Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Annie Hewitt is down on her luck. Her mother passed away, leaving her a secluded island house in Maine, and since Annie is broke and jobless she has no choice but to sort through her mother’s things and decide what to do next with her life. Unfortunately, the island has many bad memories for Annie, mostly attached to the house next door, a giant mansion where her mother was briefly the lady of the house.

Is the current man of the house responsible for her near death as a teen? Is he a sadistic murderer, waiting for his next victim? Or is he just a dark, brooding, reclusive writer with serious sex appeal? The line is getting blurry for Annie, especially when she is very limited on social company…with the exception of her 3 larger-than-life puppets, of course.

I didn’t know what to make of this book at first-I truly thought I was stepping into a serious “unreliable narrator” situation, which is great because I have a penchant for that type of literature. But as the story unfolds, there are others on the island who might not have pure intentions, and evil is lurking in the corners. Annie has to use her humor and wits to shake down the community and figure out just what is going on there on Peregrine Island..And where is the legacy her mother claimed to have left her at the cottage? Does someone else want it, too?

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a darker sense of humor and a taste for sarcasm. It is a combination of romance, comedy, suspense and drama, all tied together. I plan to read whatever else Susan Elizabeth Phillips has to offer the world, after reading Heroes Are My Weakness. Highly recommended!

Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer

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Queenie Wake (birth name Queen Elizabeth Wake, much to her chagrin) was born into a family with a slight reputation. Her mother was murdered when she was found in bed with another woman’s husband, and the reputation for low-class and promiscuity has haunted Queenie and her sister, Merry Carole, for their entire lives in North Star, Texas.  Queenie escaped as soon as possible, heading to get a culinary education and explore the world, never to look back on the town that whispered rude comments behind her back and never bothered to take her in as one of their own. When Queenie finds herself out of work after bouncing from city to city for years, and she has nowhere to go but back home to stay with her sister and face the demons she has been running from for a very long time…The love of her life, the truth about her own mother, family, and the dirty little secrets of North Star… When the chef is offered a job cooking the “last meals” for the local prison, she is forced to test her limits and decide what she really wants to do with her life.

Nowhere but Home, by Liza Palmer,  is a novel about southwestern cuisine, small town politics, forgiveness, family, and, more importantly, finding where you belong- in the least likely of places. If you haven’t read other books by this author,  be sure to pick up More Like Her, which is also an excellent example of women’s fiction that addresses deeper heartache and real-life horrors that happen to everyday people. Readers who love Joshilyn Jackson (A Grown Up Kind of Pretty) will also adore this novel.