‘Blind Tiger’ by Sandra Brown is an action-packed historical fiction with a fascinating female main character

Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown Exploring the bleak times during Prohibition becomes a thrill-ride in Sandra Brown's "Blind Tiger." The story is set right after the "Great War," and is filled with nonstop action as we meet Laurel Plummer, who ends up in small-town Foley, Texas, after her husband abandons her in his father's one-room … Continue reading ‘Blind Tiger’ by Sandra Brown is an action-packed historical fiction with a fascinating female main character

Adorable picture books to make children think deeply about author’s message — and themselves — a great combo

As a teacher of gifted children, I loved using picture books to teach my students to think about authors' messages and about what, in addition to the cute story, the book makes them wonder. Really good picture books have important messages to share, and this collection is perfect for making students think. What do the … Continue reading Adorable picture books to make children think deeply about author’s message — and themselves — a great combo

‘A Summer to Remember’ by Erika Montgomery is about the secrets we keep for love

A Summer to Remember by Erika Montgomery We all have secrets, but the secrets in "A Summer to Remember" by Erika Montgomery are secrets that will rock two families to the core. At the center of the story are Frankie Simon and Louise Chandler, who live on opposite coasts. Frankie is 30 years old and … Continue reading ‘A Summer to Remember’ by Erika Montgomery is about the secrets we keep for love

‘The Tiger Mom’s Tale’ by debut author Lyn Liao Butler is a story of conflicting cultures and the love of family that is at the center of both

The Tiger Mom's Tale by Lyn Liao Butler Lyn Liao Butler knows what it's like to experience conflicting cultures, so the different cultures she depicts in "The Tiger Mom's Tale" ring true. Butler's Instagram videos of her parents demonstrating cooking traditional Taiwanese dishes show that while she lives in America, fosters dogs, has a child, … Continue reading ‘The Tiger Mom’s Tale’ by debut author Lyn Liao Butler is a story of conflicting cultures and the love of family that is at the center of both

‘Hostage’ by Clare Mackintosh is a seat-of-your-pants thriller about betrayal, love, and family

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh With "Hostage," Clare Mackintosh gives us a thriller with nonstop action and not one set of hostages, but two. The family at the center of these hostage situations is the Holbrook family: Adam, MIna and Sophia. Adam is a police inspector and Mina is a flight attendant. Sophia is their adopted … Continue reading ‘Hostage’ by Clare Mackintosh is a seat-of-your-pants thriller about betrayal, love, and family

‘False Witness’ by Karin Slaughter is a brutal and compelling account of what we will do for love

False Witness by Karin Slaughter With her latest thriller, "False Witness," author Karin Slaughter creates three characters we can't stop thinking about. We meet sisters Callie and Leigh, both raised by a brutal, uncaring mother in extreme poverty. Both abused physically, sexually, and emotionally. What is different is how Callie and Leigh react to that … Continue reading ‘False Witness’ by Karin Slaughter is a brutal and compelling account of what we will do for love

‘Dog Eat Dog’ by David Rosenfelt takes intrepid Andy Carpenter to Maine where he performs his legal/investigative magic

Dog Eat Dog by David Rosenfelt Every Andy Carpenter mystery has a dog in it—usually more than one, and "Dog Eat Dog" is no different. The dog is often the device by which the main character, Andy Carpenter, gets dragged, kicking and screaming (figuratively, at least) into representing someone charged with murder. Someone we readers … Continue reading ‘Dog Eat Dog’ by David Rosenfelt takes intrepid Andy Carpenter to Maine where he performs his legal/investigative magic

Nonfiction picture books that will teach children as they entertain

Savvy parents (and educators) know that reading interesting nonfiction books to children is a great way to get kids interested in topics that they might want to learn more about. Here are some fascinating books that will teach kids about sound, birds and fish, saguaro cactus, transportation, an architect, and two very important women. "Sounds … Continue reading Nonfiction picture books that will teach children as they entertain

‘Tender Is the Bite’ by Spencer Quinn is the latest lovable entry in the Chet and Bernie series

eTender is the Bite by Spencer Quinn There's a reason that in the title of this series, "Chet and Bernie," the dog's name comes first. As with all the other mysteries in the series, in "Tender is the Bite," Chet, the almost-K9 shepherd, narrates the tale of his and Bernie's adventures. Quinn presents this narration … Continue reading ‘Tender Is the Bite’ by Spencer Quinn is the latest lovable entry in the Chet and Bernie series

‘Bad Moon Rising’ by John Galligan is part of the ‘Bad Axe County’ series about murder in rural Wisconsin

Bad Moon Rising by John Galligan When we think of Wisconsin, we think of Milwaukee, or Madison, where the university creates its own college culture. We don't think of the rural southeast corner where Wisconsin rubs shoulders with the Mississippi River, where there are Amish, and where folks can literally disappear into the countryside with … Continue reading ‘Bad Moon Rising’ by John Galligan is part of the ‘Bad Axe County’ series about murder in rural Wisconsin

‘Sunrise by the Sea’ by Jenny Colgan is a sweet return to the oceanside bakery with new characters

Sunrise by the Sea by Jenny Colgan One of the strengths of Jenny Colgan's writing is that she creates characters who seem so real and so approachable, we end up feeling as if we know them and are friends with them. In "Sunrise by the Sea," we return to the tidal island Mount Polbearne, accessible … Continue reading ‘Sunrise by the Sea’ by Jenny Colgan is a sweet return to the oceanside bakery with new characters

‘Choose Me’ by Tess Gerritsen and Gary Braver is a glimpse into the desperation abandonment can cause

Choose Me by Tess Garritsen and Gary Braver Abandonment and betrayal feature predominantly in "Choose Me," specifically as we examine the cost to those who are left suffering. Authors Tess Gerritsen and Gary Braver examine how different people respond after experiencing betrayal and abandonment. How, for example, might a middle age police detective live her … Continue reading ‘Choose Me’ by Tess Gerritsen and Gary Braver is a glimpse into the desperation abandonment can cause