Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Other Child by Lucy Atkins

Tess, a photographer, moves with her American husband, Greg, from England to Boston so he can take a new job. Greg, a pediatric heart surgeon, is away a lot anyway, but Tess finds it particularly stressful to be alone with her nine-year-old son, Joe, and pregnant as well. Greg had made it clear to Tess that he never wanted children of his own, another complication in Tess' life. Soon, threatening messages begin to appear on the family's doorstep and Tess feels like someone is watching them and may have even been inside their house. Tess also begins to wonder how well she knows Greg and if he might not be entirely truthful about his past... The Other Child is a suspenseful page turner in the style of Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie and Until You're Mine by Samantha Hayes.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig

During World War II in New York City, Dr. Kate Schulyer works at a hospital housed in a mansion. Kate knows that her mother, Lucy, lived at the property before she was married, when it was a boardinghouse--which the reader sees as Lucy's story is told. A third tale involves a woman named Olive and takes place in 1892, when the residence was the home of the wealthy Pratt family.  How are the stories of Kate, Lucy, and Olive related? In The Forgotten Room, the trio of authors weave tales of secrets, love, and longing.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Winter Girl by Matt Marinovich

Photographer Scott accompanies his wife, Elise, to the Hamptons to be with her father, Victor, who only has a few months to live. While Elise spends her time at the hospital, Scott becomes intrigued with the house next door to Victor's. It's winter and Scott doesn't really have a lot to do during the day. Soon, Scott is breaking into the house and trying to piece together a story about the owner's lives. Elise becomes involved, too, and their lives will never be the same again...  Give to people who enjoy Gone Girl , The Silent Wife, and Peter Swanson.

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

Maya Burkett is an army veteran and recent widow raising her two-year-old daughter, Lily, on her own.  A friend of Maya's gives her a secret nanny cam so Maya can make sure her daughter is being taken care of while Maya is not at home.  One day, as Maya is looking at the footage, she's stunned to see her dead husband, Joe, with Lily. Can Joe really still be alive or is someone playing games with her? Maya is further puzzled when the police confess that the gun that was used to kill Joe was also the one used in her sister Claire's death four months ago. Not sure who she can trust, Maya knows she must find the answers she needs in order to move on. In Fool Me Once, Coben has written another thriller that will keep you turning the pages late in the night.  It will be published in March.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

A job as the cook at a home for people with dementia is exactly what Eve Bennett needs to keep her daughter in her current school and to help her finances. Soon, Eve becomes involved in the residents' lives, especially Anna, who is only 38 and has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. Eve sees how Anna is emotionally attached to the only other person her age in the facility, Luke.  Eve, though, doesn't agree with the decision to keep Luke and Anna apart because she can see how much they mean to each other. Eve also has to cope with her own life changes, such as being newly single and the disapproval of many in the town for her husband's illegal financial activities. The Things We Keep was enjoyable, but is lacking the depth of character offered by similar authors, like Jo-Ann Mapson, Lisa Genova, and Elin Hilderbrand.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

On the eve of World War I, Beatrice Nash secures a job as the Latin teacher in the Sussex town of Rye. As a child, Beatrice traveled the world with her father, who was a professor and writer. Following his recent death, she now has to make her own way in the world. Local resident Agatha Kent, who helped Beatrice obtain the position, takes her under her wing. Agatha is aunt to Hugh Grange (who is training to be a doctor) and his cousin, Daniel Bookham (a poet).  The Summer Before the War follows these four characters and the villagers as the war changes their lives forever. Another memorable read from Simonson, although at times the book was very leisurely-paced. It will be published in March.

My Favorite Books of 2015

The books I enjoyed most last year include two first novels and a couple of mysteries.

In alphabetical order by author:

The Crossing by Michael Connelly

Even after twenty novels featuring Harry Bosch, I still get excited when a new one comes out. He is one author that continues to produce great reads year after year.

The Precipice by Paul Doiron

I know I should probably include new authors on my list of favorites, but this is Doiron's third appearance on my yearly list.  Yes, the mystery series is that good.

Golden State by Stephanie Kegan

Kegan's take on the question of "What would you do if you found out your brother was the Unabomber?" was a compelling story of family relationships.

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

A first novel with wonderful descriptions of food, quirky characters, and a memorable story.