A Double Life by Flynn Berry
Her mother was attacked and her nanny brutally killed by her dad when she was very young but Claire still struggles with the hope that he is not a monster. Now she must live in fear again because he has been sighted once again after vanishing after the murder. She wants to believe that he had a reason for doing what he did even though she knows he must be a cold-hearted killer plus she is trying to help her younger brother manage his addiction and get him back into rehab. Instead of constantly living in fear she decides to try to find and confront her dad herself so she can put the past to rest. This could prove to be a huge mistake. Suspenseful and heartbreaking.
Columbia in the 90's was a country torn apart by violence where drug kings like Pablo Escobar ruled the streets and terrorized both police and the well-off citizens. This is the story of two young sisters who live in the better part of Bogota and the young maid who comes to work for them from the other side of the tracks. There is a common theme of very strong women who fight for their way of life, and to keep their family safe amidst the violence and also about the loyalty and friendship of one of the sisters with the maid, Petrona. Contreras mixes the beauty of the landscape and the family with the total violence and everyday terror of kidnapping and shootings. Your heart will melt for both girls and the choices each will make to survive. Any fan of Narcos or solid stories of the class differences in societies outside the US will appreciate the author's unique insider's perspective.
Caught in Time by Julie McElwain
Kendra Donovan is everyone's favorite wise-cracking FBI agent who just happens to be stuck in 1815. She is living the life under the generous and curious protection of the Duke and has more freedom than any other woman in the 1800's has in England. Once again Kendra and the Duke find themselves involved in a murder case, going after a killer and getting into one tight spot after another. This series is perfect for those that seek a lighthearted Regency romance/mystery with an interesting time travel element and a snarky heroine.
Catrin is a talented woman in Amsterdam in an age where the Dutch realism and pottery are all the rage. The only problem is that she is a woman and that means that she has not apprenticed with anyone nor has she had a mentor or master teacher so she is unable to apply to the Guild and sell her pictures. She also happens to be on the run after her first husband passed suddenly. This is the remarkable tale of a woman whose artistic talent is recognized by Rembrandt and Vermeer, whose innovative pottery designs are in high demand but must still bend to the will of men. A talented American debut for Simone Van Der Vlugt.
I Am Still Alive by Kate Marshall
Jess is a teen who after recently losing her mom and slowly healing from a leg injury, finds herself back with the dad she hasn't seen in years. He is a survivalist living in the Canadian Wilderness and has made some mistakes. One of those mistakes comes back to see him and Jess witnesses another tragedy. She must flee into the woods with a minimal amount of clothing, food and supplies and only her father's dog for company. Somehow she solves one problem after another and finds the strength to survive and avenge her dad's killers.
This is a tough book to read because you see a broken girl that must bounce back after so much loss and you prepare yourself for the end at the end of each page. It is also one of the most uplifting books I have read in a long time because she finds so much strength and hope. This is HATCHET for teens and adults. You will start paying more attention to building simple shelters or fishing without a rod just in case.
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
It was the best week of her life. Sarah had met the man of her dreams, her soulmate and then he just disappeared. She texted, emailed, called, Facebook stalked him and still couldn't find Eddie anywhere. This left her not only heartbroken but really confused about the week they shared. There is a second layer to this story which explains the chink in the love armor. A stunning debut of love, compassion, and forgiveness. You will be drawn into their relationship page after page searching for the truth.
Mary B. by Katherine J. Chen
Usually, I think retelling a classic must be one of the most difficult tasks an author can attempt so I am happy to say that Katherine J. Chen has done this with the same flavor, style and wit of the original. Mary is the much abused, teased and ignored of all the Benet sisters and despite her intelligent demeanor she still falls for the advances of some of the eligible bachelors in the area. It would be comical in many ways but you can't help but feel sorry for Mary as it seems all of the sisters find their match. The story showcases the world of the haves and have-nots and how truly phony the search for a mate was in Regency England. I enjoyed Mary's willfulness and her quest to find something more in her life than what society expected of her. A terrific debut and I can't wait to see if the author will continue in another Austen classic.
After Paul witnesses a friend committing a gruesome crime and is almost killed himself, he has a had time letting go and getting back to any kind of normal life. He is trying to pay more attention to his wife and son. He is trying to remember and deal with the trauma by seeing a psychiatrist. He is trying to make sense of what has happened. Enter a creepy typewriter that begins typing messages in the middle of the night and you think you are reading a ghost story or Paul has really lost it. This is a first-class thriller with one very unreliable witness who may be on the brink of insanity. As you tear through this story you may hear the faint sound of clacking typewriter keys - try not to flinch.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
A beautifully crafted coming of age novel which explores the unusual upbringing of Nathaniel and his sister Rachel after their parents disappear leaving them in the hands of some nefarious people. Nathaniel and Rachel feel both abandonment and threatened as well as loved and protected by this ragtag group who may or may not be involved in criminal activities and may or may not have been underground agents in the war. The author has a way of making you take notice of every little remark, gesture or nickname in case it will be important later on - like a puzzle piece that allows you to finish the puzzle of what happened to their mother and what her role was during the war. Nathaniel looks back on his life, questioning everything but it isn't until he gets a job in the government which will illuminate everything about his mother and her coworker's involvement. This quiet but very powerful novel explores the influences that shape you growing up and the many versions of family.
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
Hanna is the seven-year-old daughter of Alex and Suzette. They love each other deeply and love their beautiful little girl. Their life should be complete except for two things - one is Suzette's battle with Crohn's disease and the other is the fact that bright and beautiful Hanna does not speak ever, to anyone. Suzette has done her best to give Hanna love and attention as a stay at home mom who must homeschool Hanna after she has been asked to leave several schools. Now it is getting worse and the tantrums and angry defiance have gotten physical and dangerous. Alex can't or won't see the hate and viciousness of his little girl playing right into Hanna's hands. Mommy is bad, Mommy is taking Daddy away from me so Mommy has to go. Suzette's life goes from perfect to something out of the Exorcist. This is a one sitting read! You will simply not believe the calculated violence that lurks in this seemingly well loved little girl.
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