MISSING YOU

MISSING YOU

A GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD 2014!  THIS WAS A GREAT MYSTERY SPANNING MANY YEARS.  FINALLY, KAT, AN NYPD DETECTIVE BEGINS TO PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER TO SAVE MORE PEOPLE FROM THIS VICIOUS PLOT.  THIS TEAM OF THIEVES PREYS ON PEOPLE WHO HAVE FEW RELATIONS OR FRIENDS, WHO ARE LOOKING FOR LOVE AND COMPANIONSHIP BUT HAVE ALSO RECENTLY COME INTO SOME MONEY.  THEY SUPPOSEDLY GO ON FANTASTIC VACATIONS TO REMOTE ISLANDS OR ON FANCY CRUISES TO MEET THEIR “DATE” BUT END UP BURIED IN A BOX WHILE THEIR MONEY IS GRADUALLY WITHDRAWN FROM ALL THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS.  BEWARE OF DATING WEBSITES MY FRIENDS AND ALWAYS CARRY AN AXE! A LITTLE GORY AT THE END BUT AT LEAST THE VICTIMS GET SOME JUSTICE!

PUBLISHER’S SYNOPSIS:

It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.

As the body count mounts and Kat’s hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.

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HARBORED SECRETS

HARBORED SECRETS

IT HAS TAKEN ME DAYS TO BEGIN TO WRITE THIS REVIEW.  I GUESS THIS BOOK JUST DIDN’T GRAB ME LIKE I THOUGHT IT WOULD.  THERE WERE JUST SO MANY SECRETS KEPT IN THIS PRAIRIE FAMILY!  I’M STILL NOT SURE IF THE FATHER IN THE STORY ACTUALLY FATHERED ANY OF HIS CHILDREN – SO MUCH INFIDELITY AND PROMISCUITY IN SUCH A SMALL TOWN.  HE WAS SO DIFFICULT AND HARD ON OTHERS – IT IS A WONDER ANY WOMAN WANTED TO BE WITH HIM!

HE SENT HIS “DAUGHTERS” AWAY AFTER THE DEATH OF THEIR BROTHER IN A FIRE AND THE SUBSEQUENT DEATH OF THEIR MOTHER.  AT EIGHT AND THREE YEARS OF AGE THEY TRAVELED HUNDREDS OF MILES BY TRAIN ALONE TO LIVE WITH THEIR UNCLES WHO DID THE BEST THEY COULD TO RAISE THE GIRLS.  BUT THEY WERE TOO OLD AND EVENTUALLY PAPA HAD TO BRING THE GIRLS HOME.  THIS IS WHEN BLINNY BEGAN TO UNCOVER THE SECRETS THE FAMILY HAD HIDDEN SO WELL.  SHE HAD BEEN TOO YOUNG AND NAIVE TO REALIZE WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THE TIME BUT AS SHE MATURED, SHE BEGAN TO SEE THE PIECES OF THE PUZZLE FIT TOGETHER.

SHE AND HER SISTER, WHO HAVE BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH TOGETHER, FINALLY BEGIN TO  COME TO TERMS WITH EACH OTHER, THEIR FAMILY, THEIR SECRETS AND THEIR ROAD TO THE FUTURE.

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

In May of 1935, Blinny Platt’s homestead shack burns to the ground forever leaving her family asunder, scattering them like the embers flew on the Montana wind. She was only eight-years-old, sent away and in charge of her little sister. She could handle that because Platts take care of Platts.

However, it is the hidden secrets of her parents smoldering beneath the charred remains that haunts Blinny until 1982. She once again leaves the home place to build a house for herself. As the foundation is poured and the walls go up, each of the hurtful memories are uncovered. Finally the mystery, left in the ashes of the burned home, is revealed. How could her mother do what she did?

 

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IS THIS ALL THERE IS?

