The Hand That Feeds You by A. J. Rich

The Hand that Feeds You
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I read a lot of different genres and do like thrillers.  This definitely falls into that category.  The book wasted no time getting right into the suspenseful feel of a psychological thriller.

The story starts right away with Morgan walking into her home to discover her dead fiancee, Bennett, and her three dogs covered in blood.  Her dogs catch the blame and she scrambles to reconcile the dogs she knew  while trying to find her fiancé’s parents to tell them the bad news and learns that he wasn’t who he said he was.

As Morgan sets out to discover who Bennett really was, she uncovers a man with several fiancees, an ex-wife, and a trail of theft and deception.  Then she discovers that the ex-wife and fiancees have all recently died violently.  Morgan realizes that she might also be the target for murder.

I finished this book over a weekend to see how it would all play out, even though I had the bad guy figured out a little before the final action took place.  Still a good quick read.



Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

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So if you like quirky, messed up and lost characters that are in search for something better in their lives, then you will enjoy this book, Love May Fail.  I enjoyed how this book was told through the perspectives of four wildly diverse characters: Portia Kane, a woman in search of goodness in men, after she leaves her pornographic husband who is having an affair; Mr. Vernon, a former high school English teacher contemplating suicide after being attacked by a student; Chuck Bass, an ex-heroin addict turned elementary teacher, and the crazy nun who reaches out to her son on her deathbed.  These four characters’ lives all intertwine as the story unfolds: they search for love and a purpose in life to rekindle that spark.  If you liked the author’s Silver Linings Playbook, then you will enjoy this.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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This is one of the most emotional, heartfelt stories I’ve read in a long time because even though it is fictional, the events and people are based on real  events that took place in history.  The book is set during World War II in Nazi-occupied France. The story focuses on two sisters (Isabelle and Vianne) who had a difficult upbringing and who couldn’t be more different.  How they survive the war and navigate through this time period is compelling.  The book depicts how women were able to help during the war doing such things as hiding Jewish children and leading allied pilots out of occupied areas to safety.  This time period was depicted so realistically, touching on the starvation and sacrifices, holocaust, concentration camps and death, and love that took place during this horrible war. This story will stay with me for a while. It reminds us of the horrors of war.

This quote by the author sums it up perfectly:

Men tell stories.  Women get on with it.  For us it was a shadow war.  There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books.  We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”
― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

Please read it — you won’t regret it!!


Reunion by Hannah Pittard


This is a new author to me.  If you enjoy reading about estranged and dysfunctional families, then I think you would enjoy this one — I did. It’s a quick read and told through the narration of the main character, Kate Pulaski.

The first line of the book is, “On June 16, at roughly eight-thirty in the morning, I get the phone call that my father is dead,” which makes you want to keep reading.  At least I did.

Kate’s life is pretty well in shambles before she finds out about her father’s suicidal death.  Her siblings tell her she has to travel to Atlanta for the funeral, which she can neither afford nor wants to face.  The book covers the next four days of her coping with face-to-face encounters with her four stepmothers and many half-siblings.  As Kate haphazardly deals with her messed up life, she also comes to terms with her relationship with her father.  The book has sibling relationships, adultery, childhood issues, and so much more, so enjoy.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The Husband's Secret

If you found a letter addressed to you with instructions that you weren’t to open it until a certain event had happened, would you go ahead and read it anyway?  Well, that’s the basis of this novel.  It intertwines the lives of three families when one of the main characters finds a letter addressed to her by her husband, to be read only upon his death.  So does she read the letter (he’s still alive)?  What’s in this letter?

The novel deals with how life can hinge on a misunderstanding or a decision made in haste and the consequences it can have. It deals with putting all the pieces of a puzzle together plus an action that brings everything out into the open.  I enjoyed this book.  I had read Liane Moriarty’s newest book, Big Little Liars, so I decided to read some of her earlier works. Glad I did.

Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little

Dear Daughter

If you enjoyed Gone Girl, this would probably appeal to you.  It tells the story of a young LA socialite, Jane Jenkins, whose life is filled with wealth, fashion and beauty, and who at the age of 17 is convicted of her mother’s murder.  Jane is a clever, sarcastic, witty young woman who is not sure if she’s guilty or not, and ends up spending ten years in prison but is released on a technicality.  Having to dodge the press, she disguises her appearance and heads to the mid-West to find out the truth about her mother’s murder based on a overhead conversation shortly before her mother’s death.  Here she learns more about her mother and discovers family secrets she never knew.  Jane’s narration of the book is filled with her sarcastic nature, which adds that element of a “mean girl,” but it is told in a way that I ended up rooting for her success.

Fast Track by Julie Garwood

Fast Track

This novel is the twelfth in a series, and although I had not read the other books, it was easy to follow the characters and the story.  If you like romance with suspense, then you will enjoy this read.

The story centers around Cordie Kane, who was raised by her father and has always had a crush on her best friend’s brother, Aiden.  Her father dies unexpectedly, leaving Cordie devastated not only by his death but also with the news that her mother, whom she thought had died in a car crash, is still alive.  In reality, she abandoned her family.  Cordie decides this is the perfect opportunity to let go of the past (her crush on Aiden) and move forward with her life.  Her first goal is to find out why her mother left her and her father so many years ago.

Aiden Madison is a workaholic who has placed Cordie in the friend zone because he watched her grow up.  It’s not until after an impromptu kiss that he realizes what a beautiful woman she has become.  When Cordie tracks her mother to Sidney, Australia, Aiden is steamrollered into accompanying her.  There the two find themselves involved in a mystery involving her mother’s wealthy family, who will do anything to keep the secret of her birth buried.  This leads to multiple attempts on Cordie’s life, which make Aiden realize that he may lose the one person he never knew he wanted.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies

This book tells the story of three women who have children starting kindergarten together in an affluent Australian town.  It starts at the school fundraiser, Trivia Night, where “something” has happened.  We get snippets from the witnesses as they talk to the police.  The book then jumps back six months, and we see how the women meet and how their lives become entangled.

