I’m rounding out December with some unputdownable reads!
Just like the busy little squirrel above, I’ve been hoarding books to my chest, saving them for the long winter nights we have in the northern hemisphere. Winter solstice is almost here (Dec 21) and the sun will set at 4:21 pm- no wonder I’m so sleepy!
With only four of us at the holiday dinner table, we’ve decided to forgo the traditional turkey dinner and pick up Kentucky Fried Chicken, lol. I know what you’re thinking. I owned a restaurant, how could I go with a bucket of chicken for such a festive occasion?
I’m lazy 🙂
Actually, cooking a big dinner in an RV is not the same as a commercial kitchen. The last five years that I owned the restaurant we had family and friends join us there for dinner. So much easier with two big ovens, lots of cooking space, AND an industrial dishwasher!
Anyway, that’s my confession for the week, so let’s move on to the reviews.
If any strike your fancy, click the covers to learn more.
In this #1 New York Times bestseller, Special Agent Pendergast must stop a serial killer who is terrorizing New York City with a trail of headless victims.
When Grace Ozmian, the beautiful and reckless daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire, first goes missing, the NYPD assumes she has simply sped off on another wild adventure. Until the young woman’s body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Queens, the head nowhere to be found.
Lieutenant CDS Vincent D’Agosta quickly takes the lead. He knows his investigation will attract fierce scrutiny, so D’Agosta is delighted when FBI Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast shows up at the crime scene assigned to the case. “I feel rather like Brer Rabbit being thrown into the briar patch,” Pendergast tells D’Agosta, “because I have found you here, in charge. Just like when we first met, back at the Museum of Natural History.”
But neither Pendergast nor D’Agosta are prepared for what lies ahead. A diabolical presence is haunting the greater metropolitan area, and Grace Ozmian was only the first of many victims to be murdered . . . and decapitated. Worse still, there’s something unique to the city itself that has attracted the evil eye of the killer.
As mass hysteria sets in, Pendergast and D’Agosta find themselves in the crosshairs of an opponent who has threatened the very lifeblood of the city. It’ll take all of Pendergast’s skill to unmask this most dangerous foe-let alone survive to tell the tale.
Douglas Preston is the author of thirty-six books, both fiction and nonfiction, twenty-nine of which have been New York Times bestsellers, with several reaching the number 1 position. He has worked as an editor at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University. His first novel, RELIC, co-authored with Lincoln Child, was made into a movie by Paramount Pictures, which launched the famed Pendergast series of novels. His recent nonfiction book, THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE, is also in production as a film. His latest book, THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD, tells the true story of the discovery of a prehistoric city in an unexplored valley deep in the Honduran jungle. In addition to books, Preston writes about archaeology and paleontology for the New Yorker, National Geographic, and Smithsonian. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards in the US and Europe, including an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Pomona College. He currently serves as president of the Authors Guild, the nation’s oldest and largest association of authors and journalists.
Lincoln Child is the co-author, with Douglas Preston, of such highly-acclaimed thrillers as CROOKED RIVER, OLD BONES, VERSES FOR THE DEAD, CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, and RELIC, the latter two of which were chosen by an NPR poll as among the 100 greatest thrillers ever written. He has also published seven thrillers of his own, most recently the Jeremy Logan books FULL WOLF MOON and THE FORGOTTEN ROOM. 26 of his joint and solo books have become bestsellers, 3 of which debuted at #1 on the New York Times list. He lives in Sarasota, Florida.
Heads are rolling (literally) in this dark and twisted tale by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
A young woman is found decapitated in a dingy warehouse and Special Agent Pendergast is brought in to aid the NYPD on the homicide investigation. The two detectives have history and quickly fall into a smooth comradery that will be put to the test later in the book.
Just as evidence comes to light leading the police to ID the victim (the spoiled daughter of a mega-billionaire), another murder takes place- this one even more bizarre than the first, including the same MO of decapitation, and the city is thrown into turmoil.
Who is killing the multi-rich of New York City and why?
Pendergast is challenged in ways he could never have expected as the killer begins a deadly cat and mouse game between them and only one can come out the victor.
This is my second Pendergast novel, and I am totally hooked! There’s so much to love about this book; the action is non-stop, the villain a well-kept secret, plenty of creepy goodness, and a confession of caring as icing on the cake- yum!
An unexpected connection becomes the saving grace for two unlikely friends in a heart-stirring novel about love, loss, and moving forward by a New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.