Is THIS ALL THERE IS

IS THIS ALL THERE IS? IS A SAD STORY WITH A HOPEFUL ENDING.  IN THIS DAY WHEN SO MANY PEOPLE JUST GIVE UP ON MARRIAGE AND GIVE IN TO THEIR TEMPTATIONS, IT WAS REFRESHING TO READ ABOUT A COUPLE WILLING TO FIGHT FOR THEIR LIVES!  BETH IS DEFINITELY TEMPTED BY A HANDSOME YOUNG STUDENT WHO SHOWS HER SOME INTEREST BUT HER SENSE OF WHAT IF RIGHT WINS OUT.  WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO GIVE UP ON THEIR “PERFECT” LIFE FOR NONE ARE TRULY PERFECT.  WORKING THROUGH THE CHALLENGES LIFE THROWS US MAKES US STRONGER AND RICHER PEOPLE.

 PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

Beth Thomas’ seemingly perfect life is about to take a detour. At thirty-five, she’s married to her college sweetheart, has two adorable kids, and finds fulfillment teaching part time at the local university.

But when a friend persuades her to go dancing on a rare night out, a chance meeting with a handsome former student changes the course of her life. Loud music, too much to drink, and the thrill of feeling young again lead to an unforgettable kiss that was never supposed to happen. Beth feels wanted again, listened to, cared for, but she knows it’s wrong.

She tries to put the memory behind her, but he pursues her, drawing Beth back to temptation. As she travels deeper into Dave’s world, Beth struggles to choose between what her mind says is right and what she truly craves.

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DECADES

DECADES

DECADES IS ABOUT THREE GENERATIONS OF WOMEN LIVING IN THE 40’s,50’s AND 60’s.  THE ADORING HOUSEWIFE AND MOTHER, THE MISTRESS AND THE DAUGHTER EACH HAVE THEIR OWN STRUGGLES TO DEAL WITH.  IT DOES SEEM THAT LIFE BACK IN THE 40’s WAS SIMPLER BUT THE CHOICES WOMEN HAD WERE LIMITED.  THERE WAS MORE OPPORTUNITY AND FREEDOM IN THE 50’s BUT MORE CHALLENGES CAME FOR WOMEN WHO SOUGHT CAREERS.  PEACE, LOVE AND JOY OF THE 60’s WAS A MESS OF EMOTIONS, DRUGS AND PROMISCUITY – SO MANY PEOPLE JUST TRYING TO FIND THEMSELVES!  AND, OF COURSE, THERE IS A MAN IN THE MIX SCREWING UP EVERYONE’S LIVES WITH HIS CAREFREE AND ROGUE WAYS.  IT REMINDED ME OF MY MOM’S LIFE – WAITING FOR HER BOYFRIEND TO RETURN FROM WWII TO MARRY HIM;  BEING A DEVOTED WIFE AND MOTHER; GETTING A JOB AND EARNING HER OWN SPENDING MONEY LATER IN LIFE.  LUCKILY MY FATHER WAS NOTHING LIKE NICK

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT AND REVIEW:

THREE WOMEN. THREE DECADES. Spanning the years from the optimistic post-War 1940s to the Mad Men 1950s and rule-breaking “Make Love, Not War” 1960s, DECADES is about three generations of women who must confront the radical changes and upended expectations of the turbulent decades in which they lived.

Evelyn, talented but insecure, is a traditional woman of the 1940s. She is a loyal and loving wife and mother whose marriage and family mean everything to her.
Nick, handsome and ambitious, a chameleon who changes with the changing times, is her successful but restless husband.
Joy, their daughter, confused and defiant, a child of the 1960s, needs them both but is torn between them.
Barbara is the other woman, younger than Evelyn, accomplished but alone. She is a transitional woman of the 1950s who wonders if she can have everything–including another woman’s husband.

DECADES, sweeping in scope yet intimate in detail, is the emotional, compelling story of family, marriage, crisis, betrayal and healing.

