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BookBites: 4 Books With Stories and Lessons to Guide Us Into the New Year


"The Black Swan of Paris"
by Karen Robards

In 1944 Paris, celebrated singer Genevieve Dumont is both a star and a smokescreen. An unwilling darling of the Nazis, the chanteuse's position of privilege allows her to go undetected as an ally to the resistance.

When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis, Genevieve knows it won't be long before the Gestapo succeeds in torturing information out of Lillian that will derail the upcoming allied invasion. The resistance movement is tasked with silencing her by any means necessary -- including assassination.

Reuniting with her long-lost sister, she must find a way to navigate the perilous cross-currents of Occupied France undetected -- and in time to save Lillian's life. Purchase at

"Edge of Yesterday: Saving Time"
by Robin Stevens Payes

In this third installment in the Edge of Yesterday series geared for Young Adults, Charley Morton, time traveler and modern-day STEAMinista, is lost in the Renaissance, time of shadow and light, wretchedness and beauty. A benevolent dictator rules over Florence. He insists that this sassy stranger -- whose magic device pronounces prophecies of a time when all people are free, equal, and educated--be stopped!

What Charley knows threatens to destroy his rule. His henchmen incite the masses, chanting, "Heretic! Witch!" Facing death, Charley must engineer her quantum leap home -- pronto! And if she fails? Talk about getting burned. Purchase at

"A Handful of Worldliness"
by Elissa Grodin

Edwina Goodman teaches physics at an elite college in a picturesque New England town. Driven by an imagination that pushes her thinking well outside the box of conventional logic -- and an ability to see patterns of cause and effect where others can't -- Edwina helps uncover the sinister underbelly in her Police Detective boyfriend's investigation into a suspicious death at the nearby headquarters of GHN ("Gotta Have It Now" home shopping network).

Her snug and comfortable world of afternoon tea in the Physics Department library explodes like a supernova when the disturbing truth of the case is revealed. Purchase at

"Blood in the Water"
by Richard Outzen

Alt-weekly newspaper publisher Walker Holmes's world has fallen apart yet again-his girlfriend has left him, an expose on human trafficking has led to his source being brutally murdered, and his nemesis, Sheriff Ron Frost, appears to be unstoppable in his pursuit of a third term.

Then a flood shuts down Pensacola, leaving Holmes's entire staff stranded in his apartment. Before the town can cope with the destruction, the county jail explodes.

Holmes must stop his binge drinking, win back the support of his staff and friends, stave off a hostile takeover of his newspaper and figure out who caused the deadly blast. Before he is done, plenty of blood will be in the water. Holmes hopes none of it is his. Purchase at

NOTE: BookBites is a continuing series bringing readers information and ideas for their next read. For more reading ideas, visit and subscribe to our weekly newsletter.