Girls Like Us by Cristina Alger

Girls Like Us

Girls Like Us

GIRLS LIKE US is a bit of a departure for Alger. I’ve been following her for years ever since her debut novel  THE DARLINGS which I loved. Last year she came along with THE BANKER’S WIFE and added yet another genre to her retinue: thriller/suspense.  With GIRLS LIKE US Alger is now cemented in the suspense genre in a very good way.

Is a serial killer loose on Long Island? When a second body is found shot and dismembered and wrapped in burlap, suspicion becomes reality.  Both are young women known to have been involved in the escort service.

Nell Flynn is an FBI agent who is back on Long Island to put her father’s ashes out to sea. Her dad, a homicide detective, recently met with his death on a rainy night while riding his motorcycle home from the bar. Was it an accident?  Nell is determined to find out.

Nell is on leave from her work after being wounded while  being involved in the death of a Russian mobster. Yes, pretty heavy stuff. While on leave she meets Lee Davis, an old friend who has recently become a detective and is working a case in the area. When he asks for her help, well, she can’t resist.

Nell has led a tough life. She and her dad had become estranged over the last several years. Her mother was murdered years ago when Nell  was young. And something is wrong here in her hometown. She suspects her dad might be horribly involved.

This new thriller is written with compelling strength and acute prose that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Cristina Alger

Alger is very good at setting the tone. She is also very good at  moving the story in a heart-pounding direction.

This story is loosely based on serial murders on Long Island some years ago. Alger has done her research. And the case in point is that stuff like this is actually in the news TODAY. Blows me away.  Throw in some police corruption. Boom. You’ve got an unputdownable story.

A blurb on the front of the book from Harlan Coben saying “The best of psychological suspense…Full of surprises you truly don’t see coming.” Other blurbs on the back of this book are by Lisa Scottoline  and Chris Bohjalian and more.

My finished copy of GIRLS LIKE US by Cristine Alger arrived via the great publishing house of Putnam a division of Penguin Random House, all in exchange for an honest review! If you enjoy a good thriller, this is it!!

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

The Floating Feldmans

THE FLOATING FELDMANS  is absolutely perfect for summer vacation whether you’ll be cruising or not. It will definitely have you laughing out loud, and it might even make you think….

Have any of you taken a family cruise? Well, our family did. We cruised for our oldest son’s 40th birthday. All aboard! It was nothing like the Feldmans, though. But I definitely understand the challenges of trying to get the entire family together. And I can totally see how a family cruise could get dicey.

Annette gathers her entire  family together to celebrate her 70th birthday in style. She’s decided a cruise through the Caribbean islands is just the ticket. Sounds like a great time, right? Well, yes and no. Everyone is harboring something that no one else in the family is aware of.  Some of this stuff is downright HUGE.

Annette is the only person in the family who knows that her husband David has cancer. Of course, this is far from good news.

Elise is Annette’s daughter. She’s got a shopping addiction and is in therapy. She’s gone through a wad of money that was put aside to cover the cost of her son’s college. And he’s about ready to attend or is he?

Elise’s husband, Mitch, has just quit his newspaper job.  He’s got a plan for a new future. He’s not told his wife, yet. Boy is he in for a shock.

Then there’s Freddy. He’s Elise’s brother. The loser. Always in trouble. Well, now he’s a millionaire over and over again. All through his legal marijuana business. OMG!

Annette and David’s grandkids Darius and Rachel are also along on the trip albeit against their will.  And they have their own set of  teenage problems.

If you’ve cruised before you’ll quickly be swept up into the life aboard ship. If you’ve never cruised, beware, not all the stuff you’ll read about here will be true. Although, I will say, a lot of it is.  Some of the cabins are small. Some ships have better food than others. And some shows are really good while others totally “suck.” Everyone has their own experiences of cruising to share.

All in all the festive mood prevails across the week the Feldmans are at sea.  And food is everywhere in this book as it is onboard cruise ships. Food, activities, people…

Putting a number of family members in close proximity for any length of time can be iffy at best. If they already have issues that are percolating, then you want to beware. And that is exactly what is going on with the Floating Feldmans.