“The songs we sang, the clothes we wore, the way we made love. Absolutely perfect!” —Publisher’s Weekly

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GUMBEAUX

GUMBEAUX

GUMBEAUX IS A TALE OF NEW BEGINNINGS.  MARY FAIT MAY BE WEALTHY BUT SHE HAS BEEN ORPHANED AND LEFT IN THE CARE OF A LECHEROUS, ALCOHOLIC UNCLE.  FEELING TRAPPED IN A DEAD END SITUATION SHE DEVISES A PLOT TO ESCAPE BY CHANGING HER NAME AND APPLYING FOR A COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP SINCE HER UNCLE WILL NOT GIVE HER ANY MONEY TO LEAVE HOME.  MARY (VERONICA FEY) DOES GET THE SCHOLARSHIP AND BEGINS HER NEW LIFE IN LOUISIANA.  HER DIARY ENTRIES TELL US OF HER COLLEGE LIFE,  FINDING LOVE,  GETTING A JOB AND EVENTUALLY, A RELEASE FROM HER PASTJOIN MARY IN HER ADVENTURES GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH.

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

Where do you go when you disappear? For young heiress Mary Fait, the answer is New Orleans. After the death of her parents, she is placed in the care of her alcoholic uncle. For years, she assists her uncle in growing the family empire, all the while plotting his demise and / or her escape. A college scholarship gives her the opportunity to break free of her life to start a new one – under a new name. Follow Mary and her often hilarious misadventures in the early 1990’s while attending college in a small town in Louisiana. The story reads as a series of diary entries which chronicle the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the main character during this time in her life. The novel’s title refers to a cajun restaurant in which the main character works as a waitress. The colorful descriptions of the town of Bayou Bend, the college, its inhabitants and the surrounding areas paint a vivid and amusing tale of life in the South.

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LOSER

LOSER

RONALD ZINKOFF DOESN’T EVEN KNOW HE’S A LOSER OR REALLY CARE.  HE LAUGHS ALONG WITH EVERYONE AT HIS FAILURES AND MISTAKES; DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHY HE SHOULD BE UPSET ABOUT NOT WINNING A GAME WHEN ALL HE HAD WAS FUN AND WOULD GLADLY RELINQUISH HIS WINNING TROPHY TO A BOY WHO WAS ON THE LOSING TEAM WHO REALLY JUST WANTED THE TROPHY!  RONALD’S PARENTS BRING RONALD UP TO HAVE A SUNNY ATTITUDE AND ACCEPT WHAT LIFE THROWS HIS WAY AND RONALD TRULY LOVES LIFE!  AS HE GROWS OLDER AND ENTERS MIDDLE SCHOOL, HE DOES BECOME A LITTLE MORE SELF AWARE AND FEELS HE SHOULD PERHAPS DEVELOP A “LAUGH” RATHER THAN GIGGLE AT EVERYTHING AND, PERHAPS, HE SHOULDN’T YELL “YA-HOO!!” IN HIS EXCITEMENT ALTHOUGH SOMETIMES HE CANNOT HELP HIMSELF.  HE CONTINUES TO DEVELOP INTO A FINE YOUNG MAN WHO MAY BE THE ODD MAN OUT, WHO NO ONE WANTS ON THEIR TEAM, BUT THAT NEVER STOPS ZINKOFF FROM DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND HANGING IN THERE AGAINST THE ODDS.

A GREAT BOOK FOR YOUNG ADULTS!

MY HUSBAND’S 4TH GRADERS WILL GET A TREAT READING THIS FROM THEIR LIBRARY THIS SPRING.

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes an incredible story about how not fitting in might just lead to an incredible life.

Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like “Jabip.” Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn’t know he’s not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff’s differences show that any name can someday become “hero.”

With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy’s individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixth grade—making this a perfect classroom read—and watch his character develop, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs.

Supports the Common Core State Standards  8 – 12 3 – 7

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THE RESURRECTION OF TESS BLESSING

THE RESURRECTION OF TESS BLESSING

A GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD 2014!

