The Tree of Life by Timothy Browne

Not since Robin Cook’s Coma, has a medical thriller created such frightening and believable suspense. The Tree of Life is set in Turkey after the cradle of civilization is rocked by a devastating earthquake. Rushing into the disaster zone are Doctors Nicklaus Hart and Ali Hassan to triage and treat the wounded as quickly as possible. Faced with cultural and ideological conflict, the doctors strive to save the men, women, and children in an isolated area of Turkey. Centuries of deep-seated hatred between rival religious groups and extremists rise to the boiling point. The characters are presented with honesty and compassion in all their complexity and humanity.

This is the second medical thriller by Author Timothy Browne featuring Dr. Nicklaus Hart. The first book, published in 2017, was Maya Hope, set in Guatemala.

Author and Orthopedic Surgeon Timothy Browne writes with authority about disaster relief. He has worked with Mercy Ships, Operation Blessing, and Hope Force International. He provided medical and humanitarian aid in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami, in Sierra Leone, West Africa at the end of the Blood Diamond War, and in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were YoursBefore We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part history, part horror, part inspiration, the story Before We Were Yours explores the true-life crimes of the Memphis Tennesse Children’s Home Society whose unregulated adoption practices tore families apart. The story is told from two points of view, one from the past, and one from the present. Wingate’s elegant prose drives the story deep into the reader’s heart. An excellent choice for book clubs who enjoy historical fiction, women’s fiction, and literary fiction.

A tribute to the power of the human spirit and the love of family, this story reveals its depth in layers at an easy pace.

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I Wanna Be Sedated: 30 Writers on Parenting Teenagers

An excellent gift for parents of teens and pre-teens, I Wanna Be Sedated: 30 Writers on Parenting Teenagers made me laugh and weep.


For a much-needed laugh, read W. Bruce Cameron’s “Teenagers Owner Manual.” His book 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter kept my husband sane during our daughter’s teen years. Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry also cuts loose the tethers between the teenager you want and the one you have. Because raising a teenager challenges a parent’s patience, body, mind, and soul, maintaining a sense of humor is vital. As my mother told me, “You have to pick your battles.” Now that I think about it, she didn’t laugh much when my brothers and I were in high school. However, she laughed almost every time I called when my daughter hit the hormone years. Payback, I suppose.

For perspective on parenting from those who have reached solid ground afterward, read Irene Hopkins’ “The Seven Circles of Hormone Hell.” She describes being in menopause while her daughters hit puberty.


Debra Gwartney’s “Runaway” offers an unflinching look into one serious situation. Other serious and poignant topics teenager face include sex education, lying, drugs, buying Kotex, tattoos, thongs, slacker report cards, the empty-nest feeling, parties without parents, racial profiling, and body-image issues.

I recommend this book to every parent facing this chaotic, exciting, and yes, rewarding family time. Parenting is not for the fainthearted and this book offers insight from survivors. I also offer insight as a survivor in “Thrill Ride of Parenting Teenagers.”

For those of you currently parenting teenagers, you have my prayers, my sympathy, and my encouragement. You can do this! I firmly believe that God designed it so that when my child reached the age to leave home, I wanted to help her pack. Since we have passed through that valley of the shadow of death, my daughter and I have become close friends. She even trusts me to occasionally watch her children. Go figure.

Do you suppose I have suddenly gained amazing parenting skills? Ha! Me neither. What I have gained from experience–patience and a sense of humor.

Martini Afternoons by Beverly Fortenberry

When widowed retirees Edi and Eli decide to fight boredom and loneliness in sleepy Bexley, Indiana, they turn to mischief, causing great changes to their community. It all begins because Edi misses her late husband Henry and their Martini Afternoons.

Martini Afternoons by Beverly FortenberryI suspect author Beverly Fortenberry, a widow who retired from teaching leadership and behavioral change during her globe-trotting career, wrote Martini Afternoons to keep herself out of mischief. Fortenberry’s deft humor and insight into human behavior illuminate this fun story. Her other books are Leadership Lessons Proven on the Front Line and The Bumble Gene.

This book is available in paperback and as an ebook.



Reunited by Danger by Carol J. Post

2017 RITA Nominee Author Carol J. Post crafts a story of romance, reunions, and revenge in her latest novel Reunited by Danger. Recognized in the Golden Heart Awards and the Royal Palm Literary Awards for her work, Post’s latest novel explores the lasting aftermath of teen behavior. As if high school reunions were not stressful enough, Amber Kingston faces hazardous relationships she wanted to leave in the past.

Reunited by DangerFive hard-partying friends, each carrying secret guilt, are invited to their 10th High School Reunion by one of their own who fails to appear. Ten years have passed since Amber parted ways with her friends, but long-held grudges rise again when the classmates are reunited. One by one, they are taunted by poetic threatening messages.

This story reminds me of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The reader is drawn into the mystery of who the killer or killers could be as the characters meet someone’s idea of justice. A taut, faster-paced, romantic suspense version of Christie’s concept sweeps the reader into the story early as the suspense escalates to the shocking end. I enjoy my suspense with a heavy dose of romance, so this story fully entertained from cover to cover. Big kudos to the author for building tension and drama and surprising twists without stooping to cringe-worthy language. So refreshing!

Carol J. Post receives recognition at the Royal Palm Literary Awards in 2016.

Reunited by Danger comes out on September 1, 2017, just in time for late summer reading on the beach. Just in time for the next generation of teens to return to school. Beware.


In Her Defense by Vicki Tharp

Vicki Tharp delivers smooth prose and fast-paced suspenseful story packed with an adrenaline-rush of crime, secrets, passion, and intrigue. In Her Defense begins when Attorney Danielle McKean returns to Charleston to appeal the murder conviction of an architect. Returning to Charleston creates emotional turmoil for Danielle. She knows she will have to face her ex Jack Walsh. She doesn’t want to rehash their past.

Jack Walsh never fully understood why they broke up. Danielle had told him she didn’t want children, yet she returns unmarried, with a daughter. To make matters worse, Danielle’s investigation sheds unwelcome light on the architectural firm’s partners–one of whom is Jack’s father.

In Her Defense by Vicki Tharp

In Her Defense by Vicki Tharp

As Danielle researches the evidence against her client, forces arise to block her path. Jack wants answers, so he tags along with Danielle. Soon, Danielle and Jack realize that someone very dangerous wants to stop Danielle. The stakes rise with each piece of evidence gathered. What is Danielle willing to risk for her client? Should she trust Jack?

Surprises and twists drive the reader from chapter to chapter. Don’t start reading unless you can spare enough time to finish!

Tharp is also the author of Don’t Look Back, a romantic suspense finalist in the 2007 Golden Heart Awards sponsored by Romance Writers of America.