Following a rough week of traveling for work,
Jemma’s handbag with all her important possessions including her
passport, credit cards, laptop, and house keys is stolen at the airport.
Even more disturbing, when she goes to report the incident,
she realizes she can’t recall her own name. Home and her past no longer
exist in her mind, but the only thing in her pocket is a train ticket
“home.” Jemma is a source of mystery when she arrives at the sleepy
Wiltshire village where she thought she lived
and quickly becomes a cause of fear and curiosity amongst the locals
when no one recognizes her.
Is she a victim or a killer? Where did she come from? All at the same time as she is thinking:
Who are these people? Who am I?
A young woman takes a train home to an English village and finds her house inhabited by the current owners. She cannot remember who she is, relying on their kindness to help her determine what happened, her only memory of the mysterious Fleur. A murderer lived in the house over a decade ago; timing of the murderer’s release and the young woman’s resemblance cast suspicion on her, dividing the owners. The wife leaves town and the husband obsesses over the unknown woman, possibly a murderer. Deception and revenge collide with coincidence and subterfuge, moving toward tragedy, and taking the story to Berlin and a horrific crime. Monroe builds an intriguing world of characters with hidden agendas and convincing personas. Dear reader may not know with whom to empathize as the secrets spill. Layers of the story build with new insights through flashbacks and revelations. This is an excellent look into the psychology of a criminal act and the resulting vigilante justice. I received this provocative novel from Park Row Books through NetGalley.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
J.S. Monroe studied English at Cambridge
University, worked as a freelance journalist in London and was a regular
contributor to BBC Radio 4. He was also a foreign correspondent in
Delhi for the Daily Telegraph and was on
its staff in London as Weekend editor. He is the author of six other
novels and lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their three
Bauermeister, the national bestselling author of The School of
Essential Ingredients, presents a moving and evocative
coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found,
and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course
of our lives.
Emmeline lives an
enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches
her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t
explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the
walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates
them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity,
until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out
into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and
revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to
her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and
immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of
scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we
seek, and even help us find our way back home.
In Emmeline’s childhood, mermaids brought supplies to their island
cabin, and scents of faraway places lived in beautiful bottles
covering the back wall. Made with a mysterious machine, these scents
inspire her father’s tales of Queen Emmeline and Jack, the Scent
Hunter. Tragedy thrusts her into the mainstream world, where secrets
are revealed and Emmeline must redefine family. Bauermeister portrays
a magical land of enchantment from a child’s perspective, and the
demise of innocence so well that dear reader’s heart breaks for
Emmeline. I was fortunate to receive this beautiful story of never
giving up on your dream, and unintended consequences, from St.
Martin’s Press through NetGalley.
About the Author:
Bauermeister is the author of the bestselling novel The School
of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, and The Lost Art
of Mixing. She is also the co-author of the non-fiction works,
500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide and Let’s
Hear It For the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. She has
a PhD in literature from the University of Washington, and has taught
there and at Antioch University. She is a founding member of the
Seattle7Writers and currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
introduces low-level, low-brow politician Henry Lewis, who’s
interrupted in his back alley business when his intended victim Davie
is rescued. Allan Linton fell into the PI business after a newspaper
takeover, and he pulled strong, silent street avenger Niddrie in as
his “and Associates.” A mysterious man calling himself Carter
hires them to find a woman in a photograph whose name is likely an
alias. Then dear reader goes through a flashback on the rise and fall
of Allan’s marriage to the daughter of a top dollar barrister, then
back to the present where his daughter asks his help with the
entitled son of her grandfather’s partner and he explains his love
for the Hollies. He seeks help on the case from his best friend
Michael, who just happens to be the main drug dealer in town, and
dear reader goes through another flashback chapter on the origin of
their friendship. There are aliases and backstories galore in this
novel, with each flashback its own fascinating short story. If you
like backstory woven into the fabric of a novel, this format might
confound you. The unusual names and behaviors of the characters make
this whodunwhat feel a bit out of time and place, like a cheeky noir
film. I received a digital copy of this fantastic story from Black &
White Publishing Ltd through NetGalley.
Dr. Trisha Raje
brings modern day morés
and an introverted personality to this Austen classic as she
subconsciously creates problems from miscommunication. Unexplored
emotions and hesitance toward introspection lead Dr. Trisha to
misadventures. Dear Readers watch her spar with the sexy caterer,
whose mother’s favorite book inspired her to name him Darcy—he
goes by DJ. She attempts to reconnect with her family, guilt-ridden
by a long ago transgression of her friend, who has shown up recently
to lure in the caterer. Dr. Trisha remains focused on his sister, her
patient, how she can aid her in reframing her outlook toward her
future as an artist without sight. Dev’s work is, as usual, lush
and gorgeous and emotional and sexy as hell, with complex, realistic
characters in complicated situations in which they must untangle
themselves, eventually giving in to intense feelings. A brilliant
storyteller, she carefully weaves into a well-known story a
contemporary character, her Indian-American culture, and a romance
inspired by, well, gourmet food. Of course. I was fortunate to
receive a copy of this wonderful story through Edelweiss.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award winning author Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after. Her books have been on NPR, Washington Post, Library Journal, and Kirkus Best Books of the year lists, but Sonali is most smug about Shelf Awareness calling her “Not only one of the best but also one of the bravest romance novelists working today.” Sonali lives in Chicagoland with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog. Find more at sonalidev.com.
