Julia Swann and her two sons are having a normal evening just watching a baseball game when the game is interrupted by breaking news: an explosion has ripped through Penn Station, killing hundreds of people instantly. Penn Station just happens to be where Julia's husband Michael is, waiting for his train home. Desperate to find her husband, Julia leaves her sons with a neighbor, makes missing fliers, and rushes to NYC where she posts the fliers all around the city. She thinks her prayers have been answered when a woman calls a few hours later claiming to have seen Michael. But, as Julia follows Michael's trail she becomes confused and concerned. He is on a haphazard path through the city, he doesn't appear to be headed home, and he hasn't contacted her. Julia can't figure out what he is doing, or if he's even the man she married anymore. Then, things become even more complicated when Michael is named the prime suspect in the bombing.
I loved Bryan Reardon's first thriller, Finding Jake, and his second book is even better. I really enjoy reading Reardon's books because he has a talent for making you think you know exactly what's going on in the story, and then giving you another piece of the puzzle that completely throws you off.
Sisters Mags and Darcy and their cousin Nell have grown up together in their small town in Maine. The three of them are being raised by their single mothers and spend most of their time together.
Darcy has a bad reputation around town, which started with rumors that began going around her high school her sophomore year. Those rumors started with a falling out that Darcy had with one of her friends, Rhiannon. Rhiannon then vanished, and hasn't been seen in a year. Darcy has never revealed to anyone what was behind the girls’ fight, a choice that has caused the police to suspect that she knows more about Rhiannon's disappearance than she has told them. Besides this, Darcy has also been keeping a secret for one of her family members, one that could destroy the lives of all those involved.
In 1968, the United States was losing the Space Race, so NASA made a bold decision and moved up the date of the Apollo 8 launch. This meant that they could beat the Soviets at putting men in orbit around the moon, a mission that was also a big and crucial step towards putting man on the moon.
The Apollo 8 mission had three men on the team: Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders. These were three military men who had pushed themselves, overcoming many different challenges in order to get to that point.
The astronauts are amazing, brave people, but Rocket Men doesn't just recognize all of the hard work that the men put in. It also acknowledges all of the sacrifices the astronaut's families made. They did whatever it took to help Borman, Lovell, and Anders be successful, including moving multiple times, taking care of the home on their own, and presenting a positive face to the world since every move they made while the men were in space was photographed and filmed.
Kurson also recognizes the talented men and women at NASA who planned every step of the Apollo 8 mission very carefully. The countless hours of work that they put in helped make the Apollo 8 mission a successful one.
Rocket Men is a fascinating story, and Kurson tells it in a way that is easy for those of us who don't understand all of the math and science behind space travel to still understand the magnitude of what all of these incredible people accomplished.
Charlie Outlaw is a rising star in Hollywood, while Josie Lamar is a has-been from a sitcom that was popular 20 years ago. The two were dating, until Charlie gives an interview in which he insults the people connected with his own show and makes several comments about his relationship with Josie that cause her to break up with him. After that fiasco, Charlie decides to go to a small island to "find himself."
However, the island has its own problems as a group of poor villagers are fighting for basic human rights. They decide the solution to their problem is to kidnap several of the wealthy vacationers to hold for ransom, and those hostages include Charlie. Meanwhile, Josie is going from guest spot to guest spot, while also auditioning for other shows and movies, trying to find the role that will be the perfect fit.
Bouncing between the ordeals Charlie goes through and the anxiety that Josie feel as she tries to separate herself from her heroic character from 20 years ago, the two of them both realize that they miss each other terribly.
What You Don't Know About Charlie Outlaw spends a lot of time looking at people's motives, interactions, and analyzing their behavior. Charlie and Josie both play roles based on the people around them, but through their ordeals they start to discover their true selves.
Jana, Brit, Daniel, and Henry are the four string players who make up the Van Ness Quartet. The four come together as a group during their time at a musical conservatory, but continue to perform together after graduation.
The Ensemble follows the group throughout their musical career and examines how their personal and professional lives shape each other. Overall, the novel examines how the four character's love for music and one another creates powerful bonds, and a powerful story.
Beautifully woven together, The Map of Salt and Stars is a haunting story about what family and home really mean. Nour isn't sure where she belongs after her father dies and her mother moves their family from New York to Syria. After a bomb destroys their home in Syria, Nour and her sister Zahra are separated from their mother and older sister. Armed only with a map that her mother made and the folktales her father told her, Nour has to follow both to find her family. While this is a chilling reminder of what is currently happening in Syria, it also offers hope to all who are searching for home.
Along the lines of novels like Gone Girl and Girl on a Train, Let Me Lie is a psychological thriller where it isn't clear exactly which characters you can trust, if any.
Anna lost both of her parents to suicide, but on the one year anniversary of her mother's death, she receives an anniversary card with a note that reads, "Suicide? Think again." Anna has always thought there was something suspicious about her parents' deaths, and this note just confirms it for her. When she takes the card to the police, retired officer Murray, who works the front desk, agrees with her and starts to dig into the case. But, the further the two dig, the more someone tries to stop them from discovering the truth.
Mackintosh has a talent for weaving her plot together so well, that you're not really sure what's happening until after it's happened. This is a must-read for anyone looking for a great thriller.
At Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, there is a typewriter that is open to the public, so anyone is welcome to type and leave a message. Notes from a Public Typewriter is a collection of some of the staff's favorites. The notes range from funny comments and jokes, to advice, to whatever popped into the writer's head. Some of the comments are clever, others are heartbreaking, and some are just ridiculous.
My favorites included:
"Watching my son try to type a single sentence is like watching a crocodile trying to do ballet."
"Everyone has a superpower. The trick is to find it."
"Sometimes I get lost just to assure myself someone cares enough to find me."
This is just one of those fun books to have on your coffee table for anyone to skim through.
In the world of The Coincidence Makers, nothing happens by chance. Every small event that takes place, a spilled drink, bumping into a stranger, even a certain song that you hear, is part of a bigger plan. There is a group of people who cause these "coincidences," and their purpose is to help people achieve or gain things that they might not have on their own. They help people discover hidden talents, invent items to help mankind, and even fall in love. Guy has been a coincidence maker for several years, but when he's asked to help with a bigger coincidence than he ever has before, it's a wonderful opportunity for him. However, there's a catch, something that Guy isn't comfortable with, but if he doesn't help with the coincidence, it could have consequences that affect hundreds of lives, including his own.
The Coincidence Makers is definitely different from anything I've read, and I enjoyed the unique ideas that Blum introduces. It's a story that will make you think about life and the decisions that you make.
Trapped in a Jewish ghetto, twins Gittel and Chaim have lived in a small apartment with their parents for several years, until they attempt a daring escape. The children end up with partisans, traveling through the forest towards the Soviet border and safety. But, their journey comes to a tragic end when a surprise attack leaves the partisans dead. Their attackers take the twins to a Nazi work camp, where they are forced to make munitions for the war.
Yolen's stories about the horrors of the Holocaust are powerful and compelling. She does an amazing job of exploring the impact that the Holocaust had, and fans of her novels will not be disappointed.