Fiction Addiction

Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea

A Fall Read This Next! Selection

A great plot that incorporates family, lifelong friendship, betrayal, and the specter of 9/11. Avery seems like an all-American girl who has achieved her dream job. She is the new anchor for a well-received news/life show. It appears she has an amazing life. And she does, unfortunately much of it is in a deeply buried past. Walt is an unwilling retired FBI agent who has hidden away from life in the remote area of Jamaica. Their lives collide when Walt’s early career intersects with Avery’s current career. The plot is deep with several sub-plots that keep you guessing about how it will all come together. The ending is very unexpected on several fronts. Any good crime and mystery fan will enjoy this book.


Twenty Years Later by Charlie Donlea, (List Price: $27, Kensington, 9781496727169, December 2021)

Reviewed by Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

 

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Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang

Qian Julie Wang opens her heart and bares her soul in this striking memoir about an illegal Chinese immigrant family. Wang does a fine job describing the poverty and sweatshops of Chinatown, her parents’ fear of getting deported, and her determination to make something of herself in Mei Guo, America, the beautiful country. The poverty and prejudice her family faced as well as her parents’ marital difficulties created trauma that Wang today is still determined to break through.

Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang, (List Price: 28.95, Doubleday, 9780385547215, September 2021)

Reviewed by Linda Hodges, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece

Once I started this book I did not want any interruptions until I finished reading. The mysticism of Appalachia comes to life on the pages of the book. Mel is in the foster system and has learned all the pitfalls of the system, but cares for no one until Sarah arrives at her foster home. Sarah is otherworldly to Mel, she is kind, timid and becomes Mel’s family. They bond and escape terrible situations together, but Sarah always wants to return home to the Wildwood where she was born and raised. Mel would do anything for Sarah so she grants that wish and begins a journey with a cast of characters she could have never even imagined. I won’t go into detail here as the discoveries are best made when you read this touching and heart-grabbing book.

Wildwood Whispers by Willa Reece, (List Price: 28, Redhook, 9780316591768, August 2021)

Reviewed by Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Where the Truth Lies by Anna Bailey

When teenaged Abi Blake goes missing after a party in the woods the search for her by her best friend Emma slowly uncovers the dark secrets the people of the small town of Whistling Ridge, CO have been hiding. Where The Truth Lies is a disturbing and very atmospheric novel about a town full of abusers, racists, bigots and homophobes, a fire and brimstone preacher, and a congregation of religious zealots who use God as an excuse for all their evil or for the secrets they keep about their abusers. Beautifully written considering the bleakness and sadness that pervade the novel you will not want to put it down in the hopes that at least the young can escape and find happiness and normalcy.

Where the Truth Lies by Anna Bailey, (List Price: 27, Atria Books, 9781982157166, August 2021)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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City Problems by Steve Goble

Ed Runyan is an ex-NYPD detective who left the big apple for the relative quiet of rural Ohio after a particularly gruesome case involving the brutal murder of a young woman. Now it seems his past has caught up with him when he finds himself in a case of another missing young woman on his own turf in the quiet fields of Ohio. The girl, Megan Beemer was reported missing from the Columbus area and was last seen at a party where a high school band from Ed’s area was performing. Between the band and the local kids who were or may have been at the same event, and with the help of a woman detective from Columbus, Ed has to unfold the story of who was at the party and how they might have interacted with Megan. When Megan’s body is found in a local creek, Ed has to struggle with his past and the demons that have stayed with him from the earlier murder in NY which has been the center of his nightmares for years. Ed Runyon is a damaged character, but one who shows his human side in his empathy and depth of commitment to solve this crime and find justice for the victim. We can only hope we’ll see more of Ed Runyon. This one was a great read!

