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The Family Next Door


By Sally Hepworth

St. Martin's Press 

Psychological Thriller  --  Release Date: March 6, 2018


"The Family Next Door" is set in Australia, where the reader is introduced to the residents who live in the Pleasant Court cul-de-sac. The neighbors are friendly yet each household is facing different circumstances that are common in life.

Essie suffers post-partum depression after delivering her first daughter Mia, and on a walk, she unknowingly leaves her in her pram in the park. Barbara, Essie's mom, resides nearby and is ever vigilant with her daughter. When she discovers Essie alone and sipping tea at a local shop, she takes matters in hand by rescuing Mia. Between her and Essie's husband, they seek medical help for Essie.

Others on the street, such as Fran, and Ange hold on to their own problems which are wreaking havoc on them. Fran assuages her guilt by jogging several times a day after giving birth to her second daughter, hoping running will manage her torment over her transgressions. Ange works as a real estate agent and is raising two boys while her husband, the owner of a photographer's studio is often away from home.

When Isabelle, a single woman moves in next to Essie, there is something about her that fascinates Essie. However, Barbara mistrusts Isabelle and is concerned by Essie's growing friendship with her. Isabelle becomes overly familiar with Essie for she is on a mission that isn't disclosed until Essie has another meltdown and is hospitalized.

It's usual for most families to have skeletons in their closets and secrets they want to conceal, and those in this neighborhood are no different. Twists and turns abound as lives are intertwined making for a compelling psychological mystery.

The First Kiss of Spring


By Emily March

St. Martin's Paperbooks

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: February 27, 2018


Though Caitlin Timberlake has an awesome job and life in New York City, she is lonely. When she attends a friend's wedding in Telluride, Colorado, she meets Josh Tarkington while they get stuck in a ski-lift gondola along with Josh's handicapped dog. Immediately, Caitlin falls for this handsome man whose empathy for his pooch touches her heart. She decides he is the man she will marry.

Josh and Caitlin have dinner together and she invites him to attend the wedding as her guest. Surprisingly, they bump into Caitlin's parents unknowing either would be there. Caitlin, though a grown woman, is embarrassed to think they may suspect she and Josh are having an affair. Then to make matters worse, she finds out Josh is a well-known and well-liked mechanic in her home town of Eternity Springs.

Life changes when Caitlin returns home to open a nursery school. Her folks believe she is chasing Josh, but now that she back, to her this turns out to be a bonus. Though known to be flighty with jobs and unable to settle down, Caitlin is determined to make her new business and life work.

Josh does not commit to anyone, but nothing will deter Caitlin. The sins of his past keep him from relationships, but after an accident leaves him battered, Caitlin takes over his care. He treats her horribly and when he sends her away, her heart is broken.

Yet, somehow Caitlin gets under Josh's skin, and when she learns about his secret life, she doesn't know whether to be angry or amazed. Book #5 of the Eternity Springs series presents secrets and heartbreak but shows when a woman is steadfast in her goals, she can attain her heart's desires.

Maybe This Time


By Nicole McLaughlin

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: February 27, 2018

Jen Mackenzie has been in love with TJ Laughlin since they were both teenagers. But TJ comes from a well-to-do family; Jen knows she would never be accepted into his way of life. Her single mom, Diane, now suffering from cancer, had been an alcoholic, and many times Jen's young peers teased her so she felt she never fit in. When she played the lead role in "Grease" in their high school play, she was transformed and realized her true calling of acting and singing.

Employed for years at the community theater, Jen loses her job due to lack of funds. She also works part-time as a bartender at The Stag, a boutique distillery owned by TJ and two friends. Their receptionist goes on maternity leave and TJ offers Jen her full-time position in the interim. Jen desperately needs the money, so she accepts, finding she and TJ are thrown together constantly.

Unknown to Jen, TJ also carried a torch for her for years. Jen is sassy, flamboyant, and a nonconformist, and so unlike any other women TJ usually dates. The only problem...since their youth, they both shared an animosity which probably stemmed from their secret attraction.

Meanwhile, Jen must deal with Diane's bitterness because of her illness, wishing they could be close, knowing they only have each other. Then when their apartment complex is destroyed by fire, Diane comprehends she's wronged her daughter, especially after TJ gives them both an interim residence and she notices the love and desire in their eyes.

This second book in the Whiskey and Weddings series is a sensual and seductive tale of two independent personalities from different backgrounds finding respect and adulation for one another.

The Broken Girls


By Simone St. James

Berkley Publishing

Mystery/Thriller -- Release Date: March 20, 2018

Idlewild Hall in Vermont housed a boarding school for delinquent, illegitimate, and unwanted girls. In 1950 four roommates Katie, CeCe, Roberta, and Sonia, each with different pasts were close friends who shared their fears and problems. A legend rumored the ghost of a woman named Mary Hand stalked the campus, and some claimed to have actually seen her.

One weekend, Sonia, who managed to escape from a Nazi prison camp visits her elderly relatives but never returns. She hoped they would keep her so she could get out of Idlewild, but her friends suspect she was killed. Was Mary Hand involved?

Her suitcase is discovered on school land with all her belongings. Because she is an orphan, no one in authority worried about her disappearance, and after a few days, the search is called off. 

The story segues to the present with journalist Fiona Sheridan being drawn to the old site which long since closed down. Twenty years ago, Fiona's older sister's brutally murdered body had been found on the grounds. Now someone has purchased the property with plans to renovate. Fiona's curiosity is piqued and though her sister's murderer is incarcerated, she believes something is amiss about her case and new discoveries at the old institution.

This novel is actually two-in-one tales of the 1950s along with recent discoveries that related to back then. Intense research includes World War II atrocities. Though there are a few disparities, this highly  engrossing tale is entertaining. The juxtaposition between the past and current time blend well together to offer a cohesive and educational read which is mind-boggling. 

I'll Be Your Blue Sky


By Marisa De Los Santos


William Morrow 
Contemporary Women's Fiction - Release date: March 6, 2018

As Clare Hobbes prepares for her wedding rehearsal at a posh resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains, she is having second thoughts about her upcoming nuptials to her fiancé, Zack. Overly possessive he is sucking the life out of her, and she is feeling smothered. Always one to put others before herself, can she spend the rest of her life with his unpredictable temperament? 

She slips outside needing fresh air and meets a fragile elderly woman with whom she has a conversation. Edith Herron is gentle and understanding while Clare shares her misgivings about getting married. Then when Clare's first love and still close friend, Dev Tremain comes in search of her, Edith affirms Clare should not marry Zack. With a huge sense of relief, Clare calls off the nuptials and heads back home pondering her actions. Zach won't accept her rejection and constantly pleads she take him back only to become angered when she puts him off. 

A few weeks later, Clare is shocked upon hearing Edith passed away and bequeathed her home in Antioch Beach, Delaware to her. Clare uses this as an excuse to get away to where Zack can't locate her and to check out her good fortune. 

In Edith's home, Clare discovers cryptic journals Edith had written which piques her curiosity about her benefactor and to discover why she left Clare, an unknown, her property. 

This novel includes Edith's back-story enticing Clare to dig into her past. She reunites with Dev and their travels take them all over to find answers too many questions. Highly entertaining and offering insight into the years of the 1950's, this enchanting tale contains totally captivating characters and descriptive locals as well as mystery up to the surprising ending.

Nina's Journey


By Nina Markovna


Regnery Publishing, Inc.

Memoir -- Release Date: December 15, 1989 review


Though this is not a new release, this memoir is a book I've had in my private library for years and just now read. I was so moved by this, I felt the need to add it to my review list. 

Nina Narkovna's compelling autobiography commences at age ten when she lived in the small town of Dulovo, not far from Moscow. Her family consisted of her mother, Natasha, father Mark, and older brother Slava. Natasha, orphaned from her birthplace of Riga, Latvia found employment at the porcelain factory as a typist. Mark, of Slavic descent, had been a woodsman of Muscovy, and now they are official residents of the Soviet Union since Russia fell.

War breaks out and people are driven from their homes. Mark in his forties, is recruited to defend the county. The suffering and hardships Nina's family and other citizens faced was incomprehensible. From being relocated countless times in crowded railroad cattle cars to going without food to almost starving, it is difficult to comprehend the terror the populace endured. 

As a teenager, Nina confronted the brutality of soldiers who thought nothing of raping women, pillaging the countryside, or savagely butchering their adversaries. Many times, Nina faced the streets by her residence lined with slaughtered bodies. The family's separation from their beloved patriarch became almost too much to bear as they wondered if he'd return and if not executed, would he ever be able to find them.

Throughout this horror, the threesome remained close and made many friends with whom they shared their living quarters and food rations. The biggest fear they faced was being split up and/or killed. Weakness was not allowed, for everyone must work or they would not eat. Natasha losing her eyesight to glaucoma, and Slava, beaten unceasingly by the Germans, became very frail, but they managed to stick together. 

This insightful story is filled with degradation, heartache, and violence, yet through everything their faith and love for each other bonds them. The author includes interesting terms in several languages with their meaning displaying people today live so differently. Nina's tale concludes as the war ends, leaving the reader seeking closure. Powerful and ghastly, this is a must-read.

The Birthday Girl


By Sue Fortin

Harper Impulse

Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: February 20, 2018


Joanne Aldridge, excited about celebrating her 40th birthday plans a surprise weekend for her three close pals, Carys Montgomery, Zoe Coleman, and Andrea Jarvis. Friends for a while, they have had misunderstandings between them, and they believe Joanne is looking to make amends.

Secretly escorted to a rural part of Scotland, the women know how much Joanne likes contests, but are somewhat surprised when Joanne commences their holiday by starting off with a weird guessing game where the three invitees are to model certain characters she devises.

Stuck in the middle of nowhere, the threesome feels trapped, uncertain of Joanne's motivations which seem ominous, to say the least. Is Joanne playing this for fun or trying to settle a devious score?

Joanne confiscates all the cell phones stating there is no service in the area, stipulating they are basically shut off from civilization. On a hike through the dense woods, Joanne relates creepy folklore of the region, causing more apprehension.

The isolation terrifies the guests as well as Joanne's hostile actions. Soon, each becomes suspicious of the other. Though close companions for years, the ladies find themselves thrown into a quagmire of distrust and fear. Joanne has made it her mission to reveal ugly secrets and turn one against the other.

Filled with more twists and turns than a country road, "The Birthday Girl" starts a bit slow, but before long, the tale captivates with the unforeseen scenarios. The plot thickens with more suspense and frightening events up until the unexpected and shocking ending.

