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Her Name Was Rose

 

By Claire Allan

Avon

Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: September 4, 2019

 

How many women are taken in by a charismatic man only to discover he's a snake? This is what happened with Emily D'Arcy causing her hurt and humiliation. As time passes Emily tries to forget her betrayal and starts a new, though uneventful life.

One day she witnesses a young woman with an infant in a pram plowed down by a hit-and-run driver. The woman dies instantly, but fortunately the child is spared. A paranoid Emily believes her past lover meant this tragedy to happen to her.

Escaping death, Emily learns the victim is Rose Grahame, wife of the famous author, Cian. Emily becomes obsessed with the dead woman by constantly perusing her and Cian's Facebook pages. Drawn to Cian, she wants to offer sympathy.

Upon learning Rose worked for a dentist, Emily applies for her job, without letting on she saw the accident or ever heard of Rose or Cian. When she is hired she hears about how perfect and loved Rose had been.

Cian brings the baby in for an appointment and befriends Emily. Excited, she feels she can console him. She falls prey to his charm and an affair commences, with her dreaming of taking Rose's place.

Rose's killer is identified but later found dead, supposedly by his own hand. His mother swears he would never commit suicide, and an investigation commences into his life. The police notice a recent large deposit to his bank account raising questions. They scrutinize Cian and Emily, who is seen with him, and is so besotted, she swears he is innocent. But is he?

Well-developed characters with an emotional and powerful plot leave the reader wondering, does one really know those they are close to?

Set the Night on Fire

 

 By Laura Trentham

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: July 31, 2018

 

Recovering from a disastrous marriage, Ella Boudreaux hopes to show she can make it on her own. With money received from her divorce settlement, she purchases a quarter ownership of Abbott's garage when the oldest brother Ford decides to part with his share. This does not sit well with the remaining three brothers, Mack and the twins, Jackson and Wyatt. 

Mack especially wants to keep the business in the family and certainly is against a woman sticking her nose in it and trying to run things. But Mack is surprised upon meeting Ella. A devout bachelor with his heart and soul focused on cars, he is shocked not only by Ella's good looks but also when she shows she knows something about vehicles.

From Ella's childhood days, she remembers hanging around with her older brother while he tinkered on  refurbishing old vehicles and the joy she had in his presence. Now that he is deceased, she hopes to bring back some of those good memories, and she is bound and determined to do so with Abbot's by increasing  profits with her marketing skills. 

Much to Mack's dismay, Wyatt and Jackson urge him to give her a chance, but the water-to- vinegar relationship that commences between Ella and Mack soon takes a complete turn. They both discover an attraction they cannot deny, but Ella mistrusts Mack, believing he is he is wooing her only so she will sell her part of the company to him. He refuses to commit to anything other than his business, though his hormones and his family are in agreement that he should settle down wit
h Ella. 

Meanwhile, Ella holds strong feelings for Mack, despite the fact she's already been burned. Will the two be able to mix business with pleasure? Book #6 in the Cottonbloom is sensual and seductive proving love can happen when least expected.

What Remains of Her

 

By Eric Rickstad

William Morrow

Suspense -- Release Date: July 24, 2018

 

Lucinda Welch and Sally Baum were best friends who shared everything. At age six and exploring the forbidden woods, Sally confided seeing a strange man, making Lucinda promise not to tell anyone.

Sally and her mother suddenly vanish. In the small town of Ivers, Maine, the fearful citizens pointed fingers at Jonah, Sally's dad. He admitted to arguing with his wife the night before but never considered she would take their child and flee.  A thorough search commenced to no avail. Sheriff Maurice, Jonah's friend could find no grounds to arrest him, though everyone believed Johan killed his family.

Jonah's severe grief had him leave his home to become a squatter in the mountains. He rarely came to town, where he was ostracized by many.

Twenty-five years pass, and Jonah arrives at Lucinda's Grain & Feed store for supplies. She denies him credit later regretting her decision for she also grieves with Jonah. She cannot endure losing Sally, and though she believes Jonah innocent, she has a business to run. Plagued by guilt, she decides to visit him, but as the Deputy, she is called to locate a missing girl. This child's foster parents swear she was abducted. Investigation of their house shows abuse. Lucinda realizes this is the exact date when Sally and her mom disappeared

A witness tells Lucinda someone was in Jonah's long-abandoned house and she is pulled in many directions: to see Jonah, to look for the child, to investigate Johan's home, and to be with her ailing father.

A spine-tingling tale, questions arise: How can Jonah survive two-plus decades in a decrepit cabin with no money? Why is his old home still vacant? Otherwise, this suspenseful novel is a page-turner.

