As I’m hunkered down at home trying to wait out COVID-19, I’m thinking about special books that keep me going; books I love so much that I’ve bought them from both my public and home libraries. Each of these books contain characters whom I’d want to spend time with, absorbing plots, and vivid settings that take me out of the here and now. And it doesn’t hurt if they’re part of a series with promises of even more good reading ahead. Here are some of my favorites.
HE wrote the review that doomed HER restaurant. What’s she going to do when she finds out who the new man in her life really is? THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is an entertaining love story set against a vibrant Milwaukee background that feels like a virtual visit.
A chance meeting between talented chef Luella and British transplant Al leads to a budding romance. But when Luella discovers her new paramour is the writer behind the anonymous food column whose scathing review of her cooking left her restaurant facing closure, can their relationship survive? A charming tale of mistaken identity and unlikely love, this delightful tale will surely satisfy your sweet tooth.
When FBI agent Kendra Donovan is thrust back in time to 1815 England, a wealthy aristocrat offers his protection, but how will they deal with Kendra’s need to help investigate a distressing murder without the technology she’s always relied on? This book is packed with wonderful historical background, suspense, and romance.
When brilliant FBI agent Kendra Donovan stumbles back in time and finds herself in a 19th century English castle under threat from a vicious serial killer, she scrambles to solve the case before it takes her life—200 years before she was even born.
Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.
While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.
Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.
Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal to lifetime house arrest in the Hotel Metropole. Readers will quickly find the resourceful count is well worth spending time with. “Adversity presents itself in many forms, and if a man does not master his circumstances, then he is bound to be mastered by them.”
Read with a Moscow Mule
Maybe it’s the copper cup or the alliteration in the name that attracts us to this beverage again and again. And the perfect companion is A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW, set in the beautiful Metropol hotel in Moscow. Amor Towles spins the immersing story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is sentenced to house arrest after being deemed an unrepentant aristocrat.
What happens when a despised younger son must unexpectedly take the throne? This beautifully written, richly detailed fantasy has some thought-provoking things to say about becoming a leader and how people should treat each other.
Unnoticed by the mundane world the magical houses of Manhattan are about to stage their once-in-a-generation battle for supremacy when an unknown, very powerful magician appears to upset the balance. A kick-ass heroine and an intriguing system of magic provide an interesting look at the uses and abuses of power.
“A remarkable writer.” —Neil Gaiman, bestselling author of American Gods
An Alex Award Winner
There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.
In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.
Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.
With ruthless killers on the loose, an elite team of forensic experts called the Tracers help cops protect potential victims. Starting with UNTRACEABLE, this series offers heart-pounding suspense, plot twists and compelling love stories. (Note: This series does not have to be read in order!)
Discover the Tracers series with this first book featuring Alex Lovell—an expert who helps her clients “disappear”—until she finds herself in the middle of a homicide investigation as the next victim. With a “fast pace, tight plotting, terrific mystery, sharp dialogue, fabulous characters” (Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author), this is white-knuckled thrill ride.
Private investigator Alexandra Lovell uses computer skills and cunning to help clients drop off the radar and begin new lives in safety. Melanie Bess, desperate to escape her abusive cop husband, was one of those clients. But when Melanie vanishes for real, Alex fears the worst, and sets out to discover what happened. Using every resource she can get her hands on—including an elite team of forensic scientists known as the Tracers, and a jaded, sexy Austin PD detective—Alex embarks on a mission to uncover the truth.
As far as homicide cop Nathan Deveraux is concerned, no body means no case. But as much as he wants to believe that Alex’s hunch about Melanie’s murder is wrong, his instincts—and their visceral attraction—won't let him walk away. As a grim picture of what really happened begins to emerge, Nathan realizes this investigation runs deeper than they could ever have guessed. And each step nearer the truth puts Alex in danger of being the next to disappear.
The first in Dunnett’s LYMOND CHRONICLES features magnetic characters and swashbuckling adventure across 16th century Europe. Her series offers all the intrigue of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, set against a real historical background.
A young girl is abandoned on a ship headed to Australia in 1913. The only clues to her identity: a small suitcase and a book of fairy tales. The story moves smoothly back and forth in time as various people through the years try to solve the riddle of who she is.
From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The House at Riverton, a novel that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women try to uncover their family’s secret past.A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book—a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-fi rst birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go.
Kearsley has an incredible knack for writing characters you’re bound to fall in love with and who will stay with you after you close the book. Writer Carrie and Sophia, whose story is set in the 1708 Jacobite rebellion in Scotland, are no exception. Their stories are beautifully told and emotionally satisfying.
Contemporary and eighteenth-century Scotland are interwoven in this gothic and romantic novel. A writer is startled to learn that a story she thinks has sprung from her imagination is actually a factual account of her ancestors during the Jacobite rebellion. Complex Scottish history with a hint of time travel and gorgeous simmering romance? Check!
Six young women, adopted at birth, set out to solve the mystery of their origins in this series opener by Lucinda Riley. First off is oldest sister Maia, led to Brazil, where she finds her story starts in 1920s Rio with the building of its iconic Christ the Redeemer. If you’ve missed this series, there’s a lot to look forward to. The sixth book, THE SUN SISTER, will be published in May.