The Foundling by Ann Leary
A historical tale of the abuse of women held in a mental institution against their will in 1927 Pennsylvania. Mary Engle is a bit innocent and lacking in social skills due to her growing up in an orphanage but that all changes when she takes a job as a secretary at a state women's institution for the mentally disabled. She is mesmerized by the female doctor who heads the institution but soon realizes that there is much more going on than what the good doctor will admit. Mary recognizes one of the inmates who clearly shouldn't be there and as she starts to hunt for evidence to get her friend released or become a whistleblower her life is in danger. Mary seems very naive when she starts working at the institution but that fits in very well with what the public believed about these places and the women who were committed there on the whim of husbands, families and doctors who could be bought off. Another shining example of the hideous crimes and abuses committed against women in the past by those in power and a position to help. Fans of historical fiction about Nellie Bly, THE MADWOMEN'S BALL and THE WOMAN THEY COULD NOT SILENCE will find much to love here. 4 stars
At first glance you might think this book will have a huge twisty spoiler at the end but this is not that kind of book. It is a deep character dive into one of the most dysfunctional families I have ever read about. A well off couple in 1960's New York have success at a fertility clinic and the Oppenheimers give birth to triplets. These triplets grow up with as little interaction with each other as possible. It is hard to believe they even share DNA making them not like other warm and fuzzy families with triplets (think This Is Us). Instead these three have one goal in mind which is to get to college as fast as possible and as far away from each other. Meanwhile, their dad (who never really was present from the beginning) and mom (who has deluded herself into thinking they are a close family) decide to thaw out the last embryo and Phoebe comes into the world. Phoebe may be the best of all of them and tries as a teenager to finally unite them. I felt detached from the characters but this would be an enjoyable read for readers who really want to settle in for the long haul and really get into what makes the characters tick and the role that social issues play on the family. 3 1/2 stars
The Favor by Nora Murphy
Women trapped in a life of control and abuse will make some turn to alcohol, some turn inward and dream of escape and some are lucky to get help from someone they don't know. We have read this story before but it does launch into a different angle. Leah and McKenna recognize the signs in each other. Even from the line at the liquor store, the haunted look and perfect clothing and makeup hide what they have at home which is less than perfect. So, when it happens and they are suddenly free the only thing to do is return the favor. Cat and mouse detective work, twists and solid characters with lots of secrets. 3 1/2 stars
The Last Mile by Kat Martin
A spicy Indiana Jones adventure looking for hidden treasure in the treacherous Superstition Mountains. Abby knows that her beloved grandfather left her the house and the map for her to finish the hunt when he couldn't. When she finds Gage Logan she knows she has found the right man for the job. Of course, it wouldn't be an adventure if there weren't money grubbing relatives, countless bad guys, danger from Mother Nature and loads of sexual tension. A dangerous adventure tale with a side order of hot romance. 3 stars
Albert is a very private, rather socially awkward British postman who has just had the wind knocked out of his sails. He is being pushed into retirement for which he is not ready to say goodbye nor is he ready to say goodbye to his cat who has been roommate, best friend and confidant for years. Instead of shutting the door on the rest of his life a young mom and her little girl come into his life and befriend him. Nicole convinces Albert that he needs to find the love of his life who he was forced to give up as a teenager. That little push also gives Albert the confidence and courage to come out of the closet. All the fear and self loathing that Albert's father instilled in him evaporates as he learns that everyone deserves to love who they love. A sweet story of love and forgiveness that will appeal to those readers who love an underdog story with a silver lining. Albert will be in good company with Eleanor Oliphant, Ove and A.J. Fikery.
3 1/2 stars
They were newly married headed to Lisbon for a few days, he on a business trip and she tagging along. It wasn't supposed to go like this. Ariel wakes to find her husband missing and she tries to alert the hotel, police and finally the American Embassy that something is wrong. As these agencies get deeper into what becomes a kidnapping certain information begins to bother them. Ariel and her husband have both changed their names, Ariel was involved in something where she signed an NDA and that could be the source of money that she needs to pay the ransom. John's background is not coming up nice and tidy either. It is a race not only to save John from the clutches of an unknown kidnapper in a foreign country but also for the authorities to figure out what really is happening. As well as being a first rate international thriller (which Chris Pavone excels at) it is also a great story of sweet revenge. Crammed full of unreliable narrators so the reader will delight in playing armchair detective, this is a Mission Impossible /Jason Bourne thriller in an exotic setting guaranteed to keep your heart rate up.
4 1/2 stars
Hide by Kiersten White
A group of misfits sign up for a contest with a big payout. it is an adult version of hide and seek that will take place in an abandoned amusement park with the last contestant winning a lot of money.
Mack is swimming in guilt after she took her little sister's hiding spot and her dad took her life. The other contestants seem to be equally adrift or have big dreams that the payout can make come true.
Once the game begins the reason they are there begin to come clear and the stakes are much more than just walking away empty handed. They are there to honor a contract made decades before and the game of hiding and being found is death. A little Shirley Jackson's THE LOTTERY or a scary reality show from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan, this is her first adult horror title that will appeal to her young adult fans as well. 4 scary stars
Metropolis by B.A. Paris
A whodunnit of sorts when a renter dies no one is sure if it is a suicide, accident or foul play at a self storage facility in Cambridge. The deceased was a street photographer with a unit bursting at the seams with undeveloped prints. As the owner of the storage facility and others probe deeper into the life of the photographer and his subjects the secret lives of some of the other renters comes to the surface. These tenants are diverse and all have their own reasons for being at Metropolis - an undocumented college student finishing her dissertation , a depressed and lonely mother who hides in the unit made up of her children's bedroom furnishings, the attorney who gave up the big office to work out of the storage unit and the office manager who looks the other way for a bit more cash. Told in an alternating time line before and after the incident. Their stories come together for an interesting ending. 3 stars
This Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub
On the day Alice turns forty she reevaluates her life which is pretty much how she thought it would be except for her dad who is hanging on to life from a hospital bed. Since the beginning it has always been Alice and her dad after Alice's mom left Alice to be raised almost solely by Lawrence.
As if by some strange bit of kismet Alice wakes up in her dad's house not as a 40 year old but back as a 16 year old. Ironically, Lawrence is a children's book author who has had a very successful series of two brothers who time travel which allows him to accept his daughter's adventures. Now that she is back with her best friend, a healthy version of her dad, and has the means to change their lives will she make good use of the gift? Given chances to back doesn't mean Alice will know when to stop or which version is best. Time travel junkies will find much to ponder but also those daughters who wish for more time with their parents and the chance to say I love you and thanks for all of it. A heartbreaker, tearjerker ,thought provoking look at life and the paths we choose. 5 LibraryReads stars
The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker
How long can you keep your identity a secret? For Sylvia, once known as Iris, the answer was "until now". She began her life as one of six girls born into the famous East Coast Chapel family whose fortune from a successful firearms company insured that she and her sisters would be very marriageable. Sadly a curse of massive proportions begins picking off the sisters as soon as they marry. Not wanting to end up in an institution like her mother or worse, Iris finds the only way out is to take on a new identity as Sylvia Wren an artist living a quiet life in New Mexico. That is until a journalist puts together the pieces. Gothic writing style combined with a historically accurate story with a feminist twist that focuses on age old battles women faced of not having control of their lives and total intolerance for being different. This is based on a very famous heiress with gun money roots, Sarah L. Winchester who also struggled with a curse. This will appeal to lovers of gothic classics as well as more spirited reads celebrating feminist viewpoints like PLAIN BAD HEROINES. 4 stars
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