‘The Wife Between Us’ by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen Is a Solid Psychological Thriller


With “The Wife Between Us,” authors Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen create a psychological thriller that includes twists and turns that will keep readers turning the pages until the final ending twist.

There is Nellie, the young girl falling in love with successful, adoring Richard. There is Vanessa, bitter and divorced from Richard, and remembering their life together. The story is told in alternative voices, one in first person narrative and the other in third person.

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‘Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery’ by Jenny Colgan is the Perfect Novel to Read on a Cold Winter’s Night

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With “Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery,” Jenny Colgan rounds out her stories about little Mount Polbearne, a village on the coast of Cornwall that is isolated from the mainland when the tide comes in, and its lovely baker Polly Waterford, her American boyfriend Huckle, and their puffin Neil.

Polly and Huckle live in a romantic lighthouse that is drafty and cold, but which has beautiful views of the ocean and the town. Polly loves to bake, and Huckle tends bees. They are happy together except for Polly’s uncertainty about marriage and having children, especially considering her family history. She never knew her father, her mother is rather a recluse, and she’s always just too busy with the bakery to plan anything.

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‘Must Love Dogs: A Howliday Tail’ by Claire Cook Brings Holiday Cheer and Sweet Tails to Readers


The bestselling “Must Love Dogs” series by Claire Cook allows readers a chance to enter the never-boring life of Sarah Hurlihy as she negotiates a romance with her boyfriend/fiancé John. Her close-knit family, including her very Irish and very funny father, complicate the story in the way that only family can.

In this sixth tale in the series, Sarah and John have bought Sarah’s family home and are trying to figure out how to make the home theirs. It’s difficult with sisters and brothers coming to their childhood home whenever they want, while that hilarious but very hard-to-handle dad, the clan’s patriarch, lives in the home in his own “apartment,” or man-cave, as he calls it. Sarah’s assistant from the preschool. Polly, who is recently divorced and pregnant, has also moved in.

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‘How to Change a Life’ by Stacey Ballis: A Beach Read to Squeeze in Before the Beaches Close

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“How to Change a Life” by Stacey Ballis is not just a lovely beach read; it’s filled with yummy food ideas and also some more serious topics. For example, when is a friend not really a friend? What happens when you lose touch with a friend and then find it’s too late to renew the friendship?

Ballis’ writing is lovely. It’s apparent that she is an experienced author. She does a nice job balancing description, dialogue, and plot. When Eloise, almost forty, meets up with her two best friends from high school, her life changes. They reunite and decide to pursue some of the dreams that they haven’t fulfilled in the past twenty years. They make it a bet, and they have to accomplish it before their 40th birthday.

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‘Ultimatum’ by Karen Robards Is a Beach Read Must-Have


With “The Ultimatum,” Karen Robards creates a strong, powerful, intelligent female protagonist/criminal whose abilities and actions rival the best male hero. Super criminal power? Bianca’s got it down. Karate moves a must? Bianca’s mastered them all. Spy gadgets? Bianca’s got them in her super sexy garter belts.

She stays cool under pressure, has a perfect alter ego life when she’s not working, and doesn’t exactly remember her past. In this first book of a series, Bianca comes face to face with who she is and where she comes from. She uncovers secrets that were meant to remain hidden, and that had remained hidden at the cost of many human lives.

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‘The Café by the Sea’ by Jenny Colgan


“The Café by the Sea” continues Jenny Colgan’s string of lovely, light stories about women who need to take charge of their lives and make difficult changes. In this story, it’s rather the reverse — or it appears to be at first.

Flora MacKenzie has fled the tiny northern Scottish island where she — and her ancestors going waaaay back — were born, to live a “modern” life in London working as a paralegal for a large law firm. It becomes apparent from the start that Flora has no desire to go home. Absolutely none. Moreover, there appears to be a reason, not shared, why she can’t go back.

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‘The Good Widow’ a Clever Mystery about Betrayal and Second Chances


With their new book, “The Good Widow,” Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke depart from their usual “turning forty” theme and create a mystery about two couples and the betrayal that the survivors face when two of them die.

Jacks, a teacher married to James for many years, had a secret she kept from him until long after they said their vows. Now she’s regretting keeping the secret and wondering if that’s why he died in Maui, far away from Kansas, where he was supposed to be traveling for work. The fact that he died on what was clearly a vacation with another woman, Dylan, was devastating.

