A Mother’s Relentless Pursuit of Justice

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 The Necklace by Matt Witten is a riveting, page-turning thriller that centers on Susan Lentigo, a mother seeking justice for her seven-year-old daughter Amy, who was brutally raped and murdered two decades ago. The prime suspect, Ray Jansen, a drifter with a criminal record, confesses to the crime but recants before his trial. Nevertheless, the court finds him guilty and imposes the death penalty by lethal injection. On the eve of Jansen’s execution, Susan embarks on a road trip from her home in Lake Luzerne, New York, to North Dakota to witness the execution and find closure. During her journey, she discovers shocking new evidence […]

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Thrills and Chills in the Depths

In Drowning by T. J. Newman, a routine flight turns into a nightmare when a plane crashes into the Pacific Ocean, sinking 200 feet below the surface with twelve passengers trapped inside. As water floods the cabin, a desperate race against time unfolds. A small pocket of air keeps them alive, but the clock is ticking. The story shifts between the passengers fighting for their lives underwater and the frantic rescue team on the surface, working against the clock to save them. Amidst the chaos and fear, the characters reveal their strength, courage, and humanity. Newman delivers a heart-pounding and authentic portrayal of survival, hope, and the indomitable human spirit […]

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A Cultural Exploration of Redemption and Family Secrets

3.5 stars rounded up to 4. “There is no room for hope in the museum of failures. Even if it hangs on the walls for a moment, it usually comes crashing down.”― Thrity Umrigar, The Museum of Failures. The Museum of Failures is a poignant novel that delves into themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the beauty of second chances. Remy Wadia, the protagonist, is tasked with curating an exhibit on failures, a project that parallels his tumultuous personal life. Having left India with resentment towards his indifferent mother, Remy returns years later to adopt a baby and visit his ailing mother, only to grapple with past grievances and newfound revelations. The […]

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Age is Just a Number in This Thrilling, Humorous Mystery

“Just then Fogerty emitted an unpleasant noise accompanied by a smell I knew too well. The human body has over sixty sphincters, and every one of them relates in death.”—Deanna Raybourn, Killers of a Certain Age. Killers of a Certain Age sweeps readers away on a wild, action-packed adventure that defies the typical portrayal of women over sixty. The novel introduces us to Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie—the first all-women assassin team of the secretive organization known as the Museum. After forty years of eliminating the worst of the worst, these formidable ladies are forced into retirement, deemed too old-school for modern times. However, their send-off—an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise—turns […]

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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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Remarkably Bright Creatures

“Humans. For the most part, you are dull and blundering. But occasionally, you can be remarkably bright creatures.”― Shelby Van Pelt, Remarkably Bright Creatures. So, picture this: a novel about a talking octopus who’s also an escape artist. Sounds pretty out there, right? Well, that’s what I thought too until I read Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. This book has been making waves (pun intended) as a 2022 Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Best Fiction and Best Debut Novel, and let me tell you, it’s now firmly planted among my all-time favorites. Here’s why: The story follows Tova Sullivan, who’s been working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium […]

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No Two Persons

The heart of No Two Persons beats with Alice Wein, an aspiring writer who weaves her pain into a striking debut, Theo, inspired by her brother’s tragic overdose. The book, told through loosely intertwined short stories, explores how one novel can affect people from all walks of life. We follow characters like Alice, a lonely bookseller, a homeless teenager, a free diver pushing limits, an outraged artist, and a grieving widower. Each person connects with something unique in Alice’s creation, changing their viewpoints unexpectedly. As a fellow author, I connected with the dream of wanting to create a story that not only gets read but passionately shared. Yet, No Two […]

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Signal Fires

In the summer of 1985, tragedy strikes when three teenagers, under the influence of alcohol, experience a catastrophic car crash that claims the life of one of them. The collision shatters the lives of those involved, including Ben Wilf, a young doctor who arrives at the scene. Years later, the Shenkmans move into the neighborhood. During a snowstorm, Ben saves their newborn’s life when the mother goes into labor at home during a snowstorm. Waldo, the Shenkmans’ intellectually gifted yet solitary son, forms a strong connection with Dr. Wilf, who is now retired and grappling with his wife’s dementia. Opinions on this book diverge significantly among readers. While some found […]

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We Are Not Like Them

  Author Jo Piazza teams up with veteran book editor Christine Pride in We Are Not Like Them. Told from alternating perspectives, this novel follows two women, one Black and one White, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event. Jenny Murphy and Riley Wilson have been inseparable since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, even though their lives have taken divergent paths. Jen, who married young, finally gets pregnant after a series of unsuccessful IVF treatments, and is finally pregnant. Meanwhile, Riley, a budding television journalist, is on the cusp of becoming one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their […]

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