The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel. Published by St. Martins

The summer of 1984 is a year the residents of Breathed, Ohio will never forget. Its was hot, hotter than anyone could ever remember it being. It was also the summer Sal showed up. Sal was a bruised and broken looking thirteen year old boy, but, he said, his real name was Lucifer. He was the devil and he was in Breathed that summer because local prosecutor Autopsy Bliss had invited him. Fielding Bliss, his son, gets to know Sal (or whoever he is), when the boy is invited to stay with the Bliss family. The adults believe the boy is a runaway from a nearby community, and judging by the bruises on the boy, he had a good reason to run away. Of course, when it gets out that the Bliss family is harboring the devil, some of the folks in town don’t take kindly to it. And when accidents and odd events start happening during that long, hot summer, there are some who swear it’s the boy to blame. I haven’t read anything like this before. It reads like a cross between Harper Lee and Stephan King, and in case it isn’t clear, that’s a VERY good thing. Brilliant and brutal

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Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer. Published by Workman

With the state of the world and the state of my bank account, I have resigned myself to being an armchair traveler, and I have read tons of travelogues and guidebooks. But how many times can you read about the Taj Mahal or the pyramids? It’s fascinating stuff, but sometimes it feel like, been there, done that. So, for those who have traveled extensively, in the real world or between the pages of the book, well, have I got a book for you. Workman’s massive Atlas Obscura takes readers to all the strange, unusual, out of the way, or just forgotten places all over the world. From cemeteries to chained libraries to bizarre museums dedicated to almost anything and everything you can think, this is a book to savor. I spent hours lost in this fascinating one of a kind book, but it’s also the type of book you could read slowly, as each destination is seldom more than a page, you could read one or two everyday and draw out the pleasure of visiting some of the least known, but most interesting places in the world. Highly recommended.

The Indian Family Table by Anjali Pathak. Published by Clarkson Potter

Think of this as an introduction to making Indian style food, not a strict Indian cookbook and you won’t be disappointed. Pathak’s idea is a good one, using items that are fresh and available locally to readers and then adding Indian spices for a fresh spin. Not all the recipes are strictly Indian, although most are and they all look delicious. This book is a wonderful introduction to cooking Indian style dishes, recipes are clear and easy to follow and are accompanied by sumptuous photographs. A great addition to my family of cookbooks

Redemption Road by John Hart. Published by St. Martins

The incredibly talented Hart returns with a new thriller centered around Elizabeth Black, a decorated cop with some very ugly secrets. Hart does an amazing job of painting characters that are all too human and readers may be left wondering who they should rally behind and who is really the “bad guy”. Expect plenty of violence and some disturbing themes, but Hart is such a talented writer that readers will be riveted

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowman Coleman. Published by Ballantine

This book revolves around a London hospice unit and is told through the voices of a nurse, her husband, a patient and the son of a patient. Stella Carey loves her work at the hospice unit and it’s a welcome escape from home, where her husband, Vincent is suffering from PTSD after a fateful deployment in Afghanistan. Stella is well known on the ward for writing letters. She writes letters for her patients, giving them a chance to say their final goodbyes, only sending them after the patient has died. For the first time ever, though, Stella is tempted to deliver a letter before her patient dies.  Sprinkled throughout the story are the letters, some funny, some rude and some heartbreaking. This is an exceptionally beautiful story that at first glance is about death, but in the end is really about life. No one will remain dry eyed

Dining at the Ravens by Jeff Stanford. Published by BenBella

Jeff and Joan Stanford are the founders of the Ravens Restaurant at the Stanford Inn on the Medocino coast. The Ravens is a popular vegan restaurant and the only one of its type in the U. S. The Stanford’s give readers 150 recipes that allows them the chance to prepare delicious vegan meals in their own homes. They also include gardening and food prep tips, along with a history of the inn. The recipes are clear, but a little advanced for the novice chef

The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard. Published by Red Adept

After Meredith’s fiancĂ©e was killed in a random act of street violence, she retreated into her apartment and stayed there. Her career, her life and her personal hygiene are on hold. Then her sister dumps a temporarily orphaned Yorkshire Terrier on her. Prozac isn’t just any dog though, he’s a highly intelligent, very intuitive therapy dog. And it’s not just the seniors at Evergreen Gardens that Prozac helps. Slowly the determined little dog pulls Meredith back into the world of the living. I love animals and believe they can help heal the most broken of hearts so I really liked this book and Prozac stole my heart