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.
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.
By David Bell
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.
By Shelley Shepard Gray
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.
By RaeAnne Thayne
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.
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.
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.
By Dean Koontz
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Ruth Hogan
Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: February 21, 2017
Laura Darby, helplessly adrift after leaving her abusive husband wonders what her future will hold. She applies for a position as a housekeeper/personal assistant to Anthony Peardew, and elderly author. Padua, Anthony's redbrick Victorian villa immediately envelops Laura with warmth and a sense of belonging. Happily accepting the position, she meticulously maintains his household and keeps his books. The two develop a close relationship, yet with boundaries--Anthony's study is sacrosanct and always locked.
Anthony enjoys a peculiar hobby; he brings home objects he finds on outings. No matter how trivial or seemingly insignificant, his office overflows with misplaced treasures. Years ago, Anthony was bequeathed a precious trinket from the woman he loved. He lost both and wants to atone by returning things he discovers to their owners. Unfortunately, he passes away before completing his mission.
Surprised and enchanted, Laura inherits Anthony's beloved home and possessions along with a letter stipulating she try to return the mislaid items. At first, she frets over her assignment, but with the help of Freddy, Anthony's gardener with whom Laura is besotted, and Sunshine, young Down's Syndrome woman neighbor who befriends her, she now has a "family" and they plan to fulfill Anthony's wishes.
Decades ago, Eunice found a bauble she's kept for many years. She is an associate to Bomber, a publisher, who is also a dear friend. As the chapters switch between the differing characters, there is confusion as to how Eunice and Bomber relate to Anthony and Laura, which is later delightfully shown in the ending. This charming debut novel set in London contains mystery. It is heartwarming with a colorful cast of members and the descriptive vernacular of the region.
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.
By Christine Lennon
Contemporary Women/Suspense -- Release Date: February 14, 2017
Elizabeth Davis lives in New York City with her husband, Gavin, and daughter, Remi. Trying to overcome unrelenting anxiety from her past, she is obsessed with her child's safety.
In the 1990s, Elizabeth, known as Betsy, lived in Gainesville as a student at the University of Florida. She rose before dawn to work at a bagel shop then attended classes in the afternoon. Originally pledged into a sorority, after two-and-a-half years, she had enough and left, yet remained close with her "sisters" Ginny and Caroline.
Her best friend was Ginny, as Caroline, one of the hotshots of the sorority always with them, consistently put Betsy down. The summer before Betsy's last semester the town is shocked by a rash of murders of young co-eds.
One night, Betsy went to Caroline and Ginny's apartment to crash. Upon hearing noises upstairs, she got spooked and took off, running into Gavin, a guy she's been seeing. Later she learned Ginny had been there and became another victim of the serial killer. Totally unnerved, Betsy returned to her own home, finishing her degree through the mail.
The story segues through the next twenty years with Betsy moving to New York with Gavin to start a new life. Betsy redefines herself, now addressed as Elizabeth, and life commences with her and Gavin enjoying the city, imbibing in alcohol and drugs. Elizabeth cannot accept Ginny's killing, and a change in scenery, the booze, and dope does not help.
Now at age forty, her worry centers on her Remi, and she is invited back to FL for her class reunion. Hesitant to go, Elizabeth hopes to bury her past and banish her demons. Filled with suspense, "The Drifter" deals with complicated friendships and loss.
By Sadeqa Johnson
Thomas Dunne Books
Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: February 14, 2017
Everyone has secrets, but what happens when past hurts are so grave you cannot disclose them to your husband? Felicia, happily married to Preston Lyons is lucky to be a stay-at-home mom for her three young children, yet sometimes feels suffocated by them.
She reminisces about her dream of being an actress, and she hopes to be accepted into elite Dames and Culture Club to prove she's made it. Excited to be asked to perform, she gives her all when Preston appears, anger written all over him.
Her past is back to haunt her.
At age fifteen, Felicia witnessed her unstable father attack her mother and aunt, leaving her mother institutionalized. The trauma so horrendous, she was seduced by Martin, an older man from her church who played on her vulnerability and got her pregnant. Raised by her grandmother, she was whisked away to have her baby before reclaiming her life. After college, she met Preston, a stable and dependable man whom she marries.
Now, seven years into her marriage, she's feeling harried by her mothering responsibilities when she receives a call from Martin. Terrified of Preston finding out, her fears arise when he does. Believing he was Felicia's first, he is enraged to learn she was with another before him, forcing her to leave her home and kids.
Finding solace at her grandmother's, Felicia confronts Martin to insist he stay away but then succumbs to his charms only to face betrayal again. Keeping confidences are hard, but when it's to forget past heartaches, how wrong is that?
As Felicia's life unravels around her, she wonders if she's lost everything. "Second House from the Corner" is a complex and powerful read.
By Karen Rose
Suspense/Thriller -- Release Date: February 7, 2017
FBI Special Agent, Kate Coppola takes a promotion, moving to Cincinnati, Ohio happy to be near her friend, Deacon Novak. Prepared for a new position, she needs information from Agent Griffin "Decker" Davenport, who is in a coma after being wounded while working a three-year sting operation. He was bringing down drug dealers and learned the thugs are also involved in human trafficking and child pornography.
While Decker lies unconscious in the hospital, Kate stays, talking to him, willing him to wake up so she can ascertain what he has discovered. She is attracted to him, and upon awakening, he too is engrossed by her, and though terribly weak, he insists on doing his part. An attempt is made on Decker's life, so he is secreted to a safe house receiving medical care from Deacon Novak's sister, a conscientious physician.
Meanwhile, eighteen-year-old Mallory Martin is a victim of the "Professor," the slime bag who deals drugs and sells children. Mallory, his "slave" for years would escape but he threatens that her younger sister Macy would become his next target. She must break free, but wonders if anyone would believe her. So ensnared in this creep's trap, Mallory is fearful for her life and that of Macy's.
In this third book of the Cincinnati series, Ms. Rose demonstrates considerable research into the evils of drugs and kiddie porn. Her complex and detailed characters, plot and subplots--particularly with regard to the seedier parts of life--will leave the reader gasping, hastily turning pages to discover the outcome. "Every Darn Corner" is utterly gripping and mind-boggling, particularly when realizing situations such as these written actually exist.
By Alexandra Burt
Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: February 7, 2017
Dahlia Waller spent her childhood living in sleazy hotels or her mother's dilapidated car. The one thing that kept her engaged was an encyclopedia which she read to learn different things. She doesn't understand why they must keep running or why her questions aren't answered.
They eventually settle in Aurora, Texas, and Dahlia befriends Bobby, a policeman's son, and forms a strong, platonic bond. Dahlia now attends school and leaves after graduation only to return fifteen years later, finding her mother, Memphis profoundly confused. She searches for information, yet only gets gibberish.
After the two argue, Dahlia goes jogging and stumbles on a half dead woman in the woods. Terrified, she flees and falls into the creek hitting her head. She gets help for them both then strange spells and visions of differing scenarios envelop Dahlia. The doctor insists she is experiencing dangerous seizures and recommends surgery, but Dahlia refuses until she learns the identity of the victim and the secrets her mother is hiding.
As Memphis descends deeper into madness, she explains her past by piecemeal. Though crimes were committed, Dahlia she struggles over exposing her. She feels intense hatred toward her mother, but understands Memphis' rationalizations and a past where she believes her actions are justified.
Shocking and highly emotional, "The Good Daughter" is a multifaceted tale exploding with suspense and tension substantiating a woman's validation of righting a wrong.
By Donna Alward
St. Martin’s Press
Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: February 7, 2017
Darling, VT is famous for its kissing bridge, which is a big tourist attraction. At age 5, Laurel Stone was photographed kissing Aiden Gallagher at her aunt’s wedding, with their picture displayed in town since. Laurel always was sweet on for Aiden and as teenagers when on a date, he tried to go a bit too far after being egged on by a bet with his peers. Hurt terribly, Laurel retaliated by throwing a milkshake over his head in the school cafeteria.
Now, twenty years later, Laurel moves back to in town licking her wounds after her 3-year marriage comes to an end when her husband comes out of the closet, stating his is in love with another man. Laurel buys a long-closed nursery, giving up her accounting career in Burlington to start over doing something she loves.
Aiden is now working as a police officer and when they bump into each other, Laurel acts cool toward him. He recognizes he acted like a stupid kid and wants to make things right between them, but Laurel is stubborn and cannot get over her hurt and humiliation.
Living in a small town, their paths cross often, and though Laurel tries to deny it, she still feels strongly for the handsome Irishman. Aiden too is drawn to her and makes it his mission to win her back, if not with his love, then with friendship.