Spring Forward


By Catherine Anderson


Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: January, 2018


Tuck Malloy became guardian to his granddaughter Crystal when she was young. A freak accident costing the life of Crystal's younger sister left Crystal blaming herself throughout the years. A widower, Tuck is a curmudgeon but loves Crystal unconditionally. Now, at age 80, he is recuperating in assisted living after breaking his arm, ribs, and needing a hip replacement from a fall.

Tuck hates the facility's conditions, especially Patricia Flintlock, the administrator. Her rules are unbendable and she is just plain nasty. Tuck misses his daily beer and chew, so he calls his friend Tanner Richards, a Courier Express driver. Tanner agrees to deliver some of his favorite contraband to him. All goes well until Tuck's stash is discovered and Patricia insists Tuck be evicted.

Crystal stands up for Tuck yet Patricia orders she phone the delivery service demanding the employee be fired. Reluctantly she does, but only for Tuck's sake, after realizing Tanner is Tuck's friend.

Crystal's life is a whirlwind as she tries to run her business cares for Tuck's offensive dog, Rip, and keep her life together. After her stand-off with Patricia, Crystal rescinds her complaint against Tanner, hoping she caused no harm. Though Tanner's employment has been exemplary, his boss changes his route causing him to be away from his children longer.

When Tanner and Crystal meet there's an apparent magnetism. Tanner never thought he'd find another after his wife died. Crystal is fearful to pursue a relationship believing she hurts everything she is close to. But, they cannot deny the attraction.

Through all this, Tuck becomes entranced by Essie, another resident, and life at the home looks better. This fourth edition in the Mystic Creek series could pass as two books; one to relate Crystal's past with her present feelings and another highlighting Tuck's life and history. Juxtaposed between their stories is the delightful addition of Rip, Tuck's cantankerous pooch who ends up winning hearts.

Should've Been You


By Nichole McLaughlin


Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: January 30, 2018


Becca Walters is at her childhood home for Christmas, looking forward to spending time with her widowed father and twin sister, Hannah. She is shocked when neighbor Jase Beckford comes into the kitchen finding her half hidden behind the open refrigerator door wearing only a tank top and pink panties.

Embarrassed, she runs upstairs to pull on jeans and a tee-shirt and returns to make breakfast. She hasn't seen Jase for years for he's been in the service, but now is back and starting a business raising cattle. Becca has secretly harbored a crush on him since she was ten, but Jase seems to be in Hannah's pocket as the two are very close. As much as she longs for closeness with him too, they both act somewhat aloof around each other.

Jase's relationship with Hannah is more of a co-dependency as she turns to him with her problems. He's more like a big brother than a lover, though Becca doesn't know this. Hannah, the bubbly, outgoing type, always seems to overshadow the quiet and introverted Becca. Also Becca, dating a guy for two years is expecting an engagement ring, hoping it will spark the staleness they've been facing.

When Hannah becomes engaged to a musician, Becca and Jase are thrown together. Becca feels guilty for her adoration of the rancher, and after they kiss, she knows she needs to confess to the guy she may marry. The tables turn when he confesses to "fooling around" with a colleague.

Seductive and steamy, this addition to A Man Enough Romance series is sure to curl toes.

Pretty Girls Dancing


By Kylie Brant

Thomas & Mercer

Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: January 1, 2018

Ohio is the setting where it appears a serial killer is on the loose and has been for years. Seven years ago, Kelsey Willard went missing and she or her body has never been found. Now, in a town about twelve miles from where the Willard's live another young teen named Whitney DeVries goes missing. When the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is called in, Agent Mart Foster wonders if the two cases tie together.

Claire Willard, Kelsey's mom is on a downward spiral. Her marriage is on the rocks and her youngest daughter, Janie still suffers from debilitating anxiety from Kelsey's disappearance when she was ten.  Meanwhile, suspicion turns to Whitney's police officer father, as in most cases like these, the next of kin is almost always responsible.

This novel has more twists and turns than a roller coaster and the reader gets to intimately know many of the characters involved as they "talk" in their own chapters. Whitney discloses her terrifying capture and imprisonment by a maniac who verbally and physically abuses her. She tries to hold strong and plan an escape after discovering a written journal where she is hidden.

As family dynamics falter on all sides, even with Agent Foster, tension builds, leading the reader to a surprising and unexpected ending that is sure to cause goosebumps!

A Wedding at Two Love Lane


By Kieran Kramer

St. Martin's Paperback

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: January 2, 2018

Greer Jones decides her engagement to Wesley isn't a good match so she relocates to Charleston, SC. She and friends open a matchmaking business called "Two Love Lane." Greer, a romantic, compiles several scrapbooks with pictures of the "perfect wedding," though wondering if she will ever meet "Mr. Right."

At a local auction, a wedding gown goes up for bid. Mesmerized, Greer wants this no matter what. Even if she isn't engaged, this is the dress of her dreams. Dubbed "Royal Bliss" this is a one-of-a-kind garment designed to beckon true love to the wearer. Greer gets outbid by Pierre Simons, owner of La Di Da clothing store and Greer's enemy. He cannot forgive her for not finding him a partner, and he ends up with the winning bid.

To Pierre, this dress is a marketing ploy. He has future brides vying to win it, and though with no groom in sight Greer enters the contest. British artist Ford Smith, whom she befriends at the auction, offers to stand in as her fiancé if she will pose for him. With a palpable attraction, Ford shocks Greer with a proposal in front of the contestants.

Greer is chosen as one of the five finalists. Her obstacle is Serena, Wesley's betrothed, whom both unexpectantly have moved to Charleston. Greer, wishing to never to see Wesley again, is surprised by how much she likes Serena.

Greer lusts after Ford, shocked his feelings reciprocate, yet his past causes him to be apprehensive. Many obstacles between them question pursuing a relationship, though with love anything can happen.

Well-fleshed-out characters and a bit of mystery add to the essence of this second release in the Two Love Land series.

The Body in the Casket


By Katherine Hall Page

William Morrow

Suspense -- Release Date: December 5, 2017


Caterer, Faith Fairchild cannot decide about accepting a job that will pay far above her normal rate. Her indecision is because the host of the soiree, Max Dane, producer/director of famous Broadway hit musicals knows about her sleuthing abilities and wants her to observe his guests, believing someone is out to kill him.

Faith is thrown by the expensive casket which is to be used as a sideboard for the food. Someone surreptitiously delivered it to the mansion and receiving this "gift" Dane feels is the reason he is being targeted, all due to a flop he produced more than twenty years ago.

Always loving a juicy mystery, Faith wonders if she may be in danger. She puts her fears aside and accepts the assignment and "Googles" the invitees. One of them succumbs to an unspeakable accident which is deemed a suicide, but is it really?

The location takes place in an area of privileged historic homes close to Faith's Massachusetts's home. Max owns Rowan House, a sprawling manse that could be a cloned English manor. Impressed and excited by the surroundings Dane informs Faith the party will run from Friday night through Sunday. Her appearance is imperative, and she will reside in the opulent servant's quarters.

The first evening commences with a chilly reception for those in attendance haven't seen each other in years and wonder what Max has up his sleeve. Faith scrutinizes everyone trying to choose the culprit, all the while wondering if Max's death threat is real or imagined. When a storm ensues, the power goes out, and tension intensifies.

In this 24th installment in the Faith Fairchild Mysteries, the novel delves into the lives of the rich giving details of their extravagances while producing a good whodunit as well as some enticing recipes.

Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail


By Caire Cook

Marshbury Beach Books

Contemporary Fiction --  Release Date: December 4, 2017

Book #6 in the Must Love Dogs series is every bit as delightful as the preceding releases. Sarah Hurlihy and her fiancé John decide to buy Sarah's family home and renovate it to put their own stamp on it. Only problem, Sarah's five siblings, and her boisterous father still feel the place is theirs giving Sarah and John no privacy.

Billy Boy, Sarah's widowed dad, a guy who loves charming women, is getting his own "man cavern" in the remodeled garage, yet that does not stop him or the rest of the clan from butting into each other's lives.

Adding to the chaos is their menagerie of four-legged friends. John, who used to a quiet life in his Boston condo with Horatio, his canine is now forced into a home with not only revolving doors for humans but also a stray cat they've adopted who has given birth to four kittens.

Sarah is hosting Thanksgiving, though her cooking skills leave a lot to be desired, yet nothing ever runs smoothly in the Hurlihy household. On top of this, Sarah's teaching assistant Polly, pregnant and single is now living with them after a Nor'easter drove her from her rental, and Sarah's brother Johnny decides to camp out on the couch after his marriage goes sour.

Ms. Cook pens a witty never-a-dull moment Christmas tale that can be enjoyed anytime. Problems arise, as with any family, yet the devotion and companionship make them seem trivial. Billy Boy offers a roaring cadence with his Irish-Boston dialect and twisted expressions. Down-to-earth and thoroughly enjoyable, one can easily picture the six "Must Love Dogs" novels as a Lifetime or Hallmark mini-series.

No Place Like You


By Emma Douglas


Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: December 5, 2017


We return to Cloud Bay, California where Leah Santelli has spent her whole life. She's recovering from a failed marriage, but when her best friend, Faith mentions her brother, Zach Harper, a rock star, is due home Leah can't help but remember the night of her eighteenth birthday. Leah always had a crush on Zach but that night she lost her virginity after asking him to be her first. Even though she later married another, she still carried a soft spot in her heart for Zach.

Now he's back to right some wrongs and to cut a solo album. Leah, a record producer hopes Zach will hire her. She decides to put her feelings aside for the sake of her career, and she and Zach spend long evenings in the studio. Soon her desire for him rekindles hitting her full force. She takes a chance and suggests a fling, understanding he will be there for only a short time.

They decide to keep their affair private, but living on a small island makes it almost impossible. Leah, hoping to get Zach out of her systems, falls for him harder.

Zach mends fences with his family after being away so long, and Leah now owns his heart. But what about his career? Leah does not want to leave her home, which causes a dilemma because he feels he must go.

Zack departs with hardly a "good-bye" leaving Leah heartbroken for the second time. Emotions play a big role in every life and "No Place Like You" expounds on many as well as giving insight into the recording business making this a delightful read.

The Missing


 By C. L. Taylor

William Morrow Paperbacks

Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: November 7, 2017

Nothing is more heartrending to a parent than when a child goes missing. Fifteen-year-old Billy Wilkinson changed from his usual cheerful and outgoing self to being surly and troublesome. The final straw happens when his parents are called to his school after he was caught painting graffiti on the property. That night at home, Billy argues with his dad then storms out of the house in an angry huff. When he doesn't return, mom, Claire begins to worry. She calls the police, and an all-out effort is made to locate him.

