‘Mrs. Everything’ by Jennifer Weiner is a fascinating study of sisters

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“Mrs. Everything” might be Jennifer Weiner’s most ambitious novel yet. She takes readers into the lives of two sisters, Jo and Bethie, who grow up during the 50s. Readers watch Jo and Bethie as the Kaufman family buys their first house in a suburb of Detroit. Readers with at least one sister will nod as the story shows girls who are very different in terms of personality and temperament, but who love each other — much of the time.

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‘Welcome to Wonderland: Beach Battle Blowout’ by Chris Grabenstein is much beloved in this student review

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“Welcome to Wonderland:  Beach Battle Blowout,” by Chris Grabenstein, will excite readers from the first page to the last. This funny and action-packed book is sure to make people laugh and gasp in suspense at the same time. Adding on to the series, New York Times bestselling author of “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” spins a story that, of course, has a beginning, a middle — and a twist.

P.T. Wilkie and his business-wiz friend Gloria Ortega make a really good team. As P.T. likes to say, Gloria is the “sizzle to his steak.” P.T.’s grandpa, who is the owner of the Wonderland Motel, finds out that all of the bigger attractions like Disney World are not going to be in this year’s Florida Fun in the Sun competition, so the smaller attractions have a chance to win the title of the hottest family attraction. The Wonderland Motel will have to get ready! Continue reading

‘Queen Bee’ by Dorothea Benton Frank

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This review was first posted on Bookreporter.com.

“Queen Bee” by Dorothea Benton Frank is filled with quirky characters, magical bees, and at the center, a woman who is trying to figure out where she belongs. Holly McNee Jensen has always felt like the odd woman out. Her mother, lovingly — and not-so-lovingly — referred to as Queen Bee, adores Holly’s older sister Leslie. Holly always seems to do things wrong.

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‘The Last Time I Saw You’ by Liv Constantine keeps readers guessing until the end

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“The Last Time I Saw You” by Liv Constantine is a fabulous mystery. Like their first novel (Liv Constantine is actually two sisters),  “The Last Mrs. Parrish,” which was a bestseller, this one has twists aplenty and keeps the reader glued to the story until the wonderful ending.

While some mysteries keep the reader guessing and then spring a surprise at the end, the Constantine sisters present many, many suspects, yet the ending isn’t really a total surprise. They’ve cleverly and carefully planted clues all along the way — clues that don’t seem to be clues unless viewed in retrospect — and the reader might begin to suspect toward the end, but won’t truly understand what has happened until the final reveal.

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‘The Mother-in-Law’ by Sally Hepworth is filled with thoughtful insight into complicated relationships

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“The Mother-in-Law” by Sally Hepworth is a story that intrigues while also leaving the reader to reconsider what is important in life. The story is told from two points of view — Diana, married with two adult children, and Lucy, married to Ollie, Diana’s oldest son. At the very start of the story, Lucy and her family learn about Diana’s death.

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‘The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters’ by Balli Kaur Jaswal is a fascinating story about family and figuring out what’s important

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In “The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters,” Balli Kaur Jaswal tells the story of three Sikh sisters whose lives have drifted apart, but who honor their mother’s final wish by taking a pilgrimage to India to visit places in her home state of Punjab that she didn’t get to see during her life and taking her ashes to spread as she desired.

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‘Under the Table’ by Stephanie Evanovich another sweet yet torrid romance

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“Under the Table” by Stephanie Evanovich is first and foremost a romance. But there’s much more to this novel that by turn enchants, infuriates, and charms the reader. Zoey leaves an abusive husband to flee to New York City and live with her sister, Ruth. Ruth grinds out a 9 to 5 job during the week and lives to have fun on weekends. That’s not quite Zoey’s style. She’s left her deadbeat husband for a year trial separation, and she’s working hard on weekends to build up her fledgling catering business.

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‘Swimming for Sunlight’ by Allie Larkin is about love and loss and living in spite of it all (and there’s a dog)

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“Swimming for Sunlight” by Allie Larkin has it all — but mostly it has a main character who has experienced it all, and in her case that’s not a good thing. Katie has experienced much loss. Her father died when she was young. Even worse was how it happened; he died when he was swimming with her to the dock by their lake home, and Katie tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him. After her father was gone, her mother relinquished all motherly duties to Katie’s grandmother and eventually just left. Katie was raised by her grandmother, Nan, in Florida.

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‘When We Left Cuba’ by Chanel Cleeton is a beautiful historical fiction espionage romance

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“When We Left Cuba” by Chanel Cleeton is the gripping story of Beatriz Perez, daughter to a sugar baron in Cuba whose family fled when Castro’s army took over the island paradise. Living a grand but reduced lifestyle in Palm Beach, Beatriz’ mother is constantly scheming for her daughters to marry well and restore the family name and fortune.

But Beatriz has other ideas. Her twin brother was killed during the Revolution, and she is determined to get revenge. She hates Castro passionately and abhors the idea that she will follow her mother’s wishes — marry, have children, and never live life fully. She wants to take a different path. Continue reading

‘The Better Sister’ by Alafair Burke is a gripping story of love, sisterhood, and the lengths we go to when protecting those we love

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“The Better Sister” by Alafair Burke is the story of two sisters; one is — to all appearances — perfect. Chloe might be the younger sister, but she has achieved what few do, fame, wealth, a very important job, accolades, and even the perfect husband and son. In reality, the son is her nephew and her husband is her sister’s ex-husband.

Her sister, Nicky, is the screw-up. Nicky never went to college, partied too much, worked low paying jobs, lost low paying jobs, and eventually lost custody of her son. Years later, Chloe and Adam married, raising Ethan as their son. But lately, things in Chloe’s life are not going so perfectly.

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‘They All Fall Down’ by Rachel Howzell Hall thrills readers to the end

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“They All Fall Down” by Rachel Howzell Hall keeps some secrets closely hidden, while others — like the title — are out there for everyone to see. And when Miriam Macy sails to the luxurious mansion on Mictlan, an isolated island in Mexico, she keeps her secrets hidden almost to the end. But what about the other six people on the island? And what about the fact that the pretense for luring her to the island was just that, a pretense?

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