Chloe Davis has never completely shaken the dark murkiness of her child memories: a man carrying a shovel, six missing girls, her father in prison for their murders. But twenty years later, miles from her childhood home, Chloe has earned her Ph.D. and is a psychologist with a private practice. She has her own home. She's engaged. She's moved on. But then the cycle begins again as teenage girls start disappearing in an eerily similar manner to those crimes committed by her father. Is it a copycat? Is it coincidence? Is it her fault? This nuanced suspense kept my nose buried in its pages long after I should have gone to sleep. A riveting debut! I can't wait to see what Stacy Wellingham comes up with next!
Part ghost story, part family drama, this coming-of-age MG novel focuses on Essie O'Neill, a girl who keeps a detailed list of all her fears. When her widowed mother marries a doctor who works on an island for severely ill quarantined patients, Essie has even more to fear, especially when her nightmares involving a red door become increasingly real with each night. Her mistrust of her new stepfather and her fear of the lsland leads her on a quest to convince her mother to get them off the island before it's too late. Eerily timely with regards to the recent pandemic, this story reveals that even the most deeply-rooted fears can be eased with a bit of listening, awareness, and trust. Recommend for readers who enjoy darker stories with spooky elements.
The Thursday Murder Club of the Coopers Chase Retirement Community enjoys speculating on theories to cold murder cases, until a current murder, and then a second, fall right into their laps. And they're off and running, inserting themselves and their unconventional methods into the investigation by aligning themselves with a novice police officer and her reluctant boss. Funny, clever & twisty, this quick-paced, delightful read comes with endearing characters and a reminder that the elderly still have plenty of spark and the right to a good bit of adventure.
Thoughtful exploration into the experience of watching a loved one succumb to illness and the self-discovery that unfolds throughout that emotional journey. A strong novel with textured characters and evocative writing.
At times Maiklem's finds are enchanting; at other times revolting. But in all cases, this book provides a fascinating peek into London's history as revealed through the treasures discovered along the Thames RIver's muddy shores.
Bittersweet story tenderly delivered and with nuanced characters. The seven multiple points of view were distinctive, in-depth, and engaging. The setting, Atlantic City in the summer of 1934, sizzled with energy--I could practically hear the waves crashing and smell the salt air! The darkness encroching on those of the Jewish faith during this time period is delicately and honestly depicted. The story opens with tragedy but ends with a stong sense of hope and the enduring devotion of family. Beautifully written! A stunning debut by Rachel Beanland!
A good unreliable narrator -- I mean photographer -- is hard to find, right? In this novel, you'll find both. The pacing and execution of this psychological suspense novel are spot on. A deftly-written debut of jealosy, fixation, and reinvention that will kep you wondering long after you've read the final chapter.
When his dear sister-in-law dies and his brother checks himself into rehab, Patrick is charged with caring for his niece and nephew for the summer. Patrick--nicknamed GUP (for Gay Uncle Patrick)--reluctantly takes on the responsibility, but doing so forces him to confront several elephants in the room, including his unexplained departure from a successful acting career and his inability to move on in any relationships even years after the loss of his love, Joe. Delightful and sweet, this novel reminds us that when helping others deal with heartbreaking loss, we often are forced to confront--and finally deal with--our own pain. Equal parts funny and touching, THE GUNCLE is well worth the read.
Fun satisfying rom-com with engaging characters and lively dialog. An enjoyable read!
It's the summer of 1962, and Heddy, a poor girl from Brooklyn, has just found out she lost her scholarship for her senior year at Wellesley. While working as a summer nanny for a wealthy family on Martha's Vineyard, she hopes to find a solution that will allow her to finish school. Along the way she learns having money doesn't ensure happiness and appearances don't always match up with reality (no surprise on either point, but Heddy has much to learn about such things). Definitely a page turner in that I cared about Heddy and was curious to see how she'd work out her situation. An interesting cast of characters, a growing friendship, a love triangle, social class conflicts, and a financial shell game add to the appeal and intrigue. This engaging story had a main character I genuinely cared about, plot twists that upped the tension, and a summer island setting that becomes an appealing character in the story.
