City On Fire by Don Winslow

City On Fire

Who is Don Winslow? One of the top crime fiction writers alive today! I’m so excited about my new find. I downloaded a digital review copy of CITY ON FIRE a couple months ago. I thought my husband might enjoy it. He loved it. The other day I was browsing my digital reader and came across CITY ON FIRE. I started reading and hours later I had to force myself to put it down so I could go make dinner. OMG!

Winslow immediately pops you smack dab into this amazing crime novel. We’re at the beach in Rhode Island with a group of young people who are just out having a good time. Everything is great until a strange gorgeous young woman, a stranger, walks out of the water and into the lives of these people who are all part of the Irish mob. Winslow tells his readers that this woman is Trouble and is going to change everything. Pam is that woman and she’s much more than just trouble. She is the beginning of the end of their world as they’ve known it.

If you’re a fan of The Sopranos, you are going to flip over CITY ON FIRE. The gangsters, the time period (80’s and 90’s) and the language. This novel has it all.

I’ve just listened to a pod cast with Mitchell Kaplan interviewing Don Winslow. You may wish to listen so I’ve set up a link. https://lithub.com/don-winslow-is-hopeful-for-the-future/?mc_cid=cbb53a9d74&mc_eid=606adbe40e

CITY ON FIRE is the first of a trilogy. Now I have to wait until April for the next segment, then on to the following April for the end. But it will be worth it.

Winslow is well acquainted with both the Italian and the Irish mobsters in Rhode Island. He lived among them.

Murder, mayhem, moral dilemmas, New England crime wars, old grudges, and a cast of characters that propel this story along to it’s heart-stopping end. But it’s only the end of the first part. Ha.

Winslow tells his story through amazing dialogue. He idolized Elmore Leonard and Charles Wilford. I have read them each extensively over the years. He has learned his trade the old fashioned way. He was not always a writer but, he always wanted to be one. He persisted even though manuscript after manuscript was turned down. He worked as a PI in Hell’s Kitchen years ago. He has lived and worked in Africa. What a background.

It would be easy to give the story away. I will not do that and so I am not giving you much info. I promise you will find yourself totally lost in the pages immediately. And wanting more as you close the last page.

My review copy was provided through NetGalley by William Morrow, the publisher, all in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, this book is worthy of ten stars. It’s a keeper. It’s amazing. Just go buy it!

Our Last Days In Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Our Last Days in Barcelona

The Perez sisters of Cuba are back and in a very big way. Cleeton focuses on Isabel Perez in this new novel. Isabel flies off to Barcelona to find out what her wild-child sister is up to now. It seems no one has seen Beatriz, lately. Isabel fears the worst. She knows that Beatriz has been working closely with the FBI on Cuban affairs and fears for her safety.

While searching Beatriz’s flat in Barcelona, Isabel comes across a photo of herself as a toddler with her mother and a strange man. The photo is taken in Barcelona and Isabel knows she’s never been there until now. What a can of worms this opens. It adds yet another layer of tension to the novel.

The exotic locale will sway you with its authenticity. We visited this amazing city about ten years ago and reading this novel brings back so many great memories. The sights, the aromas, the flora and fauna. Wonderful and intoxicating.

OUR LAST DAYS IN BARCELONA teems with impressive women characters and gives the history buff plenty of great information about Spain’s connection with Cuba. I loved learning new stuff.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each one of Cleeton’s books in this series, however, I think this new one might just be my favorite. A perfect addition to your summer reading list.

My digital review copy was provided through NetGalley by Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House, in exchange for an honest review. It’s totally wonderful!

Delete The Pink Hotel

My original posting of my summer reading list included a novel that I have since removed. THE PINK HOTEL is way too over the top. Plus, it’s a mess. It began so wonderfully, then went to hell in a hand basket. Not out until July. Just a heads’ up in case you put it on your list.

