March/April 2018: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, c2017

The Wonder

old Irish village
observes fasting miracle
faith, trust, & the truth

unsettling look at ethics
and perils of assumptions


February 2018: Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka, c2017

Girl in Snow
by Danya Kukafka

circling teen’s murder
beats the heart of voyeurism
loving from afar

where sight is not always true
powerful, lovely, gritty


January 2018: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti, c2017

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
by Hannah Tinti

while coming of age
criminal past told through scars
father-daughter bonds

compelling action surrounds
study of parental love


March/April 2017: The Girl Before by JP Delaney, c2017

The Girl Before

ultra modern house
of deadly duplicity
looking for order

imposed minimalism adds
to multi-layered deceit


February 2017: Lily’s House by Cassandra Parkin, c2017

Lily’s House

finely layered depths
after her grandmother’s death
secrets still remain

gorgeously descriptive with
an edge that flirts with darkness


January 2017: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, c2016

The Bear and the Nightingale

deepest old Russia
delightfully wild and strong
standing up to fears

transcending limits: lovely,
enchanting, mesmerizing


December 2016: Fields Where They Lay by Timothy Hallinan, c2016

Fields Where They Lay

days before Christmas
dodging shopping and bullets
mobsters, murder, scams

hard-boiled crime novel with tons
of cynicism and quick wit


October/November 2016: The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne, c2015

The Ice Twins

pure isolation
sees one child through the other
flawed, distorted views

slowly the truth emerges
in ghostly revelations


September 2016: We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley, c2016

We Could Be Beautiful

among the richest
she’s blinded by privilege
feeling incomplete

strange, cruel twists punctuate
a wickedly smart debut


August 2016: The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay, c2016

The Tumbling Turner Sisters

1919 set
a double bildungsroman
growing up in vaudeville

whimsical seriousness
with pure authentic feeling


July 2016: Touch by Alexi Zentner, c2011


painful wonderment
waiting in the winter woods
with faith to reclaim

wonderful story whirled in
lovely prose of tender loss


June 2016: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, c2016

Before the Fall

unchecked media
the rich and down-on-his-luck
plane crash aftermath

brilliant use of deep suspense
deftly unfolds their secrets


May 2016: Child of My Heart by Alice McDermott, c2002

Child of My Heart

‘sixties’ East Hampton
precocious, complex, adored
one crucial summer

passage from girl to woman
poignantly told with sharp grace


April 2016: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood, c2016

The One-in-a-Million Boy

after young boy’s death
the restless and senescent
world records to set

spotlights the brilliance of life
like morning birdsong ~ Stirring.


March 2016: The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack, c2015

The Memory Painter

enemy’s watching
recovering their past lives
sweeping across time

suspense & romance spanning
ten thousand years flawlessly


February 2016: The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick, c2015

The Memory Weaver

hostage at age ten
determined young lady with
pioneer spirit

aftermath of Cayuse raid
transcends the well-researched facts


January 2016: Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz, c2015

Ashley Bell

daring young woman
keeping secrets from herself
dimensions hidden

captivating storylines
help unfurl the repressed truth


December 2015: The Visitant by Megan Chance, c2015

The Visitant

aged, crumbling palazzo filled
with vengeful spirits

gothic Venice ghost story
brimmed with sensuality


November 2015: The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, c2010

The Swan Thieves

painter's universe
mind of a troubled genius
art & obsession

century-old mystery
masterfully brought to light


October 2015: The Expats by Chris Pavone, c2012

The Expats

suspicions surmount
she is former CIA
to trust or deceive

twist after twist after twist
brilliant, complex spy novel


September 2015: Among Others by Jo Walton, c2010

Among Others

fairies & magic
flees from her half-mad mother
to rebuild a life

subtle story of grief; a
love letter to sci-fi greats


August 2015: The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler, c2015

The Book of Speculation

carnivals & sea
certain serendipity
leads to you & me

sneaky writing builds a strange
dark mood to unveil a curse


July 2015: The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier, c2013

The Last Runaway

far from Quaker home
stitching her life together
in a new country

gorgeous in simplicity
immersed in vivid details


June 2015: The Sound of Glass by Karen White, c2015

The Sound of Glass

South Carolina
she's unraveling their past
shattering secrets

multilayered mystery
enveloped in southern charm


May 2015: The Color Master by Aimee Bender, c2013

The Color Master

our world & others
normal to strange to hidden
life transcending life

sublime, dreamy short stories
with fresh wisps of myth. Wondrous.


