WISH YOU WERE HERE by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here

Diana is making a name for herself in the art world. She has her life planned and is on track to be married by thirty, have kids, move to the burbs and she isn’t even engaged! Her boyfriend, Finn, is busy being a surgical resident in New York City.

Days before her birthday they will leave for a vacation to the Galapagos. Everything is moving along fine.

But the night before they leave, Finn tells her he can’t go. There is some type of highly contagious virus sweeping through the country and he can’t leave. He wants her to go. She wants to stay but in the end she goes.

On arrival, the island is shut down. Quarantine. With no internet, phone service or mail service, she is completely alone. Her only link to Finn is an occasional email and she writes on postcards she found in her apartment on the island. 

She makes friends with a local teenage girl and ends up making friends with the entire family and she is awfully attracted to the girls father, Gabriel. Alone, she is looking at every choice she has made and wondering if when she returns she will still be the same.

There isn’t a lot I can say about the rest without spoiling all of your fun. I can say this is a beautiful, timely, and heartbreaking story of love, resilience, and adapting to overcome your circumstances.

I cried throughout the book and I think I needed that.

Well Done!

NetGalley/November 30th, 2021  Ballentine

THE SISTERS SWEET by ELIZABETH WEISS

The Sisters Sweet

The Sisters Sweet is a vaudeville act. Cooked up by twins Harriet and Josie’s parents.

The father is really worthless and the mother is cold and distant. No one can keep a job so the father thinks up an act for the girls. Dancing and singing siamese twins. Only they are not siamese twins. So he comes up with a contraption they wear under their dress that keeps one of each of their arms cinched to the suit. It is painful but they are making money. Until they are found out.

Josie runs away and they don’t exactly try to find her. She turns up in Hollywood making pictures but doesn’t want anyone to know her past.

They rely on family to take them in and give them jobs and Harriet just tries to be good and out of sight. But at what cost? In the end will she be true to herself or settle for a husband?

I am sorry to say not a one of these characters was the least bit enjoyable. There were no high points or low points. Just a bit dull.

NetGalley/November 30th, 2021 by The Dial Press

MARRIAGE CAN BE MISCHIEF by AMANDA FLOWER

Marriage Can Be Mischief (An Amish Matchmaker Mystery #3)

An Amish Matchmaker Mystery

This is the third Amish Matchmaker Mystery. Millie Fisher is a widow. Her husband died long ago and she still mourns for him. But she is also a nosy little thing. Which makes her the go-to person when a body is found. People tell her everything and her friend Lois goes where she can not. Together they are an unstoppable force.

Harvest, Ohio is Millie’s hometown and she loves the town and her life there. She is a spot-on matchmaker and a good listener as well.

When her old friend, Uriah returns to Harvest, Millie is happy to see him. At one time they were sweet on each other but then along came her true love. Uriah married and moved to Indiana. Lately, Uriah has been working in the village as a groundskeeper and when he doesn’t show up for work, Millie and Lois have a bad feeling.

While they are out looking they come across the police and a film crew by the ravine. A skeleton has been uncovered and it looks old. Could it be Uriah’s sister who disappeared years ago? Is that really why Uriah is here?

Long ago his sister, Galilee, disappeared in a snowstorm and her husband was found dead in the buggy with a knitting needle in his neck. The sheriff had assumed she killed her husband and then fell into the ravine.

Millie and Lois are once again sticking their necks out to solve a murder. But someone is willing to kill to keep that secret and Millie may be in danger.

I love this series. Millie is such a fun character and those goats need a story of their own!

NetGalley/November 30th, 2021 Kensington


NO SHADOW WITHOUT LIGHT by LUKE GRACIAS

No Shadow Without Light

The long-awaited sequel to The Devil’s Prayer.

On 06/06/06, the world’s population crossed 6.66 billion. Any further increase could only occur at the cost of other species and future generations.

The rise of the population has reached critical mass. This in turn has triggered the Devil’s Game. A hunt around the world for twelve missing pages of the Devil’s Bible which holds the Devil’s Prayer.

It is a game with very real consequences. Jess Russo, daughter of Denise and sister to Siobhan, is also the daughter of the devil. After her mother’s murder, the hunt began for the pages she had stolen. Every time Jess releases a page chaos ensues. This is a real game of good versus evil.

Siobhan is in a race with her sister to find the pages and release them before mankind disappears. And while she and a lot of very interesting characters are on the hunt, someone is hunting her.

This one had everything. Templars, Doomsday Chest, and tombs of Amir Temur and all the way to Wuhan.

I had to read this slowly. There was a lot to digest and think about. To be honest I’m still thinking about it. The end was a total surprise.

A very timely read and I would highly recommend it!


NetGalley/October 4th ,2021 by Authors Upfront


Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground

What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant? What would you do to get it back?

This is a rather dark story. Julius and Jeanie are twins. 51 years old and still living with Mom, Dot, in an isolated cottage with very little to call their own. They don’t even own the house. It is a rental and inside is everything they know. The garden supplies their food both animals and vegetables.

Out of the blue Dot dies of a stroke. And the vultures begin circling. How will they survive? Will they be removed from the only home they know? Dot didn’t leave a lot behind unless secrets count. And oh, they do!

There is a lot of darkness and poverty in this tale. Fuller always has spot-on characters and these two are no different. We watch as they keep pushing on. And begin to see things they never did before.

It isn’t a light read, but it is a worthy one.

City of Time and Magic by PAULA BRACKSTON

City of Time and Magic (Found Things #4)

Book Four in the Found Things Series finds our Xanthe still upset about Liam who was snatched in time by Mistress Flyte. She is determined to find a way to get him back in his own time and by her side.