The Pink Hotel

Summer Reading 2022: Presented By Maurice On Books

Literary Fiction:

  • THE LATECOMER by Jean Hanff Korelitz (5/31)
  • THE FOUNDLING by Ann Leary (5/31)
  • IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS by Theresa Ann Fowler (6/7)
  • FELLOWSHIP POINT by Alice Dark (7/5)
  • UNDER THE GOLDEN SUN by Jenny Ashcroft
  • TRUST by Hernan Diaz
  • FENCING WITH THE KING by Diana Abu-Jaber
  • HORSE by Geraldine Brooks (6/14)
  • MERCURY PICTURES PRESENTS by Anthony Marra (8/2)
  • THE MANY DAUGHTERS OF AFONG MOY by Jamie Ford (August)

Mystery/Thriller:

  • WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BENNETTS by Lisa Scottolini
  • THE LIES I TELL by Julie Clark ( 6/21)
  • TWO NIGHTS IN LISBON by Chris Pavone (5/24)
  • PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN by Daniel Silva (7/19)
  • THE LIONESS by Chris Bojhalian
  • DIE AROUND SUNDOWN by Mark Pryor (8/16)
  • THE KINGDOMS OF SAVANNAH by George Dawes Green (July)
  • THE OTHER GUEST by Helen Cooper (7/25)
  • A DISH TO DIE FOR by Lucy Burdette (8/9)

Beach Reads:

  • THE HOMEWRECKERS by Mary Kay Andrews
  • THE SUMMER PLACE by Jennifer Weiner
  • GILT by Jamie Brenner (6/21)
  • SUGAR AND SALT by Susan Wiggs (7/26)
  • OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY by Kristin Higgins (June)
  • HOTEL NANTUCKET by Elin Hilderbrand (6/14)
  • MUSTIQUE ISLAND by Sarah McCoy
  • OUR LAST DAYS IN BARCELONA by Chanel Cleeton (5/24)
  • ONE ITALIAN SUMMER by Rebecca Serle
  • BOOK LOVERS by Emily Henry

Non Fiction:

  • FLY GIRL by Ann Hood
  • AFTER THE ROMANOVS by Helen Rappaport

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I will surely be adding to this list as we move into and through summer. Meanwhile, enjoy as many of these great books as you possibly can. Cheers to a wonderful summer filled with many, many amazing books!

What Happened To The Bennett’s by Lisa Scottoline

Clear your calendar. Begin reading early in the day. Be prepared to read all day. Unbelievably compelling! Shocking. Characters so realistic. A story to propel you straight into it and beyond.

Kirkus calls this a high-octane thriller. I can’t agree more.

Scottoline has you right from the first sentence and you will not be able to pull away until the very last word!

The Bennett’s are just a normal family on their way home from their daughter’s field hockey game when their entire world spins on a dime. Mom, dad, teenage girl and teenage son. Out of the blue they discover their Mercedes is being tailgated. Someone is getting way too close for comfort. The next thing you know they have been run off the road and are being carjacked. At gun point! My heart is thumping in my chest just writing this. It’s that shocking.

Terrible things happen in the blink of an eye and we find one of the bad guys has escaped. But not before he’s killed the daughter and his accomplice. Yes, shocking. This happened at the very beginning.

And then the FBI come for what’s left of this torn apart family and the plot thickens. I have always been intrigued by the witness protection program. I know so little about it. So when the FBI strongly suggest this to the Bennett’s, I am all ears. You see, the bad people involved in the incident belong to a crime family and they are after the Bennett’s.

I won’t tell you anymore so as not to spoil it. It’s a runaway novel. It’s quite possibly the most compelling book I’ve ever read. You have to read this book.

Lisa Scottoline has written dozens of books, mostly thrillers. I had the pleasure of meeting her twenty some years ago when she first began writing. And look at her now!!

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BENNETT’S is published by Putnam publishing, a division of Penguin Random House.

