The Kleinmann family could be any Jewish family in Vienna during the war but their story took them on so many different paths. It is a story of family, hope and despair with a little bit of luck thrown in and it is one amazing journey. Based on Gustav Kleinmann's journal that he managed to keep secret in the camps, we learn of his and his oldest son's journey through some of the worst concentration camps. We also learn of Tinni Kleinmann's never ending quest to find safe places for her remaining children. Their youngest went to America and his older sister became a housekeeper in England then eventually moved to America. Jeremy Dronfield spares no one the horror of war, life in the camps nor does he overdo the frustration and hope of reuniting after the war but instead gives us a remarkable story of one family and the miracle of hope. 4 stars
Maggie gets the phone call we all dread - there has been an accident and your mother is dead. She flys home to organize the funeral, sit shiva and take care of her grief stricken father and younger brother. While reading the will she finds a packet of letters to mail to a group of men and decides to hand deliver them instead so she can find out their secret connection to her mother. This is a beautifully written story of connections between mothers and daughters, love and grief. It is about being able to understand and accept the choices that the people we love make. After reading this tender debut you will want to call your parents and ask them their secrets but don't forget to listen. You just might gain some insight before it is too late. This is perfect for readers who love complicated family relationships (aren't they all?) and authors like Ann Patchett.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
4 1/2 fun filled stars.
Two authors end up as neighbors in a small summer beach town. January is there because the father she adored has died and left her his secret bungalow and Gus is there reeling from his own personal sadness. They do not click now just as they did not click the last time they met but they bet that each one can't finish a book written in the other's genre by the end of summer. Gus must write a "happy ever after" romance and January must tackle literary fiction filled with angst. As they give each other helpful lessons on writing their initial thoughts about each other change. Opposites attract but can they survive summer? Fun, lighthearted romance with clever banter that will brighten even the stormiest rainy day blues.
The Silence by Susan Allott
Isla comes home to Australia when her father is under suspicion for the disappearance of their neighbor decades ago. Mandy used to care for Isla and although she remembers very little of the time Mandy and her husband were neighbors she can't imagine her father to be anything but innocent. Tensions build as more questions are asked and others, including Isla's mother begin to have doubts.
The chapters alternate between the present and right before the disappearance in the 60's. For fans of dark mysteries from down under like Jane Harper and Candice Fox this is a must. 4 stars
A classic tale of an unhappy man who leaves his wife and two children for a younger, hotter version. I know you think you have read this tale a hundred times before but wait until you reach the ending which smacks you right in the face. You then remember that the authors have done this to you before. The pace builds at a nice rate, we have a love/hate relationship with many of them and then when you let your guard down - whammy! Thriller magic for all you readers of relationships gone oh so bad. 4 stars
These Women by Ivy Pochoda
When these women disappear the police write it off to their being on the streets where they shouldn't have been. But, to the mother whose daughter didn't come home, a female vice cop that cares too much about the connections and a young artist trying to make a name for herself - those women are important and the killer needs to be found. The backdrop of the tough street life on these streets in Los Angeles proves to be the perfect setting to tell these women's point of view. The murder victims as well as their saviors all have a say and the choppy, rough sentence structure only accentuates the fear, distrust and feeling like they have no other options. When their lives are all tied together the ending will blow you away. 4 stars
3 1/2 stars
A young singer is booted out of a rock band right before they get their big break becoming the newest find of the musical world. Dejected she becomes a singer for hire for well off mommies and their precious babies. The mom's group embraces Claire and she starts to wonder how they keep looking so good and have so much energy for new moms. Secrets begin to come out, the group begins to unravel and with it, Claire and then the mommies get ugly. Perfect for new moms who are feeling less than perfect and fans of all those mean girls getting their due.
Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
What if Hillary didn't marry Bill Clinton and instead pursued her own political career early. This insightful fictional story offers us a bit of biographical tidbits into what is already known about her life early on and meeting/dating the charismatic Bill Clinton. There are laugh out loud moments when Bill, Hillary and Donald Trump meet. Politics, love and ambition don't always make for the perfect marriage but they do make for a terrific look at what might have been. It is clear that the author is a fan of Hillary and has not as much respect for Bill or our current President. This will appeal to readers of strong political female-driven stories as well as those that enjoy historical fiction with a twist. 4 stars
The Last Trail by Scott Turow
A well seasoned trial attorney, Sandy Stern knows this is his last trial. He also knows it isn't a case he would have taken except that it is defending an old friend who gave him a life changing cancer drug, ironically the same drug that the friend is now accused of altering data on. Dr. Patko is on trial for having hidden sudden death data related to his drug, insider stock trades and murder of those that suddenly died while on the drug trials. This is not only a top notch trial drama but there is an interesting tie into the case that shows Sandy may have gotten mixed up in learning more secrets than he bargained for. I enjoyed the family influence of Sandy and his daughter being law partners and his granddaughter as an investigator/office assistant. A must for readers of Grisham, Dugoni and of course, other Scott Turow books.
A creepy tale that covers all the "ives" - secretive, manipulative, possessive and absolutely addictive.
Ines is on the run from her life that is out of control and with the help of a high school teacher, lands a spot in an avant-garde college program located in a very rural area. The upside is that it gets her away from home and is fully funded. The downside is that she will be there for three years giving up her tech gear and cut off from everyone. What the real goals or purpose of this school is anybody's guess but it starts to get weird with the group chanting and sensors. Is Catherine House a great social experiment to nurture creative thought or is something more sinister going on? Gothic mystery meets THE HANDMAID'S TALE - this is one clever and scary debut.
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Fantasy / Sci-Fi
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