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An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of  400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger.  Enjoy ARCs and new releases. 

 

 

 

15 Must Read Books Coming December

 

 

  

Killman Creek

 

Stillhouse Lake Series #2

By: Rachel Caine

ISBN:  1542046416

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 12/12/2017 

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

 

You’re not safe anywhere now.

 

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

 

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die. Read More

 

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The Wake Up 

 

By:  Catherine Ryan Hyde

ISBN: 9781542047951

Publisher: Lake Union 

Publication Date:  12/5/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  5 Stars (ARC)

From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a hauntingly emotional novel of how one man’s life changes forever when he rediscovers his ability to feel the pain of others.

Something has been asleep in forty-year-old cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte for a long time. It all comes back in a rush during a hunting trip, when he’s suddenly attuned to the animals around him, feeling their pain and fear as if it were his own. But the newfound sensitivity of Aiden’s “wake up” has its price. He can no longer sleepwalk through life, holding everyone at arm’s length. As he struggles to cope with a trait he’s buried since childhood, Aiden falls in love with Gwen, a single mother whose young son bears a burden of his own.

Sullen and broken from his experiences with an abusive father, Milo has turned to acting out in violent and rebellious ways. Aiden can feel the boy’s pain, as well as that of his victims. Now he and Milo must sift through their pasts to find empathy with the innocent as well as the guilty, to come to terms with their deepest fears, and to finally discover the compassionate heart of a family.  Read More 

 

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Blood Truth 

 

Rick Cahill #4

By: Matt Coyle 

ISBN:  1608092399

Publisher:  Oceanview

Publication Date: 12/5/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

A hard-boiled PI novel for fans of Raymond Chandler, Ross MacDonald and Dashiell Hammett. From Anthony Award Winning and best-selling author Matt Coyle, the fourth in the Rick Cahill series.

Rick Cahill has long feared the truth about his own blood—the blood of his father coursing through his veins.

Then a long-hidden safe unlocks clues about why his father was kicked off the police force twenty-seven years ago and then spiraled into an early drunken death, Rick determines to find the truth even if it proves the one thing he’s always feared.

 

But as he grapples with his father’s past, the woman he still loves pleads with him to find out if her husband is having an affair—or is involved in something much more sinister. Could the truth send her back into Rick’s arms? Would he have a last shot at happiness? He may never get the chance to find out, as killers who will do anything to protect their secrets lurk in the shadows. Read More 

 

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The Ninth Grave 

 

Fabian Risk #2

By: Stefan Ahnhem

ISBN: 9781250103208

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 12/5/2017  

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4 Stars

"An atmospheric and complicated saga of crimes that criss-cross the narrow strait between Sweden and Denmark...great cop characters...and some imaginatively grisly perps."— Sunday Times

Would you kill for the one you love?

That's the question that international bestseller Stefan Ahnhem's The Ninth Grave: A Fabian Risk Novel seeks to answer in this spine-tingling thriller set six months before the events in Victim Without a Face.On a cold winter evening, the Swedish minister of justice disappears without a trace from the short walk between the house of Parliament and his car.

 

At the same time the wife of a famous Danish TV-star is found brutally murdered in her luxury home north of Copenhagen. Soon more bodies are discovered, all missing different body parts. As criminal investigator Fabian Risk and Danish counterpart Dunja Hougaard race to put the pieces together, they are dragged into a conspiracy worse than anyone could imagine.  Read More

 

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The Good Samaritan 

 

By: John Marrs

ASIN:  B0728K48N8

Publisher:  Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: 12/1/2017 

Format: Kindle

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?

The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.

Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.

 

But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?

 

The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…

 

Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder. Read More

 

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The Boy

 

 

By:  Tami Hoag

ISBN: 978-1101985397

Publisher: Dutton

Publication Date: 12/4/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: TBR 

An unfathomable loss or an unthinkable crime? Number one New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag keeps you guessing in her most harrowing thriller yet.

A panic-stricken woman runs in the dead of night, battered and bloodied, desperate to find help. . . . 
 
When Detective Nick Fourcade enters the home of Genevieve Gauthier outside the sleepy town of Bayou Breaux, Louisiana, the bloody crime scene that awaits him is both the most brutal and the most confusing he's ever seen. Genevieve's seven-year-old son, P.J., has been murdered by an alleged intruder, yet Genevieve is alive and well, a witness inexplicably left behind to tell the tale. There is no evidence of forced entry, not a clue that points to a motive. Meanwhile, Nick's wife, Detective Annie Broussard, sits in the emergency room with the grieving Genevieve. A mother herself, Annie understands the emotional devastation this woman is going through, but as a detective she's troubled by a story that makes little sense. Who would murder a child and leave the only witness behind?
 
