Thursday, May 21st: “The Women With Silver Wings” by Katherine Sharp Landdeck
From goodreads.com: “In The Women with Silver Wings, historian Katherine Sharp Landdeck introduces us to these young women as they meet even-tempered, methodical Nancy Love and demanding visionary Jacqueline Cochran, the trailblazing pilots who first envisioned sending American women into the air, and whose rivalry would define the Women Airforce Service Pilots. For women like Cornelia, it was a chance to serve their country–and to prove that women aviators were just as skilled and able as men.”
Tuesday, April 28 – “Thief River Falls” by Brian Freeman
We love Brian Freeman’s books (the Lt. Stride series!) but this new stand-alone story is really compelling. Great heroine and a compulsive page turner. Book summary courtesy of Goodreads: “Lisa Power is a tortured ghost of her former self. The author of a bestselling thriller called Thief River Falls, named after her rural Minnesota hometown, Lisa is secluded in her remote house as she struggles with the loss of her entire family: a series of tragedies she calls the “Dark Star.” Then a nameless runaway boy shows up at her door with a terrifying story: he’s just escaped death after witnessing a brutal murder—a crime the police want to cover up. Obsessed with the boy’s safety, Lisa resolves to expose this crime, but powerful men in Thief River Falls are desperate to get the boy back, and now they want her too. Lisa and her young visitor have nowhere to go as the trap closes around them. Still under the strange, unforgiving threat of the Dark Star, Lisa must find a way to save them both, or they’ll become the victims of another shocking tragedy she can’t foresee.”
Wednesday, April 22nd – “Been There, Married That” by Gigi Levangie
Tuesday, April 14th – “Actress” by Anne Enright
We have been fans of Gigi with her other books (The Starter Wife). This is basically a roman a clef about her life as a wife when she was married to Hollywood uber producer, Brian Grazer. Just a fun book with hilarious storytelling about the crazy world of Hollywood. Summary courtesy of Macmillan Publishers: “In a world where therapist look like the Real Housewives of Equinox, where friends dispense Xanax like Pez, and where a woman’s status is directly linked to the how few carbs she eats…can one Hollywood wife take back her life? Agnes Murphy Nash is in big trouble. When she returns home one evening only to find the locks changed on the gates of their mansion, the security guard breaks the news: her famous producer husband has filed for divorce. And he’s not going to play fair. Trevor Nash wants custody of their tween daughter, Pep, but only for the sake of appearances. And Agnes can’t let him win. With the help of her ex-con sister, a Hollywood psychic, a ballsy female lawyer, and a host of friends and “frenemies,” Agnes realizes that when he changes the locks, she needs to change the rules. But a crisis can lead to opportunity, and for Agnes, this gigantic betrayal brings her to a crossroads that will have her asking herself what she really wants out of life, who she really wants to be, and which man she really loves. Told with Gigi Levangie’s sparkling dialogue and wit, Been There, Married That is a drop-dead hilarious battle of wills that will make you laugh out loud, cringe, and keep turning the pages to see what crazy disaster will happen to Agnes next…and how she’ll rise from the ashes.”
A somewhat depressing story but life is sometime depressing and the actors world does not always end in stardom, does it? Maybe our feeling on this one is because we read at the start of corona…. Summary courtesy of GOODREADS: “From the Man Booker Prize–winner, a brilliant and moving novel about celebrity, sexual power, and a daughter’s search to understand her mother’s hidden truths. Katherine O’Dell is an Irish theater legend. As her daughter Norah retraces her mother’s celebrated career and bohemian life, she delves into long-kept secrets, both her mother’s and her own. Katherine began her career on Ireland’s bus-and-truck circuit before making it to London’s West End, Broadway, and finally Hollywood. Every moment of her life is a star turn, with young Norah standing in the wings. But the mother-daughter romance cannot survive Katherine’s past or the world’s damage. With age, alcohol, and dimming stardom, her grip on reality grows fitful and, fueled by a proud and long-simmering rage, she commits a bizarre crime. Her mother’s protector, Norah understands the destructive love that binds an actress to her audience, but also the strength that an actress takes from her art. Once the victim of a haunting crime herself, Norah eventually becomes a writer, wife, and mother, finding her way to her own hard-won joy. Actress is finally a book about the freedom we find in our work and in the love we make and keep.”
