Murder on Astor Place: a Gaslight Mystery by Victoria Thompson

Reviewed by Claire Daley

Murder on Astor Place is a gaslight mystery that introduces Sarah Brandt — a midwife who came from the upper classes of Manhattan society. It takes place at the turn of the century in the tenements of Manhattan. If you like the history of New York (Manhattan) and the way society treated the classes, you will enjoy this read. Of course, a murder is involved and the romantic sparks between Sarah and the police officer Frank Malloy. Easy read for the summer or anytime.

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆☆☆

New Girl by Daniel Silva

Reviewed by Edward Schwarz

The New Girl is the 19th of Silva’s Gabriel Allon series, and begins with a new girl at an exclusive boarding school vanishing. The young girl is the daughter of Saudi Arabia’s controversial crown prince. The prince, through a mutual friend, meets with Allon and convinces him that he is truly an agent of change in the Middle East and asks Gabriel Allomn for his help in rescuing his daughter, which becomes anything but straightforward. Silva weaves this latest tale with more current events than is his norm, and in so doing, provides a convincing and current storyline with unexpected twists and turns.

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆☆☆

Repo Madness by W. Bruce Cameron

Reviewed by Elaine Pasquali

Rudy McCann spent several years in prison for the accidental death of a hitchhiker, Lisa Marie. Just as he’s getting his life back on track, with a fiancé, Katie, and a job repossessing cars, a stranger tells him he was not responsible for Lisa Marie’s death. Ruddy stumbles onto additional information that leads him to believe that Lisa Marie was the victim of a serial killer. Did I mention that Ruddy also shares his body with Alan, Katie’s dead father. Is Alan an hallucination or a ghost? A quirky, fun read.

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Reviewed by Elaine Pasquali

Firefly Lane is the story of a thirty year friendship between Kate and Tully. During adolescence, they became inseparable and were known as KateandTully. Crises and arguments never threatened their friendship until Tully betrayed Kate. The friendship was broken; could it ever be repaired? A final crisis provides an opportunity for reconciliation. This is a compelling read, but it is also heartrending.

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆☆☆

Pelican Brief by John Grisham

Reviewed by Elaine Pasquali

Two Supreme Court Justices are murdered. The FBI has no clues. Their deaths afford the President the opportunity to appoint two ultra conservative justices who will assure a conservative court for years to come. A second year Tulane University law student, Darby Shaw, becomes obsessed with the crime and prepares a highly speculative brief. When everyone associated with the brief meet violent deaths and someone wants Darby dead, the brief, code named Pelican, attracts attention. A Washington Post reporter, Gray Grantham, becomes involved in the investigation. This is definitely a page turner but I found the last chapter anti-climatic.

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆☆☆

Dewey the Library Cat: a True Story by Vicki Myron

Reviewed by Rose Butcher

Dewey the Library Cat … is a true heartwarming story about a little eight-week old kitten that was shoved into the book return slot on the wall of a library in Iowa. It was January and the temperature was minus fifteen degrees! He was discovered by the author of this book, Vicki, who worked as a librarian at the Spencer Public Library. They named him Dewey, after the Dewey Decimal System (this happened in 1988). He lived a very long life and touched so many lives, not only in the town of Spencer, but all over the world. This book recounts some of those stories.

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆☆☆

Peace is Every Step: the Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Nanh

Reviewed by Rose Butcher

The author uses Buddhist teachings to help us find peace and calmness in this fast-paced modern day society. He gives us examples of ways to be “in the moment,” by making us think differently about everyday tasks, like washing the dishes, driving, eating and even how to react to the telephone ringing. The Dalai Lama recommends this book also, saying “It can change individual lives and the life of our society.”

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆☆☆

Five Good Minutes in the Evening by Jeffrey Brantley, Wendy Millstine

Reviewed by Rose Butcher

Five Good Minutes in the Evening is a little gem. I would recommend this title to anyone who needs to quiet their mind at the end of the day, from before you leave the workplace (if that applies) to bedtime and everything in between. With 100 different exercises to try, it can help you de-stress and have a more restful sleep. Pick and choose which suggestions work for you!

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆☆☆

More Than Words by Jill Santopolo

Reviewed by Laura Caran

A young woman was proud to be her father’s daughter, and she looked up to him her whole life. She acted how she believed he wanted her to act. Then when her father died, she found out about the secrets he kept, and she was devastated. She began to behave differently after finding out these secrets and became more of herself and not the daughter she thought her father wanted her to be. She had a long-time friend who became her boyfriend, but she was attracted to her boss just when that boyfriend asked her to marry him. Her life changes drastically when she decides to be fully her own person and do what her heart tells her to do with the rest of her life.

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆☆

Labyrinth by Catherine Coulter

Reviewed by Paulette Aspesi

Labyrinth is the latest installment in Coulter’s FBI series. Two plots intertwining. Loved them both. Typical Coulter — which means well-written, fast-paced and engrossing. Looks like another romance/marriage might be on the horizon. If you are looking for deep meaning and a discussion book, this is not it. Another great summer read. Four stars only if you like “candy” books.

How many stars does the book deserve?: ☆☆☆☆