Six months later with still no sign of Billy, Claire, is getting desperate. The family is falling apart. Jake the oldest son, becomes reclusive and Kira, his live-in girlfriend, tries to keep out of everyone's way. Kira has a history of living in a dysfunctional atmosphere and Claire who considers her a daughter begins to worry about her also.

Soon Claire starts to experience amnesiac fugues waking up in strange places wondering how she got there. Is she going mad? Thank goodness for Liz, her best friend, who offers comfort and advice, but Claire realizes things are getting to the point where she can no longer function and needs professional help.

Set in Bristol, England, "The Missing" abounds with suspense and angst. Several separate chapters include text messages which add to the tale giving it more depth and mystery. Fast paced and exciting, though somewhat drawn out, this whodunit shocks with an unexpected ending.

The Last Mrs. Parrish


By Liv Constatine


Psychological Thriller  --  Release Date: October 17, 2017


Envy of another's life and possessions can bring destruction not only for the one desiring what the other has but also for the person(s) who have it. Amber  Patterson believes she deserves everything life can offer and is determined to become a "somebody."

Growing up in the mid-west in near poverty and without affection, Amber moves to the affluent town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut to mingle with the wealthy. She researches Daphne Parrish, wife of multi-millionaire, Jackson and strikes up a conversation with her at the local gym. Daphne chairs a charitable foundation for Cystic Fibrosis hoping to ease the pain of losing her younger sister to this disease and to help others afflicted. Amber invents a sibling who allegedly suffered from this and volunteers her service to gain entrance into Daphne's life. 

Daphne bonds with her and Amber becomes a constant guest at the Parrish mansion where she envisions herself as Jackson's wife surrounded by jewels, designer clothes, and unlimited cash. However, the old saying "The grass is always greener in the other person's yard" could relate here. Amber covets her newfound friend's assets, yet she doesn't inquire if Daphne is happy with her handsome husband and all their riches.

This novel contains offers the differing points of view of the two women. Amber stops at nothing to attain her desires, and Daphne shares her innermost thoughts with her, which Amber later uses against her. Can one woman possibly be so greedy to create a friendship to break up a family, and how does Daphne deal with this? Deceit and manipulation bring revenge into playing a huge part in this exciting thriller making it a page-turner to the conclusion.

Lilac Lane


By Sherryl Woods


Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: October 17, 2017

Kiera Malone lost her fiancée right before their wedding day. It took her a long time to trust another man after her husband walked out on her and their 3 children when they were young. She found happiness and ready to build a life with Peter until his untimely demise.

Now, her daughter Moira O'Brien talks her into leaving Ireland and coming to Chesapeake Shores, MD to help run her son-in-law Luke's pub and to spend time with her granddaughter. It's only to be for 6 months so Kiera agrees and finds she loves loving the quaint seaside town and her large extended family. 

Her one problem is Bryan Laramie, the pub's cook. From the first meeting, Kiera and he clash like oil and vinegar. He's afraid she's trying to usurp his position for Kiera, known to speak her mind, makes him uncomfortable and causes sparks to fly between them.

Everyone in the close-knit town wants Kiera to remain permanently, especially her father with whom she's been estranged for many years. They all enjoy meddling in other's love lives and feel the electricity between Bryan and Kiera are not just personality clashes, but they also sense a strong attraction.

Kiera is still fragile after losing Peter and the heartache she suffered from her husband. Bryan, a loner, has a sorrowful past of his own to deal with. But with meddlesome relatives and a town that captures her heart, will Kiera fall under the spell of both this local and Bryan? This addition to Ms. Wood's Chesapeake Series shows family closeness and loving interference proves one is never too old to find love. 

Odd Child Out


By Gilly Macmillan

William Morrow

Psychological Thriller  --  Release Date: October 3, 2017

Bristol, England is the setting for this psychological thriller which contains more twists than a pretzel. Fifteen-year-old Noah Sadler has been battling cancer for many years. After overhearing he has only months to live, he decides to complete all the things on his bucket list.

Noah's dad is a famous photo-journalist whose photos from war-torn countries are shocking as well as insightful. Noah is best friends with Somali refugee, Adbi Mahad, and the two are thicker than thieves. On the opening night at a local gallery displaying his work, Noah insists Abdi come with them and then spend the night.

During the very early hours of the next morning, the boys sneak out. Noah's plan is to head to a bad part of the city and drink their first beers as their rite of passage into adulthood. Unfortunately, they get into an argument and Noah slips into the canal. Abdi cannot swim, but the incident is seen by a witness who calls for help in time to whisk Noah to the hospital where he is listed in serious condition.

Detective Inspector Jim Clemo, back after a mandatory leave is assigned the investigation. He is hesitant as to how to proceed due to his last case that turned into a crisis causing his leave. Cautious about stepping on any toes of the higher-ups, he knows something is fishy and puts aside any misgivings to solve this.

Character driven, many of the short chapters offer each one's voice making the tale impactful, as well as showing more than one side of the equation. Captivating and credible, the story covers the five days prior to the accident, along with a lot of enticing back-stories which leads up to a somewhat predictable conclusion.

Hope at Christmas


 By Nancy Naigle      

St. Martin's Griffin

Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: October 10, 2017

Sydney Ragsdale is grateful she inherited her grandparent's home in Hopewell, North Carolina. Jon, her husband gives her a Valentine's Day gift saying he's leaving her for a younger woman. Unknown to her, he's been having an affair for two years, so feeling like a fool, Sydney and her daughter RayAnne pack their meager belongings and leave Atlanta to start a new life.

Sydney is thrilled to see The Book Bea, a shop she loved while visiting her grandparents is still open with Bea, the owner, behind the counter. Bea is aging and finds the store too much to handle so Sydney offers to work several hours during the holiday season. Remembering her childhood bliss there, she thoroughly enjoys helping and becomes indispensable to Bea.

Kevin MacAlea, also a single parent, in addition to being a teacher is the local Santa--one who takes his job very seriously. He meets Sydney while ordering books for his son, Seth. They strike up a friendship, and RayAnne and Seth become close discovering they have much in common.

With an uncertain future, Sydney becomes enchanted with Hopewell and hopes RayAnne will want to stay permanently. Sydney keeps herself busy expecting a lonely Christmas while RayAnne spends it with her dad and gets engrossed by trying to expand Bea's business.

When Jon cancels on RayAnne, the girl is so upset, she runs to Mac's house, hops on one of his four-wheelers and gets hurt in an accident. Sydney blames Mac, though later learning the truth she's ashamed of her outburst. Then, another tragedy makes a big change for Sydney.

A heartwarming tale of small town togetherness, "Hope at Christmas" demonstrates love and kindness as well as the fact that one can start over. 

A Season of You


By Emma Douglas

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: October 3, 2017

Mina Harper is still grieving over the loss of her husband from three years ago, and she's in no way considering getting into another relationship even though she's still in her early twenties. She finds fulfillment in her painting and her volunteer search-and-rescue job on the island of Cloud Bay. Thanks to her rock star dad, now deceased, she and her siblings have been left a large inheritance.

One night on the way home from working the late shift, Mina gets a flat tire. It's dark, cold, and stormy, and as she prepares to change the tire, she slips and falls on the ice, losing consciousness for a while. Lucky for her, Will Fraser is a night owl and happens to see her mishap. He rescues her, taking her to the hospital to be checked out. Little does Mina know that Will has had a huge crush on her ever since he and his brother moved to the island five years ago to open their whiskey distillery.

Will finds this as a chance to get close to Mina as he helps her when she is released, keeping watch that she is okay. They are pulled close together due to the holiday season activities, and Mina warms toward Will, though she is fearful of losing another man she loves.

Mina is offered a showing of her paintings at a gallery, and out of the blue she asks Will to pose for her, though her work for the show consists of seascapes. There is something about him that entices her, and she just itches to draw him, sensing a mutual attraction.

A charming love story based around the Christmas holidays, "A Season of You" can be read and enjoyed anytime.  

The Christmas Room


By Catherine Anderson


Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: September 26, 2017


Maddie McLendon's son Cam has always dreamed of being a rancher in Montana and now his dreams are coming true. Two years after the death of his father, Cam persuades his mom to move with him and his sixteen-year-old son, Caleb to a large piece of property he bought in Rustler's Gulch. They live in makeshift quarters along with their menagerie of dogs, cats, and horses until they can build their home.

Widowed next-door neighbor, Sam Conacher isn't pleased to have new neighbors, especially when he spots his daughter, Kirsten kissing Cam. Kirsten is Sam's main focus since losing his wife who is embittered by her passing, turning others against him. His goal is to smear the McLendons' name and keep Cam away from Kirsten. He cannot lose his precious daughter, though she is falling in love with Cam, and will not stand for his interference any longer.

Kirsten and Cam are roping in cattle when a bull charges her. Cam, sensing he is after her distracts him, causing serious injuries to himself. Sam rides in on time witnessing Cam protecting Kirsten which changes his opinion of Cam.

Sam invites the McLendons' to stay in his home while Cam recuperates. He and Maddie come to terms with their prickly relationship and find a closeness they never thought possible. Maddie pulls no punches with Sam about his behavior, and he realizes he needs to make amends.

Before long, Sam's house is full of energy and happiness. Sam comes out of his cynical shell learning to love again and accept Kirsten's feelings for Cam. "The Christmas Room" is a heartwarming story of redemption and togetherness.

Deck the Halls


By Donna Alward


Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: October 3, 2017


PTSD often is a casualty of war, and no one knows that better than George Reilly. So shattered by his tours of duty and the loss of his best friend, Ian Merck he became homeless for a time. Lucky for him, he ended up in Darling, Vermont where folks believe in helping others. Laurel Gallagher owner of the Ladybug Garden Center sees his potential and gives him a job. 

His employment along with Laurel's help and that of the Veteran's Services, he now resides in a small apartment and is gaining self-respect and confidence. Then Amy, Ian's twin sister shows up fifteen years after Ian's death looking for closure. George blames himself for Ian getting killed and even after all this time he is still withdrawn and focused on his guilt. He dreads seeing Amy, remembering the times he spent with Ian, her, and their family and how they treated him in a kind and loving manner, something he never had growing up. 

Back then there was a spark of something between them, and her presence reignites it, though George believes he is unworthy of her. Amy, carrying a history of her own pain is determined to learn how her brother died and why George never came to their home afterward. 

Aghast upon observing George's contemptuousness and how he's aged, Amy senses the hurt he carries within him. She does not give up on him, and before long, he discloses the truth about what happened in the Middle East. Soon Amy finds herself falling in love with him. 

