Title: Just What Kind of Mother Are You?
Author: Paula Daly. This is her first novel.
Genre: Thriller, Women’s Fiction
Readers: Author Piper, foodie Kathy, project manager Andrea and at-home parent A Military Mommy.
Summary: Lisa Kallisto—overwhelmed working mother—is the not-so-perfect model of the modern woman. She holds down a busy job running an animal shelter, she cares for three demanding children, and she worries that her marriage isn’t getting enough attention. During an impossibly hectic week, Lisa takes her eye off the ball for a moment and her world descends into a living nightmare. Not only is her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter missing, but it’s Lisa’s fault. To make matters worse, Lucinda is the second teenage girl to disappear within the past two weeks. The first one turned up stripped bare and abandoned on the main street after a horrible ordeal. Wracked with guilt over her mistake, and after having been publicly blamed by Lucinda’s family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. As she begins digging under the surface, Lisa learns that everything is not quite what it first appears to be.
Our Take: A solid thriller that will leave mothers shaking in their boots. May keep you up reading for hours, great for beaches or plane rides.
Title: Goat Mountain
Author: David Vann. He is the author of several previous novels, including Legend of a Suicide and Caribou Island.
Genre: Literary Fiction
Readers: Project manager Andrea, reading teacher Emry, retiree Nancy, administrative coordinator Cyn and editor Kristina.
Summary: In the fall of 1978, on a 640-acre family ranch on Goat Mountain in Northern California, an eleven-year-old boy joins his grandfather, his father, and his father’s best friend on the family’s annual deer hunt.
Every fall they return to this dry, yellowed landscape dotted with oak, buck brush, and the occasional stand of pine trees. Goat Mountain is what this family owns and where they belong. It is where their history is kept, memories and stories that will be shared again by these men. And for the first time, the boy’s story will be added if he can find a buck. Itching to shoot, he is ready.
When the men arrive at the gate to their land, the father discovers a poacher and sights him through the scope of his gun. He offers his son a look-a simple act that will explode in tragedy, transforming these men and this family, forcing them to question themselves and everything they thought they knew.
Our Take: Right away you should know if this book is for you. While one reviewer found she just couldn’t get into it, the other 4 were quickly immersed. Not an easy book, but one that will get deep under your skin. It’s no mistake that two of our reviewers compared it to a Cormac McCarthy novel.
Title: Approaching the Speed of Light
Author: Victoria Lustbader. She is the author of two previous novels, including Stone Creek. Before becoming a writer she was an editor of science-fiction novels.
Genre: Commercial Fiction
Readers: Professor Michal, prosecutor Rochelle, project manager Andrea and stay-at-home moms Dana and Megan V.
Summary: Jody is a likable young man getting by in New York City at the turn of the millennium. On the surface, he seems to have it together, with friends, family, a decent job, and a steady string of girlfriends. But a secret history has left Jody scarred and broken inside, lacking faith in the future or himself. Like the ceaseless pull of a black hole, his buried secrets hold him back, defining him, until his trajectory crosses the path of three very different women, who, in their own ways, hold out the tantalizing possibility of healing, connection . . . or self-destruction.
Our Take: A strong and resonant novel with complex characters that explores real emotional depth. Not a terribly light or happy read, but most of our readers found it worth their while.
Title: Dangerous Girls
Author: Abigail Haas. This is a pen name for Abby MacDonald, the author of several YA novels, including Getting Over Garrett Delaney.
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Readers: Teacher Ninian, prosecutor Rochelle, project manager Andrea, higher ed professional Renee and stay-at-home mom Colleen B.
Summary: It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.
But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
Our Take: A serious thrill ride of a book, a dark and fast read that will take you for a ride. Mature material may not make it ideal for younger teens. Great for grown-ups. Read if you liked Gone Girl, Pretty Little Liars and other stories about girls gone bad.
Title: The Comfort of Lies
Author: Randy Susan Meyers. She is the author of a previous novel, The Murderer’s Daughters.
Genre: Commercial Fiction, Chick Lit (but more on the serious side)
Readers: Prosecutor Rochelle, consultant Alila, project manager Andrea, and stay-at-home Mom Megan V.
Summary: Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. Married, and the father of two boys, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared, and she gave up her baby for adoption.
Five years ago, Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. She prayed her misgivings would disappear; instead, she’s questioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother.
Five years ago, Juliette considered her life ideal: she had a solid marriage, two beautiful young sons, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again, and she trusted him.
Riveting and arresting, The Comfort of Lies explores the collateral damage of infidelity and the dark, private struggles many of us experience but rarely reveal.