Wednesday, April 8th – “Strike Me Down” by Mindy Mejia
Thursday, April 2nd – “In Five Years” by Rebecca Serle
We loved (again) another suspense novel from Mindy! It was suspenseful, sexy and a great story (set in Mpls!). Left guessing until the end! Summary courtesy of Goodreads: “From the critically acclaimed author of Leave No Trace, the “nail-biting page-turner that grabs you early and never lets go” (The Real Book Spy), comes a visceral thriller where a high stakes crime triggers a woman’s complicated and potentially deadly search for the truth. Nora Trier catches thieves. As a forensic accountant and partner in her downtown Minneapolis firm, she’s unearthed millions in every corner of the world. She prides herself on her independence, the most essential currency of accounting, until her firm is hired by Strike. An anti-corporate, feminist athletic empire, Strike is owned by Logan Russo, a brash and legendary kickboxer, and her marketing genius husband, Gregg Abbott. They’re about to host a major kickboxing tournament with twenty million dollars in prize money, and the chance for the champion to become the new face of the company. Gregg suspects his wife already has a new face in mind—a young trainer named Aaden, for whom Logan feels an unexpected connection. Days before the tournament begins, it’s discovered that the prize money is missing. Gregg hires Nora’s firm to find both the thief and the money but Nora has a secret connection to Strike that threatens her independence. Her partner pressures her into taking the case anyway, hinting he has information about Strike that could change the course of the investigation in a shocking and deadly way.”
We both loved this book and it is perfect for fans of ME BEFORE YOU and ONE DAY — a striking, powerful and moving love story following an ambitious lawyer who experiences an astonishing vision that could change her life forever. Here’s the set up courtesy of Reading Group Guides: “Where do you see yourself in five years? When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Cohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan. But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night — December 15 — but 2025, five years in the future. After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind. That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision. Brimming with joy and heartbreak, IN FIVE YEARS is an unforgettable love story that reminds us of the power of loyalty, friendship and the unpredictable nature of destiny.” 4 stars
Friday, March 27th – “Darling Rose Gold” by Stephanie Wrobel
This book was recommended by the author of the Sun Down Motel and we enjoyed this dark twisty book. *Note: If you watched THE ACT on Hulu starring Patricia Arquette this novel is inspired by the true story of Dee Blanchard and her daughter, Gypsy. Book summation courtesy of AP: “The phenomenon Munchausen syndrome by proxy — in which a parent purposely makes a child ill to gain sympathy and attention — receives a fresh update in Stephanie Wrobel’s excellent debut. The psychological thriller “Darling Rose Gold” works well as an intense look at a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship, a tale of manipulation and how one person’s devastating secrets and lies reverberate through a community and a family. For nearly 18 years, Patty Watts portrayed to the world that her daughter, Rose Gold Watts, suffered from debilitating illnesses that doctors seemed unable to cure, and fed on the sympathy of her friends and neighbors in her midwestern town of Deadwick. Fundraisers were held for “darling” Rose Gold to defray medical bills because caring for her daughter was Patty’s only job. In turn, Patty was there for others, volunteering at functions, garnering accolades for her generosity. “I don’t know how she does it,” was a frequent refrain. What happens is next is unbelievable.” 3 stars
Wednesday, March 18th – “The Red Lotus” by Chris Bohjalian
We were late to the Chris Bohjalian book party. 2 years ago, we read THE FILGHT ATTENDANT (amazing) soon to be a HBO Max series starring Kaley Cuoco. And this is his latest. We loved it but know there is a pandemic storyline in this book.
Plot summary from Goodreads:
“From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant comes a twisting story of love and deceit: an American man vanishes on a rural road in Vietnam, and his girlfriend, an emergency room doctor trained to ask questions, follows a path that leads her home to the very hospital where they met.
The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road.” 4 stars
Wednesday, March 11th – “The Sun Down Motel” by Simone St. James.
Propulsive and addictive, and perfect for fans of “You,” THE OTHER MRS. is the twisty new psychological thriller from Mary Kubica, the New York Times bestselling author of THE GOOD GIRL. This book is also being adapted for a tv show on Netflix.
“She tried to run, but she can’t escape the other Mrs. Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.
But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.” Synopsis courtesy of Reading Group Guides 4 stars
Thursday, February 27th – “Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes” by Kathleen West
A very binge’able book! We promise, you will not want to put down once you start reading. There is no doubt this will be sold to Hollywood.
“A wry and cleverly observed debut novel about the privileged bubble that is Liston Heights High–the micro-managing parents, the overworked teachers, and the students caught in the middle–and the fallout for each of them when the bubble finally bursts.
Isobel Johnson knows helicopter parents like Julia Abbott–a stage mom whose world revolves around interfering in her children’s lives–come with the territory. Julia resents teachers like Isobel, who effortlessly bond with students, including Julia’s own teenagers, who have started pulling further away from her.