City Problems by Steve Goble, (List Price: 26.95, Oceanview Publishing, 9781608094431, July 2021)

Reviewed by Brent Bunnell, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Stranger Care by Sarah Sentilles

As a child advocate for the family court system, I have a pretty good idea of what foster care is like. Sarah Sentilles is spot on in her memoir about her and her husband’s experience training and becoming foster parents. Sentilles accurately portrays the emotions of the parents, foster parents, social workers, and children involved. She uses examples from animals and plants to show techniques of care in the natural world. But even after they accumulate this knowledge, Sarah and her husband underestimate the pull on their heartstrings at the possibility of a child’s loss from their lives.

Stranger Care by Sarah Sentilles (List Price: $28, Random House, 9780593230039, 5/4/2021)

Reviewed by Linda Hodges, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

A Spring 2021 Read This Next! Title

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
Griffin, June

August has grown up believing that being alone is best. Then she moves to New York and gets caught up with her new wacky roommates, who drag her out of her comfort zone. And she meets Jane, a girl on the subway she has an instant connection with. The only problem is…Jane is literally stuck on the train, displaced somehow from her life in the 1970s. So August makes it her mission to solve the mystery of Jane and fix it so she can be where and when she belongs, even though August wants Jane to belong with her more than anything. If The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue were a rom-com, this would be it. McQuiston has written a big-hearted, laugh-out-loud funny, and tender novel that will speak to readers about love and connection and friendship and family.

– Melissa Oates from Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC

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Many Points of Me by Caroline Gertler

Georgia’s dad was an artist before he died. Now Georgia struggles with his legacy, with people thinking they know him because of his art. Her best friend Theo is the only one who might understand, except he’s also focused on art, especially his own. And while Georgia’s own art has always been important to her, it’s taken a backseat to figuring out the mystery of what her dad’s last unfinished painting was supposed to be. A heartfelt story about art and grief and friendship for anyone trying to determine where they fit in their own life when everything has changed.

Many Points of Me by Caroline Gertler (List Price: $16.99, Greenwillow Books, 9780063027008, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Little Bat in Night School by Brian Lies

This story works on many levels: It’s great for any child nervous about attending school and it’s also a wonderful friendship and kindness story. Plus, all the fun you’ll have explaining why bats go to school at night!

Little Bat in Night School by Brian Lies (List Price: $14.99, HMH Books for Young Readers, 9780358269847, 6/29/2021)

Reviewed by Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Cathedral of Bones by A. J. Steiger

Simon’s life goal is to be an Animist–someone who can call on beings from the shadow realm adjacent to theirs to do good and keep the peace–but he’s not a very good one. When a town’s request for help goes unanswered by the Animists in charge, Simon decides to take matters into his own hands and sets off to deal with the monster–whom he discovers is actually a girl named Alice who doesn’t remember how she became a monster. Simon and Alice join forces to search out the secrets in Alice’s past, and in so doing find secrets that affect Simon and their whole world. A dark middle-grade fantasy that will appeal to fans of Kelly Barnhill, about identity and finding your self worth.

Cathedral of Bones by A. J. Steiger (List Price: $16, HarperCollins, 9780062934796, February, 2021)

Reviewed by Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Love and Other Lies by Ben McPherson

At the beginning, Love and Other Lies was a fast paced typical thriller to read. One which centered on a horrific event–the mass killing at a summer camp for teens, and the disappearance of one of the young campers. It was about the relationship between husband and wife, the love they still have for each other after 15 years of marriage and the lies they might be telling, and about their relationships with their teen daughters. Then you begin to realize what might have really happened and it suddenly becomes an extremely thought-provoking and unnerving story that could have easily been taken from true events. It shows the horrors that can occur with the rise of white supremacy, and how normal people with the best values can be infected by political ideology.

Love and Other Lies is not a feel good story by any means, but it is an important story with lots and lots of topics to discuss and a story that is definitely pertinent to the times in which we live. This is a book that you will think about for a long time after you put it down.

Love and Other Lies by Ben McPherson (List Price: $16.99, William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062406149, 2/9/2021)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina.

