Friday, June 16, 2017

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

Liv and Nora, who are first cousins, decide to go on a Christmas cruise to Latin America with their families. They take their four children, aged six to eleven, ashore for a zip-line tour, while their husbands go golfing. Then, the kids get separated from Liv and Nora, who become frantic with worry. In a foreign country with limited diplomatic help, Liv and Nora, who speak no Spanish, hope they get their children back safely. Do Not Become Alarmed is a fast-paced tale told from the point of view of the children and their parents and is a great read-alike for Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay. A sure bet summer read.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Living in New York with her boyfriend, Jeff, Quincy has tried to put her past behind her. When she was in college, she was the only survivor of the Pine Cottage massacre, in which five of her friends were killed. With that incident, she became known in the media as one of "The Final Girls." Two other women, Lisa Milner and Samantha Boyd, suffered similar tragedies before her and are also part of the trio. When Lisa is found dead in her home with a preliminary verdict of suicide and Quincy discovers that Lisa sent her an e-mail about wanting to talk just before she died, Quincy wonders if Lisa really did kill herself. Then, Samantha shows up at Quincy's door, forcing her to really think about her past and who she is as a person. Will facing what happened at Pine Cottage allow Quincy to finally heal or be her destruction? Final Girls is a fast-paced tale similar in writing style to the mysteries of Linda Castillo. It will be published next month.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Exit Strategy by Steve Hamilton

In this second book of the Nick Mason series, Nick is still indebted to criminal Darius Cole and is tasked with eliminating the witnesses who put Cole in prison. Cole figures if everyone who testified against him is dead, he will walk out of prison a free man, but both the authorities and the man Mason replaced as Cole's henchman are onto him. With Cole continuing to threaten to harm those Mason holds dear, will Mason switch sides?  While I really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Second Life of Nick Mason, this book's plot was slight and not as satisfying.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Even though teenager Ginny Moon has found a stable home life with her Forever Mom and Dad, she yearns to be reunited with her mother (Gloria) and Baby Doll. In fact, Ginny cannot stop thinking about Baby Doll and whether she's OK, since Ginny was once responsible for looking after her. This, despite the fact that Ginny herself was only nine years old when, four years ago, Ginny was taken away from Gloria because of neglect. With single-minded determination, Ginny makes it her goal, no matter what the cost, to be with Baby Doll again. Told through the eyes of Ginny, who has autism, Ginny Moon is a touching, humorous, and true-to-life view of how someone with autism sees the world. Ginny Moon is a character that readers won't soon forget...

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant lives a solitary existence working in an office with weekly phone calls to her mother. When she and a new co-worker, Raymond, help an older man named Sammy who has fallen in the street, she finds herself drawn into both Raymond's and Sammy's lives. Growing up in foster homes and having suffered trauma when she was young, she has a hard time not being judgmental, but slowly she begins to be touched by her new friends' kindness and concern for her. Eleanor has also developed somewhat of a crush on the lead singer of a band. She sets out to make herself over to win his affections. Will Eleanor come out of her shell, be able to put her past behind her and find happiness?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

What could have led Rachel, a journalist, to shoot her husband? In Since We Fell, the reader learns that Rachel has major trust issues after her mother passed away without revealing who Rachel's father is. Rachel also suffers from post-traumatic stress after witnessing horrible events while reporting in Haiti. When Rachel begins to suspect that her husband has not been entirely truthful to her, her investigative instincts go into overdrive and lead her down a path she couldn't possibly have imagined. While the book begins slowly and is leisurely-paced for at least the first third, soon you are engrossed in Rachel's story and can't put it down. The relationship between Rachel and her husband is very reminiscent of the marriage in Gone Girl and readers of the novels of Peter Swanson will find much to love here.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

The residents of Beartown live for hockey.  They are hoping that, if the town's junior team wins their match at the national tournament, it might be a turnaround for their economically depressed small town. In the novel, the reader gets to meet many of Beartown's inhabitants--the players, their parents, coaches, and the people who work for the club and are on the board. Then something happens that threatens to destroy the town's dreams, and individuals have to choose sides. No one comes out of the experience unchanged. In Beartown, Backman immerses you in the setting of a diverse Sweden, ugly at times, but hopeful as well.