The Codebreaker’s Secret Spotlight and Excerpt

THE CODEBREAKER’S SECRET

Author: Sara Ackerman

ISBN: 9780778386452

Publication Date: August 2, 2022

Publisher: MIRA Books

Buy Links:

BookShop.org

Harlequin

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Author Website: https://www.ackermanbooks.com/ 

Facebook: @ackermanbooks

Twitter: @AckermanBooks

Instagram: @saraackermanbooks

Author Bio: 

Sara Ackerman is a USA TODAY bestselling author who writes books about love and life, and all of their messy and beautiful imperfections. She believes that the light is just as important as the dark, and that the world is in need of uplifting stories. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and later earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories. Find out more about Sara and her books at http://www.ackermanbooks.com and follow her on Instagram @saraackermanbooks and on FB @ackermanbooks.

Book Summary:

Dual-timeline historical fiction for fans of Chanel Cleeton and Beatriz Williams, THE CODEBREAKER’S SECRET is a story of codebreaking, secrets, murder, romance and longing.

1943 HONOLULU

Cryptanalysist Isabel Cooper manuevers herself into a job at Station Hypo after the attack on Pearl Harbor, determined to make a difference in the war effort and defeat the Japanese Army by breaking their coded transmissions. When the only other female codebreaker at the station goes missing, Isabel suspects it has something to do with Operation Vengeance, which took out a major enemy target, but she can’t prove it. And with the pilot she thought she was falling for reassigned to a different front, Isabel walks away from it all.

1965 MAUNA KEA BEACH HOTEL

Rookie journalist Lucy Medeiras has her foot in the door for her dream job when she lands the assignment to cover the grand opening of Rockefeller’s new hotel–the most expensive ever built. The week of celebrations is attended by celebrities and politicians, but Lucy gets off on the wrong foot with a cranky experienced reporter from New York named Matteo Russi. When a high-profile guest goes missing, and the ensuing search uncovers a decades-old skeleton in the lava fields, the story gets interesting, and Lucy teams up with Matteo to look into it. Something in Matteo’s memory leads them on a hunt that involves a senatorial candidate, old codes from WWII, and Matteo’s old flame, a woman named Isabel.

2

THE CODEBREAKER

Washington, DC, September 1942

There was perhaps no more tedious work in the world. Sitting at a desk all day staring at numbers or letters and looking for patterns. Taking notes and making charts. Thinking until your brain ached. For days and weeks and years on end. The extreme concentration drove some to the bottle, others to madness, and yet others to a quiet greatness that less than ten people in the world might ever know about. You might work for a year on cracking a particular code, only to have nothing to show for it but a tic in your eye and a boil on the back of your thigh. Failure was a given. Accept that and you’d won half the battle.

Isabel sat at her desk staring at a page full of rows and columns of five-letter groups that made no sense whatsoever on this side of the world. But on the other side, in Tokyo where the messages originated, she knew that Japanese officials were discussing war plans. War plans that were on this paper. As her eyes scanned the page, she felt the familiar scratching at the subconscious that meant she was close to seeing some kind of pattern. A prick of excitement traveled up her spine.

Suddenly, a hand waved up and down in front of her face, rudely pulling her out of her thoughts. “Isabel, you gotta put a lid on that noise. No one else can do their jobs,” said Lieutenant Rawlings, her new boss.

She forced a smile. “Sorry, sir, most of the time I’m not aware that I’m doing it. I’m—”

“That may be the case but try harder. I don’t want to lose you.”

Isabel had a tendency to hum during her moments of deepest focus, which had gotten her in trouble with her supervisors over the past year and a half while at Main Navy. In fact, she’d been transferred on more than one occasion due to the distracting nature of it. She’d worked hard to stop it, but when she went into that otherworldly state of mind, where everything slid away and the images moved around in her head of their own accord, the humming kicked back in. It would be like asking her not to breathe.

Lately, the whole team had reached a level of frustration that had turned the air in the room sour. Though they’d had success with the old Red machine, this complex supercipher seemed impossible to break. Faith was draining fast.

With her dress plastered to her back, and sucking on the second salt tablet of the day, Isabel put her head down, scribbling notes on her giant piece of paper. September in Washington burned hotter than a brick oven. Thoughts of her brother, Walt, kept interfering with her ability to stay on task. He would have turned twenty-five years old today. Would have been flying around somewhere in the Pacific about now, shooting down enemy planes, and hooting and hollering when he landed his plane full of bullet holes on the flattop. Walt loved nothing more than the thrill of the chase. Every time she thought of him, a lump formed in her throat and she had to fight back the tears. No one had ever, or ever would, love her more than Walt had.

More than anything, Isabel wanted to get to Hawai‘i and see the spot where his plane plunged into the ocean. To learn more about his final days and hear the story straight from the mouths of his buddies. As if that would somehow make her feel better. She rubbed her eyes. For now, she was stuck here in this hellhole of a building, either sweltering or shivering, depending on what time of year it was.

At 1130, her friend Nora waltzed in from a break, looking as though she’d swallowed the cat. Nora had a way of knowing things before everyone else, and Isabel was lucky enough to be stationed at the desk next to hers.

“Spill the beans, lady,” Isabel said quietly.

Nora glanced around the room, dramatically. “Later.”

Most of the team was still out to lunch, save for a couple of girls across the room, and Rawlings behind the glass in his office.

“No one’s even here, tell me now.”

Nora came over and sat on Isabel’s desk, legs crossed. She picked up a manila folder and began fanning herself, then leaned in. “I’ve heard from a very good source that the brass are tossing around names for the lucky—or unlucky, depending on how you look at it—crypto being sent to Pearl.”

Station Hypo at Pearl Harbor was one of the two main codebreaking units in the Pacific. Nora knew how badly Isabel wanted to be there.

Isabel perked up. “Whose names are being tossed?”

“That, I don’t know.”

“Should I remind Rawlings to remind Feinstein that I’m interested?”

“Absolutely not.”

“It couldn’t hurt, could it?” Isabel said.

“Sorry, love, but those men would just as soon send a polar bear to Hawai‘i as a woman,” Nora said.

“You seem to forget that one of the best codebreakers around is female. And the only reason most of our bosses know anything is because she taught them,” Isabel said, speaking softly. This was the kind of talk that could get you moved to the basement. And Isabel did not do well in basements.

“Neither of us is Agnes Driscoll, so just get it out of your head. And even Agnes is not in Hawai‘i,” Nora whispered.

“There has to be a way.”

“Maybe if you dug up a cache of Japanese codebooks. Or said yes to Captain Smythe,” Nora said with a wink.

Nora and Isabel were a study in opposites. Her short red bob had been curled under and sprayed into place, her lips painted fire-engine red. She had a new man on her arm every weekend and walked around in a cloud of French lilac perfume that permeated their entire floor.

“I have no interest in Captain Smythe,” Isabel said.

Hal Smythe was as dull as they came. At least as far as Isabel was concerned. Intelligent and handsome, but sorely lacking any charisma and the ability to make her laugh—one of her main prerequisites in a man. She had no time to waste on uninteresting men. Or men in general, for that matter. There were codes to be cracked and enemies to be defeated.

“Well, then, you’d better pull off something big,” Nora said.

3

THE CELLAR

Indiana, March 1925

Five-year-old Isabel Cooper had just discovered a fuzzy caterpillar in her backyard, and was bent over inspecting its black-and-yellow pattern when a wall of black blotted the sun from the sky. Always a perceptive child, she looked to the source of the darkness. Clouds had bunched and gathered on the far horizon, the color of gunmetal and cinder and ash. Wind swirled her hair in circles. Isabel ran inside as fast as her scrawny legs would carry her.

“Walter, come look! Something weird is happening to the sky,” she yelled, letting the screen door bang behind her.

Walter had just returned home from school, and was standing in the kitchen with two fistfuls of popcorn and more in his mouth. Mom had gone to the grocery store, and Pa worked late every day at the plant, so it was just the two of them home.

Walter wiped his hands on his worn overalls and followed his sister outside. From a young age, Isabel discovered that Walt, three years older, would do just about anything his younger sister asked. By all accounts he was not your average older brother. He never teased, included her on his ramblings in the woods and never shied to put an arm around her when she needed it. Outside, the wind had picked up considerably, bending the old red oak sideways.

Walt stumbled past her and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, gaping. “Jiminy Christmas!”

Daytime had become night.

“What?” Isabel asked.

“Some kind of bad storm a-brewing. Where’s Lady?” Walt asked, looking around.

Their dog, Lady, had been lounging under the tree when Isabel ran inside, but was now nowhere to be seen. “I don’t know.”

“We better get into the shelter. I don’t like the looks of this.”

“I need Lady.”

The air had been as still as a morning lake, but suddenly a distant boom shook the sky. Moisture collected on their skin, dampening Isabel’s shirt.

“Lady!” they cried.

But Lady didn’t appear.

Walt held up his arm. “See this? My hair is standing up darn near straight. We gotta get under.”

Isabel looked at her arms, which felt tingly and strange. Instead of following her brother to the storm cellar, she ran to the other side of the house.

“Lady!” she yelled again, with a kind of wild desperation that tore at the inside of her throat.

A moment later, Walt scooped her up and tucked her under his arm. “Sorry, but we can’t wait anymore. She’ll have to fend for herself.”

Isabel kicked and punched at the air as they moved toward the cellar. “Put me down!”

Walt ignored her and kept running. His skin was sticky, his breath ragged. They had only used the cellar a couple times for storms, but on occasion Isabel helped her mother change out food supplies. The place gave her the creeps.

“What about Mom? We have to wait for her,” she said.

“Mom will know where to find us.”