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All the Colors of Night by Jayne Ann Krentz

I enjoy the series with the Paranormal content. It is very interesting and does not engulf the characters or the plot, so if it is not your thing you will still have a great plot and suspense. North has some issues with questions that remain about his Grand Fathers loyalty, a strange and sudden onset health issue, but in every other aspect has his life well ordered. He excels at his job, lives in a home he enjoys and is challenged intellectually. Sierra is his opposite in so many ways, raised in a free spirited fashion by non-conforming parents, she has started another career path after many failed attempts. North has a high priority job and not much time to find local help, Sierra is available and selected for him, not a comfortable situation.The seriousness of the situation does not leave time for finesse or subtlety on either end. What follows is an intricate plot to try and understand what may have fallen into the wrong hands in the past. The location and exploration of the closed Fogg Lake labs has just begun, so they have no idea how much danger is ahead. This is a great and entertaining series. Lots of suspense, twists and good character development.

All the Colors of Night by Jayne Ann Krentz (List Price: $27, Berkley, 9781984806819, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner

When I want a good book, but don’t want to do a search for a book I might like, I grab the latest Lisa Gardner book. I know I will find a great plot, characters and superb writing. This book just confirms my premise. Frankie leads an all-new cast of characters, and the novel is fast-paced look at a darker side of life. Most of us are fortunate to never be the victim of a violent crime, and your loved one disappearing is a particularly brutal example. When the police have been unsuccessful and hope seems lost, Frankie arrives. She is not a retired cop, private detective, well-funded or connected. She is a broke currently sober addict on the run from the demons of her past. She is flawed, relentless and brilliant in her determination. Another fantastic production from Lisa. It is a standalone so don’t delay!

Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner (List Price: $27, Dutton, 9781524745042, 1/19/2021)

Reviewed by Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton

If you only read one book this year, this should be the one. It really puts many current issues such as climate change, immigration, and racism into a perspective you can feel personally by immersing you in the story and letting you identify with the characters in the book. Waiting for the Night Song is a lyrical and amazing story about nature and what will happen if we continue to ignore climate change. It is the story of wonderful, productive and caring people who live in fear because of immigration laws, a story about childhood trauma and the effect it has on the three children involved, a story about determination and doing what you believe is right regardless of the consequences, and above all else it is a heartfelt story about family and friendship and just how far and how many lies one will tell or how many secrets one will keep to protect them. If you loved Where the Crawdads Sing, put this at the top of your list. My favorite quote from the book: “When someone says you’re overreacting, but you know you’re right, keep reacting until it’s over.”

Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton (List Price: $26.99, Forge Books, 9781250269188, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd

Christina Dodd writes complex plots with characters who are complicated and pushed to limits that are hard to endure. Evelyn is no different; a job that should keep her going as a young teen on her own turns out to be the worst mistake of her life. In prison for a murder she did not commit and on her own she has no hope for the future. An escape leaves her living under an alias at a remote camp in Alaska. During the winter she has nothing but time, and she uses it to plot her vengeance and look into other crimes that involve people she meets. The complexity of human nature and capacity for evil is captured in this suspenseful and well written book. Perfect for her fans and any suspense fan who appreciates great characters.

Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd (List Price: $17.99, HQN, 9781335080820, 12/29/2020)

Reviewed by Jackie Willey, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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The War Widow by Tara Moss

The War Widow was an intriguing mystery, an interesting and informative look at post war Australia in 1946 and an overall totally delightful read. Ms. Billie Walker has returned home after being a war correspondent in Europe to take over the Private Inquiry Agency of her late father. She is a fun, elegant, feisty and determined character who investigates the “old-fashioned” way: no internet, no cell phones, no data bases. The book is filled with intrigue, nasty criminals, beautiful fashions and lots of daring moves by Ms. Walker. I cannot wait to see what kind of trouble Ms. Walker finds herself in next.

The War Widow by Tara Moss (List Price: $26, Dutton, 9780593182659, 12/29/2020)

Reviewed by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin

Melanie Benjamin is at her best in this historical fiction account of the terrifying blizzard of 1888. It seemingly came out of nowhere and caught the residents of the Midwest by surprise, especially the children and teachers who were preparing to go home for the day. Benjamin looks at the lives of two sisters–both teachers at different schools–and how their decisions that day meant life or death for their students. I spent several late nights on this one!