A suspensful YA with vivid imagery and a perfect depiction of determined spirit in the main character, Hwani, who travels to the island of Jeju, her birthplace, to solve the disappearance of her father. This descriptive historical fiction set in 1426 Korea caught me up in the delicate and raw relationship between Hwani and her sister. Hwani discovers as much about herself as she does about her father's disappearance, which adds to the rich complexity of the story. Beautifully written.
I enjoyed ALL ADULTS HERE especially for it's unique premise: Astrid, a widowed older parent of three grown children, closely examines how she actually did as a parent (and wants to fix what she may have done wrong). After witnessing the horrific death of an acquaintance, Astrid begins an emotional journey of self-examination and comes to the realization that life is short and she's tired of hiding who she really is. (She also learns to let loose a little!) I found it an interesting perspective to see a mature woman taking control of her own life, following her heart in a way that may surprise her children (she's in love with a woman) and discovering who she really is in her heart. An interesting novel about the impact our words and actions have on others and on being true to yourself.
Fun, engaging read with a dynamic, relatable main character and an unexpected mystery. Delves into the complexities of friendships, the struggles of self-perception vs. public opinion, and the consequences--positive and negative-- of social media. An enjoyable novel!
THE FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL & NEV is a uniquely-presented jounalistic story of the power of music, the influence of public figures, the importance of social justice, and the complexities of perception. This brilliantly written debut by Dawnie Walton blends the themes of music, race relations, social justice & equality, and private motivations versus public persona. Perfect for music lovers, those nostalgic for early 1970's settings, and anyone who appreciates exceptional writing. Highly recommend.
Twin sisters. A controlling mother. A suspicious death. It seems clear who the responsible sister is & who needs looking after. But sometimes when the circumstances and stakes shift, the truth seeps out in unexpected ways. Told from two perspectives in alternating chapters, this suspense novel also has an unexpected touch of light humor that adds to its complexity and allure. This one kept me questioning and turning the page. Definitely recommend!
Middle grade novel in verse about a young girl struggling to be accepted for who she is and the bullying she faces because of her weight. An honest examination of the damage done when people refuse to looking past physical appearance to embrace the unique, beautiful person within.
I was enthralled with this multi-narrator novel that layered late 18th century and current-day London in a delightful tincture of intrugue, betrayal, revenge, loyalty, and survival. The juxtaposition of Nella and Eliza's 1791 narrative--involving the workings of an apothecary that provides "remedies" for use by women who've been wronged-- with Caroline's current-day predicament of being solo on her 10th anniversary trip due to her recent discovery of her husband's affair is compelling and well-developed. The mystery and intrigue of Nella's apothecary and the motivation behind it highlights the lack of options that were available to women wronged in the past. An atmospheric page-turner. A strong debut! Highly recommend!
Page-turner about a woman, Dannie, who, on the night of her engagement, has a vivid time-travel experience. In it she lands exactly five years into the future for 1 hour and is with a different man. Nearly 4 1/2 years later, still unmarried, she meets the man from her premonition. Dannie tries to do everything to marry her fiancé before her premonition comes true, learning in the process that a glimpse into your future may not mean what you think. An entertaining read!
Delightful picture book about a baby kingfisher who takes a leap and learns how to fly...by falling. In this story about trying new things and trusting the process, Tabor incorporates light visual humor and tightly written text to convey a message about trusting your instincts and learning to spread your wings. This message is delivered in a subtle, non-didactic manner. And those illustrations? Engaging and fun! A true gem!
Atmospheric, witty, intriguing, and smart, this 19th century London mystery kept me guessing until the final chapters. Thoroughly enjoyable start to finish!