In the distance, an eerie whistle rose from the earth. Seconds later, the wind picked up again, this time blowing the tree in the other direction. From the clouds, an ink black thing stuck out below. Walt yanked open the door, threw Isabel inside and fumbled around in the dark for a moment before finding the light. Roots crawled through cracks in the brick walls. They went down the steep stairs, Isabel’s face wet with tears and snot.

“Come, sit with me,” Walt said, pulling her against him on the old bench Pa had built.

Warmth flowed out of him like honey, and she instantly felt better. But then she thought about Lady and her mother, who were out there somewhere. Her whole body started shaking. Soon, a rumble sent vibrations through the wall and into Isabel’s teeth. Too scared to cry, she dug her fingers into Walt’s arm and hung on for dear life. Suddenly, a frantic scratching came from above.

Isabel jumped up, but Walt stopped her. “You stay down here.”

Walt climbed to the top and opened the door. The wind took it and slammed it down hard. A loud barking ensued, and Walt fought with the door again, finally managing to get it open and bring Lady inside. The air possessed a ferocity Isabel had never seen before.

Lady immediately ran down the steps and started licking Isabel’s arms and legs, and spinning in circles at her feet. Isabel hugged the big dog with all her might, burying her face in Lady’s long golden fur. When Walt came back down, the three of them huddled together as a roar louder than a barreling freight train filled their ears. Soon, Lady began panting.

Walt squeezed Isabel’s hand. “It’s okay, we’re safe down here.”

He had to yell to be heard. And then the light went out. Darkness filled every crack and crevice. The earth groaned. The door above rattled so fiercely that she was sure it would fly off at any moment. All Isabel could think about was her mother out there somewhere in this tempest. Soon, her lungs were having a hard time taking air in.

“I can’t breathe,” she finally said.

“It’s just nerves. They act up in times like these.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I had it happen before.”

She took his word for it, because it was hard to talk above the noise of the storm, and because Walt always knew what he was talking about. Then, directly overhead, they heard a sky-splitting crack and a thundering boom. The cellar door sounded ready to cave. Isabel and Walt and Lady moved to the crawl space under the steps. The three of them barely fit, even with Lady in her lap. Lady kissed the tears from Isabel’s face.

Finally, the noise began to recede. When there was no longer any storm sounds, Walt went up the steps with Isabel close behind. He pushed but nothing happened. Pushed again. Still nothing.

“Something must have fallen on it,” he said.

“I have to pee.”

“You’re going to have to wait.”

“I can’t wait.”

Walt banged away on the door with no luck. “Then I guess you have to go in your pants. Sorry, sis.”

Isabel began to grow sure that this was where they would live out the rest of their short lives. That no one had survived the apocalypse outside and they would be left to rot with the earthworms, roots growing through their bodies until they’d been reduced to dirt. Her whole body trembled as Walt spoke consoling words and rubbed her back.

“They’ll find us soon, don’t you fret.”

Lady licked her hand, but Isabel was beyond words, shivering and gulping for air. Every now and then Walt went up to try to push the doors again, but each time, nothing happened. She vowed to herself that she would never, ever be trapped underground again. She’d take her chances with a twister over being entombed any day.

It was more than an hour before someone came to get them. An hour of dark thoughts and silence. In the distance they heard voices, and eventually a pounding on the cellar door. “Are you three in there? It’s Pa,” said a voice.

“Pa!” they both cried.

“We got a big tree down on the door up here. Hang tight, I’ll get you out soon.”

When the doors finally opened, a blinding light shone in. Pa reached his hand in and pulled them out, wrapping them in the biggest hug they’d ever had. Never mind that the old truck was upside down and one side of the house missing.

“Where’s your mother?” Pa said.

“She went to the store,” Walt said.

Pa’s face dropped clear to the ground. “Which store did she say she was goin’ to?”

“She didn’t say, but she left just as soon as I got home from school,” Walt said.

Only half listening, Isabel spun around in disbelief at the chaos of branches and splintered wood and car parts and things that didn’t belong in the yard. Sink. Baby carriage. Bookshelf. It appeared as though the edge of the tornado had gone right over their place, leaving half the house intact, and obliterating the rest.

“Son, stay here with your sister. And stay out of the house until I get back. It might be unstable,” Pa said, running off to his car.

“Mom will be okay, won’t she? The store is safe, isn’t it?” Isabel asked.

“Sure she will. Pa will be back with her soon,” Walt said.

They wandered around the yard, dazed. This far out on the country road, the nearest neighbor, old Mr. Owens, was a mile away. Drained, Isabel sat down and pulled Lady in for a hug. Pa didn’t return for a long time, and when he did, they could tell right away that something was wrong. His eyes were rimmed in red, like he had been crying. And Pa never cried.

“Kids, your mom isn’t coming back.”

That was the first time Isabel Cooper lost the most important person in her life.

Excerpted from The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman. Copyright © 2022 by Sara Ackerman. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

The German Wife Spotlight and Excerpt

The German Wife : A Novel 

Kelly Rimmer

On Sale Date: June 28, 2022

9781525811432

Trade Paperback

$17.99 USD

464 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The enmity between two women from opposing sides of the war culminates in a shocking event as anti-German sentiment sweeps America, when the aristocratic wife of a German scientist must face the social isolation, hostility and violence leveled against her and her family when they’re forced to relocate to Alabama in the aftermath of WWII. For fans of Beatriz Wiliams, Pam Jenoff, and Kristin Harmel.

Berlin, 1934—Ilse Meyer is the aristocratic wife of a scientist whose post-WWI fortunes change for the better when her husband, Jurgen, is recruited for Hitler’s new rocket program. Although Ilse and Jurgen do not share the popular political views rising in Germany, Jurgen’s new job forces them to consider what they must sacrifice morally for their financial security. But too late they realize the Nazi’s plans to weaponize Jurgen’s technology as they begin to wage war against the rest of Europe.

Huntsville, Alabama, 1949—Jurgen is one of hundreds of Nazi scientists offered pardons and taken to the US to work for the CIA’s fledgling space program. Ilse, now the mother of four, misses Germany terribly and struggles to fit in among the other NASA wives, who look upon her with suspicion. In a moment of loneliness, she confesses to a neighbor, Rachel Carlson, about Jurgen’s membership in the SS and her resentment for being forced to live in a country that will always see her as the enemy. What she doesn’t know is that she has trusted the wrong neighbor.

When the scandalous news about the Meyer family’s affiliation with the Nazi party spreads, idle gossip turns to bitter rage, and the act of violence that results will tear apart a community and a family before the truth is finally revealed—but is it murder, revenge or justice?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, The Things We Cannot Say, and Truths I Never Told You. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Please visit her at https://www.kellyrimmer.com/

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://www.kellyrimmer.com/

Facebook: @Kellymrimmer

Twitter: @KelRimmerWrites

Instagram: @kelrimmerwrites

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-german-wife-9781525899904/9781525899904 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525811432 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-german-wife-kelly-rimmer/1139609914?ean=9781525811432  

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09FGT2V4F/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i4 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-german-wife-a-novel/9781525804830-item.html?ikwidx=1&ikwsec=Books#algoliaQueryId=bcb8245f4a6a5bf65037b28607513004

Excerpt:

1

Sofie

Huntsville, Alabama 1950

“WAKE UP, GISELA,” I MURMURED, GENTLY SHAKing my daughter awake. “It’s time to see Papa.”

After the better part of a day on a stuffy, hot bus, I was so tired my eyes were burning, my skin gritty with dried sweat from head to toe. I had one sleeping child on my lap and the other leaning into me as she sprawled across the seat. After three long weeks of boats and trains and buses, my long journey from Berlin to Alabama was finally at an end.

My youngest daughter had always been smaller than her peers, her body round and soft, with a head of auburn hair like mine, and my husband’s bright blue eyes. Over the last few months, a sudden growth spurt transformed her. She was now taller than me. The childhood softness had stretched right out of her, leaving her rail thin and lanky.

Gisela stirred, then slowly pushed herself to a sitting position. Her eyes scanned along the aisle of the bus as if she were reorienting herself. Finally, cautiously, she turned to look out the window.

“Mama. It really doesn’t look like much…”

We were driving down a wide main street lined with small stores and restaurants. So far, Huntsville looked about as I’d expected it would—neat, tidy…segregated.

Minnie’s Salon. Whites Only.

Seamstress for Colored.

Ada’s Café. The Best Pancakes in Town. Whites ONLY!

When I decided to make the journey to join my husband in America, segregation was one of a million worries I consciously put off for later. Now, faced with the stark reality of it, I dreaded the discussions I’d be having with my children once we had enough rest for productive conversation. They needed to understand exactly why those signs sent ice through my veins.

“Papa did tell us that this is a small town, remember?” I said gently. “There are only fifteen thousand people in Huntsville and it will be very different from Berlin, but we can build a good life here. And most importantly, we’ll be together again.”

“Not all of us,” Gisela muttered.

“No, not all of us,” I conceded quietly. Loss was like a shadow to me. Every now and again, I’d get distracted and I’d forget it was there. Then I’d turn around and feel the shock of it all over again. It was the same for my children, especially for Gisela. Every year of her life had been impacted by the horrors of war, or by grief and change.

I couldn’t dwell on that—not now. I was about to see my husband for the first time in almost five years and I was every bit as anxious as I was excited. I had second-guessed my decision to join him in the United States a million or more times since I shepherded the children onto that first bus in Berlin, bound for the port in Hamburg where we boarded the cross-Atlantic steamship.

I looked down at my son. Felix woke when I shook his sister, but was still sitting on my lap, pale and silent. He had a head of sandy curls and his father’s curious mind. Until now, they’d never been on the same continent.

The first thing I noticed was that Jürgen looked different. It was almost summer and warm out, but he was wearing a light blue suit with a white shirt and a dark blue bow tie. Back home, he never wore a suit that color and he never would have opted for a bow tie. And instead of his customary silver-framed glasses, he was wearing a pair with thick black plastic frames. They were modern and suited him. Of course he had new glasses—five years had passed. Why was I so bothered by those frames?

