Author: Colette Auclair. This is her first novel.
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit
Readers: Daycare teacher EMarie, policy wonk BakingSuit, at-home parents Sarah L., Shawna and Megan V.
Summary: Professional trainer Amanda Vogel dreams of riding jumpers in the Olympics, but after seeing her best friend die in a riding accident, she’s so traumatized she can’t show. Broke and desperate, she takes a summer job in Aspen teaching some big-shot widowed movie star’s spoiled daughters to ride—even though she hates teaching kids. She braces herself for three miserable months. But by Labor Day, she has to choose between capturing a gold medal…and the man who has captured her heart.
Our Take: A solid romance novel that’s an easy and fast read. Sure, it’s nothing groundbreaking but it’ll pass the time nicely.
Title: The Spirit Keeper
Author: K. B. Laugheed. This is her debut novel.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Readers: Editor Kristina, retiree Sulyn, parents Emry and Sarah L.
Summary: The thirteenth child conceived of miserable Irish exiles, Katie O’Toole dreams of a different life. Little does she know that someone far away is dreaming of her.
In 1747, savages raid her family home, and seventeen-year-old Katie is taken captive. Syawa and Hector have been searching for her, guided by Syawa’s dreams. A young Holyman, Syawa believes Katie is the subject of his Vision: the Creature of Fire and Ice, destined to bring a great gift to his people. Despite her flaming hair and ice-blue eyes, Katie is certain he is mistaken, but faced with returning to her family, she agrees to join them. She soon discovers that in order to fulfill Syawa’s Vision, she must first become his Spirit Keeper, embarking on an epic journey that will change her life—and heart—forever.
Our Take: A fun book for readers who want a little bit of everything: history, romance, adventure and more.
Title: Quiet Dell
Author: Jayne Anne Phillips. She is the author of several novels, including Lark & Termite.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller
Readers: At-home parents Megan V., Sarah L. and Krysta.
Summary: In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, mother of three, is lonely and despairing, pressed for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins to receive seductive letters from a chivalrous, elegant man named Harry Powers, who promises to cherish and protect her, ultimately to marry her and to care for her and her children. Weeks later, the family are dead.
Emily Thornhill, one of the few women in the Chicago press, covers the case and becomes deeply invested in understanding what happened to this beautiful family, particularly to the youngest child, Annabel, an enchanting girl with a precocious imagination and sense of magic. Bold and intrepid, Emily allies herself with the Chicago banker who funds the investigation and who is wracked by guilt for not saving Asta. Driven by secrets of their own, the heroic characters in this magnificent tale will stop at nothing to ensure that Powers is convicted.
Our Take: This historical novel based on a true crime has strong writing but isn’t too fast-paced.
Title: Prodigal Son
Author: Debra Mullins. She is the author of several historical romance novels, including A Necessary Husband.
Genre: Romance, Fantasy
Readers: Stay at home moms Shawna and Sarah L., developmental editor Aryooki.
Summary: Bounty hunter Rafe Montana is a Seer, descended from the fabled Atlanteans. He uses his inherited power to “see” criminals across the globe and track them down, and he’s just started on a new case. Danny Cangialosi is accused of disappearing with a stolen car…but for the first time in his life, when Rafe goes looking, he is unable to “see” him. Instead, his search leads him to Danny’s stubborn, meddling, and verycute stepsister, Cara McGaffigan.
Cara is looking for Danny, too, but not to turn him in. He is her brother, after all, and she’s convinced he has a good heart. If she can just find him before the cops do, she’ll figure out a way to get him out of this. But Cara didn’t count on a scorching-hot bounty hunter getting in her way.
Despite instant chemistry, Rafe and Cara know they’re never going to see eye-to-eye when it comes to Danny. What they don’t know is that Danny didn’t just steal a car—he stole a precious stone, a stone right out of the legends of Atlantis. It holds powers they can only dream of…and its owner wants it back.
Our Take: So it’s not the best writing in the world, our readers agree that they wanted a stronger narrative. And it’s definitely coming from a romance writer, so you should be prepared for out-of-nowhere sex scenes. But our readers thought the concept was good and 2 out of 3 are up for the rest of the books in the series.
Title: Ghost Hawk
Author: Susan Cooper. She is the Newbery Award-winning author of several books for children, including The Dark is Rising series.
Genre: Middle-Grade, Historical Fiction
Readers: Stay-at-home moms Kristi, Shawna and Sarah L., librarian Zoe and professor JoLee.
Summary: On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.
John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.
Our Take: We all love the subject matter, it’s a fascinating look at an often overlooked period of American History. You may want to read it before your kids, or save it for middle-schoolers. A great adventure story, but loses some steam in the 2nd half.