A delightful tale of absolution and compassion, "Deck the Halls" illustrates how both George and Amy find a path to the happiness they never thought possible.

99 Red Balloons


By Elisabeth Carpenter


Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: September 26, 2017


How terrifying it must be to have your child kidnapped and worse, never found. Years pass and you wonder, is she still alive or is she dead? The not knowing is the killer.

This happened to Maggie Taylor in 1986 when her granddaughter Zoe was abducted. Maggie's daughter, Sarah moved into her parent's home with Zoe after leaving her husband, David. Six weeks later, Zoe disappeared. Everyone considered David took her, but he proved to be innocent. As the years passed, he continued to search for her however; the intense pressure and pain caused Sarah to end her life.

Now, another girl is missing. Eight-year-old Grace Harper stopped at the sweet shop on her way home from school and vanished from there. Her parents, Emma and Matt are beside themselves with worry, and Emma blames herself for her daughter's disappearance for she allowed Grace to walk home alone for the first time from her school up the street.

In another part of England, Maggie picks up the newspaper seeing Grace's picture, and something strikes her as familiar. This sets her on a course of trying to find the girl, and she wonders if by any chance whoever took Zoe took her, even though it's decades later.

The very in-depth and emotional characterization of all players in this novel keeps it flowing quickly. Each sharing their own point-of-view makes the tension build as the story progresses. Secrets from the past are revealed correlating to both cases, making the complex plot a nail-biter and one that is sure to take the reader by surprise.

Keep Her Safe


By Sophie Hannah

William Morrow   

Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: September 19, 2017


Cara Barrows leaves England to go to the posh Swallowtail Resort and Spa in Arizona. Upset with her family over a personal matter, she wants time alone to sort out her options. What better way than to not let anyone know where she's gone? She misses her children and husband, but hopes in her absence they'll consider her feelings.

Cara arrives before dawn and is given her room key. She longs to crawl into bed, so imagine her shock when she glimpses the room is occupied. A middle-aged man and a young teenage girl awaken and embarrassed and shaken, Cara retreats and receives an upgrade to a casita over the receptionist's mistake.

The next day, an elderly guest declares she spotted Melody Chapa, the victim of an alleged murder many years ago. Cara's curiosity is piqued and she researches the case, shocked upon realizing the girl in the room she was given during the early hours could be this child. 

Another patron, Tarin Fry befriends Cara, and they find a blog written by the TV host of "Under Suspicion" a true-crime, cold-case series. In this, she condemns Melody's parents as brutal monsters, happy to report she helped to lock them up for life, even without a body as evidence. 

Tension builds to a chilling climax where Cara is abducted. Her kidnapper unwillingly admits the truth of the whole situation, and Melody is discovered alive and well. The ending is a cliffhanger leaving the reader to wonder if a sequel is upcoming.


By Amanda Robson


Romantic Suspense -- Release Date: September 19, 2017


Have you ever considered asking your husband, "Who else would you go for, if you could"? Once you read "Obsession" you will never ask this question.

Carly and Rob Burton, live in Stansfield, England with their three young children. Rob is a family doctor and Carly a part-time nurse in his office. On vacation, Carly asks Rob the above question. Both are fairly well inebriated and Rob does not want to answer, but she persists. To appease her, he says her friend Jenni Rossiter.

Upon returning home, Carly changes. Her life is now unbearable, she cannot handle her children, and she is very morose. She drinks heavily then commences an affair with Jenni's husband Craig; a devious scheme to prove she is one-upping Jenni. Soon, Jenni realizes Craig is unfaithful. He informs Carly they must cease their relationship and she becomes paranoid and ends up in a psychiatric ward. Deemed to be severely mentally ill, Rob forgives her.

It's a different story for Jenni. Though Carly, healed, profusely apologizes and reclaims their friendship, Jenni is mindful of Carly's every move. She invites Carly for a drink only for her to become sick and almost die. Carly recovers, telling Rob Jenni tried to kill her, though, with her emotional background, he doesn't believe her.

The Resisters leave the area but remain in touch with the Burtons. On a visit, Carly spies Craig with another woman, and she is livid. Soon after, they learn Craig dies of a self-inflicted overdose, and Jenni moves back and worms her way into a position at Rob's office.

 "Obsession," a debut novel is hard to put down with its many twists and turns offering a thrilling read.

Merry and Bright


By Debbie Macomber

Ballanatine Books

Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: October 3, 2017 

 The Christmas season is always busy for the Knight family, but this year it proves to be more stressful. Twenty-four-year-old Merry is working at a Seattle consulting company on a one-year temporary contract to save money so she can finish her college education. The firm is handling a big project that needs to be completed before the year's end, thus the necessity for Merry to work long hours. 

Staying over time worries her for she realizes she's needed at home to help Robin, her mother who is struggling with mobility issues due to MS. She also is concerned for her younger brother, Patrick who has Down syndrome. But Merry cannot lose her job, so she stays late, even though her boss, Jayson Bright is stuffy and inflexible.

Robin wants her to find a man and fall in love, which is the last thing in Merry's mind. So as a surprise gift for her birthday which is on December 26th, Robin and Patrick sign her up for an online dating service. Instead of posting her picture, they use a pic of the family's dog, Bogie. Though Merry dreads this, she cannot disappoint her mom and brother. 

A gentleman intrigued by Merry's profile and the photo of the canine contacts her, and they begin "chatting." This man seems to share her interests, and they soon form a bond, but Marry doesn't want to meet in person until she knows more about him. Their conversations become the highlight of her day, making her forget the drudgery and long work day and her obstinate employer.

"Merry and Bright," a fast-paced, delightful read, so typical of Ms. Macomber's usual down-home prose is filled with love and family togetherness and can be enjoyed anytime, not only during the holidays.

Need You Now


By Emma Douglas

St. Martin's paperbacks

Contemporary Romance - Release Date: August 29, 2017

Can lust become love? Is it possible to fall in love in just two weeks?

Faith Harper, daughter of a well-known rock star now deceased is carrying on her father's legacy by continuing to hold the annual CloudFest music festival at Cloud Bay on the small island of Lansing, CA. As usual, she is stressed with the preparations needed to pull off this feat. 

Danny Ryan, lead guitarist of Faith's dad's band, Blacklight, rents his home to a friend for the festivities. One of the tenants is Caleb White, recently retired tennis champ who is looking for rest, relaxation, and time to decide what to do with his future. 

Faith is immediately attracted to the handsome jock, and he feels the same. But Faith has a rule to never get involved with someone on the island. Now she's going to break that rule. 

Tension is high when Faith's brother Zach, cancels his appearance as the surprise guest. Flustered and angry, Faith runs to Danny's house and to Caleb. Though it's against her better judgment, she finds solace in his arms and bed. 

The days pass, and both Faith and Caleb are drawn to each other until Faith orders him to leave, knowing nothing would come of their romance. Heartbroken, she tries to remain strong, realizing she may have lost the best thing in her life.

Caleb also is distraught, but what is he to do? He needs to figure out the rest of his life, and he knows Faith loves her home and will never leave. Could it possibly work?

Steamy and sensual, "Need You Now" is geared to a physical attraction that becomes an entirely different situation.

Need You Now


By Emma Douglas

St. Martin's paperbacks

Contemporary Romance - Release Date: August 29, 2017


Can lust become love? Is it possible to fall in love in just two weeks?

Faith Harper, daughter of a well-known rock star now deceased is carrying on her father's legacy by continuing to hold the annual CloudFest music festival at Cloud Bay on the small island of Lansing, CA. As usual, she is stressed with the preparations needed to pull off this feat. 

Danny Ryan, lead guitarist of Faith's dad's band, Blacklight, rents his home to a friend for the festivities. One of the tenants is Caleb White, recently retired tennis champ who is looking for rest, relaxation, and time to decide what to do with his future. 

Faith is immediately attracted to the handsome jock, and he feels the same. But Faith has a rule to never get involved with someone on the island. Now she's going to break that rule. 

Tension is high when Faith's brother Zach, cancels his appearance as the surprise guest. Flustered and angry, Faith runs to Danny's house and to Caleb. Though it's against her better judgment, she finds solace in his arms and bed. 

The days pass, and both Faith and Caleb are drawn to each other until Faith orders him to leave, knowing nothing would come of their romance. Heartbroken, she tries to remain strong, realizing she may have lost the best thing in her life.

Caleb also is distraught, but what is he to do? He needs to figure out the rest of his life, and he knows Faith loves her home and will never leave. Could it possibly work?

Steamy and sensual, "Need You Now" is geared to a physical attraction that becomes an entirely different situation

Sleeping In The Ground


By Peter Robinson

William Morrow

Mystery Suspense - Release Date: August 15, 2017

The scene opens at a small British country church where many have gathered for a wedding. All of a sudden, while outside posing for pictures, a sniper takes shot instantly killing the bride, maid of honor, and the groom's father. The groom and several are critically wounded. The authorities arrive, and a search ensues for the perpetrator. Was this someone who was after the bride, once a well-known model, or the husband, a proclaimed war hero?

A witness makes a tentative identification of a man he believes to be the shooter who happens to be a newly-retired and well-respected dentist. What was his motive? The police later discover the suspect in the basement of his house and a victim of what they believe is a suicide. Everyone who knows this man denies he could be responsible for these killings. 

The detectives are about to close the case naming him the killer, but questions pop up requiring a deeper investigation. Alan Banks, detective superintendent on this killing spree teams up with his old lover, Jenny Fuller, a profiler, to dig further into this tragedy. Has the dentist been set up? And again, the never answered question, if so, why? Additional examination points to a murder of a young girl which happened fifty years ago. 

Located in England, "Sleeping in the Ground" the 24th book in the Inspector Banks series, delving into the intricacies of the human mind as well as the workings of the British police. Though somewhat long and drawn out as well as overly descriptive, the complex plot carries the story to the conclusion.

The Quiet Child


By John Burley

William Morrow Paperbacks             

Thriller/Suspense - Release Date: August 8, 2017


The summer evening before school is to begin in 1954 Michael McCray decides to treat his kids to ice cream. He takes his sons, six-year-old Danny and ten-year-old Sean to the local market, remembering the days when the whole family enjoyed outings together. Kate, Michael's wife, is very ill and spends most of her time sleeping.

Sean and Danny are as different as two boys could be. Danny, born prematurely, has never spoken a word in his life, whereas Danny is known to be a motor-mouth. Mike leaves Danny in the car, believing he'll be okay alone for the short they'll be shopping.

