Essential Oils. Published by DK

DK produces some of the best, most beautiful and most fascinating nonfiction on the market. From their Eyewitness series for kid, to their travel guides to books like this one. Readers will learn the basics, what an essential oil is, how it is extracted and how it can be used to improve quality of life. Some readers may be interested in the information about chakras and such, but I was fascinated with the oils themselves and what they can do. From helping wipe away a stressful day, ridding oneself of a headache, inducing sleep and even bolstering confidence, this is a fascinating book, even if all you do is read and look at the gorgeous photos

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The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter. Published by Lake Union

Meg Ashley grew up with everything her heart desired. Money was no problem after her mother published a blockbuster horror novel based on a real life murder. While Meg never lacked for physical possessions, she was often shunted aside and ignored, and now as an adult, to pay her mother back for years of neglect, Meg agrees to spill the beans and write a scandalous memoir about her family. As Meg explores her mother’s past, her research takes her to a small island off the Georgia coast and the odd woman who Meg’s mother based her book upon. Meg also begins learning things about the murder, things that someone wants to stay buried, things someone is willing to kill to keep quiet. I could tell from the description of this book I was going to like it and I was right. A creepy southern Gothic is always a welcome addition to my bookcase

The Year of Counting Souls by Michael Wallace. Published by Lake Union

Louise Harrison is a nurse with the army stationed in Manila in World War II, but she and her patients are forced to evacuate to the mountains to a remote field hospital. Caught between stark terror and stultifying boredom, Louise becomes friends with injured Japanese soldier Sammy Mori who has been deemed a traitor to his country after he reported the terrible war crimes he witnessed in Nanking. Now, Sammy’s own brother, Yoshiko, a member of the dreaded Japanese military police is hunting him down. When he finds the field hospital, Louise and Sammy must find a way for themselves, sworn enemies to trust each other to find a way to survive. This is one of the best books I have read about the human impact of World War II in a long time. Find a block of time when you can read without being disturbed because you won’t want to stop

Dead Calm by Inge Lohnig. Published by Manilla

It’s sad, but not unheard of. A burglar breaks into a house, unexpectedly encounters the home owner, panics and kills the victim. That seems to be the case in the death of a retired children’s doctor, whose body has been found at his vacation lake house. But Inspector Konstantin Duhnfort doesn’t buy it. The deeper he digs into the case, the more disturbing things he uncovers. It seems the good doctor had some very ugly family secrets, the question is, were they ugly enough to get him killed? An intricately plotted mystery with a surprise or two awaiting readers

Take it to the Grave by Zoe Carter. Published by Harlequin

This is the first novella in a six part series. Sarah Taylor-Cox has the perfect life, home, husband and child, but her life is built on a lie and now someone is threatening to expose her. Carter does a good job of developing her characters and setting the stage for the suspense that is sure to build in the next five stories. My mom talks about the old serials she used to watch at the movies when she was a child. Each episode ended with a cliff hanger and viewers, like the readers of this series, would have to wait until the next installment to find out what happened

The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet by Oldcastle Books

For readers who miss Steig Larsson’s particular brand of Nordic Noir, this may be their answer. The story centers around retired defense attorney Vilhlem Thygesen, a man who is not popular with the local police. When he finds the body of a woman who has been stabbed to death in his frozen winter garden, the police believe she was trafficking drugs, but after a man from a biker gang that Thygesen once defended is killed in a suspicious accident, the cops want to find a link between the attorney, the frozen woman and the dead biker.  This is a story that left me feeling breathless, Michelet is a master

Girl on the Leeside by Kathleen Anne Kenney. Published by Doubleday

Raised by her Uncle Klee after her mother’s death in an IRA bombing, Siobhan has been protected and coddled. Having little to no contact with young people her own age, Siobhan has learned to be happy studying Irish poetry with her uncle. But that all changes when an American scholar gives Siobhan a peak at the real world outside her uncle’s home. When she lerans her father is still alive, Siobhan must face the difficult decision to stay with her uncle and pretend the world outside does not exit, or strike out on her own to discover the world that has been hidden from her. Lyrical and lovely