THE RESURRECTION OF TESS BLESSING MADE ME FEEL GOOD ABOUT MY LIFE AND MY FAMILY.  TESS COMES FROM A DISFUNCTIONAL FAMILY – WHO DOESN’T?!  BUT SHE AND HER SISTER BOTH HAVE IMAGINARY FRIENDS (EVEN IN ADULTHOOD), SEE SHRINKS, HAVE PANIC ATTACKS, PARANOIA, PHOBIAS AND OBSESSIONS/COMPULSIONS.  TESS’S DAUGHTER HAS ANOREXIA AND TESS IS SURE HER HUSBAND IS CHEATING ON HER WITH HIS COWORKER/HOSTESS WHO HE LEFT AT THE ALTER TO MARRY TESS.  CAN LIFE REALLY GET SO SCREWED UP?! 

WHEN TESS FINDS OUT SHE HAS BREAST CANCER AND BEGINS THE JOURNEY TO RECOVERY, SHE WRITES A BUCKET LIST OF THINGS SHE MUST “RIGHT” BEFORE SHE DIES INCLUDING GETTING HER DAUGHTER A BETTER THERAPIST, GETTING HER SON VOCATIONAL COUNSELING, CONVINCING HER HUSBAND TO LOVE HER AGAIN AND BURYING HER MOTHER ONCE AND FOR ALL!  DANCE THE TANGO WITH TESS TO SEE HOW MUCH IN HER LIFE SHE CAN “RIGHT” BEFORE SHE REACHES #8 ON HER LIST – DIE.  YOU WILL BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED WITH HOW MUCH THIS WOMAN CAN ACCOMPLISH!

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

After she’s diagnosed with breast cancer, forty-nine-year old Tess sets forth on a mission to complete her TO-DO List before, what she’s sure is, her impending death. She needs to make peace with her estranged sister, Birdie, scatter her mother’s long-kept ashes, rescue her daughter, Haddie, from the grip of an eating disorder, guide her teenage son, Henry, through a bumpy adolescence, and reignite the spark in her almost thirty-year marriage to her husband, Will.

Tess is aided on her quest by narrator, Grace, who lends the story its most brilliant elements: subtle magical realism and deep psychological complexity. Is Grace an imaginary friend, guardian angel, or a part of Tess that knows better than she? The Resurrection of Tess Blessing is by turns poignant, gritty, spiritually uplifting, and hilarious as hell.

Lesley Kagen has created an unforgettable, redemptive story about a middle-aged woman with the odds stacked against her, who discovers that in the end, love really does conquer all.

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THE CUCKOO’S GIFT

 

THE CUCKOO'S

THE CUCKOO’S GIFT STARTED OUT SLOWLY BUT ANNE STEINBERG WEAVES A WONDERFUL TALE OF LOVE AND LOSS, FORGIVENESS, ROMANCE AND FINDING HAPPINESS.  THE END IS GRIPPING WHERE THINGS BEGIN TO FALL INTO PLACE FOR CAROLINE SPENCER AND YOU LEARN THE MEANING OF THE BOOK’S TITLE.  ENJOY THIS STORY AS IT DEVELOPS INTO SOMETHING SPECIAL!

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

When Caroline Spencer returns to the Florida island of Sanibel, she comes face to face with her past. Her last visit here was twelve years ago when, through whispering mangroves, past flocks of exotic birds, skirting bobcat trails and precious mounds of turtle eggs, four children played in this earthly paradise – as explorers, naturalists, boat-builders… and eventually, as lovers.

Over the intervening years, Carrie has tried to forget those summer idylls and the children who were her friends – Phoebe, who believed herself to be a mermaid, her aloof older brother Bradley, and Tristan, son of the Native American wisewoman, Tanta. Now two of them are dead and gone. In the cemetery, however, there is only one grave; in Tanta’s backyard, a mourning cradle hangs, stuffed with black raven feathers; and over at Bud’s Landing lives a small boy who has mysteriously been struck dumb. Legend says that pirates buried treasure on a sister island, but here on Sanibel, where a great storm is gathering, Carries is about to unearth some treasure of her own.

