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Book Review: A Broth of Betrayal (Soup Lover's Mystery #2) by Connie Archer

A Broth of Betrayal by Connie Archer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Berkley

Summary:  Even a town called Snowflake, Vermont, has a summer season. In August, Lucky Jamieson’s By the Spoonful serves chilled soups—celery and green onion, cream of asparagus—and salads. The shop also serves as a gathering place to talk about cold-blooded murder… 

A protest to stop the construction of an ugly car wash in the middle of the town’s picturesque Village Green is interrupted by the discovery of a skeleton that may date back to the Revolutionary War. While the remains pose a historical mystery, a present-day murder shakes the town to its core when local auto mechanic Harry Hodges is found dead in his shop. 

Book Review: Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster

Summary:  Who Are You When No One Is Watching?

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. 

In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory. 

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Summary:  One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life. 

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter. 

Book Review: Red Mars (Mars Trilogy #1) by Kim Stanley Robinson

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Spectra

Summary:   In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research & cutting-edge science in the 1st of a trilogy chronicling the colonization of Mars: For eons, sandstorms have swept the desolate landscape. For centuries, Mars has beckoned humans to conquer its hostile climate. Now, in 2026, a group of 100 colonists is about to fulfill that destiny. John Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank Chalmers & Arkady Bogdanov lead a terraforming mission. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage & madness. For others it offers an opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. For the genetic alchemists, it presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life & death. The colonists orbit giant satellite mirrors to reflect light to the surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth. Massive tunnels, kilometers deep, will be drilled into the mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves & friendships will form & fall to pieces--for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.

Book Review: House of Cards (Francis Urquhart #1) by Michael Dobbs

House of Cards by Michael Dobbs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Harper Collins Fontana

Summary:  The bestselling political thriller that introduced the scheming Francis Urguhart - the most memorable politician of the last decade.

Francis Urquhart is Chief Whip. He has his hands on every secret in politics - and is willing to betray them all to become Prime Minister. 

Mattie Storin is a tenacious young political correspondent. She faces the biggest challenge of her life when she stumbles upon a scandalous web of intrigue and financial corruption at the very highest levels. She is determined to reveal the truth, but she must risk everything to do so . . .

Book Review: Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: Atria Books


Summary:  An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

The Winter Palace (Catherine #1) by Eva Stachniak

The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Bantam

Summary:  Her name is Barbara—in Russian, Varvara. Nimble-witted and attentive, she’s allowed into the employ of the Empress Elizabeth, amid the glitter and cruelty of the world’s most eminent court. Under the tutelage of Count Bestuzhev, Chancellor and spymaster, Varvara will be educated in skills from lock picking to lovemaking, learning above all else to listen—and to wait for opportunity. That opportunity arrives in a slender young princess from Zerbst named Sophie, a playful teenager destined to become the indomitable Catherine the Great. Sophie’s destiny at court is to marry the Empress’s nephew, but she has other, loftier, more dangerous ambitions, and she proves to be more guileful than she first appears.

What Sophie needs is an insider at court, a loyal pair of eyes and ears who knows the traps, the conspiracies, and the treacheries that surround her. Varvara will become Sophie’s confidante—and together the two young women will rise to the pinnacle of absolute power. 

Book Review: A Spoonful of Murder (Soup Lover's Mystery #1) by Connie Archer

A Spoonful of Murder by Connie Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Berkley

Summary:  When Lucky Jamieson inherits her parents' soup shop, By the Spoonful, she realizes it's time to take stock of her life. Should she sell her parents' house or move in herself? Does she really want to run a restaurant business? And what about her grandfather Jack, who seems to be showing signs of Alzheimer's?

But her life decisions are moved to the back burner after an icy blonde tourist is found frozen to death behind the soup shop. and Lucky is bowled over when her soup chef, Sage DuBois, is led out of the kitchen by the police. As suspicion and speculations snowball, Lucky decides that the only way to save her employee and her business is to find out herself who iced the tourist--and landed her chef in the soup... 

Book Review: Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) by Agatha Christie

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal

Summary:   Murder at the Vicarage marks the debut of Agatha Christie’s unflappable and much beloved female detective, Miss Jane Marple. With her gift for sniffing out the malevolent side of human nature, Miss Marple is led on her first case to a crime scene at the local vicarage. Colonel Protheroe, the magistrate whom everyone in town hates, has been shot through the head. No one heard the shot. There are no leads. Yet, everyone surrounding the vicarage seems to have a reason to want the Colonel dead. It is a race against the clock as Miss Marple sets out on the twisted trail of the mysterious killer without so much as a bit of help from the local police.

Book Review: Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Orbit

Summary:  Years in the future, dead women in cryogenic dating farms await rich, lonely suitors to resurrect them and take them home. LOVE MINUS EIGHTY follows interconnected lives touched by these dating farms. There's Rob, who accidentally kills a jogger, then sells everything to visit her, seeking her forgiveness but instead falling in love. Veronika, a socially-awkward dating coach, finds herself responsible for the happiness of a man whose life she saved against his will. And Mira, a gay woman accidentally placed in the heterosexual dating center near its inception, desperately seeks a way to reunite with her frozen partner as the centuries pass. In this daring and big-hearted novel based on the Hugo-winning short story, the lovelorn navigate a world in which technology has reached the outer limits of morality and romance.