All the Little Hopes by Leah Weiss
From the acclaimed author of If the Creek Don’t Rise comes a Southern story of friendship forged by books and bees. Set during WWII in North Carolina, All the Little Hopes is a stunning coming-of-age novel. Following the thirteen-year-old characters of Lucy Brown and Allie Bert Tucker, this book has a rich and moving prose that transported me to a land of tobacco fields and purple honey. … (Keep reading for my full review!)
About All the Little Hopes:
(From the publisher) Deep in the tobacco land of North Carolina, nothing’s the same since the boys shipped off to war and worry took their place. Thirteen-year-old Lucy Brown is curious and clever, but she can’t make sense of it all. Then Allie Bert Tucker comes to town, an outcast with a complicated past, and Lucy believes that together they can solve crimes. Just like her hero, Nancy Drew.
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That chance comes when a man goes missing, a woman stops speaking, and an eccentric gives the girls a mystery that takes them beyond the ordinary. Their quiet town, seasoned with honeybees and sweet tea, becomes home to a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp—and more men go missing. The pair set out to answer the big question: do we ever really know who the enemy is?
Lush with Southern atmosphere, All The Little Hopes, is the story of two girls growing up while war creeps closer, blurring the difference between what’s right, what’s wrong, and what we know to be true
The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer
For both art lovers and mystery fans, The Last Mona Lisa is a compelling read that follows the decades-old tale of a man who once stole the world’s most famous painting.
About the book:
August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now returned to the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911.
Present day: Art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. His search attracts an Interpol detective with something to prove and an unfamiliar but curiously helpful woman. Soon, Luke tumbles deep into the world of art and forgery, a land of obsession and danger.
A gripping novel exploring the Mona Lisa’s very real theft in 1911 and the present underbelly of the art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful tale, tapping into our universal fascination with da Vinci’s enigma, why people are driven to possess certain works of art, and our fascination with the authentic and the fake.
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Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens
(From the publisher) For decades, people have been warned about the Cold Creek Highway. Hitchhikers have vanished along it over the years, and women have been known to have their cars break down… and never be seen again. When Hailey McBride decides to run away from an unbearable living situation, she thinks that her outdoor skills will help her disappear into the Cold Creek wilderness, and she counts on people thinking that she was the victim of the killer.
One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek to attend a memorial for the victims of the highway, but it might as well be one week for the amount of pain that Beth is still dealing with after her sister, Amber, was murdered the previous summer. Beth has quit university, is lying to her parents, and popping pills like Tic Tacs. Maybe this will finally bring her peace.
When she gets a job at a local diner where Amber once worked, she connects with people who knew her sister. Beth wants to find who killed her sister and put her own life back together, but as she gets closer to the truth, she learns that there is more than one person lying in Cold Creek.
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The War Nurse by Tracy Enerson Wood
A few years ago, the Canadian government released the personnel files for the soldiers who fought in WWI. I was fascinated to find my great-grandfather’s records. He’d arrived in England in 1918, only to be struck with influenza. He was released from the hospital just one week before the war ended and sent home after that.
Reading The War Nurse by Tracy Enerson Wood, I was immediately transported to this gritty field hospital in France. The story follows the real-life figure of Julia Catherine Stimson, an American nurse. The team of nurses worked tirelessly to serve those wounded in battle. But what struck home for me, was the mention of those who were hospitalized with influenza before seeing action. This is a remarkable bit of history that I hadn’t heard expounded upon in a novel before. Not only did it give me insight into my grandfather’s story, it felt especially applicable for our own pandemic-weary world.
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Hostage by Clare Mackintosh
(From the publisher): You can save hundreds of lives. Or the one that matters most. A claustrophobic thriller set over twenty hours on one airplane flight, with the heart-stopping tension of The Last Flight and the wrenching emotional intensity of Room, Hostage takes us on board the inaugural nonstop flight from London to Sydney.
Mina is trying to focus on her job as a flight attendant, not the problems of her five-year-old daughter back home, or the fissures in her marriage. But the plane has barely taken off when Mina receives a chilling note from an anonymous passenger, someone intent on ensuring the plane never reaches its destination. Someone who needs Mina’s assistance and who knows exactly how to make her comply.
It’s twenty hours to landing. A lot can happen in twenty hours.