“A haunting, powerful… novel.” – Publishing News
“An extraordinary tale of resilience… dream-like prose.” – Bookcase

 

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THE COLLECTION OF HENG SOUK

THE COLLECTION OF HENG SUOK

THE COLLECTION OF HENG SOUK IS AN AMAZING STORY OF WHAT U.S.A. TROOPS ENCOUNTERED AS PRISONERS OF THE VIETNAMESE DURING THE WAR.  HENG SOUK KEPT A DIARY OF ONE OF THESE PRISONERS AND HIS NIECE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO READ IT.  THE DIARY REVEALED THE CRUELTY HENG SOUK IMPARTED ON THE MEN WHO FOUGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY.  HENG SOUK FELT HE HAD AN OBLIGATION TO KEEP UP A REPUTATION BUT DID NOT DEVELOP REGRET UNTIL MUCH LATER IN LIFE.  FOR THOSE TRYING TO FIND WHAT HAPPENED TO LOVED ONES, THE DIARY AND CURRENT DAY VISITS TO THE PRISON BRING SURPRISING ANSWERS.

 PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

To some, Heng Souk is a hero. To many he is a criminal. For Souk himself he is neither, merely a man seeking to balance what he once was, with what he now is. When the daughter of his estranged brother arrives, with her comes the possibility of atonement.

Sun has come to tell him of the death of her father and to return a surprise package. Yet her frail uncle is a very different man from her tough and testing father. When she discovers in his possession a notebook written by an American POW detailing his torturous relationship with his captor, she is startled by what she learns.

Meanwhile, Thomas Allen, still reeling from the death of his daughter and the breakup of his marriage, is told that the man he always called Dad was not his biological father. His mother gives him a batch of letters she still has from the ‘real’ disappeared father. Their tragically unresolved love story prompts Thomas to find out why his mother’s ‘greatest love’ never returned to her after the Vietnam War.

His search leads him to the notorious prison ‘the Citadel’, and to Sun and her uncle. Despite the hostility of her brutal husband and deceitful mother, Sun and Thomas begin a perilous relationship. Aware that the fate of Thomas’ father is revealed in Ephraim’s notebook, she is torn between helping Thomas in his search and the damaging effect revealing what is in the notebook will mean for all of them.

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LOOSE ENDS

LOOSE ENDS

LOOSE ENDS IS A TALE ABOUT MANY GHOSTS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO MOVE ON PAST THE  EARTHLY WORLD BECAUSE THEY HAVE UNFINISHED BUSINESS.  MARY O’REILLY IS ABLE TO SEE THESE GHOSTS AND COMMUNICATE WITH THEM.  SO WHEN SHE IS HIRED TO SOLVE A WOMAN’S DEATH FROM 24 YEARS AGO, SHE RUNS INTO MANY OTHER SPIRITS WHO WILL HELP HER DISCOVER THE TRUTH BECAUSE THEY WERE KILLED BY THE SAME MAN AND MUST SEE HIM BROUGHT TO JUSTICE BEFORE THEY CAN MOVE ON.  YOU WILL BE SHOCKED AND SURPRISED WITH THE OUTCOME!

PUBLISHER’S EXCERPT:

Dying is what changed Mary O’Reilly’s life. Well, actually, coming back from the dead and having the ability to communicate with ghosts is really what did it.
Now, a private investigator in rural Freeport, Illinois, Mary’s trying to learn how to incorporate her experience as a Chicago cop and new-found talent into a real job. Her challenge is to solve the mysteries, get real evidence (a ghost’s word just doesn’t hold up in court), and be sure the folks in town, especially the handsome new police chief, doesn’t think she’s nuts.
Twenty-four years ago, a young woman drowned in the swimming pool of a newly elected State Senator. It was ruled an accident. But now, as the Senator prepares to move on to higher positions, the ghost of the woman is appearing to the Senator’s wife.
Mary is hired to discover the truth behind the death. She unearths a connection between the murder and the disappearance of five little girls whose cases, twenty-four years later, are still all unsolved. As she digs further she becomes the next target for serial killers’ quest to tie up all his loose ends.

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