A terrible tragedy unleashes a fateful chain of events for two
families from starkly different worlds in a breathtaking new tale of
suspense that doubles as a razor-sharp take on class conflict in
In his remarkable debut, THE EAST END(Park
Row Books; May 7, 2019; $26.99 U.S./$33.50 CAN.),
novelist Jason Allen constructs a multi-layered story
about the powerful and the powerless, about love and loss, and about
self-destruction and the possibility of redemption. Set in the
Hamptons over one explosive holiday weekend, this immersive must-read
illuminates both sides of the socio-economic divide in a place where
dreams of escape drive potentially catastrophic decisions.
Unfolding from multiple perspectives, THE EAST END opens
with the countdown to Memorial Day underway and recent high school
graduate Corey Halpern in need of a fix. A townie, he burns off
his resentment of the affluent “invaders” who flock to the
community in the summer months by breaking into their lavish mansions
and pulling harmless pranks. Staring down a bleak future, he sees his
hopes of going away to college vanishing. He can’t disappear, not
when his troubled mother, Gina, is barely making ends meet, trying to
get away from an abusive, deadbeat husband, and chasing pills with
too much booze. Trapped in a downward spiral, she staggers towards
rock bottom as Corey and his brother look on helplessly.
Before calling it a night, Corey makes one last stop at the
sprawling lakeside estate where he and Gina work. There he intends to
commit his first-ever robbery but nothing proceeds according to plan.
Married billionaire CEO Leo Sheffield shows up to his ultra-exclusive
Gin Lane property early, accompanied by his handsome, much-younger
lover, Henry. In an instant, everything changes: Drunk, high, and all
alone, Henry is the victim of a fatal poolside accident.
Unfortunately for a distraught Leo, Corey saw what happened—and so
did someone else.
For this immensely privileged man who is not used to getting his
hands dirty, his very existence now depends on containing the
collateral damage. And time is running out. Leo’s overbearing wife
and three grown children will be arriving soon, along with a house
full of high-maintenance guests. Desperate to preserve his fortune
and his freedom, Leo takes irrevocable steps that expose him to
scandal and far worse. Over the next few tension-filled days, hidden
entanglements, unexpected opportunities, and clashing loyalties
propel Corey, Gina, and Leo to extremes—and ultimately, to shocking
outcomes no one will anticipate.
Atmospheric, emotionally probing, and complexly unmissable, this
kaleidoscopic narrative plunges its brilliantly realized characters
into timely, all-too-relatable moral quandaries that defy easy
answers and resound long after the final page.
Corey breaks into the houses of the wealthy who summer in the Hamptons, to play pranks on them as a way to vent his frustrations as a local serving these “invaders.” The night he chooses to enter the home of his mother’s employer Mr. Sheffield, he learns a scandalous secret and witnesses a tragedy, and then he falls in love. The weekend brings a multitude of challenges for the Sheffield family and Corey’s mom, who’s fighting a drug addiction and a violent ex, as well as Corey and his new love. Allen brilliantly portrays the blurred lines of integrity and honesty for the haves and have-nots in a scenario that flips dependency from one to the other and exposes everyone’s agenda. No character is truly endearing, nor is any character wholly evil, but all are complex, self-serving and compassionate in turn. Fans of “Somethings in the Water,” “Beautiful Bad,” or “Hunting Annabelle” will appreciate this story. It’s a peek at what we might do if we had the chance, and what happens when we involve ourselves in something that’s not our business. I received a digital copy of this fantastic story from Park Row Books through NetGalley.
Jason Allen grew up in a working-class home in the
Hamptons, where he worked a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy
estate owners. He writes fiction, poetry, and memoir, and is the
author of the poetry collection A Meditation on Fire. He has
an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in literature and creative
writing from Binghamton University. He currently lives in Atlanta,
Georgia, where he teaches writing. THE EAST END is his first
The last Iberian sultan’s mapmaker Hassan and Circassian concubine
Fatima share a love for a poem by Al Attar in which they only have
the opening lines. They continue the tale together, alternating and
combining their own stories of the birds looking for their king.
