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Reality and Illusion in the Confabulist by Steven Galloway

The title Confabulist means that a person makes up stories because the person does not know or cannot remember the truth, and narrator Martin Strauss is a confabulist. In the beginning Martin tells the reader that he has a condition where his brain cannot store and process memories and that he killed Harry Houdini. Part of the story is about Martin’s life as he believes it happened and part is factual information about Houdini.

Big Sky Wedding by Linda Lael Miller

It has been said that author Linda Lael Miller considers the cowboy to be the great North American myth, the ideal of honor, courage and persistence we need to live up to. After reading Big Sky Wedding, the fifth installment in her Parable, Montana series, I think I agree. The story is the perfect mix of hot cowboy and strong woman intent on ignoring their instant attraction to each other. The author's love for children, animals and nature shine through in this small town, family-oriented, western romance.

Casebook by Mona Simpson

There are many ways of choosing a book to read. It could be because of the subject matter, the cover, the series, the author, or because everyone is talking about it. I chose Casebook by Mona Simpson because I was intrigued by the author and the excellent reviews. Simpson was born in Green Bay (a Wisconsin connection!). Before her parents married, they had a son whom they gave up for adoption. Simpson did not know about her brother until she was an adult. Her brother was Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple.

A modern-day fairy tale

Debbie Macomber has written another feel good novel with several happy endings that reminds me of a modern-day fairy tale. In Blossom Street Brides, several lives intertwine and connect as they face the trials and triumphs in their varying stages of life. All are connected in some way to that little yarn store on Blossom Street called A Good Yarn, first featured in the second of her Blossom Street novels. The characters eventually get to their happy endings, but it sure takes some time to get there.

Mercy Snow by Tiffany Baker

Mercy Snow by Tiffany Baker is a story about two families from the small town of Titan Falls on the Androscoggin River in northern New Hampshire. This is a gripping character-driven story with touches of magic realism and descriptions of the natural environment of the area. From the author’s descriptions, I felt as if I could not only see the river but smell it as well.

The Collector by Nora Roberts

Although it reads more like a cozy mystery than a suspenseful thriller, The Collector by Nora Roberts is another great book by an author who to date has written 184 New York Times bestsellers - including 33 written as J.D. Robb, as her website proudly proclaims. The first character we meet in her latest bestseller is Lila Emerson, a professional house sitter and writer of young adult novels, as she settles into her latest client's swanky New York apartment while they head off to the south of France for three weeks.

A story of friendship set at a vintage clothing shop in Madison

Three women, Violet, April, and Amithi, deal with their problems and bond at the Hourglass Vintage shop in Madison in the debut novel Vintage by Susan Gloss. This is a feel-good story that should appeal to people who like Cecelia Ahern, Elizabeth Berg, and Debbie Macomber. Each chapter starts with a description of a vintage item that is featured in that chapter’s storyline.

Love comes in all sizes

Author Sugar Jamison proves that love does come in all sizes in her new paperback book titled Dangerous Curves Ahead. Not your typical chick lit, the heroine of this romance novel, Ellis Garrett, is a "plusher" girl who has learned to embrace the shape of her curvy body and doesn't let pants size dictate how she lives her life. Women everywhere should read this book and learn how to be loved for who they are and not who they think they should be, whether that is thinner, smarter, sexier or funnier.

Shotgun Lovesongs, debut novel by Wisconsin author Nickolas Butler

I am interested in books with a Wisconsin connection and was excited to see this debut Wisconsin author speak at the Public Library Association convention in March. Shotgun Lovesongs is set in the small fictional town of Little Wing near Eau Claire and is narrated alternately by Henry, Lee, Ronny, Kip, and Beth who are all in their early 30s. Henry is a farmer and married to Beth. Lee has become a famous musician. Ronny is a former rodeo star and recovering alcoholic who now has brain damage.

Nantucket Sawbuck by Steven Axelrod

 

Nantucket is known as an island of the privileged class, or so most of us think. It has its share of unique individuals, some with old money, some with new money, and some with no money at all. In Nantucket Sawbuck, author Steven Axelrod reveals scandal and intrigue behind the scenes in one of America’s most exclusive resort towns - all because of the murder of an evil tycoon named Preston Lomax.

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