I couldn’t blame him if he reinvented himself, but what if this new version of Jürgen didn’t love me, or was someone I couldn’t continue to love?

He took a step forward as we shuffled off the bus but didn’t even manage a second before Gisela ran to him and threw her arms around his neck.

“Treasure,” he said, voice thick with emotion. “You’ve grown up so much.”

There was a faint but noticeable American twang in his German words, which was as jarring as the new glasses.

Jürgen’s gaze settled on Felix, who was holding my hand with a grip so tight my fingers throbbed. I felt anxious for both children but I was scared for Felix. We’d moved halfway across the world to a country I feared would be wary of us at best, maybe even hostile toward us. For Gisela and me, a reunion with Jürgen was enough reason to take that risk. But Felix was nervous around strangers at the best of times, and he knew his father only through anecdotes and photographs.

“Felix,” Jürgen said, keeping one arm around Gisela as he started to walk toward us. I could see that he was trying to remain composed, but his eyes shone. “Son…”

Felix gave a whimper of alarm and hid behind my legs.

“Give him time,” I said quietly, reaching behind myself to touch Felix’s hair. “He’s tired and this is a lot to take in.”

“He looks just like—” Jürgen’s voice broke. I knew the struggle well. It hurt to name our grief, but it was important to do so anyway. Our son Georg should have been twenty years old, living out the best days of his life. Instead, he was another casualty of a war that the world would never make sense of. But I came to realize that Georg would always be a part of our family, and every time I found the strength to speak his name, he was brought to life, at least in my memories.

“I know,” I said. “Felix looks just like Georg.” It was fitting that I’d chosen Georg for Felix’s middle name, a nod to the brother he’d never know.

Jürgen raised his gaze to mine and I saw the depth of my grief reflected in his. No one would ever understand my loss like he did.

I realized that our years apart meant unfathomable changes in the world and in each of us, but my connection with Jürgen would never change. It already survived the impossible. At this thought, I rushed to close the distance between us.

Gisela was gently shuffled to the side and Jürgen’s arms were finally around me again. I thought I’d be dignified and cautious when we reunited, but the minute we touched, my eyes filled with tears as relief and joy washed over me in cascading waves.

I was on the wrong side of the world in a country I did not trust, but I was also back in Jürgen’s arms, and I was instantly at home.

“My God,” Jürgen whispered roughly, his body trembling against mine. “You are a sight for sore eyes, Sofie von Meyer Rhodes.”

“Promise me you’ll never let me go again.”

Jürgen was a scientist—endlessly literal, at least under normal circumstances. Once upon a time, he’d have pointed out all the reasons why such a promise could not be made in good faith—but now his arms contracted around me and he whispered into my hair, “It would kill me to do so, Sofie. If there’s one thing I want for the rest of my life, it’s to spend every day of it with you.”

“Many of our neighbors are Germans—most have just arrived in Huntsville in the last few weeks or months, so you will all be settling in together. There’s a party for us tomorrow at the base where I work, so you’ll meet most of them then,” Jürgen told me as he drove us through the town in his sleek black 1949 Ford. He glanced at the children in the rearview mirror, his expression one of wonder, as if he couldn’t believe his eyes. “You’ll like it here, I promise.”

We’d be living in a leafy, quiet suburb called Maple Hill, on a small block the Americans nicknamed “Sauerkraut Hill” because it was now home to a cluster of German families. I translated the street signs for the children and they chuckled at the unfamiliar style. Our new street, Beetle Avenue, amused Gisela the most.

“Is there an insect plague we should worry about?” she chuckled.

“I really hope so,” Felix whispered, so quietly I had to strain to hear him. “I like beetles.”

As Jürgen pulled the car into the driveway, I couldn’t help but compare the simple house to the palatial homes I’d grown up in. This was a single-story dwelling, with a small porch leading to the front door, one window on either side. The house was clad in horizontal paneling, its white paint peeling. There were garden beds in front of the house, but they were overgrown with weeds. There was no lawn to speak of, only patchy grass in places, and the concrete path from the road to the porch was cracked and uneven.

I felt Jürgen’s eyes on my face as I stared out through the windshield, taking it all in.

“It needs a little work,” he conceded, suddenly uncertain. “It’s been so busy since I moved here, I haven’t had time to make it nice for you the way I hoped.”

“It’s perfect,” I said. I could easily picture the house with a fresh coat of paint, gardens bursting to life, Gisela and Felix running around, happy and safe and free as they made friends with the neighborhood children.

Just then, a woman emerged from the house to the left of ours, wearing a dress not unlike mine, her long hair in a thick braid, just like mine.

“Welcome, neighbors!” she called in German, beaming.

“This is Claudia Schmidt,” Jürgen said quietly as he reached to open his car door. “She’s married to Klaus, a chemical engineer. Klaus has been at Fort Bliss with me for a few years, but Claudia arrived from Frankfurt a few days ago.”

Sudden, sickening anxiety washed over me.

“Did you know him—”

“No,” Jürgen interrupted me, reading my distress. “He worked in a plant at Frankfurt and our paths never crossed. We will talk later, I promise,” he said, dropping his voice as he nodded toward the children. I reluctantly nodded, as my heart continued to race.

There was so much Jürgen and I needed to discuss, including just how he came to be a free man in America. Phone calls from Europe to America were not available to the general public, so Jürgen and I planned the move via letters—a slow-motion, careful conversation that took almost two years to finalize. We assumed everything we wrote down would be read by a government official, so I hadn’t asked and he hadn’t offered an explanation about how this unlikely arrangement in America came to be.

I couldn’t get answers yet, not with the children in earshot, so it would have to be enough reassurance for me to know our neighbors were probably not privy to the worst aspects of our past.

Jürgen left the car and walked over to greet Claudia, and I climbed out my side. As I walked around the car to follow him, I noticed a man walking along the opposite side of the street, watching us. He was tall and broad, and dressed in a nondescript, light brown uniform that was at least a size or two too small. I offered him a wave, assuming him to be a German neighbor, but he scoffed and shook his head in disgust and looked away.

I’d been prepared for some hostility, but the man’s reaction stung more than I’d expected it to. I took a breath, calming myself. One unfriendly pedestrian was not going to ruin my first day in our new home—my first day reunited with Jürgen—so I forced a bright smile and rounded the car to meet Claudia.

“I’m Sofie.”

She nodded enthusiastically. “Since we arrived last week, you are all I’ve heard about from your husband! He has been so excited for you to come.”

“I sure have.” Jürgen grinned.

“Are you and the children coming to the party tomorrow?” Claudia asked.

“We are,” I said, and she beamed again. I liked her immediately. It was a relief to think I might have a friend to help me navigate our new life.

“Us too,” Claudia said, but then her face fell a little and she pressed her palms against her abdomen, as if soothing a tender stomach. “I am so nervous. I know two English words—hello and soda.”

“That’s a start,” I offered, laughing softly.

“I’ve only met a few of the other wives, but they’re all in the same boat. How on earth is this party going to work? Will we have to stay by our husbands’ sides so they can translate for us?”

“I speak English,” I told her. I was fluent as a child, taking lessons with British nannies, then honing my skills on business trips with my parents. Into my adulthood, I grew rusty from lack of speaking it, but the influx of American soldiers in Berlin after the war gave me endless opportunities for practice. Claudia’s expression lifted again and now she clapped her hands in front of her chest.

“You can help us learn.”

“Do you have children? I want Gisela and Felix to learn as quickly as they can. Perhaps we could do some lessons all together.”

“Three,” she told me. “They are inside watching television.”

“You have a television?” I said, eyebrows lifting.

“We have a television too,” Jürgen told us. “I bought it as a housewarming gift for you all.” Gisela gasped, and he laughed and extended his hand to her. I wasn’t surprised when she immediately tugged him toward the front door. She’d long dreamed of owning a television set, but such a luxury was out of reach for us in Berlin.

I waved goodbye to Claudia and followed my family, but I was distracted, thinking about the look of disgust in the eyes of that passing man.

Excerpted from The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer, Copyright © 2022 by Lantana Management Pty, Ltd. Published by Graydon House Books. 

 

Time Loop/Breaking Books

Hey Bookies! I like a book that has a weird time loop or time skip element in it. It’s weird, but give me a Rip Van Winkle-esque or Groundhog day-esque book and I’m a happy camper =). Here’s some books for you if you like the same wibbly wobbly timey wimey elements this Groundhog’s Day!

Your Life Has Been Delayed

Jenny Waters boards her flight in 1995, but when she lands, she and the other passengers are told they disappeared . . . 25 years ago. Everyone thought they were dead.

Now contending with her family and friends fast-forwarding decades, Jenny must quickly adjust to smartphones and social media while being the biggest story to hit the internet. She feels betrayed by her once-best friend and fights her attraction to a cute boy with an uncomfortable connection to her past. Meanwhile, there’s a growing group of conspiracy theorists determined to prove the whole situation is a hoax. Will Jenny figure out how to move forward, or will she always be stuck in the past?

Class of 1983 by Victoria Maxwell

When Magz finds an old key in a dusty old high school yearbook, she hardly expects it to open up a time travel portal in the school’s book room that sends her back in time to 1983.

But she soon finds out that time travelling is not all record shopping, pizza parties and puffy prom dresses.

Falling head over vintage heels in love with Sammy Ruthven, the raddest guy in the class of 1983, Magz must find a way to change his future if she has any chance of being with him in the past.

But can you really change destiny? And what if your destiny has already happened? How do you change it then?

Like a Twilight versus Back to the Future dance off directed by John Hughes, Class of 1983 is Victoria Maxwell’s debut Young Adult novel about escaping persecution, falling in first love, friendship, destiny and free will.

Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch
Jillian Westfield has the perfect suburban life straight out of the upscale women’s magazines that she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple, and the elaborate Easter egg hunts seen in Parents. With her successful investment banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-month-old in the backseat, hers could be the family in the magazines’ glossy Range Rover ads.

Yet somehow all of the how-to magazine stories in the world can’t seem to fix her faltering marriage, banish the tedium of days spent changing diapers, or stop her from asking, “What if?”

Then one morning Jillian wakes up seven years in the past. Before her daughter was born. Before she married Henry. Suddenly she’s back in her post–grad school Ikea-furnished Manhattan apartment. She’s back in her fast-paced job with the advertising agency. And she’s still with Jackson, the ex-boyfriend and star of her what-if fantasies.

Armed with twenty-twenty hindsight, she’s free to choose all over again. She can use the zippy ad campaigns from her future to wow the clients and bosses in her present. She can reconnect with the mother who abandoned her so many years before. She can fix the fights at every juncture that doomed her relationship with Jackson. Or can she?

With each new choice setting off a trajectory of unforeseen consequences, Jillian soon realizes that getting to happily ever after is more complicated than changing the lines in her part of the script. Happiness, it turns out, isn’t an either-or proposition. As she closes in on all the things she thought she wanted, Jillian must confront the greatest what-if of all: What if the problem was never Henry or Jackson, but her?
Down World by Rebecca Phelps
As the site of a former military base, there have always been rumors that East Township High School was the site of experiments with space and time. For years, students have whispered in the hallways of a doorway created within the school, one that can access multiple timelines and realities, a place known as the Down World.

As the new kid in school and still reeling from the unexplained death of her brother Robbie, Marina O’Connell is only interested in one thing: leaving the past behind. But a chance encounter with handsome Brady Picelli changes everything. He will lead Marina to a startling discovery. The Down World is real and the past, present, and future are falling out of balance.

Brady is determined to help Marina discover what really happened to her brother. However, what is taken from one world, must be repaid by another. And Marina is about to discover that even a realm of infinite possibilities has rules that must be obeyed.
Before I Fall

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is … until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Kindred

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity. Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given…

11 Birthdays (Willow Falls, #1)

GROUNDHOG DAY meets FLIPPED in this tale of a girl stuck in her birthday.

It’s Amanda’s 11th birthday and she is super excited — after all, 11 is so different from 10. But from the start, everything goes wrong. The worst part of it all is that she and her best friend, Leo, with whom she’s shared every birthday, are on the outs and this will be the first birthday they haven’t shared together. When Amanda turns in for the night, glad to have her birthday behind her, she wakes up happy for a new day. Or is it? Her birthday seems to be repeating iself. What is going on?! And how can she fix it? Only time, friendship, and a little luck will tell. . .

A Week of Mondays

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

The Loop

Ben and Maggie have met, fallen in love, and died together countless times. Over the course of two pivotal days—both the best and worst of their lives—they struggle again and again to resist the pull of fate and the force of time itself. With each failure, they return to the beginning of their end, a wild road trip that brings them to the scene of their own murders and into the hands of the man destined to kill them.

As time circles back on itself, events become more deeply ingrained, more inescapable for the two kids trapped inside the loop. The closer they come to breaking out, the tighter fate’s clutches seem to grip them. They devise a desperate plan to break free and survive the days ahead, but what if Ben and Maggie’s only shot at not dying is surviving apart?

Neverworld Wake

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim – their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend – changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft – the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world – hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death.

But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions.

Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers… and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake.

Rules for Vanishing

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side.

Recursion

That’s what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.

That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.

As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.

But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?

Pretty in Punxsutawney

A Groundhog Day meets Pretty in Pink mashup from author Laurie Boyle Crompton, Pretty in Punxsutawney tells the tale of a girl willing to look beneath the surface to see people for who they really are.

Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say…after it’s too late to say it. She’s addicted to romance movies—okay, all movies—but has yet to experience her first kiss. After a move to Punxsutawney, PA, for her senior year, she gets caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, reliving those 24 hours again and again.

Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings.

See You Yesterday

Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room.

The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone—he’s been trapped for months.

When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?

One Last Stop

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

This Is How You Lose the Time War

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

In a Holidaze

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy, #1)
Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended – and rather eccentric – family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesley. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century…
The Time Machine
“I’ve had a most amazing time….”

So begins the Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era—and the story that launched H.G. Wells’s successful career and earned him his reputation as the father of science fiction. With a speculative leap that still fires the imagination, Wells sends his brave explorer to face a future burdened with our greatest hopes…and our darkest fears. A pull of the Time Machine’s lever propels him to the age of a slowly dying Earth.  There he discovers two bizarre races—the ethereal Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks—who not only symbolize the duality of human nature, but offer a terrifying portrait of the men of tomorrow as well.  Published in 1895, this masterpiece of invention captivated readers on the threshold of a new century. Thanks to Wells’s expert storytelling and provocative insight, The Time Machine will continue to enthrall readers for generations to come.
11/22/63
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? Stephen King’s heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination—a thousand page tour de force. Following his massively successful novel Under the Dome, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong: the JFK assassination. And he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
Now, Then, and Everywhen (Chronos Origins #1)
When two time-traveling historians cross paths during one of the most tumultuous decades of the twentieth century, history goes helter-skelter. But which one broke the timeline?

In 2136 Madison Grace uncovers a key to the origins of CHRONOS, a time-travel agency with ties to her family’s mysterious past. Just as she is starting to jump through history, she returns to her timeline to find millions of lives erased—and only the people inside her house realize anything has changed.

In 2304 CHRONOS historian Tyson Reyes is assigned to observe the crucial events that played out in America’s civil rights movement. But a massive time shift occurs while he’s in 1965, and suddenly the history he sees isn’t the history he knows.

As Madi’s and Tyson’s journeys collide, they must prevent the past from being erased forever. But strange forces are at work. Are Madi and Tyson in control or merely pawns in someone else’s game?
Back To You

Searching for history’s greatest pastrami on rye, Chris arrives from 1,000 years in the future and hides his time machine in an alley. But Eddie sees through the disguise, takes an unexpected ride, and demonstrates it to his boss at a failing cable TV network. Through a series of adventures, the time machine becomes damaged, friends become stranded, and history gets changed in many ways—some dangerous, all humorous. Two romances—one quite unconventional—blossom along the way. Back to You is a hilarious science fiction romp in the tradition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The Time Traveler's Wife
A funny, often poignant tale of boy meets girl with a twist: what if one of them couldn’t stop slipping in and out of time? Highly original and imaginative, this debut novel raises questions about life, love, and the effects of time on relationships.

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.
Here and Now and Then
To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere—and any-when…

Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in I.T., trying to keep the spark in his marriage, and struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.

Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.

Their mission: return Kin to 2142 where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.

Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.

A uniquely emotional genre-bending debut, Here and Now and Then captures the perfect balance of heart, playfulness, and imagination, offering an intimate glimpse into the crevices of a father’s heart, and its capacity to stretch across both space and time to protect the people that mean the most.
The Time Bubble (The Time Bubble #1)

Charlie and Josh’s interests were the same as most other teenagers: drinking, parties and girls. That was until the day they discovered The Time Bubble. It starts at a bit of fun, jumping a few seconds into the future. Soon things take a more serious turn as the leaps in time increase in duration. When a teenage girl goes missing and the police become involved, suspicion falls on Charlie. How can he explain where she is? Will anyone believe him?

Set in a small market town in Southern England in the early 21st century, this light-hearted time travel novel has plenty to delight readers of all ages. It is the first part of a series which continues with Global Cooling.

Timebound (The Chronos Files #1)

When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence.

Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and Kate’s genetic ability to time-travel makes her the only one who can stop him. Risking everything, she travels to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the killing and the chain of events that follows.

Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost, however—if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does she have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)

It was a dark and stormy night.

Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure—one that will threaten their lives and our universe.

Winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in Madeleine L’Engle’s classic Time Quintet. 

Books for Dog Lovers

Hey Bookies! Recently I read this book by Casey Griffin called Falling for the Underdog and I absolutely loved it for many reasons, but the most important was the importance of dogs in the book. I loved that aspect so much that I decided to do a short list of books for dog lovers.

Falling for the Underdog (A Rescue Dog Romance #2)
She dreams of Prince Charming. He’s seriously rough around the edges. Can they collar a dognapper and steal each other’s hearts?Addison Turner has her entire fairytale life planned out. But just as the dachshund lover is about to hit it big with her doggie grooming and fashion line, thieves snatch her valuable four-legged clients right from under her nose. And to her disgust, the only one who knows the show scene enough to help is the infuriatingly hot bartender who turns her down cold.
Cocktail-slinger extraordinaire Felix Vaughn longs to open his own bar. So when he gets a gig at a high-society tail-wagging event, he thinks his gravy train has arrived and isn’t about to involve himself with a suspected thief. But when more pooches get pinched and he’s fingered for the crime, he reluctantly teams up with the fluffy prima donna to find the pups and split the reward.
With her reputation on the line, Addison doggedly follows the clues, afraid she’s falling for a mutt. And as their chemistry reaches a boiling point, Felix reveals exactly how much of his heart he stands to lose…
Will they both end up in the doghouse, or will their love win Best in Show?
Paws off the Boss (A Rescue Dog Romance #1)
She’s in the doghouse. He’s in the penthouse. When their worlds collide, can their lonely hearts become one?

Aspiring veterinarian Piper Summers has worked herself to the bone to graduate. But after she loses two of her three jobs, Piper worries she and her dachshund will be tossed out on the street. So when a hunky, cash-rich CEO offers her a lucrative gig as his dog walker, she swallows her pride and takes the position.

Billionaire Aiden Caldwell buried his fun behind a firm handshake and a sharp suit. But when the fetching woman of his dreams accidentally mauls him, he’s determined to break his leash and retrieve her heart. And after hiring her to walk his rescue hound, he’s willing to jump through every hoop to win her affection.

