So Long, Chester Wheeler
Catherine Ryan Hyde
Lewis Madigan’s elderly neighbor Chester Wheeler is dying of cancer. Several of his home healthcare aides have quit. Chester is a very difficult person to be around for a variety of reasons, and his family will not take care of him. Chester’s daughter Ellie is desperate to find someone to take the job and finally convinces Lewis to give it a try. Lewis is desperate for money and Ellie has promised a generous paycheck.
Lewis is good with Chester. He ignores a lot and hollers back at Chester. Chester has a final trip in mind and Lewis agrees to drive Chester’s old Winnebago cross county to visit his ex-wife. After many difficult days of traveling, the pair finally make it to Sue’s home, but she refuses to talk to Chester and refuses to allow him in her home. With Lewis’ help, Sue and Chester are able to talk things over. Before heading back home, Sue suggests that they travel to visit Chester’s friend Mike. They served together in Vietnam and have things to talk over.
On the way back home, Chester dies.
Home healthcare aide becomes Lewis’ new profession. He eventually decides to become a nurse but promises not to quit helping another very difficult patient. His schooling is placed on hold for a time to fulfill his promise.
Spring into a Page-Turner
Philip Solomon is an author suffering from writer’s block. He decides to write what he knows and begins to document the disappearance of his friend Jeff’s mother, some 40 years previously.
On November 12, 1975, 10-year-old Miranda Larkin arrives home from school to discover her mother Jane missing without a trace. There is only one suspect – Dan Larkin, Jane’s husband and father to Miranda and her brothers, Jeff and Alex. Dan is an unflappable criminal defense attorney and a narcissist, but as Jane’s body is never found, he is never charged with murder. As years pass, Dan begins to suffer from dementia, and as Phil Solomon begins research for his book, old feelings and suspicion begin to surface once again. Is it possible that the Larkin kids were raised by a man who killed their mother?
William Landay’s All That Is Mine I Carry With Me is the perfect blend of a literary whodunnit and legal thriller and is twisty emotional family drama that keeps you guessing. Place your hold for this (deservedly) popular read and then just try and put it down after the first page.
Book Review: Someone Else’s Shoes
Londoner Samantha “Sam” Kemp is juggling a depressed and unemployed husband, aging parents, and a teenage daughter. She is also stressed about the day of important business meetings ahead of her. So, it is no surprise when she accidentally grabs the wrong gym bag after working out.
Inside the bag are a pair of extremely high-heeled red shoes – Christian Louboutins – that Sam is forced to wear instead of her own missing sensible shoes. As it turns out, the sexy shoes give Sam confidence enough to close three big deals that she hopes will protect her fragile position at a printing company. The next day, when Sam tries to exchange the bag and shoes for her own, the gym has gone out of business.
Meanwhile, American Nisha Cantor, the pampered wife of wealthy Carl and owner of the infamous shoes, finishes her own workout to find a knock-off designer bag in the spot she left her own. To make matters worse, Nisha’s husband decides to end their relationship that same morning. Nisha leaves the gym in flip flops only to learn that she has been locked out of their hotel’s penthouse suite without a penny to her name, and without her designer clothes, a place to stay, or a friend in London.
Determined to get her life (and shoes) back, Nisha becomes a cleaner in the hotel. Now that she must work for a living, will Nisha learn how to be a better person? And what kind of havoc will walking in someone else’s shoes wreck on Sam’s life and career?
Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes is a compelling story and fast paced romp about two hugely different 40-something women who slowly find themselves becoming invisible in their lives. This novel about love, friendship and second chances also deals with serious issues, like mental health and discrimination but with plenty of humor and some madcap moments, it is a hopeful and cleverly plotted read. Place your hold today.