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You Will Remember Me — Hannah Mary McKinnon
You Will Remember Me is one of those books where I figured out the who fairly early on. But I still did not see that ending coming. This is one book that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon!
About You Will Remember Me:
(From the publisher) He wakes up on a deserted beach in Maryland with a gash on his head and wearing only swim trunks. He can’t remember who he is. Everything—his identity, his life, his loved ones—has been replaced by a dizzying fog of uncertainty. But returning to his Maine hometown in search of the truth uncovers more questions than answers.
Lily Reid thinks she knows her boyfriend, Jack. Until he goes missing one night, and her frantic search reveals that he’s been lying to her since they met, desperate to escape a dark past he’d purposely left behind.
Maya Scott has been trying to find her estranged stepbrother, Asher, since he disappeared without a trace. Having him back, missing memory and all, feels like a miracle. But with a mutual history full of devastating secrets, how far will Maya go to ensure she alone takes them to the grave?
Shared fates intertwine in a twisty, explosive novel of suspense, where unearthing the past might just mean being buried beneath it.
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Find You First by Linwood Barclay
About Find You First:
(From the publisher) Tech millionaire Miles Cookson has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of—except time. He has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and there is a fifty percent chance that it can be passed on to the next generation. For Miles, this means taking a long hard look at his past . . .
Two decades ago, a young, struggling Miles was a sperm donor. Somewhere out there, he has kids—nine of them. And they might be about to inherit both the good and the bad from him—maybe his fortune, or maybe something much worse.
As Miles begins to search for the children he’s never known, aspiring film documentarian Chloe Swanson embarks on a quest to find her biological father, armed with the knowledge that twenty-two years ago, her mother used a New York sperm bank to become pregnant.
When Miles and Chloe eventually connect, their excitement at finding each other is overshadowed by a series of mysterious and terrifying events. One by one, Miles’s other potential heirs are vanishing—every trace of them wiped, like they never existed at all.
Who is the vicious killer—another heir methodically erasing rivals? Or is something even more sinister going on?
It’s a deadly race against time . . .
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A Gambling Man by David Baldacci
Easy to read and packed with adventure, I always enjoy Baldacci’s stories. And A Gambling Man was no exception!
About A Gambling Man:
(From the publisher): Aloysius Archer, the straight-talking World War II veteran fresh out of prison, returns in this riveting new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci.
The 1950s are on the horizon. Aloysius Archer is in dire need of a fresh start after a nearly fatal detour in Poca City. So Archer hops on a bus and begins the long journey out west to California, where rumor has it there is money to be made if you’re hard-working, lucky, criminal—or all three.
Along the way, Archer stops in Reno. A stroke of fortune delivers him a wad of cash and an eye-popping blood-red 1939 Delahaye convertible—plus a companion for the final leg of the journey, an aspiring actress named Liberty Callahan who is planning to try her luck in Hollywood. But when the two arrive in Bay Town, California, Archer quickly discovers that the hordes of people who flocked there seeking fame and fortune landed in a false paradise that instead caters to their worst addictions and fears.
Archer’s first stop is a P.I. office where he is hoping to apprentice with a legendary private eye and former FBI agent named Willie Dash. He lands the job and immediately finds himself in the thick of a potential scandal: a blackmail case involving a wealthy well-connected politician running for mayor that soon spins into something even more sinister. As bodies begin falling, Archer and Dash must infiltrate the world of brothels, gambling dens, drug operations, and long-hidden secrets, descending into the rotten bones of a corrupt town that is selling itself as the promised land—but might actually be the road to perdition, and Archer’s final resting place.
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The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen
The city of Venice — could there be a more romantic setting? Bestselling author, Rhys Bowen, truly captures the charm of this ancient, Italian port. Her writing is vivid, inviting readers to experience the sights, smells, and tastes of a city built along the canals in this romantic, historical fiction. The Venice Sketchbook was first and foremost, very well set.
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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
When I think about characters with blue skin, I immediately assume that I must be reading some sort of fantasy novel. But this book explores the inspired-by-real-life story of the blue-skinned people of Troublesome Creek and Kentucky’s incredibly courageous pack-horse librarians.
An intensely original and beautifully researched story full of heart, resilience, and empathy. (Don’t forget to scroll down for my full review!)
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