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ISBN: 9780345534187
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Published: Ballantine Books - July 28th, 2015

Paula McLean burst on the scene with The Paris Wife, and returns with another novelization of a real historical character – Beryl Markham, who, in her 84 years, was a fearless woman who made a trans-Atlantic plane crossing, trained and bred race horses, and lived the life of a libertine as a colonist in Kenya. 

When Beryl’s mother abandoned her and her father and returned to England from their ranch outside of Nairobi, Beryl was so lost that a native tribe adopted her, allowing her to grow up wild and free by day, learning to stalk and hunt, and return to the shelter of her father’s ranch by night.  In this way, Beryl learned that, although she was female, she could fend for herself when she had no one else on whom to depend, and that is how she lived her entire life.

Beryl married three time, adventure and scandal following her from Kenya to Britain and back, but it never slowed her down.  Her memoir, West with the Night, chronicles her mysterious and yet forthright life, and Paula McLean has fleshed out the details for us in this novel, Circling the Sun

ISBN: 9781250057808
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Published: St. Martin's Press - August 4th, 2015

Somer uses the unusual device of a goldfish plunging off of a high rise balcony to tie together the disparate stories of the building’s inhabitants.

As our hero Ian plummets past floor after floor, he glimpses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents, witnessing birth, heart-break, new love, and all of the pathos and wonder that comprises human existence.

Although Ian has only a goldfish’s seconds-long capacity for memory, readers will find themselves returning to the essential truths of the characters in the novel again and again.

A whimsical and polished novel by Canadian Bradley Somer.

ISBN: 9780147516763
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Published: Plume Books - June 2nd, 2015

Hannah Farr is a talk show host in New Orleans.  She has it all: great job, handsome boyfriend who just happens to be the mayor, and good friends in her adopted home town.

But Hannah has a secret she’s buried deeply.  At least until her grade school nemesis – Fiona Knowles – strikes gold with her concept of Forgiveness Stones.  When you receive two stones in a pouch asking for your forgiveness of the sender, you’re supposed to return one as a token of your forgiveness and add another to the remaining one and pass the pouch to someone whose forgiveness you need.  Hannah thinks this is rubbish – and she’s annoyed and mortified to receive the stones from Fiona Knowles herself.

Then when an up and coming young broadcaster from Hannah’s station corners her on-air, Hannah is unwittingly cornered into admitting that she herself has some forgiving and apologizing to do.  Her studio audience and all of her loyal viewers saw it live.  Her producers force her to make good on the Forgiveness Stones circle for the sake of her ratings.  And Hannah is hating every minute of it…

Sweet Forgiveness is a very strong book from Lori Nelson Spielman, whose debut, The Life List, was a huge hit with Saturn readers.

ISBN: 9780062320131
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Published: Harper - June 30th, 2015

I blew through the 484 pages in this book in a day and a half.  (My husband Dave says he can always tell how entertained I am by fiction by how long it takes me to finish a book, and if that’s an accurate measure, then I liked The English Spy quite a lot.)

Gabriel Allon, Israel’s infamous art restorer-by-day and Mossad assassin by night, is summoned by England’s director of MI6 to help find the man responsible for the death of their beloved princess.

But, true to Silva’s books, one bad guy leads to another, and, as they say “It's not who fired the gun, but who paid for the bullet.”  And in this case, Gabriel’s nemesis in Russia is the puppet master of a global plot to embarrass the British and draw Allon into the open.

Fast paced, tautly plotted and entirely entertaining, The English Spy is Daniel Silva at his best.

ISBN: 9781455554744
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Published: Grand Central Publishing - July 14th, 2015

Mardi Jo Link – of Wicked Takes the Witness Stand fame, has shifted gears this year and given us a memoir about her 20+ year sojourn to Drummond Island with her closest friends.

The ups and downs of each friends’ life plays nicely against the backdrop of a once-a-year, no-holds-barred party away from work, marriages, and responsibilities.  Delivered in the same frank, funny style we discovered in Link’s Bootstrapper a few years ago, Drummond Girls is a good reminder of the healing power of good friends and endearing traditions.

ISBN: 9780451466716
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Published: New American Library - November 4th, 2014

“Give the lady what she wants,” was a famous saying of Marshall Field, the merchant prince of Chicago.  Renee Rosen’s novel, What the Lady Wants is the fictional account of privileged Delia Spencer and her 30-odd year love affair with the man who was a driving force behind Chicago’s development as a world-class city.

Beginning in 1871 with the Great Chicago Fire and ending 35 years later, What the Lady Wants spans three incarnations of the famed Marshall Field department store, the Chicago World Fair, and the development of the lakefront and the northern suburbs.   

ISBN: 9781250052650
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Published: Flatiron Books - April 7th, 2015

Tonya Byron is a well-known British TV personality and clinical psychologist.

This book follows five of the most memorable cases she encountered during her training.

This memoir reads like a psychological thriller, delving into minds so unrelatable you’d think they could only be fictional characters.

Told in Tanya’s first person voice, we see her mature from a timid trainee into a counselor ready to confront the demons of her own family’s history.

ISBN: 9781476793740
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Published: Scribner Book Company - June 2nd, 2015

Jason Mathew’s first thriller, Red Sparrow, became one of my permanent staff pics for its Machiavellian plotting and cold war epic feeling.

Palace of Treason also stars Russian sparrow double agent Dominika and her CIA handler and counterpart Nate.  As Dominika rises through the ranks of the Russian Intelligence Service, she is increasingly in danger both by those who suspect her and those who seek to advance their own careers and are jealous of her.

Palace of Treason races from Iran’s nuclear arms facilities to a traitor among the CIA ranks to President Putin’s quest for power and money.  Fantastic read for fans of Ludlum, Forsyth, and the like.

SKU: 9780578136851

In Stander’s best Ray Elkins mystery yet, the Cedar County sheriff is called to a murder scene in the dead of night at a local vineyard.

The victim turns out to be a visiting wine expert whose pithy website was a popular one among young professionals looking for advice about good vintages.

When the expert’s step brother becomes the next victim, Ray and Deputy Sue are stumped as to the motive behind the crimes.

Full of familiar Northern Michigan settings and a focus on the regions quickly growing reputation as a prime wine producing area, Murder in the Merlot will satisfy Stander’s many fans.

ISBN: 9780062060587
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Published: Harper - June 9th, 2015

I really liked SJ Watson’s smart first thriller, Before I go to Sleep, which was made into a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.  So I was also excited to check out Second Life.  I have mixed feelings about this one.

Julia’s sister, Kate, has been murdered, bringing out all sorts of repressed guilt about Julia’s having left her little sister as soon as she saw a way out of their miserable household.  Now she has to find a way to explain to Kate’s son, Connor, who Julia and Hugh are raising, what’s happened to his mother.

But Julia can’t rest until she actually knows who the murderer is and why he took her sister’s life.  And that desire leads her to much darker ones.  Her search leads her to internet chat sites in pursuit of the kind of men Kate found interesting.  And one looks very interesting indeed.  So Julia uses herself as bait to lure her suspect into the open, and in the process disappears down a rabbit’s hole of lust, intrigue, and deception.

I thought this book bogged down on the lust bit in the middle, and didn’t really find its way out until the twisty ending.  But the surmises at the end left me satisfied with the novel as a thriller.

Lots of you loved Before I go to Sleep, so I’ll be anxious to hear what you think about Second Life