When the town plans a new campaign to highlight the kissing bridge, they ask Laurel and Aiden to renew their kiss. Laurel, aghast, refuses, not wanting to submit to the embarrassment. To make thing worse, her ex wants to hold his wedding at the bridge and asks for her help. Not one to say “no,” Laurel acquiesces yet is doubly mortified.
“Somebody Like You” gives ownership to second chances when trust and forgiveness seem lost.
By Lily Everett
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: February 7, 2017
Every woman dreams of marrying the perfect guy, but what happens when the marriage is only one of convenience? Tessa Alexander has dealt with this plight for eight years. Born and raised in a commune with overly strict parents, when Tessa becomes ill her father refuses to get her treatment. She runs away to a world she's never been a part of; terrified but in need of medical attention.
Freezing and scared, barely eighteen-year-old Tessa finds shelter in a barn where she is discovered the next morning by the owner, Johnny Alexander. Johnny takes her in making sure she receives medication and protection. An honorable man, he insists they wed so he can protect her. Though he is four years older and physically drawn to her, he will not give into his desires.
An agent for the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Johnny is often away on assignment, leaving Tessa safe at home. After a harrowing two-year undercover sting, Johnny cannot wait to get back to his wife, but upon his arrival, he discovers a "Dear John" letter.
Tessa has started a new life, believing Johnny deserves better, though she is helplessly in love with him. Johnny tracks her down to Sanctuary Island, a small community where everyone watches out for each other. Determined to win her back, he notices how the once frightened girl has blossomed. Even though Tessa's heart belongs to Johnny, she will not leave her new home, especially if he cannot return her devotion.
Johnny, hardened from past circumstances as well as his job, does not want to lose Tessa, so he remains in town, hoping things will change. When she gets abducted, he goes crazy with the need to find and save her, but can he also learn to love her they way a husband should?
Book #5 in the Sanctuary Island series, "Close to Home" is heartwarming and suspenseful with touches of romance.
By Kaya McLaren
St. Martin's Griffin
Contemporary Family Life -- Release Date: January 31, 2017
Willow Davis resented her eccentric mother after her father leaves her for another woman. In angst, Willow's mom burns their mattress then departs to start a new life. At age 13 Willow is whisked away from her home and friends in Washington State to live near an Indian reservation in New Mexico.
As a grown woman, Willow is in Los Angeles working as a studio musician and living with Ian, a man she hopes to marry. Unfortunately, life as she planned, is now over. Ian chooses to move in with a friend to save on rent and Willow receives news her mother has perished after being thrown from a horse.
Shocked and depressed, Willow packs her meager belongings and heads to New Mexico. She inherits her mother's property, The DeVine Winery and Goat Ranch, which is in dire financial straits. With the aid of her Apache childhood friend, Darrel, she unburdens her fears, but is shocked when he mentions his grandfather had a vision that she is pregnant. What else could go wrong?
Willow, hoping to make peace with her past is frustrated by her future. She searches through her mother's possessions getting a better understanding of her ways yet trying to figure out which way to turn. Should she salvage her legacy or head back to L.A where she faces a life alone raising a child and barely making ends meet?
"The Road to Enchantment" spins a charming coming-of-age tale offering insight into the history of Native Americans. The protagonist, filled with doubt and uncertainty finds the camaraderie and love she never possessed as she travels along the road of self-discovery.
By Cecilia Galante
William Morrow Paperbacks
Coming of Age -- Release Date: January 31, 2017
In thirteen days Bernadette Connolly, known as "Bird" will be off probation for writing bad checks. She's repaid her debt, and now she envisions moving into her own place with her precocious, five-year-old son, Angus. Now living with her mother, they don't see eye-to-eye, and her mom's nagging to get Bird back to church annoys her.
Bird is shocked upon seeing a newscast of James Rittenhouse being arrested then escaping his capture. She worked with James at a burger joint years ago where they developed a friendship. It's been almost six years since she saw him after he helped her out of a terrifying situation.
Now he's on the loose, and the town is in a frenzy. James is charged with beating a man at a local bar, and his situation becomes worse after he flees the police and confiscates the officer's gun. The James Bird remembers was not at all violent.
Bird's mother makes her stop at the church to pick up her sweater "accidently" left there. Her plan is for Bird to talk to the priest and reclaim her faith, but when Bird hears a noise in the choir loft, which has been unused for a long time, she investigates and discovers James hidden among the darkness and dust. He is frightened and hurt, and against her better judgment, Bird brings him food, water, fresh clothes, and medical supplies for his wound. She plans to help him escape even knowing it is a felony.
Though she must consider Angus and her future, she owes James. They reveal many things about themselves while together, and though Bird knows what she is doing is wrong, her heart is in the right place. Throughout this situation, she matures and learns to accept herself and others.
By Sarah Pinborough
Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: January 31, 2017
London is the setting where we meet Louise Barnsley. A single mom to son Adam, age 6, she is depressed to discover her ex's new wife is pregnant. She goes to a bar after work and bumps into a charismatic man with whom she shares an unforgettable kiss.
When Louise arrives at her job as a secretary for a psychiatric practice she is shocked to realize the new doctor on staff, David Martin is the one who kissed her. Embarrassed, she is ashamed to learn David is married and not only is his wife gorgeous but she's wealthy too. She wonders why David would be interested in a dowdy person like her and resolves to nip anything that could start in the bud. However, it's not easy, for David is equally attracted to her.
Against her better judgment, Louise befriends David's wife, Adele, who is new to the area and lonely. Louise is surprised to find she likes Adele. But when Adele lets things slip about her marriage, Louise becomes torn. She is connected to David and now also to Adele. She cannot drop one for the other, though she and David are deeply into an affair, and she does not tell him of her relationship with Adele.
David demonstrates a different side of his character making Louise empathetic toward Adele, yet as she becomes closer to them both, doubts rise. Why does David need to control Adele, and why is she frightened of him?
"Behind Her Eyes" is a suspenseful psychological thriller complete with complex characters, several twists, and an ending that is as equally unexpected as it is implausible, yet proves to be a gripping read.
By Claire Cook
Marshbury Beach Books
Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: January 27, 2017
A year-and-a-half ago Noreen lost her job and her boyfriend, and she started walking with her neighbors, Tess and Rosie. With only six months compensation left from her employment buyout, Noreen realizes the need to acquire new skills and decide what to do for her future.
Frustrated because her relationship with Rick, a guy she met in career counseling, is fizzling, she signs up for a course at a local college. She plans to become certified as a health coach, though the temptation of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and trying to devise a new flavor using her marketing expertise almost thwarts her new vocation.
Luckily Rosie and Tess lend support while they prepare for their much-awaited vacation to Provence. Though not in her budget, Noreen earlier finalized her reservations for the river cruise, and she doesn't want to disappoint her friends by canceling. Rosie, a lavender farmer, hopes this trip will offer additional suggestions to expand her business for the area they're visiting is famous for the propagation of this crop.
Little do the three expect the experiences that await them. They arrive at the ship after a long flight, exhausted but exhilarated. The ten-thousand-step-walk a day will continue as they travel the coast of France's waterways. The French countryside is vividly detailed and the camaraderie the women share is uplifting.
Ms. Cook's New England roots and vernacular are prominent throughout this delightful, heartwarming second novel in The Wildwater Walking Club series. Nothing is impossible with close friends, determination, and a sense of humor, a factor in most of the author's books. Incorporated at the conclusion of the chapters are several recipes and ideas for using the soothing lavender herb which is sure to whet one's appetite.
By Holly Brown
Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: January 17,2017
Dawn Thiebold, finishing her college degree in Communications, decides to vacation for a weekend at a posh Santa Monica beach house with husband Rob. Because Dawn was raised in a dysfunctional and poverty-ridden atmosphere, she loves to pretend she is rich if only for a short time.
Though the home was far above anything she or Rob could ever own, they both got bad vibes from the cottage. When they return home, Dawn receives an email from Miranda Feldt, the owner, saying she is deducting $200 from Dawn's deposit due to stained bedding.
Livid, Dawn curses at Miranda's audacity to shortchange them noting the linens were not soiled when they left. She learns Miranda's husband is a well-known and respected doctor and wonders who pays $200 for sheets? Thus begins a brutal back and forth between the two women.
Miranda always receives glowing reviews on the site where her rental is listed, and when she sees Dawn's very negative posting, she is furious. The emails and texts volley between them with Dawn deeming Miranda is taking advantage of her while Miranda believes Dawn is trying to ruin her reputation.