I was thrilled that Xanthe gets to meet Elizabeth from Brackston’s The Witch’s Daughter!

Out of the blue, she is summoned to a home where not one but three things are singing loudly to her. But which one will take her to Liam? The writing slope is definitely loud but the mourning brooch and a beautiful hat pin are vying for her attention.

, Unable to take all three, she chooses the writing slope and ends up in the home of a Time Stepper and Elizabeth! From there, things get very complicated. By finding Liam, Xanthe also finds out that Lydia may have stolen Liam, but it was for a good reason. There are Spinners who are using their gift to enrich themselves and others. They are a ruthless group that has plans for Liam to help make more money.

This was such a good one! Elizabeth crossing over to Xanthe and the story of her life with Erasmus intersects nicely with Lydia’s story. Which is a shocker. For this case, she needs to bring in the big gun. Harley! Oh my, what a time I had with Harley in Regency England!

Brackston’s vivid descriptions are spot on and her attention to detail is exceptional. I can honestly say this is my favorite Historical Fiction/Time-Slip Series.

NetGalley/November 16th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

AMERICAN KLEPTOCRACY by CASEY MICHEL

American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World's Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History

How the U.S. Created the WORLD’S GREATEST MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME in HISTORY

Casey Michel shows us the world of illicit offshore money schemes.

American Kleptocracy looks at how the United States morphed into the center of global money offshoring.

Our country has been at the center of this illicit game for far too long. While our leaders decry corrupt regimes around the world, we are happy to take their money.

If you want to start your own shell company go to Delaware. Or Nevada. Delaware will let literally anyone set up a virtual shop. Having managed property for a long time, most of my owner’s companies are LLCs in Delaware. A state they don’t live in. Soviet Oligarchs, African despots, the worst of the worst store their money here while their own people starve. And when Trump came along it was a marriage made in greed. Restrictions were released. Laws made it easier to launder and hide money.

Do we really know how much of our own country is owned by outsiders? Shocking.

This was an excellent book that taught me a few new things. The author has a way of breaking down a rather large topic and just saying, “Hey, this is what is going on!”. He also talks about how our new President could proceed.

Very well researched and written, this was a great read.

NetGalley/November 16th, 2021, St. Martin’s Press







The First Christmas by Stephen Mitchell

The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings
A Story of New Beginnings

In The First Christmas, Stephen Mitchell brings the Nativity story to vivid life as never before. A narrative that is only sketched out in two Gospels becomes fully realized here with nuanced characters and a setting that reflects the culture of the time. Mitchell has suffused the birth of Jesus with a sense of beauty that will delight and astonish readers.

This is a very interesting look at the Nativity. Each chapter is told from the point of view of the individual. Even an ox and a donkey contribute. We watch as a young Mary struggles to understand what is being asked of her and what it means. Joseph struggles as well.

We hear from the shepherds, the Wise Men, and even the Inn Keeper. Not in any Biblical way either. Just imagine what actual human beings would think and talk about.

I enjoyed the research and all of the interpretations. The story moved me more than the differing biblical ones.

NetGalley/  November 9th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Essentials

THE DARK HOURS by MICHAEL CONNELLY

The Dark Hours (Renée Ballard, #4; Harry Bosch Universe, #35)

Ballard and Bosch Novel

It’s New Year’s Eve and LAPD Detective Renee Ballard is sitting under an overpass waiting for the traditional rain of bullets at the stroke of midnight. Paired with another female officer on loan from the Hollywood sex crimes unit. They are trying to catch a duo of rapists before they strike again. Only Lisa seems more interested in her boyfriend.

At midnight someone is using the noise and confusion to murder a former gang member gone straight. Called out Renee goes to the scene. This isn’t a case of bullets raining down. This shot came from close up. And the bullet leads her to one of Bosch’s cases.

As they team up to find a killer, the killer is making plans for them.

Who doesn’t love Bosch? And Connelley kept it very real. With everything from Black Lives Matter to defunding the police and the pandemic as well. There is a lot of distrust of the police by the community and he gives us all of that. We get a lot of Ballard and she really won me over in this one.

Suspenseful and solid all the way!

NetGalley/November 9th, 2021 by Little, Brown and Company

UNDER JERUSALEM by ANDREW LAWLER

Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World's Most Contested City

Under Jerusalem is a 150-year history of the ground just beneath one of the world’s holiest cities.

This is the well-researched, and well-written history of Jerusalem. From the time it was not much of anything to a major religious center, fought over by three or more religions.

We begin in 1863, when a Frenchman with an adventurous soul, heard a rumor. Buried beneath the city there was said to be a mother-lode of biblical treasure. Archaeology was just beginning to be a thing. Mainly with the idle rich who had the time and money to go on a treasure hunt.

When De Saulcy dug into a spot in the desert and found an old tomb, others followed quickly. The dig was great for archaeology but not so great for Jerusalem. Greed will do nasty things to ordinary people. As we can see now, Israel is a land being fought over every day. And the claims to Jerusalem are made by many different religions. What has come out of the digs and finds have turned this area into a war zone.

The books” timeline takes us way back in history. So many people have fought over and claimed this area and so much has been destroyed in the process. This book is for the history lover, the truth seekers, and the treasure seekers.

I loved every second of it. I have never had an opinion one way or the other on the subject of Israel and Jerusalem. And I still don’t. But at least now I know the story.

Excellent work!

NetGalley/Doubleday November 02, 2021