Hassan draws maps that reshape reality, coming under the scrutiny of
the Spanish Inquisition when Fatima is too open with Luz, Queen
Isabella’s advisor, emissary, and secret inquisitor. Fatima must
find a way to save her best friend, embarking on a journey—guided
by a jinn in animal form—where she finds her true self on the
hidden island of the bird king. Friendship is tested, credibility is
stretched to the limit, and redemption is found. Magical realism
blends historical events and mythology well, thought there are a few
too many cliffhangers in the latter half of the tale. It’s a
beautiful story of desire to escape a horrid time in Spain’s past.
I was given a digital copy of this fantastic story from Grove Press
At her local drugstore, Amy Byler runs into her husband, who went on
a business trip to Hong Kong and stayed for three years. He’s
returned to make things right and be the father his children deserve.
School Librarian Amy signs up to present her reading program at a
conference in NYC, where she plans to reconnect with her college
roommate, during the kids’ week with their father. She meets a hot
librarian, makes a new friend, and starts a movement. Harms cleverly
uses the modern-day epistolary of email and texting in this humorous
exploration of a single mom becoming her own woman. Fans of Ann
Garvin, Katherine Center, and Kerry Anne King will appreciate Harms’
voice. I received a digital copy of this wonderful story from Lake
Union through NetGalley.
What happens when an overworked, underappreciated single mother of two
gets an opportunity to spend a week away from reality in NYC? What
happens when that week turns into an entire summer? And, what happens
when this rare gift of personal freedom, self-reflection, and fun comes
to an end?
These are the questions at the heart of former editor and literary agent
Kelly Harms’ delightful and empowering new novel, THE OVERDUE LIFE OF AMY BYLER
(Lake Union Publishing; May 1, 2019; hardcover), about a middle-aged
woman’s much-needed Momspringa.* Full of wit, heart, bookish-references,
and romance, THE OVERDUE LIFE OF AMY BYLER is next year’s feel-good read!
*Momspringa (n.): A period of time when moms are given time away from
the demands of daily life, including their children, so they can
recharge and reconnect with themselves as human women. Inspired by the
Amish term Rumspringa.
Pixie Forest Publishing loves the idea of spreading awareness of
indie books and anthologies by offering book boxes! Almost all of the
books are signed by the authors, who provide swag like bookmarks,
candles, pens, necklaces, and more. PFP adds in their own unique swag
that’s centered around that month’s theme as well!
They offer up to
five boxes of each theme every month. Some past themes include
fantasy, horror, romance, kid’s, and young adult. To date they’ve
sold nine different boxes! Upcoming themes include another fantasy
box, a Mother’s Day box, vacation themed, sci-fi, and dystopian.
Boxes range from
$30-$40 depending on the contents. Every box includes a $5 off coupon
for a future box and a collectible snap-charm keyring.
They say that cats don’t like change. But Luna, an imaginative tabby, understands that sometimes it’s necessary. When her owner, Annika, moved back to her small New England hometown six months ago along with her sixteen-year-old twins, Luna knew it was for the best. Ever since Annika’s husband, Peter, died suddenly, the family has been floundering. Luna, too, is guilt-ridden, sure she could have done more to save her favorite person. Luna also knows something the others don’t know. Peter’s spirit is still with them, and Luna believes there is something he needs her help to do . . .
Annika has been struggling to move on. It doesn’t help that her son, Donovan, blames her for his father’s death. Peter always told Annika that they had the best love story going, yet the fact is that much of their story has been hidden away, even from their children. When Annika’s first love, Sam, arrives to plow them out during an intensifying storm, the truth begins to emerge at last. And Luna—watchful and unwavering in her affection—may be her family’s best hope of learning how to forgive and to heal . . .
Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.
Then a shocking
tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling,
Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the
issues in her relationship. So she and Sanjay agree to a radical
proposal: both will write a list of changes they want each other to
make—then commit to complete and total honesty.
What seems like a
smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and
even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion
of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is
honesty really the best policy?
Penelope believes her life as a wife and mother inferior to her always perfectly put together friend Jenny, whose daughter is just as seemingly pristine as her mother. She is blindsided by the tragedy of her friend’s life, causing her to re-evaluate her own marriage and motherhood. Pagan brilliantly portrays the chaos that is raising children, with an opening scene of Penelope in the bathroom asking if she will ever have a moment of peace. The disconnect between spouses blares from the pages as they discuss who’s to blame for the lack of toilet paper, and Penelope notes that Sanjay barely looks at her to confirm that her appearance is satisfactory. Her re-evaluation puts them on a bumpy road back to each other and a cohesive family unit. Pagan juxtaposes the consequences of social comparison and lack of connection with an ever-increasing social problem in a credible and empathetic manner. This story is a reminder to pay closer attention to the ones you love. It’s a 5-star lesson in life.