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Saturday, July 15, 2017

LibraryReads for August

It is an interesting mix of titles for this month's LibraryReads. Only one big name in the bunch and the rest are a mixture of genre too.

Number one on the list is the new one from Gabrielle Zevin, the author of one of my favorite books, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I was afraid that her new book would be similar to Fikry but I was wrong. Young Jane Young follows Aviva Grossman as she is shamed out of public life when her affair with a congressman is publicized. She runs away to a rural Maine village to raise her daughter and reinvents herself as Jane Young. After establishing herself in her new life, she is urged by others to run for public office which she does.....not realizing that the past is never completely hidden. This is a novel about double standards; in fact, Zevin described it as a novel about slut shaming. It is described as engaging and humorous with wonderful characterizations.

The rest:

I will start with the well known author. Louise Penney has Glass Houses on the list. This is the thirteenth in the Inspector Gamache series. Reviewers have always said each additional one gets better and this is no different. Gamache has become Chief Inspector of the Surete du Quebec and is deeply involved in a drug investigation. Meanwhile in Three Pines, a costumed figure appears on the village green. The figure does not talk but just stands there and seems to represent someones conscience. As always, Penney does a wonderful job depicting people and plot and place. And yes, reviewers say this one is even better the last.

Veronica Henry's How To Find Love in a Bookshop is on the list.One reviewer said "this book oozes charm, strength, passion, romance, beautiful books, a compelling yet feel good read". Pretty high praise. Emilia Nightingale was left Nightingale Books by her father on his death. She pledged to him she would keep it open. When she actually took control, she discovered her father had been having financial problems. The bookshop was not  the bread winner it had been when she was a child. Can she keep it open? Wonderful characterizations.

If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss made the list. This is a debut novel for Weiss who didn't start writing for real until she retired from her position as the Executive Assistant to a Headmaster at a private school. One reviewer said "It's bold, powerful, dark and hard to believe that this is a debut novel." It is the story of Sadie Blue among others. She is 17, newly married, pregnant and an abused wife who can barely read. It takes place in the mountains of North Carolina. Is there life beyond the life she is currently living? Read and find out. I love Appalachian tales.

Michael Poore has Reincarnation Blues on the list. Well, this is a strange one for me to explain and truthfully, although reviewers seem to love it, it was not one I would have picked. It is about Milo who has been reincarnated more than any other human and only has a limited number of times left. Yes, apparently there is a limit. Somehow, he falls in love with Death - who is names Suzie and who he only meets when he is in between lives. Said to be funny, insightful and entertaining.

Ann Hood has Morningstar: Growing Up with Books on the list. This is a work of nonfiction and is
Hood tale of growing up in a non reading family in a town that did not value books. Through it all, she illustrates how books transformed her life and can do the same with others.

The Address by Fiona Davis is on the list. This is the story of two women - Sara Smythe in the 1880's and Bailey Camden in the 1980's - and an apartment building - the Dakota in New York City's Upper East Side. Sara was hired by the architect of the Dakota to manage the new apartment building. She also became the architect's lover and end up murdering him. Bailey, is a recovering alcoholic who is hired to renovate an apartment in the building and uncovers papers in the basement which uncover a secret. Reviews have found it "a compulsively readable novel".

Next comes Emma in the Night  by Wendy Walker. One reviewer said it is "a disturbing, insightful, captivating, and a twisted psychological thriller that is filled with dysfunctional and manipulative characters." Two sisters, 15 year old Cass and 17 year old Emma, went missing three years ago. Then, Cass shows up on the doorstep with a story of kidnapping and being held captive on an island. FBI agent Abby Strauss knows something isn't right but can't pin her suspicions down. Can Emma be found?

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud. The story of two girls, Julia and Cassie who were best friends from nursery school and knew each other's secrets. Then.....they entered junior high school and Cassie left Julia to figure it out on her own. Cassie ran with the more dangerous crowd and when things got dangerous, the only one trying to save her was Julia. The story of heartbreaking friendships.