Isobel has spent her teaching career in Liston Heights side-stepping the community’s high-powered families. But when she receives a threatening voicemail accusing her of Anti-Americanism and a “blatant liberal agenda,” she realizes she’s squarely in the fray. Rather than cowering, Isobel doubles down on her social-justice ideals. Meanwhile, Julia, obsessed with the casting of the high school’s winter musical, inadvertently shoves the female student lead after sneaking onto the school campus. The damning video footage goes viral and has far-reaching consequences for Julia and her entire family.
With nothing to unite them beyond the sting of humiliation from public meltdowns, Isobel and Julia will find common ground where they least expect it, confronting a secret Facebook gossip site that’s stirring up more trouble for this tumultuous, fractured school community.”*
*Summary courtesy of Goodreads. 4 stars
Tuesday, February 11th – “The Majesties” by Tiffany Tsao
We loved this dark twisted book! BOOK BLURBS…. “A dark, delicious tale that will creep its way into your brain and leave you examining your own soul for signs of moral rot. I downed it in one greedy shot.” —Jade Chang, author of The Wangs vs. the World and “Tiffany Tsao’s visceral debut…reads a bit like Crazy Rich Asians if the book began with familicide instead of romance. . . Why not start off the new year with the perfect tear-it-all-down read?” —CrimeReads “In this riveting tale about the secrets and betrayals that can accompany exorbitant wealth, two sisters from a Chinese-Indonesian family grapple with the past after one of them poisons their entire family. Gwendolyn and Estella have always been as close as sisters can be. Growing up in a wealthy, eminent, and sometimes deceitful family, they’ve relied on each other for support and confidence. But now Gwendolyn is lying in a coma, the sole survivor of Estella’s poisoning of their whole clan. As Gwendolyn struggles to regain consciousness, she desperately retraces her memories, trying to uncover the moment that led to this shocking and brutal act. Was it her sister’s husbands abusive ways? Were the shifting loyalties and unspoken resentments at the heart of their opulent world too much to bear? Can Gwendolyn, at last, confront the carefully buried mysteries in their family’s past and the truth about who she and her sister really are?”….summary courtesy of Goodreads.
Thursday, February 6th – “How Quickly She Disappears” by Raymond Fleischmann
A mystery thriller from a first time novelist that kept us turning the pages as fast as we could! “It’s 1941 in small-town Alaska and Elisabeth Pfautz is alone. She’s living far from home, struggling through an unhappy marriage, and she spends her days tutoring her precocious young daughter. Elisabeth’s twin sister disappeared without a trace twenty years earlier, and Elisabeth’s life has never recovered. Cryptic visions of her sister haunt her dreams, and Elisabeth’s crushing loneliness grows more intense by the day. But through it all, she clings to one belief: That her sister is still alive, and that they’ll be reunited one day. And that day may be coming soon. Elisabeth’s world is upended when Alfred Seidel — an enigmatic German bush pilot — arrives in town and murders a local man in cold blood. Sitting in his cell in the wake of his crime, Alfred refuses to speak to anyone except for Elisabeth. He has something to tell her: He knows exactly what happened to her long-missing sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if Elisabeth fulfills three requests.”…synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.
Wednesday. January 29th – “Big Lies in a Small Town” by Diane Chamberlain
We loved this book so much. A drama and a mystery with incredible storytelling from one of our favorite authors.
“North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.
North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.
What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?” – summary courtesy of Goodreads.
Wednesday, January 22nd – “Boys & Sex – Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity” by Peggy Orenstein
The author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestsellers Girls & Sex and Cinderella Ate My Daughter now turns her focus to the sexual lives of young men, once again offering “both an examination of sexual culture and a guide on how to improve it” (Washington Post).
Tuesday, January 21st – “Followers” by Megan Angelo
First great book we read in 2020. Hard to put down!
“An electrifying story of two ambitious friends, the dark choices they make and the profound moment that changes the meaning of privacy forever. Orla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success. Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.”…Summary courtesy of Goodreads.
Wednesday, January 15th – “Recipe for a Perfect Wife” by Karma Brown
From Amazon:In this captivating dual narrative novel, a modern-day woman finds inspiration in hidden notes left by her home’s previous owner, a quintessential 1950s housewife. As she discovers remarkable parallels between this woman’s life and her own, it causes her to question the foundation of her own relationship with her husband–and what it means to be a wife fighting for her place in a patriarchal society. 3 stars
Tuesday, January 7th – The Twenty-ninth Day: Surviving a Grizzly Attack in the Canadian Tundra by Alex Messenger0