. What they don't know is that "S" is working on a strange secret art project and it will set the family dynamic topsy-turvy. Except for the precocious toddler, everyone is hurting and keeping secrets. Mute Seth communicates with complete clarity via Twitter as opposed to "S" who seems to lie at every opportunity. No relationship is working from husband and wife to mother and daughter/son. Soon "S" knows every little secret about the family and they know not nearly enough about her.
Beautifully crafted tale that blends modern day with 14th century Siena. Beatrice has just lost her only family- her older brother that has raised her. She travels to Siena where Ben has lived for years researching the great plague that almost killed the entire city and its orgins. As Beatrice reads an old journal of a 14th century painter named Gabriele Accorsi and sees herself in his painting she is transported back in time. She becomes a scribe and soon becomes comfortable in her surroundings and the people of Siena. Beatrice finds herself learning more about Gabriele and the terrible plague that she is powerless to prevent or protect her new friends. The language is lush and you will easily see yourself in old Siena alongside Beatrice. Add to this the political intrigue, a new romance and the deadly threat that will soon take over Italy and you will be transported. This is "The Borgias" meets "Outlander"
Eleanor is a loner, Eleanor is out of touch and Eleanor always speaks her mind. Because of this, Eleanor is lonely and longing for that human connection she has long been deprived of. She was traumatized as a young girl and still must deal with phone calls to a depraved beast of a mother. But things begin to change after she and a co-worker help an elderly man who has collapsed. With Raymond's guidance at work as well as Sammy and family befriending her, Eleanor starts to think about the future. When you look past her sharp retorts and awkward social skills you see a fragile lovely woman who very much wants everything life can throw at her. Her story works in Eleanor's Glasgow, New York or Beijing because Eleanor speaks to all of us.
Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor
A small town in Arizona is the scene for some unpleasant business when a teen goes missing. Jess and her mom lived a quiet life in Sycamore after a messy divorce and her dad's remake of his life with a new family. At first an outcast, she made friends with the local kids and everyone in the town knew her and her mom. Life was ok until her best friend's dad began paying extra attention to her and others noticed. Then Jess disappears without a trace until years later a bone is found and the wound is ripped open fresh. We see a town and the layers of its inhabitants. Most have never been the same since Jess went away and some feel guilty for their lack of attention or help but all of them have been left scarred and broken. They need to find the answers as much as the reader does to make sense of something they can't control or undo. Masterful imagery and character development - this is the debut to read in 2017.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
There is a small town that exists for the love of hockey and that is about all the town has to offer. The goal is to win the big game and end the season the big winners to gain recognition for the Bears of Beartown. There are hotheads and kind neighbors - jealousies and rivalries like any town. Beartown doesn't have to exist in Sweden and we recognize ourselves in the sage old coach, the new replacement, the rabid fans and the protective parents who have given their everything for the kids and love of the game. So when the unthinkable happens,as it always does, Beartown will fall to pieces and it is unsure if they and the reader will ever be able to recover the innocence of the past. This is a marked departure for Backman whose lovable curmudgeons have enchanted us in previous books. This tells an important story and will make an everlasting impression on you. Beartown gives us a glimpse of ourselves - the good, bad and the ugly side of humanity and what happens when a town has to deal with an unspeakable act against one of their own.
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