Never knowing his parents, eleven-year-old Stewie Little and his brother have been raised on a farm by their older sister. Stewie steadfastly tends the chickens left by his beloved late grandmother. And every day Stewie goes door to door selling fresh eggs from his wagon—a routine with a surprise just around the corner. It’s his new customer, Marilyn. She’s prickly and guarded, yet comfortably familiar—she reminds the grieving Stewie so much of the grandmother he misses more than he can express.
Marilyn has a reason for keeping her distance: a secret no one knows about. Her survival tactic is to draw a line between herself and other people—one that Stewie is determined to cross. As their visits become more frequent, a complicated but deeply rooted relationship grows. That’s when Stewie discovers how much more there is to Marilyn, to her past, and to challenges that become more pressing each day. But whatever difficult times lie ahead, Stewie learns that although he can’t fix everything for Marilyn or himself, at least he’s no longer alone.
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 40 published and forthcoming books.
An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer and astrophotographer, she has a published book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.
She is co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.
Her novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS’ EDITION in August of ’14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of ’14
LOVE IN THE PRESENT TENSE enjoyed bestseller status in the UK, where it broke the top ten, spent five weeks on the bestseller lists, was reviewed on a major TV book club, and shortlisted for a Best Read of the Year award at the British Book Awards. Both BECOMING CHLOE and JUMPSTART THE WORLD were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List, and JUMPSTART THE WORLD was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. WHERE WE BELONG won two Rainbow Awards in 2013 and THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS won a Rainbow Award in 2015.
New Kindle editions of her backlist titles FUNERALS FOR HORSES, EARTHQUAKE WEATHER AND OTHER STORIES, ELECTRIC GOD, and WALTER’S PURPLE HEART are now available. Also available is THE LONG, STEEP PATH: EVERYDAY INSPIRATION FROM THE AUTHOR OF PAY IT FORWARD, her first book-length creative nonfiction.
More than 50 of her short stories have been published in The Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog is my Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for Best American Short Stories, the O’Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in Best American Short Stories.
She is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation, and served on its board of directors for over 20 years. As a professional public speaker she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with Americorps members at the White House and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.
For more information and book club questions for most backlist titles, please visit the author at catherineryanhyde.com (Note: The newer titles have book club questions included at the back of the book.)
A heart wrenching story about a boy who cares too much and the elderly woman who needs his love.
Young Stewie knows the value of hard work and family loyalty. He’s been raised by his older sister since his parents died in a sudden accident and has an older brother with Palsy. Stewie cares for the chickens left behind when his beloved Gam passed away. The chickens are his source of income- he sells their eggs around the neighborhood- but more than that, they are his confidants. There’s a sweet scene where he takes an ailing chicken to the vet and has to defend his pet against an annoying woman, but at the same time it shows how deeply Stewie cherishes his relationships.
When he delivers eggs to a new customer on the lake, Stewie is drawn to the elderly lady who reminds him of his Gam- prickly attitude and all. They soon strike up an unlikely friendship but there’s more to Marilyn than she lets on and when trouble arrives in the form of the police, Stewie is determined to save his friend.
This story touches on Alzheimer’s Disease, which affects one in nine people over the age of sixty-five. It’s a horrible, sad disease that hurts not only the afflicted but their family and friends, as well.
This is a must-read. ❤
“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”
Can humans survive the android uprising?
Paislee Hobson is born into a world struggling after a war that killed most of the world’s population. Rebuilding has been accomplished through androids developed by and under the control of The Institute. The human population has been divided into strata.
>>>An Artifical Companion
Paislee, a legal clerk, is a member of the upper stratum. Her recent boyfriend dumped her. To avoid another heartache, she purchases a human-looking android companion, Pellegrin. No one suspects Pellegrin is not human. He arouses and satisfies all her desires and is a polished companion and conversationalist in public.
>>>Murder and Missing Persons
When strange things begin to happen around the courthouse, people start acting mysteriously. Some disappear and others are murdered. Pellegrin’s true identity surfaces as he slowly and methodically takes over all aspects of Paislee’s life. She is in turmoil trying to find a way out. The love of her youth appears and she longs for a life that is denied to her.
>>>Can Paislee regain her freedom or is she doomed to a life under Pellegrin’s control?
Inge-Lise Goss, USA Today Best Selling and Multi-Award Winning author, was born in Denmark, raised in Utah, and now lives in the foothills of Red Rock Canyon with her husband and their dog, Ted. She spends most of her time in her den writing stories. There, with her muse by her side, her imagination has no boundaries, and her dreams come alive. When she’s not pounding away on the keyboard, she can be found reading, rowing, or trying to perfect her golf game, which she fears is a lost cause.
