The family saga first introduced in The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs continues in The Beekeeper's Ball, the second installment of the Bella Vista Chronicles. Former celebrated chef Isabel Johansen is opening a destination cooking school focusing on local produce and products at Bella Vista, her family estate in the sleepy Sonoma town of Archangel. Isabel is a reserved, organized woman and seems so together, but when renowned journalist Cormac "Mac" O'Neill arrives on the scene he certainly shakes things up.
Last year Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith was published and received great reviews. Then it was revealed the Galbraith was really J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. Rowling has shown that she can write mysteries as well as fantasy with the Cormoran Strike series under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The next book in the series after Cuckoo’s Calling is Silkworm and was recently published. This is a traditional hard-boiled procedural mystery. London P.I.
In the mood for some lighthearted poetry loaded with canine silliness? Classic Poetry for Dogs: Why Do I Chase Thee by Jessica Swaim will have you howling with laughter. This hilarious little book is a spoof on well-known poems from the point of view of canine authors like Elizabeth Basset Browning, William Shakespaw, Rover Frost, Edgar Allen Pug, and others. Some poems are a little bit naughty, but I suppose even sophisticated dogs enjoy down-to-earth humor.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a touching story about people who love books and about the people they love. A.J. is a middle-aged widower who owns Island Books on Alice Island, MA. He is quirky and prickly and still grieving for his wife Nic who died in a car accident. Things are not going well for A.J. His meeting with Amelia Loman, the new representative for Knightly Press, ends badly with A.J. ranting about the current state of publishing.
The life of business and power is not all it seems and Danielle Steel's latest novel gives an excellent example of the good and bad. Power Play runs two stories at the same time about powerful CEO's and the way they conduct their lives - one involving a hardworking devoted mother who sacrifices any type of personal life for her success, and the other a philandering, scheming man with no conscience who always seems to land on top. The way the two stories come together is excellently written.
Bestselling chick-lit author Jennifer Weiner goes a bit darker with her newest book All Fall Down, a compelling story about the price some people pay in the pursuit of having it all. Weiner tackles the growing epidemic in our society of middle and upper-class suburban parents who abuse prescription medication to cope with their overworked and overstressed lifestyles, yet writes this story beautifully and in a way that doesn't make you hate the addict or necessarily feel sorry for her either.
End of Always is historical fiction set in 1907 Waukesha and concerns domestic abuse and family violence. It is based on the author’s family history. The tone can be quite grim, but the story is not without hope. This is a good choice for people who like to read historical fiction with Wisconsin settings, but be prepared for some scenes of violence which may be upsetting.
If you like reading romantic suspense with a western setting try the Beartooth Mountain series by B. J. Daniels. Having just finished Forsaken, third in the series, I have to say I am hooked on this genre. Not your typical western story, it has elements of murder, mystery, horses and handsome cowboys - what more could you ask for? Written with intertwining story lines and the beautiful details of the Montana landscape, you can almost smell the pine trees, the frost on the air, the smell of the horses, and the smoke from the campfires.
If you like mysteries set in Wisconsin, tryDeath Stalks Door County by Patricia Skalka, the first in the Dave Cubiak series. Cubiak was a Chicago cop who became a park ranger at Peninsula State Park after his wife and daughter were killed in an accident. He is still grieving, feeling guilty, and drinking too much. This is a not a cozy mystery even though the author does a good job of describing the beauty and ambience of Door County.
What a fun book! Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson is a humorous contemporary retelling of the classic Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice set (of all places) in the world of dog shows. Fans of Austen won't be disappointed; Wilson has very cleverly weaved in references to the original tale and does an excellent job bringing back to life Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth while adding a fun modern twist.