Stalker

 

By Lisa Stone

Avon

Thriller -- Release Date: June 14, 2018

 

Do homeowners with monitored security systems ever consider that maybe they are being watched? People install these devices to feel protected, but imagine if the installer uses cameras and video to watch and listen to your every move without your knowledge? Scary isn't it?

This is what Derek Flint does. An odd duck who keeps to himself, he lives with his abrasive mother caring for her since his father left while he was a teenager. Like his mum, he is argumentative and obsessive; without friends, his life centers on observing his clients', considering them his "family." He believes watching his customers keep them safe from all kinds of harm.

Though a loner, Derek employed different apprentices over the years. When Paul Mellows his latest, mentions things to a client Derek does not approve of, he is terminated. Paul threatens him about shady information he knows of Derek, so he is forced to accept his bribe or ruin his reputation and company.

A series of crimes occur with several of Derek's customers causing the authorities to investigate him and his past employees. DC Beth Mayes' instinct tells her these incidents originate with Derek. Her constant scrutiny makes him nervous, though he hasn't committed any offenses unless one considers "spying" wrong.

Derek is someone to be compassionate about, yet one wonders if he is a pervert or just an introvert looking out for the well being of others. "Stalker" is a definite page-turner and one can more or less deduce the outcome, though with the suspense right on target, you'll want to finish the novel. In addition to a great read, information regarding CCTVs and alarm systems are included, making one think twice about who they can trust.

Between You and Me

 

By Susan Wiggs

William Morrow

Amish Inspirational -- Release Date: June 26, 2018

 

Amish raised Caleb Stoltz defies his upbringing when he takes college classes during his rumspringa. Though he loves his family, he wants more than an eighth-grade education and living the "simple" life. As he decides about going out into the world, his brother John, and sister-in-law are brutally murdered leaving behind their two children, sixteen-year-old Hannah and eleven-year-old Jonah. Caleb promised John on his deathbed to raise his youngsters in the faith, meaning giving up his dreams.

One day Jonah suffers a horrendous accident when his arm gets caught in a silo. Against tradition, yet fearful for the boy's life, Caleb allows the paramedics to transport Jonah to a Philadelphia hospital for immediate care. His limb, too damaged to be saved is amputated. Caleb mourns for his beloved nephew and wonders how he will be able to make it where work is performed using both hands.

Upon arriving at the hospital, Caleb meets med-student, Reese Powell. Reese is drawn to the quiet, handsome man and the gentleness he shows to Jonah. Though her life is filled with studies, working, and pressure from her physician parents to abide by their directives, she spends time with Jonah and Caleb.

Reese and Caleb's attraction is strong, yet Reese's life is predestined and they come from two different worlds. Can she defy her folks and not pursue the path they are preparing for her? Would Caleb leave the existence he was born into to follow his aspirations and break his promise to his brother? Both heart-wrenching and emotional, "Between You and Me" offers a touching theme of love and family. 

Lighthouse Beach

 

By Shelley Noble

William Morrow Paperbacks

Contemporary Women's Fiction -- Release Date: May 29, 2018

Surgeon Lillo Gray leaves her career to move back to her childhood home in Lighthouse Beach, Maine. Disappointed in herself, she feels remorse for the sacrifices her folks made for her, only to become a recluse on this tiny island.

Lillo is surprised to receive an invitation to the Jess Parker's wedding whom she hasn't seen in more than a decade. The daughter of a wealthy and domineering businessman, Jess spent summers at Lillo's parent's camp. Out of her league with those well-off, she attends wearing a borrowed dress and driving a broken down car.

Jess's two college friends, Allie and Diana, are with Lillo when they witness Jess's fiancé James, having sex in the parking lot with a waitress. Humiliated, Jess urges them to escape to Lillo's cottage. She doesn't like the jerk, but this was a planned marriage by her father, and Jess is determined to break the familial bonds.

Not prepared for this interruption, Lillo knows the women are used to posh spas, so how will they handle her rustic home with only one bathroom?

Not exactly anyone's idea of a weekend at the shore... She [Lillo] wasn't being fair. No one had complained, not once. Not only had they not complained, they had embraced her friends, her lifestyle...

Ned, an old friend of Lillo's, shows up to do his medical stint in the town clinic. He wants Lillo to get back to doctoring, but scars from her past keep her away.

"Lighthouse Beach" offers a bit of mystery as to why Lillo gave up her beloved livelihood, as well as the other's problems. This cast of strong and intriguing characters slays their personal demons, discovering an inner strength and camaraderie endearing them to the reader as they work through their trials.

The Other Mother                     

 

By Carol Goodman

William Morrow

Suspense  --  Release Date:  March 27, 2018

 

It's not unusual to revere someone one to want to emulate them. Such is the case with Daphne Marist. After giving birth to her daughter, Chloe, she succumbs to severe post-partum depression. Peter, her controlling husband, makes her join a support group for other mom's dealing with similar problems. It is here she meets Laurel Hobbes.