Though Piper is falling head over tail with Aiden, when her precious rescue center is vandalized and the wealthy man offers help, she fears he only sees her as a charity case. And as Aiden tries to prove his intentions are true, he struggles when business and pleasure start to blur into a serious case of puppy love.

Can they shed all their doubts and let passion bark up the perfect tree?
OFF THE LEASH is a group portrait of dog people, specifically the strange, wonderful, neurotic, and eccentric dog people who gather at Amory Park, overlooking Boston near Fenway Park. And it’s about author Matthew Gilbert’s transformation, after much fear and loathing of dogs and social groups, into one of those dog people with fur on their jackets, squeaky toys in their hands, and biscuits in their pockets.
Gilbert, longtime TV critic at The Boston Globe, describes his reluctant trip into the dog park subculture, as the first-time owner of a stubbornly social Yellow Lab puppy named Toby. Like many Americans, he was happily accustomed to the safe distance of TV viewing and cell-phone web surfing, tethered to the digital leash. But the headstrong, play-obsessed Toby pulls him to Amory, and Amory becomes an exhilarating dose of presence for him. The joyous chaos of wrestling dogs and the park’s cast of offbeat dog owners – the “pack of freaks” – gradually draw him into the here and now. At the dog park, the dog owners go off the leash, too.
Dog-park life can be tense. When dogs fight, their owners – such as the reckless Charlotte – bare their teeth at each other, too. Amid the rollicking dog play, feelings tend to surface faster, unedited. But Gilbert shows how Amory is an idyllic microcosm, too, the home of enduring friendships and, as the droll but vulnerable Hayley knows, romantic crushes. Meeting daily, a gathering of dog owners can be like group therapy, or The Office, or a standup concert.
As a TV critic, Matthew Gilbert is well-known by his readership for his humorous and wry writing style. A charming narrative that will appeal to anyone who has ever enjoyed watching a puppy scamper through a park, OFF THE LEASH is a paean to dog lovers and their pets everywhere, perfect for fans of Marley & Me and Merle’s Door.
Travels with Charley in Search of America by [John Steinbeck, Parini, Jay]
In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.
 
His course took him through almost forty states: northward from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana (with which he fell in love), and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to the vast hospitality of Texas, to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation; finally, on the last leg, through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York.
In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen–one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue–ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy’s charms, and decided to take him home.

Heartwarming and redemptive, Oogy is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him “Oogy” (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.
Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read aloud and the comforting clicking of a keyboard. Although Teddy understands words, Sylvan always told him there are only two kinds of people in the world who can hear Teddy speak: poets and children.
Then one day Teddy learns that Sylvan was right. When Teddy finds Nickel and Flora trapped in a snowstorm, he tells them that he will bring them home—and they understand him. The children are afraid of the howling wind, but not of Teddy’s words. They follow him to a cabin in the woods, where the dog used to live with Sylvan . . . only now his owner is gone.
As they hole up in the cabin for shelter, Teddy is flooded with memories of Sylvan. What will Teddy do when his new friends go home? Can they help one another find what they have lost?
The stubbornly hilarious Lulu has decided it’s time to buckle down and earn some cash. How else can she save up enough money to buy the very special thing that she is ALWAYS and FOREVER going to want? After some failed attempts at lucrative gigs (baking cookies, spying, reading to old people), dog walking seems like a sensible choice. But Brutus, Pookie, and Cordelia are not interested in making the job easy, and the infuriatingly helpful neighborhood goody-goody, Fleischman, has Lulu at the end of her rope. And with three wild dogs at the other end, Lulu’s patience is severely tested. Will she ever make a friend—or the money she needs?
Blah! Mr. Raisin is a bit of a grump. He lives all alone in a little house, and he likes it that way just fine.

One day, a mysterious basket appears on Mr. Raisin’s doorstep. When he opens it up, it seems there’s nothing inside . . . until he notices a floating dog bobbing along his ceiling.

What follows is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about embracing the unexpected―and finding friendship that takes you to new heights, in John Himmelman’s Floaty.
Duke, Actually
Maximillian von Hansburg, Baron of Laudon and heir to the Duke of Aquilla, is trapped. Under pressure from his domineering father, he must marry a suitable bride before he inherits a title that feels like a prison sentence. In New York to meet a prospective wife, he ditches his responsibilities and appears on Dani Martinez’s doorstep. He’s been intrigued by the no-nonsense professor since he met her at the Eldovian royal wedding and is determined to befriend her.

Newly single Dani is done with love—she even has a list entitled “Things I Will Never Again Do for a Man”—which is why she hits it off with notorious rake Max. He’s trying to escape relationships, and she’s resolved to avoid them at all costs. All they want from each other is friendship and a distraction from their messy lives.

As their bond begins to deepen, so does their attraction, until they end up in bed together. Falling in love was never part of the plan—Max’s family doesn’t see Dani as a perfect match, even as his heart tells him she’s the one, and Dani isn’t sure she can make it in Max’s world. Can they find the courage to live they life they desire, even if it means risking everything?
I Hate You More
Ruby Taylor gave up pageant life the day she turned eighteen and figured she’d never look back. But when an old friend begs her to show her beloved Golden Retriever at the upcoming Canine Classic, Ruby reluctantly straps on her heels and gets to work.

If only she knew exactly what the adorably lazy lump of a dog was getting her into.

If there’s one thing veterinarian Spencer Wilson knows in this world, it’s dogs. Human beings are an entirely different animal. Especially stubborn, gorgeous women clearly in way over their heads. As judge for the local dog show, Spencer advises Ruby to quit while she still can, but her old fervor for winning has returned―and she wants to show the stern, broody-eyed judge that she’s more than just a pretty face. In the end, she’ll show him who’s best in show.
Seven Perfect Things
Thirteen-year-old Abby Hubble lives in an unhappy home in the Sierra Nevada foothills where her father makes life miserable for her and her mother, Mary. One day Abby witnesses a man dump a litter of puppies into the nearby river. Diving in to rescue all seven, she knows she won’t be able to bring them home. Afraid for their fate at the pound, she takes them to an abandoned cabin, where all she can offer is a promise that she’ll be back the next day.

To grieving widower Elliot Colvin, life has lost meaning. Looking for solace, he retreats to the hunting cabin he last visited years ago, before his wife’s illness. What he discovers is not at all what he expected: seven puppies and one determined girl with an indomitable heart.

As Abby and Elliot’s friendship deepens, Abby imagines how much better her life—and the puppies’ lives—would be if her mother were married to Elliot instead of her father. But when Abby’s father moves the family hundreds of miles away, Abby and her mother must decide how long they’re willing to defer happiness.

Seven Perfect Things is a story about joy, where to find it, how to know it when you see it, and the courage it takes to hang on to it once you have it.
Best in Snow (Andy Carpenter, #24)
In this Christmas mystery, lawyer Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever, Tara, are on the beat after a body turns up in the snow and a journalist is the prime suspect.

Christmas has come early to the town of Paterson, New Jersey, in the form of a snowstorm that dumps two feet of snow on the ground. Lawyer Andy Carpenter likes snow – white Christmas and all that – but it can cause problems for the walks he takes his dogs on every day.

When Andy’s golden retriever, Tara, goes to play in the snow and instead discovers a body, Andy ends up on the phone with the local newspaper editor. The murder victim is Mayor Alex Oliva, who had an infamous relationship with the newspaper. Last year a young reporter published an expose, and Oliva had him fired for libel. Now, the young reporter – and prime suspect – is in need of a lawyer.

Andy agrees to take the case, though it’s not looking good this holiday season. The evidence is piling up faster than the snow in Best in Snow, the next Christmas mystery in the bestselling Andy Carpenter series from David Rosenfelt.
A Spot of Trouble
Violet March and Sam Nash are as different as night and day and have been enemies ever since Violet accused Sam of dognapping her beloved Dalmatian. Sam knows that’s impossible—for one thing, his dog Cinder is a well-trained fire safety dog who never steps out of line. Violet’s dog Sprinkles, on the other hand, has never met a command that she didn’t ignore completely, much like her bubbly owner. So when Sprinkles and Cinder accidentally switch places during the annual police vs. fire department softball tournament, Violet is thrilled by her dog’s sudden perfect behavior, while stubborn-yet-charming Sam is horrified to find that his dog no longer listens.

But when the dogs are eventually switched back, Sam and Violet are shocked to find that not everything is as simple as it seems. And a little puppy love might be just the thing they’ve been missing…
Kristy and the Snobs

Kristy’s mom got remarried and their family moved to the ritzy neighborhood across town. The other members of The Baby-sitters Club think it’s a good opportunity to get some new business, but the kids who live nearby aren’t very friendly. They criticize Kristy’s clothes and make fun of the BSC. And, worst of all, they laugh at Louie, Kristy’s pet collie, who’s getting old and not feeling well. These kids are total snobs! But if anyone can put them in their place, it’s The Baby-sitters Club!

Allergic: A Graphic Novel
At home, Maggie is the odd one out. Her parents are preoccupied with getting ready for a new baby, and her younger brothers are twins and always in their own world. Maggie loves animals and thinks a new puppy to call her own is the answer, but when she goes to select one on her birthday, she breaks out in hives and rashes. She’s severely allergic to anything with fur!

Can Maggie outsmart her allergies and find the perfect pet? With illustrations by Michelle Mee Nutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd uses inspiration from her own experiences with allergies to tell a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and finding a place to belong.
Separation Anxiety
Judy never intended to start wearing the dog. But when she stumbled across her son Teddy’s old baby sling during a halfhearted basement cleaning, something in her snapped. So: the dog went into the sling, Judy felt connected to another living being, and she’s repeated the process every day since.