Lastly, The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson. Here, the story of the author is almost as good as the story in the title. Wilson is a Cherokee citizen who grew up in Oklahoma. He got a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and now lives in Portland, Oregon. His first title, Robopocalypse, obviously must have come from his scientific background. Here, he kind of uses that also. A young anthropologist, June Stefanov, is studying ancient technology when she uncovers a secret in the workings of a 300 year old mechanical doll. She is thrown into a hidden world that is just under the surface of ours. One reviewer said "fun, intriguing and nearly impossible to put down."

There you go for the list for August. Hope something tempts you. See you next week.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Big Names in August

While not that many titles are published in August, there are lots of the A List authors publishing this month. Let's see how many you already have your name on the list for.

Sandra Brown has Seeing Red coming out on August 15.  Romantic suspense is Brown's genre and this title is no exception. She is very good at what she does. Kerra Baily is a television journalist who is out to get an interview with Major Trapper. Major led a group of people from the Pegasus Hotel after it had been bombed and became a successful celebrity until.....he removed himself from view. One of Kerra's contacts she attempts to use is John Trapper, Major's estranged son and an ATF agent. When she finally gets her interview, unknown assailants try to kill both the Major and Kerra. John has to get involved.

Robin Cook has Charlatans coming out on August 22. Another medical thriller from Cook, this one features Noah Rothauser of Boston Memorial Hospital. When healthy patients start dying during surgery in the ultra modern operating room, Noah investigates and questions a surgeon who believes he can do no wrong and an anesthesiologist who is addicted to social media and has created multiple accounts portraying herself as different people. Could one of them be at fault?

Debbie Macomber has Any Dream Will Do coming out on August 8. Shay Benson needs a place to start fresh after attempting to help her baby brother. Pastor Drew Douglas is unsure of his direction after losing his wife. The pair strike up a friendship that could be developing into something more when Shay's brother comes back to town.Will the secret she has been keeping be revealed?

James Patterson has The Store coming out on August 14. I have one comment to make about this book - what did Amazon do to James Patterson????? Jacob and Megan Brandeis are trying to write an expose type of book about 'The Store' that anticipates your needs and delivers it to your door before you know you need it. Well obviously 'The Store' is not happy with the idea. Can they live through this till publication?

Lisa Scottoline has Exposed coming out on August 15. This is the fifth in her Rosato and DiNunzio series. When Mary DiNunzio wants to represent an old friend in a wrongful termination suit, a conflict of interest arises. Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. An epic battle of wills takes place ripping the law firm apart. Will things ever be the same?

Karen Slaughter had The Good Daughter coming out on August 8. The novel focuses on Charlie Quinn. Twenty-eight years ago an attack  on her family that left her mother dead, her father devastated and her sister estranged, reemerges when Charlie is the first witness to an attack. Secrets have been kept from the first crime, will this one bring the family back together or tear them further apart. I am going to quote one of the reviews here because it sums it up pretty well. There is "the beautifully drawn divisive relationship between the sister's, their very different connection to their father, the heartbreaking thing that happened to the family all layered into a twisty plot that is fantastically unpredictable." And Slaughter comes from Georgia!

Lastly, Stuart Woods and Parnell Hall have Barely Legal coming on August 8. This is the second collaboration between the two but the first in what we hope is the Herbie Fisher series. Fisher has been mentored by Stone Barrington and has changed from a nerd into a high polished lawyer. Currently, he is the youngest partner in a high society law firm. Then - problems arise.

Enjoy - hope something interests you. See you next week.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

End of July Titles

There are still some really good titles coming out that I can not NOT talk about. I might have to zoom through these but I want to at least let you know they are coming.

Suzanne Brockmann has Some Kind of Hero coming out on July 11. Brockmann writes romantic suspense many having to do with the military. This is 19th in her Troubleshooters series. The Troubleshooters are former Navy Seals - ones that Peter "Grunge" Greene had trained. Peter gets custody of his teenage daughter, Maddie, after her mother dies and is at a loss for communication. When Maddie runs away, Peter knows she is in trouble and calls on his team for help while involving his neighbor - romance writer and single mom - Shayla Whitman.