After collecting their items, Sean runs out the door just in time to spot a stranger getting in their car. Sean tries to stop him, but the man grabs him, taking off holding both boys hostage. Mike borrows the store owner's car to follow but is unable to find where they went. When he returns home, Jim Kent, the part-time sheriff is waiting. With them are two county detectives who are there to help find the McCray children.

Cottonwood, CA not only is a tiny town, but bad times are falling on the citizens, for which they blame their misfortunes on Danny. Because he is considered different, everyone speculates he possesses evil powers. 

A search ensues for several days when Michael goes out on his own to look for his boys. During the boy's disappearance, Kate's health surprisingly improves.

Packed with suspense, "The Quiet Child" will keep the reader on tenterhooks contemplating the outcome up until the unexpected and shocking ending.

Dead on Arrival


By Matt Richtel

William Morrow

Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: August 1, 2017

 You're taking a snooze while flying to Colorado when an attendant wakes you from your sleep begging your assistance. Something is very amiss and you discover the plane is landing, not at your destination, but at a tiny airstrip in Steamboat Springs.

Disoriented from your nap, you head to the cockpit only to look out the window and discover there are people lying on the frozen tarmac presumably dead. Delta flight #194 is where Dr. Lyle Martin, well known infectious disease specialist is summoned to help. What is happening?

Martin ventures into the snowy darkness to check vitals on an airport worker slumped over a luggage transporter. He is stymied by what he sees wondering if this man and all the others have been infected by some toxin or could it be terrorist warfare?

The pilot, co-pilot, Dr. Martin and Jackie Badger, a Google employee survive this nightmare while trying to ascertain what is going on. The next thing Martin remembers is waking up in a hotel finding the conference he was scheduled to speak at has been canceled.

He heads home to San Francisco, the recall of the incidence more or less erased from his memory. He finds he is being followed by a driver-less car and is getting all kinds of cryptic messages. Knowing his personal and professional life has gone downhill during the past few years and having succumbed to the bottle, he thinks maybe he's losing his mind. But other sinister forces prove his competence. 

A highly masterful thriller, "Dead on Arrival" offers well-defined characters, situations, and locales involving medical science and technology that is sure to whet the appetite of suspense enthusiasts.

Leave the Night On


By Laura Trentham

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: August 1, 2017


Unrequited love can hurt, and no one knows this better than Wyatt Abbott. He's adored Sutton Mize since they were youngsters, but Sutton comes from wealth and high society, whereas Wyatt owns a service station repairing and restoring classic cars with his three brothers. Though Wyatt's pulse races every time he sees Sutton, she is engaged to another, and he realizes he needs to get her out of his heart.

Sutton cares deeply about what others think and only wants to please. The owner of a dress boutique, her biggest dream was to become a designer, but she remained in her hometown or Cottonbloom, MS to be close to her family. Now, about to marry an up-and-coming lawyer, she brings his Camaro to Wyatt to restore as a wedding gift. 

Imagine the shock she feels when cleaning out the car she comes across receipts for expensive restaurants, where he has not taken her, and also discovering a pair of sexy panties belonging to none other than her best friend. Shocked and humiliated, she breaks off her engagement and her friendship and makes a pact with Wyatt. If he promises to act as her new lover, she will talk up his expertise to her father's rich friends hoping to revive the somewhat dying garage. 

Wyatt is thrilled with the proposition and plans to show Sutton what real love can be. But can she recognize they belong together, especially when he's known to be commitment shy and she's on the rebound? 

Steamy and sensual, this fifth novel in the Cottonbloom series digs deep into emotions proving opposites attract.

Girl in Snow


By Danya Kukafka

Simon & Schuster

Contemporary Suspense -- Release Date: August 1, 2017

Cameron Whitley is different from his high school peers. He does not fit into the typical mold, and many consider him weird. His passion is watching people, not as a voyeur, but his interest is in what makes them tick. His favorite person to watch is Lucinda Hayes, a fellow student he likes a lot. 

One day he learns Lucinda has been murdered, and his classmates look to him as the culprit. He did not kill her, yet he cannot account for his whereabouts at the alleged time of her death. 

Jade Dixon-Burns is another outsider and loner at school, and she hates Lucinda. Jade always coveted Lucinda's perfect life, and she knows Cameron was stalking her, albeit secretively. She befriends Cameron while they are waiting to be questioned by the authorities. Both want to ask each other many questions but are fearful to do so. They also wonder if the other is responsible for Lucinda's death.

Russ Fletcher, the officer investigating this murder had been good friends with Lee, Cameron's father, who was also once on the police force. After being found innocent for a crime he swore he didn't commit, Russ feels guilt for things he never disclosed about Lee.

The lives of these three characters unexpectedly converge as details about the killing are sought. Set in a close-knit Colorado town where everyone is privy to the goings-on, this fast-paced thriller consists of suppositions and finger pointing. Personal secrets are exposed by searching deep inside, recognizing their failures, not to others, but to themselves, while the actual killer turns out to be a complete surprise. 

Secrets of the Tulip Sisters


By Susan Mallery

HQN Books

 Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: July 11, 2017


Kelly Murphy and her younger sister, Olivia have been estranged for ten years. After Marilee, their promiscuous mom took off when the girls were teenagers, Olivia was sent to a boarding school at age fifteen. Kelly was reserved and quiet like Jeff, her dad, and they both feared Olivia would turn out to be a hussy just like her mother.

Meanwhile, time passes, and Kelly and Jeff operate a very lucrative tulip farm in Tulpen Crossing, WA. Kelly lives with Jeff and is content with her monotonous life, and he also appears happy but doesn't date or seem interested in getting remarried.

In high school, Kelly crushed on Griffith Burnett, and now, suddenly it seems he pops up wherever Kelly goes. She confides to her best friend, Helen that he gives her the creeps, yet she still is attracted to him even though he humiliated her long ago. However, now she is lonely after her five-year relationship with Sven ended.

Olivia unexpectedly returns after years away, stating she misses her sister and father. Kelly, threatened by her beautiful sibling is determined to make up for lost time and become friends. Things go well until Marilee shows up with a hidden agenda.

Secrets between Kelly, Olivia, and Helen cause mistrust and hurt feelings, along with questions about why Marilee is back in town. Complicated relations mixed with a steamy, sensual plot make this a stimulating read.

Bring Her Back


By David Bell

Penguin Group

Thriller/Suspense - Release Date: July 11, 2017


Every parent's worst nightmare is that something horrendous will happen to their child. Such is the case with Bill Price. He and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer are still grieving over the loss of Summer's mom eighteen months ago. Now, Summer and her best friend Haley are missing, and Bill doesn't know if he can handle the strain.

Bill discerned something was wrong for Summer had not been acting her usual sunny self before she disappeared. Did she run away? This happened right after what would have been her mother's birthday, and from her recent actions, it was evident Summer was unhappy as well as belligerent toward her dad. 

After a few days, two girls are found severely beaten in the park. One, determined to be Haley is dead, and the other, presumed Summer, endured such horrific wounds that she is unrecognizable. Bill is beside himself with grief and refuses to leave his daughter's hospital bed.

Before long, Bill learns the teen is not Summer after all, but Haley. Where is Summer and is she hurt? Dental records prove Summer is not the dead girl, and the whole situation stymies the police. Two young classmates, one known to be abusive, are suspect and called in for questioning, yet there is nothing valid to hold them. 

Bill's sister, Paige stands by him, offering support as they face the terror of trying to find his daughter. With unexpected discoveries, Bill gets some shocking news which ends up tying pieces together, not only about Summer but also his dead wife. "Bring Her Home" is a mesmerizing page-turner sure to keep the reader on the edge of their seat up till the climatic conclusion. 

His Guilt: The Amish of Hart County

By Shelley Shepard Gray

Avon Inspire

Amish Mystery -- Release Date: July 4, 2017


It's understood everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That's not the case with Mark Fisher of Horse Cove, Kentucky. Mark and his brother Calvin were raised enduring neglect and abuse from their parents. Their mother took off years before, and Mark's youngest sibling, Calvin, ran away at age fourteen.

When a young woman in their Amish community is brutally beaten, fingers point at Mark. Fortunately for him, the police found no cause to arrest him, though innocent Mark feels shame and leaves the area.

Two years later Mark returns upon learning he inherited the family home after his father's death.

He finds employment at Blooms and Berries nursery. The owner, Mr. Lehmann has always believed in him, treating treated him like a son and knowing he was doing right to hire him, though some of the residents still were wary of the young man. Also working with Mark is Waneta Cain, a few years his junior. Somewhat intimidated by him at first due to his past and the town folk's suspicion of him, Neeta is a kind and gentle spirit and offers him friendship.

Calvin returns with a chip on his shoulder and in need of money as he's gotten himself into trouble. Mark wants to help him but is concerned about his situation.  When another woman is assaulted, Mark becomes the prime suspect, and some even consider Calvin.

Meanwhile, Mark is sweet on Waneta and thrilled her parents' trust and accepts him. He believes maybe now he finally has a chance to show the residents of Hart County he isn't the evil monster they believe him to be. Mystery and romance abound along with forgiveness and compassion.

Serenity Harbor


By RaeAnne Thayne

HQN Books

Contemporary Romance - Release Date: June 27, 2017


In "Serenity Harbor," the new installment in the Haven Point series, Katrina (Kat) Bailey, home for her sister, Wyn's wedding though she is eager to return to Columbia, South America where she is a teacher. Last year, on impulse, she met a guy who offered her the sights and thrills of a foreign country, unknowing he would dump her after a few months.

Alone and ashamed to go home, Kat utilizes her schooling to help children and falls in love with an orphaned toddler named, Gabi. Kat returns to be her sister's maid-of-honor as promised but focuses on going back to adopt the little Down's Syndrome waif she has come to cherish.

Bowie (Bo) Callahan is a computer guru working at Caine Tech and new to the Point. Immersed in his high-powered job, he is shocked when he learns his estranged mother died leaving an unknown young brother behind Wanting to give Milo a better upbringing than he had Bo, welcomes him, yet is unprepared to meet the needs of an autistic child.

Kat bumps into Bo at the grocery store where Milo is having a meltdown. Her compassion and training calm him, and Bo, impressed by her patience, offers her an exorbitant sum to care for Milo while she's in town.

Though Kat finds Bo highly attractive and is determined to stay away from men, she accepts the job for the finances will help with the adoption. Kat and Bo face an undeniable magnetism which Kat tries to deny. His responsibilities lie with Milo, and Kat is concentrating on bringing Gabi to Idaho. As Kat works wonders with Milo's communication skills, she is smitten by both males, but thinks of her past mistakes as well as the daughter she desperately wants.