Lessons In Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons In Chemistry

The cover is super. The title almost made me stop short. I am so glad I read this new novel. I kept hearing how amazing this story is. Yes, it is unique and amazing.

The 1960’s come vibrantly to life in the hands of Bonnie Garmus. She has nailed that time period. It brought back so many memories. Not all good. Women were so held back. Women were expected to get married, have a family, and take care of the husband. An intelligent woman who was a chemist had a hard line to tow. Even other women were not kind or understanding. Young women today take it for granted that they will be able to work in their chosen field without fear of being molested, looked over, or even fired. It was so different back then.

Elizabeth Zott was a chemist. She was looked over, sexually molested and fired just for being a woman. And then against all odds she meets the man who is the love of her life and he’s a chemist, too. But it doesn’t last long enough. And then she is pregnant. Her unconventional approach to motherhood and parenting is touch and go. Thank God for her neighbor who comes to the rescue.

LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY grew on me. It just kept getting better and better. I was very invested in this story. And Six-Thirty the dog was just precious. Elizabeth’s kid, Mad, was pretty cool as well.

This book is perfect for right now. It will make you think. Elizabeth is opinionated, funny, and intelligent as all get-out.

I loved it! I borrowed my copy from the library and gobbled it up in a day and a half.

The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner

The Summer Place

So much to love about a new Jennifer Weiner novel. First of all summer is right around the corner. Second is that you know Weiner is going to take you to the beach. And third is you are guaranteed a fabulous story that you will never forget!

Ruby is twenty-two years old. She fell in love during the pandemic and surprises her family by telling them that she is getting married. You can truly smell trouble brewing. Ruby hardly knows this young man. And we are already getting a feeling, and not good, that this could be a mistake. The big day is set for three months away and Ruby has asked her grandmother to have the ceremony at her beach house on the water. Veronica has made the decision that this wedding will be the last event at the beach as she is going to put the cottage up for sale.

We meet a very extended family who have grown to love one another over the years. Lots of issues, lots of drama. Sam and Sarah are twins. Grown now. Sarah is Ruby’s step mother and Sam lives in California as the story begins. He’s about to go through a very tumultuous experience which will change the dynamics of his life and shake him to his core.

Cape Cod is predominant in this quirky novel of summer. Weiner knows how to show us the real Cape. She is spot-on with sense of place. I look forward to her novels each year. Last year with THAT SUMMER she showed us how deep her writing can get. If you haven’t yet read it, it’s out now in trade paperback. Get a copy.

Jennifer Weiner

As the novel gallops along, the characters become more and more edgy. Secrets threaten to be revealed. After all, families are messy indeed!

I am already looking forward to next year’s Weiner novel.

My review copy was provided by the very generous publishing people at Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. I would not miss anything by Jennifer Weiner. She never disappoints. I loved it!!

The Lioness by Chris Bohjalian

The Lioness

You really can’t prepare yourself for this wild ride into the wilds of Africa. You will not see it coming. But you will be blindsided and thrown for a loop over and over again.

Bohjalian has always been a great writer. With THE LIONESS he moves into the stratosphere where amazing thriller writers reside.

You’ll quickly be yanked into the world of celebrity and entitlement. You’ll be swept through Paris and into the wedding of a Hollywood super star back in the sixties. Then you’ll come along with her and her new husband as she invites a select entourage of friends along on an African safari like nothing you’ve experienced before. What a trip. Exotic, voluminous tents to live in and be waited on hand and foot. Photo opportunities everywhere. Gentle giraffes and wandering zebras. Beauty to behold over every sunset.

But murder and mayhem are just beneath the surface. Just waiting for the right time to strike.

This is Tanzania, 1964. The safari gives a false sense of civilization and security in what is actually just the spot for the perfect storm of disruption. Throw in a group of Russian mercenaries and a lot of human drama. Add the beauty of the African landscape. Toss in secrets and seething underlying complaints between the guests. You have the perfect cocktail for a story that will make your hair stand on end. Some scenes are so realistic you will find your heart pounding, literally.