Alisyn Camerota has Amanda Wakes Up coming out on July 25. Camerota was formerly a Fox News reporter and is now a co-anchor of CNN's morning show. This is a debut for her and surprise, is the story of a young co-anchor of a local morning show, Amanda Gallo, and the things she must deal with personally as well as at work. As she is about to break a big story, questions of an ethical nature arise. Sounds interesting.

Sarah Beth Durst has the second in her fantasy trilogy following The Queen of Blood, The Reluctant Queen coming on July 4. After having fought the evil spirits in the first book, Queen Daleina is dying and must find a successor who is also able to fight the spirits. Unfortunately, the perfect person doesn't want the job.

Shelley Shepard Gray has His Guilt coming also on July 4. This is the second of The Amish of Hart County series.Mark Fisher had left home after being wrongly accused of beating an Amish woman. He returned home though when the local pastor encouraged him too. He meets a young woman, Waneta Cain, and is thinking things are looking up when more assaults happen. The community seems to think he is the guilty party once again. He though, starts to suspect he knows who is guilty.

Jean E. Pendziwol has The Lightkeeper's Daughters once again arriving on July 4. Pendziwol is a Canadian author and this title tells the tale of time, Elizabeth (now old, blind and living in a nursing home); Mandy (a teenager performing required community service at the home); Emily (Elizabeth's twin sister who could not speak and disappeared) and Lake Superior. One of the reviewers said it is "a sensitive and moving examination of the nature of identity, the importance of family, and the possibility of second chances."

Now, one of my favorite authors, Jane Casey has Let the Dead Speak coming out on July 25. This is the seventh in the Maeve Kerrigan series. In this title, 18 year old Chloe Emery discovers her mother missing from her home and the house is covered in blood. Even though there is no way her mother could have survived with that amount of lost blood, there is no sign of a body. Kerrigan knows people are keeping secrets but she can't seem to get anyone to talk. I am going to give you one reviewers sentiments with this series because I love it as much as she/he does. "What I love about this particular series is the intensely absorbing writing with it's ironically humorous undertones and the characters that do almost literally leap off the page. ...Added to that the plotting is so gorgeously realistic and tightly drawn that you never disbelieve any of it." Give Casey a try is you haven't yet and see what you think.

OK - one more - a debut this time. Wesley Snipes (yes - the actor) and Ray Norman have Talon of God coming out on July 25. This title has been identified as an urban fantasy but......well, I will let you make up your mind. It focuses on Lauryn Jefferson, a young female doctor who becomes involved in a seemingly impossible battles against the invisible forces of Satan's army and their human agents. How can a skeptic win?  You need to read it to find out if she wins or fails with millions dying.

Next week, we start on August. Enjoy!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Still More July Titles

July is great for the mid range authors. There are so many I don't know if I will be able to get to all the interesting ones. I guess I better get started if I want a chance to get them all down.

Bill Loehfelm has The Devil's Muse coming out on July 1. If you haven't read any of his work before, he writes gritty, compelling suspense with a great sense of place. He is often compared to Dennis Lehane, Ken Bruen and Ace Atkins. This is the fifth in his Maureen Coughlin series and it is her first Mardi Gras as a beat cop. You can probably imagine the things she has in front of her.

Gin Phillips has Fierce Kingdom coming out on July 25. The first thing you probably should know is that Gin Phillips lives in Birmingham. Yes - an almost local author. She has written in different genres but this one is .... well, I would say suspense although it is about a woman, Joan, and her 4 year old son, Lincoln. They are spending a great day at the zoo when while rushing to the exit at closing time, Joan sees armed men with guns shooting people. Joan picks up her son and escapes into the zoo. The book takes place in the 3 hour time frame while Joan and Lincoln are hiding from unknown adversaries. Wow!

Michael Robotham has The Secrets She Keeps coming out on July 11. If you haven't read Robotham yet, you are missing a good one. Stephen King calls him "an absolute master" of the psychological thriller. He is from Australian and perhaps that might be one reason he hasn't made it to the A list year but he is compared to Jonathan Kellerman and Nicci French. Here, the two main characters are Meg, a 'mommy blogger' living an apparent perfect life with husband, children, nice home, etc; and Agatha, an unmarried, pregnant, stocker at a grocery store. When they find out they are having babies at the same time, they become 'friends'? When one of their newborns is kidnapped - a fight to the end is the result.