A Stardance Summer


By Emily March

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance - Release Date: June 27, 2017


Liliana Howe always played by the rules, so when she is betrayed on her job, she is hurt and angry. She goes to her parents for advice, but only hears praises of her older doctor brother, having her believe they are ashamed of her. What now?

Patsy, Lili's landlady, runs an all-ladies group called the Tornado Alleycats. She suggests Lili join them on a camping adventure at Stardance Ranch in Eternity Springs, Colorado. Lili decides she needs to get away from Oklahoma to take the time to think about her options while licking her wounds.

Imagine Lili's shock when she discovers her brother's best friend, Mark Christopher owns the RV park. Lili has loved Mark since she was young, though he never paid attention to her. To make matters worse, her arch nemesis, Tiffany Lambeau, mean girl in high school, wrapped Mark around her little finger for years. More irritating, Tiffany just got hired for an executive position at Lili's old company.

Mark, who had been a foster kid, now goes by the moniker of Brick Callahan. He has two sets of parents, which confuses Lili, but once she sees him in the flesh again, she knows her adoration hasn't faded.

Mark, AKA, Brick cannot believe his best friend's little sister is grown into an enchanting woman. He realizes she is off limits, yet it doesn't stop his attraction. In the same respect, Lili's feelings haven't changed, but how can she compete with the likes of Tiffany? Little does she know Tiffany broke Brick's heart making him leery of relationships.

Though Brick's family situation is somewhat puzzling, this charming tale more that makes up for this by offering forgiveness, trust, and romance.

The Light in Summer


By Mary McNear

William Morrow Paperbacks

Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: June 20, 2017


Billy Harper loves her job as the head librarian in Butternut Lake, where she settled several years with Luke, her thirteen-year-old son, and her Lab, Murphy. Books are her passion, and she holds daily discussions with Murphy believing the canine understands her like no other.

When Luke shows signs of teenage angst and gets suspended for smoking on school grounds, Billy begins to worry. Luke, always a good kid, is questioning Billy about the father he never met. Billy had gone to Alaska on a fishing trip with her dad when she was a teenager and surrendered to the appeal of a guide named, Wesley. There she lost her virginity and became pregnant, deciding to keep the baby though not able to locate Wesley.

Now they both enjoy a good life, yet something is missing for Billy. She realizes Luke is growing up and won't need her much longer, but her history with men makes her unwilling to jump into the dating pool. Then, handsome, rich, and very attractive Cal Cooper arrives in town, and though Billy is drawn to him, the pain from her past keeps her aloof.

Billy and Luke are grieving over the loss of Billy's dad to whom they were close. Billy's dad hired a detective to find Wesley and gave her his dossier before he passed away, but Billy never felt the time was right to contact Wesley or tell Luke. Now she must tell him before his animosity gets him into more trouble.

"The Light in Summer" is an emotional tale of redemption and faith where Billy and Luke gain trust and love.

The Silent Corner


By Dean Koontz

Bantam Books

Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: June 20, 2017

Jane Hawk is an FBI agent on temporary leave. After shocked by her husband Nick taking his life, Jane goes rogue and begins an intense investigating discovering there has been an increase in deaths by well-known, mentally stable folks who had shown no symptoms that would lead them to kill themselves. She fears for her life and that of her son, Travis after she receives threats to stop looking into these casualties. Luckily, Jane entrusts Travis with friends she can depend on knowing he'll be safe as she digs deeper into this development.

Jane becomes brutal in her determination to take down those responsible for somehow controlling minds to dominate the world for their own selfish reasons. This influential cadre of wealthy men will stop at nothing to attain the power and status they desire. The more Jane learns from those left bereft by the loss of their loved ones due to suicide, the more she knows she's on to something big and dangerous, not just for her and Travis, but for t humanity.

Koontz, well versed in government terminology regarding hunting criminals, adds depth and clearer insight into the action in which Jane is involved trying to track down and stop this diabolical plot. It's uncanny how Jane manages to live off the grid and be one step ahead of the "bad guys."

Many of the chapters are short keeping the pace flowing quickly, so the reader feels they are on the frenetic journey with the protagonist. However, the conclusion leaves one somewhat stymied and thinking...what next? "The Silent Corner" is the first novel in Koontz's new series and unlike his previous releases, for basically, it does not stand alone, leaving one waiting anxiously for the second installment. As usual for this author of suspense and horror, this tale is sure to cause chills with feelings of impending doom.

No Turning Back


By Tracy Buchanan

Crooked Lane Books

Suspense --  Release date: June 13, 2017

Anna Graves returns to her job as a radio presenter in Ridgemont Waters, England after her maternity leave. She needs to get her life on track after her husband decides to separate. What sustains Anna is not only her work but her love for her eight-month-old daughter, Joni. 

Her hometown by the sea has always been Anna's happy place, so imagine her distress when she's out with Jodi walking along the coast, and a boy accosts her. She notices the wild look in his eyes, and all she can think about it protecting Jodi. He lunges toward Anna slashing her cheek, and she quickly reacts to defend her child and herself by raising her long tooth comb, which he stumbles onto, piercing his carotid artery. Anna watches in horror as he bleeds out and dies in front of her. 

Many of the town's people praise her for her actions as this boy, from the "wrong side of town" must have been on drugs. An autopsy reveals he was poisoned. Soon Anna's friends and colleagues turn on her with her only source of comfort being her maternal grandmother. 

Anna receives texts from someone claiming to be the "Ophelia Killer," the term for one killing young boys twenty years previous. Anna's journalist father investigated the murders then committed suicide, with the murderer never found. 

When another boy is discovered dead, it's speculated Anna somehow is involved. Her world is falling apart. How can she prove something more sinister is happening?

Ms. Buchanan's debut US novel is a psychological drama full of suspense up to the unexpected ending.

The Swallow's Nest


By Emilie Richards


Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: June 13, 2017


Lilia Swallow diligently cared for her husband Graham through chemotherapy. In remission, she holds a party to celebrate his good health. Lilia couldn't be happier; she loves the home she inherited, her job as a design blogger, and the expectation of a long future with Graham.

An uninvited guest arrives, thrusting a three-month-old infant into Lilia's hands declaring he is Graham's son and he can raise him. Lilia believes there's a mistake until she sees the guilty look on her husband's face. They talked about children, but with Graham's uncertain illness Lilia wanted to wait. It seems he got what he wanted, just not with her.

Anger so intense, she flees home to her family in Hawaii. After consideration, she realizes she cannot be angry at baby Toby, so she comes back, deciding to be his mother. Though repentant, things are cool between her and Graham. His excuse was he didn't know if he would live and wanted a part of him to remain.

Toby and Lilia form a loving bond. She couldn't love him more if he were her own. Almost a year since Toby's arrival, Carrick, Graham's best friend, and attorney suggest they petition for adoption. During that time Marina, his biological mother made no connection with the child.

As fate would have it, Graham's cancer returns and he dies. His conniving and estranged mother devises a plot for Marina to regain her boy. She pays Marina a hefty sum, stipulating she see the boy whenever she wants, hoping to make up for the alienation with her son.

A custody battle drags on with Lilia determined to keep Toby. Does giving birth make one a mother? Can a woman love an adopted child the same? This deeply emotional novel shows the essence of true compassion and forgiveness.

Up at Butternut Lake


By Mary McNear

William Morrow Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance - Release Date: May 30, 2017


After losing her husband in Afghanistan two years ago, the grief is still raw, and Allie Beckett is reminded of it when seeing friends or neighbors. She realizes she and her five-year-old son, Wyatt need a change.

Allie buys out her brother's half of a cabin in Butternut Lake, MN they inherited from their grandfather. She reminisces over happy memories of summers spent there, but when they arrive late one night, the place appears ominous.

After many years away, Allie discovers the little house is in need of many repairs, which does not dissuade her from her decision. Solitude and peace are what she's seeking, though when Wyatt his frightened at first, she questions her choice.

Much to Allie's delight, she discovers her friend, Jax still lives in town, and she and Caroline, owner of the coffee shop, make Allie and Wyatt feel welcome, causing Allie to believe things will work out.

Then Allie bumps heads with Walker Ford, who owns the boatyard and a gorgeous home across the lake from her. Upon meeting, she finds him to be arrogant and aloof, yet a spark ignites between them. This is the first time Allie even considered another man since her husband's death.

Walker feels a strong attraction to Allie but is apprehensive due to his history with women. The pull is evident, even when it comes to Wyatt, and a raging storm brings them together cementing the feeling. While Allie must move on, Walker needs to take a chance at love, too.

"Up at Butternut Lake," the release of the first book in the Butternut Lake trilogy is a moving tale with distinct characters, differing subplots, and the motivation to trust in love again. 

Sister, Sister


By Sue Fortin


Suspense -- Release Date: May 23, 2017


This novel opens with a hook: "Sometimes the coldest places are not in the midst of winter when your breath puffs white, your feet are numb from the cold, and your fingers stiff and frozen. Sometimes the coldest places are in the warmth of your own home, surrounded by your family." 

A mother is devastated when losing a child, and after Marion's hubby takes their youngest daughter, Alice on holiday and never returns, heartbreak ensues not only for Marion but also for Clare, Alice's older sister. Twenty years pass and Alice's absence is still painful.

Clare is a solicitor, now married to an artist named Luke, and they have two precocious young daughters. They all reside in Clare's childhood home so Marion would not be alone. 

One day they receive a letter from a woman alleging to be Alice. Her father had taken her to live in Florida, and he would never mention the family left behind. Reconnecting is a welcome surprise, and both Marion and Clare are delighted when Alice announces her plan to visit England. Upon arrival, things seem off to Clare. Alice is trying to worm her way into Clare's life.

Manipulative and conniving, Alice presents a sweet demeanor, but she is other than that when dealing with Clare. Luke begins to question Clare's sanity, and tension abounds. Clare is an educated woman and with her doubts, why doesn't she use her training to find facts? Wouldn't she consider "Googling" for more information about Alice? No, she succumbs to being a doormat, letting everyone, including Alice, walk all over her, unbelieving her suspicions. 

Though a riveting psychological thriller, "Sister, Sister" leaves questions about the verity of the protagonist with the reader rooting for, then becoming appalled with her.

The Beach House: Coming Home


By Georgia Bockoven

William Morrow Paperbacks

Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: May 16, 2017


Melinda Campbell's life revolves around her career. With no real friends or family, she immerses herself in her work and lives day to day. Many years ago as a teenager, her life was shattered when the boy she loved died, and she discovered she was pregnant. Her parents sent her to live with a cousin in another state and gave up her little girl for adoption--an act that tormented her every day. 

