‘Dead Girl Running’ by Christina Dodd is thrilling action from the start

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“Dead Girl Running” by Christina Dodd is an action-packed mystery novel in more ways than one. Not only is there the mystery of who, at the fancy Washington State resort, is the head of a smuggling ring, there are also mysteries aplenty about the main character. Her name is Kellen Adams, or that is what those around her believe. In reality, the truth is much different.

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‘Kingdom of the Blind’ by Louise Penny is a Careful Balance Between Mystery and Canadian Small-Town Winter Charm

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Jump right in to “Kingdom of the Blind” by Louise Penny even though it’s the eleventh in this series about Armand Gamache, a detective in Québec who has risen through the ranks although is he currently suspended. In this story, he is appointed as a liquidator, or executor, of the will of a woman he does not know. In fact, the two others appointed as liquidators, one of whom he does know, also do not know the deceased who chose them.

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‘Summer Wives’ by Beatriz Williams Is a Tale of Wealth, Betrayal, and Sacrifice

 

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Beatriz Williams loves writing about those who live and play on the East Coast, and with “The Summer Wives,” she continues to show the rest of us how the 1% live and how those who serve the 1% survive. “The Summer Wives” takes place on a very secluded island where the extremely wealthy spend their summers, and the descendants of Portuguese fishermen and their families serve them.

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Romance Novels “Duke” It Out This Year

There are always romance novels with imaginative titles, but this year, the word “Duke” graces the covers of many. From an illegitimate duke to a modern Scot sword-maker duke, the choices are astounding. Here are nine of them for your reading enjoyment.

illegitimate duke“The Illegitimate Duke” by Sophie Barnes is the newest in her “Diamonds in the Rough” series. It features a do-gooder, Lady Juliette Matthews, who wants to use her newly acquired fortune to help those less fortunate, and Florian Lowell, a physician, who is suddenly made heir to a duke. There is the mutual attraction, to be sure, but also a compelling reason why they can’t be together…or can they?

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‘Pieces of Her’ by Karin Slaughter: Fascinating Study of Human Strength and Fragility

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Karin Slaughter writes thrillers with compelling characters and engrossing plots, and with “Pieces of Her,” she continues that tradition. In this book, Slaughter introduces two women main characters who are both deeply flawed, yet both discover incredible inner strength and the story plots that growth through flashbacks and the nonstop action.

The story begins with Andrea, out to lunch with her mother Laura. Andrea lives over her mother’s garage in their small, quiet town on the coast. She has little ambition, no ascertainable skills, and has pretty much made a mess of her life to this point.

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‘The Other Woman’ by Sandie Jones: A Psychological Thriller that Will Keep You Wondering

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“The Other Woman” by Sandie Jones is the story of Emily Havistock and her new boyfriend, Adam Banks. Emily has had one devastating past relationship, and now has a small group of steadfast friends, but she wants more, and she thinks Adam might be “the one.” When he finally suggests introducing her to his mother, she’s thrilled.

But things don’t go as planned, and while his mother, Pammie, seems like a wonderful woman to the rest of the world, Emily gets the feeling that Pammie wants her gone. The clues are subtle and only noticed by Emily, but she’s positive that they are real. As her relationship with Adam grows deeper, the warning signs get stronger — Pammie does not want her in the family.

In the meantime, things are not all rosy with Adam. He doesn’t care for Emily’s close friend Seb, who happens to be gay. He likes to go out on his regular Thursday night with his chums and often comes back drunk. In fact, he drinks a lot. While the reader may notice these things, Emily does not seem to care much or be bothered by the questionable things Adam does. All of Emily’s wrath and emotion is centered on Pammie.

When Pammie reveals (thanks to Emily’s clumsy questions) that she has cancer just days before Emily and Adam are to be married, Adam calls the wedding off. Emily has her doubts about whether or not Pammie even really has cancer. Is this merely another ploy in her efforts to keep Emily out of the family?

Another complication is Adam’s brother, James, who seems to be everything Adam is, but kinder, calmer, and more sincere. Yet Emily is torn because while she is attracted to James, she also is suspicious of his attentions.

Jones keeps the focus on Emily and Pammie, and the pages keep turning as the reader endeavors to find out who will win — the evil Pammie, soon-to-be-evil-mother-in-law, or Emily. Perhaps, like this reviewer, readers will be expecting a surprise reveal about Emily. The actual ending is not easy to predict and will probably surprise most readers.

This is perfect for a quick vacation or weekend read. It’s a carefully crafted psychological thriller with a suspenseful plot and realistic characters. Enjoy.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Minotaur, the publisher, for review purposes.

‘Not If I Save You First’ by Ally Carter Perfect Light Adventure for YA Reader

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“Not If I Save You First” is a stand-alone novel by seasoned author Ally Carter. This novel is a quick read, due in large part to the engaging main character and the action-filled plot.

Maddie and Logan were best friends when they were ten. His father was President of the United States; her father was his Secret Service protector. They roamed the halls of the White House together, and one night, it was Logan who spotted the Russians trying to kidnap his mother. He alerted the Secret Service, Maddie’s father saved the day, and everything changed.

Now Maddie lives in a remote part of Alaska where she doesn’t attend school, watch television, or talk on the phone. She and her dad don’t have electricity or running water, but Maddie is a pro at cutting logs and heating water for bathing. She can start a fire, shoot a gun, use a knife, but she can’t talk about the latest shows or music. She’s also furious that her one friend from the past, Logan, has never answered even one of the weekly letters she has sent him for years.

So when Logan shows up at their cabin, Maddie is dumbstruck. When they are attacked,  Maddie is left for dead, but she recovers, and she sets out to rescue the captured Logan on her own. The story is filled with twists and turns, bad guys who are all evil and those who may not be. And on top of it all, Maddie and Logan need to learn to trust each other.

Carter creates a sassy, intelligent main character with lots of guts and courage. She’s funny and one step ahead of the bad guys — most of the time. It’s a fun read, and readers will keep the pages turning to find out what trouble Maddie and Logan get into next.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Scholastic Press, the publisher, for review purposes.

‘Then She Was Gone’ by Lisa Jewell Is a Dark and Emotional Suspense

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In “Then She Was Gone,” author Lisa Jewell takes readers on a dark ride into the minds of some pretty crazy people. Laurel Mack is the mother of three children, one of whom disappeared — into thin air — one afternoon on the way to the library. That was ten years ago. Now Laurel’s life has changed. She’s alienated the two children she has left as well as her husband. They divorced, and she has just met a man who seems to be too good to be true.

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‘Welcome to Wonderland: Sandapalooza Shake-Up’ by Chris Grabenstein is the 3rd book in the Wacky Wonderland Motel series

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Move aside, Disney World! Here comes the Wonderland Motel in “Sandapalooza Shake-Up,” the third book in the humorous mystery series by clever children’s author Chris Grabenstein. Fans of the series know that P.T. and his friend Gloria solve mysteries while having a great time in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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‘The Woman Left Behind’ by Linda Howard, the Romance/Suspense Queen of Writers

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In “The Woman Left Behind,” Linda Howard returns to the scene — in a manner of speaking — of her last book, “Troublemaker,” to the paramilitary group working out of Washington, DC. Jina Modell works in communications and plays video games in the break room with many of the other gamers she works with. They assist teams in counter-terrorist operations without breaking a sweat.

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

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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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