The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin (List Price: $28, Delacorte Press, 9780399182280, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Linda Hodges, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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Deep into the Dark by P. J. Tracy

A solid story with great characters and a really good story line…and a new series for P. J. Tracy. It’s set in the seedier area of Los Angeles and is the story of Policewoman Margaret Nolan working on a serial killer case. It’s also the story of Sam Easton, back from Afghanistan, just trying to make it through the day. Toss in a friendship with Melody Traeger who has her own set of demons, and you’ve got a complex plot with just the right amount of sub-plots to make it hard to put down. It’s a story of love and a story of betrayal. It’s a story of making a new life and attempting to keep those demons away as you do. And when it all comes together…ah, I’m not going to spoil it! A must read!

Deep into the Dark by P. J. Tracy (List Price: $26.99, Minotaur Books, 9781250754943, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Nancy Humphreys, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

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The Merciful by Jon Sealy

A Winter 2021 Read This Next! Title

The Merciful by Jon Sealy
Haywire Books, January

First: Every book club needs to put The Merciful at the top of their “next to read” list. For me, reading is for the most part a private personal experience. I love to read and immerse myself in the story. This book doesn’t let me do that. I can’t wait for my friends to read this one so we can intellectually deconstruct it. Bottom line; this book forces you to think and to see a story from disparate and various perspectives.

The book tells the story of a tragic incident where a young woman riding her bike down a country road late at night is struck and killed in a hit-and-run “accident.” Days later, after procuring an attorney, a local man comes forward thinking he “might” have been responsible. Like a rock thrown into a still pond, the incident ripples and radiates in all directions and this book conveys a thoughtful and compelling story of just how the accident affects not only the victim and the perpetrator, but also those close to them and those in the legal system who are responsible for trying the case.

Jon Sealy does a masterful job of painting the lives of these characters and exposing the flaws and foibles that make us all human. I highly recommend this thought-provoking and compelling novel.

— Brent Bunnell, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, SC

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Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas

It’s a new start for this family, after experiencing a near tragedy. They’ve now moved from London to Wales and have remodeled an old rectory, making it into a guesthouse. But the old rectory has secrets, and the village has secrets, and this little family has secrets. And where there are secrets, there are lies. And when a death occurs in the B&B, the police are not satisfied that it’s an accident. Too many suspects crowd this B&B and no one knows who to trust. A captivating, but complex plot, this thriller will grab you on the first page and keep you reading until its last, shocking page. It’s fast-paced, with lots of twists and turns, a bit dark at times, and full of suspense. And you’ll never expect this surprise ending!!

Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas (List price: $26.99, Harper, 9780063037410, November 2020), recommended by Nancy Humphreys, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.

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Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

He mounts the porch steps and hands me the mail addressed to me as I give him his glass. ‘What shall we toast to tonight?’ He looks up at the house. ‘How about to a new life for the Lawrence House?’

‘Yes, that’s perfect.’ I clink my glass against his. But I avert my gaze, tipping back my head to take a long sip, wondering if he can sense it, too. The wrongness of this place.

Goodnight Beautiful opens with the disappearance of Sam Statler, a therapist who has just moved back to his small New York town with his wife Annie to be near his ailing mother. The narrative then flashes back to earlier that summer, soon after the couple has moved to town and Sam has begun work. What follows feels like a rather straight forward domestic thriller, but nothing and no one is what they seem. Molloy has crafted a novel takes the unreliable narrator and turns the volume up to eleven. Her writing will appeal to both those familiar to the genre as well as novices. Readers may want to avoid learning too much in advance, but even when one knows the twist is coming, watching Molloy execute it is just as compelling.

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy (List Price: $27.99, Harper, 9780062881922, 10/13/2020)

Reviewed by Faith Parke-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

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