Sleep Book Empowers Readers

You know the feeling when you find a book that just clicks? That’s how I felt about Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep. It’s like a light bulb went on—finally, someone gets the battle I’ve been fighting since high school, the one against insomnia. Now, Dr. Walker isn’t your run-of-the-mill sleep doc. He’s got a PhD in neurophysiology and leads the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at UC Berkeley. The guy’s basically a sleep scientist superhero, so you can bet he knows his stuff. His book isn’t just about why sleep matters. It’s a gold mine on how it can sharpen your mind, brighten your mood, and even help keeping cancer and […]

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Where the Last Rose Blooms

Ashley Clark’s third installment in the Heirloom Secrets series, a dual-narrative historical novel, intertwines the lives of two women bonded by loss and a hidden language of flowers. The suspenseful story flips between post-Katrina New Orleans and Civil War-era Charleston, focusing on Alice, a florist who stumbles upon an embroidered mystery, and Clara, a Confederate general’s daughter, turned abolitionist spy. The women, separated by centuries, share a common determination and depth of spirit as they face challenges including slavery, societal prejudices, and personal demons. The novel shines with its well-crafted female protagonists, both embodiments of resilience and faith. The historical fabric of the narrative, particularly Clara’s journey, is richly woven, […]

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The Marriage Portrait

In Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait, the historical backdrop of Renaissance Italy leaps off the page, bringing us the tale of Lucrezia de’ Medici, third daughter of Cosimo de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany—a figure shrouded in obscurity and tragedy. O’Farrell paints a vivid picture of young Lucrezia, who much prefers the strokes of her paintbrush and exploring the Palazzo over the harsh expectations of nobility. Lucrezia’s life takes a sharp turn at 12 when she’s promised to Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara—her deceased sister’s once-intended. Once she enters the duke’s world at age 15, Lucrezia faces the challenge of threading her way through the intricate politics of her new […]

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Amy’s Picks and Pans, Issue 27

  Hey fellow bookies! Spring has sprung, birds are looking for love, and flower bulbs are popping through the moldering ground. Just imagine, with a gentle breeze stirring the air, there’s nothing like kicking back with a good book. So, let’s grab a cup of something yummy and dive into this month’s hits and misses in the literary world. I’ve got my stack right here, and I’m ready to share my thoughts. Let’s find out which books might become your sun-soaked companions and which ones might just be better used as doorstops. As always, these are just my opinions, you may think differently. Ready? Let’s turn the page!   Remarkably […]

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The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

Alka Joshi returns with her signature blend of rich narrative and vivid imagery. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur picks up the threads of Lakshmi’s life a dozen years after we left her in The Henna Artist. Escaping from a scandal in Jaipur, Lakshmi finds sanctuary in the foothills of the Himalayas, creating a new life with her sharp-witted adoptive son, Malik, and her doctor husband. It’s now 1969 and Malik is studying the building trade as an intern at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project is a state-of-the-art cinema. More than a thousand people flock to Jaipur’s Royal Jewel Cinema on opening night. But as […]

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Paulsen’s Final Adventure

“That simple. You lived or you died. And in between the two, if you kept your mind open and aware and listened and smelled and watched… In between you learned.” ― Gary Paulsen, Northwind Northwind is quite a journey. The hero of our story is a 12-year-old orphan named Leif, whose life is upended when a deadly plague strikes his small fishing camp. It’s gritty and raw—Paulsen doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality of it all. To save Leif and another young boy, a dying elder puts the two kids in a cedar canoe and tells Leif to paddle north to where the air is fresh. Unsure of his destination, Leif […]

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The Last Chance Library

“Libraries are like a net, there to catch those of us in danger of falling through the cracks.” ― Freya Sampson, The Last Chance Library. The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson casts a warm glow on the cozy little world of June Jones, a shy librarian in a quaint English village. The library is June’s safety net until it’s not. The threat of losing her beloved library to budget cuts forces June out from the stacks to stand up for her community’s beating heart. This book wraps you up in its comforting embrace like a well-worn cardigan. With a quirky cast of oddball patrons that feel lifted from a village party, […]

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The Cellist

“A nuclear bomb can only be dropped once. But money can be wielded every day with no fallout and no threat of mutually assured destruction.”—Daniel Silva, The Cellist. I picked up The Cellist by Daniel Silva, hoping for the usual rollercoaster ride, but ended up feeling like I was stuck on a slow-moving tour bus. Look, I’m usually all in for Silva’s twists and turns, but this? This was a slog. First off, the whole vibe’s off. We’re back with billionaire Viktor Orlov, who’s up to his neck in trouble again. His London pad, supposedly tighter than Fort Knox, gets breached on what? A rainy evening? Come on. Then there’s […]

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Dark Roads

The Cold Creek Highway stretches close to five hundred miles through British Columbia’s rugged wilderness to the west coast. For decades, young indigenous women traveling the road have gone missing. Authorities have brought no killer or abductor to justice. In part 1 of Dark Roads, seventeen-year-old Hailey McBride calls Cold Creek home. Her aunt and controlling police-officer step-uncle assume the responsibility of taking care of her after her father’s death. Overwhelmed by grief and forbidden to work, socialize, or date, Hailey runs away, believing she can use the outdoor skills her father taught her to survive the harsh wilderness. She also hopes people will believe she was the killer’s latest […]

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The Angel Makers

The Angel Makers by veteran journalist Patti McCracken is a chilling dive into the world of true crime. The book takes us back to the 1920s in the Hungarian village of Nagyrév, where things got seriously dark. Zsuzsanna Fazekas, aka Auntie Suzy, rolls into town in 1911, and guess what? Her husband is nowhere to be found. Suspicious, right? Then she racks up arrests for conducting illegal abortions, but somehow keeps dodging conviction. That’s when her side hustle begins. She cooks up arsenic from flypaper and selling it to women who want to bump off their kin. And not just a few, mind you. We’re talking about husbands, kids, parents—anyone […]

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