The obsession to right a wrong on Dawn's part and Miranda wanting to save face becomes all-consuming, though both have other difficulties to contend with. Dawn's father passes away, and her co-dependent mother expects Dawn to support her. Miranda's only child, twenty-seven-year-old Thad, is addicted to drugs and the income from her property helps keep him in contact with his mother.
This novel deals with a battle of wills and two women believing they are right no matter the consequences. Dawn thinks because of Miranda's wealth and position she looks down her nose at her for not being of the same social order, yet Dawn desperately wants to be in Miranda's shoes. Things escalate over time making for an intense psychological thriller.
By Sue Ann Jaffarian
Cozy Mystery -- Release Date: December 6, 2016
Set in a quaint Massachusetts town, medium Emma Whitecastle and her fiancée Phil Bowers arrive at Misty Hollow to help bestselling mystery author Gino Costello research the history of the farmhouse he is renting. There are accounts of paranormal happenings here, and Gino is relying on Emma's input for his next book.
Several spirits greet Emma and Phil on the porch, though only Emma can see and hear them. The ghost of Granny Apples, Emma's great-great-great-grandmother also accompanies her, and they immediately sense things are amiss.
Blaine Brown, a twenty-year-old man who died in the 1800s, is one who stands out among the others and pleads for Emma's help in finding the young twin family members who disappeared many years ago.
Gino's irascible wife Vanessa lets everyone know she does not want to be stuck out in the country and soon departs, so he gives his assistant Leroy and housekeeper Marta time off so he and Emma can concentrate on his manuscript. He plans to use the resident spirits from long ago as a key factor in his novel, knowing Emma will provide accurate facts.
They commence their search for the twins with the help of Fran, the retired local librarian who also can detect spirits. Utilizing old maps and distinct surroundings, they can determine where to look.
Things climax when Emma and Phil stumble upon the body of a young man in the old family home. Never having seen him before they wonder why he is on the property. Was he due to meet either Leroy or Vanessa or was he planning something more sinister?
Granny, Blaine, and Fran assist Emma in locating the missing children and finally reunite the Brown family while solving other mysteries.
Book #6 in the Ghost of Granny Apples Mysteries, contains delightful and charming characters, vivid descriptions of a North East autumn, and an enjoyable read supplying humor as well as suspense.
By Bernard Minier
Mystery & Crime -- Release Date: December 6, 2016
On Christmas Eve, Christine Steinmeyer and her fiancé, Gerald
Gerald is furious, believing she is going off the deep end. She accuses him of having an affair with one of his students and allegedly sends the woman a nasty email. He wants time apart, stating he needs to reevaluate their relationship, leaving Christine bereft for she can trust no one.
Things become worse when tranquilizers are discovered in Christine's office desk, and her erratic behavior causes the loss of her job. Someone breaks into her home leaving her opera CDs, and she doesn't like that genre of music. Also, her beloved dog, Iggy is missing and Christine finds him in the trash bin in the basement with a broken leg. She wonders if she is going mad or if someone hates her so much to do this to her.
Martin Servaz is an officer currently recovering from depression after the kidnapping of his girlfriend. He gets mailed a key to a motel room where an artist had killed herself the year before. Though on medical leave, he cannot get this issue out of his mind, so he investigates to see if this person's demise was actually a case of murder. His sleuthing unearths horrifying things that tie the artist's death to other women, including Christine. Will she be the next "suicide" or can he fit the pieces of the puzzle together to save her?
The locale of this novel is in Europe (mainly France), and the vivid descriptions of places, activities, and the vernacular of the area appear confusing at first for those not accustomed to foreign locations or terms. Yet, the plot is so electrifying it pulls the reader in, so all one's focus is on speculating as to who is the culprit.
By Kate Carlisle
Cozy Mystery -- Release Date: November 1, 2016
Jack Hammer suffers a heart attack, leaving his daughter Shannon, to run his construction business. She and her crew, along with volunteers are restoring the Forester House, a Victorian mansion in Lighthouse Cove, CA. This rehab will offer several disadvantaged families a home in one of the thirteen apartments.
Shannon's day starts off bad when she is forced to hunt down her runaway pooch, making her late for work. Many mishaps make the day worse, especially when Pete Potter, vice president of the bank that donated the property appears. Potter infuriates everyone by getting in the way and belittling the workers. His comments to Lizzie, Shannon's friend, and Jack cause heated arguments.
Shannon also encounters trouble with a volunteer who states someone assaulted her, and one of her teenaged helpers claims some stole her diamond bracelet.
Unable to sleep that night, Shannon heads to the site early the next morning hoping to work in solitude. She goes to the pantry at one of the units only to find the door is stuck. After a struggle, she sees Mr. Potter slumped against the frame with an axe plunged into his neck. She does not need to check for a pulse; it is evident the man is dead.
Though no one will miss Potter, what frightens Shannon is the murder weapon belongs to Jack, who is helping out on the project. She is dismayed to discover his tools scattered around the floor, which is unlike him. He's known to be meticulous about caring for his belongings, and Shannon cannot understand why he did not bring his things home.
Things go downhill when the missing bracelet turns up in Jack's toolbox and adding to Shannon's angst; someone leaves a newborn in the back of her truck.
"Deck the Hallways," the fourth book in the Fixer-Upper Mystery series is filled with many entertaining characters and vivid renovating descriptions, along with enough twists and turns to keep this cozy intriguing.
By Lena Gregory
Cozy Mystery -- Release Date: November 1, 2016
Cass Donovan returns to her hometown of Bay Island, New York after giving up her psychiatric practice in the city for personal reasons. She opens a psychic shop called Mystical Musings where she sells different New Age products and performs "readings."
Ellie Callahan comes to her for advice about her cheating husband, Jay. Cass "sees" a dark shadow, which worries her about Ellie's safety. Marge Hawkins, Ellie's mom, furious about the reading, publically confronts Cass. Later, Cass goes to the theater where she and best friend, Stephanie are helping Bee Maxwell, owner of Dreamweaver Designs set up for Bee's fashion show. The first to arrive, Cass finds Marge slumped over and sensing something wrong discovers Marge is dead.
Cass rushes out to call the police and arriving on the scene, Chief Langdon, long time friend of the family, considers her the killer. She cannot believe how nasty he acts toward her, though he is adamant about her guilt.
Small town living offers negative aspects as well as positive, and with the assistance of Bee and Stephanie, Cass tries to ward off suspicions among the residents--townsfolk who though know her, shunned her return after a long absence.
Ellie disappears, and Jay demands Cass tell him his wife's whereabouts. Cass knows there's no love lost between Marge and her son-in-law and wonders if he played a part in Marge's death. Not knowing where Ellie is, she fears for her, and herself as she is familiar with Jay's anger.
Another woman turns up dead; one who has been seen with Jay all weekend. Cass realizes her need to get involved, not only to exonerate herself but protect Ellie.
In this novel, the first in the Death at First Sight series, Cass is depicted as a wholesome and caring person, yet prone to headaches from the stress she deals with, which doesn't seem typical for a trained doctor. However, good friends and a handsome arrival put things in the proper perspective for Cass making for an enchanting cozy.
By Sheryl Hames Torres
Desert Breeze Publishing
Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: November 1, 2016
In book #2 of the Happily Ever After series, Aimee Davidson's story offers a bit of mystery. She is spooked, sensing someone stalking her, but cannot prove it. Finn O'Shay, relatively new to town, deems himself her protector resolute in finding out if someone is after her.
Aimee's bakery is broken into, causing greater fear, and soon after Finn finds a saber intentionally stuck into his truck's tire. Is someone after Aimee, him, or both of them, and for what reason?
Aimee's friends and some townsfolk are preparing for an Easter festival. At this event, Jeremiah Michaels, Aimee's employee will marry his childhood sweetheart, Molly in a double wedding with his sister and her fiancée. Rain is creating and sewing all the dresses, Aimee is baking the cakes with Jeremiah's help, and the others are doing their part to make things perfect.
Though Finn is crazy about Aimee, she holds him at bay. He vows to take his time wooing her, to do whatever necessary to make her his. Aimee professes her love to him, but will not commit believing she isn't good enough for him. She is holding onto underlying secrets, but Finn resolves to make her trust him. Her beloved Gran, with whom she's resided since age seventeen when she returned to Moonlight Cove, GA will not offer Finn any hints, stating it is Aimee's story to tell.
A rare early spring snowstorm keeps Aimee and Finn housebound in her residence in the mountains. Aimee succumbs to her feelings, though will not divulge the mysteries of her past. At this time they realize their stalker had been watching them from outside Aimee's window.
Ms. Hames Torres' novel contains the charm and vernacular of the South. Her distinct characters are enchanting, and the slice of suspense adds to the appeal of this romance.