When the very next day P.J.'s sometimes babysitter, thirteen-year-old Nora Florette, is reported missing, the town is up in arms, fearing a maniac is preying on their children. With pressure mounting from a tough, no-nonsense new sheriff, the media, and the parents of Bayou Breaux, Nick and Annie dig deep into the dual mysteries. But sifting through Genevieve Gauthier's tangled web of lovers and sorting through a cast of local lowlifes brings more questions than answers. Is someone from Genevieve's past or present responsible for the death of her son? Is the missing teenager, Nora, a victim, or something worse? Then fingerprints at the scene change everything when they come back to a convicted criminal: Genevieve herself.
 
The spotlight falls heavily on the grieving mother who is both victim and accused. Could she have killed her own child to free herself of the burden of motherhood, or is the loss of her beloved boy pushing her to the edge of insanity?  Could she have something to do with the disappearance of Nora Florette, or is the troubled teenager the key to the murder? How far will Nick and Annie have to go to uncover the dark truth of the boy? Read More

 

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The Done Thing 

 

By:  Tracy Manaster 

ISBN: 9781507204894

Publisher: Gallery Books 

Publication Date:  12/5/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  3 Stars (ARC) 

In the tradition of Olive Kitteridge and The Woman Upstairs, this “deeply human and morally saturated novel” (Library Journal, starred review) explores how a terrible crime changed one woman’s life forever.

Lida Stearl prides herself on always do the right thing—it has served her well throughout her life as she built a career as an orthodontist, maintained a happy marriage, and raised her young niece after the murder of her sister by her brother-in-law, Clarence Lusk. But now that she’s widowed, retired, and an empty nester, the small perfections of her orderly life aren’t enough to stop her from feeling adrift.

 

Then a well-intentioned birthday gift leads her to discover that Clarence, on death row for his crime, is seeking pen pals from the outside as he prepares for his final appeal. For the first time in her life, Lida crosses a line—she begins to write him, pretending to be a naïve, flirtatious twenty-three year old, in an effort to seek retribution. As letters pass steadily between Lida and Clarence, her obsession with revenge unfolds and she begins to question her morality.

 

The Done Thing is an utterly memorable and engrossing exploration of forgiveness, loyalty, and justice, and how a tragic event can suddenly change a life’s course. Read More

 

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The Last Suppers 

 

By: Mandy Mikulencak 

ISBN: 9781496710031

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: 12/26/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

 

Featured Friday Read

“A gorgeous novel that finds beauty in the most unlikely of places.” —Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Set in 1950s Louisiana, Mandy Mikulencak’s beautifully written and emotionally moving novel evokes both The Help and Dead Man Walking with the story of an unforgettable woman whose quest to provide meals for death row prisoners leads her into the secrets of her own past.

Many children have grown up in the shadow of Louisiana’s Greenmount State Penitentiary. Most of them—sons and daughters of corrections officers and staff—left the place as soon as they could. Yet Ginny Polk chose to come back to work as a prison cook. She knows the harsh reality of life within those walls—the cries of men being beaten, the lines of shuffling inmates chained together. Yet she has never seen them as monsters, not even the ones sentenced to execution. That’s why, among her duties, Ginny has taken on a special responsibility: preparing their last meals.

 

Pot roast or red beans and rice, coconut cake with seven-minute frosting or pork neck stew . . . whatever the men ask for Ginny prepares, even meeting with their heartbroken relatives to get each recipe just right. It’s her way of honoring their humanity, showing some compassion in their final hours. The prison board frowns upon the ritual, as does Roscoe Simms, Greenmount’s Warden. Her daddy’s best friend before he was murdered, Roscoe has always watched out for Ginny, and their friendship has evolved into something deep and unexpected. But when Ginny stumbles upon information about the man executed for killing her father, it leads to a series of dark and painful revelations.

 

Truth, justice, mercy—none of these are as simple as Ginny once believed. And the most shocking crimes may not be the ones committed out of anger or greed, but the sacrifices we make for love. Read More 

 

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The Road to Bittersweet

 

By:  Donna Everhart

ISBN:  9781496709493

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date:  12/26/2017

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  4 Stars (ARC)

Set in the Carolinas in the 1940s, The Road to Bittersweet is a beautifully written, evocative account of a young woman reckoning not just with the unforgiving landscape, but with the rocky emotional terrain that leads from innocence to wisdom.

