WWI has just begun to pull the men out of England -young and old. Sisters Peggy and Maude only have each other working in Oxford bookbinding by day and home on their houseboat crammed with publisher castoffs at night. Peggy feels the weight of the world caring for her special twin sister as she secretly yearns to "read the books , not just bind them". With encouragement she applies to Oxford and opens her heart to an injured soldier but it will take more than a little luck and some heavy decisions for her dreams to become reality. Filled with quietly courageous characters these women did what they could to help in a war that took so much from them. Peggy must make the tough choice to follow her heart or her heart's desire in this quiet tale of British stoicism. Fans of the author's previous book will delight in the continuation of the rich history of Oxford. 4 stars
Ren Hopper enjoys his solitude working as an Enforcement Ranger in Yellowstone Nat. Park. He has seen it all from idiot tourists approaching wolf packs to log jam photographers following bison herds and bears. The one thing he has no tolerance for is poaching or harassing either wildlife or those trying to protect the wildlife. When his friend, a wolf watcher biologist, falls prey to a deadly trap Ren goes on the hunt to find out who is responsible and put an end to the violence. This book beautifully portrays the dichotomy of necessary tourism with the people who live off the land near the park and those trying to protect the fragile ecosystem. A stunning outdoor adventure for readers of CJ Box and Alice Henderson. 4 stars
Behind the backdrop of New York in the 1950's the Chins were trying to walk a tightrope to fit in like many Chinese Americans. Dad and his longtime girlfriend along with two brothers are trying to blend in but keep in contact with their mother and family still in China. They all have very real parts of their lives to hide - dad is involved with a white woman, the oldest brother is having an affair with a married woman and the younger brother, Victor has just been diagnosed with Hansen's Disease otherwise known as leprosy. Victor is sent for treatment to Carville Louisiana which feels more like a jail than hospital but soon begins to find family there in the other patients. Not knowing if he will be there for a few months or never be allowed to leave he still straddles the life he left, the secret he does not share with his mother in China and his new passions - music and another patient. A brilliant coming of age story about finding a silver lining in a time of tension and fear of anything outside of the perceived norm be it disease, culture or love. Fascinating historical fiction based on true events. 4 stars
The next installment of the very popular RED RISING series brings back all the familiar characters in yet another battle for supremacy in a galaxy far away. This clever fantasy series takes all the best of greek and roman legendary warfare and warriors puts them in a space environment and adds the elements of class struggle to the mix. In the end they may seem like gods but they are just humans trying to find a balance between uprisings and peace. Fans of Star Wars, Brandon Sanderson and the other titles in the series won't be disappointed. 3 1/2 stars
A gothic mystery set in the heyday of the Italian cinema scene of the 60's with a spooky setting of a remote castello and a woman desperate for her chance at fame.
Silvia needs a big break and gets it when she is suddenly cast in the lead in a horror film being made at her estranged aunt's castello. Between a romantic interest in one of the producers, her aunt's sudden disappearance and horrible night terrors she has little time for anything else, especially ghosts of the past. A dangerous cat and mouse game played out in a spooky Italian castle and a powerful ending. The perfect escape and an easy pick for Agatha Christie fans or gothic mystery lovers.
Amber is a quiet teen involved in a one way love affair with the boy she is tutoring. Their hidden relationship goes out the window when on prom night Amber gives birth to his baby. Dubbed "The Prom Mom" she gets sent to juvie while Joe flees to Texas. Now Amber is back home trying to reconnect with the Baltimore she left all those years ago and also the boy who broke her heart. Joe is happily? married yet involved with someone else and also open to reconnecting with his old tutor.
Like a cat playing with its food the mouse, Laura Lippman throws these two star-crossed people back into their lives and waits to see what will happen. And dear reader, it is plenty. Mind games, colorful pasts, justice and a wild ending are just some of the things readers can look forward to. 4 stars
A journey from having full sight to losing it completely from an incurable disease. As his sight begins to close in an appreciation for other senses kicks in. As optimistic as Andrew Leland is thought out the book he is also very frank about what hurdles he had and those to come. One of the most difficult parts of having this disease is that it is gradual. If you have an accident and are disabled in some way you must adjust to your new world immediately but Andrew needed to learn how to live in a dark world that wasn't dark yet. His anecdotes on culture, history and blind activism is as interesting and his attitude is refreshing. He doesn't shame the world for behaving badly towards the blind but tries to help us see the world through their eyes to understand the difficulties. I think this would be beneficial to someone who has other sight impairments such as glaucoma or inoperable cataracts.. 3 1/2 stars
An Asian inspired fantasy that is like Antony and Cleopatra if they were competing in gladiator games to the death. In a corrupt kingdom the wealthy and royal are sucking the life out of the people who live there. For some an annual game that promises a huge cash prize may be the only way to insure survival. Taking this gladiator game to the next level is the ability for most of the contestants to jump from one body to the next leaving them a way to hide and attack seemingly without warning. Two of the top contestants agree to work together each with their own reason to win the prize and each a fugitive from the crown. Calla's goal is to get rid of the king's oppressive rule which is Anton's goal as well but he needs the hefty prize money too. They agree to work together knowing that if their plan works they will still have to meet each other in a final battle to the death. It was so much easier before they began to care for each other. Fast paced with great world building and horrific battle scenes that will appeal to fans of Pierce Brown's RED RISING series. 4 stars
How do you sit across the table from a monster and not flinch? Jillian Lauren wrote to a convicted killer while researching a book and when he started to tell her everything it began her strange journey down Alice's rabbit hole into the mind of a serial killer. Sam Little strangled over 61 women as confirmed by the FBI and it could be more making him this country's most prolific serial killer. The author carefully worked her way into Sam's confidence gaining access to his detailed memories unlocking the locations of his victims. Not only did this give some closure to the victim's families but added useful information about the psychological makeup of serial killers. I don't know how she managed to visit him in prison for several years slowly gaining his confidence and then working with FBI and police in several states. An interesting psychological study that satisfies our morbid curiosity of the monsters who walk among us. On a spooky side note there is a list of the victims with photographs and the portraits that Sam Little did of them. Guaranteed to make all true crime readers engaged. 4 stars
The second book in the Harlem series has Carney trying his very best to stay on the straight and narrow. His daughter's desperation in scoring Jackson 5 concert tickets will pull him right back into the life he thought he left. All the drama, crime and general stink of New York City in the 70's.
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