Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman

Ruth has always been in the shadow of her beautiful younger sister, Millie. Throughout childhood, their mother always had big plans for what Millie's life would be like, but never paid attention to Ruth's accomplishments, even though she was considered quite intelligent. Now, as adults during World War II, Ruth and Millie haven't see each other in five years. When Millie's husband is killed in the war, she moves to Springfield, Massachusetts to live with Ruth and her family. Ruth's husband, Arthur, is a scientist at the Springfield Armory, and Millie ends up getting a job helping assemble weapons there. Will Ruth and Millie be able to heal the rift between them that has grown even wider over the years? The Wartime Sisters explores the sisters' lives along with those of their friends in the large Armory community.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Last Woman Standing by Amy Gentry

Dana Diaz is living in Austin and trying to get a big break as a stand-up comedian. One night after a set, she meets Amanda Dorn. While having a drink they commiserate on how they've been targets of abuse by different men. Soon Dana finds herself in over her head when Amanda gets rid of a guy who caused Dana pain and then expects Dana to get revenge on a man who ruined Amanda's career at a company. Dana's life spirals out of control as she realizes that Amanda has a stranglehold over her that will be hard to get out of. Last Woman Standing is a #metoo suspenseful tale, perfect for fans of Peter Swanson.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

Journalist Martin Scarsden has come to the remote town of Riversend to write a story about how the town is doing a year after the local priest, Byron Swift, killed five people before a morning church service. He finds a town limping along, exacerbated by a drought, and the residents full of secrets. Soon, some start confiding in Martin and he is able publish a story that brings more reporters to town, but which also threatens more violence and the possible end of his career. Give this leisurely-paced first novel to readers who enjoy Jane Harper.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The Light Over London by Julia Kelly

When Cara Hargraves finds a diary as she is going through the items of an estate for an appraisal, she is intrigued. It's from 1940, and her boss, Jock, lets her take it home after the person hiring them says they have no interest in it. Soon, Cara is immersed in the story of Louise Keene, who defies her mother to train as a gunner girl to help with the war effort. Louise also details her romance with Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton. Cara is determined to reunite the diary with Louise or someone from her family. Cara also finds herself moving on from her failed marriage with new neighbor, Liam McGown (a history professor), who teams up with her to locate Louise. The Light Over London brings to light the incredibly courageous work of the Ack Ack Girls aka gunner girls during World War II.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Burglar by Thomas Perry

Elle makes a living burglarizing wealthy homes in Los Angeles. Abandoned by her family as a teen, it's the only way she knows how to survive. One day, she stumbles upon three people dead in a triple murder and is accidentally recorded at the scene. Even though she erases the footage, someone is after her and wants her dead. The Burglar recounts Elle's story as she tries to stay one step ahead of the those who want to do her harm. While I really enjoyed the first half of the story and had a hard time putting the book down, the ending was not as satifying as the set up.

My Favorite Books of 2018

Four books exploring relationships, plus one suspense novel were the most enjoyable books I read last year.

In alphabetical order, by author:

Wildwood by Elinor Florence

Florence's novel set in the wilds of Alberta, combined with the past and present storylines of women surviving and thriving in harsh conditions, was a satisfying read.

The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman

Kauffman gives the reader such an unforgettable main character in Mikey, along with a great sense of place of Buffalo and a strong storyline looking back on childhood friendships in adulthood.

The Other Side of Everything by Lauren Doyle Owens

I'm a sucker for novels that explore relationships through the lense of a crime, and Owens nails it in this one.

The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker

I also love novels that provide a fresh take on a character finding what they want out of life, which Parker does in this debut.

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

This quirky character study was one of my favorites of Tyler's novels.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Ann Hughes is fourteen when she goes to work as an embroiderer for fashion designer Norman Hartnell. Eleven years later, she has become extremely good at her job and is chosen to work on Princess Elizabeth's dress for her wedding. Miriam Dassin, one of Ann's coworkers, is also selected to help with the gown. Miriam has recently immigrated from France and suffered much trauma during the war. The Gown recounts the friendship of Ann and Miriam throughout the time that they work together at Hartnell. Alternating with that story is a contemporary one of Ann's granddaughter, Heather, in Canada as she discovers her grandmother's interesting past. A really enjoyable story of life in London after World War II. As an added bonus for Robson's fans, the book features characters from her novel, Goodnight from London.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

After the War is Over by Jennifer Robson

With World War I ending, Charlotte goes back to work at a constituency office in Liverpool and lodging with two elderly spinsters. Her thoughts at times turn to the love of her life, Edward, now Lord Cumberland. Their different backgrounds and Edward's burden of managing his family's estate is preventing them from taking their relationship any further. In addition, Edward, who lost a leg fighting in the Great War, has isolated himself from everyone and is drinking too much. Will Charlotte be the one to help Edward heal? In this second book of the Great War trilogy, the focus is on Charlotte, the best friend of Lilly (from book one) and Lilly's brother, Edward. An interesting look at women's lives in England between the wars.