The two women bond with Laurel taking Daphne under her wing, having her hair styled the same and dressing alike, "cloning" Daphne to be her twin. Soon both are thrown into a state of paranoia believing their husbands are against them. Daphne searches for employment for Laurel to help her escape, yet one day she discovers Laurel dead in her bathtub.

Daphne's already fragile mind plays tricks on her so she grabs limited items and Chloe and flees. She considers she really is Laurel and the woman in her tub is Daphne. She takes on Laurel's persona and runs, taking the archivist job meant for Laurel with Schuyler (Sky) Bennett, Daphne's favorite author.

Posing as Laurel, Daphne delves into her duties and is drawn into Sky's history and that of her father who ran the adjacent mental institution. She becomes obsessed with Edith, a patient committed to the hospital forty years prior.

Meanwhile, the police investigating Laurel's death insist it is Daphne who is deceased after taking her own life. Daphne insists she is playing a charade and is using Laurel's identity to evade Peter. Considered delusional, she is confined to the asylum.

This powerful psychological thriller is filled with twists and turns, keeping the reader on edge. Included are separate journal entries by Laurel, Daphne, and Edith, portraying their skewed minds. Frightening as well as frustrating, the juxtaposition of each well-defined personality is riddled with riveting suspense.

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The Broken Girls

 

By Simone St. James

Berkley Publishing

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

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


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

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

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

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

The Family Next Door

 

By Sally Hepworth

St. Martin's Press 

Psychological Thriller  --  Release Date: March 6, 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

The Affliction


By Beth Gutcheon

William Morrow

Cozy Mystery  --  Release Date: March 13, 2018

 

The Rye Manor School for girls in New York is in trouble and Maggie Detweiler, retired head of the Winthrop School is hired by the Independent School Association to evaluate whether it's worth keeping open. Maggie, along with two other colleagues, interview all involved then Maggie shares her findings with the new head administrator, Christina Liggett.

After meeting with Ms. Liggett, Maggie plans to leave, but learns one of the teachers, Florence Meager has gone missing. Beloved by the students, yet tolerated by others for she is known to be a non-stop chatterbox, Maggie is intrigued and decides to stick around. Florence's dead body is soon discovered floating in the pool by Lily Hollister, a student and board member's daughter.

Maggie contacts her friend Hope Babbin who comes to town to help her search for clues as to who killed Florence. Maggie, very familiar with the ins and outs of private schools and wealthy Hope, with a law-enforcement son, can obtain information about others without problems, and enjoy amateur sleuthing.

The two women are relentless in their pursuit of the killer. Could it be Florence's husband, a faculty or board member or even a student who perpetrated such a crime? The list of suspects is limitless, yet the ladies are determined researchers in all things criminal. The large cast of characters shows reasons for motive, which keeps the reader guessing.

It is surprising the authorities are not upset by the two women sticking their noses in their investigation, which would appear to be the norm, but they seem to go along with them as they exchange theories. This, the second in the Maggie Detweiler and Hope Babbin series is an entertaining cozy mystery which stands on its own.

I'll Be Your Blue Sky

 

By Marisa De Los Santos

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

Neighborly

 

 By Ellie Monago

Lake Union Publishing

Thriller/Suspense  --  Release Date: March 1, 2018


Moving to upscale Aurora Village is a dream come true for Kat and Doug. Though they now own the smallest house in the community, they're close to the city and are happy to live in a safe location to raise their infant daughter.

The neighbors host a barbecue to welcome them and appear to be overly welcoming. Kat cannot believe her good luck to finally find an area where they feel they belong. 

However, Kat is disconcerted upon finding a disparaging note left by her front door, and the notes don't stop at only one. Insecure to begin with, Kat wonders who is targeting her and is her history catching up with her; if so, what can she do about it?

The women in the development are friendly toward her and invite her to their ladies' night out. While imbibing, they mention how they are involved in "open relationships" and swapping partners. Kat, aghast, remembers how her new lady friends have been appraising Doug, but she swears there's no way she or he will be a part of this.

In ruminating over the neighborhood "closeness," Kat's stalker is still leaving her notes. She is afraid to tell Doug for he knows little about her past, but she decides she must confess if not for her safety but for that of their daughter's. When the baby becomes ill and ends up in the hospital, Kat's fears escalate. Someone IS out to get her. 

This tale is somewhat farfetched and contains a lot of Kat's past emotional baggage, though it doesn't warrant much by way of suspense; there are just secrets from the past which offer a highly unlikely conclusion.