Simon Toyne has The Boy Who Saw coming out on July 4. This is the second in his Solomon Creed series. Creed is an amnesiac who travels to France to find the tailor who made the jacket he was wearing. When he arrives he finds the tailor, Engel, dead, having had a Star of David carved in his chest and written in his blood "Finishing what was begun". Engel had been a concentration camp survivor and someone is killing the other survivors. Creed takes responsibility for saving Engel's daughter and grandson. They escape and go on the run. One reviewer compares Creed to a cross between Indiana Jones and Jack Reacher.

Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza have Fitness Junkie coming out on July 11. This one is definitely in the genre of humorous women's fiction. Janey Sweet, the CEO of a couture wedding dress company, gets an ultimatum from her business partner - lose weight or lose her job. From there, get ready for a romp as she throws herself into whatever new finagled workout is said to work. But did she really need to lose weight?

Lastly, Beatriz Williams has Cocoa Beach coming out on June 27th. That feels like July to me. In addition - I use to live outside of Cocoa Beach so how could I not chose this title????? First, Willaims has written a trilogy of titles and this is the last in her 1920's series. Reviewers have said that you can read this one alone but if you are planning on reading the first two .... do so first. The first of the trilogy is A Certain Age followed by The Wicked City. Here, you follow headstrong Virginia Fitzwilliam who arrives in Cocoa Beach to investigate where the husband she was separated from apparently died in a house fire. There is plenty of treachery and secrets and Virginia revisits the past also and the reasons for her separation. One reviewer said "Something sinister was brewing throughout, and the end will have you saying: What? Who was the bigger liar?"

Enjoy. I am going to try to squeeze in one more before July arrives. Can't promise but I am going to try.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

More July Titles

I will continue with the July titles this week. There are quite a few thrillers coming out in July and some sound pretty good.

Ace Atkins, the author that was chosen to continue Robert B Parker's Spenser series, is a good author on his own. He has The Fallen, the seventh in his Quinn Colson series, coming out on July 18. Colson is still a County Sheriff in a northern Mississippi county. There have been a string of bank robberies around the area and when one occurs in Colson's county - he finds himself wondering if the robbers aren't former army rangers as he is. When Colson goes on a hunt for someone, it is always exciting. Highly praised by reviewers.

Saul Black, the pseudonym for Glen Duncan a British author, has the second of the Valerie Hart series, LoveMurder, coming out on July 25. This is the second in the troubled San Francisco homicide detective, Valerie Hart series. In this one, there are a string of murders and the murderer is leaving behind clues addresses to Hart. It reminds Hart of the murders done by Katherine Glass who is now behind bars. The last thing Hart wants to do is call on Glass again but....that is what is required.

Christopher Brookmyre has the eighth in the Jack Parlabane series, The Last Hack, coming out on July 4. Parlabane lands a job at an online news start-up when someone he owes a favor to calls in the debt. He finds himself aligned with a young woman who is a hacker and is the sole support of a learning disable sister. She also is being forced into illegal acts. Who is it that is doing this to them. Really well reviewed when it came out in Britain last year. This can also be read as a stand alone.

Nicci French is actually the writing team of Nicci Gerrard and her husband Sean French. Dark Saturday, the sixth in the Frieda Klein series, will be published in the US on July 11. Klein is a psychotherapist and minds can be frightening places. Here she is called in to evaluate Hannah Docherty who was convicted of killing her entire family 10 years previously. Klein begins to think that perhaps the original verdict was wrong but someone is out to stop her.

Glen Erik Hamilton has the third in the Van Shaw series coming out on July 25. Every Day Above Ground has Shaw learning of a pile of gold from a dying ex-con who was told about it by someone who had dies in prison. The man that told Shaw wants to make sure Shaw will take care of his pre-teen daughter. Shaw could use the money to repair his destroyed home. When he follows the lead, he ends up in a trap. And then, the pre-teen daughter's life is threatened. Will he do what's right or will he do what's legal?

