A thriller with enough turns you might get dizzy. Friends celebrate Jay's 40th birthday not knowing it would be his last. Molly discovers her husband's body the next morning and can't believe that their closest friends are now suspects. As the detective begins to pick apart their lives more suspects and secrets start to come out. Are any of them as innocent as their friends believed? Turns out you might not know your friends or spouse as well as you think. This is a good pick for fans of smart female detectives or those thrillers with women running from a painful past. 3 1/2 stars
An "only in NYC" story of spying neighbors, strong sister relationships and taking chances. Getting caught naked on the rooftop of your building with a younger co-worker might not have been the best decision Jane made and while she is not happy about having her law license suspended and being under house arrest, it does give her time to re-evaluate her career and life. Her twin sister Jackleen is only too happy to keep Jane busy with an idea to boost Jackleen's online presence along with another ankle bracelet neighbor. This is a REAR WINDOW meets ONLY MURDERERS IN THE BUILDING kind of ROMCOM with strong ties to family and knowing when to take the leap and try something new. These are strong women who don't swoon or go running to daddy for help but instead take on life full on which is why they are perfect, honest and real as only Elinor Lipman can deliver. For fans of the escapades of Tracy Flick, Finlay Donovan and Bernadette. 4 1/2 stars
2022 was a great year for mysteries both historical and the present. THE CARTOGRAPERS by Peng Shepherd, THE LAST PARTY by Clare Mackintosh, THE DIAMOND EYE by Kate Quinn, THE MAID by Nita Prose and DAISY DARKER by Alice Feeney to name a few.
Time to give shout outs to some of the wonderful reads of 2022. These are some that touched my heart and spoke to my soul with marvelous character development. REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES by Shelby Van Pelt, THE MEASURE by Nikki Erlick, NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO PANIC by Kevin Wilson, THE WINNERS by Fredrik Backman, THESE PRECIOUS DAYS by Ann Patchett, THE HERO OF THIS BOOK by Elizabeth McCracken and SPELLS FOR FORGETTING by Adrianne Young.
Willowjean (Wil) Parker and her boss P.I Lillian Pentecost are on the trail of a literary serial killer. Their new client is a female crime author who makes a living writing gruesome murder mysteries for a magazine. She writes under an assumed name to keep her secret past hidden but lately someone has begun killing people based on the methods she used in her recently published pieces. Wil goes undercover at the magazine to try and flesh out the killer and before you know it both she is pulled into danger. This is a clever series that features unusual characters outside of the stereotypical 40's private investigator role. They don't think twice about using whatever hidden weapon they have handy or shy away from the messy stuff. I can't wait for more of this dynamic duo from the master of crime noir. Readers of Mickey Spillane style crime novels minus the femme fatale client will appreciate this series. 4 stars
Lena is fragile and often alone due to the polio she contracted as a child but since her dad is a famous illusionist with a traveling circus life is never boring. She prefers the quiet to the spotlight throwing herself into her books until the day she discovers a young boy almost frozen and by saving his life, he saves hers. Alexandre is a jewish orphan and with WWII looming on the horizon it is not safe unless they change his identity and Lena's father teaches him to be an illusionist insuring his place in the circus. Starting out as the best of friends Lena and Alexandre grow to feel much more for each other only to be torn apart when disaster strikes. One goes off to follow dreams, the other needs to survive and have the chance to repair the past but neither can really forget the other. This is a beautiful WWII story that mirrors the horrors of war with the innocence of young love and the wonders of modern medicine. A story of following your dreams and never losing hope even when it looks hopeless. Readers of WWII historical fiction will appreciate this as much as fans of circus stories like WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.
Take the brave but lonely heroine from WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING and put her in the dystopian world beginning again in STATION ELEVEN and you have a bit of an idea of the wonder of THE LIGHT PIRATE. A bad hurricane is coming and with it ushers in a new landscape and level of uncertainty. Lives are lost, a baby will be born and one family will never recover. Fast forward and that same baby named for the hurricane is growing up with only an older woman as company in a very hostile Florida whose climate and decay is becoming more dangerous every day.
This elegantly written story is one of loneliness, trust and family where you find it as much as it is the dichotomy of beauty and incredible violence of nature. Dystopic with a touch of magical realism but also full of human strength and frailty. The audio version is just as magical and I would listen to this on a road trip to Florida. 5 stars
Another enjoyable adventure in the wilds of Alaska with an author hiding out from the man who kidnapped her. Of course she can't help herself from getting into the village's problems from missing people, dead bodies and her fugitive mom possibly showing up.
This is an imaginative series with seemingly cold neighbors who are cozy warm on the inside. Great audio thanks to Libro.fm 4 stars
Saskia is a musical protege and her parents have encouraged her musical gifts from the start. Used to attention on and off the stage she is more disciplined and controlled than other girls her age but just as innocent. It was only a matter of time before someone would want that control. Now she is a woman home again after the death of her mom from an illness she knew nothing about. Saskia expects to inherit her childhood home and is floored along with her dad, to find out that her mother has given it to the one person who should never have it. Saskia's blood begins to boil as she re-examines her childhood and the events that took place. Will she be able to convince him to give up his claim or is there another way to get back her birthright. Once again this author dives into the tricky world of childhood stars and the emotional scaring that can happen along the way. A blend of MY DARK VANESSA and THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT this is an emotional and powerful story interspersed with a touch of feminist fairy tales taken from the books that Saskia's mom wrote. Masterfully written, the story seamlessly jumps between present day and her memories of what she thought happened years before but now sees with much more clarity. 4 stars
There are only a handful of books about mothering that will have 60 year old grandmothers shouting in agreement as much as their daughters and some granddaughters are. This is one of them. While we have made some improvements in the workforce we have not taken any great strides in correcting the misconceptions and reality of becoming a mother. The author takes us through her pregnancies, births, hidden costs and adjustments where she found herself in a hostile environment trapped between guilt and frustration at not being able to live up to the "super mom" myth. Social media, the work culture and dealing with the guilt of staying at home and giving up a successful career you have spent time and money creating to the guilt of trying to have both and failing at both. The author gives a no frills honest account of what she sees as an impossible situation with unattainable goals. The odds are stacked against new moms and it is just one jenga piece away from falling down. 4 stars
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