With all the talk of helicopter parenting, this book covers those types of parents and more with humor, suspense and some tragedy.  I loved the main characters and enjoyed following their stories and learning about their lives, but I also enjoyed the humorous snippets throughout from the other parents.  This is an easy, quick read that I ended up reading over a long weekend because I needed to know what that something was that happened at Trivia Night . A definite recommendation.  I enjoyed Moriarty,  whom I had never read before.  I have now reserved one of her other novels.

The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand

The Matchmaker

Looking for a good quick beach read?  Like romance and believe in long lost love?  Like a good cry?  Then this book will meet all your expectations.  It starts out light, but before you know it, you see there’s more to the main character, Dabney.  Dabney, a native of Nantucket, seems to have the perfect life until complications occur when her high school “love of her life” reappears on the island after a twenty-seven-year separation.  It wouldn’t be complicated if it weren’t for the fact that she had his child after he left and she is now married to someone else.  His return stirs up feelings that she thought she had buried forever.  At the same time, her daughter’s love life is a mess and she doesn’t know how to help her. The story is filled with happiness, love, hate and sadness.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

I would highly recommend this beautifully written work of historical fiction that alternates between the stories of two children during WWII.  The two main characters are Marie-Laure, a young blind French girl who flees occupied Paris with her father, a key master of the Natural Museum of History, and Werner, a German orphan whose tinkering with an old radio lends him technical skills that throw him headlong into a Hitler Youth group which leads him directly into the heart of the war.

The action moves in waves from Germany to France, from pre-war years to action in the midst of war to the end of fighting and back again.  Doerr’s development of the two main characters continues even after the war ends and finally finishes in the present day with an underlying message of the innocence and humanity of these two young characters as their lives are sadly forced into a path that will someday have them meet as enemies. The book can help today’s youth to understand events and conditions in Europe during the Second World War, and the lives of individuals on each side of the conflict.

The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

The Astronaut Wives Club

Ever wonder what it would be like to stand in the shoes of an astronaut’s wife?  If you grew up in the 60s and 70s, I can almost guarantee that you did!  The book goes through the years of lift-offs, landings and explosions with an emphasis on the wives’ friendship and support of one another.  Through the years, the book offers a glimpse into their lives by showing cheating husbands, widows, colorful personalities among the astronauts and their wives, the first divorce, the women’s liberation movement and political mayhem.  The book doesn’t go into that much depth —  it’s more of an overview of their lives and of the times.

What I didn’t like was that the book jumped around often, so it was confusing to remember which wife was married to which astronaut as the book went on.  There were a few pictures in the book of some of the wives, but since Koppel frequently referred to them by their first names, it became confusing as more astronauts were added to the program.  It would have been very helpful to have a chart showing the husband’s name and the wife’s name … like a family tree.  Overall, I enjoyed the book since I was a child of the 60s and could relate to those times.

Missing You by Harlan Coben

Missing You

This new novel by Harlan Coben is definitely suspenseful, filled with lots of puzzles.  It follows various story lines that eventually all fit together.  The main story line deals with Kat….a NYPD detective whose best friend signs her up for an online dating service where she finds an old boyfriend who she never got over.  This one simple act, combined with the  death of her father’s convicted killer, sets Kat off to question events in her past that have always remained a mystery and to seek answers she might not want to live with.  Meanwhile, a young boy comes to her insisting that his mom has gone missing, even though everyone else thinks she is just away with her new boyfriend.  How could all of this possibly tie together? There are many layers in this story, and the clues are expertly interwoven throughout to keep you guessing.  If you like mystery and suspense, then I recommend this one!

Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline

Keep Quiet

How far would you go to protect your child’s future?  This compelling novel, which I read in 3 days, tells a story of what one father did to protect his son’s future.  A father, Jake Buckman, who had never been close to his teenage son Ryan, makes a decision that will change the lives of his whole family and several others, and then covers it up with lies upon lies.  As a parent, I can understand why this father made that decision, but I don’t think I could have gone that far.  The story has twists and an unexpected ending.  I would recommend this if you like suspense, family dynamics and relationships, and a quick read.

Thirty Girls by Susan Minot

This novel by Minot was a tough read.  You follow two stories: the terror and abuse of a young teenage girl named Esther in Uganda, Africa, who was abducted by rebel leader Joseph Kony’s resistance army, and the account of American journalist Jane, who travels into Uganda to write a story of these abducted children.  It’s a fictional take on actual events that took place in the early 2000s.  I got caught up in Esther’s story, which was more compelling.  It told of the horrors these young girls endured, her escape, and how she had to learn how to live with the memories.  Jane’s story was less appealing to me, but the account of her journey into the country had descriptions of the beauty and wonders of the African culture and landscape, which I did find appealing. I would recommend this read because it is powerful, but also told with grace.

“The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd

The Invention of Wings

Another great novel and my favorite now of best-selling author Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Life of Secret Bees and The Mermaid Chair. Blending facts and fiction, this novel takes a powerful, intense look into the cruelties of slavery.  It follows the stories of Sarah and Angelina Grimke (the first female abolitionists), two sisters from Charleston, SC. These two devote their lives to the abolition of slavery and become some of the earliest feminist speakers for women’s rights. The story is told through the voices of Sarah and also of her slave girl, Hetty (Handful), given to her on her eleventh birthday as a present. It follows both of their courageous battles as they fight for their dreams, giving an in-depth look at the injustices of slavery.  I highly recommend this powerful story that will leave you touched.