Bohjalian presents a brilliant thriller that is like nothing he’s done before. You simply must add this to your reading list this summer! I read my review copy digitally. It was provided through Net Galley by Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. It is amazing. One of the best novels I’ve read in years!! A must-read.

Chris Bohjalian is the author of dozens of books. He was one of the first authors Oprah chose for her famous book club. He just keeps getting better!

Chris Bohjalian

Mustique Island by Sarah McCoy

The perfect book about the power of Motherhood! Happy Mother’s Day.

This cover gives you just a peek at the island of Mustique. What you can’t see are the people who dominate this story. This novel is peppered with rich and famous celebrities and royals. It reeks of excess and escapism. Mustique Island is one of the most secluded hideaways for people like Mick Jagger and was once the playground for Princess Margaret years ago. You can google it and see maps and read about the island. But, first, read this amazing novel.

Who is Willy May? Where is she from? How did she end up in England? You find out quickly who Willy May is. She was a very young Texas beauty queen when a rich royal discovered her while he visited the big state of Texas. Harry married Willy May at the local courthouse and took her home to meet the parents in England. Her parents told her good riddance. Her husband Harry had a title and parents with grand expectations for their boy. They did not take kindly to him bringing the American home. After many years and two daughters, they parted. Then he suddenly died and all bets were off.

Next we find Willy May landing on the shores of Mystique Island in the Caribbean. She’s brought along her luxury sailboat and is looking to purchase land and build a palatial home overlooking the pristine aqua waters. Paradise, surely. Everything is not as it seems. Trouble beckons. Love is in the air. And her adult daughters come home, one by one, to roost.

Mustique Island is a very real island tucked into the Caribbean. Hidden away so it is the ideal spot for celebrities to hide away. And, they did just that. Really. You really need to google it. This tropical paradise complete with star-dusted, pristine, white sand beaches is perfect. But like all perfect things it has its dark spots. What seems at first like a light beach read slowly becomes a more serious book showing how motherhood changes everything. Willy May and her two daughters reconnect on Mustique as they begin to get to know each other all over again. One family brought back together during a time of trauma.

Beautifully written with engaging characters and actual historical events that come together as if by magnets. A perfect pairing. I can’t think of a better novel than MUSTIQUE ISLAND to celebrate Mother’s Day.

My review copy was provided through Net Galley and Harper Collins Publishers. I read it digitally in exchange for an honest review. It’s perfect. You’ll love it! It will be on sale Tuesday, May 10th. Go buy one and maybe one for a friend as well.

Sarah McCoy

Marching Into May With Maurice

How the time does fly by. Wasn’t it just yesterday when it was April 1? Here in SW Florida we have finally begun getting our afternoon thunderstorms complete with rain! We have been in a drought for months so this is very appreciated. Some neighbors even admitted they had been doing the rain dance. Our new trees and rose bushes are very happy.

I’m very excited about all the wonderful books coming out for summer. I just finished WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BENNETT’S by Lisa Scottoline. I can’t say enough about how wonderful the book is. So compelling. You better start reading early in the day, put aside everything else, and be prepared to read non stop!

I’m checking my bookings for next season. Yes, clubs book a year in advance. Several new clubs this season. I love meeting new readers. I will be contacting the clubs who have not yet chosen their lecture date, soon. 

People are traveling again. They are so grateful to be able to do this. I see so many photos of smiling faces all over the world. Thank God for this. We have just booked a trip to one of our favorite spots: Asheville, North Carolina. Will be visiting the family and enjoying the mountains in summertime mode. Plus, there is at least one new Indy bookstore nearby that I am dying to visit. 

Deep orange rose from a new bush. It’s heavenly.

Presently working on my summer reading list. Will post it soon. There will be plenty of wonderful books for summer.

Just out today is Mary Kay Andrews new novel, THE HOMEWRECKERS. Don’t miss it!