Amy Lappin

Persons Unknown

Summary: 
Second in the Detective Manon Bradshaw series, this new mystery doesn't disappoint. When a man is murdered close to where she lives in Cambridgeshire, Bradshaw initially can't imagine how close to home this investigation will come. The first book in the series, Missing, Presumed, is also highly recommended and should be read first to appreciate the character development (although the mystery itself stands on its own). For fans of Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope books, Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie mysteries, and the Happy Valley British television series.

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Al Franken, Giant of the Senate

Summary: 
Former Saturday Night Live writer turned U.S. Senator, Al Franken describes what motivated his 2008 run for Senate and his take on U.S. politics today. It's a progressive democrat's look at Washington with his very specific brand of humor. His humor aside, Franken comes across as a man of integrity and honesty. He narrates the audio version of the book. Highly recommended.

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Dark Matter

Summary: 
Jason Dessen made some choices in his life. Not bad choices, but choices that took him away from becoming the academic superstar he could have been. Or did he? Dark Matter explores the impact of even our smallest decisions. One route chosen and another left behind. Or do the worlds left behind continue to exist on another plane? This mind-bender is a fun & suspenseful ride. I would never describe myself as a fan of science fiction, but I could not put this page-turner down.

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The Passenger

Summary: 
In a departure from her quirky Spellman Files series, Lutz has written a darker suspense novel. Who is Tanya? Why is she really on the run? Is the narrator reliable? The plot twists and turns to a satisfying end. Recommended for readers who enjoyed Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, and the latest Caroline Kepnes novels. An entertaining weekend read.

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Between the World and Me

Summary: 
One hardly needs me to recommend a National Book Award winner, but I can't get this book out of my head. The economical (176 pages) work of non-fiction is a letter from Coates to his teenage son about what it means to be black in America today. Covering American history, current events, and the author's personal narrative, the word in my head is "important." This is such an important book at this time, in this country. It can be shocking and demoralizing, but also hopeful. Consider listening to the audiobook. Coates performs his own narration and his voice lends even more to the powerfulness and beauty of the text.

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My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life

Summary: 
When Gourmet magazine folded in 2009, editor in chief, Ruth Reichl was left unemployed and without a plan for the first time in her adult life. While others from the magazine found new work quickly, at 61, Reichl wasn't sure what came next. My Kitchen Year tells the story of the time immediately following Gourmet's demise. It's part memoir and part cookbook. I often read cookbooks for pleasure, but had never listened to one. Reichl is an excellent narrator. Her story is interesting and hearing her read the recipes is supremely enjoyable!

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The Martian

Summary: 
The Martian was recommended to me and it sounded okay, but the story of an astronaut left behind on Mars and having to fend for himself is really "not my thing." Finally, so many people suggested I read it that I decided to give the audiobook a shot on a long car trip and found it completely absorbing. Now I can't stop recommending it to everyone who asks me for a good book. The narrator inhabits the main character Mark Watney with all the fear, boredom, desperation, humor and ingenuity one might expect from a man abandoned on a distant planet. The book came out in 2011, but has recently regained popularity with a movie starring Matt Damon due in theaters soon.

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Everything I Never Told You

Summary: 
The novel, set in Ohio in 1977, examines the effect 16-year old Lydia's death has on her family as they try to search for answers. Was it an accident? Murder? Suicide? Did any of them know Lydia as well as they thought they did? Switching between the past and present, family dynamics are viewed from the perspective of each member of the interracial Lee family. How did they get to this point? What affect do parental aspirations have on children? Can we shape our children into the people we wish we could have been? Moving and well written. Would make an excellent choice for a book group.

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Me Before You

Summary: 
Many people have recommended this novel of the exceptionally ordinary Louisa Clark who takes a job as a personal aide to Will Trainor, former jet-setter now paralyzed after a traffic accident. The story is engaging, funny and heartbreaking. I would like to put in a plug for the exceptionally well done audio version which really brings it to life.

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The World Without You

Summary: 
The Frankel family gathers in Lenox, MA for a memorial service for their son and brother, a journalist who was killed by terrorists a year earlier in Iraq. The book explores family dynamics previous to Leo's death and how they are functioning without him. A well-written family story.

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