Though she desperately yearned to keep her baby, because of her age, her need to care for her ailing father, and the fact the paternal grandfather of the infant, who was a monster, would want to claim the child, Melinda believed this was the only solution.

It is now thirteen years later, and Melinda learns from the girl's adopted father that she wants to meet her mother. Overcome with joy, Melinda responds to Jeremy Richmond that she would like nothing more than to reunite with the young girl, named Shiloh.

Jeremy sets her up for a two-week visit to California where they live, and then he gets cold feet. He is wary of Shiloh meeting Melinda and also is afraid Melinda will want no part of her because of a debilitating illness she is suffering. This does not hinder Melinda's desire to connect with the daughter she never wanted to give away. 

Jeremy is devoted to his little girl yet is facing problems with his marriage, which tears him apart when it comes to deciding if he did the right thing by contacting Melinda. A profoundly powerful tale of three hurting individuals trying to figure out their place in the world, learn how to accept and trust.

Since We Fell


By Dennis Lehane

Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: May 9, 2017 


Rachel Childs is a journalist working for a news channel in Boston. Her father left when she was very young, and her indifferent mother will not disclose his identity causing a dysfunctional relationship. After her mother's untimely death, Rachel cannot find clues to her heritage, leaving Rachel feeling lost and alone. She hires Brian Delacroix, and alleged PI to find her birth father, yet does not learn much.

On assignment in Haiti after the devastating tsunami, Rachel falls apart, having a breakdown on the air from the horrors she witnesses. Her boss, believing she is drunk fires her immediately, and her marriage to her colleague is over. She is aimless and suffers severe anxiety becoming housebound. The author describes her panic very visually:

"It started with a tickle in the center of her chest. The tickle quickly became a piston. Her mouth would turn Saharan. The piston would transform into the sparrow, imprisoned and panicked. It would flap its wings---whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp--in the hollowed out core of her, and sweat would sluice down the sides of her neck and pop on her forehead. Breathing would feel like a luxury with an expiration date."

Rachel, though mainly a prisoner in her own home encounters Brian again. They become close then marry, and he helps her alleviate her symptoms of agoraphobia. Then Rachel going by gut feelings learns Brian is not who she thinks he is. She begins to stalk him bringing her on a whirlwind escapade and putting her life in danger.

"Since We Fell" is, in essence, three stories: Rachel's question of her paternity, her mental decline, and her lack of trust. This novel is an intense and gripping, white-knuckle psychological thriller filled with emotional conflict and a nail-biter plot that doesn't end.

Any Day Now


By Robyn Carr


Contemporary Women's Fiction  --  Release Date:  April 17, 2017


Sierra Jones, nine months sober moves to Colorado to be closer to her brother Cal and to begin a new life. Having grown up in an unconventional manner the youngest child to hippie parents, Sierra adores Cal. Though older, he left home when Sierra was 10, and she mourned her loss.

As she matured, she hooked up with a wild crowd and started drinking. She met Derek Cox at a bar, and he became obsessive and stalked her. One night, he spiked her drink making her woozy. He drove her car, hitting something in the road, but Sierra was too incoherent to reason what. He joked she would be to blame for the hit and run. Fearful of him, she admitted herself into rehab to get as far away from him as possible.

Now, firmly ensconced in her new home, she lives in one of Sully's cabins at the Crossing campground. She helps Sully around the camp, works part time as a waitress in town, and enjoys spending time with Cal and his wife Maggie, especially now that they are expecting.

Conrad, (Connie) Boyle arrives on the scene, and though Sierra has sworn off men, there is something irresistible about this blue-eyed fireman. Connie also carries baggage, so they both are hesitant of commitment and getting hurt again.

When Sierra swears she sees Derek at a mall one day, her past comes back to haunt her. With Cal's assistance, they head back to her previous residence and talk to the police. Though now, many friends  watch out for her, she still worries Cox is searching for her.

Book #2 in A Sullivan's Crossing series offers a bit of romance along with suspense, but mainly it is a tale of how a young woman takes charge of her life while she encounters close and loving relationships.

and then there was me


By Sadeqa Johnson

Thomas Dunne Books

Contemporary Women's Fiction --  Release Date: April 11, 2017

Bea Colon is selfless and giving. Married to Lonnie and mother to Chico and Alana, Bea lives in a beautiful home in an upscale New Jersey town and goes overboard to do things for others. Now pregnant, she is a surrogate mother for Lonnie's cousin who is unable to have children. Though Bea's mother and best friend, Awilda, believe Bea has everything anyone could ask for, she carries the secret of being bulimic.

No one knows of her condition; not even Awilda. Bea is embarrassed to disclose her ailment, though her doctor is aware and tries to help, although Bea is adamant she can conquer this on her own.

Lonnie is the primary reason for her becoming bulimic. Ruggedly handsome, Bea loves him unreservedly in spite of his faults. He insists they live in the upper-class community though Bea feels it lacks diversity. Lonnie is a master manipulator who always manages to get what he wants.

Bea forgives Lonnie for his many prior infidelities, especially the one that produced a son they are supporting, but as her pregnancy progresses, she senses he is running around again. Soon she discovers the truth. Feelings of betrayal envelop Bea making her realize she cannot continue this sham of a marriage. Her illness worsens along with her self-esteem, and she understands it's up to her to change things and stop being Lonnie's door mat.

Flashbacks to Bea's childhood allow the reader to understand her current angst as she gains the strength to persevere and be true to herself. Well-written and thought-provoking with complex characters, Ms. Johnson delves into the heart of women's emotions.

The Day I Died


By Lori Rader-Day

William Morrow Paperbacks

Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date April 11, 2017


Anna Winger and thirteen-year-old son, Joshua have been on the run since before Joshua's birth for Anna does not want anyone to know who she is. She left her hometown of Sweetheart Lake, Wisconsin with everyone believing she was dead and killed by her boyfriend, Ray Levis. In actuality, Anna ran away from Ray, fearing for her life. When discovering she was pregnant, Anna knew this abusive man would kill her, so what option did she have?

After many years of living in different states, Anna and Joshua are now settling in Parks, Indiana, where Anna hopes to put down roots and live a normal life. Her job as a handwriting analyst usually consists of assignments by employers hoping to gain insight into potential employees or by lonely hearts looking for love. Now she is working on an assignment with the police investigating the disappearance of a toddler and his mother as well as the babysitter found murdered. 

Joshua and Anna live solitary lives without friends, and now as the boy is maturing, he is asking questions and wondering why they are always moving. How can Anna explain things from her past she doesn't want him to know? 

The closer Anna works with Sheriff Keller, an attraction develops, but she cannot let herself get close to anyone. Trying to make the missing child her priority through individual letters allegedly written by his mother, her mind gets boggled when she begins having problems with Joshua making Anna feel her world slipping away from her. 

This novel contains several subplots, and with the secrets of Anna's past, it offers suspense, though much of the story line is far-fetched as well as confusing.

Gone Without a Trace


By Mary Torjussen


Thriller Suspense  --  Release Date: April 11, 2017


Hannah Monroe, a thirty-something British woman, is excited. A senior manager for an accounting firm, she's been to a training session which could give her a coveted promotion. She cannot wait to tell Matt, her live-in lover the good news.

Life couldn't get better. Hannah owns a house she loves, works for a company that gives her complete gratification, and adores her boyfriend. A problem arises when she arrives home to find it unoccupied. The emptiness suggests Matt never lived there. Bewildered, Hannah searches every inch of her home discovering all Matt's belongings are gone.

Hannah tries to call him, finding his phone number erased. There are no signs of his existence, and a Facebook search produces nothing. It's as though he was never part of her life.

Have they been robbed? Unable to fathom what is happening with Matt, she phones her best friend Katie and begs her to come, though she offers little solace stating Hannah forget Matt. But she cannot.

This disturbing situation affects Hannah in all aspects of her being. Her job suffers; she starts drinking; she no longer takes pride in her appearance or in keeping her house clean, and she loses a lot of weight.

Soon, the fixation to find Matt and learn why he left takes precedence over everything. Hannah will not stop until she learns the truth, and when it hits her in the face, the betrayal and her loss of faith in those she loves decimates her.

Every chapter concludes with a cliffhanger making the book impossible to put down. The plot filled with spine-tingling emotional suspense, concludes with a shocking ending.

The Perfect Stranger


By Megan Miranda

Simon & Schuster 

Contemporary Women's Fiction --  Release Date: April 4, 2017


Journalist Leah Stevens moves to rural Pennsylvania to take a teaching position. She's starting her life over after being forced to quit her job at a Boston newspaper where she reported on a story that caused a man's death.

Leah reconnects with Emmy Grey, a friend she shared an apartment with eight years prior. Allegedly through with her tour with the Peace Corps, Emmy also wants to settle down someplace quiet.

Davis Cobb, the school coach, invites Leah for a drink, making advances which she rebukes. She starts receiving annoying emails, phone calls, and one night Cobb shows up at her house, drunk.

When Leah is caught in traffic on her way to school due to an accident where a woman is found beaten near the lake, she is shocked upon noticing the victim bears a striking resemblance to her. Leah fears Cobb responsible and notifies the cops of his harassment.

Emmy and Leah do not see each other because of conflicting schedules, but it's been several days since Emmy has been home. Leah believes she is with James, a guy she is dating, but decides to inform the authorities of her absence.  

Perusing Emmy's possessions for clues, Leah's search and the police investigation turn up nothing. Do they think Leah made Emmy up? When James is discovered dead in the car Emmy had been using, Leah becomes suspect.

Is her past is following her? Has Emmy played her all this time? And why?

Listed as contemporary woman's fiction, "The Perfect Stranger" is better described as a psychological thriller. The distinct characters add to the suspense, complete with twists and turns, leaving the reader will be thinking--do we really know our friends?

The Last Chance Olive Ranch


By Susan Wittig Albert


Suspense -- Release Date: April 4, 2017

When the phone rings at 5:00 a.m., it's usually to bring bad news. Such is the case at the McQuaid household, when Mike--who answers by McQuaid--an ex-cop turned private investigator, hears from a colleague that Max Mantel, a criminal he helped convict more than a decade ago escaped from Huntsville Prison, where he was on death row. Max vowed on the day he was sentenced he would get out and kill anyone who had a part in incarcerating him. It seems he's made good on his promise for McQuaid learns the prosecutor who tried his case has been found murdered. 