Life hasn’t gone according to Judy’s plan. Her career as a children’s book author offered a glimpse of success before taking an embarrassing nose dive. Teddy, now a teenager, treats her with some combination of mortification and indifference. Her best friend is dying. And her husband, Gary, has become a pot-addled professional “snackologist” who she can’t afford to divorce. On top of it all, she has a painfully ironic job writing articles for a self-help website—a poor fit for someone seemingly incapable of helping herself.

Wickedly funny and surprisingly tender, Separation Anxiety offers a frank portrait of middle-aged limbo, examining the ebb and flow of life’s most important relationships. Tapping into the insecurities and anxieties that most of us keep under wraps, and with a voice that is at once gleefully irreverent and genuinely touching, Laura Zigman has crafted a new classic for anyone taking fumbling steps toward happiness.
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life … as only a dog could tell it. 
Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog
John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with a perfect little house and not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

Marley quickly grew into a barreling, ninety-seven-pound streamroller of a Labrador retriever, a dog like no other. He crashed through screen doors, gouged through drywall, flung drool on guests, stole women’s undergarments, and ate nearly everything he could get his mouth around, including couches and fine jewelry. Obedience school did no good—Marley was expelled. Neither did the tranquilizers the veterinarian prescribed for him with the admonishment, “Don’t hesitate to use these.”

And yet Marley’s heart was pure. Just as he joyfully refused any limits on his behavior, his love and loyalty were boundless, too. Marley shared the couple’s joy at their first pregnancy, and their heartbreak over the miscarriage. He was there when babies finally arrived and when the screams of a seventeen-year-old stabbing victim pierced the night. Marley shut down a public beach and managed to land a role in a feature-length movie, always winning hearts as he made a mess of things. Through it all, he remained steadfast, a model of devotion, even when his family was at its wit’s end. Unconditional love, they would learn, comes in many forms.
A Dog's Purpose (A Dog's Purpose, #1)
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, this touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8 year old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh out loud funny, this book is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar’s paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles’ once peaceful home. When Edgar’s father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm—and into Edgar’s mother’s affections.

Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father’s death, but his plan backfires—spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father’s murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes—the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain—create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.
Merle's Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog
While on a camping trip, Ted Kerasote met a dog—a Labrador mix—who was living on his own in the wild. They became attached to each other, and Kerasote decided to name the dog Merle and bring him home. There, he realized that Merle’s native intelligence would be diminished by living exclusively in the human world. He put a dog door in his house so Merle could live both outside and in.

A deeply touching portrait of a remarkable dog and his relationship with the author, Merle’s Door explores the issues that all animals and their human companions face as their lives intertwine, bringing to bear the latest research into animal consciousness and behavior as well as insights into the origins and evolution of the human-dog partnership. Merle showed Kerasote how dogs might live if they were allowed to make more of their own decisions, and Kerasote suggests how these lessons can be applied universally.
Where the Red Fern Grows
A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn. Little Ann had the brains, and Billy had the will to make them into the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. Where the Red Fern Grows is an exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.
The Call of the Wild
First published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is regarded as Jack London’s masterpiece. Based on London’s experiences as a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and his ideas about nature and the struggle for existence, The Call of the Wild is a tale about unbreakable spirit and the fight for survival in the frozen Alaskan Klondike. 

Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, and Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, are quick to take a new case involving a frantic mother searching for her teenage daughter. This well-behaved and gifted student may or may not have been kidnapped, but she has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. With Chet’s highly trained nose leading the way, their hunt for clues takes them into the desert to biker bars and other exotic locales—until the bad guys try to turn the tables and the resourceful duo lands in the paws of peril. Spencer Quinn’s irresistible mystery kicks off a delightful new series that will have readers panting for more.

Karma's A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Mystery #1)
Darwin Winters, reluctant pet psychic, is determined to leave her family’s paranormal past behind and lead a normal life. So she strikes out on her own and opens up a new pet boutique in St. Pete, Florida. When a local homeless man she befriends is found dead, and the police assume it’s a suicide, Darwin has no choice but to use her gift to help collar the killer.

She adopts his grieving mastiff, Karma—and with the dog’s help—tries to piece together the events of that fatal night. Accepting the visions is one thing, but can she solve the mystery without revealing her powers to the jaded, yet drool-worthy, detective in charge of the case? Or will the killer put an end to her psychic sleuthing and bury the truth for good?
A Shot in the Bark (Lia Anderson Dog Park Mysteries, #1)
Would you recognize a serial killer if you talked to one every day? Artist Lia Anderson doesn’t, and neither does anyone else who frequents the Mount Airy Dog Park. But a violent death brings Detective Peter Dourson into the close-knit group, and he is convinced someone is not who they seem. As the investigation uncovers secrets, Lia struggles to cope with warring emotions while a killer watches and plans.
Desperate Housedogs (Pampered Pets Mystery #1)
In posh Laguna Beach, murder has gone to the dogs.

When Caro Lamont, former psychologist turned pet therapist makes a house call to help Kevin Blackstone with his two misbehaving German Shepherd dogs, she expects frantic dogs, she expects a frantic dog owner, she even expects frantic neighbors. What she doesn’t expect is that two hours later the police will find Kevin dead, his dogs impounded; and that as the last person to see Kevin alive (well, except for the killer) she is suddenly a person of interest, at least according to Homicide Detective Judd Malone.
Murder, She Barked (Paws and Claws Mystery, #1)
Holly Miller’s life has gone to the dogs. She has no job, her boyfriend’s former flame is sniffing around, and a scruffy but loveable Jack Russell Terrier is scattering crumbs all over her borrowed car. Just when she thought things couldn’t get worse, a troubling phone call about her grandmother sends her rushing home to the family inn on Wagtail Mountain.

The staff—and a frisky Calico kitten named Twinkletoes—adopts Holly and her new dog on arrival. But someone in this friendly town is bad to the bone. One of the employees at the inn has been killed in a hit-and-run accident—which is looking anything but accidental. Now Holly and her furry companions will have to nose out the murderer before someone else gets muzzled.
Dial C For Chihuahua (Barking Detective #1)
Pepe may have soft white fur, big brown eyes, and mucho attitude–but he’s no furry fashion fad. Pepe can talk–even if his new owner, Geri Sullivan, seems to be the only person who can understand him.

When Geri takes on her first assignment for a quirky investigator named Jimmy G and stumbles over a Seattle millionaire’s corpse, Pepe proves to be worth his weight in liver treats. Suspicion falls on the not-so-grieving widow, who wants to finance a reality TV show, Dancing With Dogs.

Normally, Pepe wouldn’t be caught muerte in a sparkly costume. However, he has to sniff out the real killer and keep Geri safe. Lesser dogs might flinch. But Pepe isn’t the kind to turn tail and run. . .
In Dog We Trust (Golden Retriever Mystery #1)
After a bad divorce and a brief prison term for computer hacking, 42-year-old Steve Levitan has returned to his home town of Stewart’s Crossing and taken a part-time job as an adjunct professor of English at his alma mater, Eastern College. While walking around his gated community, he becomes friendly with his next-door neighbor, Caroline Kelly, and her golden retriever, Rochester.

When Caroline is shot and killed while walking Rochester, Steve becomes the dog’s temporary guardian. Together, these two unlikely sleuths work to uncover the mystery behind Caroline’s death.
Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight. ‘Everyone in Greenall Bridge knew Sam Carraclough’s Lassie. In fact, you might say that she was the best-known dog in the village …because nearly every man in the village agreed she was the finest collie he had ever laid eyes on.’ Sam’s son Joe and Lassie are a devoted pair but a time comes when they have to be parted. The Carracloughs are not well off and when they fall on hard times Sam is forced to sell his champion dog to the Duke of Rudling, whose great estate borders their Yorkshire village. But Lassie escapes and makes her way home to the Carracloughs. The Duke, not one to be tricked by a dog, claims Lassie back and she is taken many miles away to the Duke’s other home in Scotland. But again Lassie pines for her proper home and escapes. Undaunted by the challenge, she sets off on the long trek back to her Yorkshire home. She faces many dangers and adventures along the way but she also meets some kind people who offer her help and comfort. At the end, when Joe has given up all hope of ever seeing his long-lost companion again, the weary Lassie returns and he finds her waiting for him at the school gates in her accustomed spot, just like old times. Lassie and Joe are joyfully reunited. Against all the odds, Lassie has come home!
Shiloh (Shiloh Series Book 1) by [Phyllis Reynolds Naylor]
When Marty Preston comes across a young beagle in the hills behind his home, it’s love at first sight—and also big trouble. It turns out the dog, which Marty names Shiloh, belongs to Judd Travers, who drinks too much and has a gun—and abuses his dogs. So when Shiloh runs away from Judd to Marty, Marty just has to hide him and protect him from Judd. But Marty’s secret becomes too big for him to keep to himself, and it exposes his entire family to Judd’s anger. How far will Marty have to go to make Shiloh his?

Queerplatonic Relationships and Non-Romantic Books!

Hey Bookies! Last year I did books for your partner recommendations, but not all of us like being in romantic relationships so I’m bringing in some recs for some great books that don’t have romantic relationships in them:

Loveless
Loveless by Alice Oseman
Baker Thief
Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault
A Queerplatonic New Year (An Aspec for All Seasons, #1)
A Queerplatonic New Year by Katie Fouks
The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence, #1)
The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards
The Reckless Kind
The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath
The Bedlam Stacks (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, #3)
The Bedlam Stacks, Book 3 of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
Not Your Backup (Sidekick Squad, #3)
Not Your Backup, Book 3 of the Sidekick Squad series by C.B. Lee
Nameless Queen
The Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin (not queer)
Fire Becomes Her
Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor
If It Makes You Happy
If It Makes Your Happy by Claire Kann
Royal Rescue
Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan
Across a Field of Starlight: (A Graphic Novel)
Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti (note: the synopsis says there is a romance but I and others have not seen a romance in this book. It reads as a queerplatonic relationship)

A LULLABY FOR WITCHES Spotlight and Excerpt

LULLABY FOR WITCHES
Author: Hester Fox
ISBN: 9781525804694
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Graydon House

Buy Links:
BookShop.org
Harlequin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Social Links:
Author Website
Twitter: @HesterBFox
Facebook: N/A
Instagram: @hesterbfox
Goodreads

Author Bio:

Hester Fox is a full-time writer and mother, with a background in museum work and historical archaeology. A native New-Englander, she now lives in rural Virginia with her husband and their son.

