Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

Keep Your Friends Close is a “stalker” novel but it is a good stalker novel. Paula Daley builds her characters carefully and completely and makes them real. You know from the very beginning what is happening but you don’t know why and in the why is the story. Tension is developed perfectly, one clue added at a time as you sink into the story and watch the rock-solid marriage and perfect family of Natty and Sean fall into ruin as the evil best friend takes control.
This is good read thriller full of questions about what we will do to keep our secrets safe.

I also recommend that you read Daly’s debut thriller Just What Kind of Mother Are You?. This thriller is a more likely scenario than the stalker scenario. The novel develops around a good mother coping with the terrifying consequences that occur when the horrors that lurk in everyday lives touch herself and her family.

Where The Moon Isn’t – Nathan Filer

In Where The Moon Isn’t, Nathan Filer, has written a thought provoking, first person look at mental illness. But it is so much more than that. In this debut novel Nathan Filer reveals the events that caused a family full of love and resilience to face the loss of one child to a tragic accident and a second child to the wilderness of schizophrenia.

The book is written in a first person, almost diary entry style. Matthew Homes, the main character, writes honestly and fearlessly about his feelings, his observances of others and most importantly of his love for his missing brother Simon. Despite the one sided telling all the characters come alive and will stay with you after you finish this book.

Unlike many tales involving guilt and death and mental illness this book resonates with love. I give it 5 stars.

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Joshilyn Jackson writes fun books and this is another winner for her and for readers.  It’s a quick read that makes you laugh and feel good, which is something that I like at the end of the day.  I fell in love with the characters on the very first page and I was never disappointed.

The young single mom, Shandi, has the most charming, genius, 3 year old son (Natty Bumppo) you will ever hope to meet.  The two of them are perfect together.  Add the other, all very interesting characters; Shandi’s warring, long-divorced parents, a brilliant but dysfunctional geneticist, and a very tolerant male best friend and you have a good read!

It’s a sexual story told without any actual sex scenes. This book is about science and miracles, secrets and truths, faith and forgiveness; about falling in love, and learning that things aren’t always what they seem—or what we hope they will be. What more do you want in a novel?

And…..if you need/want another suggestion, I also loved Jackson’s GODS IN ALABAMA

The Sisterhood – Helen Bryan

This book was totally wonderful and unexpected. I’d read Helen Bryan’s first book War Brides
and liked it so when I saw this advertised on BookBud at a very reasonable price, it might have been $.99 but I think it was the free book of the day, I downloaded it to my Kindle
where it sat for a couple of weeks until I started to read it. And then I was fascinated and just kept reading.

Bryan swings back and forth in time as the story unfolds. On the surface it is the story of a young South American orphan girl, Menina Walker, who after being rescued in a hurricane with nothing but a medal embossed with a swallow is adopted by the Southern Baptist American couple, the Walkers. Her new life is a good life until at nineteen a traumatic event shatters her dreams for the future. She flees to Spain where she intends to do research for her college thesis about a sixteenth-century artist who signed his works with the image of a swallow — the same image as the one on Menina’s medal. Through a series of, mostly believable, events she is stranded in a musty, isolated Spanish convent. Where she discovers the saga of five orphan girls and their escape from the Inquisition.

Bryan, however, tells a much deeper more dramatic story as the history of the order of the nuns is revealed against the background of the Spanish Inquisition. Her research makes the historical parts of the book a fascinating glimpse of 16th Century Spain and early South America. The image of the swallow binds all layers and all persons together. This is a book about the power of women. It portrays a powerful belief in the goodness of people even in the worst of times.

The Sisterhood is both love story and historical thriller, it is an emotionally, fascinating read, taking you across continents and centuries. It is well written and if you like a well paced historical novel I suggest you give it a try.