By Karen Kingsbury
Inspirational -- Release Date: October 25, 2016
The Christmas season is when families gather together to celebrate and enjoy each other's company. This is something the large Baxter family looks forward to every year, but this holiday may prove to be different. It has been two years since Erin Baxter Hogan, her husband and three daughters perished in a car accident, leaving the fourth daughter, ten-year-old Amy the only survivor and now being raised by Erin's sister, Ashley, and spouse, Landon Blake.
Upon her death, Erin donated her heart to Kendra Bryant, a young woman who would have otherwise died. John Baxter communicates with Kendra, a proclaimed atheist, around the time she senses her marriage to Moe is on the rocks. Still grieving over losing daughter Erin, and a devout Christian, he offers an invitation for her and Moe to join them for Christmas Eve dinner.
Ashley, John's daughter, and his son Luke are against it, causing dissension within the family structure. Their sorrow is too fresh from their loss, and Ashley believes having this woman in their presence will not only intensify their pain but would be harmful to Amy as well.
Meanwhile, Maddie West a high school student and Brooke Baxter West's daughter meets Connor Flanigan, a college freshman she is attracted to, but she feels she can never have a boyfriend. At age five and while at a birthday party, she was supposed to watch over younger sister, Hailey, who later was discovered in the bottom of the host's pool. Though Hayley barely survived, Maddie bears the burden of guilt for her sister's disabilities, deciding she does not deserve a customary and happy life. Because of this, she rebukes this Connor's interest.
"A Baxter Family Christmas" is a moving tale of two families sharing their faith and strong belief in God, receiving redemption from distress, showing miracles can happen. Ms. Kingsbury shares information about the many characters involved in her Baxter series and also graciously includes recipes from the family's Thanksgiving menu.
By Nancy Naigle
St. Martin's Griffin
Contemporary Holiday -- Release Date: October 18, 2016
Washington D.C. is an exciting place to live and work, and no one enjoys it more than Joy Holbrook. She gives one-hundred-percent to her marketing position, planning to climb the corporate ladder. Her life revolves around her job, so when she learns her Aunt Ruby is hospitalized after a fall, she becomes overwhelmed with guilt.
Joy loves Ruby unconditionally, though returning home to where she watched her beloved mother die brings back too many sad memories, keeping her away. Able to leave work assignments to her associates, Joy returns to North Carolina to be with Ruby.
Hoping she'll be away only for the weekend, Joy gets thrown into a Christmas project Ruby is famous for doing for years. Ruby needs to go to rehab for physical therapy making Joy's stay longer than planned, but she vows she will not disappoint Ruby.
Ruby's best friend Shirley's handsome grandson, Ben Andrews is an accountant at the local hospital. He meets Joy when she accidently backs into his truck damaging her car, but not his vehicle. Ben is amused by the feisty, independent woman who will not accept assistance, although he helps Ruby with her Christmas decorations every year.
Joy next takes over a new venture for Ben. She is enjoying herself with this, and she plans to make a spectacular setting for Ruby's annual Christmas Cookie Crawl Tour. She is also watching Molly, the precocious seven-year-old daughter of one of Ruby's friends, and soon falls in love with the child.
Happiness at being home fills Joy's heart, and she realizes there is more to life than work. Still saddened by her mom's death, she knows her mother would want her to live a full life. For once she wonders about marriage and children, but most of all, she desires to spend more time with Ruby. "Christmas Joy" offers a charming tale of family, friendship, love, loss and the real meaning of Christmas.
By Beth Harbison
St. Martin's Press
Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: October 18,2016
Thirty-year-old Noelle Carpenter is living an okay, yet hum-drum life. She works in Human Resources at Simon's Department Store in Washington D.C. Christmas is approaching, and she is dreading the holiday.
Her beloved mother died the October when Noelle was twelve, and the holidays have not been the same since. She tends to be introverted and more of a homebody usually refusing invitations to parties or going out with others.
Now she is busily searching the records for an old employee her boss asked her to find. He is very interested in locating this person now, but with Noelle in the archives and so involved in her chore, she doesn't notice it is snowing heavily, and the owner decides to close early. In addition, with everyone gone, she finds herself locked in and unable to leave.
At first, she becomes frightened, but the thought of being alone in this retail paradise gets her excited. She browses around, picking out clothing and deciding which bed on display she will sleep in when she hears a crash coming from the shoe stockroom. Upon investigating, she stumbles across a grandmotherly-type older female who crashed into the shelves of shoes, knocking everything to the floor.
Noelle gets flabbergasted wondering how this woman, who introduces herself as Charlie, also happens to be stuck in the store with her. Charlie appears to be dotty, especially when she explains she is Noelle's guardian angel, sent from Heaven to show her how being shy and afraid cost her to miss out on fun times in her past.
Though Charlie seems a bit batty, how can she be aware of Noelle and the prior happenings of her life--to be cognizant of things no one else could know? Reminiscent of Dickens's "Scrooge," this delightful and whimsical tale offers a quick read forcing Noelle to look deep within to realize what she truly wants from life.
By Donna VanLiere
St. Martin's Press
Inspirational Fiction -- Release Date: October 18, 2016
Christmas is a time for being with loved ones and celebrating. This is what twenty-year-old Lauren Gabriel wants more than anything. Her dad left when she was four and her mom suffered from many problems so she was later placed in a foster home. Years passed with Lauren living in different homes while yearning for a family of her own.
Lauren's grocery-store cashier job is humdrum, and one day after work she gets in her car and drives with no destination in mind, hoping to alleviate her funk. She ends up in Grandon, a small town about an hour from where she lives, and while there, she witnesses a hit-and-run accident. Offering her assistance, she later receives a call asking her to come back the next day to identify the driver. Lauren identifies the driver, and the woman whose car was crashed invites her for coffee. She meets some other women and soon finds herself roped into helping with the annual fundraiser for "Glory's Place," a facility founded to help single mothers and families in need.
Lauren heads to Grandon daily to work with the children to produce a Christmas sing-along at the town's gazebo. She is drawn to the kids and the friendly residents, especially a young man named Ben. Ben, a bagger at the local supermarket has some developmental problems, though he is always smiling and cheerful. A while ago he started writing sayings and putting them in the shopper's bags. He is somewhat of a hero and everyone who shops at the store waits in his line to see what uplifting notes he will slip into their sacks.
"The Christmas Town" is the inspiration tale of a lonely young woman being enveloped by a close-knit community demonstrating the true meaning of the season.
By Shelley Shepard Gray
Inspirational Fiction -- Release Date: October 18, 2016
Levi Kinsinger now back in Charm, Ohio is trying to pick up his old life after being gone several months grief-stricken from his father's death. At this point, he's not ready to live in his childhood home for it holds too many memories in his shattered heart.
To the dismay of his siblings, he rents a small cottage in an area they do not consider befitting one of the more prosperous residents of the town, but they let him work things out himself, happy he's back and once again taking part in the family mill.
Widowed Julia Kemp with her young daughter Penny, lives across the street and catches Levi's attention. She currently is employed at a local shop, though her finances are in dire shape and being close to Christmas, she would like to buy Penny a baby doll. Levi offers her the job of cleaning his home, and she accepts without hesitation.
The two become better acquainted with Levi discovering he is attracted to Julia and her child, but senses something is amiss where she is concerned. She wants to keep private the reasons why she left her family and moved to Ohio as well as the incidents which took place in her life. Does she have enough faith in Levi to divulge her secrets?
Julia too is drawn to Levi, but she cannot envision a future with him without him knowing her history. She confesses she is a single mother along with why she fled her home, yet he is angered and wondering if he can ever trust her.
As the holiday season approaches Julia confronts her past in frightening ways not only for her and Penny but because of her peril, Levi recognizes his true feelings for this woman as he proves he will stop at nothing to protect her.
The spirit of Christmas abides along with love, devotion, and understanding, making for another enjoyable Amish tale.
By Jodi Picoult
Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: October 11, 2016
Kennedy McQuarrie, a public defender in New Haven, CT takes on a case where African American RN, Ruth Jefferson is charged with the murder of a newborn. Ruth, a labor and delivery room nurse for more than twenty years, displays an exemplary record, so this accusation is shocking.
The problem begins after Ruth examines an infant delivered before her shift. It's her duty to perform the required tests, and she notes a heart murmur which she records for the doctor to address.
Parents Turk and Brittany Bauer, are white supremacists and do not want Ruth near their baby. She is removed from the assignment and noticing a post-it note on the chart stating "No African Americans to administer to this patient," she is hurt and angry.
