Nancy's Reviews

After working in several word-related fields: copy writing, editing, freelance voice talent and theatre--followed by a long career as a stay-at-home mom I started working at the bookstore almost nineteen years ago, and was fortunate enough to be the manager for eighteen years. From my first day at work I had a sense of being home among the books and fellow book-junkies and that feeling only grew with the ensuing years.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a terrific team of booksellers and customers, and I am especially indebted to my fantastic family who supported my choice of jobs despite work hours that were definitely not conducive to family and social activities. I'm just now learning what all the fuss about weekends is all about!

My thanks to all of you who supported the store, who mourned its closing, and who asked us to establish this forum so that we can continue our tradition of exchanging opinions and ideas about books.

Bring Me Back                                        

 Author:  B.A. Paris                          Fiction                        

Finn’s first meeting with Layla was as odd as their relationship turned out to be: stuffy, reserved Finn and quirky Layla were an unlikely pair, until, driving home after what was supposed to be a relaxing trip, Layla goes into the ladies room at a highway rest stop and never comes out. Once he’s convinced the police of his innocence (Finn leaves out the raging argument he and Layla had been engaged in), Finn returns home, alone. Ten years later, having accepted the inevitability that Layla is dead, Finn is in love again, this time with cool, composed, Ellen, Layla’s sister. With their wedding plans underway, Ellen is suddenly convinced that Layla is alive when someone leaves a tiny Russian nesting doll on the wall outside their house: a doll exactly like the one Layla had taken from Ellen when they were children. And while Ellen is overjoyed at the thought that her sister is alive, Finn is confused and terrified, because he knows the doll can’t belong to Ellen. Finn has Ellen’s doll: he found it half-buried in the dirt the last night he saw Layla, the night of their violent argument. The night she vanished.

A twisty (and twisted) novel, Paris has written another terrific psychological thriller in which killers and their prey blend so seamlessly that the final truth is doubly shocking. Definitely, a must-read!


All the Beautiful Lies                            

 Author:  Peter Swanson                            Fiction       

Harry Ackerson hardly knows his beautiful stepmother Alice, the woman his widowed father married at just about the time Harry was leaving for college, but on the rare occasions Harry sees the two of them together they seem content, despite the years of difference in their ages. Of course, Bill Ackerson, reserved, cerebral owner of rare bookstores is not the most demonstrative of men, and Alice appears to be devoted to him, despite the alarming thrill of sensuality Harry experiences when he thinks of her. Now ready to graduate, Harry plans to deal with that awkward situation by simply avoiding all but the most necessary contact with Alice, a plan that evaporates when Bill dies unexpectedly, forcing Harry back to Maine, and to the house in which his stepmother still lives, where Harry finds that his father’s death was not the result of an accidental fall but was caused by a purposeful attack. And where Harry struggles with the dark suspicion that Alice may not be the loving wife she portrays.

Peter Swanson is an absolute master of suspense thrillers, and All the Beautiful Lies will keep you on the edge of your seat as no one is what they appear to be. Dark surprises abound, and Swanson nails the horrifying conclusion.



Then She Was Gone                                   

 Author:  Lisa Jewell                        Fiction                           

In the days when she had three children, Laurel Mack’s life was lovely. Granted, Hanna was difficult, and Jake was busy with his teen-boy life, but she had Paul, her good husband, and she had Ellie, her golden child. Ellie herself seemed to recognize the glow she carried; she and her beautiful boyfriend Theo enhanced each other’s perfection. Even Noelle, Ellie’s odd math tutor, was obviously a little in love with her. But it has been ten years since Laurel’s perfect life vanished, as did Ellie, on her way to the library, just gone. It took Laurel seven years to accept that Ellie wasn’t coming back, seven years to lose her good husband, seven years to admit that her other children might as well be gone, too, for all the contact she has with them. But now there is Floyd: attentive, adoring, gorgeous Floyd, who has fallen in love with Laurel, and she with him. And Floyd’s daughter, Poppy, is just almost flawless, although maybe a little too mature, a little too composed, a little too close to Floyd. Surely Laurel can’t be jealous, not of a child. It’s just unsettling that Poppy’s role in Floyd’s life resembles that of a contemporary rather than a child, although that is much less disturbing to Laurel than Poppy’s startling resemblance to Ellie.

What a creepy cliffhanger of a book!



What You Want to See                         

 Author:  Kristen Lepionka                      Fiction                     

Columbus, Ohio, private investigator Roxane Weary is cynical, chronically underemployed, and living in the shadow of her father Frank, a revered cop when he was alive, practically canonized since his death. Lately, Roxane has been making ends meet trailing the girlfriend of Arthur Ungless, owner of a small printing shop on the North side, and hopelessly sappy fiance of the much younger, much more attractive Marin. Despite having followed Marin for a week, Roxane hasn’t seen anything but a monied woman shopping. Every day. Which makes for a really boring career move for Roxane and one that proves short-lived as well when Marin is gunned down in the street following a heated (and public) argument with Arthur. Determined to convince the police of Arthur’s innocence (it’s the puppy dog eyes) , Roxane is sure Arthur had nothing to do with the killing, until, during her visit to his office, gunmen raid the building, killing a young woman and gravely injuring Arthur in what looks like a mob hit, changing Roxane’s investigation into one in which she, and those she loves, are targets.