Sheena Kamal has The Lost Ones coming out on July 25 also. This is Kamal's first novel. Nora Watts is a tortured character and the focus of the novel. She specializes in finding lost people but has a skill for which her employers pay her. She is able to tell when someone is lying. Nora lives in the basement of her employers building with her dog, Whispers, when she is approached by the adoptive parents of the child she gave up 15 years ago. Their daughter, a chronic runaway, has disappeared and this time, not returned. Will she help? Reviewers have really loved this - one said "Sheena Kamal smashes it out of the park with her breath-taking debut.......This really is a dark, female-driven thriller that keeps you on edge all the way through and you cannot help but hope for the best but fear the worst." Give this one a try.

OK - that gives you six from which to choose. There are more, but I will wait till next week.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

LibraryReads for July

The LibraryReads for July just came out yesterday off the presses I am going to tell you about the books that made the top 10 in libraries around the world. There are some good ones.

Number one on the list is The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. Ware's prior works (In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10) received great reviews so there were a lot of people waiting for this one. The plot here sounds vaguely familiar to me but....perhaps it is completely different when you are reading it.  Isa receives a text from Kate - a friend from school days that she hasn't seen in 10 years. All it says is 'I need you'. Within 24 hours she and two other friends from those days drop everything and are on their way. While at school, they like to play 'the lying game' which was to make up some outlandish lie and see how many they could get to believe it. However, something more sinister happened and something has washed up on the beach that could destroy the lives they built.

The rest in no particular order:

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown. Brown has written domestic fiction but this is her first try at suspense. Here, a happy family of 3 - wife, Billie, husband, Jonathan and daughter, Olive - is destroyed when Billie goes out for a solo hike and never comes back. One year later, Jonathan is trying to get his wife declared dead so he can collect the insurance while Olive starts seeing her mother in 'visions' and becomes convinced she is still alive. Then secrets from Billie's past are discovered.

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond is on the list. If you think this is a romance from the title - you would be spectacularly wrong. Here newlyweds Jake and Alice are invited to join an exclusive club - The Pact  - that will help them stay married and together. The 'rules' seem harmless - but what if you break one? What if you want to leave? No one ever leaves The Pact. One reviewer called it "entertaining and super suspenseful with a satisfying creep factor."

Next on the list is Final Girls by Riley Sager. First of all, Sager is a pseudonym of another published author so this may be the first novel under this name but not the first novel she has written. The reason I have explained that is the high praise by Stephen King who calls this "the first great thriller of 2017!". High praise indeed. Quincy Carpenter went on a vacation with friends and during the vacation everyone was murdered except her. She ran through the woods, bloodied but not dead to escape. The press linked her with 2 other survivors who made it through massacres and called them the Final Girls. Although they had never met or really been in contact, when the first 'final girl' was found dead, the second girl shows up on her doorstep forcing Quincy to relive her trauma. Why?

Down A Dark Road: A Kate Burkholder Novel by Linda Castillo made the list. This is the ninth in the Kate Burkholder (the once Amish Police Chief) series. Here, Joseph King, a fallen Amish man convicted of killing his wife 8 years ago, escapes and returns to Kate's small Pennsylvania town and kidnaps his children. When Kate tries to talk him down, he captures her too but releases her telling him to go prove he is innocent. So...Kate is faced with a cold case that she must investigate. Could the police be hiding something?

When The English Fall by David Williams is next. There are more than one David Williams and I don't want you to get confused. I believe that this is the first 'novel' that this David Williams has written. He is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church and he has written other religious nonfiction works. This is apocalyptic fiction. It is written from the point of view of Jacob, an Amish farmer. There is a solar storm which pretty much wipes out all modern communities. No phones, no televisions, no gas pumps that work, no electricity. Pretty much all modern conveniences are gone. The Amish, however, have supplies to rely on and knowledge of how to live without modern conveniences until, of course, the English as non Amish people are called, come to take all his supplies away from him. How peaceful can he remain?

Joshilyn Jackson has The Almost Sisters on the list. I am going to start out by quoting one of the reviewers so you can get the big picture of what this book is about. She said "I adore this author, will read anything she writes. How many authors can combine the grace and elegance of the south while deftly showing many of the issues that are still apparent underneath the charming veneer." OK - it is the story of Leia who finds at 38 that she is pregnant from a one night stand; her stepsister's marriage is falling apart and her grandmother is acting strange. She goes to her hometown in Alabama to straighten things out but finds a dark family secret.

