A romance book recommendation: First Star I See Tonight: A Novel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2dL95em.
The story was very readable and the solution to the mysterious attacks on Cooper surprised me. I was going to give this a B, but seeing as I gave Call Me Irresistible a B , and I’m pretty sure I liked First Star I See Tonight better, I’ll give this one a B as well.
Book description from Google Books:
A no-nonsense sports hero and a feisty female detective go head-to-head in this funny, fresh, seductive novel from the award winning NYT bestselling author known for her unforgettable characters, heartfelt emotion, and laugh out loud humor.               He’s the former quarterback of the Chicago Stars football team.She’s trying to make a success of her very own detective agency.Her first job? Follow him.Let’s just say it’s not going well.Not well at all….Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. The problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.Which is why a great detective needs a first rate imagination. “The fact is . . . I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just . . . mildly unhinged.”Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants to fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding that Piper find her very dead husband.And then there’s Cooper Graham,, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants just might be an intrepid detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 7962 ratings. See 1166 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dLbzcm.
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A non-fiction book recommendation: The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2s10TOM.
Levy is an incredibly talented writer who has built a solid body of work, but “The Rules Do Not Apply” does not have the same energy that her magazine writing is known for.
Book description from Google Books:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A gorgeous memoir about a woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention “Cheryl Strayed meets a Nora Ephron movie. You’ll laugh, ugly cry, and finish it before the weekend’s over.”–theSkimm One of Time’s Best Non-Fiction Books of 2017 So Far When Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules–about work, about love, and about womanhood. In this “deeply human and deeply moving” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being, in her own words, “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed–and of what is eternal. Praise for The Rules Do Not Apply “Levy has the rare gift of seeing herself with fierce, unforgiving clarity. And she deploys prose to match, raw and agile. She plumbs the commotion deep within and takes the measure of her have-it-all generation.”–The Atlantic “[The Rules Do Not Apply] is a short, sharp American memoir in the Mary Karr tradition of life-chronicling. Which is to say that Levy, like Karr, is a natural writer who is also as unsparing and bleakly hilarious as it’s possible to be about oneself. . . . I devoured her story in one sitting.”–Financial Times “It’s an act of courage to hunt for meaning within grief, particularly if the search upends your life and shakes out the contents for all the world to sift through. Ariel Levy embarks on the hunt beautifully in her new memoir.”–Chicago Tribune “I read it in one big messy gulp, because it is beautiful and heartbreaking and unruly and real. You should preorder it immediately so you can fall into her complicated, funny, and finely wrought world as soon as humanly possible.”–Lenny.com “A thoroughly modern memoir, the elements of The Rules Do Not Apply seem plucked not from the script of Girls, which has also been exploring reproductive issues of late, but Transparent–even Portlandia.”–The New York Times “Frank and unflinchingly sincere . . . A gut-wrenching, emotionally charged work of soul-baring writing in the spirit of Joan Didion, Helen Macdonald, and Elizabeth Gilbert, The Rules Do Not Apply is a must-read for women.”–Bustle “Unflinching and intimate, wrenching and revelatory, Ariel Levy’s powerful memoir about love, loss, and finding one’s way shimmers with truth and heart on every page.”–Cheryl Strayed “Every deep feeling a human is capable of will be shaken loose by this profound book. Ariel Levy has taken grief and made art out of it.”–David Sedaris “Ariel Levy is a writer of uncompromising honesty, remarkable clarity, and surprising humor gathered from the wreckage of tragedy. Her account of life doing its darnedest to topple her, and her refusal to be knocked down, will leave you shaken and inspired. I am the better for having read this book.”–Lena Dunham
The book is rated 3.85/5 at goodreads.com, from 5325 ratings. See 706 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s0BuFe.
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A thriller book recommendation: A Gambler’s Anatomy: A Novel by Jonathan Lethem

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2fes0Qz.
The prose in “A Gambler’s Anatomy” is nearly always this good, and Mr. Lethem has a touching sense of the lives of obsessive misfits. They’re his tribe.
Book description from Google Books:
The author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude returns with a devilishly entertaining novel about an international backgammon hustler who thinks he’s psychic. Too bad about the tumor in his face. Handsome, impeccably tuxedoed Bruno Alexander travels the world winning large sums of money from amateur “whales” who think they can challenge his peerless acumen at backgammon. Fronted by his pasty, vampiric manager, Edgar Falk, Bruno arrives in Berlin after a troubling run of bad luck in Singapore. Perhaps it was the chance encounter with his crass childhood acquaintance Keith Stolarsky and his smoldering girlfriend Tira Harpaz. Or perhaps it was the emergence of a blot that distorts his vision so he has to look at the board sideways. Things don’t go much better in Berlin. Bruno’s flirtation with Madchen, the striking blonde he meets on the ferry, is inconclusive; the game at the unsettling Herr Kohler’s mansion goes awry as his blot grows worse; he passes out and is sent to the local hospital, where he is given an extremely depressing diagnosis. Having run through Falk’s money, Bruno turns to Stolarsky, who, for reasons of his own, agrees to fly Bruno to Berkeley, and to pay for the experimental surgery that might save his life. Berkeley, where Bruno discovered his psychic abilities, and to which he vowed never to return. Amidst the patchouli flashbacks and Anarchist gambits of the local scene, between Tira’s come-ons and Keith’s machinations, Bruno confronts two existential questions: Is the gambler being played by life?  And what if you’re telepathic but it doesn’t do you any good?
The book is rated 3.23/5 at goodreads.com, from 1420 ratings. See 248 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dIHhni.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tNCjSs.