A delightful mix of mystery and cupcakes! When Zoe, who dreams of becoming a famous baker, receives a letter from her incarcerated father on her 12th birthday, she finds herself determined to prove the innocence of this man she's never met. Her mother, however, wants Zoe to have nothing to do with her dad, so Zoe must sneak around in her efforts to correspond with her father and uncover the truth. A novel about the power of hope, forgiveness, and believing in others.
Delightful! I want to visit The House in the Cerulean Sea! I'd eat cherry ice cream with Linus and Arthur, garden with Talia, listen to records with Lucy, and write poetry with Sal! A beautifully written story laced with humor and infused with the theme of kindness, compassion and acceptance. Highly recommend!
Nothing To See Here is a funny, touching story about a young woman, Lillian, who has little direction in life, her unlikely friendship with a former boarding school roommate, and the interesting turn Lillian’s life takes when she suddenly finds herself the caretaker of two children who just happen to spontaneously combust when upset. Based on the unusual premise involving children who catch on fire, I wasn't sure what to expect from this story, but Nothing To See Here is now on my list of favorite books. I adored Lillian's wit, honesty, and insightful commentary. The complexity of her friendship with Madison, whose stepchildren become Lillian's charges, deftly shows the role social class and power have on our interactions with others. The development of Lillian's bond with the twins in her care unfolds beautifully, capturing the hesitation and hope inherent in new relationships. The humor in this novel is spot-on; there was a perfect balance of comedy and poignancy. This book tenderly highlights that it takes much more than a biological connection to be a loving parent. Highly recommend!
With light humor, this story addresses heavier themes of strained family and friendship dynamics and what positive changes can happen when given the opportunity to see one's impact on others from an observer's POV. Maxwell keeps getting into trouble, but then he takes his antics one step too far. When he realizes everyone is completely fed up with him, he wishes he'd never been born...and his wish comes true. Getting the chance to see how the lives of those he cares about would be different without him helps Maxwell see does have a positive impact but that he also has much to improve. But first, he's got to get back into his life! A modern-day, MG version of It's a Wonderful Life with the added element of a magical object with a mysterious history. A fun read.
Beautifully written story of twin sisters from a tight-knit southern black town whose lives take very different roads when, several years after running away together, one returns to their mother in their hometown while the other runs even farther--passing as white, marrying a white man, and living a far more affluent lifestyle. When the twins' daughters' paths cross years later, the lines of racial identity, family ties, secrecy, loyalty, and personal desires become tangled and blurred. This story examines a person's connection to one's roots and family versus a person's decision to follow their own desires and determine one's own path. Told over the span of several decades and from multiple viewpoints, this novel reveals and examines the complexities of family dynamics and personal choices. A smart, engaging, thought-provoking read.
Set in 1981 SoHo, ALL THE GREYS ON GREENE STREET tells the story of Ollie (Olympia) , who is struggling to understand her father's abandonment and her mother's refusal to get out of bed. What is keeping Ollie somewhat afloat? Her artistic talent--which serves as a kind of therapy for her--her two close friends, Alex and Richard, and her father's art restoration business partner, Apollo, who is like a second father. The rich details of an artist's observances and a layered ensemble cast make this atmospheric MG resonate with personality and hope as Ollie suffers the fallout of her father's abandonment and her mother's depression. Could be a long, heavy read for some younger MG readers, but ALL THE GREYS is a beautiful handling of difficult subject matter. The underlying thread of seeing the world through art and color is deftly done.
Emotional story of three siblings and their varying experiences and coping strategies with family struggles and personal anxieties. Set in January 1986, the story is framed around the impending launch of the space shuttle Challenger. Bird dreams of being a shuttle commander but feels unsupported by her disjointed family. Bird's twin brother, Fitch, is obsessed with video games and is struggling to control his volatile temper, and Cash, their older brother, is recovering from being cut from the basketball team and fears being held back in 7th grade a second time. As their parents show more interest in arguing with each other and no interest in their children, the three siblings discover strength in turning to each other for support and a renewed belief in themselves.