Elyssa Friedland

My review copy is from Berkley which is a division of Penguin Random House. How do I feel about THE FLOATING FELDMANS by Elyssa Friedland ?  I’m adding it to my July summer reading list and I think  you should too. This is what summer reading is all about. Cheers!

The New Girl by Daniel Silva

The New Girl

I’m always excited about a new Daniel Silva novel. They come like clockwork each summer.  They are  all wonderful and so special. Having said that, I have to say that this new one, THE NEW GIRL, is absolutely brilliant; a masterpiece!

First of all I must comment on the stunning cover art. Kudos to those involved in producing it! It tells quite a story on its own.

The foreword of this novel is not to be missed! Please make sure to read it before you begin the book. Silva states that last August 2018, he began work on a novel about a crusading young Arab prince who wanted to modernize his religiously intolerant country and bring sweeping change to the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. He set aside that manuscript two months later when the model for that character, Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, was implicated in the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and columnist for Washington Post.   Reading this foreword made the hair stand straight up on my arms. 

THE NEW GIRL begins in Geneva at an elite private school.  Who is the new girl? She arrives at school shrouded in mystery, via a motorcade fit for a king.  She is thought to be the daughter of a wealthy businessman. However, we quickly discover she’s the only child of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Khalid bin Mohammed. Oh boy, you can feel the trouble brewing.   When the prince’s daughter is kidnapped he goes to the only person he feels can help help him: Gabriel Allon.  And it begins….

Moving from Switzerland to France to Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv to London to The Netherlands ,THE NEW GIRL, moves swiftly and often. In brief to-the-point chapters that have you sitting on the edge of your seat, Silva takes you on the ride of a lifetime. I usually have some idea of the outcome; not this time. Shocking.

We are dealing with news that everyone has been exposed to in this heart-thumping spy thriller.  That makes it even  more intriguing and intense.  In fact, there were times as I read this story when I wondered if Silva ever feared for his safety. Really. Yes, I know this is written for entertainment. But it’s so realistic. So very spot-on realistic.


Daniel Silva

Silva’s brought back some of our favorite characters: Sarah Bancroft is back; Christopher Keller is here; Ari Shamron, and of course Chiara and the twins. I feel like I’ve been visiting my old friends.

I have long been intrigued by Saudi Arabia. It’s an eerily mysterious country to me. Everything about it is misted over with a little something. Silva has managed to uncover some of the ambiguity surrounding the perimeter.  The light that’s shone on this country is not necessarily a good one…. but it is what it is.

I devoured THE NEW GIRL in record time. In fact, I may reread it again soon. Yes, it’s that good. My review copy arrived from the generous publishing people at Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review and a promise that I would NOT post before pub date on July 16. I absolutely believe this is Silva’s masterpiece; best yet!!!

We have copies of THE NEW GIRL on  sale at 20% off at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida. We’d love to see you there.



If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

Bianca Marais

If You Want To Make God Laugh

You may look at this cover and wonder about it.  Once you’ve read the book, you’ll have a better appreciation. This is a wonderful and very unique novel about three women living in South Africa, one young black teenager and two white sisters  who come together to make a family under the most extraordinary conditions.

Seventeen-year-old Zodwa is living in a squatter camp outside city limits of Johannesburg, South Africa. To say she is living in abject poverty would be a gross understatement. She is living with her mother who is deathly ill with tuberculosis.  Zodwa is pregnant.  It’s not what you think….

Ruth is a rich socialite struggling with the end of yet another marriage. She’s not handling it well. She’s a richly drawn character who will make you laugh out loud.

Delilah is Ruth’s sister. They’ve been estranged for a long, long time. But all that is about to come to an end.  The two sisters are in the midst of a  personal crisis that have made it necessary for them both to move back into their family home, the one their mom left them when she died.

And then the abandoned baby, and the dog, arrive literally on their doorstep….

Did I mention that Delilah once studied to become a nun?  Have I mentioned the wayward priest? OMG!

