Help! I’m Falling into a Good Book

The Maid by Nita Prose—In an unknown city at a fancy hotel, Molly Gray is the perfect maid. Her rooms are always spotless, and she really enjoys her work. But after her beloved Gran dies, she is rather adrift because Gran was the one person who interpreted her world for her. Molly has trouble understanding what people really mean when they speak to her. And when she walks into a room and finds a customer dead, her life is overturned and the people she trusts are not the people she needs to trust.  Will Molly solve this crime? Or will she be convicted of it?

You Can’t Be Serious by Kal Penn—Whatever you have expected from a book by Kal Penn, you will be surprised. From the star of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Penn takes us into his life as an Indian American boy from Jersey City where against all odds and advice from family and friends, he ends up in Hollywood fighting racism and prejudice to become an actor. His memoir, in turns funny and very serious follows his ups and downs in his acting career and a definite turn into what he feels is national service as he joins Barack Obama’s election campaign and ultimately his staff for a year.  As an actor, writer and producer, Penn surprises everyone. And this is not the end of his saga.

We Are Not Like Them, by Jo Piazza and Christine Pride—This is a novel literally ripped from the headlines. Riley and Jen have been friends, more like sisters, since kindergarten. The fact that Riley is Black, and Jen is White never seemed to be a factor in their friendship until a Black, unarmed teenager is killed by two White policemen and one of those policemen is Jen’s husband, Kevin.

Riley is a journalist on a local Philadelphia TV station and this story has become important to her, not only personally but professionally. Jen must grapple not only with her husband, and his job and possible freedom, but his family and the police family as well. Neither woman knows how to respond to each other and the longer they don’t communicate, the more difficult it becomes. They have never really talked with each other about race and among all their other problems, this is the opening they must have to keep their friendship alive.

Because this novel is written by Piazza who is White and Pride, who is Black and each chapter is narrated by Piazza or Pride, it lends a very realistic bent to this novel. Both writers agree that this is a way to open a dialogue about race. If you are looking for a provocative book to open a discussion on race for your book club, this may be a good choice.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz—An English countryside murder, complete with a vicar, a haughty landowner, a bitter maid, and a famous detective. What could be more delicious! But there’s more.  This is a novel about the author of this murder mystery, and when Susan, his editor reads the book, the ending chapters are missing. And the author is dead. Everyone thinks it’s a suicide, but Susan has other ideas. And it’s all tied into the books he wrote…and the missing chapters. Look carefully at the characters in this mystery. They may look more familiar as you read the book.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell—I told you when I reviewed The Invisible Girl by Jewell that I would be reading more of her books….and true to my word I did. Thanks to my sister who can’t stop reading them!

It started out slowly as Henry, his sister Lucy and their parents used to live a normal life, but as the money ran out, people were invited into their home, and they were no longer in charge…it was the family upstairs who took charge, and they turned everyone in the house into a cult.  And then a new baby was born, but who were her parents? And then what happened to the adults?

Twenty-five years later, Libby, an adopted orphan was contacted that she had inherited the big house in Chelsea. She knew nothing about the strange family that lived there but was determined to find out.  The twists and turns in this page turner never stop as Libby learns about the family she never knew.  

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