The First Kiss of Spring

 

By Emily March

St. Martin's Paperbooks

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: February 27, 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

Breaking Point

 

By Allison Brennan

Minotaur Books

Suspense  --  Release Date: January 30, 2018


In book #13 of the Lucy Kincaid series, FBI Agent, Lucy surreptitiously is assisting RCK (Rogan-Caruso-Kincaid Protective Services). Married only a few months, Lucy is helping her husband, one of the partners in RCK without the Bureau's knowledge. They are desperately trying to locate Bella Caruso, sister to J.T. Caruso, another agency partner. 

Bella endured a horrific background where she ended up living a life of prostitution after her father sold her to pay off a debt. Able to break free thanks to J.T., she became a cop later getting into business with her brother. Now she is posing as a doctor who lost her career due to shady dealings, while she is hoping to infiltrate a human trafficking ring and save girls who are being put up for sale as sex slaves. 

Bella has been incognito much longer than should have been necessary and J.T. is concerned when after saving some women, she appears to have gone missing. In addition, an officer she was working with was brutally tortured and dumped on the side of a deserted road. Bella promised she would escape the traffickers once she finds Hope, a young woman abducted from her grandparents. But where is she?

Things become overly tense as Bella tries not to blow her cover. Meanwhile, Lucy's new boss is demeaning and out to get her. She assigns Lucy a desk job, which she hates by covering cold cases. But this does not deter Lucy from searching for Bella though her every move is being scrutinized.

A character-driven tale of riveting suspense and fast-paced drama, the two female protagonists are shown to be forces to reckon with. Though "Breaking Point is part of a series, it stands on its own. The prose, masterful and well-written would make one eager to read the previously-released issues. 

Maybe This Time

 

By Nicole McLaughlin

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: February 27, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

Nina's Journey

 

By Nina Markovna

 

Regnery Publishing, Inc.

Memoir -- Release Date: December 15, 1989

ReaderToReader.com review

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Birthday Girl

 

By Sue Fortin

Harper Impulse

Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: February 20, 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring Forward

 

By Catherine Anderson

Berkley

Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: January, 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should've Been You

 

By Nichole McLaughlin

McMillan

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: January 30, 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty Girls Dancing

 

By Kylie Brant

Thomas & Mercer

Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: January 1, 2018


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

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

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

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

A Wedding at Two Love Lane

 

By Kieran Kramer

St. Martin's Paperback

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: January 2, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

The Body in the Casket

 

By Katherine Hall Page

William Morrow

Suspense -- Release Date: December 5, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail

 

By Caire Cook

Marshbury Beach Books

Contemporary Fiction --  Release Date: December 4, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

No Place Like You

 

By Emma Douglas

Macmillian

Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: December 5, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

The Missing

 

 By C. L. Taylor

William Morrow Paperbacks

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


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

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

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

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

The Last Mrs. Parrish

 

By Liv Constatine

Harper

Psychological Thriller  --  Release Date: October 17, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

Lilac Lane

 

By Sherryl Woods

MIRA

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


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

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

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

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

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

Odd Child Out

 

By Gilly Macmillan

William Morrow

Psychological Thriller  --  Release Date: October 3, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

Hope at Christmas

 

 By Nancy Naigle      

St. Martin's Griffin

Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: October 10, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

A Season of You

 

By Emma Douglas

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: October 3, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

The Christmas Room

 

By Catherine Anderson

Berkley

Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: September 26, 2017

         

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

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

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

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

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

Deck the Halls

 

By Donna Alward

McMillan

Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: October 3, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

99 Red Balloons

 

By Elisabeth Carpenter

Avon

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Her Safe

 

By Sophie Hannah

William Morrow   

Psychological Thriller -- Release Date: September 19, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

Obsession

By Amanda Robson

Avon

Romantic Suspense -- Release Date: September 19, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry and Bright

 

By Debbie Macomber

Ballanatine Books

Contemporary Fiction -- Release Date: October 3, 2017 

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

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

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

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

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

Need You Now

 

By Emma Douglas

St. Martin's paperbacks

Contemporary Romance - Release Date: August 29, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Need You Now

 

By Emma Douglas

St. Martin's paperbacks

Contemporary Romance - Release Date: August 29, 2017

      

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleeping In The Ground

 

By Peter Robinson

William Morrow

Mystery Suspense - Release Date: August 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

The Quiet Child

 

By John Burley

William Morrow Paperbacks             

Thriller/Suspense - Release Date: August 8, 2017

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

Dead on Arrival

 

By Matt Richtel

William Morrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leave the Night On

 

By Laura Trentham

St. Martin's Paperbacks

Contemporary Romance -- Release Date: August 1, 2017

 

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


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

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

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

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

Girl in Snow

 

By Danya Kukafka

Simon & Schuster

Contemporary Suspense -- Release Date: August 1, 2017


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

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

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

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

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