A sci-fi book recommendation: The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2fLUSQu.
Tan’s contest with himself will presumably continue. Fortunately for his fans — both those of his previous efforts, and new fans won over by this delightful book — he’ll probably keep winning.
Book description from Google Books:
“Well now, dear children, who brought you here? Just come inside and stay with me. Nobody’s going to harm you….” Wicked stepmothers, traitorous brothers, cunning foxes, lonely princesses: There is no mistaking the world of the Brothers Grimm and the beloved fairy tales that have captured generations of readers. Now internationally acclaimed artist Shaun Tan shows us the beautiful, terrifying, amusing, and downright peculiar heart of these tales as never before seen. With a foreword by Neil Gaiman and an introduction by renowned fairy-tale expert Jack Zipes, this stunning gallery of sculptural works will thrill and delight art lovers and fairy-tale aficionados alike.
The book is rated 4.22/5 at goodreads.com, from 1062 ratings. See 287 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2em59gW.
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A romance book recommendation: Wintercombe by Pamela Belle

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2cJM9vf.
…it is a well written love story and one I’m glad I tracked down back in the day and which I’m glad to see available now. There are three more books in the series and from the blurb of the next book, it seems Nick and Silence will finally get the ending they deserve.
Book description from Google Books:
When the Puritan Parliament defies King Charles I in the seventeenth century, an estate keeper’s young wife must protect her home and children when her husband joins the battle and must confront her growing feelings for a Royalist officer
The book is rated 4.12/5 at goodreads.com, from 299 ratings. See 47 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dj1IYp.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2suKK1b.

A politics book recommendation: The Whistler by John Grisham

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2s7oHRc.
Grisham fans looking for courtroom drama might be disappointed by “The Whistler,” since McDover’s questionable cases are glossed over. The book feels more like the first half of an episode of “Law & Order,”…As ever, Grisham sprinkles “The Whistler” with sharp observations about lawyers.
Book description from Google Books:
From John Grisham, America’s #1 bestselling author, comes the most electrifying novel of the year, a high-stakes thrill ride through the darkest corners of the Sunshine State. We expect our judges to be honest and wise. Their integrity and impartiality are the bedrock of the entire judicial system. We trust them to ensure fair trials, to protect the rights of all litigants, to punish those who do wrong, and to oversee the orderly and efficient flow of justice. But what happens when a judge bends the law or takes a bribe? It’s rare, but it happens. Lacy Stoltz is an investigator for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct. She is a lawyer, not a cop, and it is her job to respond to complaints dealing with judicial misconduct. After nine years with the Board, she knows that most problems are caused by incompetence, not corruption. But a corruption case eventually crosses her desk. A previously disbarred lawyer is back in business with a new identity. He now goes by the name Greg Myers, and he claims to know of a Florida judge who has stolen more money than all other crooked judges combined. And not just crooked judges in Florida. All judges, from all states, and throughout U.S. history. What’s the source of the ill-gotten gains? It seems the judge was secretly involved with the construction of a large casino on Native American land. The Coast Mafia financed the casino and is now helping itself to a sizable skim of each month’s cash. The judge is getting a cut and looking the other way. It’s a sweet deal: Everyone is making money. But now Greg wants to put a stop to it. His only client is a person who knows the truth and wants to blow the whistle and collect millions under Florida law. Greg files a complaint with the Board on Judicial Conduct, and the case is assigned to Lacy Stoltz, who immediately suspects that this one could be dangerous. Dangerous is one thing. Deadly is something else.
The book is rated 3.86/5 at goodreads.com, from 35768 ratings. See 3220 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2qO92SX.
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A home-craft-hobbies book recommendation: Landskipping: Painters, Ploughmen and Places by Anna Pavord

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cyjfOU.
An American reader ends up wanting to invite Pavord, obviously a very thoughtful companion, on a trip to the Alaskan wilderness or the California desert.
Book description from Google Books:
In Landskipping, Anna Pavord explores some of Britain’s most iconic landscapes in the past, in the present, and in literature. With her passionate, personal, and lyrical style, Pavord considers how different artists and agriculturists have responded to these environments. Like the author’s previous book The Tulip, Landskipping is as sublime and picturesque as its subject. Landskipping features an eclectic mix of locations, both ecologically and culturally significant, such as the Highlands of Scotland, the famous landscapes of the Lake District, and the Celtic hill forts of the West Country. These are some of the most recognizable landscapes in all of Britain. Along the way, Pavord annotates her fascinating journey with evocative descriptions of the country’s natural beauty and brings to life travelers of earlier times who left fascinating accounts of their journeys by horseback and on foot through the most remote corners of the British Isles.
The book is rated 3.32/5 at goodreads.com, from 31 ratings. See 7 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1TEfdnE.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sucYZU.