The morning the Bauer's infant is circumcised emergencies abound, and with only three nurses in service Ruth is asked to observe the child for the regulation 90 minutes. She becomes concerned but believes one of her colleagues will return shortly to take over. Ruth witnesses him in distress and tries to revive him. She hears footsteps and swaddles him up, fearing the loss of her job for going against directives. A code called, Ruth is instructed to provide CPR, yet the baby does not survive.
Turk Bauer is infuriated, believing Ruth caused his son's death, and he insists she is held accountable. Ruth's license is revoked and her position suspended. Her years of study and hard work are now on the line. Is this medical malpractice or racism?
Ms. Picoult takes on this controversial subject. Chapters alternate in the voices of Ruth, Kennedy, and Turk. The medical elements of the maternity ward and legal aspects in a criminal case are highly detailed, yet the most impactful characteristic of this insightful tale is the eye-opening glimpse into differing lifestyles.
By Melissa Hill
St. Martin's Griffin
Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: October 4, 2016
Beth Harper, originally from Ireland, moved to Manhattan many years ago. Her beloved grandmother and she used to enjoy watching old movies together. Many were set in New York, giving Beth the desire to make the city that never sleeps her home. She works in the shoe department at upscale Carlisle at a job she loves for she often stages new arrivals around a movie theme.
For the past seven
Not long before Christmas, Ryan is hired to work in the men's division. A handsome young man from California, he shows an interest in Beth, even after she informs him she is committed to Danny. Yet, she wonders why she and Danny never discuss marriage.
Beth starts receiving cryptic messages sending her on a treasure hunt, which she finds exciting. She considers Ryan at the root of this, believing Danny too wrapped up in his work or whatever else causing him to be distant.
For the first time in a long time, Beth experiences excitement in her life and due to Danny's aloofness, believes this is Ryan's doing. Though they go to lunch together many times and Beth feels a strange attraction to Ryan, she refuses to cheat in Danny.
This charming novel bursts with mystery as well as romance as we follow Beth through different parts of New York City chasing after clues to form a delightful fantasy for her. In the end she learns the true meaning of "The Gift of a Lifetime."
By Emily March
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: October 4, 2016
Eternity Springs, Colorado is alleged to bring healing powers to those in need. Claire Branham, newly relocated from Dallas owns the boutique, Forever Christmas. A new start is helping her forget Landon--the "Lying Lizard Louse Lawyer"--her fiancé until she learned of his wife. She encompasses all her resources into her new venture swearing to never consider a relationship again.
Jax Lancaster, recently out of the military brings eight-year-old, Nicholas to the nearby Rocking L Camp which specializes in dealing with troubled children. Nicholas had been involved in a traumatic accident two years prior which took the life of his mother. Jax stationed overseas at the time, could not be released from duty, so the boy's paternal grandparents cared for him. When Jax completed his service and noticing therapy not successful, believes Rocking L as his last hope. Jax makes Nicholas his top priority proposing to do everything to help him, even giving up the career for which he trained.
Claire is surprised to feel an attraction upon meeting Jax, yet deters any notions of spending time with him. Camp ends, Jax and Nicholas return to Seattle, where Jax works for his father-in-law in a job he hates. Nicholas constantly talks about his summer and Jax believes moving there will heal him.
The charm of the quaint village soon performs its magic, not only on Nicholas but also with Jax and Claire. They have a fling, though Claire falls in love with the handsome sailor, and her feelings are reciprocated.
The adults plow through their insecurities, learning to trust and believe, while Nicholas heals to become a normal, happy boy. This enchanting addition to the Eternity Springs series is somewhat confusing unless the previous novels have been read, however, the prose, characters, and images offer enjoyment presenting the desire to peruse the others.
By Elin Hilderbrand
Little, Brown and Company
Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: October 4, 2016
Once again we visit the Quinn's' in Nantucket with this conclusion to the Winter Street trilogy. It's been a noteworthy and eventful year. Mitzi Quinn got lost for a while by having an affair with the Inn's Santa Claus. Luckily she realized the error of her ways and returned to her loving husband, Kelly. But now Kelly seems to be suffering from ill health, and it doesn't help that his and Mitzi's son, Bart has been missing in Afghanistan for way too long.
Margaret, Kelly's first wife and mother of Patrick, Kevin, and Ava, and well-known newscaster plans to marry Dr. Drake Carroll, and she does not want to wait until and if Bart returns home. Margaret and Mitzi share a unique camaraderie and is delighted that Mitzi volunteers to arrange the celebration while Kelly offers to give Margaret away.
Meanwhile, Patrick, who was serving time in prison, is released only to learn his wife Jennifer is addicted to painkillers. Kevin, a new father to baby Genevieve, prepares to wed Isabelle at Christmas and bring her parents from France to enjoy the festivities. To add more to the fervor, Ava wonders if she'll ever find true love. She is unable to choose between two men, Scott with whom she teachers at the local school where and Nathaniel, a carpenter. When another teacher, Roxanne stakes her claim on Scott and Nathaniel takes a job at Block Island, Ava makes up her mind to move to New York and attain a position there.
Each well-developed character tells their story in their separate chapters, giving a more rounded narrative to the lives of the Quinn's. The holiday season approaches with speculation about Bart's whereabouts and with a winter blizzard pending everyone hope they can be together to celebrate Kevin and Isabelle's wedding. Mixed members of this family wrap up enchanting a tale of shared love and togetherness.
By Anna Snoekstra
Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: September 27, 2016
The year is 2014, and a young woman who remains nameless is caught shoplifting in an Australian grocery store. Cold and hungry, she cannot give the authorities her real name for fear of being sent to jail for past misdeeds. Instead, she recalls seeing a news story about a sixteen-year-old girl who vanished eleven years ago and to whom she bears a striking resemblance to.
Rather than commit to her true identity, she states she is Rebecca Winter--the missing teen from 2003. She's played games before to protect herself, so she considers she will get away with this deception. Detective Vincent Andopolis, in charge of this case since Rebecca's disappearance was first reported, interviews this woman claiming to be Bec. She knows she has to be sharp to have him believe she truly is who she purports to be.
Acting as Bec, when she is returned to her family and for the first time in a long time, she experiences acceptance and even a bit of love. However, the parents, and Bec's younger twin brothers, who've come back to see her behave strangely though she shrugs it off. She carries on with her act, commenting she doesn't remember much, though Andopolis believes she is protecting someone.
Reunited with Lizzie, her best friend from her teen years, she treads lightly until Lizzie confronts her as being a fraud. She pleads with Lizzie not to turn her in for she feels some allegiance toward the real Rebecca and thinks she may find the truth behind her disappearance. Is she actually missing or is she dead?
Chapters alternate between 2014 with the alleged Bec telling her story in the first person to 2003 with the actual Bec relating to the mysterious circumstances she encountered.
"Only Daughter'" is a debut novel sure to make the hair rise on one's neck. A psychological thriller filled with ominous suspense up until the shocking conclusion, this author is worth watching for future publications.
By Lisa Turner
William Morrow paperbacks
Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: September 27, 2016
Memphis Homicide Detective Billy Able is investigating the shooting of socialite attorney Carolina Lee who is discovered dressed in a wedding gown in her Camaro with a bullet hole in her face. In the rain, her vehicle careened off the road and through a gate into a muddy field of bison.
Carolina, due to marry Dr. Raj Sharma a distinguished neurosurgeon five weeks previous, canceled the ceremony. So, why is she dressed to be married, who is she planning to wed, and more importantly, who killed her and why?
Billy is shaken up. He and Caroline share a history and, with a soft spot for his first love, he is determined to locate her killer. Billy spent time in Mississippi as a teen and worked at a diner owned by his uncle. The Lees patronized the restaurant and Billy and Caroline became friends. They later became lovers, yet they hadn't been in touch for a long time until she recently called to inform him she is handling his uncle's estate.
Caroline's father who has Parkinson's is devastated upon learning of his precious daughter's death, whereas her mother shows hardly any emotion, maintaining a stoic demeanor for the sake of their firm. Her brother Martin appears to be more interested in the inheritance he will now receive and not have to share with his sister.
With the help of his new partner, Frankie Malone, Billy delves deeply into the family's past and law practice searching for clues into the death of the woman he once loved. In the meantime, Billy finds himself in danger. Is he getting close to uncovering corruption?
Book #3 in the Billy Able series displays a hodgepodge of insight into Old South nobility portraying the arrogance and sense of privilege the Lees show along with their necessity for avarice and retribution. This novel of tension and suspense incorporates psychological drama with well-fleshed-out characters, criminal actions, and long-held family secrets.
