The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis
The theater and film stars of New York and a bit of Hollywood are the focus of the latest historical New York City novel by Fiona Davis. In 1947 the threat of communism was sweeping the country and the largest focus was on the artistic areas. No writer, playwright, screenwriter, painter or actor was safe from the famed Black List. For the artists who live at the Chelsea Hotel in New York ending up on that list would mean life or death to the only world they knew. Hazel and Maxine got their start doing USO shows in Europe at the end of the war and then made the natural jump after the war to the theater life in New York. We follow their emotional journey navigating love, careers in entertainment and having their every move suspect and every conversation scrutinized. Brilliant characters and a heartfelt storyline make for another emotional historical masterpiece by the author that knows every nook and cranny in New York.
Amy has it all - a successful diving business, a new baby and a great relationship with her husband and teen stepdaughter. Or, she did have it all until a new rental shows up at a neighborhood book club playing a dangerous game that threatens the whole life Amy has worked so hard to create. INTENSE, perfectly paced and really twisted, this game and story begins with a strong cocktail and ends with multiple shots taken in rapid succession. Fear the Airbnb, fear keeping your secret past a secret and never mess with a mom! This will be the new scary beach read for the summer and a great pick for those who can't wait for season three of "Big, Little Lies".
Atmospheric and moody this is a story of siblings, loss, separation and living on an island where ghosts are abundant on the land, sea and in your dreams. Lucas and Lydia are twins that lost their third triplet brother when they were all very young. Now both are in their late twenties and have never recovered from the loss of their sibling and parents. They are all each other have and they now live out their days in this remote area where everyone in the small community is familiar. One day a stranger shows up on the island who seems familiar even though he claims this is his first trip to the island. Lydia is drawn to him but also feels something is not quite right whereas her twin claims him as their long lost brother reincarnated and brings him into the family. Tensions build as Lydia is drawn towards and equally repelled by Cole. Full of clever twists and subtle danger this is one quiet family saga that starts slow and then hits you full force like a summer squall.
The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
High finance has never been more dangerous. Four colleagues are summoned to a building under construction for what they think is a corporate team building exercise that becomes a deadly game of escape the elevator. The intensity builds quickly as they become mad then frantic to solve the clues. The other part of the book also deals with the early days of the team and those who are no longer part of this corporation's rat nest. Each one has secrets, each has been pushed to their limits but they must work as a team to survive. Thriller junkies will love this but you may want to take the stairs for a while.
When you begin this book and read about Edith you think they must have messed up the title and it is about pie but you would be wrong.
The story centers around craft brewing but it really is all about the mid-western work ethic and how they are just good people who take what life hands them and make beer (or pie). It is also about the stubbornness of sisters. Warm, serious characters but also filled with beer foam drops of humor, this book is like a cold brew on a hot summer day - refreshing and leaves you with a nice fuzzy glow. As an added bonus you will have a much greater appreciation for the craft brewing industry.
Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman
Maddie Schwartz is adrift. She left her successful husband and because of leaving is out of sorts with her son, is involved with someone she shouldn't be with and has a habit of finding dead women. The biggest problem she has is that she cares about the women and finding the killer. Told from a variety of viewpoints, this is several murders being investigated by a woman who really wants to make it as a crime journalist. It skirts the edge of infidelity, corrupt police and politicians, and racism. Welcome to Baltimore in the 60s. Taunt and unpredictable crime noir told mainly from a woman's perspective- if I said anything more it would give something away.
This is a solid 3 1/2 stars for me. Anyone who has been class mom, PTA president or runs the school bake sale will appreciate this hilarious array of true to life 3rd-grade shenanigans and horrific elementary school volunteer jobs.
Jen comes back to her old class mom spot after taking time off to nurse her ailing mom full of piss and vinegar. At first, it seems just like old times as she churns out email after email with wit, humor and subtle threats. She also has two grown daughters and a husband who is making an important leap with his business as well as guiding her son Max through 3rd grade. It is the school that seems to be getting the lion's share of her attention. Laugh out loud funny and just what moms need to read over the summer break to know what not to put their hand up to volunteer for. This is a sequel to CLASS MOM but can easily be enjoyed as a standalone.
The ancient god of death has been imprisoned by his brother so when a young Mexican girl releases his spirit from a hidden box, she is bound to him and must help him find his missing body parts as well as take on his brother in the underworld. A clever mix of Alladin and Cinderella with wonderful Mayan myths this book is the Mayan mythology/fantasy we have been missing. This fairy tale is set in 1920s Mexico and is richly depicted with all the sights, jazz sounds and lush scenery from rural villages to dense jungle to the mecca of Mexico City.
Casiopea is a heroine like no other. She is basically an indentured servant who has the fortune or misfortune of discovering her families dealings with the underworld gods. Innocent but not without dreams and a need for adventure, Casiopea is in awe of, irritated, and a little in love with Hun-Kame to whom her destiny is tied to. Silvia Moreno-Garcia has brought to us a rich fantasy underworld mythical proportions and paired it seamlessly to jazz age Mexico.
Shamed by Linda Castillo
When an Amish grandmother is brutally murdered and one of her young granddaughters is taken Chief Kate Burkholder has her hands full. It helps that she has grown up in the community and is able to straddle the line between the two diverse groups. As secrets begin to come to the surface, the murders increase and the window of time to recover the girl gets away from them. Intense and the mix of Plain and English language and cultures makes for an interesting spin on your average police drama. Castillo's fans will not be disappointed.
Sometimes even good kids find themselves in over their heads and that is exactly what happens to Elwood. Where other boys might have gotten a slap of the wrist, Elwood finds himself being sent to a notorious boys reform school that is not concerned with reform or schooling these kids. Elwood is gifted but the only learning he will do at Nickel is to obey, don't ask questions and keep your head down. He is beaten, abused and mistreated as much as the other Nickel boys and yet he just wants to rise among the ranks and get out.
One of the other boys there takes him under his wing and tries to teach him some street smarts but even the best among them might never get out. Based on a true school in Florida, this is a sad story of the Jim Crow South where blacks exist only if the white men in charge allow it. Shocking but steeped in beautiful prose, it is a young boy's belief in something good. Colson Whitehead's words will stay with you.
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