Next comes Eve Chase's The Wildling Sisters. Eve Chase is another pseudonym this time for a British journalist. This is a story of family and how they come together, grow apart and react to problems. In 1959, the Wilde sisters spend the summer at Applecote, a country manor, with their aunt and uncle who are distraught from the disappearance of their daughter. The sisters, left to their own devices grow distant. 50 years later, Jesse and her family move back to Applecote hoping to start over. They become involved in the old mystery and things get dark.

Wired by Julie Garwood is on the list. Romantic suspense at its finest. FBI Agent Liam Scott is looking for a leak in his department. Allison Trent is a hacker; college student; model. Allison has been recruited by her family to protect her cousin from his criminal record. Scott uses this information to get Allison to work as a consultant for the FBI and find his leak. Allison has people after her but Liam is the person to keep her safe.

Lastly, Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave. Sunshine MacKenzie had a popular cooking show; several bestselling cookbooks; an architect husband - she had it all. Then, she secrets came out. She lost everything in one day and had to retreat to her estranged sister's home. But...Sunshine has plans. She WOULD succeed. Follow her on her path.

OK - lots of suspense this month but two others for those non suspense people. Hopefully one will draw your attention. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

First of the July Titles

I usually start the month with the big name authors but there really aren't too many who have books coming out this month. Now don't panic - there are lots of good books - just only a few big name authors.

The first author I am covering is Kathy Reichs in a stand-alone (which isn't to say it won't turn into a series). Two Nights comes out on July 11. This is her first new protagonist since 1997. The main character is Sunday Night - an ex-military and ex-cop, private investigator. We don't initially get information about Sunnie's past but we know her background isn't spotless. She is hired by a wealthy woman when her grandson and daughter are killed in a bombing but the granddaughter is missing. Many reviewers found Sunnie less than likable before learning of her past. Hunting for the granddaughter makes Sunnie go back to try to understand herself and how it relates to the current case.

Next, big name is Iris Johansen writing with her son, Roy Johansen. Look Behind You comes out on July 18. This is the fifth in the Kendra Michaels series. A serial killer is working in the San Diego area, close to where Kendra is living. He is leaving behind souvenirs of unsolved murders all over the country. Kendra begins to feel as if he is taunting her. The FBI calls on her to help them and she begins to feel that perhaps one of the FBI team is the culprit. Reviewers have loved it.

Elizabeth Peters died in 2013 but she left behind much of the next adventure of Amelia Peabody. Her friend, Joan Hess, agreed to finish the work. The Painted Queen comes out on July 25. Here, the compadres chase a stolen statue of Nefertiti while Amelia dodges an assassin. Reviewers think that Hess did an admirable job with Peters voice. This is the final installment....if you want to see how it ends.

Perhaps not really a 'big' name but one I always recommend, David Rosenfelt has Collared coming out on July 18. I recently re-recommended Rosenfelt to my sister. I tried and tried before to get her to read on of his titles no avail. Recently, however, she did try ---- and as of today, she has read 5 of them. If you haven't read him, try him. It is not just because I am a dog lover that I recommend him. His work is really good. They are legal thrillers but there is comedy in there and the plot moves very quickly. This is the fourteenth in the Andy Carpenter series. Here, a dog is left at a rescue organization that Carpenter founded. The dog's microchip identifies him as the dog that was also taken two and a half years ago in a kidnapping. The search for the baby is renewed but Carpenter is also involved in discovering if the man jailed for the crime is really guilty.

Lastly, Daniel Silva has House of Spies coming out on July 11. So far, reviewers haven't gotten their hands on this work. His work though has been in great demand and this is the seventeenth in his Gabriel Allon series. Allon and his team are sent to track down the terrorists who committed the deadliest attack on the United States since 9/11. They are leaving a trail of destruction through London but Allon can find only one clue to follow. It leads his team to a drug runner who is doing business with the terrorists. Can Gabriel follow the trail?

OK - next up are some really good titles from lesser known authors. They are the best kind anyway when you feel you have helped make someone successful.