By RaeAnne Thayne
Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: September 27, 2016
Widowed Andie Montgomery is settling into her new home in Haven Point, Idaho with six-year-old Chloe, and four-year-old Will. Her previous few years being difficult, she wanted to remain somewhat reclusive, but the close-knit community befriended her, offering many allies, including Wyn Bailey.
Once an officer, Wyn, now away from home completing her studies to be a social worker has her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey living in her house a few doors away from Andie. Marsh is called out on a tip about a cold case and becomes the victim of a hit and run. Laid low with a broken leg, Wyn asks Andie to check up on him, and Andie shudders at dealing with the burly, intimidating cop, but she owes a lot to Wyn, so she agrees.
Andie brings Marsh meals, and when her kids accompany her, they latch onto him compelling him to wonder what it would be like being married with a family. Andie notices a softer side of him, though many times he catches her off guard with his gruffness.
Marsh hates being dependent on anyone, let alone a woman. He fears someone in his department is out to harm him, and he doesn't want to become too close to the Montgomery's where they may face danger.
Christmas is upon them, and the children soften Marsh's heart, and he and Andie discover a magnetism which is hard to deny. Happy and relaxed in her presence, he perceives goodness in Andie and opens up about things he never disclosed to anyone. With both having a painful history, they need to allay their fears and trust they are meant to be together.
As with the previous Haven Point novels, "Snowfall on Haven Point" captures heartwarming emotions while overcoming difficulties.
By Shelley Shepard Gray
Inspirational Fiction -- Release Date September 27, 2016
It must be heartbreaking loving someone seemingly forever and not being able to share that love. Amelia Kinsinger always loved Simon Hochstetler, and his feelings have been the same. Now at age 22, Amelia knows she'll never feel for another like she does for Simon.
Simon, subjected to an abusive upbringing, fled his Amish home as a teen. Out in the "English" world, he finds himself in trouble and lands in prison for a short time. He matures while incarcerated, determined to return home a changed man. He wants to demonstrate to the tiny community of Charm that he is now trustworthy and upstanding. All he can focus on is making Amelia proud and to want him for a husband.
Amelia's older brother Lukas, and Simon are best friends, though he and sister, Rebecca, coddle Amelia and do not believe Simon is good enough for her due to his past. Amelia, tired of their interference, knows her own mind. She realizes Simon suffered and is now a decent and compassionate man. She loves him even more than she when she was young. How can she explain that to Rebecca and Lukas?
The two meet secretly, and one day Simon discovers Amelia in the barn where she is hurt. She had tried to pen in her beloved goat, Princess and gets bitten by a snake that frightened Princess, who in turn kicks Amelia, breaking her leg. Simon rushes her to the hospital, tenderly caring for her, yet is scorned by her siblings. They protest against his courting Amelia, so Simon must attest to his transformation, showing he is the perfect man for Amelia.
Though somewhat predictable, "A Sister's Wish," the third in the Charmed Amish Life series is a delightful read. It is the epitome of how one man can turn his life around after a horrendous childhood for the love of a good woman, giving this a happy-ever-after ending.
By Karin Slaughter
Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: September 20, 2016
Homicide brings Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to a seedy warehouse owned by the famous basketball player, Marcus Rippy who recently received exoneration on a rape charge. Druggies or prostitutes usually frequented Rippy's newly acquired property which is in the process of being renovated into a high-class compound. They identify the deceased as ex-cop, Dale Harding...one soon to be exposed as being dirty.
Disgruntled because Rippy got off on the charge, Trent questions how the cop and Rippy are tied together. The trashed construction site displays enormous blood splatter though not from Harding, who presents with a slight fluid loss from the murder weapon, a doorknob sticking into his neck.
Trent is slowly overcoming a disturbing history of being shuffled around in foster homes, emotionally abused, beaten, and teased about a later revealed learning disability. Angie Polaski, also once on the police force, shares Trent's past being with him since he was eleven, and she proves to be his downfall with her devious ways. Medical Examiner, Sara Linton, Trent's lover is at the scene of the crime and remarks a female is involved in the bloody massacre. He wonders if Angie plays a part in this scenario.
Sara loves Trent unconditionally something she never believed would happen after losing her husband. She copes with his obsession over Angie, which is a bit fanatical considering the way she treats Trent and maliciousness toward Sara. Though she stands by Trent, her heart breaks when he goes off the deep end in his search for Angie looking to find answers.
"The Kept Woman" fraught with mystery and suspense is a psychological thriller of emotional manipulations between several characters. Greed, power, corruption, and control are focal points with the major players who believe they are above the law, while authorities work ceaselessly to bring them down.
By Laura Lippman
William Morrow Paperbacks
Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: September 13, 2016
Private Investigator Tess Monaghan is on the Patapsco River in Baltimore sculling when she is tossed overboard by the wake of filming crew's boat recording a new TV series called, "Mann of Steel." Perturbed, but unaware of the shoot, she is later surprised to be offered a job utilizing her skills to keep an eye on Selene Waites, the star of the show. Many unsettling things such as bad write-ups in the local press, flak from community members, and protesting steelworkers more reasons producer Flip Tumulty wants Tess.
Selene is narcissistic, immature, and prone to cause trouble with her manipulative ways. The death of a man ruled as a suicide could also cause repercussions for it was discovered he had been stalking Selene as demonstrated by his home filled with photos of the actress. Tess does not want to take on the job of a bodyguard, which in actuality is nothing more than a babysitter, but she is intrigued by the circumstances. She ups her usual rate and insists Lloyd, a young man her boyfriend is mentoring to be hired to work as an intern.
Selene proves shifty when she manages to give Tess the slip by spiking her drink with roofies after insisting they go to New York for dinner. Tess passes out becoming very ill, so Selene can do as she pleases, making Tess's job much harder.
When Greer, Flip's assistant is found brutally murdered, Tess realizes these happenings are more than pranks to stop production. Many characters have ample reason for revenge, and it's up to Tess to discover who the culprit is before more lives are lost.
"Another Thing to Fall," a re-release in the Tess Monaghan series delves into the entertainment world giving insight into filming television shows and the complexity involved. Tess is an easy-to-like, down-to-earth personality, who along with the other well-defined and complex players, add to the credibility of the story.
By Emma Cane
Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: August 30, 2016
Amy Fairfield returns to her family home and business at Fairfield Orchards after a leaving a long-term relationship with her ex, Rob. She is embarrassed and ashamed after allowing Rob to dictate to her, but when his drinking gets out of control, she knows it's time to end things. Her father, who had an alcoholic for a long while, makes Amy realize she does not want to be involved in a similar scenario.
Her mother and dad, now sober for many years, decide to retire and travel the country in their new RV. They leave the management of the business to Amy and her siblings. Tyler, Amy's twin brother whose employment as a soap-opera actor comes to an end when the show is canceled, works with her to find a way to revitalize the orchard and keep from losing the family legacy they've worked for generations.
Jonathan Gebhart, a history professor at nearby UVA in Charlottesville is writing a book on the life of Thomas Jefferson so he can gain tenure. He wants to learn about this land that Jefferson owned and hunted years ago. He hopes Amy will divulge some of her ancestor's past, a subject Amy thoroughly enjoys. Though she is reluctant at first, something draws her to him, so with her family's approval, she and her grandfather assist him in his research. Jonathan's book not only can offer him a permanent teaching position, but it would also provide much-needed advertising for them.
Spring turns into summer and Amy discovers she and Jonathan communicate effortlessly. She learns to trust him after he discloses he too suffered heartache and humiliation, which bonds them closer together. They also cannot deny their attraction.
Excitement soars as artifacts are unearthed giving this romance more depth supplying historical facts blended in with the well-developed characters and visual descriptions of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
By Maggie McGinnis
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: August 30, 2016
Briarwood Academy is a boarding school where Gabriela O'Brien spent most of her life and now is a housemother. The academic year is ending, and Gabi envisions her upcoming vacation in Barbados. Unfortunately, four girls under her supervision got into some mischief. Rather than being expelled, the headmaster is "sentencing" them, with Gabi in charge, to spend the summer at a secluded camp the school recently purchased in Echo Lake, VT.Gabi loves her charges and plans to make the best of things, but what they don't know is how rustic the place is. Much grumbling ensues when they learn there's no plumbing and that they must sleep in a tent. How does one entertain four spoiled and entitled young women in these surroundings?
By Sarah Morgan
Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: August 30, 2016
Frankie Cole raised on Puffin Island in Maine, now enjoys living in New York. After being laid off from their previous jobs, Frankie and her best friends, Paige and Eva start an event and concierge business called, "Urban Genie." Also, Paige's older brother, Matt buys and renovates a brownstone in Brooklyn, making three apartments from the building. Frankie rents the first floor, Eva and Paige share the middle unit, and Matt resides in the top two floors.