Subterfuge and murder abound in this spy-thriller by Inge-Lise Goss!
After the human population is decimated by war, The Institute, an organization created to provide law and order in the new world, builds human-like androids who infiltrate almost every aspect of life.
Legal clerk Paislee Hobson knows something is going on in the courthouse where she works and is shocked when a judge is shot and no one is talking- not even her father, a District Attorney.
And then there’s Pellegrin, the android her parents bought her as a companion after the breakup with her boyfriend. Pellegrin seems perfect, but is it all an act?
When Paislee bumps into a childhood friend and her first love, Tate, she learns that a mysterious blue dot on her forehead is more than it appears. As she loses more of her freedom, Paislee must decide if she’s going to trust Tate and help the rebel alliance or protect the android she’s become surprisingly fond of.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • After her marriage ends, one woman’s struggle to pick up the pieces finally leads to a new beginning—but is the past truly behind her? In this poignant novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber explores the powerful intersections of love and family.
“This deeply emotional tale proves it’s never too late for love.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
It’s been nearly six years since Julia Jones had her heart broken. After her husband became involved with another woman, she did everything she could to save their marriage, to no avail. The couple’s two daughters continue to stand by Julia in the wake of their father’s behavior—and they’ve had a tough time getting along with the other woman who’s become their stepmother. Distraught after selling the family home, Julia moves into a condominium complex that offers the warmth and charm of a fresh start. Now, having settled into her new community and sold her successful interior design business, she’s embraced a fulfilling new life, one that doesn’t seem to need a man in it. Her beloved father’s trusty saying is ringing truer than ever: It’s better this way.
But when Julia meets a handsome new resident in the building’s exercise room, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Heath Wilson is a welcome change from the men she’s encountered on the occasional—mostly disastrous—dates her sister has eagerly planned for her over the years. As she and Heath, a divorcé himself, begin to grow close, their friendship blossoms into an unexpected love. However, they soon realize that combining families proves to be a challenge, even though their four children are adults.
When a dramatic revelation threatens the happiness they’ve found, Julia and Heath must reconcile their love for their children with their love for each other. If they can’t, their bright future together may be nothing but a dream.
Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and one of today’s most popular writers with more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. In her novels, Macomber brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and enduring friendships, uplifting her readers with stories of connection and hope. Macomber’s novels have spent over 1,000 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Thirteen of these novels hit the number one spot.
In 2021, Macomber’s all-new hardcover publications include It’s Better This Way (July) and Dear Santa (October). In addition to fiction, Macomber has also published three bestselling cookbooks, an adult coloring book, numerous inspirational and nonfiction works, and two acclaimed children’s books.
Celebrated as “the official storyteller of Christmas”, Macomber’s annual Christmas books are beloved and five have been crafted into original Hallmark Channel movies. Macomber is also the author of the bestselling Cedar Cove Series which the Hallmark Channel chose as the basis for its first dramatic scripted television series. Debuting in 2013, Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove was a ratings favorite for three seasons.
She serves on the Guideposts National Advisory Cabinet, is a YFC National Ambassador, and is World Vision’s international spokesperson for their Knit for Kids charity initiative. A devoted grandmother, Debbie and Wayne live in Port Orchard, Washington, the town which inspired the Cedar Cove series.
Recovery has been slow for Julia Jones after her husband’s heartbreaking betrayal. But she HAS moved on and life is slowly getting better. She’s found a condo in a beautiful old building close to her work, goes on lunch dates with her friends, has a strong relationship with her grown daughters… what more could she ask for?
Then she meets a handsome widower in the exercise room and suddenly feels that old flicker of attraction she thought gone forever.
Heath Wilson was devastated by his wife’s infidelity. He swore he’d never get so involved with another woman again- that is until he runs into the striking brunette in the fitness room of his condo building and sparks fly.
Soon, the two strike up a friendship, and while leery to take the next step, they can’t deny the attraction flowing like a river between them. Giving in, Julia accepts a date with Heath and from there it quickly grows into a full-scale relationship. But trouble is on the horizon and their love might not be enough to keep them afloat.
This is a sweet second-chance romance with a lot of family dynamics at play. Sometimes, you need to trust your heart to know what’s best.
That’s it from me until the new year. I’ll probably stop in and read few blogs here and there, though, I’d miss you guys otherwise!
Wishing you and yours a very happy and safe holiday!