For fourteen-year-old Wallis Ann Stamper and her family, life in the Appalachian Mountains is simple and satisfying, though not for the tenderhearted. While her older sister, Laci—a mute, musically gifted savant—is constantly watched over and protected, Wallis Ann is as practical and sturdy as her name. When the Tuckasegee River bursts its banks, forcing them to flee in the middle of the night, those qualities save her life. But though her family is eventually reunited, the tragedy opens Wallis Ann’s eyes to a world beyond the creek that’s borne their name for generations.

Carrying what’s left of their possessions, the Stampers begin another perilous journey from their ruined home to the hill country of South Carolina. Wallis Ann’s blossoming friendship with Clayton, a high diving performer for a traveling show, sparks a new opportunity, and the family joins as a singing group. But Clayton’s attention to Laci drives a wedge between the two sisters. As jealousy and betrayal threaten to accomplish what hardship never could—divide the family for good—Wallis Ann makes a decision that will transform them all in unforeseeable ways . . . Read More 

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The Silver Music Box 

 

By: Mina Baites

Translator:  Alison Layland

Narrator: ‎ Jane Oppenheimer 

ISBN: 1542048486

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Publication Date: 12/1/2017

Format: Audio

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

A captivating cross-generational novel from German author Mina Baites about a Jewish family divided by World War II and an inheritance with the power to bring them back together.

1914. For Paul, with love. Jewish silversmith Johann Blumenthal engraved those words on his most exquisite creation, a singing filigree bird inside a tiny ornamented box. He crafted this treasure for his young son before leaving to fight in a terrible war to honor his beloved country—a country that would soon turn against his own family.

 

A half-century later, Londoner Lilian Morrison inherits the box after the death of her parents. Though the silver is tarnished and dented, this much-loved treasure is also a link to an astonishing past. With the keepsake is a letter from Lilian’s mother, telling her daughter for the first time that she was adopted. Too young to remember, Lilian was rescued from a Germany in the grips of the Holocaust. Now only she can trace what happened to a family who scattered to the reaches of the world, a family forced to choose between their heritage and their dreams for the future. Read More 

 

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What Remains True 

 

By: Janis Thomas 

ISBN:  978-1542048248

Publisher: Lake Union 

Publication Date: 12/1/2017 

Format: Hardcover 

My Rating: 4 Stars 

In this mesmerizing drama, one life-altering event catapults a family into turmoil, revealing secrets that may leave them fractured forever . . . or bind them together tighter than ever before.

From the outside, the Davenports look like any other family living a completely ordinary life—until that devastating day when five-year-old Jonah is killed, and the family is torn apart. As the fury of guilt engulfs them, the Davenports slowly start to unravel, one by one.

 

Losing her son forces Rachel to withdraw into a frayed, fuzzy reality. Her husband, Sam, tries to remain stoic, but he’s consumed by regret with the choices he’s made. Eden mourns her brother, while desperately fighting to regain a sense of normalcy. And Aunt Ruth, Rachel’s sister, works too hard to care for the family, even as her own personal issues haunt her.

 

Told from multiple points of view—including Jonah’s—the family struggles to cope with unthinkable loss. But as they face their own dark secrets about that terrible day, they have a choice: to be swallowed up in sadness forever, or begin the raw, arduous ascent back to living. Read More

 

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The Runaway Children 

 

By: Sandy Taylor

ISBN: 9781786812872

Publisher: Bookouture

Publication Date: 12/8/2017 

Format: e-book 

My Rating: 4 Stars  (ARC)

An unforgettable journey of two evacuee sisters during the Second World War – and their determination to stay together, no matter what.

London, 1942: Thirteen-year-old Nell and five-year-old Olive are being sent away from home to escape the devastation of the East End during the Blitz. Leaving behind their beloved mother and brothers, they don’t know if they will ever see them again. 

As the sisters adjust to their new life in a close-knit Welsh village, they gradually find hope in the friendships they make. And Nell kindles a special bond with fellow evacuee Jimmy, who makes her smile even at the hardest of times. 