What We’re Reading Now
Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Jessica George’s Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures―and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong. Linnea
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
A strange, twisting novel that resists being pigeonholed into one genre. At its simplest, this is the tale of a girl and her adopted siblings trying to find their missing father. A little bit of horror, fantasy, and science fiction are mixed with metaphysical, philosophical ponderings for a truly excellent, one-of-a-kind reading experience. Shannon
Looking for the Hidden Folk by Nancy Brown
Part memoir, part travelog, part call for conservation, part investigation into the study of belief on a material, spiritual, and conceptual level, Looking for the Hidden Folk is a book that defies sitting in a single genre. Author Nancy Marie Brown share her decades long love of Iceland by giving a historical and literal background along with her own travels and multiple visits. All of this is centered around the belief in elves. Brown takes multiple approaches to this topic but doesn’t offer a solid answer to emerge. This becomes a strength for the book, allowing readers to make their own decision or to maintain a solid position of ambiguity. A great read for someone who has visited/will visit Iceland. Greg
Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
Vera Crowder always loved the house her father built. But the Crowder house was created to hide the secret life of a serial killer. Vera just happened to call him Dad. When her estranged mother Daphne calls to tell her she’s dying, Vera ends up back at the house where it all began. Now a twisted tourist attraction, the house has two occupants: Daphne and Duvall, an artist capitalizing on the family’s dark history. As Daphne packs up the place she once called home, she revisits the haunting moments shared inside the walls. This twisty horror novel gives new meaning to the phrase “home is where the heart is.” Melinda
The Golden Spoon by Jessica Maxwell
It’s the 10th season of Bake Week and six new amateur bakers have been selected to compete for The Golden Spoon. As before, they’ll gather under a big white tent in the mountains of Vermont on the grounds of Grafton Manor, family estate of legendary baker and host of the competition, Betsy Martin. Surprised by the addition of a co-host, supposedly to bring in younger viewers, Betsy is unhappy with how the season is going long before murder is committed. Quirky characters, fun pop culture references, and a few surprising plot twists, keep the pages turning. Readers who enjoy The Great British Bake Off and classic closed room mysteries should pick this one up asap! Stacey
The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner
I loved Sarah Penner’s book The Lost Apothecary so I am eager to crack open her latest The London Séance Society. It opens in 1873, where the unlikely pair of Vaudeline D’Allaire, a renowned spiritualist, and Lenna Wickes, a woman investigating her sister’s death, team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve a high-profile murder. It’s sure to be a spooky and suspenseful read. Carol
The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels: In 1986, Brian, a gay man who has spent the last six years in NYC, comes home to Ohio. The story is about reconciliation, grief, acceptance, and home.
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark: In 1912, Agent Fatma of the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities, along with her girlfriend, Siti, must solve the murders of a secret brotherhood. The suspected murderer is Al-Jahiz, who opened the veil between the mystical and earthly realms 50 years ago and is now vowing to destroy the world because of it’s social oppressions.
Scorched Grace by Margot Douaihy: Saint Sebastian’s School is targeted by a serial arson and it’s up to Sister Holiday, of the Sisters of the Sublime Blood, to solve the case. This punk rocker nun must do all of this while confronting her checkered past and not get caught smoking…. Christine
Emily, a jaded Instagram astrologer, becomes obsessed with a client after reading his “perfect” birth chart. She pursues him romantically, with terrible consequences. In a parallel narrative, Dawn’s decades of unhinged dating behavior turn into a reputation that increasingly precedes her. Nobody is who they want you to think they are in this dark satire about image, excuses, and taking all the bad advice we can get. Annelise
A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham
A psychological thriller about a desperate mother, Isabelle Drake, who’s son Mason has been missing for a year, taken from his crib while he was sleeping, and the case has never been solved. She hasn’t slept for more than minutes at a time since her son went missing, and she is beginning to lose her grip on reality and to wonder what really happened that night. Her marriage has fallen apart and a true-crime podcaster has come to town offering to interview her and help bring publicity to the case. However, Isabelle has secrets in her past that may not stand up to the scrutiny of a podcast. Isabelle is desperate to know what happened to Mason, but will her deepest fears be true? Sara
New Books Tuesday @ RRPL
There are many exciting new book releases coming and you don’t want to miss it…
ON THE LINE by Fern Michaels
Undergoing a series of genetic tests to learn the cause of his sudden illness, rising star chef Mateo Castillo discovers his results threatening to uncover a dark secret that will expose his family to dangers in the past, while clouding the investigation into who is trying to hurt him in the present.
HANG THE MOON by Jeannette Walls
After encouraging her younger step-brother to participate in daredevil activities leads to an accident, Sallie Kincaid is cast out of her family, in the new novel from the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Glass Castle.
HER DEADLY GAME by Robert Dugoni
After a failed romance with a coworker, a Seattle prosecutor must return home to her family’s failing law firm to work for her father until she accepts a high profile case in which the prosecutor is her ex.
HISS & TELL by Rita Mae Brown
Harry, Susan and Fair investigate the suspicious deaths of three people found in Crozet with a deadly drug in their systems with the help of their feline sidekicks in the latest addition to the long-running series following Claws for Alarm.
THE PERFUMIST OF PARIS by Alka Joshi
In 1974, Paris perfumer Radha, on the cusp of a breakthrough, travels to India where she enlists the help of her sister and the courtesans of Agra, who use the power of fragrance to seduce, while finally confronting a past secret, which threatens her already vulnerable marriage.