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‘The Whole Way Home’ by Sarah Creech Is a Perfect Beach Read


Longing for a bit of country lovin’ in your life? “The Whole Way Home” has country and loving to spare because the main character is a country singing star on her way to the top. Like many of the most famous and successful country singers, Jo Lover’s life has not been easy.

Jo Lover grew up in a one-bedroom cabin in a small town in Virginia. She and JD Gunn played music together since they were in fifth grade. They were best friends and then lovers. But JD left their band when he went to L.A. to make a movie, and since then, Jo has been determined to make a life — and a successful career — without him.

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Don’t Miss Fabulous ‘Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows’ by Balli Kaur Jaswal


In “Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows,” Balli Kaur Jaswal manages to combine several interesting story lines into one fascinating read that is in turn tender, touching, humorous, exciting, and exotic. The protagonist is Nikki, whose parents immigrated to Great Britain in search of a better life. She considers herself quite a modern woman, and contrary to her family’s very conservative Sikh principles, moved out and quit law school trying to figure out what she wants in life.

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‘I Found You’ by Lisa Jewell: A Novel Rich with Suspense and Atmosphere


“I Found You” by Lisa Jewell is a mystery that will keep readers reading, turning pages, and loving the various intertwining stories right to the end. The mystery begins on the second page with a strange man who has appeared on the beach outside Alice Lake’s rather rundown, small cottage.

A man sitting on the sand would not be notable, except for the fact that it’s pouring rain and he’s been there for hours. Alice is the type who takes on stray dogs and others, so she brings him a jacket and some hot tea. Later, she invites him to stay in her shed. The man does not know who he is or why he is in the small oceanside town of Ridinghouse Bay.

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Two Children’s Picture Books Perfect for Summer and Water: ‘Vampirina at the Beach’ and ‘Holly’s Day at the Pool’

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Two new picture books are the perfect introduction to a water-filled summer of fun, be it at the pool or the beach.

“Holly’s Day at the Pool” is about a young hippo, Holly, who is shown on the title page playing catch with her younger sister, Dottie. When Dottie’s favorite toy gets stuck in a tree, Holly is the only one who can rescue it. The illustration of Holly retrieving the toy shows her climbing a huge mountain and saying she is very brave.

But when it’s time to go to the pool, Holly’s bravura abandons her. She explains her fears. “What if…”

“The water is too cold?” “I get water in my eyes? Or my nose? Or my ears?” “I sink, sink, sink to the bottom?” “A BIG, scary snapping turtle pinches me?”

But when Dottie’s toy falls in the pool, Holly comes to the rescue. Children will enjoy hollydatatpoolreading about Holly, the wonderful big sister. She’s a good role model for those who have younger siblings, and kids who might be frightened of pools will relate.

This book is part of the Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase Books selection. According to Disney, “This series of original picture books puts the spotlight on the incredible artists of Disney Animation Studios. The pages of each book showcase the personal work of one of these talented artists and introduce a brand-new world and characters.”

vamprinia“Vampirina at the Beach” by Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by LeUyen Pham is another perfect read for summer. This is the third book in the series that started with “Vampirina Ballerina” and continued with “Vampirina Hosts a Sleepover.” Here, Vampirina and her family and friend head to the beach at night — of course! — so the not-too-scary monsters can enjoy some sandy adventures.

The illustrations show Vampirina and her friends, who are all monster-ish, but there is one family who look just like a normal family who happen to be mixed up with the monsters. In the beginning, they don’t interact with the monsters and appear to be looking at them as if they are strange.  The boy, who seems to be the same age as Vampirina, starts to have fun with her. And about a third of the way into the story, while the two are surfing together, the boy sprouts animal ears, then a tail, then paws. Turns out that he and his parents are werewolves — so they fit right in!

There is a lovely page that folds out to show the dancers during the beach dance contest. The illustrations manage to show the emotions on the faces of the different characters and are beautifully creepy.

The text gives no hint as to the monstrous nature of the characters in the illustrations. It’s simply about how to have fun at the beach and includes lessons on character. “It’s hard to be the best at something new,” and “Whether or not you come out on top, finishing with grace is what makes you a real winner.” And those lessons are just a couple of the reasons that this book is a real winner, too.

Please note, this review is based on the final hardcover books provided by Disney-Hyperion, the publisher, for review purposes.