Dancing With the Sun by Kay Bratt. Published by Lake Union

It was supposed to be a wonderful reunion of mother and daughter at Yosemite National Park, but it turns into a nightmare. Sadie Harlan is visiting her daughter, Lauren, who’s working at the venerable park when the two decide to take a quick day hike. Instead of catching up, they find themselves battling nature. Looking for water and food and fighting off weather and predators, the women must find a way to survive. Complicating matters is Sadie’s trouble past and her inability to move forward after a tragedy, something she will clearly have to do now if she and her daughter are to make it home alive.  It’s nice to read a story about women fighting against nature instead of a predatory stalker or serial killer, and the setting is amazing

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The Fifth Doctrine by Karen Robards. Published by Mira

Bianca St. Ives is going down for all the havoc she’s wreaked…or so she thinks. She can walk free, IF, she’s willing to risk her life for one last mission. It’s a daunting prospect, but Bianca wants nothing more than to return to her old life in Savannah. Bianca will have to go undercover as a snitch to feed false information to authorities in North Korea. If she’s caught, she will surely be tortured and then killed, if she gets away with it, she may just make the world a safer place while gaining back her own life. I am not  a fan of espionage, only a writer as talented as Robards could get me so involved in a genre I normally dislike

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Kerr. Published by Avon UK

The world is such a dark and scary place nowadays, that’s why I loved this sweet story about love and taking chances. Lucy Baker is a young woman who prefers a safe, quiet life on her own and rarely goes out anywhere. Her neighbor, Brenda, is 79 and suffering from dementia, but she’s still full of life, and she wants to see Lucy find the same kind of happiness she had. Brenda encourages Lucy to step outside her comfort zone and join the real world, even as Lucy resists. The real beauty of this story is the friendship between these two women, it made me smile and gave me hope that the good in people still exists

Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey. Published by Orbit

The Girl With All the Gifts is one of my all time favorite dystopian novels, so I’m always eager to read anything by Carey. This is no dystopian story, but a story about a woman who has been pushed too far by the circumstances of her life. Unable to defend herself, another force seems to overtake her body to take brutal revenge on those who have wronger her. I guess I was supposed to really dislike the “evil” side of Liz, but frankly, I kind of liked her. Yes she did some horrible things, but it was so much fun to read a story about a woman handing everyone their ass while the rest of us seem to be living in our own, real dystopian reality

Do No Harm by Dawn Eastman. Published by Crooked Lane

Katie LeClair  found a small town in Michigan to open her medical practice, but the quiet life she hoped for didn’t emerge. She’s survived an attack and the murder of one of her patients, but things get dicey again when she gets a new patient who has just been released from prison. He claims he was wrongly convicted of murder and then disappears. When a college student is found dead, Katie is worries that her new patient may be the killer. As Halloween approaches, residents of Baxter are on edge, and for good reason. Can Katie solve a murder and prove a man’s innocence? Realistic characters and settings create a series that readers will love

The Devil Aspect by Craig Russell. Published by Doubleday

Russell’s novel takes a chilling look into the world of mental illness….and what really causes it. It’s the mid 1930’s in Czechoslovakia, a brutal serial killer dubbed the Leather Apron killer is butchering women in Prague as Dr Viktor Kosarek prepares to take up his new post at the most infamous Asylum in Europe. Only six inmates are held in the facility, but they are deemed so dangerous they are kept locked away in a former castle, converted to a mental hospital. As Kosarek interviews his new patient, he notices they all share a commonality that he calls the “devil aspect”. He hopes that by studying them he can learn the root causes of their afflictions. This book scared the hell out of me, at times gruesome, at others, almost poetic, but in the end utterly terrifying. The ending blew me away

Vox by Christina Dalcher. Published by Berkley

I will be honest, I waited a while before I read this book. All the scary science fiction/dystopian tales I love now seem incredibly close to becoming reality. I screwed up my courage and sat down to read about an utterly terrifying and all too plausible America where women are only allowed to speak 100 words per day. Women are not allowed to work outside the home, not taught to read or write. If you’re thinking scary, you’re right and if you’re worried about the real current political regime we are living under in this country….you should be. The solution lies in women themselves, one in particular in this book, Dr. Jean McClellan, who refuses to accept this new reality and vows to take back her voice and that of every other woman in the country. Don’t be afraid to read this book, be afraid not to