Set in the turbulent mid-nineties amid South Africa’s  political and societal landscape, this amazing new novel hits all the hot spots. As we  celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of Apartheid, I believe the time is perfect for this story to be told.

“Delivered in alternating chapters narrated by Ruth, Delilah, and Zodwa, IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH shares its indelible characters’ divergent perspectives on class, race, and faith, as it probes issues seemingly ripped from today’s headlines.  Whether it’s rape or rampant racism, or the systemic cover-up of criminality within institutions, or the echo of the Me Too movement, or issues that the LGBTQ community faces, Marais’s book reveals the subsequent irreversible damage done to innocents and the vulnerable among us, particularly when good people do nothing to stand up against it. Emotionally rich and beautifully paced, it tenderly asks, How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves? The result is an unforgettable tale about love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit. “

I don’t think there is anyone more qualified to tell this story than Bianca Marais. She was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto. Before turning to writing, she started a corporate training company and volunteered with Cotlands, where she assisted care workers in Soweto with providing aid for HIV/AIDS orphans.

My review copy arrived at Copperfish via Putnam Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House. I will be raving about this novel for years to come. It is one of my favorites.  And if you want more of Marais’s writing, her first novel HUM IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE WORDS is available now in paperback. I only wish I had time to read it right now.


We have copies of IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH at Copperfish Books. They are discounted 20%. Come on up.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys

New, from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner of THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, comes THE NICKEL BOYS, a novel based on the hellish Dozier School for Boys in Florida. This now notorious and horrific institution was a total moral failure in its time.  And I just discovered it only closed in 2011! Whitehead uses the heartbreaking story of two young boys to bring us  this tale of Jim Crow-era Florida.

Be prepared to be shocked. Because you will be. Be prepared to be moved to tears. You will be that too. Most of all, be prepared to remember Elwood and Turner forever.

In a letter written by Colson Whitehead that arrived with my review copy of THE NICKEL BOYS, Whitehead goes on to say that he first came upon a news report about the Dozier School for Boys in the summer of 2014. It was in the midst of the Ferguson protests. It was a story he had not heard before , and it was worth telling. I’m so glad he has done just that.

Colson Whitehead

Elwood is a black teen eagerly looking forward to attending the local colored college.  He never makes it through the gates. Where he does make it is to the Nickel Academy. There he meets and befriends Turner. Neither boy should be there.

” In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.”

I devoured this book. It’s small coming in at just over 200 slight pages. What it lacks in length it gains exponentially from  everything else! It is a devastating piece of literature.

“Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, THE NICKEL BOYS is a heartbreaking, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers!!!”

This book is going to be on every list this year and into next. Whitehead has done it again!  After THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD I could not help but wonder what his next offering would be.  Well, here it is.  And, I hear he’s deep into writing his next novel. Takes place in Harlem in the 60’s.

My review copy came to Copperfish Books from Doubleday Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House. We will have copies of THE NICKEL BOYS for sale beginning tomorrow and they will be discounted at 20% off. We’d love to see you!

The Rest Of Maurice’s Summer Reading List 2019

The New Girl

At the top of my summer reading list is THE NEW GIRL by Daniel Silva. The publisher made me promise NOT to post my review until pub date.  So much about this brilliantly written new novel is right up to date with the news….. It’s a real masterpiece! 7/16 Copperfish Books will have copies on pub date.

Bianca Marais

If You Want To Make God Laugh

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH by Bianca Marais blew my mind! Great writing. What a story. South Africa. Loved it. 7/16

Girls Like Us

Alger’s third novel, GIRLS LIKE US, is a murder mystery set on Long Island and based on a true story. It’s fast-paced and perfect for summer. Is available right now.

The Gifted School

THE GIFTED SCHOOL might as well be ripped straight from the headlines of every newspaper in the country. A novel based on how kids get into special schools. A must-read.  Available now.



Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party

Love the cover of THE LAST BOOK PARTY. The perfect beach read that is much more…. This book is just right for bibliophiles and beach lovers. And it’s much more than a beach read. Available now.

Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys

Colson Whitehead needs no introduction.  His first novel after his outrageously successful THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.  This new novel is based on a real story of a home for boys in northern Florida and the hellacious happenings going on within its walls. Do NOT miss this one. It is going to be a force this year. Coming 2/16. We will have copies at Copperfish Books.

Three Ways To Disappear

Mostly set in India present day, this novel by a fresh new author, is a lovely debut. Gorgeous prose.  Complex. 7/16

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Books, a cat, a smart young woman and a bookstore. A great summer read.  Available now in trade paper. You can pick up your copy at Copperfish today.



Chances Are

I’ve been waiting for another novel by Russo for years. Now I’ve got it. You have this to look forward to.  Coming this month. CHANCES ARE.

Don’t forget the sunscreen and lots of water when spending time in the sun.  All you need now is a good strong tote bag to carry all your great books and stuff. Cheers!


Is It Really Already July? Musings From Maurice

As I sit at the computer on this sultry Sunday afternoon in July, I can’t help wondering where the first half of the summer has disappeared. Holy cow. Our country has just celebrated Independence Day and that means we’re way into summer. The rumbling of a thunderstorm has already pierced the sky on the Cape where I live. Makes for a great reading day, though. You know me, always ready with a great book or books! I’m currently reading GIRLS LIKE US by Cristina Alger. I love her writing and have been following her through three novels. Now she’s penned this wonderful murder mystery. Perfect for summer.

Girls Like Us

The Critics Choice and Elaine Newton’s lecture series will soon be listed for the upcoming season. The six books have already been chosen and I have just been alerted by Elaine that there will be one more surprise. And it’s a good one! I will post on the blog when announced.

I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of THE NEW GIRL

The New Girl

by Daniel Silva. Let me tell you that it is truly a masterpiece. This thriller is amazing. Review to follow on pub day.

It’s hard to believe but bookings are still coming in for the upcoming season. And I am hard at reading to keep up so I can once again offer you the best books with the most complete information.  I’m reading far into the new year now and just had the pleasure of reading

A Good Neighborhood

A GOOD NEIGHBOR by Therese Anne Fowler. Comes out in February 2020. and you are going to want to hold onto your hat. This one is a real page-turner. Her best yet.

THE THROW DOWN: What did I toss lately? I can’t say I tossed it, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea,  FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE had a great start. Quickly caught my interest. It’s being raved about in certain high circles and even by reviewers I really admire.  It’s a matter of taste. I don’t think it’s for most of my readers. Boom!

Fleishman Is In Trouble

We’ve had a bit of stress going on around our house. Our Wyatt has been dealing with some mysterious ailment.  He even had to undergo a kitty cat colonoscopy. Yes, very stressful. We’ve just recently been given a diagnosis. IBD. Wow, in a cat. Who knew? We are so relieved it isn’t something worse. Still, it’s something we will have to be on top of all the time. Wyatt is a big part of our family and we cherish him.

Like a lot of this country we’ve  been watching a wonderful series on TV this summer.  Outlander is a great show. I love that my husband also loves it. Some of it is harsh, but the story is wonderful and the characters divine. I know many of you know this story through the amazing series by Diana Gabaldon.

It is finally confirmed. I am flying to Asheville in August to lead Camp Mom Mom. I’m returning for the third summer. It’s exciting. I will make sure I visit as many of the bookstores with the kids as I possibly can.  French Broad Chocolate. The usual suspects. I never tire of this. Looking forward to a bear siting in the neighborhood.  And  maybe even a tea party on the deck overlooking those amazing mountains.

Last month I mentioned my husband and I would be traveling to Cuba this month to celebrate our anniversary. Well, low and behold, as things will happen, our cruise is not to be.  So, we put our heads together and decided we would go bigger…. And we did. We have booked a seven day cruise during Christmas week. Yes, not fooling around. Merry Christmas to us.

In the next few days I will be posting the last of the summer reading. Some great stuff!