 

But when little Olive’s safety is threatened, Nell makes a decision that will change their lives forever. They must run from danger and find their way home…

 

Together, through tears and laughter, the two sisters hold each other’s hands as they make an incredibly brave journey across war-torn England. Will they be reunited with the family they have missed for so many years? Or is there more heartache to come?

 

A moving story of unconditional love, friendship and the fight for survival during a time of unimaginable change. This book is guaranteed to find a place in your heart. Perfect for fans of Orphan Train and The Girl With No Name.  Read More 

 

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The Vanishing Season 

 

By: Joanna Schaffhausen 

ISBN: 9781250126047

Publisher: St. Martin's Press 

Publication Date: 12/5/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  4 Stars (ARC)

Winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition, Joanna Schaffhausen’s accomplished debut The Vanishing Season will grip readers from the opening page to the stunning conclusion.

Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She's an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number seventeen in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived.

 

When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday—the day she was kidnapped so long ago—Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next. She contacts the one man she knows will believe her: the FBI agent who saved her from a killer’s closet all those years ago.

 

Agent Reed Markham made his name and fame on the back of the Coben case, but his fortunes have since turned. His marriage is in shambles, his bosses think he's washed up, and worst of all, he blew a major investigation. When Ellery calls him, he can’t help but wonder: sure, he rescued her, but was she ever truly saved? His greatest triumph is Ellery’s waking nightmare, and now both of them are about to be sucked into the past, back to the case that made them...with a killer who can't let go. Read More 

 

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Non-Fiction

 

The Colorful Kitchen 

 

Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Vibrancy, Inside and Out

By: Ilene Godofsky Moreno

ISBN: 9781944648411

Publisher: BenBella Books

Publication Date: 12/12/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  3.5 Stars (ARC)

Color your kitchen with a rainbow of healthy, delicious plant-based recipes.

You don’t need fancy equipment or expensive exotic ingredients to make delicious, healthy, vegan meals at home. Let The Colorful Kitchen take the mystery out of plant-based cooking and make the experience of cooking and eating easy and delicious.

Certified health coach and plant-based food blogger Ilene Godofsky’s cooking philosophy is “colorful, not complicated.” When you fill your plate with color, you’re not only adding flavor and visual appeal—you’re filling your plate with health. Her recipes emphasize vivid combinations of wholesome, plant-based ingredients full of essential vitamins and minerals—because counting colors is way more fun than counting calories and carbs.

 

Ilene guides readers through easy-to-follow preparations that will make every meal as exciting as it is nourishing.

 

The Colorful Kitchen’s vibrant, sustaining recipes include:

- Pink & Purple Coconut  Smoothie

- Pineapple & Peanut Sauce Tofu Wrap

- Coconut Crusted Avocado Fries

- Roasted Rainbow Bowl with Maple Mustard Dressing

- Harvest Butternut Squash & Apple Burgers

- Strawberry Loaf with Cream Cheese Glaze

- Chocolate Hummus

- Miso Tahini Cookies


For too long, vegan food has had a bad reputation: tasteless, boring. Mostly brown. Full of unfamiliar ingredients that take way too long to prepare. Not in The Colorful Kitchen! Read More 

 

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Sacred Rest 

 

Recover Your Life.  Renew Your Energy.  Restore Your Sanity

By: Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D. 

ISBN: 9781478921677

Publisher: FaithWords/Center Street

Publication Date: 12/19/2017 

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating: TBR (ARC)

SACRED REST gives a unique look into the physical and spiritual sides of rest. 

 

Sanctuary isn't simply a place; it's a state of being.

Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith contends that our 21st century lives reek of exhaustion. We now live longer than our ancestors but spend less time living life, and more time-fighting death. They died quickly from wearing out their bodies; we die slowly from wearing out our minds. We are busy doing, being, and becoming with little regard to the people we ignore and the moments we miss. There is value in work, and there is value in rest; both are vital for a life well lived.

 

In SACRED REST, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, a board-certified internal medicine doctor and Bible teacher, reveals why rest can no longer remain optional for those desiring their best life. Written for those who go to bed tired and wake up still exhausted, SACRED REST helps the overwhelmed identify what kind of rest they have been missing. Dr. Dalton-Smith shares seven unique types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research - physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, creative - and why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. These types of rest have never before been shared in this context, combining the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest as something sacred, valuable, and worthy of our respect.

 

By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, SACRED REST gives the weary permission to embrace no, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame, or fear. Read More 

 

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M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S !

 

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Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/book-blog/tag/dec-2017