Concerned for his wife, China's safety and that of their daughter Caitie, McQuaid wants them out of town. China does not want to go, though he is adamant she stick to her plan of teaching a workshop and spending the weekend with her business partner, Ruby at The Last Chance Olive Ranch, some distance away. 

Against her better judgment, China goes, and McQuaid takes Caitie to his parents' home. With Blackie, his associate, they prepare to locate Mantel and take him down, learning as time passes that more are killed.

Meanwhile, China, enchanted by the farm, finds her old legal skills are put to work when Maggie, who inherited the property is involved in a battle over who actually is the rightful owner. Something fishy is going on, and China determines to get to the bottom of things. Little does she know; she puts herself in danger experiencing excitement of her own.

The characters are as colorful and charming as the plot, and Ms. Wittig Albert supplies snippets of information about harvesting olives along with adding some delicious-sounding recipes.

Sombody's Baby



By Donna Alward

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance  --  Release Date: April 4, 2017 

Oaklee Collier, frustrated by all the wedding and baby showers she is attending wonders if she'll ever be lucky enough to have one given for her. After being left at the altar in Vegas, she's been afraid to open up and love another, so she immerses herself in her job working for the town of Darling, Vermont.

One evening, Oaklee grabs her phone to answer a text while driving, knowing it's wrong, but she's on a deserted road, and no one is around. Before she realizes it, she hears a thump only to discover she hit a dog. Ashamed and frightened, she bundles the pup up a blanket and takes him to Rory Gallagher, the local vet.

Rory is Oaklee's older brother's best friend, and a guy she crushed on since she was young. His care and gentleness with the dog touches her heart. Buster (the name they both give him) requires a cast and Rory talks Oaklee into fostering him until they can find his owner or a permanent family. Oaklee wants to decline, for she is fearful of ties, but her guilt and the adorable pooch make her accept.

Buster isn't the only one to win her over. She still feels an attraction for Rory, yet is terrified to depend on anyone. Rory also comes with baggage after his heart had been broken, but he notices his best friend's sister is now a fascinating woman. There is something between them that is too hard to deny.

Book #3 in the Darling, VT series, "Somebody's Baby" opens hearts to trust, acceptance, and a second chance for love. 

The Halo Effect


By Anne D. LeClaire

Lake Union Publishing

Suspense -- Release Date: April 1, 2017


One October morning, Will Light, a renowned artist in Port Fortune, MA is making breakfast for his wife Sophie and their fifteen-year-old daughter, Lucy. Life couldn't be happier for this close-knit family until everything falls apart when Lucy doesn't return home from school that night. The Light's know their daughter to be respectful and responsible; not the type to take off without notifying them. A search commences, and several days later Lucy's battered body is found in the woods.

Will and Sophie are heartbroken and drift apart. Will no longer has the desire to work at his craft and finds solace for his grief and anger in liquor. Sophie quits her teaching job and moves out of the family home. Even Rain, Lucy's best friend sinks into despair and cannot stop herself from performing nightly rituals of checking door and window locks seven times. When her mother discovers she is cutting herself, she insists sending her to a psychiatrist, though it's against Rain's wishes.

Father Gervase approaches Will with the Bishop's decree to commission him to compose portraits of saints for a newly constructed cathedral in Boston. Will wants no part of this. His only focus is on finding his daughter's killer and getting revenge. Sophie pleads with him to take the assignment, which he does, and before long Will's rage dissipates as he immerses himself in his project.

Months pass with no clues to Lucy's murdered, and tension builds with many hints alluding to the perpetrator, yet the real culprit is totally unexpected. The descriptive prose and well-developed characters rule this tale about anguish and loss. Fast-paced and highly emotional, "The Halo Effect" offers a sustaining message.

The Two-Family House


By Lynda Cohen Loigman

St. Martin's Griffin

Women's Fiction -- Release Date: March 21, 2017


The year is 1947 and Brooklyn, NY is the setting where the Berman families live in a two-family house. Brothers Abe and Mort own a box company, and wives Helen and Rose are close friends.

Abe and Helen with all boys are expecting their sixth child. Mort and Rose have girls, and now Rose too is pregnant. The women go into labor the same time. They are housebound due to a blizzard and give birth at home with the aid of a midwife.

Irascible and gruff Mort doesn't pay much attention to his daughters, so Rose believes she will break through his hard shell by presenting him with the son he's always wanted. Born minutes apart, Rose has a son, Teddy for Mort, while Natalie is Abe's first girl.

Rose sinks into a state of depression with Helen helping her cope. Soon Rose become hostile toward Helen. She feels Helen is showing her up by always being the "perfect" mom which grates on her causing a rift between them.

The children grow with Natalie and Teddy being inseparable which annoys Rose. After a few years, they move into their own homes on Long Island. Though not far from each other, Rose is happy to not contend with Helen daily. The cause of the riff is incomprehensible, but Rose stands resolute in her determination to be estranged from Helen. Teddy and Natalie want to be together, much to Rose's distress, but she acquiesces, and they visit each other's home until tragedy strikes.

This exceptionally well-written debut novel is emotion-filled, offering complex characters and a plot full of secrets as well as regrets, proving to be a gripping read. 

At First Light


By Mari Madison


Contemporary Romance  --  Release Date: March 7, 2017

Sarah Martin loves her job at News 9. She gets paid to watch and review movies. Who wouldn't enjoy that? She also owns a beach cottage that's her haven. The only thing missing is a guy.

Her friends drag her to bars, but she hasn't found the one for her. She lost him five years previous when their relationship ended in part thanks to her father.

Sarah and Troy Young, young activists at the time, tried to change the world, and got drawn into disclosing animal abuse at a nearby water park. Using her feminine wiles, Sarah enticed the IT guy to hack in to the accounts to destroy the business--a business in which her political dad was involved. Then things blew up in their faces.

Troy was forced to take a job as a foreign correspondent covering events in Syria. Captured by insurgents, he was thrown into a cave for three long months. Not knowing if he would survive, thinking of Sarah kept him sane. Through negotiations, Troy returned home, considered by some as a hero, others angry he was freed. Troy suffered severe post-traumatic stress along with debilitating guilt.

Now employed at the same station as Sarah, Tory is reporting live when a car backfires, causing a severe panic attack. Discharged of those assignments, he is working with Sarah on a TV new segment.

Sarah and Troy realize they still love each other, though she is still hurt by his departure years ago without an explanation, and he needs to explain why that happened and assuage his conscience.

"At First Light," the third book in the Exclusive Romance series, is seductive,  sensual, and filled with high emotion and drama. 

Wait for Dark


By Kay Hooper


Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: March 7, 2017

What is happening in Clarity, North Carolina? This sleepy town where crime is practically non-existent is now seeing many deadly accidents. However, it appears these events are somehow premeditated and clearly aimed at random residents. The one commonality is that each victim receives a cryptic text twenty-four hours before their demise stating: "Wait for Dark."

The town's sheriff, Mal Gordon knows he is in over his head. The type of offenses he is used to handling consists mainly of speeding tickets, arrests for vandalism, or drunk driving. These new situations find Gordon way out of his league, so the Special Crimes Unit of the FBI is called in to help.

Agents Hollis Templeton and her partner, Reese DeMarco along with others come to town in search of clues. In addition to being profilers, they all possess a vast array of psychic, telepathic, and precognitive supernatural powers, making these incidents matters that encompass their expertise. 

As more heinous and horrific deaths happen, which in no way could be considered accidents, Hollis remembers an attack she suffered where she almost perished, yet she does not deter her in her determination to seek out the evil invading this area even if it means putting herself in peril.

"Wait for Dark," the fifth novel in the Bishop/SCU series is jam-packed with suspense and tension. The reader is kept on pins and needles as to the culprit's identity until the surprising conclusion.

Home at Last


By Lily Everett

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance  --  Release Date: March 7, 2017

Even though Quinn Harper is ten years younger than Marcus Beckett, she has loved him forever. After Marcus had left Sanctuary Island soon after his mother's death, Quinn was heartbroken, and she wondered if he'd ever come back. 

Now, years later, Marcus returns home to open a bar after quitting his high-powered job in the Secret Service. He is surprised to find Quinn now grown into a beautiful young woman; a woman he can't resist. After a brief fling, he determines she deserves better for his history is filled with baggage and not the kind to dump on her.

Quinn has other ideas. She realizes her love for Marcus and cannot let him go, so when his business fails after their break up, she devises a way to get him back and to save his bar. Her parents' marriage is in trouble, and Quinn believes she is partly to blame. She suggests she and Marcus start dating again, so her folks will think she's settling down and stop worrying about her. 

Marcus is against it, though he can't refuse Quinn, and he surprises her as well as himself when he proposes. Things become sticky when Quinn's mother's marriage guru comes to town and insists they all reside in Quinn's childhood home. Quinn hopes this "intervention" will help her parents realize their true feelings for each other and make Marcus see that she and he also belong together. 

"Home at Last," book 6 in the Sanctuary Island series breaks down the communication barriers with emotion and grace to reaffirm the reality of enduring love.

Someone to Love


By Donna Alward

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance  --  Release Date: March 7, 2017

After a sad and lonely childhood, Willow Dunaway finds the happiness she's always craved. Considered a bit eccentric, Willow practices Yoga and Zen and believes in living in the moment. She opens a cafe called The Purple Pig in the little town of Darling, VT, known for its famous kissing bridge where it's purported that the one you kiss there will be the love of your life.

Willow knows this omen is accurate when her best friend, Laurel, who kissed Aiden Gallagher when they were both five, reclaimed their feelings and recently married. Marriage is the furthest thing from Willow's mind for she is overworked with her new business, and extra time is a priceless commodity. 

Then she is introduced to Ethan Gallagher, Aiden's brother and Laurel's brother-in-law. The two clash from the first moment. Ethan is taken aback by Willow's pink streaked hair, nose ring, and tattoo, believing she is not someone he'd ever consider romantically. Willow senses Ethan, a firefighter, to be uptight and snooty. He is a conservative being widower raising two boys on his own, but when Willow meets his kids, she is completely besotted. She never thought much about having a family, but something about these two rambunctious youngsters warms her heart. Soon, she comes to see Ethan for the outstanding dad and person he is, changing her attitude.

Once Ethan watches Willow interact with his sons, he discovers her judged her unfairly. Under her glittery facade, she proves to be a loving, caring, and compassionate woman. The two enjoy each other's company and realize what they have could be real. With Ethan's wounds still raw after losing his wife and Willow learning to deal with her past, they are both hesitant to commit.

"Somebody to Love," book #2 in the Darling, VT series, a touching tale of love and loss is a fun and easy read.                 

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