LOYALTY by Lisa Scottoline
Set during the rise of the Mafia in 19th-century Sicily, this epic story of good vs evil follows four individuals a desperate lemon grower; an idealistic lawyer with a secret life; a new mother; and a reclusive goatherd under constant threat of being discovered as a Jews as their lives collide.
LOVE, HONOR, BETRAY by Mary Monroe
With their sham of a marriage in danger, Jessie and Hubert Wiggins, desperately trying to maintain their devout facade and respectable standing, must decide whether or not to reveal the person who might be behind the serial murders plaguing their town, which would risk their own web of lies being exposed.
Celebrating Black Authors
There are innumerable Black authors that have impacted, influenced, and informed the landscape of literature—Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Ralph Ellison, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and many more prolific, important people.
For Black History Month, I want to highlight some Black authors that published their debuts in 2022 and 2023.
Jackal by Erin E. Adams 10/2022
A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white Rust Belt town. But she’s not the first-and she may not be the last…
Promise Boys by Nick Brooks (1/2023)
In Brooks’ YA debut, three prep school students are accused of murdering their high school principal. The boys team up to find the real killer before it’s too late.
Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana (8/2022)
This collection of short stories follows each tenant in the Banneker Homes, a low-income high rise in Harlem where gentrification weighs on everyone’s mind, as they weave in and out of each other’s lives, endeavoring to escape from their pasts and forge new paths forward.
Maame by Jessica George (1/2023)
A young British Ghanaian woman navigates her 20s and finds her place in the world.
Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey (10/2022)
Rooted in spiritual energy and centered in black liberation, womanism and Afrofuturism, the founder of The Nap Ministry sheds new light on our troubled relationship with rest and how to imagine and dream our way to a future where rest is exalted – and a divine human right.
Sink: A Memoir by Joseph Earl Thomas (2/2023)
In a series of exacting and fierce vignettes, the author, who found salvation in geek culture, takes readers through the unceasing cruelty of his impoverished childhood toward an understanding of what it means to lose the desire to fit in and build community and love on your own terms.
Book Review: Lark Ascending by Silas House
In a future where fires ravage a North America that is run by extreme right-wing fundamentalists, 20-year-old Lark and his family have hidden away in the mountains of Maine for several years undisturbed. When ecological disasters begin to threaten their safety, their group secures passage on a boat headed to Ireland. After a terrible voyage they land, but only Lark has survived. Alone, he begins a harrowing journey by foot in search of Glendalough, a camp rumored to provide asylum. Along the way, Lark gains two companions – a dog named Seamus and Helen, a local woman who is familiar with the roads and the dangers of traveling them.
Lark Ascending by Silas House is a post-apocalyptic novel that is gorgeously written. Told by Lark at age 90, this novel about climate change, human behavior, resilience, survival and love will break your heart a few times on the way to its ultimately hopeful conclusion. Fans of Station Eleven and The Road should put this at the top of their to-read lists.
YA Book Review: Live Your Best Lie by Jessie Weaver
Summer Cartwright is a 16-year-old influencer living a charmed Hollywood, California life. She’s rich, well-connected, and she just signed a massive book deal for an upcoming tell-all style memoir. When a new post from Summer’s Instagram account announces that the social media star will be dead in the next five minutes, the guests are her Halloween party think it’s just part of the entertainment. Her friends know different. That’s not Summer’s brand. Something is wrong. There were right-Summer was actually dead. As the police begin to investigate, those closest to Summer begin their own search for the killer. The suspect list keeps growing as the motive for the murder appears to be the book she was working on. If Summer was dead, would the book and the dark secrets it was set to reveal go away?
Told from the points of view of Summer’s bff, Grace, Summer’s ex-boyfriend Adam, Summer’s number one fan, Cora, and her one-time roommate, Lanie, Live Your Best Lie is a twisted, suspenseful debut. The narrator does an excellent job of juggling the various character points of view as well as flashbacks, but the inclusion of social media posts and comments, police interviews, and newspaper articles make for an interesting read. A delightfully wicked read as well as a timely cautionary tale-social media never tells the whole story and influencers only show what they want you to see.
Hand this to fans of Karen McManus and Maureen Johnson and anyone else who likes to solve the puzzle along with the characters. The clues are there for the clever reader, but so are the red herrings. Readers who make it to the end will be rewarded with a final twist you won’t see coming.
Thank you to Netgalley, Disney Audiobooks, and Melissa de la Cruz Studios for an advanced reader copy.