Book Summary:

Augusta Podos has just landed her dream job, working in collections at a local museum, Harlowe House, located in the charming seaside town of Tynemouth, Massachussetts. Determined to tell the stories of the local community, she throws herself into her work–and finds an oblique mention of a mysterious woman, Margaret, who may have been part of the Harlowe family, but is reduced to a footnote. Fascinated by this strange omission, Augusta becomes obsessed with discovering who Margaret was, what happened to her, and why her family scrubbed her from historical records. But as she does, strange incidents begin plaguing Harlowe House and Augusta herself. Are they connected with Margaret, and what do they mean?

Tynemouth, 1872. Margaret Harlowe is the beautiful daughter of a wealthy shipping family, and she should have many prospects–but her fascination with herbs and spellwork has made her a pariah, with whispers of “witch” dogging her steps. Increasingly drawn to the darker, forbidden practices of her craft, Margaret finds herself caught up with a local man, Jack Pryce, and the temptation of these darker ways threatens to pull her under completely.

As the incidents in the present day escalate, Augusta finds herself drawn more and more deeply into Margaret’s world, and a shocking revelation sheds further light on Margaret and Augusta’s shared past. And as Margaret’s sinister purpose becomes clear, Augusta must uncover the secret of Margaret’s fate–before the woman who calls to her across the centuries claims Augusta’s own life.

Prologue

Margaret

I was beautiful in the summer of 1876. The rocky Tynemouth coast was an easy place to be beautiful, though, with a fresh salt breeze that brought roses to my cheeks and sun that warmed my long hair, shooting the chestnut brown through with rich veins of copper. It was enough to make me forget—or at least, not care—that I was an outsider, a curiosity who left whispers in my wake when I walked through the muddy streets of our coastal town.

Do I miss being beautiful? Of course. But it’s the being found beautiful by others that I miss the most. It was the ambrosia that made an otherwise solitary life bearable. And it was being found beautiful by one man in particular, Jack Pryce, that I miss the most.

He would come to find me out behind my family’s house as I helped our maid hang the laundry on the lines or weeded my rocky garden. He always brought me a little gift, whether it was a toffee wrapped in wax paper from his parents’ shop, or just a little green flower he had plucked because it reminded him of my eyes. Something that told me I was special, that those stories around town of him stepping out with the Clerkenwell girl weren’t true.

“There she is,” he would say, coming up with his hands in his pockets and crooked grin on his full lips. “My lovely wildflower.” He called me this, he said, on account of my insistence on going without shoes on warm days when the grass was soft and lush. Whatever little chore I was doing would soon be forgotten as I led him out of sight of the house. With my back against a tree and his hands traveling under and up my skirts, we found euphoria in a panting tangle of limbs and hoarsely whispered promises. Heavy sea mists mingling with sweat in hair (his), the taste of berry-sweet lips (mine), the gut-deep knowing that he must love me. He must. He must. He must.

But like all things, summer came to an end, and autumn swept in with her cruel winds and killing frosts. Jack came less and less often, claiming first that it was work at the shop, then that he could no longer be seen with the girl who was rumored to practice witchcraft and worship at the altar of the moon on clear nights. Finally, on a day where the rain fell in icy sheets and even the screeching cries of the gulls could not compete with the howling wind, I realized he was not coming back.

Time moves differently now. Then, it was measured in church bells and birthdays, clock strokes and town harvest dances. It was measured in the monthly flow of my courses, until they stopped coming and my belly grew distended and full. Now—or perhaps it is better to say “here”—time is a fluid thing, like water that flows in all directions, finding and filling every crack and empty place, like my womb and my heart.

I did not want to give the babe up, though I knew it could only bring heartache and pain to my family. A mother’s heart is a stubborn thing, and no sooner had I felt the first stirrings of life within me, than I knew I would do anything in the world to protect my little one.

It was folly, I know that now. A woman like me could never hope to bring a child into this cruel world, could never hope that the honey-sweet words of a man like Jack Pryce carried any weight. What irony that I should not realize such simple truths until it was too late. Should not realize them until my blood ran icy in my veins and my broken heart stopped beating. Until the man I thought had loved me stood over my body, staring down as the life ran out of me like a streambed running dry. Until I was dead and cold and no longer so very beautiful.

1

Augusta

“Hello?” Augusta threw her keys on the table and slung her bag onto one of the kitchen chairs. As usual, a precarious stack of plates had taken over the sink, and the remnants of a Chinese food dinner sat out on the table. Sighing, she covered the leftovers with plastic wrap, stuck them in the fridge and followed the sounds of video games to the living room.

“I’m home,” she said tersely to the two guys hunched over their gaming consoles.

Doug barely glanced up, but her boyfriend, Chris, threw her a quick glance over his shoulder.

“Hey, we’re just finishing up.” Turning back, he continued mashing keys on the game controller, shaking his dark fringe from his eyes and muttering colorful insults at his opponent.

Chris and Doug weren’t the best housemates. Sure, they paid their share of the rent on time, but the house was constantly a mess, and video games took priority over household chores. She supposed that’s what she got for living with her boyfriend and allowing his unemployed brother to move in with them. 

“Well, I guess I’ll be in my room if you need me,” Augusta said, too exhausted to pick a fight about the mess in the kitchen.

“You can stay and watch,” Chris said without turning back around.

She’d had a long, hard day. Between the air-conditioning being broken at work and discovering she only had ninety-eight dollars in her bank account after paying her cell phone bill, she wasn’t in the mood to watch Chris and Doug massacre each other with bazookas. She grabbed an apple from the kitchen, and went back to the room she shared with Chris, closing the door against the sounds of gunfire and explosions. Outside, the occasional car passed by in a sweep of headlights and somewhere down the street a dog barked. Loneliness curled around her as she sat at her laptop and began cycling through her bookmarked job listing sites.

Her job giving tours at the Old City Jail in Salem was all right; she got to work in a historic building, it was close enough that she could walk to work, and the polyester uniform was only a slightly nauseating shade of green. But it wasn’t challenging, and she wasn’t using her degree in museum studies for which she’d worked so hard. Not to mention the student debt she was still paying off. The worst was dealing with the public, though. Some of the people that showed up on her tours were engaged in her talks, but mostly the jail attracted cruise tourists who hadn’t realized that it was a guided tour and were more interested in snapping a quick picture for Instagram than learning about the history. The other day she’d really had to remind a full-grown man that he couldn’t bring an ice cream cone into the house, and then had to clean up said ice cream cone when he’d smuggled it inside anyway and dropped it. And the witches! Just because they were in Salem, everyone who came through the door assumed that there would be history about the witches, never mind that the jail didn’t even date from the same century as the witch trials. Most days she came home tired, irritable and unfulfilled. 

From the other room came an excited shout as Chris blew up Doug’s home base. Augusta turned her music up. Most of the listings on the museum job sites were for fundraising or grant writing, the sliver of the museum world where all the money was. She knew she shouldn’t be choosy, the millennial voice of reason in her head telling her that she was lucky to have a job at all. But Chris, with his computer engineering degree, actually had companies courting him, and his job at a Boston tech firm came with a yearly salary and benefits.

She was just about to close her laptop when a new listing popped up. Harlowe House in Tynemouth was looking for a collections manager to work alongside their curator. As she scanned the listing, her heart started to beat faster. She wasn’t familiar with the property, but a quick search showed that it was part of a trust dedicated to the history and legacy of a seafaring family from the nineteenth century. She ticked off the qualifications in her head—an advanced degree in art history, museum studies or anthropology, and at least five years of experience. She would have to fudge the years, but other than that, it was made for her. She bookmarked the listing, making a mental note to update her CV in the morning.

The door swung open and Chris came in, plopping himself on the bed beside her. Tall, with an athletic build and dark hair that was perpetually in need of a trim, he was wearing a faded band shirt and gym shorts. “We’re going to order subs. What do you want?”

“Didn’t you just get Chinese food?” she asked.

“That was lunch.”

Augusta did a quick inventory in her head of what she’d eaten that day, how many calories she was up to, and how much money she could afford. After she’d fished ten dollars out of her purse, Chris wandered back out to the living room, leaving her alone. She picked up a book, but it didn’t hold her interest, and soon she was lost scrolling through her phone and playing some stupid game where you had to match up jewels to clear the board. A thrilling Saturday night if there ever was one.

In both college and grad school, Augusta had had a vibrant, tight-knit group of friends. She’d always been a homebody, so there weren’t lots of wild nights out at clubs, but they’d still had fairly regular get-togethers. Lunches and trips to museums, stuff like that. So what had happened in the last few years?

Her mind knew what had happened, but her heart refused to face the truth. Chris had happened.

She had been with him ever since her dad died. She’d run into Chris, her old high school boyfriend, at the memorial. He’d been a familiar face, and she’d clung to him like a life raft amid the turmoil of putting her life back together without her father. It had been clear early on that beyond some shared history, they didn’t have much in common, but he was steady, and Augusta had craved steady. A year passed, then two, then three, and four. She had invested so much time in the relationship, sacrificed so many friends, that at some point it felt like admitting defeat to break up. For his part, Chris seemed content with the status quo, and so five years later, here they were.