All four are close-knit like family, though Frankie internalizes most things. She suffered horribly when her parents' divorced, so she is extremely hesitant to become close to anyone. Her father has been out of the picture since he left, causing her to mistrust men, and her mother embarrasses her by flitting from one affair to another, mostly with guys Frankie's age. Frankie's mom emphasizes how smart she is by not getting attached to any man, making Frankie more apt to shy away from any involvements.
Frankie specializes in landscape design, and when Matt asks her help in planning a roof garden he is commissioned to do, she refuses, but the girls guilt her into taking on the assignment. Unfortunately, Frankie becomes strongly attracted to Matt but tries hard not to give into her feelings, wanting to make sure they remain friends. The attraction appears to be mutual, for soon Matt shows his adoration for Frankie, though he moves slowly so as not to scare her off.
Time passes, and Frankie opens up Matt, confiding all her fears and pain from her past. She doesn't believe relationships work and informs him she will not be serious with anyone. Matt treads lightly hoping she can learn to trust him and realize they would be good together.
Book #2 in the Manhattan with Love series, "Sunset in Central Park" is a saucy and sensual tale showing how love and patience can make anything work.
By Carla Neggers
Romantic Suspense -- Release Date: August 30, 2016
FBI Agent Emma Sharpe's curiosity is piqued when her mentor, now retired Agent Gordon Wheelock shows up at her Boston office. A year out of the agency, Gordy has put on weight and is haggard looking, so why is he nosing around asking about some ancient mosaics that are rumored to have been stolen?
Emma, who deals in art crimes, does not give him any answers, yet her suspicions are on Oliver York, an English art thief whom Gordy and her grandfather Wendell, an art detective have been trying to apprehend for more than ten years. A slippery character, they have nothing definitive with which to charge him.
Emma is engaged to Agent Colin Donovan, and they are soon to marry in a tiny harbor town of Heron's Cove, in Maine where Wendell, established Sharpe Fine Art Recovery sixty years prior. Due to an upcoming open house at the business, Emma heads there while awaiting Colin's return from a covert mission.
Oliver surprises them by showing up, displaying his usual innocence, and Gordy arrives too, causing speculation between Emma, Colin, and her family. Also in town is a neighbor, Claudia Deverell, who is holding on to secrets giving conjecture as to her presence and what information she is withholding. She is allegedly planning to clean out and sell the home her mother left her upon her death, and it is surmised the house contains several ancient mosaics. Is this why Oliver is present?
Things seem uneventful until Gordy is found murdered. Emma and Colin realize something crucial is happening, and any of them could be in danger. They attain information from Emma's brother and their friend, Finian Bracken, the local parish priest to help solve this mystery.
"Liar's Key" offers settings in Boston, Ireland, and Maine, giving an international flair to this suspenseful, fast-moving thriller filled with plot twists and excitement to the delightful conclusion.
By Jane Jensen
Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: August 2, 2016
Back in Lancaster County, PA Detective Elizabeth Harris is summoned to an Amish farm where the whole family has succumbed to a horrendous sickness which at first is considered to be the flu. Some members of the community believe these deaths are due to a curse called a "hexerei." Hannah Yoder, a friend to Elizabeth, relays this information to her, and she is not about to exclude any consideration no matter how outlandish it may seem.
An inspection reveals some of the cows owned by the Amish have been poisoned, and they too became ill as their owners. They ingested a plant called White Snakeroot which isn't indigenous to their area but is highly toxic. Murder and not illness is now the classification.
Elizabeth feels guilty for she is working around the clock on this case, and not spending time with Ezra Beiler, the ex-Amish man with whom she lives. He is at a crossroads, still tied to his roots, though not a member any longer, causing a chasm Elizabeth wants desperately to close for them to become closer. However, Ezra's knowledge on Amish ways proves helpful.
Now that these casualties are determined to be due to poisoning, the CDC becomes part of the investigation with the primary emphasis on catching the perpetrator. Meanwhile, the Amish are losing precious income with no one buying their raw milk. It appears this is a personal indictment of them.
Speculation abounds, and suspects questioned until an unforeseen culprit is discovered putting Elizabeth in a perilous situation. Filled with tension and suspense, Ms. Jensen's second novel in the Elizabeth Harris series is exciting and stands alone, yet one would also want to read book #1, "Kingdom Come."
By Debbie Macomber
Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: August 2, 2016
Emily Gaffney, brokenhearted two times too many moves to Cedar Cove where she takes a kindergarten teacher's position. Engaged and jilted twice, she wants a new start away. She is thrilled when Jo Marie Rose, proprietress of the Rose Harbor Inn allows her an extended stay at her establishment until Emily can find her perfect house.
They become friends, which offers Jo Marie comfort. Mark Taylor, her handyman and the man she loves, insists he needs to deal with unfinished business in Iraq before he can feel worthy of her. Mark understands his mission is dangerous yet insists she go on with her life without him.
Jo Marie is grief-stricken. Three years before, her beloved husband perished while in the service, and she cannot undergo that pain again. Mark is now been gone for nine months and she despairs of ever seeing him again. When she meets Greg Endsley, who lost his wife to cancer, she recognizes they share much in common. Though mourning for Mark, she loses hope of his return and accepts dates with Greg.
Shockingly, Jo Marie receives a call that Mark is barely alive and in a nearby hospital. She rushes to his bedside expecting his survival. Mark surprises everyone by pulling through, but now Jo Marie is faced with a decision. Which man will she choose?
Meanwhile, Emily is a lifesaver by taking over duties at the inn. She discovers the home of her dreams, but the owner, Nick Schwartz, an ornery yet handsome recluse does not intend to sell. Emily senses he is hiding from a horrible trauma, and though hurt before, she is drawn to him.
"Sweet Tomorrow," Rose Harbor series #5 mixes apprehension, sorrow, healing, and friendship among the vulnerable characters, captivating setting, and Ms. Macomber's well-known delightful prose.
By Kate Horsley
Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: August 2, 2016
Quinn Perkins, a 17-year-old American is spending the summer as an exchange student in the tiny French town of St. Roch. Her father remarried soon after her mother's death, and her new stepmom who is not much older than Quinn, is about to have a baby.
The date is August 2015, and the tale commences with Quinn coming out of a coma in a hospital room with no recollection of how she got there. She is hounded by the police asking her, "Where is the family?" She does remember waking up in the woods, half naked and hurt, but prior to that, her memory is gone.
She has been staying with Emilie Blavette, her 19-year-old son, Raphael, and younger daughter Noemie, whom she now learns are missing.
Molly Swift, a journalist from Boston, intrigued by the situation, heads to France where she falsifies her identity as Quinn's aunt. She is hoping to not only gain Quinn's trust but acquire the scoop for a sensational story. Molly is brazen and fearless as she takes control of Quinn's circumstances while digging into the secrets held by the locals.
With each passing day and no sight of the Blavette's, it is alleged Quinn murdered them in the mysterious caves the town is noted for.
Told in alternating chapters between Quinn and Molly, they form an allegiance, while Molly tries to help Quinn get to the root of her host family's disappearance. She also finds a common bond with her, which maintains her trust and belief in the teen.
Amid drug dealing, alcohol misuse, and pornography, this suspenseful account shows how quickly a vulnerable young woman can be lured into a seedy underworld with no way out. Before long, Molly uncovers Quinn's abuse, and her story becomes an international sensation. Loaded with twists and unexpected turns, "The American Girl" is not only chilling, it is dreadfully plausible.
By Alex Lake
Mystery/Thriller -- Release Date: August 2, 2016
Consider you are the mother to a five-year-old daughter you adore and love your career as an attorney. Then suppose you feel trapped in an unhappy marriage. Such is the situation with Julia Crowne. Fulfilled by her job and little Anna, yet bored with her dull husband, Brian, she informs him she wants a divorce.
Several days later, Julia's delayed at work realizing she won't be in time to pick up Anna from school. Her dying cell gives her time only to phone her mother-in-law Edna to ask her to fetch her child, but not enough juice to contact the administration. Edna says she's not available, and when Julia arrives a half an hour late, Anna's nowhere in sight. Frantic, Julia makes everyone search, and she summons the police. Anna is MISSING.
Days pass and Julia, utterly distraught gets badgered by the newspapers and Internet, who peg her as a neglectful mother, making Julia appear selfish and self-centered. Edna steps in and manipulates Brian to do her bidding after Julia becomes almost paralyzed by stress. She never liked Julia, and of course puts total blame on her for Anna's abduction.
