Imperfect Women: A Novel by Araminta Hall - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780374272586
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: MCD - August 4th, 2020

When a woman is brutally murdered, her two best friends of over 30-years are besieged not only by grief, but of their possible complicity. Did they pay enough attention to each other? Did they miss warning signs? And, did family members have any role in the death? ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare

The End of October: A novel by Lawrence Wright - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780525658658
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

Prescient novel about a worldwide pandemic, mixed with a stew of Middle East warfare, geopolitical one upmanship, cold bureaucrats, jaded and noble scientists, and an unraveling, dying populace. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781982127480
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Published: Gallery Books - March 3rd, 2020

Clara Voyant (haha), a teenage psychic barely getting by, begins experiencing disturbing visions at the same time that many young women have gone missing around the dying city of Atlantic City. Lily is a former Soho art gallery worker who has just moved back to New Jersey due to her own personal tragedies. The two girls meet, connect and work together to understand Clara’s visions. They believe they are connected to the missing women and do everything in their power to find out what happened to them, because no one else seems to care enough to find out.
This was a strong debut for Mullen and a twisty psychological suspense with supernatural tones to it. What I most enjoyed was the Jane Does being given a big chunk of the narrative; it gives them a desperate voice even past their time living. This book highlights just how problematic the amount of women that go missing in the U.S. every year that never get found or solved. Highly recommend! ~ Reviewed by Kirstin Swartz

The Retreat: A Novel of Suspense by Sherri Smith - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780765386731
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Published: Forge Books - August 13th, 2019

The Retreat centers around four women, specifically former child star Katie, as they venture upstate for a weekend wellness retreat (this already spells trouble). Each goes into this weekend as an escape, but wind up with a dead body, weird fellow retreat-goers, stalkers and betrayal. The characters are three-dimensional and flawed; you don’t know whether you want the girls to escape safely or just get stabbed already. But this book is surprisingly not as predictable as the plot sounds, and has a twist ending you might not have seen coming! ~ Reviewed by Kirstin Swartz

The Holdout: A Novel by Graham Moore - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780399591778
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Published: Random House - February 18th, 2020

An enticing legal thriller that focuses on, race, integrity, and the injustices within the justice system. The Holdout is a strong new release that’ll keep you hooked with two mysteries set ten years apart, fatally coming together in the present. The book goes back and forth from a 2009 murder trial in L.A. where the jury must decide if a young black teacher is guilty for the murder of his teenage white student, to present day where that same jury party comes together for a televised reunion at the same hotel they were sequestered in. Night ONE somebody is already dead, but how and why?
With strong writing, pacing and an intriguing protagonist in the character of Maya Seale, The Holdout is a great mystery pick for any fans of courtroom dramas. I can totally see this becoming a mini series! ~ Reviewed by Kirstin Swartz

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781250219596
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Published: Celadon Books - February 18th, 2020

An entrancing and diverse read, Saint X is easily one of my favorite books of 2020 so far. Tragedy strikes a family of four on a vacation to the island of Saint X in the Carribean; college-age daughter Allison is found dead, and two island locals are accused of her murder, but never charged. Her younger sister, Claire, was seven at the time, and years later an adult Claire by chance runs into Clive Richardson, one of the men who may have been involved in Allison’s death. The mystery of what happened to Allison on Saint X consumes Claire’s life as she becomes intent on uncovering the truth from Clive.
This novel feels like a character study with themes of racism, privilege, and class heavily dissected through the character of Allison, Claire and Clive. There is so much in this debut novel to unpack. This would be a great book group read! ~ Reviewed by Kirstin Swartz


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