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.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

When the Conti's babysitter cancels, Anne and Marco decide that they can still go to dinner next door. They will take turns every half hour checking on their six-month-old daughter, Cora, After leaving the party at 1 a.m., they arrive home to find their daughter missing. The police investigation into Cora's abduction finds an open front door and a motion detector light on their back door that has been tampered with. Who would have kidnapped Cora? Was it for a large ransom from the baby's wealthy grandparents, or for another reason? The Couple Next Door explores the secrets that Anne and Marco might be keeping from each other, in addition to their fight to get Cora back. I thought that the novel was an ok read. If you enjoy this type of domestic suspense, The Other Child by Lucy Atkins and Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie are two of this genre that are hard to put down.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

In 1938, Marianne von Lingenfels makes a promise to watch over the families of German resistors. As the war comes to an end, she finds herself taking in Benita and her son, Martin, and Ania and her two sons, Anselm and Wolfgang, at the family's run-down castle. The three women struggle to survive on their own as they come to terms with the enormous toll the war has taken on them. Taking place over almost sixty years, the novel explores the lives of everyday Germans during the war, a view that hasn't really been explored at length in popular fiction. An absorbing read that would be great for discussion. Give to people who enjoyed Lilac Girls and other female-centered World War II fiction.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Murder Is for Keeps by Elizabeth J. Duncan

While painting a watercolor at Gwrych Castle, Penny Brannigan discovers the dead body of local resident, John Hardwick. Hardwick and others had been working on the gardens of the long-vacant and crumbling estate. Not knowing if he died of natural causes or more sinister means, the police have their hands full when human bones are discovered on the property. Penny and her friend, recently retired DCI Gareth Davies, are fascinated with the history of the castle and find themselves involved in both cases. I always look forward to reading the newest book in the Penny Brannigan series because of the characters and the small town setting of Llanelen, Wales.