Exactly a week later Anna is found. She is unharmed and apparently no worse for the wear. Through Edna's machinations, she insists Brian and Anna move in with her, claiming they retained a lawyer and are suing for sole custody, under the premise of Julia being unfit. Julia cannot let this happen for control-freak Edna will ruin her daughter.
How can Julia prove to the authorities and the media that she is a good mother? Her only mistake was not getting Anna in time. Should she be punished for this? Who took Anna and why was she returned? Will she ever be safe? Every parent fears things like this knowing tragedy can happen in an instant.
A chilling psychological drama, "After Anna" conveys desperation and angst. This novel is an intense page turner up to the unexpected conclusion.
By Amy Stuart
Thriller/Suspense -- Release Date: July 19,2016
Clare O'Dey is running from Jason, her abusive husband, and she does not want to be found. She accepted the abuse until she suffered after a nasty fight where she was pushed down the basement stairs and lost the child she was carrying making her decide she had enough. Clare surreptitiously hoarded money, and a few months after losing her baby, she fled in an old car she bought and drove aimlessly needing to get away, aware the next time Jason's violence would kill her.
She works as a waitress in a small diner miles from her home, when she encounters Malcolm Boon, a stranger. He "hires" her to go to a remote coal-mining town to search for a missing woman by the name of Shayna Fowles. Fearful Jason hired Malcolm to find her and bring her back home; Clare takes him up on his offer. She has nothing to lose, and if she can get away from him, he can't take her back.
Her destination is Blackmore, now a ghost town after the mine collapse more than five years prior where many men perished. This is where Shayna lives and last seen.
Clare poses as a photographer while getting to know the residents better; in particular those close to Shayna. There is Jared, Shayna's ex; Derek, the local doctor who is excessively friendly with Shayna's parents, especially her mom, Louise, now mired in the depths of dementia; and finally Charlie, the town's dealer who has been supplying Shayna with all the drugs she's desired. The big question: is Shayna dead or just gone astray like Clare herself now is?
While Clare ingratiates herself to Shayna's friends and family, she recognizes the parallel between herself and Shayna, making her more determined to learn of the woman's whereabouts.
"Still Mine" consists of complex characters, a spine-tingling plot, and a thrilling chase for the truth, culminating in an unexpected conclusion.
By Claire Cook
Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: July 4, 2016
Sarah Hurlihy and boyfriend John Anderson purchase Sarah's childhood home with a massive renovation in store. Billy, Sarah's dad, will get his personal space, which he calls his "man cavern."
Meanwhile, Billy enjoys driving the ice cream truck, handing out doggie treats with business cards for the three ladies who run Bark & Roll Forever to promote their dog walking and boarding services. He gets compensated with casseroles for which they are thrilled as Sarah proclaims she is not a cook!
The temps are getting cooler, and Sarah discovers a mama cat under the front porch where she had given birth to four kittens. Sarah names her Pebbles, due to her markings, and hopes to save all the felines from cold and starvation. Grabbing a wild animal is not easy, so she devises a plan to lure Pebbles into the house then get her babies. Inside, Pebbles goes berserk and knocks family photos off the wall. Billy's nose gets out of joint after witnessing the mess, so he borrows a friend's camper where he holes up in the back yard.
John isn't too happy because Billy snatches Horatio, his pooch, whom Sarah asks he keeps away from the kitties until they are settled. Angry, John wants him back and becomes so distressed with the upheaval in the household he grabs Horatio and heads to Florida to visit his folks.
While Sarah deals with the chaos of the new feline family members, she is worried about the renovations as well as her job. The mom of one of her preschool students is bent on causing her trouble. Sarah doesn't know if she can handle the stress and wonders too, if she's lost John.
Book five in this series offers another heartwarming tale of a boisterous, close-knit Irish family. Ms. Cook has the flair for pulling the reader into the story to feel a part of the activities. This novel, filled with humor and astute characterization stands alone, yet one would be remiss by not reading the prior installments.
Nicolette Farrell returns home to Cooley Ridge, North Carolina. She and brother, Daniel needed to place their father in a nursing home due to his advancing dementia. Now, they must persuade him to sign papers to sell the family home. It is challenging dealing with him when he becomes absentminded.
Nic settles in her childhood residence, cleaning and fixing up the house; however, being there brings back recollections of ten years prior when her best friend, Corrine disappeared. In a small town, gossip is rampant and many connect Nic's high school love, Tyler, Corrine's old boyfriend, Jackson, and even Daniel to the missing girl.
Things become disturbing when Nic's dad comments about seeing Corrine. The police interrogate him against Nic and Daniel's wishes; his mind gone, they don't want him upset, but Nic is fearful he knows something about Corrine's disappearance.
Now, Annaleise, another young woman is gone, and speculation is her circumstance is related to Corrine's. Though Nic knows Daniel could not have had anything to do with Corrine, rumors about a relationship between him and Annaleise makes her wonder. Daniel is married and his wife is expecting a baby any day, so why would he be with someone else?
Old memories and questions haunt Nic as she tries to figure out what happened to both women. Tyler, who has been dating Annaleise, proves to be elusive, and she cannot get answers from him. Does he, Daniel, or her old friends know what happened? She is the only one who left town while the others have remained.
All the Missing Girls is written in reverse, starting from the fifteenth day after Annaleise disappears to when Nic first arrives. Though somewhat confusing beginning the story backward, the plot is more than sufficiently hair-raising to keep the reader's interest. The characters prove vulnerable yet are believable, with concealed secrets. The scenario twists keep the reader enthralled while shifting between the past and the present up to the unexpected conclusion.
By Ezekiel Boone
Horror -- Release Date: July 5, 2016
A billionaire American tourist is hiking in the Peruvian jungles when all of a sudden a black mass appears, flowing toward him like a river. He is hidden in the brush when he observes it consuming his companions and the tour guide. Luckily, he manages to escape, summons his private jet, and high-tails it out of the country only to succumb to a plane crash right before landing in his home state of Minnesota, killing him and all aboard. However, it's not engine failure that causes the collision, but huge spiders.
Around this time a nuclear bomb detonates in a remote Chinese village, allegedly by accident and scientific analysis points to earthquake activity in India. The planet is coming apart at the seams.
Meanwhile, Melanie a part-time professor and entomologist at American University receives a package from an archaeological dig containing sacs of centuries-old spider eggs. Melanie is obsessed with insects and is entranced by this discovery, for this is an unknown species to her. She soon becomes horrified upon learning they are not ordinary spiders but carnivores.
As the populace faces Armageddon and pandemonium strikes, Melanie works hard to determine how to stop these arachnids from devouring the human race. The US president, accompanied by Melanie's ex-husband, who is the Chief of Staff, become involved by turning to her for answers while these insects are ravaging the world.
"The Hatching" is somewhat tedious to get into due to several characters and locales included in the novel, yet the horrifying premise and plausibility of this scenario give impetus to continue reading until somewhere near the middle of the book when everything is tied together. A chilling and suspenseful read, but not for the faint of heart or those frightened by spiders.
By RaeAnne Thayne
Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: June 21, 2016
Wynona Bailey is carrying on the family tradition by being a cop in her hometown of Haven Point, Idaho. Her twin brother killed on the job and later her dad, Chief Bailey, who succumbed to a shooting leaving him with a brain injury which claimed his life, confirmed her decision to join the force.
Her only problem: Cade Emmett, the now acting Chief. Cade captured Wyn's adoration when as kids, Cade practically lived at her house. She realizes remaining detached is difficult while working beside him every day. Wyn is aware of Cade's reputation as a womanizer, but cannot change what is in her heart. Two of her friends are getting married in the upcoming weeks, and she is hitting 30 with no prospects in sight, which doesn't help matters.
Faced with a burning barn and two young boys trapped inside, Wyn disobeys Cade's orders to wait for fire personnel to arrive on the scene. She rushes into the inferno and rescues the boys' right before the building collapses. Cade, infuriated puts her on a week's suspension, even though she saved the kid's lives. Some townsfolk touting Wyn a hero are angry at Cade for his punishment, but no one is more outraged than Wyn.
Cade is frustrated by what he believes is Wyn's recklessness to save the boys. However, what really bothers him is the thought of losing Wyn, for deep in his heart, he cares deeply for her. His dilemma: Cade does not believe he is worthy of her love. His mother died young, and his father turned to alcohol, and if not for Wyn's dad he would now be in jail now, not protecting the residents of their tiny mountain town. Chief Bailey took Cade under his wing, becoming his mentor, making him the upstanding man he is today.
The fourth novel in the Haven Point series, "Riverbend Road" presents a strong and caring female protagonist who perceives what is in her heart, while wondering if she can fulfill her dreams.