A Book That Takes Place in Your Country of Origin


Mary Jo

This is a sweeping family saga, full of dysfunction, joy, and even death. It’s the fourth in the series about the Quinn family, and although I haven’t read the previous books, the story stood as a stand-alone book. The Quinn family seems like a composite of my family, my in-laws, and the family of a few friends all rolled into one. With a little effort, you’ll probably recognize a few of these characters as members of your own family. I had to wipe away a tear or two at the end.

Winter Solstice is set in Massachusetts, between Boston and Nantucket. I’ve been to Boston, but never out to the islands, and now I’m convinced I need to make a visit.

Mary Jo

I read The Life She Was Given for a book club. It good fit in any number of categories, but I decided to put it here. It was set in the U.S.

At its core, this is a book about family secrets and how they influence our lives over generations. I can’t say too much more without giving away the numerous plot twists, so I’ll leave it that the book was a reminder of both the brutality and triumph that exists amongst families.



I picked this up after binge-watching Big Little Lies (based on a book by the same author). I didn’t find Truly Madly Guilty as compelling, but the popularity of the author made it hard to pass up.

It was “just okay.” Not worth spending a lot of time with, but good for a vacation read (and so many people are looking for just that right now).



I read this book for a book club discussion and was the only one who didn’t love it.

Mrs. Fletcher didn’t shock as much as seem a self-indulgent look at sex, love, and identity in the cultural wars of the ’10s. It felt a little too been there, done that throwback to the 1960s.

It did provoke some lively group discussions, which means it was aptly chosen for the group, and I was alone in finding it pedantic.


I read The Immortalists for a book club and there was a good discussion around its premises – how would you live your life if you knew precisely the date you would die.

This is a family saga, covering three generations, and the way destiny and choice became all balled up in the way four siblings lived their lives. Full of good discussion points for a book club.


I haven’t read one of Lisa Scottoline’s books in a while, so I loaded this one up on my Kindle for a day at sea read while on our Viking Ocean cruise.

Damaged is a legal thriller, one of my favorite genres. It addition to the usual legal maneuverings, this did a fine job of laying out the legal issues regarding education for special needs children. When a thriller encompasses law in an accurate portrayal, it gets my thumbs up.



I love a good legal thriller, so discovering this new-to-me author of Lie in Wait (and others in the series) was a treat.

The premise is simple, a young woman babysitting the children of a prominent local attorney involved in a controversial case, is murdered. The unraveling of the whodunnit and why, however, is a lot more convoluted. I had a hint about before the full reveal, but it took sorting through a lot of red herrings and misdirection to get there.


I’m a recent Elin Hilderbrand fan, and this was the third books of hers that I read this year.

There are always multiple emotional storylines going on, usually surround family issues. It’s enough for the plot and emotions to ring true, but not so heavy that it bogs down with needless details.

This is a good beach or plane read.