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The Whalebone Theatre- Joanna Quinn


This saga begins in 1928 on the coast of the English Channel. Cristabel and her family and friends and their remarkable lifestyle. It transitions to WW II and the friends all find service in the British forces, two of them as spies in France.

This is a long read, and at some junctures I thought I was losing interest, but stay with it for a fulfilling ending. Reminded me of Kate Atkinson in scope and style.

7/10







The Bandit Queens- Parini Shroff


Revenge is a bitch. This is a funny/sad tale of oppression in India. Sexism, domestic abuse are not light topics, but Shroff allows her characters to express themselves and gain a modicum of payback. And she has some extremely witty phrases and scenes.

DO NOT listen to the audible. It sounded like a SoCal teenager and did not do justice to the story.

7/10










A History of Fear- Luke Dumas


Set in Edinburgh, the perfect setting for this deliciously creepy story. When bad things happen, don't you sometimes think that the devil roams among us? This book kept me up reading past bedtime. (9:30 I know, but still..)

The end is at the beginning, but how did it all transpire?

8/10











Picture in the Sand- Peter Blauner

Alex, an American born to Egyptian immigrant parents, takes off to fight the Holy War in the Middle East post 911. His grandfather, desperate to get him back home, reveals his own story of political rebellion from Cairo in the 1950's. Details of both political upheavals are disturbing, but this is an excellent intergenerational tale.

8/10











In Brief

Killers of a Certain Age- Deanna Raybourn- Retired killers for hire have to get back to work. Did I mention they are all women? Once they truly retire, they are ready for ladies tennis teams. A fun romp.

The Crocodile Bride-Ashleigh Bell Pedersen- Tender story of a troubled childhood, but with some redeeming characters.

Foster- Claire Keegan- Novella length story of a girl in rural Ireland sent to spend a summer away from family. The healing beauty of kindness.

Daughters of the New Year- E.M. Tran-An illuminative story of power lost and gained. A Vietnamese couple and the family they raise in America and why their past remains foremost in their minds.

Remarkably Bright Creatures-Shelby Van Pelt- Set in the NW, this is a happy, but not sappy story of family, love, and loyalty. Read this to feel better about our world.

No Plan B- Lee Child- I am a huge Jack Reacher fan, but this one was a disappointment for me. Too contrived. Reacher does remain true to character, however.

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Much of the country is dealing with frigid cold, travel delays and next week will mostly be recovery from the holidays. What a great time to read! Here is my list of "Best" reads, though it could have

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