April 2015: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, c2015

The Girl on the Train

a missing woman
wanting what someone else has
control & deceit

emotionally intense
modern-day Hitchcock thriller


March 2015: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, c2014

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

island bookstore home
crotchety owner finds child
giving life meaning

sweet tale of transformations
with twists connecting through books


February 2015: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, c2013

The Rosie Project

love via survey
smart yet socially challenged
human connections

sweet, quirky, funny romance
definitely fun to read


January 2015: Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar, c2015

Vanessa and Her Sister
by Priya Parmar

Virginia Woolf's world:
arty thinkers drifting in
kinships & friendships

captivating, insightful --
Did not want story to end!


December 2014: The Wolves of Midwinter by Anne Rice, c2013

The Wolves of Midwinter

shimmering estate
werewolves entwined with yuletide
renewal of souls

uncommon Christmas story
venture into abundance


November 2014: Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen, c2014

Still Life With Bread Crumbs

photographer once famous
new chapters in life

mature ladies' tender tale
feel-good ending ties things up


October 2014: Someone by Alice McDermott, c2013


'forties and forward
ordinary life yet more
to be loved, treasured

masterful storytelling
poetically detailed


September 2014: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, c2014

Boy, Snow, Bird

'fifties and 'sixties
they're not what they seem to be
passing relations

totally unexpected
modern issues, Snow White twist


August 2014: Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro, c2012

Dear Life

Landscape of longing
Inside all our beating hearts
Vestiges of change

Essential wistful timeless
Storytelling elegance


July 2014: The City by Dean Koontz, c2014

The City

turbulent 'sixties
must see the world as it is
mayhem, trust, goodness

wonderful storytelling
music to make life sparkle


June 2014: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, c2014

All the Light We Cannot See

Saint-Malo, French Coast
young lives caught up in a war
connected by sound

a stunning story told through
absolutely gorgeous prose


May 2014: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, c2013

The Golem and the Jinni

immigrants to a new world
unlikely friendships

study of human nature
through unique eyes. Spellbinding!


April 2014: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, c2011

Before I Go To Sleep

life unrecognized
each morning she's a stranger . . .
Who indeed is he?

a riveting mystery
with a chilling conclusion


March 2014: The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel, c1980

The Clan of the Cave Bear

the dawn of mankind
remarkable survivor
beautiful, harsh life

get swept away in scenic
details . . . a stunning saga


February 2014: The Cove by Ron Rash, c2012

The Cove

the back of beyond
waiting for life to begin
fate overshadows

haunting German novella
lyrical, dark, and tragic


January 2014: City of Thieves by David Benioff, c2008

City of Thieves

a starving country
hunt for the impossible
boys becoming men

with a unique perspective
journey through enemy lines


December 2013: The Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickey, c2005

The Painted Kiss

Vienna's lushness
beguiling and passionate
unbreakable bonds

two historical figures
brought to life beautifully


November 2013: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman, c1995

Practical Magic

town entwined with charms
leaving witchery whispers
tied to sisterhood

ups and downs of true love told
through clever imaginings


October 2013: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, c2005

The Historian

time and borders crossed
on the true Dracula's trail
confronting evil

richly atmospheric and
steeped in history.  Haunting.


September 2013: The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley, c2004

The Man in My Basement

race relationships
trapped in their own helplessness
seeking redemption

philosophy exploring
power and identity


August 2013: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple, c2012

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

all lonely yet loved
Antarctica catalyst
a mom disappears

cleverly told in snippets
fresh, funny, fantastic fun


July 2013: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, c2012

The Secret Keeper

being someone else
seized by the past, chasing ghosts
untangling the web

perfectly smooth prose infused
with twist after pleasing twist


June 2013: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, c2010

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

wistful family
taste of hidden emotions
unwanted insight

boldness of everyday life
utterly strange, bittersweet


May 2013: The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson, c2011

The Lantern

Provence lavender
obsessed with finding answers
turn enchanted days

full of mystery and scents
lush and dark -- modern gothic


April 2013: The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman, c2012

The Light Between Oceans

thrashing waves rising
consequences and choices
undefended hearts

tangled moral dilemmas
moving, heart-rending debut


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