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Magical 'Little Black Dress' haunts women

The gypsy woman said the dress was special, that it had the power to change the future of the one who wore it. All Anna knew was that she had to have it. In Susan McBride’s latest novel, “Little Black Dress,” family secrets, romance and elements of...

'White Shotgun' ends with a fizzle

Poor Ana Grey. She can’t take a vacation, much less a romantic one, without running into trouble. The FBI special agent encounters a lot of unexpected trouble in her latest adventure, “White Shotgun.” California author April Smith puts Grey through...

'Acceptable Loss' full of action, intrigue

You never know what the murky Thames River is going to wash up, but it is usually nothing good. After years as an inquiry agent, William Monk is again commander of the Thames River police on the London docks, and he is determined to put an end to...

Tunnel of love twists, turns in 'First Husband'

Travel writer Annie Adams leads an exciting life. She visits exotic places and secret hideaways in search of the perfect story. Upon her return from each adventure, she snuggles up with her handsome and charming boyfriend, Nick, who is struggling to...

'Summer Rental' a light-hearted novel of friendship

Since it doesn’t look like summer is ever going to end, there is still plenty of time to get in some great summer reading, especially since the kids will be off to school soon. Mary Kay Andrews is well-known for her wonderful novels set during those...

'The Butterfly's Daughter' emotional, fulfilling

Luz Avila is a young and vibrant Latina, raised from a young age by her beloved grandmother Esperanza in Milwaukee. All Luz can remember about her mother is that her name was Mariposa, Spanish for “Butterfly.” Esperanza is known as the “Butterfly...

Barclay's 'The Accident' a finely crafted tale

My introduction to the great world of mystery writing was Agatha Christie. Don’t laugh; I was about 8 years old, introduced to the genre by an older sister. And here was the thing about Dame Agatha: Even at 8 years old, it didn’t take me long to...

'Graveminder' makes sure dead stay put

Someone has to watch over the dead: feed them, console them, make sure they stay put. For decades, Rebekkah Barrow’s stepgrandmother, Maylene, did just that for the folks in Clayville. Maylene went to every funeral, where she would take three sips...

Loss of mother haunts daughter in 'Moonglass'

Anna Ryan's life is turned upside down when her lifeguard father accepts a job far from her home, her friends, her beach and the waves that took her mother's life. Now, in Crystal Cove, she is even more haunted by the loss of her beloved mother as...

Steve Hamilton hits mark with ‘Misery Bay’

It’s been five years since the last Alex McKnight novel, “A Stolen Season,” was published. The sixth in the series ended with McKnight’s love interest being murdered in one of his cabins in Paradise, Mich., and he blamed himself for her death. At...

Unlikely duo center of touching 'Dandelion Summer'

What do an elderly man and a lively teenager have in common? In “Dandelion Summer” by Lisa Wingate, they both are misunderstood. At the height of his career, J. Norman Alvord was counted among the brilliant men who put the first man on the moon. Now...

Intriguing ‘Atmospheric Disturbances’ amuses

I’m a sucker for books with odd titles. Hence, when I came across Rivka Galchen’s debut novel, “Atmospheric Disturbances,” I was tickled, to say the least. And the story is intriguing. A psychiatrist believes his wife has disappeared and a “false”...

Accident changes woman's life in 'Left Neglected'

Life can change in the blink of an eye. Sarah Nickerson is the typical overworked, overstressed, overambitious wife and mom who's intent on trying to do everything. Living the good life in the suburbs of Boston, Sarah and her husband, Bob, are...

'Trader of Secrets' packed with action, suspense

Author Steve Martini likes to have his stories revolve around the threat of big weapons doing big damage to populated areas. “The Rule of Nine” involved a thermolbaric bomb and Washington D.C. The city survived. The threat in “Guardian of Lies” was...

'Untold Story' imagines a still-living Princess Di

What if? A powerful question that sometimes requires powerful thought in answering. So, imagine, what if Diana, Princess of Wales, had not died, but instead had staged her death and escaped into anonymity? In Monica Ali's new novel, “Untold Story,”...

Ann Patchett’s ‘State of Wonder’ wonderful

After reading "Bel Canto" many years ago, I fell in love with author Ann Patchett and carried my adoration of her writing through four other books, each time fearful I might be disappointed, as so often happens. I needn’t panic. Patchett’s latest, “...

Danielle Steel's 'Happy Birthday' doesn't disappoint

In Danielle Steel’s latest novel, “Happy Birthday,” the queen of “feel good” stories once again brings her legions of fans a wonderful tale of hard times, complications and love. Valerie Wyatt is the reigning diva of gracious living, putting Martha...