That night, after Chris had rolled over and was lightly snoring, Augusta lay awake, thinking of the job listing. The words Harlowe House, Harlowe House, Harlowe House ran through her mind like the beat of a drum. A signal of hope, a promise of something better.

Excerpted from A Lullaby for Witches by Hester Fox, Copyright © 2022 by Hester Fox. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

YA Books by Black Authors You Need To Pre-Order in 2022

Hey Bookies! This month is Black History Month and I love to highlight books by Black authors that you NEED this month. There are some amazing ones coming out this year (like every year) and I can’t wait to read them! I also want to highlight two books first and foremost that showcase Black Boys on SFF covers and I’m hoping for more Black boys on SFF covers in 2023.

Beasts of Ruin
Beasts of Ruin, book 2 of Beasts of Prey (which also got an updated cover!!)Out July 26 2022
A Psalm of Storms and Silence (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #2)

A Psalm of Storms and Silence, book 2 of A Song Of Wraiths and Ruin (this is NOT a 2022 release but deserves recognition as the other of 2 books with Black boys on a SFF cover).

And now for other books by Black authors coming out in 2022! Here’s some other SFF books by Black authors:

The Kindred
The Kindred – Out Now
The Monarchs (The Ravens, #2)
The Monarchs – Out Now
Ashes of Gold (Wings of Ebony, #2)
Ashes of Gold, Book 2 of the Wings of Ebony series – Out Now
Akata Woman (The Nsibidi Scripts #3)
Akata Woman, Book 3 of The Nsibidi Scripts – Out Now
Shattered Midnight (The Mirror, #2)
Shattered Midnight, Book 2 of The Mirror – Out Now
Bitter (Pet #0.5)
Bitter, Book 0.5 of the Pet series – Feb. 15
Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel
Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel – March 1
Blood Scion (Blood Scion, #1)
Blood Scion – March 8
Survive the Dome
Survive The Dome – March 29
Scout's Honor
Scout’s Honor – April 5
Burn Down, Rise Up
Burn Down, Rise Up – May 3
The Merciless Ones (The Gilded Ones, #2)
The Merciless Ones, Book 2 of the Deathless series – May 31
Deep in Providence
Deep in Providence – May 31
This Wicked Fate (This Poison Heart, #2)
This Wicked Fate, Book 2 of This Poison Heart series – June 21
The Witchery
The Witchery – July 26
The Undead Truth of Us
The Undead Truth of Us – Aug. 9
Master of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #3)
Master of Souls, Book 3 of Kingdom of Souls – Aug. 16
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The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron (cover to come) – Sep. 20
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How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy (cover to come) – Sep. 27
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Monarch Rising by Harper Glenn (cover to come) – Oct. 4
Bloodmarked (Legendborn, #2)
Bloodmarked, Book 2 of the Legendborn series – Nov. 8
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Where Shadows Reign by Patrice Caldwell (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Monster by Jessica Lewis (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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You’re Breaking My Heart by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (cover to come) – Release Date TBD

Here’s some contemporary/social justice recs:

The Chosen One: A First-Generation Ivy League Odyssey
The Chosen One – Out Now
One True Loves (Happily Ever Afters, #2)
One True Loves – Out Now
Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman
Required Reading for the Disenfranchised Freshman – Out Now
You Truly Assumed
You Truly Assumed – Feb. 8
Turning
Turning – March 1
Every Variable of Us
Every Variable of Us – March 1
Right Where I Left You
Right Where I Left You – March 15
Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl
Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl – May 3
Café Con Lychee
Cafe Con Lychee – May 10
Only on the Weekends
Only on the Weekends – May 12
How to Live Without You
How to Live Without You – May 17
Love Radio
Love Radio – May 31
Finding Jupiter
Finding Jupiter – May 31
Zyla & Kai
Zyla & Kai – June 7
We Weren't Looking to Be Found
We Weren’t Looking to be Found – June 21
We Deserve Monuments
We Deserve Monuments – July 12
Love Times Infinity
Love Times Infinity – July 26
Twice as Perfect
Twice as Perfect – July 26
How You Grow Wings
How You Grow Wings – Aug. 9
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Until We Break by Matthew Dawkins (cover to come) – Sep. 20
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Forgive Me Not by Jennifer Baker (cover to come) – Oct. 4
Looking for Grace
Looking for Grace – Oct. 4
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Wild Jasmine by Chris Clarkson (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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The Blackwoods by Brandy Colbert (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Never Forget Who You Are by Achut Deng & Keely Hutton (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Highly Suspicious, Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Invisible Son by Kim Johnson (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Briarcliff Prep by Brianna Peppins (cover to come) – Release Date TBD
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Bluebell by Destinee Schriner (cover to come) – Release Date TBD

And here’s some mystery/thriller recs:

Murder of Crows – Out Now
Cherish Farrah
Cherish Farrah – Feb. 8
The Rumor Game
The Rumor Game – March 1
Perfect Score
Hunt A Killer: Perfect Score – May 3
Bad Things Happen Here
Bad Things Happen Here – June 28
The Black Girls Left Standing
The Black Girls Left Standing – June 28

And here’s some historical fiction recs:

African Town
African Town – Out Now
Kemosha of the Caribbean – Out Now
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Other Side of the Tracks by Charity Alyse (cover to come) – Release Date TBD

And here’s some books with poetry/prose elements in it:

Vinyl Moon
Vinyl Moon – Out Now
Nothing Burns as Bright as You
Nothing Burns as Bright as You – April 5

And here’s some graphic novel/sequential art recs:

Ain't Burned All the Bright
Ain’t Burned All the Bright – Out Now
Mister Miracle: The Great Escape
Mister Miracle: The Great Escape – Out Now

January Hot Tea Month!

Hey bookies! While I don’t really like anything to drink except for apple juice and water (swearing off caffeine has been so hard) I do love how much love there is around tea on bookstagram! There’s so much that there’s a few boxes who always give some tea with their books and some shops who just specialize in teas with a bookish twist! Here’s some recs if you’re looking for your next great sip:

THE BROKEN TOWER by Kelly Braffet Spotlight

The Broken Tower : A Novel
Kelly Braffet
On Sale Date: January 25, 2022
9780778331797
MIRA Books
Hardcover
$27.99 USD
480 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:
For fans of A. K. Larkward and S.A. Chakaborty, the sequel to Braffet’s The Unwillling, a deeply immersive, penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride, in which Judah’s power, once splintered, is now restored.

Death pulled them apart. The tower’s will pull them back together.

Judah the foundling has survived her own death, only to find herself in an unknown forest. Nearing a second death from exposure and exhaustion, she falls in with two vagabonds with their own mysterious pasts. Gavin and Elly, having been secretly spirited away to a deserted wilderness guildhall, are rescued in a raid, but soon find themselves surrounded by enemies, and in even more trouble. In New Highfall, the Seneschal has freed the captured Nali chieftain from prison only to force him to experiment with the creation of a new kind of bond. The Slonimi very much want to find Judah so that they can unbind the power held in the tower, even if that means sending their strongest, most ruthless Worker to dig Judah’s location out of Nate’s mind, and even if he doesn’t survive the process. All any of them want is to be left in peace. But now they all have only one choice: fight for their lives, or die.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kelly Braffet is the author of The Unwilling, Save Yourself, Josie and Jack and Last Seen Leaving. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Vulture.com, as well as The Fairy Tale Review, Post Road, and several anthologies. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University and currently lives in upstate New York.

Social Links:
Author website: https://www.kellybraffet.com/
Facebook: @kellybraffetfiction
Twitter: @KellyBraffet

BUY LINKS:
Oblong Books (signed copies!): https://www.oblongbooks.com/KellyBraffet
Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-broken-tower/9780778331797
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-broken-tower-kelly-braffet/1139145475
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Tower-Novel-Barrier-Lands/dp/0778331792
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/The_Broken_Tower_A_Novel?id=R7wmEAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-broken-tower-3
Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Barrier-Lands-The-Broken-Tower-Series-2-Hardcover-9780778331797/445225029?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=10635

The Birthday Book Tag!

Hey bookies! January 23 is my birthday! This year I’m going to be doing the Birthday Book Tag to celebrate! This challenge was started by Bionic Bookworm (correct if I’m wrong and here’s the link). Do this on your birthday if you want to!

1 – BIRTHDAY CAKE – a book with a plot that seems cliche but you adore it anyway

The Holiday Switch
Was this a typical Hallmark Holiday book? Yes. Did I enjoy it so much? Also yes.

2 – PARTY GUESTS – your most anticipated book release this year

Ophelia After All
I’ve been following Racquel for awhile now and I’m so excited to see her journey into author-ness. Also, sapphic and the cover is bae.

3 – BIRTHDAY PRESENTS – a book that surprised you with how much you loved it

Killer Content
I thought this was going to be an average murder mystery read, but I loved it so so much and I couldn’t put it down!

4 – THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG – a book that certainly deserved all the hype it got

Iron Widow (Iron Widow, #1)
This was the MVP of 2021 and you can’t convince me otherwise.

5 – HAPPY MUSIC – a book with some very beautiful and truly memorable quotes

Small Favors
I’m not a quote reader, I almost always forget quotes, but even with the issues I had with this read I thought this book was so beautiful and had some insightful things to say.

6 – GETTING OLDER – a book that you read a long time ago, but you think that you would appreciate it more if you read it as a more mature reader

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
I read this when I was like 12 and didn’t understand the pure terror in your kid disappearing in a National Park. Now I do as an adult who thinks back to all the strange things that happened to me in the National Parks.

7 – SWEET BIRTHDAY MEMORIES – a book that kept you incredibly happy during a sad or demanding period of your life

The Jasmine Project
2021 was so hard on me, especially during the fall season. This book helped me so much and gave me so much peace during my anxious periods.

And that’s it! Let me know what yours looks like!