Monday, December 29, 2014

Dreams of Home by Gwen Kirkwood

After serving in World War II, Steven Caraford wants nothing more than to be a farmer like his father, Eddy. However, his half-brother, Fred nurses a lifelong jealousy and hatred for Steven and would like nothing more than to see him fail in his endeavors. Steven has a lot of support from his parents, neighbors and friends--like Megan Oliphant, the sister of his best friend (who died during the war). Will Steven fulfill his ambition of being in charge of a farm and also win Megan's love? Dreams of Home is the first book in this family saga series and is filled with details of the everyday life on a farm in the late 1940's in Scotland. It's a gentle read, perfect for those who enjoy heartwarming stories.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody

In 1922, presumed widow Kate Shackleton craves her independence, even though her mother would like her to stop private investigating and concentrate on more feminine pursuits. Kate agrees to help an old friend, Tabitha Braithwaite, find out what happened to her father, Joshua. He disappeared six years ago after it appeared that he attempted suicide. Kate and her assistant, Sykes, immerse themselves into both the public and private lives of the people from the local mill (Joshua was the owner), in order to find out what happened to him.  As questions are asked, danger descends upon those involved. Dying in the Wool is the first book in the Kate Shackleton series. It's a good choice for those who enjoy the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear and the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos

Fifteen years ago, Melanie Denison was Meg Miller, a young girl whose father, Ramsey, murdered her mother, Allison. After the crime, Meg was put into the witness protection program and taken to West Virginia to live with her uncle and aunt. Now, at nineteen, Melanie is beginning to chafe at all the restrictions placed on her by her family and decides to go back to the town of Silver Bay, New Jersey, where she was born. She wants to stop looking over her shoulder all the time and finally know the real story of what happened all those years ago. If she can find her father, Ramsey, who's been on the run since then, that's even better. In his second novel, Kardos takes the reader back in the past, before the crime happened, into the minds of both Ramsey and Allison, and we discover that the truth and what Melanie believes may be two very different things.  It will be published in February.

The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward

Alice and her husband, Jake, own a very successful BBQ restaurant in Austin. They long for a child, despite having had to return a baby they were close to adopting back to his birth mother. While in Honduras, eleven-year-old Carla scours her town's garbage dump and tries to keep herself and her younger brother safe from violence and the perils two children face living on their own. In alternating chapters, The Same Sky tells the stories of Alice and Carla and how their personal lives happen to intersect. It's a journey of sadness and heartache, but ultimately of hope. I've read all of Amanda Eyre Ward's books and she's finally gotten her groove back with this one. As good as her first two novels, Sleep Toward Heaven and How to Be Lost. It's also a great read-alike for Jodi Picoult and Carla Buckley. It will be published in February.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid

When the bones of a man are found hidden away in a building about to be torn down in Edinburgh, DCI Karen Pirie--as head of the Historic Case Unit--is put in charge. With help from a friend who's a forensic anthropologist, they are able to determine that the person died between five and ten years ago. In Oxford, professor Maggie Blake still misses her boyfriend, Dimitar Petrovic, who left her eight years ago--which was about the time someone started carrying out vigilante justice by murdering Serbian men involved in atrocities during the Balkan War. Is Petrovic, a Croatian, the one who's been avenging the violence against his people or was it his skeleton up of the roof of the old building? In this mystery, Val McDermid brings back detective Karen Pirie from her book, A Darker Domain, to explore and unravel the mystery of Dimitar Petrovic's life.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Until You're Mine by Samantha Hayes

Claudia Morgan-Brown is soon to have her first child when she hires nanny Zoe Harper. Claudia lives with her two young stepsons and husband, James, who is away weeks at a time with his job in the Navy. However, Zoe is not who she seems and is spying on the family. The reader also knows that she's planning leaving her job when the baby is born. Meanwhile, married detectives Lorraine and Adam are investigating a series of murders of pregnant women around Birmingham. As the story progresses, the reader wonders if Claudia will be next or if the police will be able to stop the brutal deaths.